I still struggle with the phrasing used in describing Bipolar Disorder. I can’t wrap my brain around most of it. Sometimes I’m not sure if what I was doing was part of being Bipolar or part of being a Drunk with low self-esteem. Not many Doctors want to talk about the promiscuous part of Bipolar Disorder. Mine sucks his breath in through his teeth and knots his fingers together as he changes the subject.
I wasn’t diagnosed until about 6 years ago and drank for 20 years before that. I drank while on different antidepressants. I drank mostly every day for years. I slept with different men often. Sometimes it was because I was attracted to them, sometimes it was to prove I could, sometimes I don’t remember why or giving permission. Those times I shrugged off and thought it was my own fault for putting myself in that position. Alcohol appeared to bring out a lot of manic qualities in me. Alcohol acted more like cocaine to my brain until I hit a certain point. Then things got weird or ugly. It didn’t matter because I had to get up and do it again the next night. It wasn’t the alcohol, it was the feeling that I was going to miss something. I didn’t know what or who but SOMETHING. I would get a knot in my throat if I thought I wouldn’t be able to go to this one place I went to every night.
It was never a need to have sex with me. Sometimes it was a game. The people I drank with were always amazed at the guys I could get. We would go to a bar and they would pick out someone they thought was out of my league. They would challenge me to pick him up. I always hung out with older men who drank as much as I did. They thought it was funny. I thought I had to prove my worthiness. It’s pretty sad when you’re proving your worthiness to a group of men that have been in and out of prison and were either alcoholics or drug addicts but I thought I was on the same level as them. I was often compared to a man. I was always the first to leave without saying goodbye or caring. I learned early on not to care.
There were times where before I went out I wouldn’t shave my legs thinking this would stop me from sleeping with anyone. It didn’t.
Do I regret it all? Yes. I never learned how to make conversation that would lead to an actual date. So I’m 42 and have never been on a date. I have also never kissed anyone sober. I’ve never been intimate with anyone sober. I’ve been celibate for about 7 or 8 years. I just can’t be bothered and my medications leave me with no sex drive. Then my health started to fail so I continued to be alone. I promised myself that the next time I had sex it would be sober and with someone I cared about.
I don’t miss those days filled with shame and guilt. They were also filled with worry. Did I use protection? I could never remember. I’m lucky all my blood work has come back clean. I took a lot of chances.
This isn’t the life I expected. It is the one I have. I accept that. I deal with what comes my way the best I can. Is it always the right way? Probably not. But I don’t drink, I’m no longer promiscuous, and I can usually remember the night before. So it’s better.