Hi you. Yes you. If I were you I’d refrain from reading this post until you’ve read Ambulance #1.
I wrote Ambulance #1 on April 24th. I’m writing Ambulance #2 today – May 2nd. Since April 24th the mood has shifted and there have been some new discoveries and new happenings.
Let’s start with when I wrote the I Love Max post. I was feeling pretty good at that point - excited to see Max off and excited for him to escape my madness for a couple of weeks. Some things occurred during the last few days of his tour. I don’t care to mention the other stuff but I will talk about the Max stuff.
The few days leading up to his return I had been steadily losing my shit. I was questioning my relationship and my ability to be in a relationship with a touring musician. The night he was due to return I got extremely wasted and made a fool of myself out in public. I remember waking up in the morning, but I don’t remember anything after that. I had amnesia, I dissociated behind my window, and I ended up being escorted to the hospital via ambulance with two police officers following.
The counselor we had been seeing early last fall had told Max that when he arrived back home he would give me a one and only warning. This warning stipulated that if I ever threatened self-harm again he was going to call an ambulance. I did and so he did. The paramedics were nice, the cops seemed to really care. The psychiatric nurse laughed when I told her mild jokes to ease the shitty scenario. Somehow when I was riding in the back of the ambulance we started talking about sandwiches. Oddly enough, I also talked about sandwiches with the cops. It was as if they all had asked Max what I like to talk about and he said “sandwiches.” I received a psychiatric evaluation and was fast-tracked to the hospitals program.
Afterwards was pretty hard going. I was super fucked up. I was full of regret, disdain and self-loathing. The more destruction I cause the more I self-loath. There’s this immediate response after the destruction when I’ve finally calmed down. Instant regret. This regret then leads to self-loathing. This is the most likely time I will induce self-harm to disassociate – I do this by cutting myself. I didn’t this time. I also have a tendency to think suicidal thoughts during my self-loathing. This time it was endless self-loathing. I hated myself so much. It lasted quite a while.
I had already met with the psychiatrist and was provided with some scientific insight, I felt better having the knowledge, but it still didn’t cure me or anything of that sort. I wish we could have seen our counselor between this event and the 1st. No money = no counselor. It would have provided us with needed help and the necessary tools to get me through the coming weeks.
Four weeks after his tour, and my first ambulance ride, Max left again for a mini-tour. There was this steady build-up till his leaving and I was really fucked up. The day he was set to leave I got destructive. This time was even worse than the last, which I didn’t think/hoped was possible. Immediate regret. Immediate self-loathing. So I decide to cut myself. I am so preoccupied with the act and my blood and the mess and the pain that I forget about all the other stuff. I was in a pretty bad way – during those moments cutting helps.
That same day Max left for tour.
I avoid everything and lay in my bed. I wake up in the morning and begin sobbing. And sobbing. And sobbing. I am so mad at myself for my actions. I hate myself so fucking much. I’m such a terrible person. I can’t function. I can’t deal. I have a panic attack in my bed. I get some water. I gather some of my pills. I pour them out onto the side table. Stare down at the scene before me for a few moments and think “fuck it” and eat several handfuls of pills followed by swigs of water. It was such a half-assed suicide attempt. Max called and demanded I throw up, which was difficult given that I hadn’t eaten in several days. So he commanded that I drink some water and milk. He made me send him a photo of it as to insure I had done it. I then remember Max’s dad arriving at our house and the next thing I know I’m waking up in a strange bed fully clothed. I look around and realize I’m in Max’s sisters room. Underneath my clothes I’m covered in all those heart-monitoring stickers. I went downstairs and got the lowdown. I’d been taken via ambulance to the hospital again. Since I had puked up all the pills they didn’t have to pump my stomach and I didn’t have to stay overnight. I was taken back to Max’s dads place where I then slept for 16 hours. It was now Saturday.
See, I have this “crippling fear of abandonment.” When I’m in a relationship/in love this fear springs forth. It is kind of a shitty deal, for both me and my partner. The more in love I become the more this fear rears its ugly head in an even uglier way.
The psychiatrist said that the more love between partners the more volatile the relationship becomes.
This may lead one to believe that his being away is what caused the two events. This is not the case. Although it is something that is closely associated with his going on tour that neither of us can escape. We can’t do anything about it, but it is one of my main triggers. I wanted us to see someone (our counsellor) before the the 2nd tour. But we couldn’t and didn’t.
The day Max returned, early Monday morning, I was in a panic. Do you love me? Do you really? You’re not just waiting till I get better so you can break up with me? Do you hate me? Are you being sincere? I am so sorry. I love you so much. I am so sick of being this way. All I want to do is get better. I just want us to be happy. I just want to be past all of this.
The psychiatrist tells me that I am self-sabotaging by testing his limits as a means to assure myself that he still loves me. Isn’t that gross?
I feel so terrible that he’s the dumping ground for my fucked up brain.
Within the past few days I’ve come to a realization. I have been unable to fully love Max back. This became obvious to me when he returned home and still loved me. I began to think about all the shit I have put him though in the last 15 months. Since then I have been constantly overwhelmed with emotion. I am so grateful to have him in my life, I am so happy that he’s still at my side, I am so distraught over all the things I have done, and I now know how totally and completely in love with him I am. And somehow that still manages to scare the shit out of me, even after 3 years.
This remarkable feeling of relationship newness has been reestablished. You know those first months after you realize that you love a person and you always want to be around them and are always affectionate? It feels like that, but also includes the feeling of having established a life together and being fully committed to each other.
I have been very self-involved for a while. Drowning in my own sorrowful demise. Confused by my behaviour. Crying over my wretched self. I’ve neglected Max and have been unable to return his love. I am ready to love him “proper… properly.”
Our relationship is like a building’s façade. We’re keeping the nice parts and gutting the rest so we can finally rebuild. If we don’t the whole thing will become dilapidated and eventually crumble. Neither of us wants that. That sounds cheesy, but it shall remain. Remain like the forever view of the prairies. Remain like the toxicity of the tar sands. Remain like our landlords hate for cats. Remain like the face on Michael Jacksons decaying body. Remain like the smoothness of Ryan Goslings Jib. Remain like the garbage in space. Remain like Canada’s foray into fascism.
It has been a long while and since this is the case I will talk about the events surrounding Ambulance #1 and the next post will be about Ambulance #2.
So much has happened. I don’t know where to begin. Actually I do. I lost my shit. I hit rock bottom. I took a ride to the hospital in an ambulance. Not because of any physical reasons, only mental. I had a stressful week leading up to it. Lots of factors contributed to the breakdown, but I will only get into the one.
Y’know how I’ve spoken of past events where I get triggered and feel like I lose control? I haven’t had anything like that occur since October of last year. But BOOM. KABLOOEY. HODGE PODGE. DANGIT. It fucking happened again! It was the worst one of as of yet. Fuck it sucked.
The good news is that I was fast-tracked to see a psychiatrist at the hospitals mental health and wellness clinic. I have been on the waitlist for another DBT focused program at another hospital. This time I called the clinic a day after the hospital incident and two days later I was sitting in a genuine psychiatrists chair. What luck.
Awesomely, she was a kind and understanding person. I learned more about my illness and myself in an hour with her than I had in the past six months. It was troubling and enlightening. It was like in Dances With Wolves when the neighbouring tribe sat on their horses at the edge of the cliff overlooking the water and his garrison. It was exactly like that.
She drew a diagram explaining moods, and with my wonderful drawing skills I have recreated a colour coded version:
She asked some very specific questions about my childhood, relationship, and what had happened in the past year – because of it being so crumby for me. What I learned:
BPD has been linked to the amygdala and limbic systems of the brain, the centres that control emotion and, particularly, rage, fear and impulsive automatic reactions. Studies have shown that the hippocampus and amygdala may be as much as 16% smaller in people with BPD and have suggested that experiences of trauma may lead to these neuroanatomical changes
The frontal lobe / higher mental functions = Creativity, concentrating, planning, judgment, inhibition, and emotional expression.
The temporal lobe / association area = Short-term memory, equilibrium, and emotion.
My psychiatrist tells me, “You know how you describe the feeling that you ‘lose control’ when you’re triggered? It is because you do.”
People with BPD/me are triggered by extreme fear or extreme stress or extreme both. I then become extremely angry. This occurs when my frontal lobe and temporal lobe (both underdeveloped) can’t connect when I’m triggered. They “short circuit” and all hell breaks loose.
I also disassociate. I am more likely to do this when I’m triggered. Sometimes I have amnesia and lose hours. Sometimes I am fully aware that what I am doing is wrong, awful, and crosses the line - I see everything, but I can’t quite get there. It is like I’m trapped behind a thick glass wall.
People with BPD have a “crippling fear of abandonment.” I don’t have much of a relationship with my family. So Max is not only but spouse, but also my family. So, when it comes to Max my “crippling fear of abandonment” is profoundly intense. So says the psychiatrist.
Last year I was being triggered all the time. I was triggered in challenging situations with Max, I was triggered by one specific person being around (I think a few people could read that and think it is them, but no, it is just the one), etc. All my triggers are linked to Max.
This makes so much sense in some fucked up way. I was pretty dramatic in my last relationship. We bonded really quickly, fell in love right away and chaos ensued. The relationship was over within 6 months, but it felt like 3 years. I avoided relationships for years - terrified I may act out again. When Max and I began dating everything was peachy, nothing too dramatic occurred. I was so pleased that I was not like I was during my last relationship. Relieved in fact. Things got more fucked after we moved in together. I guess that’s when I started to love him more intensely. It is a perverse way to love someone. DAMN MY TEMPORAL AND FRONTAL LOBES!
Speaking with the psychiatrist really opened my eyes and provided me with the scientific explanation for my behavior that I had been craving. It is all well and good to be told that you “act out in specific situations.”
Knowledge is power…. right?