I am a different person than I was three years ago, when my world fell apart, when I deleted all of my writing, when I stopped writing entirely. When I lost my mind, and myself.
In some ways, my life is the same. My daughter still occupies a lot of my time, though not quite as much since she is turning 6 in a few weeks and now has school, day camp, friends. I’ve been living with my ex-husband for the last 2+ years, which has been comfortable, if occasionally stifling. We are soon ending this arrangement and I am scared of the transition.
Maybe that is why I feel called to write again. I need somewhere to get it all out at once.
I don’t even know where to start. Do I start with Halloween 2013? The worst day of my life? Or go into detail about the ensuing week, where I slept on the streets and gave away my money to homeless people and wound up in jail? Or do I begin more recently, with all that I have learned about my disorder since then, and the support and love I now receive and feel?
I now know how lucky I am. A lot of people with mental illness have the police called on them when they have breakdowns, with varying and sometimes disastrous results. When my nervous breakdown began, my ex was very patient with me. I now have compassion for how scared he must have been. At the time, I just saw him as trying to stifle me, or keep my daughter from me, and other symptoms of my illness.
I had just started a new job at a chiropractic office in Mission Valley. It was perfect. Close to my house, the chiro was young and motivated and kind, I was the only therapist. I was set up to be in a great position. Then I started thinking hackers were trying to get into my phone, and my computer. I began to get very paranoid, thinking I was being watched all the time, that there were hidden cameras and microphones everywhere.
I ran into a man on Adams Avenue outside Lestat’s and burst into tears. He became very worried and asked what was wrong. He tried to take care of me that day, and had my truck looked at by his mechanic, and paid me for a massage. A very kind man indeed. I was starting to fray around the edges, but I had no idea. Even when this man took me out for coffee, I felt like everyone was staring at me. I was constantly onstage. I was having delusions. I started to feel like the man was stalking me. I told my boss at my new job that I felt like I had a stalker and hackers, and I’m sure he knew then that I was crazy and he regretted hiring me, I’d only been at the job about 6 weeks.
That night I was sure my stalker would be waiting for me after work, so I got into my truck and I fled. I could hear voices telling me that I needed to go. The radio was giving me special signs that it was time to go. The whole world was telling me to GO. So I ran away. I drove all night, past Los Angeles, all the way to San Leandro, when all of a sudden, my truck broke down.
I started to freak out. I was in an unfamiliar part of the Bay Area. I had not-a-lot of money. My truck was broken down. The voices were telling me that something was after my ex and my daughter, and I started looking for them everywhere. Nothing made any sense. I knew I was missing my shift at my new job, so I texted the receptionist that I thought I was having a nervous breakdown, then I threw my phone away. It wasn’t even my original phone. That I had broken and buried in a friend’s yard a few days prior. I had no way to get ahold of anyone I knew. It was a terrible position to be in, since I had no telephone numbers memorized.
I won’t go into too much detail about my adventures over the next few days in this post because it’s already getting long, and some of it is still very embarrassing to me. I will say that I had been reported missing back in San Diego, and though I encountered the police several times in the Bay Area, not a single one of them ever realized I was a missing person that they had found. One cop gave me a ride when he saw me walking on the side of a highway. Another one dropped me off at a homeless shelter. Yet another one let me go after someone called the police because I was hanging out on a residential street walking up and down it very slowly. All these times I encountered the police, and they were nice, but really didn’t help me.
The absolute worst night, I got off a train in Hayward and jumped into a cab. The cabbie thought I was on drugs and told me to get out, but I showed him I had money, just nowhere to go, and he took me to a 24 hour diner and left me there. I ordered pie and coffee, but a few minutes later I freaked out and yelled at no one in particular and ran out of the diner. It was the biggest mistake I made the whole time I was missing.
It was after midnight in Hayward, and I started talking to a man that got off a bus. We walked aways, to the train station, smoking cigarettes and chatting. I never felt like I was in any danger. We talked for maybe an hour, then all of a sudden he hit me. He broke my nose and I fell to the ground. I was so scared I peed my pants, and he grabbed my pants and told me to show him my “lady parts”. I was sure he was going to rape, and then kill me. He had hit me so hard. Blood was running all over my face and hands as I tried to figure out what was wrong with my nose. I didn’t even scream, or try to get away. He could have killed me and I would have just sat there and let him.
But he didn’t. He took my money out of my wallet, then told me to run away. I stumbled off and tried to find help, unsuccessfully. I ran into three people that night, all of which turned away and ignored me. I must have looked homeless at this point. I was covered in blood and not a single person helped me. I had no phone to call the police, so I laid down in a canyon and fell asleep there. When I woke up, a huge raccoon was staring at me. Scared the living shit out of me. At this point I was talking to myself, and scared. I knocked on the door of a nearby house, and a shocked family there gave me some ice for my nose. I told them I fell down. I don’t know why I lied, but they didn’t call the police, just gave me my ice then I left.Nobody called the police at all until the next day when I drove off in an RV from the rental lot. I was soon arrested, and taken to jail in San Mateo. Once I arrived at the police station, they finally realized I was a missing person. There is so much to say here, but I am going to have to finish this later. I will say thank you for reading this far, and I hope to continue sharing parts of my story soon.