Mania, PTSD, A Personality Disorder and Everything In-between

So I made a step and signed up for a proper pole dance class for next week. It’s not a course, it’s a single class. I just wanna see what’s it like. Being a stripper I can dance and whine on the pole, but I don’t know how to do tricks and I proper wanna learn. I know most girls just get a pole in their room and practise that way but I’m just tryna check with my landlord to see if I’m allowed to put it up, and I have a feeling I won’t be allowed. We’ll have to see. Fingers crossed.

That’s not the only reason why I signed up though. I really want to get myself out the house, I been trapped inside for so long, avoiding going out and everything, and I need to bite the bit and get myself out there. It’s hard though, and I keep delaying it. The reason being, the last time I was out there was a year ago. A year ago, I was out every night, smoking and drinking, partying on the regular. I was in uni studying Textiles. The plan wasn’t to be a sex worker, my thing was to go down some kind of artistic route and design or make things and make a living off that. I ended up in Textiles cuz I took an Art Foundation for a year. It’s a course you take after A Levels where people with artistic interests take to try out different disciplines and then use the one they like the most to help them with getting into uni. I did photography, drama and film studies in A Level so I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go in, so I went there and ended up going for sewing, embroidery, so I got into a uni course to do Textiles. It should’ve gone well and I should be starting my third year now, but thing was I’d brought a whole host of untreated neuroatypical problems with me, that uni wasn’t gonna fix.

To explain, I have lived with mental health issues ever since I was eleven years old, and I have six learning difficulties, which despite being diagnosed, were never treated and I was often left to my own wits and the best form of help was assistance teachers in school. Not to mention PTSD and a couple mental health disorders; depersonalisation and mania. I knew I was manic for years but I struggled to get help from the services. The problem with the mental health services in the UK is serious. I know a lot of people don’t think of it much or understand it, but nowadays, if you are not assessed as an immediate danger to yourself or to others, you will be waiting months, or even years (in my case). And what happened to me was that even though I would have super high, crazy bursts from time to time, some that got me super reckless, but I learned to try put a lid on it. It wasn’t so bad a few years ago. I managed to go through my A Levels, so I thought, if I could handle that, I could manage uni and living independently? Right? I was so wrong.

I’ve always been a partier, I always went out, even though I had a very strict Christain upbringing, I was always quite wild, I just had to be careful about it. So going out weren’t no problem in uni. I used to go out in a local bar where all the students would meet up, and party or just chill and have drinks. I made a bunch of friends and pretty much every night, I’d be out there drinking, and getting waved. It wasn’t that deep at first, but it came to a point where I was on it every day. Like every day. And I didn’t think about why at first. When I wasn’t going out with my student mates, I was out with my main girl and we used to go out with roadmen and hood people a lot, smoking weed, drinking some more and doing lines at times. I guess it’s easy for me to chill in that world cuz people always say I’m hood, even when I try to present myself as sensual, girly etc people will still message me saying they can tell I’m a bit hood. Guess I can’t hide it that much!

Anyway, things were okay for the first few months, but at some point the mania took over. I don’t remember at what point but the pattern changed. When it started, it used to be just a few times a month of extreme energy and being recklessly high. Most of the time I used to just have hypomanic bursts and then it would just calm down and I’d be okay. During my A Levels and Art Foundation, I remember it was climbing and getting more intense and I was getting a bit scared but the mental health services said it wasn’t serious enough for them to take me on, so I was left to my own devices. And in uni that changed. Over the course of a few months it went from monthly/sometimes weekly to every. Single. Day. My existence just became clouded with a powerful high recklessness coupled with intense emotional episodes.

Mania sounds like fun in theory. You basically get high for free! You these major rushes of energy out of nowhere and it often cycles your mood all the way up. But it’s not that simple. Mania for me was like taking a magnifying glass to my emotions and blowing them right up. So if I’m happy, I’m ecstatic, euphoric. If I’m angry I basically wanna kill whoever the fact made pissed. If I’m sad I’m basically going through heart break. If I’m unsure or uncertain, I have so much anxiety I feel fucking sick. And it’s unpredictable. I was used to those difficult emotions but they weren’t so physical before, I could keep it on a lid. But with the changes, it got to a point where I was physically taken over to the point where my sanity and common sense seemed to go out the window. I would get the shakes, like my hands would start going off, and I would get often quite angry, violent thoughts and temptations. Anger episodes are scary to have cuz it’s like being a caged wild animal and you’ll fuck up whoever gets in your way. It doesn’t matter who or what, you’ll do anything, anything to fight your way out. It was always like that, and it used to grip me so hard, it brought me to a strange recklessness where I didn’t care for my own life or anyone else’s.

If I was in the bar and it came on I just drowned myself in more alcohol, which happened often. I wasn’t drinking socially or for fun anymore. I was doing it to keep a lock on the deep, pulsating anger inside me. But I didn’t have it every time, and I remember wanting to beat someone up or kill someone. I guess you could say that’s scary to experience but I have been assaulted sexually and physically so many times in my life that violence in a way is kinda normal to me. I’m so desensitised to it that I don’t even blink at it now. I’m not openly violent or anything even though I have urges, I only use it when I need to as a self defence mechanism. But this is the point where it got out of control. I was angry all the time. I was in so much pain mentally and overloaded that I couldn’t see head or tail of how to deal with it. I used knives on myself at times but I didn’t care for causing pain to myself. I preferred using needles and using shallow, fast scratches on myself in a way that got my anger out. It was the fact I needed to take my anger and urges of violence out on something, but there was nothing at hand.

When it died down and finished, I was just exhausted and shattered, sometimes I was unable to leave my bed. Then as soon as I recovered, back to ‘normal’ my mood would start cycling all the way up and it would start over again. It was a vicious cycle that I felt trapped in, and I was unable to break free. I couldn’t see where the way out was. My only possible distraction was to party and get high. Literally I couldn’t bear to be sober, it was too painful. Weed had a calming effect and it often helps me to be more focussed, so I was relying on that a lot as well as alcohol. I had a lot of friends and people around me so that would distract me from my emotions at times but apart from my closest girls, they were more social friends. I wasn’t that close to quite a lot of people but that’s fine cuz I’m super extroverted so I like to have a lot of friends and people around me constantly. I hate being lonely it drives me mad. But I never let them in on what was going on, I think I might have said shit when I was drunk but I don’t really remember it all. It was just a constant battle and I was just trying to maintain a brave face every day.

Meantime, I was barely in uni itself. Hardly coped with my lectures, or manage to get any actual work done. I think my tutors could see there were issues going on with me and they were very kind and helpful in trying to get me to manage my course but it was virtually gone from my brain. I just didn’t have the space to mentally juggle my anger episodes, daily life and the mania, to include studies. It just wasn’t physically possible. So many times I just wished the emotions would just disappear, the hatred and anger would die down, my head would be cleared out and I could focus on my studies again. But it never happened. That’s the thing people don’t realise about mental illness, those who don’t have it think why doesn’t one just exercise, have some space and they’ll feel better in a few days? It doesn’t work that way. You could do all those things, take yourself from every bad influence you have, away from the people you’re surrounded by and try to become focussed again. Believe me I tried every trick in the book, but mania has a mind of its own. In a lot of ways it feels like how you do after doing bare lines and your super high and your brain needs to come down but you can’t. Your head is stuck and unable to feel any type of clarity. Essentially your brain has been handed over to mood swings and mania.

I guess in the end it led to me dropping out of uni and deciding what my next move would be. I had been offered loads of times to work with drug dealers to make money and it was super tempting but I held back from it cuz it’s different when they ask girls to bang road, cuz they always want extras. It’s easier if you’re a guy cuz at least you’d be an equal and they would let you just work with them and get on with your job. If you’re a girl… it’s a different story. They often want you to be their link so in doing this you have to fuck them. To be honest if I hang out with a guy in the same space they honestly think I’m going to have sex anyway, but it’s different if they become a regular. Not saying there’s anything wrong with casual sex but it leaves you so open to be taken advantage of, a lesson I paid a heavy price for learning. In sex work my biggest personal rule is; Never fuck your boss or anyone you’re working with. I didn’t have that rule back then but I had the same feelings, then. I don’t wanna have sex with someone I’m working for. I used to be pimped out by my ex-boyfriend when I was seventeen and trust me, it’s not a pretty ride. And I know a lot of dealers will try pimp you out as an extra to get more money or to be a set up chick. If you’re a girl, they will at least make your job around sex. And the problem is you have very little control in that situation. Cuz you’ll be riding with road guys and shotting and then doing sex on the side and if they take physical advantage of you or do anything to you, then who do you call? You could try get the feds but you then will be in trouble for dealing, so what do you do? I just knew with all my initial problems it was a risky, slippery slope. I don’t have a problem with dealing but I would probably work for myself if I ever did, purely because of how the guys are.

Even though I didn’t want to be pimped out, I always had sex work at the back of my mind. I have a complicated relationship with sex, I love it and hate it at the same time for many good reasons, so it’s confusing. I thought stripping would be a good option. Cuz I didn’t know enough about escorting and I had a very traumatic time when my ex pimped me out, I didn’t feel physically able to go all the way. But stripping and dancing didn’t feel like a problem to me. So I applied and got into a club. It was kinda scary, cuz I never had a job interview before, and this was my first experience applying for a job. I got in, I was super nervous auditioning. I know how to dance, I’ve danced all my life but I’d never been on a pole before. I’d been wanting to pole dance ever since I was sixteen but I never had the chance. So I dunno how well I did, I was probably a hot mess but I do know how to whine and move my hips and look sexy so I got the job. I was working there three days a week from 7pm – to 3am, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Thursdays was till 4am. I have to say I’m glad I took it, I wish I kept at it.

I got along with the girls and everyone but unfortunately I started in the summer season, and I didn’t know at the time that’s usually the worst time of year to work. I mean, there were some good nights but I spent a lot of time in a virtually empty club which was deathly boring. Not only that, I still had my mood swings to cope with. I didn’t drink much at work apart from champagne in VIP cuz I didn’t want to be waved while I’m working. I wanted to be focussed and get my stacks up. I really wanted the money, and I could feel my mood swings revolving around money. There were nights were I took home a few 100 Ps but there were days where I made like 80 Ps and in a very empty club, it’s extremely demotivating. It started to feed into my self-esteem and I just felt super depressed. And because of the intensity, it was hard to focus, and I became less confident and insecure. It shocked me cuz I’ve never had to fight or work for male attention, ever. Like ever since I was thirteen I’ve been up to my eyeballs in male attention and often very persistent and full on. So all my life I’ve either responded to it directly, played hard to get or not been interested. I’ve always had to try fight guys off so they would respect my boundaries. But being in the club, it’s so different. They didn’t necessarily approach us directly and we would have to walk up to them and pull them in to sell VIP or dances. It worked enough at times although you do have to deal with the odd ‘I’M NOT HERE TO HAVE DANCES’. Dickhead that just sits there sipping his drink and glares at anyone that smiles at him. Like if you’re gonna go to a strip club you might as well just play along and make life easier for us strippers and just play ball ha. Cuz at the end of the day clubs don’t pay us, we gotta give them house fees every night and there is nothing more frustrating than sitting next to a guy that keeps badgering for your attention but throws a fit when you steer them to the dancing booth or VIPs. I love being on the stage and busting moves, even though I can’t climb the pole, it’s fun working around it.

It wasn’t to last, I didn’t stay for long. I left after a couple months, planning to come back after the summer was over cuz I went on holiday. I wasn’t in a good place mentally and I was struggling to hold it back at work. I just couldn’t put my game face on and hustle or perform, like I used to. From that point on, things became a bit of a blur. My memory isn’t the best and I struggle to remember everything that went down, but I’ll try my best. I was just lost. I just remember being drunk, high or manic. You know it’s bad when the first thing you do is reach out for a bottle. You know it’s bad when being sober is the worst possible pain you can imagine, and you’ll do anything to avoid it. Anything and everything. I was at a point where I couldn’t care less what happened to me. I wasn’t directly suicidal, but if something happened to take me out, I welcomed it. How did I get from there to where I am now? It’s a whole complicated ass story but I can’t bring myself to talk about it in detail.

I was essentially defrauded by someone who exploited my manic state and I lost everything within a matter of weeks. Before I was struggling, but I still had money. Here I was at a point where everything was gone and homelessness suddenly became a very real threat, as I couldn’t pay off my rent. It took an intervention from family to bring me away from everything but not without a lot of conflict, being threatened with arrests and drama. I was taken straight into the mental health services where they assessed me, diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder and mania. I was put on medication and from there have been working on recovery ever since. I think maybe someday I’ll be able to talk about the details of how it all came about but I’m not ready to yet, cuz I feel deeply ashamed and embarrassed, and I was very angry about it for a very long time. I still am now.

 

I don’t know what I’m doing with this but I’m probably gonna use this platform as a way of venting and just being open about my personality disorder and mania etc. I’m very open about my difficulties and the trauma I been through but I want to have a place to put it down somewhere, so I guess here is just as good as anywhere. I’ve lived a very complicated, troubled life for many years and I just wanna get it off my chest somehow. But there has been so much trauma and history that I ain’t gonna be able to just get it off in one go and put it to bed. I been trying to work on my recovery in the past year and progress to a good, healthy place but it’s hard. There’s so many things to be angry and hateful about. But I guess I gotta start somewhere, so I’m gonna start here.

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