Beat the alarm!

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…

ADHD and me too

As well as being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, I’ve fairly recently been diagnosed with Adult ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder).

It wasn’t that big of a thing when I was a kid, so it got missed. It is viewed as a child’s disorder, but some people don’t just grow out of it. And it’s more than just being hyperactive, it involves cognitive problems, such as bad memory, terrible concentration/focus, and impulsivity. Goes hand in hand with BPD as you can imagine.

You may remember I contacted the ADHD team a couple of weeks ago with a fear that I’d been forgotten about. Well, they emailed straight back apologising for their lack of support as they hadn’t been informed by my CMHT that I’d had my second ECG (of which the results were more normal following a decrease in my monthly depot injection of Flupentixol and stopping of Elvanse), so they made me an appointment for general obs and a discussion about treatment.

The positive effect that Lisdexamphetamine (brand name Elvanse) had on me seemed to ware off after a few months, so they’ve given me a few other medication options to consider. Methylphenidate (brand name Ritalin, amongst others) is the other 1st choice treatment according to the NICE guidelines, alongside Elvanse. Both are classed as stimulant medications. There is a third option of Atomoxetine, which is not a stimulant and works in a different way. After doing a bit of research I think I’m going to opt for Ritalin – see how I get on with that.

I have a phone appointment tomorrow with someone from the team to let them know what I’ve decided, they can then send a new prescription to the pharmacy. I

I’ve been consciously making healthier choices lately and I feel like it’s paying off, my mood seems to have been quite stable in positive for nearly a week now! Having more focus and ability to concentrate would be the cherry on the cake. Fingers crossed it works for me!

Living with BPD… or me?

Who am I?

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!

3:30am…

It’s half three in the morning and I’m wide awake. Could be because I didn’t get up until the afternoon yesterday. Could be because I went for two strong coffees at the coffee shop with my parents… whatever the reason, here I am, blogging from bed. Dom is snoring softly next to me. It’s cute.

I kind of want to talk about my latest thing… bare with me now, don’t roll your eyes or scroll away, but I’ve been reading about crystals. Now, I don’t believe they have powers, or anything like that. But I do think they are beautiful and can be used to ground people in meditation etc. I don’t see anything wrong in believing that stones have healing energy’s, and I’m a big believer in the placebo effect, so if someone believes they are being healed and they improve, let them keep believing it, right? It’s a no brainier. It doesn’t harm anyone. if anything it only does good! Better than taking handfuls of pills and potions to feel better! Unless a medical professional tells you to of course.

Anyway, how this all came about… last night I reached out to my old yoga teacher (I follow her on Instagram), I sent her an DM saying how I’ve been feeling bad and would like to get more into yoga and meditation. I also said I was willing to explore the practice in a spiritual way, to try it out. I like to think I’m less skeptical these days, more open minded. She got back to me with loads of great advice and suggestions.

I did a little bit of reading earlier around chakras. I quite liked these bite sized pieces of text, so i thought I’d share them with you. I’ve gone through and highlighted bits that apply to me and have applied to me in the past.

Interesting I thought. I’ve gone and purchased a few stones from the internet, to hold while I try meditation. I plan to meditate in the morning after breakfast, and in the evening before bed. Like I said, it can’t hurt!

Self care FTW!

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 think I’m going to have a bath every night!

Feeling a bit better now…

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.

What’s wrong with me?

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.

Brave the shave?

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.

ADHD, where are we?

I emailed the Adult 25+ ADHD psych team that I’m under earlier today, because I think they’ve forgotten about me…

Depending on how long you’ve been following, you might know that ages ago I was on 50mg Elvanse daily to treat my ADHD, that was until I had an ECG to check my heart and it gave abnormal results which was caused by the meds. So I had to stop taking them with immediate effect (cold turkey), and I have not heard from the ADHD team since. I had a repeat ECG and my heart had returned to normal, but still heard nothing from them…

Now I’m unemployed and my tolerance to do things has decreased down to almost nothing and my motivation to start tasks is zero. Life is a struggle and my ability to function like a person is withering away. I feel like I am more like a pet than a girlfriend to my boyfriend whom I live with.

I want to know if there are alternatives treatments/support out there for me. Sometimes you need to speak up to get what you want in this life. Use your voice to be noticed or heard.