I was excited to start college. Being away from home for the first time seemed like so much fun! Within a few months I met an amazing man, we'll call him John. John seemed perfect, too good to be true. We held similar interests (interests we had never shared with anybody else before). I was 19, he was about to turn 27. The age gap wasn't a huge deal. It seemed okay since we both attended the same university (why was he still an undergraduate at 27? This could have been the first red flag, but I didn't want to be judgemental. Some people start university later in their 20s and that's okay). We spend all of our time together, both consumed with love for each other. After a few weeks of hanging out constantly, he sat me down and told me about his past. He's diagnosed with schizo-effective disorder, a Messiah complex, bipolar disorder and has drug abuse problems. And although at that moment his mental health was great, he goes through ups and downs. He was warning me about the person he may become. He told me about his weekly antipsychotic injections and the pills he takes daily to keep his mind stable.
At the time, I had just weaned myself off of antidepressants because I didn't like how they made me feel. I had watched some documentarys on "big-pharma" and I was convinced that nobody needs psychiatric helps and that it was all a big scam. I showed John the documentaries and he became obsessed with the "lies" he was being told by his psychiatrist. What I didn't realize was that he was falling into a manic episode. He stopped taking his meds, stopping going in for his injections and we both tried self-medicating. Within a month he was a completely changed person. Clouded by rage and his Messiah complex, he could take any interaction with a person and twist it around to be proof that he's the second coming of Christ. We had both started taking recreational drugs and we fed off of each other's addictions.
I was under his spell for almost a year. We had both dropped out of school by my second semester. We never slept, we stayed up getting high, making videos, and just being crazy. After one year, I was home visiting my mother when I started to have suicidal thoughts (not the first time). I was hearing voices telling me to harm myself and seeing horrible hallucinations of my loved ones being tortured and killed. Because I was out of John's spell for a week, I was able to think clearly about my situation and I decided I needed help. I checked myself into the local hospital and spent 2 months recovering from my addiction, drug-induced psychosis and the eating disorder that stemmed from the drug abuse.
Now John had been hospitalized a few times by then because of his violent behavior towards his family. But I always stuck by his side and my life revolved around using drugs, visiting him, and smuggling drugs into his hospital. While I was hospitalized he didn't visit once. Only one phone call in the two months I was there. There were so many red flags that I ignored.
When I got out of the hospital, I got high immediately. I then got in the car and drove to John's mom's house. In a phone call I made on the way there, he seemed extremely aggitated at me for going against him and being hospitalized. His mother was in the back ground yelling at him...I could tell things we're quickly escalating.
By the time I got to his mom house (where he was living), the kitchen was destroyed. Broken plates and glasses everywhere, holes in the walls...it was terrible. I found John outside fuming. I brought him inside to try to work out the issues with his mother.. bad idea.
They were in the living room arguing.. it got very heated. John headed outside. I followed him to help him calm down. When I got outside, he had gone into the shed and found an axe. He started screaming at me that all of this was my fault, I had brought the devil in the house because I was on psych meds.
He started chasing me with the axe.
It seemed to last forever before the police arrived. They were able to subdue him and put him in an ambulance. He had struck me a few times and I had some bruises, but nothing requiring medical attention beyond what the EMS people had done while there. I didn't want to file charges because John needed mental help, not jail time. Thankfully the local police are familiar with him and did not use excessive force.
So life goes on in our "normal" way. I visited him in the hospital constantly, kept taking drugs, stopped my own psych meds. When he was released after a few weeks he seemed better. But once again he stopped taking his meds. Things got even worse this time.
We'd have night-long screaming matches... we were so intoxicated. I know they were about me being the worst thing to happen to him, money being tight, needing more drugs, but I don't remember much else. He was extremely verbally and emotionally abusive to me, but I thought it was ok because he had real mental issues. My thoughts were "it's not his fault he's like this...he wasn't this way when we met...he needs me because I can fix him...etc"
I kept rationalizing his behavior because I was so dependant on him (our addictions kept feeding off of each other).
I don't know what changed me. It might have been my father sitting me down and asking what I was doing with my life. He offered to help me if I left John...but I chose John. But that guilt kept eating away at me. I felt (and still feel) guilty for ignoring my father's offer to help me out of a terrible situation.
I eventually got tired of my lifestyle. I saw my friends about to graduate college and everyone excelling in life while I seemed to have moved backwards.
One day I get home being gone for a weekend (John and I had found our own apt) and the place was completely destroyed. Just by the look in Johns eyes, I could tell he was deep into another episode. There had clearly been a fire in the kitchen, there was dirt all over the ground, the entire bedroom was spray painted into a mural. He grabbed me roughly and walked me around a tour of "our new home". I could tell he was on a certain drug we vowed to never take again a few months prior. He explained that Trump and Kim Jung Un had been sending him mind transmissions to get the apt ready for their arrival.
(He was hearing voices, a symptom of his psychosis)
I had only been that scared once before (when he chased me with the axe).
At that moment I decided I had to leave.
It took a few days of planning, but on old friend helped me quickly move out while John was out one day. A few days later, his mom called me and told me he had been picked up by police for theft and was hospitalized. So I took it as a chance to go back and get some things I had left behind.
When I got there the apartment was even more destroyed. There was a note I could barely read because of his wild script and the filth on the paper.
Over the next year, he stalked me. I was constantly afraid. We lived in the same town. And the landlord of the apt he had destroyed honestly felt terrible for me, so he fixed up the apartment and let me stay there because I had gotten a job close by. It was nice of him, however now John knew where I lived AND how he break in. Thankfully, never broke in, but I saw and heard him looking thru windows, putting his ear to the door, trying to peak thru the crack under the front door. He'd buy me things and leave them on the porch. My neighbors were afraid of me, none of my friends ever wanted to visit because he'd always show up and want to come in. He'd go into my car and leave me things..usually money that he owed me. He stole $500 from me while we were together to buy us drugs. He held that over my head for a few years saying we need to stay in contact so he can pay me back. I kept telling him I didn't want it back but he kept trying.
I eventually got an order of protection against him, but that never stopped him. I was afraid to send him to jail, I knew it would make him furious at me and he'd want revenge...so I let it slide.
Now, looking back, I cry when I think about how he warned me about all of this. He even gave me his ex's contact information so I could talk to her about him and gauge whether I wanted to be with him. I never called her, but I wish I did. I called her after all of this and she said they had a similar relationship.
For our entire relationship, I wanted to heal him back to the person he was when we first me. But his issues coupled with mine was a terrible mix... He WAS an amazing person. So amazing that I stayed thru years of abuse for the tiny flecks of clarity he'd occasionally have . And I miss that person even to this day. But with every episode he has, he gets further and further from that. Even while medicated....it's like he takes two steps towards insanity and then one step back while medicated, then two steps forward and one step back.
I hope he finds peace in his mental state and finds that correct cocktails of medication again.
It's difficult for me to think that my abuse wasn't partially my fault.
But to all of the abused people out there- you cannot change that person you are with. You cannot help them. It is not your fault they are abusive. You deserve real love and that starts when you learn to love yourself.