A little while back, while I was out of town, I had a conversation with someone. This conversation recently came to mind because it’s the perfect example of invalidation. As I have mentioned in the past BPD usually stems from…
I have added some structure to my life. At the moment I’m essentially a housewife. I cook. I clean. That type of thing. I had expected myself to be in school, have a part-time job, be in this relationship, being social. Basically, doing stuff outside of…
Mindfulness is the repetitive act of directing your attention to this one moment without judgement. Mindfulness is not about emptying your mind or focusing on one object, excluding all else. It is more of a quality of awareness and participating in life…
I received a phone call the other day from the hospitals psychiatric outpatient clinic. I have two hospital outpatient clinics that I go to regularly as part of my treatment. The one is where I was taken to when I was hospitalized twice back in the…
Several years ago I went into a walk-in clinic when I was going through one of my extreme depressed bouts. I told the Doctor, through my tears, and he walked out of the room and came back with a trial pack of Effexor, which when you think about it is kind of fucked. “I just met you. Here is a pack of the worst known anti-depressants that you can discontinue.” I went home and researched Effexor and it did not sound good. “Brain tremors” and whatnot. He gave that to me. With no real advice, not like I’ve received from other doctors. “Take half of this for two weeks, and then increase it to …, and a week after that … until you’ve reached the full desired dosage and come check in.” I didn’t take them. I was scared of them. I had major issues with antidepressants as a concept. I didn’t want to “lose myself”. Y’know, “become a shell” of the person I once was. I also grew up with parents who made fun of the neighbour who was on Prozac. So I associated antidepressants with weakness.
It wasn’t until I received a referral to a mental health clinic and received a diagnosis and was prescribed Cipralex aka Celexa, an SSRI, as treatment did I finally begin taking meds. I hadn’t been diagnosed with BPD at that point. I was, however, diagnosed with several mood disorders - social anxiety disorder, recurrent major depression, dysthymic disorder & PTSD. My experience with cipralex was meh. I took 10mg, then I went up to 20mg when I began taking the generic kind because of cash flow. I think I took it out of habit. I would still hit walls of major depression, anxiety, etc. I never told the psychiatrist about my anger. We focused on my fucked up childhood. If I had brought up my anger issues I probably would have been diagnosed with BPD sooner, but alas. I took cipralex for several years and then finally came around to the idea that I was more fucked up than I had previously thought. That’s when I received the referral to the BPD specific mental health clinic. That’s when I was diagnosed. That’s when I was put on the DBT waitlist.
Throw in some Xanax and a brief stint with with Adivan. Xanax was too little, and Adivan put me too sleep, so back to Xanax it was.
GP’s don’t know everything there is to know about meds. You kind of have to research them yourself and go in there with a basic idea of how they work and if you think you’d benefit from it. I went to my GP and basically asked to be prescribed Buproprion aka Wellbutrin, an antidepressant. I had researched the various meds and it seemed like a good fit for me. It was well documented as a good companion drug for cipralex. It has been approved to treat major depressive disorder and SAD. Off label, it’s used to treat various things, including bi-polar disorder and SSRI induced sexual disfunction. It has also been prescribed for smoking cessation. I wanted it for it’s companion use to treat SSRI sexual disfunction stuff (I had absolutely no interest in sex when I was on Cipralex alone), it also doesn’t cause weight gain unlike many antidepressants. I thought, “Hey, it can also help me quit smoking!” So, it was on.
Soon after I was also prescribed Lamotrigine aka lamictal, a anticonvulsent and an off-label mood-stabalizer. The doctor who did the BPD intake recommended 4 medications and sent them to my GP. Lamotrigine was on the top of the list, followed by lithium , followed by whatever else. Lamotrigine is like a super drug. It’s one of the best known drugs to treat bi-polar disorder and from what I’ve noticed drugs that are used to treat bi-polar are also effective BPD treatments. I was eased into Lamotrigine. It is well documented to cause a deadly serious rash if you take too high a dose too quickly. If Lamotrigine wasn’t going to work out I’d have to make my way down the list.
I was weened off of Cipralex, because the psychiatrist thought it was unnecessary. She also prescribed Seroquel, an antipsychotic, for when I get triggered in a very massive way. It was supposed to work immediately, but I’ve found one pill to be ineffective because it takes too several hours long to kick in. Two blisses me out and puts me to sleep. I am now supposed to take 1.5 - hopefully it will be the happy medium.
I’ve begun to notice some side-effects from the Wellbutrin.
Night sweats - this is temporary, but it still sucks
Memory loss - I don’t know how to spell simple words. I can’t even spell my boyfriends bands name sometimes. I do not remember recent events, or even how I was feeling over the course of several weeks. It has been super frustrating and Elliot has begun referring to me as his “little goldfish.”
Smoking - grosses me out, even the smell disgusts me. I am occasionally fine with it, but mostly not.
Drinking - Holy fuck. I had no idea this would happen, but apparently Wellbutrin has had the (semi) same effect with alcohol. I will pour a glass of wine and it will last for hours. If you know me, and have seen me out and about you know that I drink too much. I hadn’t put two and two together until recently, but I believe this is associated with my social anxiety. My social anxiety is more extreme than I have ever admitted. To go out and be social I’d have to drink a lot. Like, A LOT. This has never benefited me and over time Elliot has become my baby sitter. Anyhow, I hadn’t read about this effect until recently and only after I began noticing the change. It’s been a wonderful surprise.
Having it coupled with the Lamotrigine has helped. Lamotrigine has curbed my social anxiety and Wellbutrin has curbed my desire to drink. Now going out and hanging out with a group of friends or going to a show is no longer big deal/drunken disaster. Even though my leaving the house has become an increasingly rare occurrence - HA.
So what does this mean? It means I fucking love meds. The stigma is foolish. They’ve have been so beneficial, not only for myself, but Elliot by association. I never want to go off them and I never will. I am almost a 100% decided that I will not be having any kids. I have several reasons behind this and one of them is because of my meds. If I decided I wanted to get knocked up I’d have to ween myself off of my medication. Do you know how awful that would be? Not only the process, but also the person I would become afterwards. Gah! One of the rarer side effects of Lamotrigine are brainless babies. BRAINLESS BABIES! I obviously couldn’t take my meds during the pregnancy either. Then afterwards I wouldn’t be able to go back on them until I finished breast feeding. I pity anyone involved in my life during this med-less period. Including the child and especially Elliot. I don’t think Elliot could endure it. So it’s pretty much a no on the baby front. I don’t have hips anyways - I don’t think my body was made for it.
There is a website called CrazyMeds. It has valuable insights/descriptions of medications. They also have forums. The moderators are dicks frigid, but the website overall is quite helpful. Straight forward advice on medication. No time for pity parties, no time for alcoholics, nor drug addicts. Straight forward medication experiences and advice from the people that know meds best - the users. No one knows you better than you and they are intolerant of family members or friends asking questions.
I stopped writing for a long time. I didn’t have the words. I couldn’t even get through a book anymore. This is still the case. I cannot focus my attention and my mind races and pages aren’t being turned and I become frustrated with my inability to do the thing I used to love. So much. I’ve been missing out on so many stories. So many characters I could love and hate. I miss my old brain. It was fucked up too, but most of that was in hibernation. Waiting for someone to love and fall apart over.
I often think about the life I have had and the life I want to have. I force myself to think that it was all a character building experience. I’ve had my knocks and when the dust settles it’s going to make me an amazing person. Hopefully.
I’ve been a mess for months. I need to work. I need to contribute to my home. It’s hard to think about when one moment I’m happy, the next I’m frustrated, followed by extreme agitation and then I end up with the bathroom crying. This pity party can’t last forever.
I can’t believe, well actually I can, that I tried to kill myself. How fucking stupid. It’s really strange to think about those moments. The last moments before I black out and then waking up in bed. I could be dead. That black out could have just been me dead. Poof. Gone. Leaving behind a Elliot. Fucking Elliot up for life. Destroying Elliot’s life. Hurting Elliot. Breaking Elliot’s heart. I feel like such a dick.
I felt like I was leeching off those around me. I had nothing to offer. Nothing to give. Why do I bother. No one cares. I just fuck everything up. I just hurt people. I just suck the life out of happy moments. How long will I be like this? When will it go away? If it doesn’t go away my career goals are fucked. I’ll never be well enough to begin DBT. I’m a crazy bitch. I’m an asshole. Get the fuck out of my face. I fucking hate her. I hate this place. Everyone hates me. I’m worthless. I’m a parasite. I have nothing to offer. I take and take and take. Everyone ignores me. No one cares what I have to say. I fucking hate her. I am constantly moving. My mind is always racing. Sad to angry then sad to angry then happy to sad to happy to angry. All within an hour. I don’t want to deal. I cry and cry and cry. I fucking hate her. I lose my shit I lose my shit and I lose my shit some more. I avoid leaving my house. I avoid talking to people.
Now I’m reflecting. Now I’m making plans. Now I’m organizing my life. Now I am setting goals. Now I have good intentions. Now I am beginning to understand myself. Now I know.
I still hate her though. I still hate her face. I still hate the way she looks at him. I still hate her cowardice. I see her and think violent thoughts. I wouldn’t do it. I won’t do it. I will, however, imagine it at my leisure, as it does bring me some sort of sadistic pleasure. I wrote a poem about her. What she did. How she did it. Why she did it. I think “DO NOT FUCK WITH ME! or I will write a shitty poem about you.”
She seems to be the only ongoing trigger at the moment. Seeing her ruins me. I go off, get stompy, ramble off some obscenities, think some violent thoughts and eventually calm down. It’s good that I’m not really drinking anymore. Things would probably be different. Elliot says “I get why people are scared of you now. You’re angry. And you’re strong. Those two combined….”
I don’t think I’m very strong anymore. I got too skinny. A girl even beat me at arm wrestling a few months ago. The shame.
Her presence in my life taunts me. It makes me feel like shit. It disgusts me. It hurts me. It angers me. It does so many things, and I wish she’d just go away, but she doesn’t. It blows. Some would say, “Don’t waste your energy! Don’t think about her! Get over it!” Those people aren’t me and they don’t think like me and they don’t feel things like me and they haven’t had the same experiences as me. Stop telling me how to feel. Stop pressuring me. Let me be. Let me deal. Let me calm down.
An amusing thing I often think about is Dexter’s “dark passenger” or “lizard brain.” I’ve been trying to think of a good/dumb name for my brain, for my backseat driver, for my hell raiser. I have yet to succeed. I should just ask Elliot.
THE GOOD NEWS
It’ll get better. I’ll get better. I’ll get a job. I’ll volunteer. I’ll go back to school. I’ll be happy. Elliot will be happy. We will succeed. We will win. We will overcome.
We joke. I am self-deprecating to the core. I joke with people thinking they are also, but sometimes end up unintentionally hurting their feelings. Bothering them. Rubbing them the wrong way. I don’t do it anymore - unless I know that we’re on the same level. Have the same understanding. Basically just talk shit about one another directly to their face. It’s fun. I love it. It suits me fine.
When Elliot came home from tour, after the whole attempted suicide thing, me, he and his brother were hanging out at our place. Elliot had a bottle of Advil and said “There’s forty pills in here! I’m going to eat them all!” and jokingly threw back the bottle as if he was choking down the pills. You have to laugh. If you can’t laugh about it you’re screwed.
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 Elliot post. I was feeling pretty good at that point - excited to see Elliot 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 Elliot 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 counsellor we had been seeing early last fall had told Elliot 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 Elliot 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, Elliot 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 Elliot 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. Elliot 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 Elliot’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 Eliot’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 Elliot’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 Elliot 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 Elliot 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 Elliot 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 wait list 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:
My childhood was pathological.
This meant I never developed certain skills that most people do in childhood/youth.
This has lead to parts of my brain being underdeveloped:
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 Elliot is not only but spouse, but also my family. So, when it comes to Elliot 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 Elliot, 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 Elliot.
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 Elliot 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.”
Okay, but why? Oh, because you had a fucked up childhood.
Alright, well lots of people have fucked up childhoods and they don’t necessarily end up with BPD, so what the hell is wrong with me?! Oh, the parts of you brain that control emotions, impulses, reason, etc short circuit because they are 16% smaller than normal.
I have deleted the previous post where I had gone into detail of past events. I must move forward and part of that is no longer dwelling on the past. I will keep this post because it’s positive even though it will cause some amount of confusion if you have not read the previous one. My apologies:
The last post was spurred on my want to describe my relationship with Elliot in more detail and I felt I couldn’t do that without first describing some of the battles we’ve already had to work through together as a couple. I described one major facet that has caused us pain – dealing with the harshness I’ve been dealt by a few of his friends. Which, by the way, felt absolutely amazing to get off my chest. We’ve also had to work through some of his personal issues and some of my other issues too. It is all in the name of love and wanting to be together and putting in all the effort it takes to make a long-term relationship work. Some times are harder than other times, and I find times are especially hard when other people over step bounds, say mean things, concoct cruel plans, and just plain hate on your relationship – as described in the last post.
What some people still don’t understand is that we are a team - plain and simple. We will be together for the long haul, we have worked through crap and will work through future crap, we’ve had great times and we will continue to have great times - thus is life.
Last year was particularly hard because I was a mess singularly, plus the break up and he was a mess because we broke up. He refused to leave though – really, he was sleeping in our sun porch for months. Then we got back together, but never really worked on the problems that lead to the break-up. As a couple we were probably at our worst. We were not communicating, and he really wouldn’t give me the time of day. My opinions were worthless and I was angry with him - we were going down a formidable self-destructive path. We knew things were not working. I began seeing a counselor because I said I would and also really needed to. It spoke volumes of the work I was willing to put in for us to get better. After two sessions by myself we then began seeing her as a couple. I recommend couples counseling to anyone, even if you’re going through a break-up with the person. It is so very helpful and productive. Through counseling we discovered one major pitfall of ours and that was that we were discussing our relationship with other people, but not each other. He would go off and chat with his friend about his relationship problems and she would tell him about hers, their friendship would become stronger and our relationship would suffer. It was like there was nothing left for me or us. This is very toxic for relationships and a big no-no - who knew? Neither of us did.
It took a lot of work, but we’ve managed to get through the worst of it. Now we’re dealing with me. I feel badly, because I’ve become so dependent on Elliot for my getting through the day-to-day. I have been unemployed for months, will periodically cry for several days, he has to listen to all my woes, listen to me cry in the shower, deal with my constantly changing life goals, and the list goes on and on.
He’s kind of my hero and has been an amazing support to me. I am so very thankful and in love with him and I don’t know what I would have done/be doing without him. I’d probably be dead by now and I honestly believe it. I have never been as loved by anyone in my entire life. When you hear about unconditional love you hear it as it applies to parents with their children, but no one would ever love a partner unconditionally. I feel that I am loved unconditionally by him. He accepts me, adores me, & worships me. He wants me to be happy, he wants me to smile, and he does everything within his power to achieve this.
I have been this blithering, confused, sad mess and he’s been this rock full of insight and hugs. He’s learned how to deal with me when I get angry – before he would try to confront the issues head on. Talk it out and deal with it right then and there. This doesn’t work with me. If you keep trying to discuss the problem, when I’m asking for space and already upset – it causes a bad reaction. I won’t simmer down and instead will become increasingly hostile and eventually lose my shit entirely. I think this is another reason why I haven’t been getting enraged as often lately – he knows now not to stir the hornet’s nest. Before, when we had arguments or I was upset for whatever reason, he would try battling me or force me to talk about it. Within those moments I am fully aware that my reaction is inappropriate, but I can’t stop myself. It is, what seems, impossible. If I don’t get the time I need to walk away and calm down I will end up at my worst.
Elliot is and means the world to me. I love him more, and need him more than ever these days. He has a lot resting on his solidly built shoulders. Not just because of me, but work, and band stuff and life stuff.
He heads out on tour this Saturday. It will be really good for him to get out of town and not have to deal with the day-to-day stuff that has been going on. He’s probably worried about leaving me alone though. He came home from work the other day and I was sitting on the couch and he asked: What did you do today?
- Nothing. Mostly just sitting here and thinking.
- You’ve been staring at the wall all day?
- Yeah, I guess I have. Pretty much.
That upsets him, not in an angry way, just in a, ‘ahhh, how can I help my fucked-up girlfriend’ way.
- We need to find you some hobbies before I leave, so you’re not staring at the wall for two-weeks.
This is very true.
Now I must end this post on a positive note. Yesterday was the best day I’ve had in a while. I didn’t leave my house or anything like that, still the two days of sunshine certainly contributed to my mood shift. Also, I got all that crap off my chest (to which Elliot said, “That’s gross.” And I responded, “Whaa? Ohh, right.”), and a friend came over. We went over our mental health stuff and it was really nice to talk freely and openly with another person who is going through a similar mind fuck experience. I’ll try and delve into some of the topics of our discussion next post.
And finally, I LOVE ELLIOT. So, very, very, very much.
Elliot and I watched Silver Linings Playbook a few days ago. I never saw the trailer (which is great, because trailers tell you everything), nor did I read anything about the movie. My impulse to watch it was spurred on by seeing Jennifer Lawrence’s post-Oscar-win-media-scrum. She was so endearing, like a person I would totally grab a pint with. For some reason I assumed the movie was going to be the football version of Bull Durham.
I was wrong.
To summarize, without giving anything away, it’s about a guy struggling to cope with his mental illness. It was a highly relevant movie for Elliot and I to be watching together, given the obvious. Anyhow, there’s a character in the film who says that having a mental illness is basically like having a “sixth sense”. We’re different. We feel things and think things that other people do not. I grapple with this all the time - attempting to make a positive out of something that affects my life in such a negative way.
As a person with BPD I am very sensitive. Overly sensitive. Hyper sensitive. I can read the changing expressions on peoples face, even the slightest, very well. I can take a slight change of attitude or a slight change of tone and read into it so easily. This hyper sensitivity/awareness plagues me. In my readings I’ve found that this is a common trait among people with BPD - to our detriment. See, it isn’t only about us, but if we say or do something, and notice a slight change of expression in someone’s face, we think it is about us. Realistically, for all we know, it could be that what we mentioned sprung up a memory, a bad memory, a sad memory, a reminder, etc. At least, this is what the book tells me. When I notice a slight shift in people, and think it’s about me, I grow restless. I become sad. I regret everything I said. I feel guilty. I feel bad. I will think about it for days, weeks, months, years. I remember the expression on a friends face from last May. She was quiet, but when someone else and I were talking I could see the slight disdain shift over her face. I still think about it. Judgment, I am so afraid of being judged.
In the intro to The Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guidethe authors say that, “People with borderline personality disorder (BPD) struggle with their emotions, their behaviors, and their sense of identity, as well as their relationships with other people. Because they are in such emotional turmoil, they often resort to coping strategies that seem to work in the moment but actually make their problems worse (such as suicide attempts, self-harm, or drug use). Indeed, people with BPD sometimes careen through life as if they’re driving a 350-horsepower car with no brakes. They often act on the spur of the moment without thinking things through carefully. As a result, their relationships and responsibilities may suffer. Emotionally, people with BPD are like burn victims, extremely sensitive to even the slightest hint of emotion and yet so afraid of their emotions that they seek to do anything and everything they can to avoid them.”
"Burn victim" = hyper sensitive. Elliot refers to it as my "super power" and attempts to make it into something good, almost charming. Like most super powers, it’s kind of a pain in the ass and wields itself during inconvenient moments. Most of the time I end up bottling my insights up. I do this until I find out my instincts were correct all along AND THEN I EXPLODE. I will let loose an impulsive fury like no other. I know what rubs you raw and I will use it to hurt you. I will say the meanest shit you’ve ever heard. I will try and cause you the worst emotional harm I can. It’s my defence mechanism. When someone hurts me, my first impulse is to retaliate and make them feel like shit. I want them to be hurt too. A lot.
Over the past several months, my impulsive bouts of retaliatory anger have mostly ceased to occur. But! This week I ran out of meds and couldn’t get in to see my doctor for 4 days. By the fourth day I was an angry, sad, little wreck. I hadn’t felt that form of anger in quite some time. Even a few weeks ago, when I was extremely drunk due to an all day engagement party/2 bottles of prosecco per girl, followed by a birthday party. My friend said something, something on the warning/judgy side and I completely lost it. I barely ever see this particular friend and then when I finally do he got upset with me. I found this so sad and hurtful. So, I cry and cry and cry. Elliot told me the following day that he wasn’t sure if my friends comment was called for, but my response to his thinking I had crossed a line was to then cross a line. Silver Linings Elliot said, “at least you didn’t get angry”. And this is true. If that thing had gone down 6 months earlier I probably would have become enraged, bottled it up for a bit, y’know - stewed, had a fight with Elliot, and then purposely smashed my iPhone on the way home. I mean, crying for hours is over the top, but within my spectrum of ugly behaviour it’s kind of the better alternative to anger. Not that that makes it okay, it just means that I may actually be improving. Sad Margot over Angry Margot any day - silver linings and what not.
After that fiasco I was a wreck. When I first woke up the following day I felt fine, it hadn’t really sunk in. Then by the evening I was a mess. For a few days I spent a lot of time in bed crying, walking around the house crying, crumple onto the kitchen floor crying. It was a thing. This particular pity party went on for several days.
All of this to say, being sad is shitty, but being angry is shittier. I recently added an anticonvulsant/mood stabilizer to the mix, so hopefully within a month I will be neither. This makes Elliot happy. And me too.
Worry not - I do have BPD. I will be contacted in the future regarding group sessions and hopefully be entered into the BPD treatment program, which is dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), within 6 months. Till then, I am adjusting my medications to help me negotiate some of my behavioural problems and mood disorders. I am currently on an SSRI, Citalopram, which is kinda the bastard child of Cipralex. Meaning its cheaper and that I have to take a double dose in order for it to provide the same effectiveness. I also went to the doctor and asked specifically for a prescription for Wellbutrin. I have not been finding the SSRI alone to be as effective as I need it to be. So, I researched various medications and found the one that helps you maintain a normal sex drive, doesn’t cause you to gain weight, helps smoking cessation, and is a bit of a stimulant - so you take it in the morning and enjoy 6 hours of a slight kick start to the day. I have clearly found the (seemingly super) drug to enhance my life and treat some of what ails me. Only time will tell regarding its effectiveness. I will also be put on another medication, perhaps Seroquel xR or Lithium - something of that nature. I have to wait till my family doctor gets back from vacation and my psychiatric diagnosis has reached her office before that set of meds will be doled out.
I used to be utterly opposed to my taking medication to treat my mental woes and now I’m going to be a bit of a walking cocktail. It’s funny. I thought I would end “losing myself”, y’know, become some sort of shell of who I formerly was. I suppose I had rather archaic opinions regarding anti-depressants and this prevented me from bothering with them until my diagnosis from MDA, almost 2 years ago. What I noticed when I initially began taking Cipralex was that it kind of took the edge off. That was it. Only slightly effective, and over time I took it more out of habit more than anything. I am told SSRI’s interact well with the Wellbutrin, and that they are solid companion drugs, so I am hoping for the best. I would like to get out of suicidal thought patters, bursts of anger, self-harm and the ilk. If I need to take a bunch of drugs to be a decent human being, then I am going to take a bunch of drugs to be a decent human being. End of story.
Tomorrow I have my first appointment with the psychiatry outpatient program. I am nervous. Max asked, “Why are you nervous?” Well, I am about to meet someone for the first time and bare my soul to them. They will dissect what I have told them and perhaps, but probably not so quickly, give me a diagnosis. I am also nervous about said diagnosis. Oddly, one part of me is scared that they will tell me that I do not have BPD. It is pretty unlikely that will occur, but the weird wall of confusion I would hit afterwards would be troubling. I am preparing myself for the possibility. I am also worried it will go another route. Instead, I will find out that I have a stack of other mental health issues on top of what I already knew to be true. I am worried about being bogged down by self-exploration and medications. I am worried that self-exploration will interfere with my self-preservation. Yes, I am nervous.
The past few months have been an interesting exploration of self and nicely paired research. I have discovered patterns, analyzed past experiences, delved into moments of my adolescence - trying to figure it all out. I believe all of this has made me better, stronger and more self assured. I am scared of losing how far I have managed to come in such a small amount of time. I am scared of starting from the beginning again. I am scared of getting worse before I get better.
Okay, so perhaps “nervous” was not an astute description of my emotional cluster-fuck imaginings. It is more like “scared shitless”. I am scared shitless. I do not know what my future holds and it is frightening. I have been agonizing over the possible directions I might be heading and have been daydreaming of the ideal. My ideal is that I do have (the several already diagnosed) mood disorders and I do have BPD. Then it stops there. I am just trying to be realistic and honest with myself. There is no way that I am mentally well. There is no way that I am emotionally stable. The best-case scenario is that I have everything that I already knew about. And that is it. But! There’s this nagging feeling, dancing around my head, that I will find out some more (bad) news.
This myth couldn’t be farther from the truth. People with BPD are in a lot of pain, and they struggle with intense, overwhelming emotions. At times, this struggle may get the better of them, and lead them to do or say things in a desperate attempt to make themselves feel better. Although they will often regret these things later on, in the moment these actions provide much-needed relief from intense emotional pain.
Although some of the thoughts that people with BPD have may appear irrational to others, they are in fact quite understandable and reasonable. People with BPD often have thoughts and fears that others will reject or abandon them. They may also feel as if others are out to get them or deliberately cause them harm. While these thoughts and evaluations may not be accurate in the present, they may have been at one time. That is, thoughts don’t just pop up out of the blue. How we think, how we evaluate situations or others’ behaviors, and how we view ourselves originate from our life experiences. Many people with BPD have been in situations where actual abandonment or rejection did occur. As a result, it is only natural that they might expect this behavior from other people. These expectations are our body’s natural way of preparing for (and protecting itself from) some negative outcome. Viewing these thoughts as irrational dismisses the fact that they are based on people’s experiences, and fails to acknowledge the life experiences often associated with this disorder (such as abuse, neglect, rejection, and so on). In fact, the thoughts of people with BPD are very understandable when you begin to consider where they come from.
Yesterday Elliot brought home The Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know about Living with BPD. This is amazing for several reasons. One being that it was already on my Amazon Wish List and the other being that it will be the first piece of comprehensive literature I will have read on the subject. The internet is great and all – but once you are in it you have to really search through the weeds to find the gems of true information. A lot of the stuff you stumble upon online can be rather hurtful or wrong, but mostly just plain negligent. This is one such piece of internet finding I will use as an example. First of all it is dedicated solely to “the borderline female” the most manipulative and calculating of all borderlines…..
If you’re a person with BPD then it is bound to make you feel like shit. If you have a friend or know someone with BPD you become scared shitless of them. If you’re a male in a romantic relationship with a female with BPD you’re probably thinking that the short essay will end with the final phase being about the female borderline biting off your head after one of those “incredible” rolls in the sack, and then putting your penis on a stake out in front of her house. The true sign of a BPD’s lair – penis stakes.
Now I will admit, from personal experience, that there are elements of truth to what he pukes out of his pen. Most of it though seems like a scare tactic directed at a very specific audience and hurting very specific people in the process.
There is such a stigma surrounding those with mental illness, and more specifically BPD that we did not know how Heroes Amongst Monsters would end up effecting my friendships, or what the online response would be. This is why Elliot and I debated between my writing this blog anonymously or not. Debated how it could go wrong, but also how fully admitting to the illness would help those who also suffer from the same. We’re not lechers. We’re not going to suck the life blood out every soul around us for our own manipulative amusement. We’re human beings who came to be this way, not because of choice, but because of who knows why. I think this is the major reason behind why BPD people are thought to be so awful because some people think it is a personal choice. Like I rolled out of the bed one day and said “I want to do direct emotional harm to the person I love by being triggered later when I think I’ve been neglected, even if I have not.” Of course, we have actions, we’re emotionally stunted and reactionary to the point of being no better than children. I probably have the emotional breadth of an 8-year-old. This is the truth of the matter. The key to success and recovery is admitting that we’re not well, seeking out information, getting help and working hard.
I am fortunate. I have a supportive, open minded, raised by a counselor partner. My friends are incredible, open minded and thoughtful. I have come forward as borderline and I have yet to receive a negative response among my friends. I know a lot of people out there may not be so lucky.
I have also read numerous threads of comments in response to specific BPD focused articles. Spouses, or children, or friends of someone with BPD spouting off about how you must get out while you can, that they are awful manipulative people, they will hurt you, you will suffer, no good can come from it. Thanks person, with one relationship with one person with BPD, for labeling everyone else with BPD as being exactly the same. That is very productive and helpful of you.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is: misinformation sucks. Do not believe everything you read. Keep an open mind. Try to not take it personally – I know we are good at that.
I don’t know what happened. Everything was fine. I was feeling an almost elated feeling because of the release the blog had provided me with. I felt like I was in a really good place. Then yesterday happened. I don’t know if it was because Elliot was super stressed (due to a lot of factors) or I just hit a wall. I broke down. It’s ridden me into the next day. I’m crying endlessly. I’m sitting on the floor sobbing while I fry eggs. I’m sitting in bed with the sunshine on my toes and I have tears running down my cheeks.
I guess this is part of the thing. The living with a constant mind fuck thing. I guess this is as good a time as any to talk about suicide and why one, specifically me, feels the need to commit it at times. The thing is - I live with a constant sadness. It sits in the pit of my stomach and will rise at any point, for absolutely no reason. Then, once it’s there…. it’s there. It starts eating away at everything. Nothing is good enough. Nothing matters. I’m a constant disappointment, not only to myself, but others. It manipulates me and degrades me to the point of, what feels like, no return. Elliot can send me messages like “my girl in the cutest girl in the world!” that will make me smile, but cannot help me overcome…..or maybe it does…..because I’m still alive - fact.
Geeze, it’s hard to write this and not feel like a huge emo dick, but I’m just being honest.
I sliced my wrist pretty majorly a week ago. It was the deepest cut that I’ve managed thus far, mostly because I looked away when I did it. Part of the pleasure of being a cutter is watching while you do it - at least it is for me. This was different. If I watch it, it just scrapes. I have scars, I feel pain, but mostly I do it to get away from whatever else I’m feeling at the time. Physical pain over emotion. Part of that is focusing on the task at hand. I get kicks from multiple cuts gently seeping droplets of blood and I stare and that’s all I am and that’s all I feel. I am 100% there and no where else. I am not sad, I am not happy, I am that. I remember in the past thinking that people that cut themselves were fucked. Then I did it a few times several years ago - then stopped. Then I began doing it last year, because last year sucked, and I made a habit out of it for a while. Then at one point I felt better and I stopped. Last week I sincerely wanted to die. I cut my wrist in the bathroom while sobbing and looking away. It didn’t go deep enough - though it looked pretty near. I just stared and cried and I held the blade and contemplated doing it again. I knew the strength now - I’d have to press harder. Elliot came home. I guess I’m healthy - because these rich, thick, blood clots formed. They covered my palms. The blood splattered the ground. Elliot held me and I cried. I don’t know what would have happened if he hadn’t arrived then. I may have continued staring and contemplating. Or I may have went for round two, without much success. Or I may be dead.
After the first initial post, I felt happy that the response from friends was supportive and felt inspired to write for hours upon hours. I could not decide what would be the next topic, but finally decided I should delve into how we, more so I, came to realize that I have BPD. So here it goes:
In October, several major events occurred that made me begin questioning my sanity. I was becoming increasingly angry and exhibiting violent behaviours more frequently. It reached its tipping point when I threatened to punch a friend in the face who had tried to prevent an altercation between me and someone else. That changed every thing. I was losing all ability to control myself. I was frightened that I was going to end up seriously hurting someone else or myself. I was on the edge and it was absolutely terrifying. At one point I thought it would do me some good to check in to a psychiatric ward because I was losing my shit. Elliot did not want me to, so I held off and the feeling did subsist.
Elliot and I began to recognize a pattern between my getting in physical altercations and the presence of a friend who had done me wrong. I had confronted this friend about the issue and they never responded and never apologized - until later. I guess this lack of resolution ate away at me and their presence became my trigger. When I would see the person out and about, I’d end up getting into a fight with some stranger over absolutely nothing - unless you count their being annoying as a suitable reason for getting into a fight with them.
After my threatening to punch a lovely friend, who was only trying to help, I realized that there was something else amiss with me. I was too angry and I must have something going on that had yet to be diagnosed, besides the mood disorders. I guess I was the last to realize this. elliot thought I had BPD, our counselor thought I had BPD, but I was un-blissfully unawares. After October’s incident’s I began researching mood disorders and personality disorders and tried to identify what may be wrong with me. I discovered that I exhibit almost every single BPD symptom. I took several online tests, I talked to our counselor, I went to the doctor, got a low dose prescription for Seroquel, and was given a referral to the BPD specific outpatient program. Now I wait till that date and the official diagnosis.
Since the discovery, I have done a lot dwelling and thinking. I’ve thought about my childhood, I’ve thought about past relationships, current relationships, specific events, emotions, triggers, counseling, etc. In some way, most negative actions of mine can somehow be tied to this illness. I do not want to make excuses for my behavior, at all. It is very important that I am able to identify where things went wrong, and try to learn and benefit in some way from my mistakes. I do not want to continue lashing out and shout, “but I’m mentally ill!” in the midst of the chaos. I want to pick up the pieces from my past and present, put them together, and study them. I want you to know that I know that I have a problem. I want you to know that I am on the right path. I want you to know that I have years of work ahead of me, andthat I will put that work in.
I decided to gather my thoughts and direct them into something positive – this blog. This decision was made after I had a bad episode last week. I was saddened to the point where I wanted to die and was prepared to do just that. Hopefully, now that I have an outlet, I won’t dwell on thoughts of suicide. This is my attempt of making a positive out of a negative.
I sat down with my boyfriend, Elliot, and asked him what he thought about the concept. He is supportive. I asked if I should maintain anonymity or not. After some discussion, we decided I should not. I asked if he would like to contribute to the blog, since the partners of people with borderline personality disorder (BPD’s) incur a large burden and insight into this facet would be very useful. He said he would. Luckily I already had the perfect name picked out, though long ago and totally unrelated, Heroes Amongst Monsters seems a more than suitable title for a blog documenting someone with a mental illness.
I am going to use this blog to be as open and frank as possible, without divulging too personal of details that may affect my relationship with Elliot, or that I don’t feel quite comfortable sharing with the whole world. I may refer to an event as an “episode” or that I was “triggered” but may not give the full summary. This is a blog and should not be seen or used as some sort of psychiatric scholarly article. I will provide links to resources I find useful and I will tell my story, but that is all.
I hope that those reading this blog will respect me as a person, and my partner, for our contribution. I hope that people suffering from mental illness will find solace and companionship within my words. I hope that the loved ones of BPD’s feel a sense of community.