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I'm Not a Victim, I'm a Survivor

Around Christmas I got into an argument with my ex-husband, no big surprise there.  Communication has never been our strongest asset.  Anyway during the argument he said some things that really upset me and have really stayed with me.  He said, “Quit playing the victim and living off the system all the time and quit teaching your children how to play the victim.”

You have to understand that when I met my ex-husband (we’ll call him Dave) I was at the pinnacle of my Bipolarness – yet undiagnosed.  I was also having a lot of anxiety about a cross country move I had just made to be with him – which by the way also took me away from everyone I knew.  Even though we moved home a year and a half later the mood swings and out of control behavior didn’t stop.  I was experiencing massive mood swings most of the time mixed with sudden bursts of mania that ended just as sudden and usually left me feeling very lonely and depressed.  Our marriage only took this roller coaster for three years before it ended.  I was diagnosed with Bipolar 6 months after our separation.  I had a Meltdown a while later and have never been able to return to work.  I am currently on disability.   This is where he gets the idea that I am “living on the system” I assume.

As for being the victim, Dave was a soldier, Military – Army.  So if you are not “Army Strong” – then you are week, lazy and yes, a victim.  There is no grey area for him.  It’s simple, black and white.  There is no reading between the lines.  The worst part is I am not just mentally ill I am physically ill also.   I have Fibromyalgia.  Although I was diagnosed with this also after our divorce I have lived with chronic pain and Back issues my whole life.  I received no mercy.  Not that I ever expected any.  Although sometimes the intense pain of the Fibromyalgia makes it difficult to do much, on most days the only thing I want in life is to live a normal life (what is normal anyway?) and to be treated as if nothing is wrong with me.  But as far as living off the system, that is so far off balance it is laughable.  Anyone who looks at disability that way doesn’t understand the system very well and is just proving their own ignorance.  You see if you are drawing Social Security Disability you are drawing a percentage every month of the money that you have paid in over the years that you have actively worked.  Depending on how much you’ve worked and how much you’ve paid in depends on how much you draw.  Now SSI – Supplemental Security Income is for people who have never worked who need to draw benefits, like my brother who was born with a birth defect.  I have worked, a lot over the years actually at very nice jobs to say the least.  I draw a decent pay check each month.  But I am not living off the system.  It is the money I have paid in over the years that I have worked being given back to me.

As for playing the victim, let’s see.   I was an abused child.  I was a battered spouse from my first marriage (not Dave).  I have been beaten unconscious before.  I have spent many years drowning myself in alcohol and filling myself full of heavy drugs.  I’ve overdosed twice (when I was a teenager).  I’ve been to the edge of death and stared the devil himself in the face many times only to be pulled back into this miserable world.  For what, I’ll tell you.  So that I could raise two beautiful girls and teach them how to be strong, independent, intelligent women by myself who wouldn’t make the same mistakes I did.  Victim – No I don’t think so.   I’m a single mom.  I’m a superhero. I'm a survivor!



Thank you for writing what you did. You are a survivor, to many times we get brought down by own past and diagnosis. I know for me, I started to become my diagnosis because that is what I let people see me as. I know now that I am not that, I have rights and boundaries as a person, mother, and survivor. Today, I will let nobody steal my peace!

I'm sure it took courage to write your story and I''m glad you did. I was just approved for disability and feel guilty about it. Yes I recognize that I paid into to receive it but I regret that I am unable to support myself and it still makes me feel less of a person. I am trying to accept that at this point in my life I need help. I have bipolar disorder and fibromyalgia. Everyday is a battle with one and often both of these. I hope to improve enough again to be able to work. People need to realize that it is not a relief to the psyche to receive disability. It does or can make you feel "less than" everyone else. I am a survivor and I am trying to work on accepting that each and every day. Thank you for your words. They are inspiring.

Thank you.

Thank you for your courageous heart. You give me my strength to keep going and know that your words help many. Respectfully your new friend Colette. It would be a honor to be connected through Facebook, if okay.

Thank you for putting into words what it can be so hard to say. I hope many people read this and understand we all face challenges and that sometimes, what doesn't kill makes you want to find a shoulder to cry on or a pillow (or other object) to mangle;-)

Lo he leído una tanda de veces y veo quebtu vida es un poco complicada con tu ex un soldado incomprenvo .las peleas continuas sin sentido mas los vaivenes y jugarretas que te hace la mente.pero a pesar de todo y tus discapacidades luchas día a día por salir adelante. Se que se rehace mas difícil pero no decaes eso algo muy valioso. Con lo cual yo en alguna medida me veo reflejado.

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