So, last Friday morning I weighed myself (first thing), as I do. After a colossal loss of 6 lbs the first week, I had gained 1 lb… despite being ‘good’. You may think ‘not the end of the world’ which is exactly what I kept repeating to myself, but by the evening I was thinking ‘fuck it, I’ll have a night off!’ -so I allowed myself to have a few drinks.
Next day (Saturday) I just slept. The entire day was a write off. Being awake was physically painful. Then Sunday, I slept a lot more. I swear, this was a two day hangover! I hadn’t even drank that much on the Friday night! Moving my eyes felt like rubbing coarse sandpaper on my brain. I had big plans for a productive weekend, plus I wanted to hit the gym. I did literally nothing, for two days straight! What. A. Waste.
I really wasn’t used to feeling so crap. I couldn’t handle it. To think that not long ago (just before I started my new, improved healthy lifestyle) I was drinking daily… no wonder I was always depressed and grumpy. I probably felt like shit and didn’t realise it. I really thought differently about alcohol after that weekend of suffering. I kind of thought I don’t want alcohol in my life… at all, like ever again… possibly a bit drastic. But, that did cross my mind.
I’ve got a few social outings coming up. The next one is this Friday night. I’m meeting up with two old buddies of mine, ex colleagues from a job waaay back. It’s nice that we’re still in touch and catch up now and then. We planed this night out before pubs even re-opened! Booked tables and everything! I’m talking months in advance. Kinda thinking I can’t not drink… I don’t really want to, but it’s sort of expected of me… I’m sure they wouldn’t push drink on me, but they would try and tempt/sway my decision. “Go on, just have a few”… I can imagine them saying. Then ten pints down, I can hardly stand, slurring my words and picking fights with strangers… ugh.
I do have a plan.. I plan to drink beer, slowly, and break it up with pints of diet lemonade. Or I could have shandy I suppose (half beer half lemonade). I’m going to tell my mates I’m doing it for my mental health, and trust me, they know about my mental health, anyway, then they can’t tempt me! I mean, it is for my mental health! And my physical health, lol. I really don’t want to waste another weekend for the sake of a bit of beer.
I’m still feeling pretty positive, I put myself to bed at 11:30 last night, set my alarms for 7am and awoke naturally at 6:30! I’m trying not to eat after 8pm at the latest, trying to be in bed before 12, and wake up at 7. Really need routine in my life. I’m also not going to drink caffeine after 3pm.
It might sound like a lot of ‘rules’ to live by, but I really think they are healthy.
Plans for today: call an employment service that my CMHT have put me in contact with (as they know how desperate I am to get back to work). The service is specifically designed to support people who have mental health issues to find and maintain suitable employment. So that’s positive! Then I have got to travel across town to the clinic to get my monthly depot injection. I’ll visit my Mom while I’m in her area and we’ll have lunch. Then the ADHD clinic will call about my new medication decision.
I was hoping to fit in a visit to the gym somewhere, but we’ll see…
I’ve been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD (AKA Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, EUPD) for a very long time. My life is a struggle. I’ve decided to focus my posts in this blog a bit more on coping with and managing BPD symptoms, as I desperately want to be happy in myself and in my relationships, and live a life as close to ‘normal’ as I can get. Writing seems to help me pause and reflect.
Ever since the psych told me I had BPD, I never really researched it too much. I did a bit, saw that the slipper fits and moved on. In hindsight (I think I was in my early 20’s) what I really should have done is some in-depth research to try and understand myself. Better late than never I’m starting now (age 32).
This book ‘Borderline Personality Disorder for Dummies’ has been on my book shelf since I did get diagnosed. I think my Mom bought it. So I’ve dusted it off and started reading it. The book states it’s designed so that you can start anywhere you like, no real order. So I started with chapter 21, the one that will most interest Dom – ‘What to Do When Your Partner Has BPD’… to be honest I’ve been horrified by my reading. It really does paint people with BPD in a bad light! It calls us manipulative and in a lot of cases (intentional or not) abusive! This chapter really seems to feel sorry for the partner of anyone who has BPD, and gives advice on how to leave your relationship. I’m quite hurt. I told Dom to read it (before I’d read it myself), and now I’m scared that he’ll read all the bad things it portrays us as and take the book’s advice to leave me… there’s not much advice on how to maintain a relationship with someone with BPD, it basically says, if your staying with them you will need therapy to help you deal with it, but really- run for the hills!
There is a massive stigma surrounding BPD, this whole: nasty, evil, psycho-killer, manipulative, unpredictable, abusive, impulsive, suicidal, attention seeking mess. It’s also well quoted by professionals that “It’s not a mental ‘illness’, it’s a personality disorder”, making it sound less serious than it is, which is bad, because it is very fucking serious.
In the past I’ve longed for a different diagnosis, bipolar, schizophrenia, anything! Something that IS an ‘illness’ so they can give me the drugs and I’d respond to that treatment and start to feel better. But that doesn’t happen with personality disorders I’m afraid. Personality disorders are complicated. We have built up this severe mental gymnastic problem that twists everything and makes us feel emotions in extremes, black and white thinking, splitting, etc. from childhood. So it is deeply ingrained into our personality (or lack there of), and extremely low sense of self/self esteem. So we can’t just pop a pill every morning and symptoms disappear. We are wired that way, so we can pop pills to take the edge off mood swings (for example), but it won’t make them go away. To make them go away it would take years of long term intensive specialist therapy maybe as well as meds, to reprogram how we automatically feel, think, act and react to things.
Sounds like hard work, huh? well yes! It is. And it seems like it’s too much like hard work for my Community Mental Health Team (CMHT), as I’ve been under their care my entire adult life (and was under child and adolescent mental health care prior to that) and they have never offered me Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) which was specifically designed for people diagnosed with BPD.
Now that I am older and speak my mind more, less afraid of authority figures (or those who perceive themselves as that), I quizzed my psych on it last year, whilst in a (very few and far between) phone consultation appointment (not face to face due to covid). She said it was only for people who are currently self harming on a very severe level, the type where they need hospital treatment… so… why – when I cut my wrist so badly that I severed tendons and needed surgery to repair the damage – wasn’t I offered DBT??? There was the time I attempted suicide where I took a massive overdose and cut both my wrists, spent one night in a normal hospital, only to go home the next day. No psych intervention.
I was only an inpatient once and it was when I was a teenager. My parents took me out prematurely (after two weeks) against the psych’s advice because in their opinion it was making me more upset. Mental health services seem not to take me seriously, and I think it’s because I have the ability to articulate, and argue my case. They think that makes me less ‘crazy’, but I’m not. I had a melt down and got banned from the only chance at real therapy I’ve ever had, because I threw a chair across the room and they had to evacuate the other patients as I got mad… these events I’ve listed do make me sound like a ‘nutcase’ but really, I’m just frustrated and need help. No one helps me.
Long story short, I had to beg and plead with my psychiatrist to refer me for an assessment for DBT. She finally did (just to get me off the phone I think), she was sure they would not take me on. But when I explained my history to the man who assessed me he said I was a perfect candidate for it and I’m now on a waiting list.
The take home from this article is: fight for your treatment! If there is something wrong with you (no matter what it is) fight tooth and nail until you get the treatment you need. We only live once, so we might piss off a dr, so what, it’s their job to listen, and a lot of them don’t!
Today I managed a complete turn around! I woke up in the afternoon really grumpy. I spent a few hours with my parents at a coffee shop and came home, that seemed to cheer me up a bit. Then the adult ADHD centre called, we had a very useful conversation (that needs a post of its own), then I cooked dinner – we had chicken fajitas.
The fajitas turned out really well. It’s the third night in a row that I’ve cooked dinner. Usually Dom cooks, but I’ve been trying to step up, he’s finishing off a paper that’s soon to be published, so I’m trying to help in any way I can to make life easier.
After dinner I decided to take a bath. It was just what I needed. This bath was life changing. I swear I could have solved the world’s problems in that bath. It was perfect. I was in there until the water went cold! I lit a scented candle and everything! I found my happy place. I felt completely at peace with myself for once. I practiced a bit of meditative mindful breathing I’d read about, and my mind cleared. Hours went by and I got out a new woman.
I spoke to Dom about how bad I have (or haven’t) been feeling, he seemed concerned but he has a lot on his plate already. After some thought he said I need to take responsibility for helping myself, the internet is here, read up on it, find things that will help me. He is of course right. I can’t be relying on him to do all the work for me.
So I have a kind of plan to try and dig myself out of this rut. It started with taking advice from the internet. It’s nighttime so I put my pyjamas on, wrapped up in my comfy dressing gown, and discovered the caffeine free drink Rooibos which is a type of tea. I’ve been drinking it nonstop for hours. I feel like it’s slowly thawing my frozen core and making my tummy happy. I can’t drink it forever… or maybe I can! But I feel a bit better anyway.
I’m broken. I’ve noticed it more today than lately. I feel blank. Nothing. I’m empty. Dead inside. I don’t seem to get pleasure anymore. I’m missing happiness. I keep trying to fill myself with anything I can, especially alcohol. But it doesn’t distract from it for long. I have no purpose. There is nothing to do. I’m debilitatingly bored but I don’t have the motivation to do anything, and if I did I’d soon get annoyed and irritated. I’m lost. This is how it feels. Death of the self. Like my personality has been deteriorating for years and now it’s gone. RIP. I’m a hollow shell of a person. A walking empty vessel. No expressions. Just a lack of everything that makes one human. I’m dumb. My memory is gone. What’s my reason for still being here? I’m also cripplingly lonely. I have very few friends. I prefer being alive in my dreams and it’s usual for me to have nightmares. I’m going to call my CMHTs ‘duty’ (the crisis team) tomorrow. I think I need some help. I’m not here.
I googled feeling dead inside. There were tips on how to cope. One of them was to make a feelings list, so I turned it into this blog post.
I got a message from the guy I went to school with who was looking for someone to work in the brewery… my interview was supposed to be tomorrow, but the message was cancelling it. They don’t want me… they wanted a professional brewer or an experienced driver – neither of which am I. So the message was very polite saying he doesn’t want to waste my time or lead me on just to turn me down. I have them to thank for that at least, I guess. I had kind of set my heart on a new thing though, so now I have no clue what kind of job to look for. Absolutely no one will take me on. Fuck. My. Life.
I have an interview! On Thursday. It’s at a microbrewery pub. I know the guy who runs it from school, he was in my form, we sat opposite each other. It was advertised on Facebook and I kinda jumped at it. Dived right in before looking at where it was… turns out it is MILES away… but I’ve already done and application and got an interview now. Looked up where afterwards… like a complete dumb ass. I can’t drive, and there are no direct buses. So it’s gonna take me 15 mins in a taxi each way. Which will take a chunk out of the average-ish wage I would get, IF successful that is.
I really don’t know if this is a good move or not… I’ll be taking a pay cut from my last job (but at the moment no one else will have me!), it’s miles away (so I’ll spend a fortune on travel), and I don’t know if I’m emotionally stable enough not to let the guy down! He needs a hard working staff member for an immediate start (we’re talking next week!). No.1 – it would get me out of this god forsaken house, and the rut and relationship problems that are going with it at the mo. No.2 – some money is better than no money at all! No.3 – I might lose some weight having to actually do things. No. – I’d get to meet people and practise social skills after lockdown!
But.. then again. There is a well paid job that I have recent, relevant, skills sets for based in an employment office 12 mins from my house. I could cycle and earn a fortune if I was successful. More than ever before!
Basically, I don’t know… do I continue going for office jobs being stuck behind a desk getting fatter and fatter and hating life. Or do I be less well off being active working in a pub which might suit me better…?
I am so alone. I live with my boyfriend who is studying for a PhD in bioinformatics 🤯 it’s STILL pretty much lockdown here in Birmingham (UK), so mainly my only communication with another human is with him.
We are ‘having problems at the moment’ (his words, not mine) so it can get quite hostile. There are two main rooms to our flat. The living area and the bedroom. So it’s hard to get space without going to bed. He gets annoyed when I go to bed.
I get a lot of mixed signals. One minute I’m being shushed because he needs to concentrate , and the next he’s apologising that he doesn’t pay me enough attention. My emotions are wrecked, I don’t know if I’m up or down normally, let alone in isolation with mr confused about how he feels towards me. Although, the majority of the time it is annoyed, angry and frustrated.
I have started to wonder if we are even right for each other… is he even happy being with me? I love him. But I want to make him happy, and I feel like he does not understand me (trying to live with my mental health issues) and I also feel like he never will. He is to logical, pragmatic and rational. Emotions ride me like a bitch. It’s not fun and I can not control it like he can. I feel like unless he has my experience he will never ‘get it’. He goes on facts, figures, experiences, lessons learned. I go by whichever chemical my brain is throwing at me… excitement for no apparent reason, crying over an advert, shouting swear words at the top of my voice because I dropped a tea towel, being physically unable to get up in the morning because I wish I was dead with depression after another nights worth of nightmares. The list could go on.
Basically, neither of us are happy. So what do we do now? We’ve been together for over 3 years. We know no different. When the tough gets going… do you battle though until the good again? We’ve gotten through rough patches before. But to be honest… I didn’t see it as a rough patch until he basically called it out this evening. Sigh.
I finally got a haircut today. The hairdresser I liked at the salon I used to go to went mobile so I booked her and she came to my house. Cut my hair in the bathroom. When she left I wasn’t happy with it. I wanted a more prominent undercut. Wanted to look more scruffy and punk, less neat/fringe-y emo. So it took me about 5 mins to decide to take the clippers to the haircut I’d only just had and spent £20.00 on. Thought I’d have a go myself. I’m happier. But still not happy. Was supposed to go t-total today, but I found beer in the wardrobe. Now I’m a pint can into drinking, sat in my bedroom on the floor, topless because the hair was irritating me, with half a shaved head that I can’t decide if I like or not. I’m tempted to shave the whole lot off again. Seems like such a waste of being unhappy with it for so long though. Maybe I should shower. I called the psych to speak to big-C on duty (the crisis team) but he was in a meeting. Reception asked if it was urgent. I said no. It could wait. They said call back tomorrow. Sigh.
Not much goes on in my life at the moment, as you can probably tell. It’s still lockdown, I am painfully unemployed and I have very few friends and zero motivation to do interests or hobbies. Getting out of bed would be a start.
I applied to work for the Department for Work and pensions… got through to an interview. I was hopeful following that, even though it was a pre-recorded interview. I have the relevant experience etc. And I thought the interview went okay. But no… that’s not what they thought. I got an email earlier this evening saying I’d been unsuccessful…
I am depressed. No one gives me a chance. I have everything going against me, including my own fucking brain with various multiple complex mental health bullshit. Still, I try and drag myself through life. Behind a everyone else my age who are buying houses and starting families.
I gave Dom a ticket out today. I don’t want to hold him back. He deserves more than a complete loser at life like me. He’s doing a PhD for gods sake. Here’s me, unemployed and off my fucking rocker, needing a monthly injection of antipsychotics and daily antidepressants to just about roll out of bed at about 12pm to stare at walls and do fuck all until bedtime.
My little bro is looking to BUY a house!! … Buy! Well, his girlfriend is at least – she’s the one with a job, (in a bank). I had a bit of a typical bitter BPD reaction when my parents told me they were looking for a property to buy…
Life is not fair. Everyone I’ve spoken to on the subject tries to tell me not to compare myself to others… ha. How do you not do that when everyone else’s lives are falling into place and mine is falling apart? When I try so hard to keep my head above water, working, where my brother hasn’t had a job in years, OR been on benefits, and now plans on buying (sort of) a house?!
Dom actually gets really mad at me for having this envy/jealousy towards other people who’s lives are working out for them. All the usual reasons – it’s not healthy, blah blah blah. Sometimes I just need to vent it though, and then I’ll get over it. For example… when I found out my cousin was having a baby I had a complete mental break down (over Christmas, two years back) and my bro and mom had to call an ambulance to deal with me. Now the baby is like 8 months old and it’s all fine. I still get pangs of jealousy as I (and the baby) age and I am still nowhere near capable of rearing a child of my own… let alone looking after myself. Fuck!
Anyway. I’m drunk right now and I’m coming to terms with my bro moving forward. As long as they don’t get pregnant before we do. That would just about kill me.
One of the well known catch phrases associated with Borderline personality Disorder (BPD) or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD) is “I hate you – don’t leave me!”… in my eyes this sums up splitting on a loved one and fear of abandonment.
I’ve been trying to do some thinking this morning as I awoke unusually early, before my alarms (that often fail to get me up anyway). So I came down stairs, made coffee and (unusually) flicked on the morning news (I never turn on the TV). I caught up on current affairs (which again is unusual for me), had breakfast and got in the shower, all without being prompted by my ever patient boyfriend (as he was still in bed). I was quite proud that I was fed, washed and dressed before 9am. I took coffee up to a sleeping Dominic, and gently pestered him in intervals until he got out of bed. Maybe I should have left him to sleep a little longer (he’d not slept well). But quite selfishly I was bored and wanted company and conversation. It wasn’t until he finished his breakfast that I started to moan, but rather than a general moan, I was trying to figure myself out in a self aware way. I moaned about; being bored, not having any friends, being in lockdown, lack of social interaction etc.. Dom reasoned with me, as he does in an attempt to try and get to the root of the mood. I realised that I couldn’t gauge my mood until I was in conversation, and that it turns out that I am grumpy, even after such a seemingly positive start to the day. I then started to explain that I thought I might be jealous of Dom, because his days have a focus (his PhD), he has an aim, work to do, tasks to complete. When he stops talking to me -he is still occupied with things. Whereas when (from my point of view) when he stops talking to me -I have nothing. I just quietly wait until the next snippet of conversation sparks up. I do not actively entertain myself. I just sit there on standby. I feel like I do get bored (very much so) and it’s not like I can’t think of anything to do either. I could list loads of things to do, but my trigger is broken. I will want to do things, but I won’t want it enough to act. Everything seems like a massive effort, I can rarely make myself do anything (even things that I want to do). I will always end up fixing my environment, making it tidy, or filing my nails/plucking my eyebrows. Always a meaningless procrastination task that can wait.
Anyway, after further thought, I think I may have got somewhere in picking this apart. I am not okay being alone. I don’t know how to care or look after myself, how to occupy or entertain myself… I have never been alone.
When I was a baby (apparently) I would cry whenever my mom left the room. I didn’t really have many friends after my one best friend moved away in early childhood. Instead I was picked up by a bully and kept close for years, the bully was the only ‘friend’ I had, and she used to torture me on a daily basis, making me do whatever she wanted me to by threats of no longer ‘being my friend’. I was so scared of being alone that I thought I was better off being tortured. My Dad had another life and never married or lived with my Mom, but he would come over to see us everyday after school for a few hours… and then leave. I remember standing in front of the door to barricade it, and chasing his car down the street as he drove away each night. That hurt me a lot.
I eventually broke away from the bully, only for her to be replaced with a voice in my head called John. He told me what to say and do, I was then technically never alone. For years I had him to talk to in my head, until his demands turned gory and I had to self harm. My troubles were discovered and I was admitted to a child and adolescent psych hospital and put on medication. That was the loneliest time of my life.
Got out of there and made it to college where I met my first boyfriend. I thought he was the love of my life, we were sickly and inseparable, and stayed together for one year and three months… then I split on him and love turned to hate. He was heart broken and threatened to kill himself if I did not agree to get back together. I did not agree… he did not kill himself. But that hurt me a lot and shook my already rickety trust with others. It was like I could just about live with them and not at all live without them.
I had a rocky time at university, that was the second most lonely time of my life until I made true friends a year or so into the three years. I moved away from home in an attempt to gain independence. It was sort of like running away, but safer. I developed an eating disorder and became very sick. Still self harming and drinking I partied away my chances at decent grades. By the end of the three years there was a really good group of us. Friends for life I called them. Then Uni finished and I moved back home with my Mom. Everyone went their separate ways. I lost the first real friends I’d ever had.
At home I spent a year getting high with my brother before he moved away to university. Then I was alone again. No friends, no job. Just the same four walls of my little box room. I got very depressed over the years of isolation and attempted suicide by taking a big overdose and cutting both my wrists.
I got a support worker, 9 hours a week. She was younger than me which made me feel like a failure. But I got over it. She was my support worker for three years. She was practically paid to be company for me. A prescribed friend. I eventually got a job in Poundland which I hated. I befriended the assistant manager and asked him to be my boyfriend. We were together for a few years, both living at our parents houses. Neither of us had much drive. But retail was not for me. The hatred of the job drove me to apply for bigger and better things. I got a job as a support worker (how the tables had turned, I thought). Then the pressure got to me after a year there, and I had a breakdown. Back to square one. I broke up with Mr Poundland, he lost his job and did not look to get another. I was suicidal again, but did not act on it this time.
I joined internet dating sites to find a partner. Wasn’t long before I met Dom, and my life’s work to improve began. I got two part time jobs as mental health worker, moved into supported living as a stop-gap, and then got a more structured job working with deaf people. Me and Dom moved in together. We have had massive ups and downs but have also been on some great adventures. I care about him more than I care about anyone. I don’t want to lose him, and trust me, I think I’ve come close… a few times! But he is the love of my life.
I’m about to lose the stable job I’ve had for two years. But I can’t take another knock… I need to keep moving forwards. I’m not going back!
What I started off saying was I have this fear of being alone, this not knowing of how to be by myself, or how to cope in my own company. I was going to say I need to learn this. But really I need to learn about how to ‘be’ in general. With AND without people!