All posts by Brittni

About Brittni

This is my journey

He Never Hit Me…

He never hit me, but the scars he left were deep. The words he said cut deeper than any sharpened blade, but he wasn’t always like that. He started out kind and loving, and he was everything that you could dream of in a partner. He would open doors, and he would tell me how wonderful I was, and how lucky he was to have me in his life. Then, like a flip of a switch, my whole world was turned on end. Those sweet nothings that he once whispered in my ear turned into threats screamed in my face. How lucky he was changed to how lucky I should feel that someone would want me as “fucked up” as I was.

When he found out that I was pregnant, he was excited and couldn’t wait to start a life and a family together, but that didn’t last long. It quickly turned to “If you ever leave I’ll take that kid, and you’ll never see it again”, “You’re not fit to be anyone’s mother”, “Who would want their child turning out like you?”
Why didn’t I leave?
Why did I put up with it?
It’s called psychological manipulation.

It’s easy to say that you’ll never let anyone treat you like that, but when you have been broken down to rock bottom’s basement, you start to take everything they say as the gospel. It didn’t happen all at once, though. It started slow: Like, him getting annoyed that I talk to my family everyday, or getting mad that I’d text my mother just to say hello and that I miss her. Then it starts to grow: I couldn’t talk to people at work or having any kind of social media because it’s just “glorified dating sites so I was obviously cheating on him.” Finally, instead of sticking up for myself, I just stopped so there wasn’t a fight, because let’s be honest, just because he hadn’t hit me didn’t mean that I was not afraid of him. He was way bigger and stronger than me, and it didn’t take much to make him mad.

At that point, I had lost everything: my job, my home, my friends. I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone, and he’d blow up if I did. So, one night he left me alone in my car while he went to a home I wasn’t welcome in. I had nowhere to go, and I couldn’t see how to get away from him. If I tried to leave, he’d kill me. If I called someone and he found out, what would he do? He had already left bruises before from grabbing my arm so tight I thought it would break. How bad would it be next time? So, I sat in the darkness of my car, thinking about what I really had to live for. Why should I keep going? Would a life like this really be worth living? Would bringing this baby into the world, with a father like that, be something I could live with? What if I did have the baby and something happened to me, or he got mad and snapped? What would he do to my child?

I sat with a bottle full of pills on my dash in front of me, barely lit up by a single street light. My eyes were clouded over with tears. The only thing that kept me from taking that bottle of 60 pills was this small voice that rang in my ears “He deserves a chance at life. Don’t take that from him before he even has a chance to live.” I knew at that second that I needed to do everything within my power to keep my growing baby safe. He had a purpose, and at that moment, his purpose was to keep his momma alive, even though I had never in my life felt more alone or more afraid. This went on for about two more weeks. I struggled to keep going, but I kept hearing, “He deserves a chance at life,” so I kept going.

On October 18th, it was my mom’s birthday, and I was thankful to have had a “legitimate” reason to call her. I had never been more thankful for her to pick up the phone in all my life. I tried to keep it together and not break down, but I lost it. I started crying, and I told her everything. She told me I needed to get away from him and go home, even just for a few days. I told her that I would try, but inside I knew that he would never let me leave.

The night that followed was long and scary. I told him that I wanted to go home for the weekend, and he started screaming. He told me that if I left, he would take the baby, and that I would never see or hear from them again. My mom texted me in the middle of the night, and said to stay put, and that my dad was going to come get me. My parents were afraid that he would kill me if I tried to leave. I knew he would. I was lying in bed next to a man that terrified me. I couldn’t move. Surely, if I slept, he’d kill me then. I was scared to breathe. I just kept praying, “God please let him sleep, and let my dad get here, fast. Please, let me make it through the night.”

Morning came quicker than I wanted, and with it, he woke up. Everything I said made him mad and caused him to yell and make threats. I managed to talk him into letting me go walk the dog down the road and get something to drink. So, I drove less than a mile down the road and waited on my dad. Meanwhile, the police were dispatched, and they got to me before my dad did (he had a 6 hour drive from Ohio to North Carolina), and they stayed with me for about 15 minutes until my father pulled in. I’ve never been so glad to see Dad or to be wrapped up in his arms. For the first time in months, I was safe, and I didn’t have to worry what was going to happen to me or the baby. We were going to make it. My son was going to have his chance at life.

He never hit me, but even three months later, I wake up sobbing and terrified and in that he’s going to be there, and hurt me, or take my son. He never hit me, but I still have flashbacks, and I am scared to let anyone in. He never hit me, but I’m still so emotionally guarded and frail. He never hit me, but the scars are plain to see. He never hit me, but sometimes I think the damage would have been less if he did.

I am healing. I am strong. I am driven, and I know what I want out of life. I know who I am as a person and whom I can lean on. He never hit me. . . now, he won’t get the chance.

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Day in the Life of a Manic 

I haven’t slept in over a week. Not really slept. And what sleep I do get I dream really vivid dreams. I need to focus and I can’t. If you ask me even the most common question I have problems coming up with an answer. Between overthinking and being terribly exhausted I’m terrified I’m doing everything wrong. My mind chases every bunny trail and try’s to convince me that that is how things are going to be. No matter how crazy. I’m so scared I’m ruining things that it’s making my anxiety bad so it’s a battle between the two. How bad I just want to cuddle up and sleep. Really sleep. I don’t want to think about these 400 different projects or if penguins have knees, I just want some rest. All my fears start knocking now and causing me to think about them and it makes me very scared. I don’t really know how to handle this all that well. And really I just feel like crying. I haven’t felt this way in a long time and I hate it.

Mental Health Break

Sometimes it’s absolutely necessary to have a break from the world. To step back and breathe. I sat in the sunshine on the beach this past week and just took in what was around me. The hot sand and the water crashing, the little birds hopping around me. It was the first time in a long time my mind felt silent and at peace. I hadn’t had a real vacation in 3 years. I had been burning the candle at both ends and not taking care of myself. Sometimes you need to step back and be a little selfish and make sure that you are taken care of that your mind has a chance to be quiet and rest. Right now I’m sitting on my couch listening to the rain pour down and the wind whip the trees outside my windows. I’m taking a break from my day of work and customers and being sick and I’m just breathing. Quieting my thoughts. It will be there tomorrow so don’t worry about it right now. Work is still there, the dishes are still there but that’s ok. You need to take a few minutes to not dwell on all that and take a break and IT IS OK. REST!

What I have to Prove

“You don’t act sick.” “Are you sure something is wrong?” “But there is so much to be happy about!” These words are the constant reminder that I have something to prove. That the struggle I’m going through isn’t enough. That I’m not enough. If I were to have the flu or God forbid something worse, no one would ever 2nd guess it or tell me to just pull up my big girl panties and go on. “You need rest!” “What can I do to help?” “I’m here for you” These are the words when you have a mental illness, no matter what it might be, you need to hear. You wouldn’t tell a drowning man “but look at all this air you could be breathing!” So why would you say to someone drowning in depression “but look at all this you have to be happy about around you!” Sometimes the best thing you can do is say “I’m here, whatever you need.” And honestly mean it. And if you can’t say that and mean it then you can say “do what you need to take care of yourself. There’s only one you.” Sometimes having permission to be “selfish” and take care of ourselves is exactly what we need. It’s ok to be selfish sometimes. Sometimes it’s vital to keep going. If you don’t take care of you and communicate what you need it’s hard for others to know how to help take care of you  and give you what you need. Remember at the end of the day your health is number 1, if you aren’t taking care of you it makes for a rough road and an uphill battle. 

The Bipolar Tree

Picture this, There is a big beautiful complex tree in the middle of an empty field. The tree base is “Bipolar” and each branch is a different type of Bipolar and each of those branches have different symptom branches attached to that and those have other ones attached to that. It makes this big, very full, very complex tree but it is still all the same tree. You may have rage but I may not I may have weepiness but you may not. I may stay on the depressed side and you might be a fast cycle and be more on the manic side. There are so many branches that you could be on and just because one person says “I have Bipolar” doesn’t mean they will have the same symptoms as someone else you know with Bipolar. Odds are they aren’t going to and comparing the two can be hurtful and can do a lot of damage. One thing I hate more than anything is when someone says “well I know so and so that has bipolar and they are just crazy” That is so hurtful and make me feel like I’m about 2 ins tall and I bet the person they are talking about isn’t crazy either. We’re part of the same tree just a different branch. We have a different view to the same diagnosis. No journey is ever the same. If it was we would have a cure instead of a treatment.

The Bravest Thing I Ever Did…

The bravest thing I ever did was keep living when I wanted to give up and die. Kept breathing though the pain felt as if it were crushing me. Kept moving forward even when I wanted to throw in the towel and give up. I think about dying almost everyday. I think about giving up and what that really would mean. But I know that I have far more to live for than to die for. So every morning, I wake myself up, get out of bed, put on my makeup and push myself. I make a deal with myself, “You have to care today, tomorrow you can stop caring if you get out of bed but today you get that ass up!” And when I wake up tomorrow I do it all again. “You get up! You can stop caring tomorrow! But you have things to take care of today!” And so the battle goes. Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t always like this. Sometimes I can’t wait for my day to get started. But right now it’s a struggle. Right now there’s a lot of pain and tears. Right now I feel very alone. Right now I’m in the depressed side of Bipolar. And oh how it rears it’s ugly head.

What is Bipolar?

I find myself asking this question a lot. Even though I have been diagnosed for almost 2 years I still don’t know much about my illness. I know what it’s like to live with it but not necessarily what it really is. So I looked it up. “Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.”
That sounds so easy. So cut and dry. But it isn’t black and white. On one side of the coin, I can’t sleep because I am so excited and motivated and I want to work on every project under the sun! I might not sleep for 2 or 3 days and besides being tired I’m ok with that because so much gets done and I feel so good.
Now flip that coin… I can’t get out of bed. I’ve slept 14 hours and I’m still exhausted. Everything hurts, even my hair and my eyes and I don’t want to speak or be spoken to. All I can do is manage to cry and if anyone asks if I’m ok I burst into tears. I just need to sleep. When it’s like this I don’t care if I ever wake up.
Now what about the in between? When the coin lands on the edge. These are the days I try to balance. I try not to rock to far one way or the other. Most of these days my brain feels like it’s in a fog and my anxiety tries to break through. These are the days my past comes knocking.
Today I’m kind of numb. I’m in a fog. I can’t really focus and trying to even find my words is a stretch. I feel like everything is a distraction and my brain just can’t keep up. This is going to be one of those days that people notice I’m off my game and I’ll have to make up reasons why I’m not 100%. You can’t just say “yeah, I’m having a bit of a rough day” because they usually want to help fix it. There really isn’t anyway to fix it. I just have to ride it out like a storm and wait for the next wave.

This is Me

I’m a daughter, a sister, a niece and a friend. I’m a designer and creative and a dreamer of dreams. But all that changed in the Spring of 2015. “I believe you have Bi-Polar” is what I was told. These words still ring in my ears. This ongoing depression and lack of sleep and all around craziness finally had a name… Bi-Polar…. Why did it have to be that? Why couldn’t it just be that my anxiety and depression was just in overdrive and I needed some R&R? Why did I have to have the one thing that people don’t understand and say “God she’s so Bi-Polar!” and put this stamp on you that you are crazy? I cried for days. My then Husband didn’t take it well either. “Are you sure? Can we get a second opinion?” like I had just been diagnosed with a terminal illness. But it felt like I had been told about this with no way out. Like I had been damned. I knew nothing about how this journey was going to go or even start. I had no idea about the ups and downs that I would face almost daily or how little people understand about this mental illness. Or how little I knew about myself and my illness. This is my ongoing journey. This is me.

Ice Queen

I am an Ice Queen,
With Ice Water pumping my cold concrete heart,
Rushing through my veins like an icy mountain river,
I am Numb,
With No feeling left,
I have started to freeze from the inside out,
Even tears drop from my face as snowflakes,
I am an Ice Queen,
Everything I touch freezes and dies,
I do not have the ability to create only to destroy,
I am an Ice Queen,
With no hope to defrost.

Welcome to the World

Welcome to the world they say as they smack you on the ass, wipe the goo off of you and wrap you in a cheap cotton blanket. You have your mother’s nose and your father’s eyes, hope you can grow up to make that work for you. For all of 2 seconds you were the most amazing thing in the world until the next sorry kid got pushed out. Now here you are, blinded by the bright lights, cold, hungry and sore. Everyone starts planning your future and before you leave the 4th floor you’re already suppose to be a doctor or lawyer or something dreadfully boring like that.

Time goes by and you are the apple of Mom and Dad’s eye. They think you can do no wrong, until you do. You yell and scream and so do they. And it hurts a little when you want to sit down now. Welcome to the world, sometimes it smacks you on the ass.

Time seems to drag on for you and you start to trust. You’re a good person so, so is everyone else, until they aren’t. Now that heart of yours that was so big and so willing to share is a little cracked now. Those promises didn’t mean nearly as much to them as they did to you. But welcome to the world, sometimes it’s cruel.

You look down and it’s years later. You think you have found the one you will love forever. You willing give up everything to make them happy. You would lasso the moon if they would but ask. The sun rises and sets in them, until they decide that you aren’t what they wanted anyway. Your heart feels like it has been ripped from your chest. That you might actually die from this, but why would you want to make it without them anyway? Welcome to the world, sometimes all it does is take.

Fast-forward 5 years you found the one this time. You are making the promises to love each other for the rest of forever. Everything about them is perfect and your life is a fairytale, until it isn’t. Now you’re all alone again. All those promises fell on deaf ears and no one really cared to listen to them anyway. But welcome to the world dear. You never were told this would be easy…