072: Two Auras

Content Warning: This post contains information about sexual assault and/or violence, as well as PTSD, bipolar disorder, and depression which may be triggering to some survivors.

“Two Auras,” Anonymous

Note: All survivors who reach out to The Art of Survival are given the option to remain anonymous in sharing their story. Any specific details about the survivor are shared at their discretion, and not the creators of the page.

I always felt I was different. I never knew why. I was happy child, it wasn't until puberty that I started to lose interest in the things I loved. At 16, I started cutting myself. I prefered the physical pain to the aching and sadness I experienced.

At 17, I was molested by my friend’s father.

Like most teenage girls I had a harmless crush. He was attractive and fun. I told him of my crush but was dismissive of it as I was a teen and just wanted to feel attractive.

With all of the pressure and dealing with my depression, when offered pot I took it. I wanted to fit in. He laced it. Everything was blurry. The sounds of pink floyd on the radio had colors in the dim lit room as I tried to cope with losing my grip on reality.

I felt dirty and cheap as his calloused hands touched my face. He laid me on the bed as I lay there not in touch with what was going on. My world fell to pieces as he took from me what he wanted.

I planned on never telling. I wanted it to just go away. His daughter had been in the next room over and a few days later she told my boyfriend i cheated on him.

I went to school with my friends cousin, she told everyone I was a whore and I was drug to my teachers room. I told them what happened and was forced to tell my parents.

After that event I sought help as my depression got worst and on top of that I had anxiety. I tried almost every anti depressant and most of them left me a zombie or in fits of rage.

I struggled constantly with sadness. I felt broken and alone. At 21, I met a doctor who asked me a series of questions and felt I was not depressed but bipolar. I was put on a new medication but it was expensive so they broke it into 2 medications. Prozac and risperidone. It seemed to work and things seemed to get better. There came a point I could not afford my medication and this put a strain on my marriage. Depression had not been as bad but my manic episodes became more severe. Everything was an impulse feel good moment to avoid dealing with real issues.

My marriage was broken for many reasons: PCOS and surgeries that had kept me from having children, manic episodes during fights and depression.

I decided to take my medicine again.

My grandfather grew really ill and passed away and left a huge hole in my life. I suffered in silence and hid my pain until I was at a breaking point. My Doctor wanted me off Xanax for anxiety. She cut me off cold turkey and tripled my prozac. As a result i had a severe manic episode. I was hallucinating and my emotional pain seemed to manifest physically. I attempted to kill myself and my husband admitted me into a mental hospital. It was an all time low. The hospital put me on lithium and monitored me.

The next two years were very trying. I tried to work through my grief. Sadly my marriage never recovered and in 2015 I was divorced.

I always felt bipolar was like having two auras inside of you, ripping you in two directions. One is like a cloud of sadness ever encroaching on your happiness. The other a hyper overly anxious child. Always wanting the high of instant gratification.

It has been an uphill battle. Every day is a balancing act. Trying to recognise manic and depression spells. It has been hard but i am hopeful it will get better with time.


About the art:

This painting for this survivor was inspired by the two sides she has inside her, sad and manic. The colors I used for the painting are a blend of the two sides, blues and greens for depressed moments, and reds and oranges for hyperactive, manic moments. The division between the two is not a straight, solid line, because often the two overlap and are constantly battling over each other.

I also used music notes raining down as an example of how something beautiful comes out of all the messy, unpredictable parts of life.  The umbrella that the silhouette figure is holding is down off to the side so that the figure can embrace the music instead of hiding from it.

This survivor shared with me that she loves listening to music and writing poetry, so the quote I found I thought was the perfect accompaniment to the design and complemented
it nicely.

- Emily Lopez