Sunday, September 28, 2003

In the beginning... (Part III) 

So, now I'm in Texas. I arrived here almost two years ago, stayed with my parents for a few weeks and got a job at a local call center. My brother wanted me to stay with him instead of getting an apartment of my own, but having seen the dump he was living in, I declined. I did, however, find a decent two bedroom apartment right next to the call center I worked at, and offered to let him and his family stay there for half the rent. They agreed.

I lived like that, working at the call center for about six months. Just a month or so after I got the job, I became severely addicted to cocaine. I suppose my brother knew, but never said a word about it. Two months after I got the job, I was promoted from the phone to QA, which was a low-level management position. I was happy, I loved my job, and I spent roughly 80% of my income on coke.

Then one day I ate some undercooked fried chicken from a local chain restaurant, and several hours later became violently ill. I decided to go home early, as I was spending more time in the restroom, kneeling over the toilet, than I was working. A friend offered to drive me home (I usually walked) and I fainted on the way to his car. He rushed me to the emergency room where I went into cardiac arrest from a severe potassium deficiency.

I was hospitalized for four days. My brother didn't visit me, and didn't call my parents to let them know what had happened. I went home against medical advice on the fifth morning, because I had a mandatory meeting at 9:00am. When I arrived, I was told by my manager that I was being demoted because of "time missed". I was devastated and angry beyond belief -- I'd never once missed a day, except for those four days I spent in the hospital after nearly dying.

I went home, since my presence was no longer required for the meeting, and made a snap decision to off myself. I took over three hundred pills -- Lithium, Risperdal, Antivert, and a lot of others I can't recall. I snorted the remainder of my cocaine stash. I went to bed with the most incredible pain I've ever felt, on the right side of my head and promptly lost consciousness.

Sixteen hours later my brother knocked on the door of my bedroom to ask if I planned on waking up. I couldn't talk, could sit up, could barely move. Back to the hospital with me, where it was determined I'd suffered a hemorraghic stroke on the right cerebellum.

I signed myself out of the hospital again, a few days later, and spent the next month recovering at home. After a week or so, I could talk coherantly and sit up for almost an hour at a time. My hands shook far too much to write or use the computer for the first couple of weeks. I spent a lot of time lying on the couch, drinking little boxes of fruit punch flavored Gatorade that my sister-in-law bought for me.

After a month, I felt I was recovered enough to work again, and started looking for another job. My writing was terribly shaky and nearly illegible, which probably caused a lot of my applications to be tossed out. I got a call from a different call center in town, but failed their typing test. Now, I find that incredibly amusing -- they required 25 wpm, and my normal typing speed is around 120 wpm. But my hands shook too much to type quickly or accurately.

My brother suggested I put in an application at a security company he used to work for, and I was hired right away. I still work there (though I did quit to pursue another job for several weeks), providing security for a defense contractor on the overnight shift.

Around this time I began playing Anarchy Online with my brother. I'd always been a fan of computer games (particularly CRPGs, including the MMO variety), so this occupied a lot of my time for several months. Then I got banned on the forums for "blatantly defying the moderators" and banned in the game itself for exploiting.

I'd made a new account for use on the forums, and I kept noticing this one particular player whose posts really appealed to me -- there was just something about his style of writing that made me want to get to know him better. So when he posted a goodbye message on the boards, I saw my opportunity and sent him a private message.

Steve and I quickly became friends and started playing another online game, while exchanging lengthy email messages. I flirted with him incessantly, until he finally caught on and responded in kind. I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that the interest was not only mutual, but quite serious.

Six months later, Steve moved 1800 miles from Maryland to southern Texas to come live with me. His parents were less than pleased, but they couldn't say much, as he was of age. My brother was livid, because I moved out and got a separate apartment to share with Steve. OTOH, despite the relative insanity of what we did (moving in together without ever having met in person), my own parents were incredibly supportive and drove over a thousand miles to meet my boyfriend and help us find an inexpensive car.

In the five months since then, I've gotten pregnant (with an IUD in place), miscarried, had surgery, gotten engaged, changed jobs twice, spent three days in the hospital for a psychotic break that led to a nearly successful suicide attempt, had several more episodes (some of which involved extensive cutting), went through three psychiatric medicines looking for something that would keep my schizophrenia in check, and discovered that my fiance is autistic. Steve and I seem to fight nearly every day, always about very important issues and major problems. And yet, I'm happier now than I can ever remember being.

Yes, we're insane. You cannot deny the title of this blog is fitting.


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