It was a Wednesday in July of 2001. I walked into the office and was supposed to go to an off site for a day of fun with my co-workers, Bocce ball, and pizza, but instead of going to my cube, I went to the HR lady, and had a complete nervous breakdown. I became hysterical, and could not stop crying. I was hyper ventilating, and on the verge of throwing up. After 15 minutes of crying about work stuff, it came out. I started talking about my past, and then out came the rape. In five years, the HR lady was the first person I had ever spoken of what Chad did to me. What triggered my nervous break down, which I know call me nervous break through, was a series of events that were piling up and pushing me over the edge. As I mentioned before, the universe never lets you get out of your lessons. For me, my lessons involve standing up to predators, and being loving to myself. So, I tried to run away from the problems with Chad at the old company, and in my new company the players were different but the theme was the same.
During that five years of silence, my life was filled with a great deal of turmoil as well as a great deal of financial success. It was ironic. On one hand, I was drowning in a world of binging & purging, binge drinking, and self-mutilation, and on the other hand, I became a millionaire at the start-up I worked at. When I first saw my stock hit $1 million, I had a good laugh at Chad because I knew that he wanted to be a millionaire also, and I had beat him to it. He may have had more power than me, but I made far more money than he did, so I win. Right. Chad stuck with the old company, which ended up getting bought by a bigger fish, and went nowhere. I was working at a hot company making more money than any of my friends or family. That fact should have helped my pain, but it didn’t. It actually made it worse. Here I could make millions, yet I could not make the pain of what one man did to me go away.
I could not maintain an intimate relationship with any man after Chad, yet I was an ace at helping my company close multi-million dollar deals. All my friends were getting married and starting families. I was being glam queen by flying all over the world. At the end of every trip though, I would come home to a cold, stark apartment filled with plastic plants. Real plants require love and attention, and I couldn’t even spare that for a plant. In hindsight, I believe I booked more travel just so I could avoid being alone in my sad apartment. I was gone 19 days out of 30 each month, stayed at 5 star hotels, and ate at 5 star restaurants. I also had an almost unlimited expense account because I had to entertain customers. It’s very easy to develop an eating and drinking problem when you’re not paying for any of it. My excuse was always that I was entertaining the customers, and all of them were a party bunch. I tried so hard to use glamour as a way to run away from myself, and the pain.
Physically, I spent the last year, sick all the time. I had a cold that never went away. I had terrible eczema on my skin that would always itch and flake. I would literally get boils on my butt and legs. I had stomach issues, and constant body aches. A couple times, I broke out in hives. I started to get nasty hangovers that took 2-3 days to recover from. On one trip to Colorado, I arrived at my hotel room, and got a 101 degree fever. I was supposed to work a sales training event, and my customer ended up having to do the event by himself. I felt so rotten, and so like a total loser. I’m the responsible one, and I couldn’t keep it together. Every little illness was my body’s way of talking to me, and I wouldn’t listen. I wouldn’t stop to take care of myself. I had to keep running because if I stopped I would have to be with my pain.
No one knew how bad the turmoil inside of me was because I am an extraordinary actress. I would make everything look as close to picture perfect as possible. I used a picture frame in the header graphic of this blog as a symbol for that very reason. Things though can’t be too perfect because then you start to look creepy, so I put out just enough anguish to appear like everyone else. Many people who have the same ability to make things look better than what they really are go into marketing and sales careers. Fortunately, at work, I wasn’t the only fucked up person in my group. In fact, at this new company, one of the HR people told me that the most dysfunctional group in the whole company was marketing. I guess we were a group of serious emotional basket cases. Yet, we all did our jobs so well. Again, ironic.
After the break down in the office, the HR lady made me go home, and then told me to go to my doctor and get her to put me on medical leave. I did not know that you could go on medical leave for a nervous break down. I thought you had to have something that required surgery, chemo, or pregnancy. I didn’t have a regular doctor, so I had to go find one. For all my, health issues, I just went to the emergency room. It took me 2 days to find a doctor that would take me. Apparently, every hospital in my area was booked, filled, or over crowded. Finally, I got someone to take me because I broke down on the phone, and she felt sorry for me, so she made an exception. This first visit to the doctor, for a nervous break down, welcomed me to the world of “happy” pills.