Finding Insight In “Mental (2018)” on My Father’s Birthday

“People say we all come full circle, but I don’t think we ever really do. Time is really the biggest thing there is, and it has us for good or ill. I know I’ve spent so much time fighting against myself, fighting for an image that wasn’t me, when I should have been fighting for the things I loved. It’s why I decided to trust myself and life, however afraid I was of doing those two things.” —Ch 50, Mental

So, because my father raped me, his birthday (which was yesterday) comes each year as a difficult time because it reminds me of him. I was incredibly close to my father, considered him a best friend into my adulthood, as I had dissociated the rape until I was far into my 30s and after I had cut ties with him for other reasons.

For entirely separate reasons, I periodically review my own published work for growth purposes and I have been rereading my second novel, Mental (2018), which I just finished reading this morning. It happens to be mainly about me coming to terms with my incest experience and the suicide attempts that forced me to come to terms with it. The confluence of me rereading the book on my father’s birthday gave me new insight into myself, my relationship with my dad, and my bipolar disorder.

My complicated relationship with him is the origin of my bipolar disorder. My father is also an incest survivor. My father raped me when he was in a drunken blackout. He only abused me when he was incapacitated. He was also an unmedicated bipolar. He was diagnosed with the illness but always refused medication. His mother and brother were also bipolar and they succeeded in committing suicide. His brother was also sexually abused. I am not sure who sexually abused my father and uncle. Obviously, my family history is very serious.

It is not easy to write about these things. I can honestly say that even though my father is flawed and even though he is dangerous and even though I haven’t had contact with him in almost ten years, I do still care for him and wish him well. He can be kind and good to others when he tries his best.

The point is that the fact that my father is a good person who is flawed is what caused me to become so conflicted myself as to become ill. I couldn’t accept that he could be so kind and so evil at the same time. It split me apart. It absolutely broke me. How could it be that my father could love me and rape me? I just had to stuff the rape to survive. I decided to block it out the next morning because I was so shocked that I thought I was going to have a heart attack and simply die.

So, later that morning at my high school, I had a huge panic attack while walking to my French class and I fell on the floor and people walked on me and other people that knew me picked my body up and helped me to the girls’ bathroom. To make a long story short, I was unable to continue with the school day but had no idea why I was crying, rocking, in a stupor, unable to drive myself home, in the nurse’s office, waiting for my guardian to come pick me up and take me home. Guess who my guardian was? That’s right. My dad. He literally had to pick me up and carry me out of the school that day and everyone saw me and knew something was very wrong but I didn’t know what it was. I was beside myself and didn’t know why.

The irony that it was my dad who came to rescue me from my reaction to him raping me was the nail in my mental coffin. It took me more than two decades to recover my bearings, but I can see now that it was just some tricks of fate that made it all the more difficult for me to function and that then made my recovery all the sweeter.

You can read about this in more detail here in my novel:, and I hope that you do! This novel took me about twenty years to write—I started it the semester before my father raped me when I was seventeen and wrote and rewrote it off and on and finally published it when I was 42! I offer it now to you as a gift of healing and love!

I sincerely wrote the book for people who have experienced trauma of any kind and who are struggling to overcome it. The novel is meant as a gift of healing to those who are hurt and want to heal. I hope you will read it and find some solace and hope!

To continue reading, please visit:,,,!

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