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’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!
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 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.