Barney: Dude, you gotta ditch her.
Barney: She’s got the..’Crazy Eyes’.
Ted: Dude…the eyes…they’re CRAZY.
Marshall: What are you guys talking about, the ‘Crazy Eyes’?
Barney: It’s a well-documented condition of the pupils, or pupi.
Ted: Nope, just pupils.
Barney: It’s an indicator of future mental instability.
–How I Met Your Mother
As promised in a previous post, I will be telling the torrid stories of my dating past. I’ve been going in reverse chronological order, starting with the last guy I dated before Match, and going from there. This post I’ve been dreading, because this person is someone I’d like to forget all together, but I better just get it over with. Hopefully after telling it, you guys will see just how much I appreciate what I have now. This is the story of Date Girl and her Crazy Ex.
I really don’t want to go into great detail about this guy, mostly because he still gives me the nervous goosebumps. First of all, he was 34 when we met, turning 35, and not that attractive. God only knows what I saw in him. At the time we met, I was feeling pretty low, and I was drinking a lot, and also going through a weird transition in life. It was that post college, new to the full time working world, and working at an extremely stressful job. I also had horrible roommates, and a ton of drama going on in my life. I soon moved out of the house and into my own place to live alone, something I’d never done before. It was hard, and Crazy Guy was there. Crazy Guy did yoga, and he introduced me to some hippy types, who seemed to have a quiet calmness about them. Maybe that’s what appealed to me. Also the 11 year age difference, while weird, it seemed that he could teach me a lot about life. I won’t say every minute was horrible with him. I will say that the one positive thing I can take from that 9 month relationship was learning how to be on my own, and be completely independent.
So things with Crazy Guy started out on the wrong foot. He would talk down to me, and tell me I was going to do things when I wouldn’t necessarily want to. He convinced me that I had issues, and that was why I didn’t want to be with him. I tried to break it off after just 2 weeks, and he convinced me that we had a good thing, and that I was just too used to giving up easily. He said to give it time. So I did, and slowly got sucked into his Crazy world.
My friends were really concerned about me, because I kind of disappeared. Crazy Guy didn’t drink, so I went completely sober, for almost a year. In a way it was nice, I got a lot of clarity, and I let my stomach ulcers from my job heal. I got a great new job (which I still have today) and I got in pretty good shape with yoga. Still, Reality Check and I had a big void between us, because she didn’t like Crazy at all. She constantly put him down, and told me I needed to get out of the situation. Looking back, she was right, but at the time it just pushed me closer to him. It was a very unhealthy situation where we both just needed each other. Eventually I started noticing some really odd behavior. It started one night when he worked all night, and didn’t come back to my apartment until 11pm, after working since 7am. He was still extremely hyper and wouldn’t calm down. He started talking a mile a minute, and he’d snap at me if I said anything back. That’s when I first started to suspect that he was manic.
It all hit the fan when he started drinking again. I remember leaving work and getting a phone call from his mom that I better come pick him up. I found him wandering around downtown mumbling to himself and then he started yelling at me. His eyes looked so wild and crazy, I can’t even describe the look he had. It was horrible. I won’t get into the details of all the things that happened between us, because they’re just too hard for me to talk about. I’ll just say that things were very very wrong. Thank god for Kaiser and their emergency health plans, or else I don’t know what we would have done. I waited until he’d had an all night full on manic attack, and the next morning I convinced him that we needed to go to the doctor because something was wrong. He agreed, and the ER doctor agreed with me that he had Bipolar II disorder, with episodes of mania.
After that, I felt helpless in my situation. I felt like I couldn’t abandon him because he was sick. I felt like his illness justified all the cruel things he said and did to me. I was beaten down, and I was completely broken. He started taking his medications, and he started getting stable. I was starting to see a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel. This was last year, right around my 24th birthday. I took him to karaoke where all my friends had come out to celebrate with me. He wouldn’t talk to anyone, and at one point even ditched me to go for a walk, without telling me. That night I realized no matter what help he got, he was deep down the same guy, and we weren’t matched for each other at all. He was antisocial to the point of anxiety, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I realized I was 24, and I was wasting my time with a man who had already told me he hated kids, never wanted any, and the idea of weddings was absurd. A guy who would fly off the handle if I spilled something in the kitchen, and raise a hand to me if I talked back. I realized that no amount of love or affection I gave this man, he would never change just for me. He had to get help on his own, and couldn’t use me as a crutch. Something clicked and I knew I needed to get the hell out of the situation.
A few days after the birthday, I ended it. I did it over the phone because I knew he’d react badly. He did, and he immediately went off his meds and started drinking up a storm. He had moved some things into my little apartment without my permission, and I took them to his family’s house. Did I mention he still lived with his parents at 35? It was just bad bad bad. I ended up moving shortly after the breakup, because I didn’t want him knowing where I lived. He had taken to showing up at the house crying, and one night I sat trembling, holding my dog and praying that the lock would hold fast while Crazy Guy howled on the other side, banging the door and screaming for me.
After moving into my new place, I finally felt safe and relief. The phone calls from Crazy became fewer and fewer, and I finally heard through a friend that he had found another girlfriend. I was glad, but also very sad for the new unsuspecting girl. I know that mental illness isn’t something to make fun of, and I know that it is not his fault. I also know that his family perpetuated the problem by ignoring all the warning signs. His mother and I talked at great lengths when I ended things, and she agreed that I shouldn’t carry his burden. She said that it would take many years for him to heal, and he had to want to take his meds and lead a normal life. She never blamed me, and she in fact thanked me for helping him get the proper diagnosis. I know I might sound callous for leaving, but trust me I cried for many nights. I hurt for him, and I felt sorry for him, but these are no reasons to date a person. I hope that he is out there healing now.
When I started dating Match, we actually ran into Crazy Guy at the farmer’s market, and a chill went up my spine. I did my best to smile and say hi, and he literally walked through me after glaring at us. I grabbed ahold of Match’s hand as if I’d never let go. He asked me who that was, and I just said my past. He kissed me and said good riddance.