On being a problem

Trigger warning: Self harm scar pics, mental illness discussion, eating disorders, general depressing shit really. 

I am pretty out and proud about the fact I have a mental illness diagnosis. The validity of that diagnosis, I could debate for days, but as things stand, I have Borderline and Depressive Personality Disorders. I also have hella social anxiety or you could call it Avoidant Personality Disorder, I don’t know. The whole diagnosis thing is fuzzy and vague and controversial.

What I do know though, is that I fucking struggle. I’m guessing/hoping that most people don’t have all the fucked up thought processes, bad habits, and maladaptive coping mechanisms I do. If you do though, props to you for making it this far while putting up with this bullshit.

I used to self harm. In my teen years, I made a good mess. It was the only way I could figure out to calm the overwhelming negative emotions that overtook me.

 

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My beautiful arm. Most people are actually decent human beings about my scars. 
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I’ve long since come to terms with my scars, but when it come  to employment and other people who are socially ‘above’ me, I know I am very much judged. 

I stopped self harming. I had some therapy, but mostly I did it by myself. Because I found that starving was better.

When it came to the eating disorder, the therapy was more important. I had weekly appointments with a mental health nurse who seemed real cool. It seemed like she actually understood me. She was pretty young and generally nice. Though she told me the real disgusting truths about eating disorders. About the horrible results you can get from fucking with your body so hard. I thought I was doing OK, but one week I fucked up and lost too much weight. This nurse who I thought was my ally, threatened to send me to hospital, get me sectioned where ‘they could do what they wanted to me’, and I caved. I ate and ate and never looked back. I ate myself into an amazing bulimia. The cure was worse than the disease. But I quit that as well, with no help from anyone. Except maybe my mum. My mum is the unsung hero in all this bullshit.

 

My Good Weight
Me at a low weight (<100lbs?) and standing on freezing concrete barefoot because I wanted to look dramatic or something. I was a stupid teenager. Sorry any teen readers, but seriously, it will get better, you will get through it.

 

I don’t cut or burn or poison myself anymore. I don’t starve or purge. I don’t attempt suicide.

I still think about this shit, but… I don’t do it. I just make myself not do it. Every single day for years I have thought about hurting myself and I haven’t done it. Suicidal thoughts haunt me against my will. The reason I can’t think clearly is probably because I am suffering decision fatigue after 90 times a day deciding to not die.

I know that people wonder why I haven’t done better with my life, why I haven’t achieved more. Well, sometimes just fighting myself for the right to stay alive is a full time job. I know nobody will pay me, but that’s the harsh truth. Mental illness has a real impact on my life, and it isn’t something that can be cured by exercise and healthy eating.

Believe me, I tried. Vodka works better. My official therapy starts at the beginning of next year, and a large part of it is teaching coping mechanisms that aren’t massively self destructive. I’ve written about it before, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, and I do have real hope that this will give me a real chance.

Until then, leave me the fuck alone.

(This post prompted by my dad deciding that we need to have a talk tomorrow about my ‘future career’ and my ‘habits and lifestyle’. My career is writing this blog, and my habits and lifestyle are ‘not committing suicide’. Is that not sufficient? Can I not even have peace until January?)

On being a problem

#29 – “The Borderline States” – An Essay by Lloyd Ross, Ph.D., Therapist with 40 Years’ Experience Treating People Labeled BPD

Source: #29 – “The Borderline States” – An Essay by Lloyd Ross, Ph.D., Therapist with 40 Years’ Experience Treating People Labeled BPD

#29 – “The Borderline States” – An Essay by Lloyd Ross, Ph.D., Therapist with 40 Years’ Experience Treating People Labeled BPD

Looks bad, when you put it like that…

I’m 26 and have never had a job. So far I’ve known the joys of clinical depression, anorexia, bulimia and self harm. Right now my life is enhanced by Borderline Personality Disorder, Depressive Personality Disorder, and probably some kind of anxiety thing. Oh, and G.E.R.D. (gastro-esophegeal reflux disorder, a.k.a. heartburn all the goddamn time, with plenty puking up for no reason thrown in just to make me look even stupider). I’ve flunked and failed nearly everything I’ve tried, except for university, which I managed to graduate 4 years later than everyone else, after wasting 50% of the whole experience being too depressed and panicky to interact with other human beings. The other 50% I was drunk, which was honestly great, though I wish I could remember more.

I’m getting more and more sad. This always happens around this time of year, but right now it is ridiculous. I’ve pretty much lost all the progress I was trying to make, and can’t stop crying. If I ever had any impulse control or discipline, I don’t anymore, or at least it’s all been used up in making sure I don’t cry 24/7. I know they say you should express your emotions, but when I start crying, that’s a day wiped out. One good thing about having a long history of being a miserable fuck is that I know the signs. Feeling on the edge of tears, but unable to cry, means something bad is coming to my mind, is brewing in the background and will eventually explode and ruin something. Constant tearfulness is a prettty standard symptom of depressive disorders. I keep thinking I might have hormonal problems because it’s like having PMS, but nearly all the time. On paper I’m making great plans, I have a full diary. In the real world, I struggle to move. I do manage, though. I went to a poetry night last week and performed two poems. I went on a 6 mile and a 9 mile hike with my dad. I write bits and pieces. My creative work sends me alternating between suicidal despair and driven joy, and is the only thing that occasionally breaks up the ocean of pathetic derealisation and depersonalisation, which are the main alternatives to feeling like the whole world is as tragically sad and unfair as that bit when Bambi’s mum dies.

I have been told in no uncertain terms that the way I live is not at all good enough. I need to be working, driving, exercising daily, and having some kind of hobbies. I need to eat better and wake up earlier.

I got a sleep timing app and it tells me I average about 6 hours sleep a night. I had assumed that I was lazy and wasting time by waking up late, but on top of that, I’m still sleep deprived. I exercise 2 times a week vigorously, not including strolling round the shops or whatever. I cycled 10 miles today. But I didn’t get anywhere and later had a panic attack because I hate shops. The mildest annoyances make my brain flip out and give me a front row seat to the Experimental Jugular Opening Trial. What will work best?
Luckily this is all idle speculation, this is just how I calm my thoughts. In reality I’m just sitting hunched, chewing my fingers/sleeve/scarf, staring into middle distance away from you. It’s actually great progress and mental strength, that I don’t act on self destructive urges any more.
But that won’t get me a job because I’m still a pathetic mental patient who can’t do normal activities without freaking out, so how do I get job and life and stop being such a loser?

Looks bad, when you put it like that…

*Mind blown*

This has really opened my eyes. I’ve tried to abandon my vulnerabilities. I feel ashamed to have emotions, I’ve spent half my life trying to not feel like me/feel like something better. And weirdly enough, I still feel. Bad.

Half of a Soul - Life with BPD

So I went to individual therapy extremely frustrated last week. Not only had my therapist cancelled last week (cue angry abandoned borderline feelings), but recently I feel like I’m getting nowhere concrete. Even though I do find myself able to think of things in a better light most of the time, all it takes is one really horrible day – even one really horrible moment or mood – and I lapse so easily into bad old habits and thoughts: nothing is ever going to work; nothing is ever going to change; something is wrong with me, etc. etc. I decided I was going to try and be up-front. By which I mean I wasn’t going to lose it, but I wasn’t going to mask my every emotion and self-invalidate by saying everything was fine. Here’s how my initial dialogue with Karen went:

Karen: How are you?

Me: … not great.

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*Mind blown*

This is the First Day

Today I got confirmation of my psychiatric diagnosis.

Borderline Personality Disorder & Depressive Personality Disorder. I don’t wholly disagree with this. Although Depressive P.D. isn’t in the current DSM, and Wikipedia calls it a ‘controversial psychiatric diagnosis’. Is it even real? I don’t know. I can have a non-real disorder, that’s fine.

Even if psychiatry is a scam (and hey, it might be), I still chose their labels to signify a new time in my life. New blog, new start, right? I’m 25 and have been sad for a long time. At least now I have some kind of name for it. Names are power. Or the illusion of such.

Believe it or not from this patchy and incoherent post, I call myself a writer, sometimes. Or at least, I write poetry, sometimes. And the odd article or propaganda leaflet. For a little while, a long time ago, I wrote porn video descriptions and promo. On my CV, I call that SEO skills. I also have an English Lit. with Creative Writing degree on my CV, but none of this matters because I’ve never had a job or even passed an interview for one. Sometimes that makes me sad, but probably not as sad as work makes me.

I’m writing this blog because I got sick of writing longhand in paper books. My hand is in agony thanks to my left-handed claw-grip handwriting style. Also maybe I can entertain, inform, and generally be an insufferably self-obsessed ass in the public domain, and thus garner attention and possibly even love. Oh, and reach out to all y’all other people with a less than easy mental state, because I know it can feel pretty fucking lonely out there.

This is the First Day