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Dirty Laundry #1: Toni Interrupted


I have this fear. This fear that someday someone will expose me for every horrible thing that I've ever done or dig up every skeleton that's in my closet. Someone will come along and say, "Toni Anita Hull is a crazy, lying, fat bitch face!". Maybe my Veronica Mars bingefest has made me paranoid that doom is looming. But I suppose I could be more like Veronica. Nothing gets to her it seems. She is fearless, shakes it all off, catches the perp, and gets the guy. #LoVe #4Ever

So, what I have decided to do is to air some of my own dirty laundry. Right here. This is highly advised against for anyone who is job searching or who may want a job in the future. Ah well. Here I go.

I used to deal cocaine.

I am just kidding. I snorted a Pixy Stick once and that was enough for me. That shit burned. Do they even make those anymore? They seem like a gateway candy. Also, I am far too nervous to make drop/deal/trade/sale.... whatever drug dealers do. Although, I do look very confused and dopey, so I'd have that going for me. I digress.

Here's my real secret: I've spent time in an in-patient psychiatric facility. More than once, but the second time was very short-lived. And is a story for another day. And maybe this isn't a secret. I am sure I have mentioned it in passing, but here I am, writing about it. I am a modern day Nellie Bly. Except, I am not.

First, you should understand what drove me to the proverbial straight jacket. It was the summer between my senior of high school and my freshman year of college. My parents WERE STILL ALIVE! It had been a rough year. My godmother/aunt died of cancer that February. She lived with us and it is hard to watch someone you love deteriorate and die over a long period of time. I hadn't lost someone that close since my grandpa when I was 7, and for some reason, death is easier to handle at 7 than at 18. I was an anxiety ridden human and I was depressed. I had spent a lot of my senior year drinking - not at parties or in the desert - but I would drink to help me fall asleep. My parents found out about that because I had written an email about it to my favorite teacher. I won't mention his full name here, but we can call him Mr. H. It took me many the year to realize that the relationship I had with Mr. H was highly inappropriate. I mean he should have told my parents that I was drinking, but he didn't. I think he liked that he knew my secret and no one else. He was fired at the end of the school year. I have no confirmation, but I am pretty sure my parents played some kind of part in it. Some years later, in my early 20s, I tracked him down and got his cell number. I drunk text him, and he texted something along the lines of how he wanted to do things to me. Lucky me.

Back to the funny farm story: When I stopped drinking, I took up cutting. I think Mr. H knew about the cutting and told no one. I eventually told the counselor I was seeing at the time, and despite being 18 and not giving her any permission to tell my parents that I was cutting, she told my mother. I never trusted her again. Bone-headed move on her part. I am rambling, but bear with me here. So my aunt died, I was leaving my friends, moving away to Missouri, I was leaving Mr. H (I thought we'd be be together eventually.... sick), and I was leaving my parents. My sweet parents, who I was convinced would die while I was at college. The pressure of being a type A kid combined with all the other factors got to me. I had threaten to kill myself before, and that's when I sought treatment in an outpatient program for about two weeks. My best friend, Katie, would often sleep on my trundle bed next to me to make sure I was ok. I as put on various medications because I was told I had bi-polar disorder. Bi-polar was really hot back then. I am saying this with 100% certainty, I am NOT bi-polar. I have depression. Anywho, I spent most of that summer locked in my room. Something I try hard not to hate myself for because as we all know, my parents would die just a few months later. One day the urge came to take all the pills and booze in my house, but I didn't act on it. I told Katie who took my to see my therapist - Dr. Bloch. I loved Dr. Bloch. I loved him because he cut through my bullshit and called me out. I told him that I really wanted to die, and then he asked if I wanted to go into Dr. Luke's. Like.... go in for loony bin summer camp. I was afraid of myself, and so off to St. Luke's.

The thing that sucks about this is my parents. My parents who didn't know what to do with me. It was 2001. We weren't talking about mental illness like we are now. We weren't identifying it. Suddenly, all of the irrational fears I had my whole life, my quirks, my obsessiveness... it all slowly came into focus. I was mentally ill. I still wish that our last few months together were not full of me being depressed and ultimately being checked into the psych ward. Why did that happen? I am firm believer that things happen the way they are supposed to... for a reason. But this, I simply cannot see the purpose behind.

I often wish I had documented my time at St. Luke's.... like Girl Interrupted. But alas, I did not. Visiting hours were only in the evenings. My parents would come see me. My friends would come see me. I think they brought me a Frosty once. My roommate made me look at her vomit, so that I could vouch for her throwing up for some reason. She also cut her toenails during group therapy. At some point, I had to sleep in the addiction ward because the beds were full in the non-addiction ward. I remember everyone being a smoker, except me. I remember hanging out with the cool kids, and this one guy - probably college age - telling me that I would be far more relaxed if I just fucked. Yes, I was an insane 18-year-old virgin - SUE ME! I remember that I had the chance to talk to my whole family - parents and brothers. I took issue with my eldest brother and his first divorce. I don't remember any outcomes. I feel like all I can still see is the sadness on my parents' faces, as if they failed. This wasn't their fault. I was sick.

The one thing I really remember vividly is Mr. H coming to see me. My friend Kath was there too. Kath was and still is a hottie. Tall, olive skin, slender, big boobs, and just cool. I saw them together and he was flirting with her. I lost it. I cannot think of a time in my life where I lost it like that. It was the sobbing and screaming kind of losing it, where I melted to the ground and went after Mr. H. I was detained by a nurse, and that's when I realized that I couldn't get thrown in the psych's version of SHU. I begged the nurses to not to throw me in solitary. And they didn't. I like to think that I am just THAT charming. Most likely, it came with paperwork that they didn't want to do, and I had been well behaved up until that point. Which by the way, I wasn't mistreated ever at St. Luke's. However, there were people in there who had electric shock done, which is terrifying and horrible. But the conditions were fine and clean. I mean there were free meals.

In short, I remember very little. I do remember leaving and thinking, "I am NEVER going back there again". I laugh now because I really thought that was rock bottom. HAHAHAHAHA. If only 18 year-old me knew what was coming. Admittedly, some days lately, I would welcome a stay in the psych ward. Some days I wake up and feel as if though I am on the brink of good ole' fashioned nervous breakdown. Good news is - I cannot afford to have one.

So, there is my first of many dirty laundries. Left out to hang for the world to see like a big ole' pair of granny panties.


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