Mental Health / Substance Abuse

A night with Paris Hilton

Why I am I still in my clothes? Why is there vomit on my shirt? I get out of bed and go to the kitchen to get some water. My head hurts. I walk into my living room and notice the front door is wide open. What the hell happened last night?

I remember being with my friends. I think the guys and I may have had car bombs. Shit. Every time this happens I wonder why I try to keep up with them when we drink.

I remember them leaving me at that bar talking to friends and the bartender who I have a crush on. I insisted he put on this song I like by 50 Cent. He says no and I get pissed. I don’t remember anything after that.

The next day I find out I am banned for life from the bar. But, that’s really the only bar in town. What the hell did I do?

I don’t go there for awhile.

My friends convince me to call and apologize. I call him. I tell him that I know it doesn’t mean much but I am sorry.

I ask him what happened. His only response…you were acting like a child.

~

When I think of self harm, I think of cutting. The blade slowing slicing your skin as you try to feel in control of something… Maybe your pain…your depression.

My self harm was more subtle. Binge drinking. Wearing the mask of a party girl. One of my girlfriends called me Paris Hilton. Maybe because I literally went out every night. And drank.

But I was neglecting my responsibilities as a student and after I graduated, as a teacher. I barely opened a book the whole time I was in grad school. I remember blowing off a big project to pick up a bar shift. Funny enough…so another girl could study.

I think the worst thing I ever did was to get behind the wheel of a car. My younger self was horrified. But that girl didn’t exist anymore. Rationalization was my new way of living. I was in control. I was only driving a mile. Maybe three. I didn’t FEEL drunk.

I was so unaware of my irrational thinking. And the slow hints of manic behavior creeping into my life. Alcohol masks things. It masks hypomanic behavior.

The saddest part of all was the conversation I had maybe a week before I left town with my sister who had come to pick me up to take me home to my parents’ house.

I told my friend Jan that I was working on being “a better person.” He said “Kate, you are a good person. You just need to drink less.”

But it was too late the alcohol and the lack of a real support system hadn’t allowed me to catch it in time. I didn’t descend into full mania but I was making grand plans. I had made a plan – a vision – that was going to change education. Everyone would be a success story. Grounded in the idealism that had brought me into education…but not something I should be showing the principal. Luckily my best friend advised me against that.

I had to quit my job. Looking back I have regrets about leaving. But you can’t change the past. As much as you want a redo…you have to move forward. Unfortunately it took me a long time to do so.

The day I left Williamsburg I went to my friend Pete’s house to say goodbye. I brought a six pack as a gift. How ironic that I was giving them the thing that nearly destroyed me.

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