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.

 

img_20151125_242455204.jpg
My beautiful arm. Most people are actually decent human beings about my scars. 
img_20151125_242631361.jpg
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

*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.

View original post 1,554 more words

*Mind blown*

Choice

Dialectical Behavioural Therapy OR Compassion Focused Therapy?

DBT would be twice a week for the whole of next year. Imagine being stuck in Derby for a whole year. It’s a horrible thought. But it’s real therapy, at last. I’ve been badgering mental health services for 3 or 4 years, this time round. Finally, I’ve got somewhere.

As for CFT, what is it? The guy who invented it is from Derby, so that’s why it’s popular here, but it doesn’t seem hugely common. How long it’s for, how often, all of the basic practicalities of it, I don’t know. I only know that it would take place the next town over from where my parents live.

This study found  the following themes in their study of patients’ experience of Compassion Focused Therapy:  (1) the battle to give up the inner critic: who am I if I am not self-critical?; (2) an aversive and alien experience: how it feels to develop self-compassion; (3) the emotional experience of therapy; (4) self-compassion as a positive emotional experience; and (5) a more positive outlook in the present and for the future.

Aside from the ‘aversive and alien experience’, that doesn’t sound too bad. But I don’t think just being nice to myself will fix everything. I’m angry at so much more than just me. I’m confused by life. I know myself not. I’ve made great progress in getting over my previous self hatred and teenage deathwishes, but somehow that’s not enough. I’m still trapped somewhere invisible.

Is compassion the missing piece? Or do I need the DBT skills more? The four key skills are apparently Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Distress Tolerance, and Emotion Regulation. All of which sound like great things to have.

I have serious problems making decisions, and even more problems with imagining, let alone planning, the future. So I have no idea how I’m going to decide this one.

Choice

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