Continued on from “Sex, drugs and more sex – My Journey to Diagnosis: Part 1“
My dysfunctional behaviour of working too much, partying and being fixated on sex continued for several months until a scary incident woke me from my stupor.
I had been talking to an English tourist, *Adam, who I met online. Adam and I seemed to get along well. He had a good sense of humour, was well travelled and open-minded, and we shared a lot of the same sexual fantasies. We spent hours texting each other and talking on the phone. After just four days, I decided that I would travel interstate to spend a night with him. This was especially out of character for me. As I mentioned, I usually insisted on men coming over to my flat for sex because this gave me some sense of security and control. Even more out of character was the fact that I took time off work to visit Adam and without a second thought, I used all my money on the trip away.
So I took the train to Melbourne and met Adam in a hotel in the city. I started to realise how ridiculous the whole thing was when I arrived at the hotel before Adam and tried to check in. He had made the booking. I couldn’t tell the hotel staff what Adam’s surname was or even what his phone number was (we had used apps to text/chat), so the staff wouldn’t check me in. I started to realise that I didn’t know Adam from a bar of soap.
Adam turned up over an hour late, dishevelled and flustered. We went to our room and had a drink. He had planned on buying us cocaine, but instead, he turned up with ice (methamphetamine). I hadn’t used ice for over ten years but I didn’t fancy watching him get high while I stayed sober. So there I was, snorting lines of ice in a hotel room with a strange man, while he smoked it from a pipe. It hit me hard and fast. The ice eased any remaining inhibitions and soon we were having sex and things were okay for a few hours… until they weren’t.
Adam started to say things that didn’t make sense. “You can’t trust sheep,” he told me, “especially sheep in hats.” (Despite everything, I can see the humour in this!) For a while, he thought I was someone else and kept calling me “Sharon”, “how’s your missus, Sharon?” He became distressed and started whimpering and talking absolute nonsense. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to leave but I was scared something would happen to him and I would be responsible. I called a friend for advice but unfortunately, he was high too! My friend advised me to have sex with Adam because, “he can’t trip out if he’s fucking”, and in my desperate state, I took my friend’s advice and initiated sex again.
By morning, Adam and I were strung out. He confessed that he had a problem with ice and was on a four-day bender. I felt so stupid. We parted ways and I had 12 hours to kill before my train home. Ice is a terrible drug and in my opinion, much stronger today than it was a decade ago. It makes you feel exhausted but completely unable to sleep. You can’t eat. You shake. Your thoughts are jumbled and confused. It’s like your mind and body become disconnected and your mind moves too fast to be contained by your body. I wandered around the city like that for 12 hours, wanting to cry and sleep but unable to do either. It felt like hell.
I collapsed onto the train when the time came and endured the five hour trip home, trying not to vomit. I can’t exactly describe how I felt when I got home. I walked into my dark, quiet flat with relief, but with an overwhelming and inexplicable compulsion to hurt myself. I felt so incredibly desolate and depressed that I wanted to die. I knew logically that I didn’t want to die, but I was terrified of what I might do to myself. I had enough sense to call my friends, a couple that lived nearby. It was about 2 a.m. but they came to my house and crawled into bed with me, soothing me and watching me cry. I didn’t sleep or eat for 48 hours after taking those lines of ice. It was a horrific experience.
That whole incident really shook me. I was now behind in rent and was being threatened with eviction. I was behind at work and extremely behind in my studies. I was a couple of weeks off my deadline for my thesis. I knew that by failing my Honours degree, I might not be able to continue my journey towards neuropsychology. I had six months of work to cram into just two weeks and my life was falling apart. I am usually a sensible, cautious and practical person, and I didn’t recognise myself anymore. I felt a crushing pressure upon me and knew I needed help.
To be continued:
In Part 3, I talk about getting my diagnosis of bipolar, what happened with my Honours degree and how I pieced my life back together.