Life As A Human is pleased to present a new series, The Other Side of Me, from a writer who goes by the pseudonym ‘Thriving On The Other Side’. This is a series of posts about a woman’s quest to truly understand herself, realize her potential and care for herself after years of caring for everyone else.
I was an observer, trapped inside a raging lunatic who had obviously lost all control. When I’d least expect it, something would blindside me, and I’d come undone – bellowing or weeping, never knowing which to expect. An unexpected change in plans? I’d roar my rage at no one in particular. A song heard on the radio? I’d drop to my knees with sobbing. I didn’t even feel the response coming: I’d trigger and someone else would take over my body. And then the ride would begin – and I’d lose all control.
I’m a successful business woman. I run companies, advise leaders and am respected as a professional. How could this be happening to me? I’m the solid one, the one who stays calm in a crisis – the responsible, dependable one. I meditated daily, did Tai Chi every morning as the birds awakened around my mountain home. I faced my demons long ago, knew as much or more about myself than anyone I knew.
I’d spent years in therapy quieting the inner raging beast that I lovingly called RoboBabe, a 20-something personality who lashed out at anyone who threatened me. I’d chalked her existence up to my being a woman working in a man’s industry, having to defend myself at every turn. That’s why I had Robo.
For the past decade she’d been sleeping quietly at my side. We were friends now. And besides, this wasn’t Robo – I knew her well. This was something much bigger, and scarier. Why was this happening now? My life was great now, nothing like the past decade – which had been hell on earth.
Through my parents’ slow deaths of a stroke and cancer, I’d been the solid caretaker. When an ex was diagnosed with AIDS, I was the one who took care of him. It took almost two years, but we saved him even when the doctors said we couldn’t. Through those eight years of horror – parents, ex, and more – I had been the rock that rarely wavered. When I did waver – it was alone, in the deepest dark of night. No one knew and I wasn’t about to let it show that I was anything other than perfectly in control, even in so many worse-than-my-worst-nightmare moments.
I thought the nightmare part of my life was over. The pendulum had swung two years ago. Today, I was living a fairy tale. I’d met the man of my dreams, fallen head over heels with the knight in shining armor I’d awaited all my life. Our coming together was a fairy tale in and of itself. A random meeting that led to the stuff that makes little girl fairy tales pale in comparison. Our world was perfect – except for the minor fact that I was losing my mind. I watched helplessly as this other ‘me’ single-handedly attacked the only real partner I’d ever known.
I knew my world was falling apart, but I couldn’t understand why. My therapist and I were chatting twice weekly, sorting through the hysterical behavior that grew more extreme with each incident. At 49 years old, I knew “mental pause” was in my corner – but I hadn’t expected this. This was incomprehensible.
I was helpless to stop the madwoman within, even as she continued her rampage to destroy my world.
I was powerless, and I didn’t have a clue what was happening to me.
“Haunted Building” istockphoto.com