Trichotillomania & Me.

Trichotillomania & Me

*This may be triggering for those with trichotillomania*

 

Trichotillomania (pronounced trick-o-till-o-mania), sometimes called ‘trich’ for short, is the compulsive need to pull one’s hair out. It’s similar to dermatillomania, which is ‘skin-picking’, again a compulsive behaviour. Both of these come under the umbrella of ‘Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviour’ (BFRB).

I have trichotillomania and have done all my adult life. I don’t talk about it often at all. Most people would have no idea I struggle with this.

It could almost be described as a ‘habit’, yet it’s more powerful than that. It has similarities to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), in that the person displaying this behaviour cannot stop – they obsess over it, and cannot stop themselves… it serves the purpose of relieving anxiety quite often, bringing a sense of comfort similar to that brought about by the rituals of OCD.

I will freely admit that two times since starting to write this piece, I have stopped typing and I’ve started picking at my hair. It’s the most powerful addiction. I don’t know a huge amount about trichotillomania, why it happens or any facts and figures. All I know is the feeling from my own perspective. If you’d like more information I’m sure there are sites out there with more knowledge than I have. The NHS website has some information, and I’ll look out other websites for future posts. But if you want to know how it feels from a personal perspective – the reasons, and the consequences of hair-pulling, then that’s the purpose of this post.

 

hair-pulling

 

When I first started, it was purely pulling out hairs from my scalp, often with a pair of tweezers. It would seem a very bizarre thing to do, and I would agree it’s not something that commonly makes sense. But to me, the hairs felt ‘wrong’. They felt like they didn’t belong. Anyone with trich would tell you that – they’d often be the thicker, more coarse hairs… sorry to be crude, but imagine pubic hairs on your head – those sorts. It seemed to be my experience that thicker hairs had the ‘juicy roots’ on the end. That will sound weird to most people, but if you have trich you know what I’m talking about.

Some people do things like biting the root off and eating it, or even eating the hairs. I admit this is not something I do, so I don’t understand this aspect of trich. But it doesn’t make any less sense than pulling the hairs out in the first place. It’s no more peculiar. It’s part of the compulsion.

Finding the right sort of hairs, with the root, was the aim. It felt more satisfying to pull those hairs out. Any that didn’t have the root, or were ‘acceptable’ hairs felt like a waste. I used to pull out so many hairs, and collect a pile of them. The carpet would get covered in them, and whilst I was trying to hide what I was doing I’d sit, trying to pick them all up with sellotape, so nobody would notice. Of course eventually people would notice, as I developed a small bald patch near the top of my head. I passed it off as my hair getting caught in a hairband or something. But eventually I told the truth. I don’t remember how I had that discussion. I don’t even know how old I was. I had to change my hairstyle to disguise the bald patch.

I also had to develop ways to try and stop myself pulling hairs out. I looked up techniques – some people said to put plasters on your fingers – which might work if it weren’t for the fact I used to use tweezers! I guess in today’s world things like ‘fidget cubes / spinners’ would help, to keep your hands busy. I’ve just ordered one, in the hope it might help. Any way to keep your hands busy – colouring, a stress ball, sewing etc. I’ve also tied my hair back, or even worn a hat in the hope it would stop me doing it.

 

Beanie

 

Trichotillomania isn’t just pulling hairs out from the scalp. People pull hairs basically from anywhere hair grows…. eyebrows, eyelashes, face, arms, legs, underarms, private areas – anywhere. It will affect people differently. I have pulled hairs from different areas – one time I plucked my eyebrows too much, but thankfully they grew back over the years. I have my limits – some areas are too sensitive – for me, eyelashes are a no-no, but for many people this is somewhere they often pull from. Some have been left with no eyelashes, and some with no eyebrows. So people should pause before commenting on how ‘fake’ some girls look, with their false eyelashes, their eyebrows drawn on, and even their wigs – this could be because they struggle with trichotillomania.

The funny thing is that I’ve become desensitised to plucking hairs out. I’ve watched people pluck their eyebrows, and wince doing it… and they do it really fast, to avoid pain. I don’t experience the pain in that way. I can actually pull out hairs in slow-motion, gently tugging them until they pop out from the tension. And yes, while there is a small amount of pain, it is tolerable. I can sit there, pulling hairs out and showing no sign of discomfort. Nobody would even know I was doing it if they only saw my face, and not the source. It’s like a low-grade pain, which is almost comforting. It’s like a drawn-out but low-level form of self-harm.

But that’s not the reason I do it. I’ll come to that. But first I want to tell you of a change I experienced a few years ago. I started to notice split-ends on my hair. I feel I read somewhere that the way to get rid of them is to cut a certain measurement above the split. Starting to do that was a mistake. It’s become even more addictive than just pulling hairs out. I can now sit for ages searching for split-ends, and cutting above them – leaving me with shorter strands of hair, which hairdressers have commented on before …. I don’t currently visit the hairdressers for this reason. I cut my own hair. When a hair is so damaged it would mean cutting really high up, I’ll just pull that hair out. So my trichotillomania is now a combination of pulling and cutting (though I have just read that compulsive hair cutting is called trichotemnomania – you learn something new every day!), but either way it still serves the same purpose.

It is a need for things to be ‘perfect’. It’s the endless search for perfection that can never be attained. I always thought if I could get enough of these split-ends, they’d run out. They haven’t. So now whenever I feel bored, anxious, or I’m trying to avoid something, I’ll sift through my hairs, looking for split-ends to cut. It distracts me. So many times I’ve tried to write this piece and been unable to complete it, because the obsession with these split-ends takes over. The only reason I’m able to write it now, is I’m currently with people, and I won’t do it in front of others. It’s usually if I’m watching television, or if I’m thinking about something – say for example a blog post. If I’m sat worrying about life I’ll do it. It’s a nervous behaviour. Sometimes though I’m unaware I’m doing it until I’m doing it.

Other times I HAVE to do it. I feel compelled to do it, and can’t relax until I have. I think it lowers an anxiety in me. It feels like something I can ‘control’ – even though it actually has complete control over me.

 

tweezers

 

I don’t understand the real reasons I do it. I’m sure some psychological expert could explain the theories behind this behaviour – I’ve never really explored it with anyone. I’ve just accepted it as a part of my life.

I don’t know how I will ever stop. I read somewhere it’s more addictive than smoking. I guess it’s like nail-biting, but combined with taking drugs. I’ve done neither so I wouldn’t know! But it’s got the ‘habit’ aspect, and the ‘addiction / compulsion’ aspect.

I am a bit of an ‘obsessive’ person, in some ways. It comes with finding it hard to let go of anything. I ruminate. And when I ruminate I pick at my hair. Some would say the answer is to keep busy. They’re probably right. But I can imagine twenty years from now, catching sight of a split-end and feeling that same pull I feel today. It feels that powerful a compulsion, I don’t ever see myself recovering from it. But I would guess the key is to learn to sit with the uncomfortable feelings – that’s what I can hear the CBT therapists saying in my head. The thought of resisting the urge to do it is troubling, because I know how intense the need is. It is harder to not do than to not self-harm. It would feel (and DOES feel, because I have tried) uncomfortable. This is something I have to learn to tolerate. But it will be a constant battle if I want to beat this.

 

uncomfortable

 

I’m writing this section of this post several days after the first part, as the compulsion was too much, so I never got it finished. At the time of writing this, at 9pm on the hottest day of the year so far, I am sat wearing a winter hat, with all of my hair tucked into it, so that I can’t fiddle with my hair. I am feeling the lure of the thoughts to pull hairs out, and cut hairs… it’s always there. It’s got a lot worse since the start of this year. It feels like I’m permanently resisting the compulsion. I feel it in my chest as a tugging sensation… as if my heart is screaming ‘LET ME GET RID OF THE HAIRS!!’… and after therapy recently, something I realised is that when I get that feeling in my chest area, it’s actually the voice of my emotional mind. So for whatever reason my emotional mind is crying out to be heard. I would therefore assume I need to listen to it, and try to understand why it feels the need to do this behaviour. I know that I want to do it to ‘comfort’ myself. So perhaps I need to look at why I need that comfort and how else I can replicate that.

The trouble with cutting hairs and pulling hairs out, is I’m left with short hairs – even when I pluck the hairs out they will regrow, and I feel them on my scalp as prickly bits… unfortunately this is a feeling I can’t stand, and lately I’ve reverted to using tweezers to pluck those regrowing hairs out. This has left me with a small bald patch once again, along the parting in my hair. It may seem small compared to what a lot of people with trichotillomania experience, but this is how it starts. I’ve had to change my hairstyle again, to cover it, but the thought is constantly in my head… I want to keep going with it. I want to get rid of the rest of the short hairs. I don’t want to end up bald on the top of my head though, so hopefully that thought can help me resist the urge. It is a battle to fight the compulsion, whilst endlessly obsessing over it. I hardly have a moment of peace… well, when I’m busy I might not think of it, but whenever I stop it takes over.

My hair has got a lot sparser on the top, and in my fringe. It probably looked a lot healthier a couple of years ago. I don’t know if it’ll ever get back to how it was. It will take me sitting through some very uncomfortable feelings. I will have to say ‘There are short hairs on my head…. and that’s okay’…. ‘There are thick, coarse hairs on my head…. and that’s okay’…. ‘There are WHITE hairs on my head…. and that’s okay’… ‘There are split-ends on my head… and that’s okay’. It may not sound like a big deal to others, but if you have trichotillomania you’ll know how difficult this will be.

 

Split-ends

 

I’ve had this problem for so many years now, that those who knew about it had forgotten it was even a problem for me. When I had to explain why I was wearing a winter hat in spring, whilst it felt like summer, they had forgotten I do that. It’s not something I talk about. I’ve hardly mentioned it to a mental health professional either – not for a very long time. Even my closest friends don’t know I have this. Most of the time it’s not that evident, as it’s widespread, so doesn’t leave a noticeable patch… this doesn’t mean it’s not a troublesome thing to deal with. I’m usually embarrassed by my hair, as when it’s humid it goes frizzy, which means people will be able to see the shorter bits of hair. A woman’s hair is often seen as a sign of femininity and beauty, and I feel mine is far below perfect… it just adds to the pile of things I hate about my physical appearance. Most things I can’t do anything to change, but I guess in some warped way I feel I can improve my hair by getting rid of the imperfections…. though rational thought tells me I’m only making my hair worse, and I should work to nourish it… condition it, and preserve it. That’s a simple notion to someone not inflicted with this condition. To someone already caught in the obsession of it, it’s a lot harder to break and go with rational thought. The compulsion is more powerful than any amount of logic.

Having trichotillomania makes me feel very ashamed. Even sharing photos of my scalp I feel disgusting. But I’m doing so to illustrate the condition – many have it much worse than me, but even with such a small area affected, the feeling of disgust and shame is immense. Even when wearing a hat, I’m still painfully aware of what lies under it. And that feeling of disgust feeds into a vicious circle, where I want to pull hairs out, to relieve the anxiety and self-hatred from having this problem. I’m really hating myself for what I’ve done to my hair at the moment…

 

Circle

 

It’s taken weeks to get this post finished. And at the point of writing this paragraph, on a different day, I’m sat with my hair tied up, with a hat covering all of it, because seeing hairs is triggering. And being able to get to my hair risks me pulling too many out. It is a really difficult condition to cope with, though I do my best. I think it has worsened because of a period of downtime where I’ve had too much time to think, to worry, to reflect, and to be ‘bored’… these are the times it happens the most. It’s a nervous behaviour, a compulsion, and a comfort to me. And life hasn’t felt too good these past few weeks and months. So I’ve needed that comfort.

I don’t often see trichotillomania talked about. I might not have given a great deal of information on it, but wanted to share my experiences and feelings on the subject. I will do more posts on this soon. I just want people with this condition to know you’re not alone. I understand your struggle. There are many people out there with trichotillomania, you just don’t hear much about them. I hope more people will find the courage to speak out about it. It makes sense to me. You might think people will think you’re silly, or even crazy for pulling out your own hair…. that it won’t make sense to them. But it does to me, and to others who also do it. Besides, it’s ‘mental illness’, and mental illness has a habit of not making sense to those who don’t have it. It doesn’t matter what they think. What’s important is reaching out to each other, to know we’re not alone with it. I hope this post is a start. Thank you for reading.

xxxx

Open Letter To My Friends.

Helping you to help me.

 

To my friends,

 

I’ve been distancing myself from you all, and from ordinary life. I wanted to take the opportunity to explain and apologise for this. I think all of you are aware of my mental illness. I’ve always had this illness, so it’s nothing new. But having said that it has not been this bad since long before you knew me. This has been a steady, slow-building problem, but predominantly worsened by the events of last year. The combination of family troubles, my first loss and my struggles at therapy have dragged me down lower than I can remember. Ever since I had my breakdown during the therapy group in week three, my life has changed. I am under the control of self-harm again, and although I had been harming before that happened, I had control over it, not the other way around.

 

My depression has worsened. This has changed me into a person I no longer recognise. I feel ashamed. I feel hopeless. My self-esteem is under 6 feet of earthworms. The depression I feel has triggered off the worst parts of my BPD. It has convinced me that you all hate me, you’re sick of my negativity, you’re all going to leave me (stop talking to me), that I’m an awful friend, an awful person, and nobody cares. This in turn made me defensive. This made me push you away, to force what I saw as a done deal.

 

I tried reaching out in the earlier stages of this, but I went unnoticed. I took this as proof that nobody cared, and that I’m as irrelevant and worthless as I feel. Before I pulled away from everyone I went through the first anniversary of the loss of my granddad. I posted about this a few times, and I’ll admit I am upset that none of you commented, messaged me or anything, to show support. I guess having not personally gone through this experience before, I expected that’s what people do, as I’d seen them do with other people. Perhaps I’m wrong. That’s what upset me though. It felt like nobody had my back, which triggered a whole wave of memories for me. It also felt like nobody saw the value of my granddad. I now realise it doesn’t matter, because I know his value, and my family do. It just would have been nice to feel supported at that difficult time – the first I’d experienced.

 

It made me ‘split’ on you all. It made me think you were ‘bad friends’. And I’m sorry for that. I haven’t reconciled it with the truth yet, as I’ve still not spoken to any of you. But you’re not bad friends. This was just unfortunate. People get busy, and have their own issues. I know I’m not that important in life. And to some I’m probably viewed as ‘an acquaintance’ more than I am ‘a friend’. So I’m expecting more from people than is reasonable, based on that fact.

 

I didn’t come off of Facebook to make people care, or get attention. I did it, because being on there, feeling invisible and still resentful that nobody supported me, and seeing everyone chatting to each other while I felt ignored, was making me feel worthless. It was like a dull stab in the heart every time I logged in. So I had to protect myself from that feeling. I found refuge on Twitter and on my blog, because my voice felt more heard there. I didn’t feel as irrelevant as I felt on Facebook. My blog became my outlet for my emotions, as I tried to not be taken over by self-harm. It’s saved me on several occasions… but in the process I fear it may have damaged relationships with some of you. This has made me scared to come back, and to talk to you again. As I’m in a paranoid and guilty state, I detect things like a change in ‘tone’, or I notice things that aren’t said. I make assumptions that you’re upset with me. Or that you’re despairing of me. And it makes me shut down, as I don’t know what to say in response. I don’t know what to say to you. I’m not ignoring you because I’m mad with you. I’m not ignoring you to upset you. I’m ignoring you because I can’t see a way out of this mess I’ve created in my head. I haven’t found the right opening yet, to free me from this mental prison. I need reassurance, care and warmth – but I feel undeserving of it at the same time, for the way I’ve been these past weeks.

 

When you have nobody to validate your feelings, and challenge your beliefs, it's hard to know what to .jpg

 

I came off to protect myself, and avoid negative emotions. But there hasn’t been a lack of negative emotions… because unfortunately nobody seemed to notice or care that I’d gone. Nobody checked in to see if I was okay. I understand by coming off Facebook I made that harder, but there were other ways to get in touch. And the resounding silence was shocking. One person asked if I was okay on my old Facebook account. That meant a lot. And another I’ve also had contact with on Twitter. So thank you to those people for noticing my pain when nobody else did. Anything else feels too little too late. I know my motto should be ‘better late than never’, but it’s hard to know how to respond to anyone once you reach that point of no-return. For anyone interested, I’ve not spoken to anybody about what’s wrong. Even those who did reach out to me – I was unable to put it into words. I’ve been in shutdown mode. Like I said, the only outlet I’ve had has been the occasional tweet, and my blog. It’s been the only way to organise my thoughts and state them. I don’t talk to my family about any of this. So I have had to cope with a heavy burden totally alone. I’m not asking for sympathy here, I’m just saying it’s hard to know the right thing to do when you have no sounding board. When you have nobody to validate your feelings and challenge your beliefs, it’s hard to know what to do, how to cope and what to say. So I don’t always make the best choices when left alone in my head for so long.

 

I know that I overvalue people. I give them more importance than they give me. It’s wrong of me to assume I mean as much to you as you mean to me. At this point I wouldn’t blame you for having the thought ‘I mean something to you?? Doesn’t feel that way!’… I agree. I’ve been a rubbish friend lately. And here’s the honest bit – I’m probably going to continue to be a rubbish friend for quite a while yet. I don’t enjoy it. I promise you I beat myself up for it constantly. But I’m not coping very well.

 

It’s been so long since I’ve been this unwell mentally (the physical illness isn’t helping much at the moment either!)… I’ve forgotten how to cope with life when feeling this bad. I’ve forgotten how to pull myself out of such a bleak depressed state. The last time I did this I think I had professional support, and I had my support network – my group of friends. So I’m struggling to do this alone. In fact that’s a lie. I’m not struggling. Struggling would imply effort to do something. I have given up. I know that on my own I can’t beat this. So after pulling away from everyone, I’ve given up on life. I now just sit in the deep black hole I fell into. I just sit there twiddling my thumbs, waiting for the end. I’ve given up fighting. 

 

fix

 

I know that you must feel frustrated with me. You must feel helpless. You must have no clue how to help me. Just know that I feel the same. I’m so utterly frustrated with myself. I don’t know how anyone can help me. I’m not actually asking for you to fix this. I’m asking you to tolerate me at the very least. I’m asking you to, if you can – love me, care about me, and stick by me, giving me the support, validation and reassurance I need, to make me feel safe and secure, and like there’s some hope left for me. I have people on Twitter and on my blog who tell me I’m not a lost cause… they validate my feelings…. they are consistently there, noticing my existence, comforting me with kind words. This has been invaluable to me in the last few weeks. But I need this from my friends. I need this from you. Please. I know I’m unbearable at the moment. I’ve given up on myself. What I need is for you to not give up on me too. I need reminding of what I mean to you, and why. I need reminding of who I am. I need reminding of what matters. I’m not fishing for compliments. I’m not digging around for attention, or trying to inflate my ego. I’m asking for help to feel better about myself and about life. I’m having to ask for this, because it’s lacking in my life. I’m not someone constantly in need of praise. I’m not egotistical and lapping up admiration. I’m feeling neglected, and I’m asking for that to change. It’s not meant as a criticism. It’s just me trying a more constructive way of asking for what I need. If that makes me too demanding then so be it, but at least I tried.

 

I am sorry that even if a month ago you said something nice to me, and made me feel like I had a friend, sometimes life happens, my depression gets worse, my doubts creep in, my low self-esteem strikes and I forget what you said. I forget you care. I forget that you are a good friend. It doesn’t mean you’re not a good friend. It simply means I have a mental illness and it plays tricks on my mind. But the best thing to do when you can see this happening, is stop it from escalating to the point of no-return. Remind me of what you said to me. Remind me of your friendship. Remind me that you care. To me this is bog-standard thinking. If I saw my friend spiralling out of control, hating herself, feeling she had no friends, feeling suicidal, and thinking nobody would care if she disappeared for good…. I can’t imagine sitting back and hating her. I can’t imagine staying silent and confirming her belief that I don’t care. I can’t imagine denying her the reassurance, validation and caring that she needs. That is neglect. That is what many people with BPD experienced as a child. They didn’t have their emotional needs met. I’m not talking about my upbringing here, because that was not the case for me. But denying someone the emotional care they require is abuse at the worst, and neglect at the very least. I may not have been denied what I’ve needed. It could be people didn’t know what I needed. It could be I have offended you, and therefore my punishment is to not have those needs met, as I don’t deserve it. I accept this. But with my depression and my paranoia towards everyone right now, I feel I have been deliberately denied support… warmth… compassion. And that puts me on edge when people do eventually talk to me. I don’t believe they really wish the best for me. I don’t believe they actually want to talk to me.

 

I just wanted to explain the process that goes on in my head at times like this. It’s a vicious circle, and if I did what I learnt in therapy, I would try to break that circle, but like I said, with nobody to help me it’s been difficult. I guess this is me trying to break the circle by approaching it differently. Ideally I’d speak directly to people, but I’m not ready for that. I need to give you all the chance to understand me better first. So that you know where I’m coming from.

 

I’ll understand if you’re all done with me now. I would be too. I know I’m toxic right now. I know I’m draining. I know I’m a burden and don’t have a lot to offer you just now. I can’t promise when I’m going to be back to my old self. I’ve not felt this awful for at least ten years, I don’t know the way out. It feels an impossible climb right now. I don’t see an end to it.

 

I’m not good at replying. I’m not good at socialising at the moment. I won’t reach out and ask you if you want to meet up, because I’ve done that with people over the past year or two, and it never happened – it was empty words of ‘we should catch up’, without substance, so eventually I stopped asking. So if you want to see me, then I need you to ask me. I might not be able to meet, but I still want to feel included. This is important to me, because of what I experienced as a child at school. I was socially excluded and isolated, and this damaged me more than words can explain. It’s probably the reason I am how I am now. It’s that thing whereby someone wants to be alone, but they don’t want to feel lonely. And they want to stay at home, but still want to be invited. If I turn down meeting up, it’s either because I’m busy, or more likely because I’m scared. I have no confidence at the moment. I don’t like going out and being around people. If you can help with this fear then great – if you can meet me off the bus, or we can go somewhere quiet, or anything else you can think of that might help, I’d really appreciate it. Going outside the house is a huge deal at the moment. It’s been years since I’ve been such a hermit, and ‘socialising’ terrifies me right now. I want to feel safe and protected. Sorry if that makes me sound pathetic at my age. I’ve taken huge steps back in my recovery, and my anxiety is getting worse now too. I don’t do social gatherings that involve eating food, as I have social anxiety which makes me feel uncomfortable eating in front of other people, unless I know them well and feel comfortable. Drinks are okay. I have to use public transport, and doing so on my own at night fills me with dread, as it’s been so long since I’ve done that – besides, the public transport here at night is non-existent. Group meet-ups are overwhelming for me at the moment. But one-on-one meetings would be nice. Same with discussions – group ones overwhelm me. Private ones are welcome.

 

247

 

It might seem like a rollercoaster with me – one day I’m chatting and laughing with you, a couple of days later I’m talking about not having any friends. This is most likely a series of events that happened inside my mind. And depression has a way of lying to you. A few days ago I felt angry that I had to explain this concept to you – I’m ill, why should I have to tell you that my illness tricks me into thinking things that aren’t true?? You should read up about these things, and KNOW it. If I wasn’t so self-aware people would understand it more! Why do I have to explain myself when I’m too ill to give a crap?!  – But in the process of writing this letter, I realise that if you don’t understand mental illness and depression, then you’re seriously not going to understand that it’s like having a bully by your side 24/7. I don’t hear ‘voices’, but I do have a voice inside of me, that masquerades as my friend but is my enemy. It’s a part of me that’s intent on self-destruction and self-sabotage. If you don’t have that part, you’re lucky, but you’ll also never understand someone like me. It’s constantly there, telling me nobody cares, I’m worthless, I mess everything up, I deserve to be as alone as I feel, I’ll never be loved, I’ll never succeed, people would be happy if I killed myself. This isn’t a separate being telling me these things. This is me. It’s the ill part of me. And when I’m not so ill it’s easier to challenge these thoughts, and feel happier feelings to balance it out. But when I’m as ill as I am now, those thoughts are facts. And those are the times I NEED my friends…. to make me see they’re not facts, and to counter those beliefs with the truth, in the form of care and appreciation.

 

What has happened here is that voice in me has won. And by having nobody fight against it, and you all leaving me in silence, it’s given power to that voice. It’s made me believe what it says must be true, as ‘where are all my friends??’ It honestly made me believe you’d all be happier if I was dead. And if that’s not true for instance, then I need you to tell me that. I need you to tell me how you’d feel if I WAS dead. I need you to tell me what I bring to your life that you’d lose if I wasn’t here anymore. The things you appreciate about me. I don’t want to have to ask for this. I shouldn’t have to ask for it. And I believe I’m not worth the effort it takes to say nice things to me. But if you’re my friend and you care about me, I need you to prove me wrong. Prove I’m worth the effort. Prove I’m not a lost cause. Prove I matter. Because at this moment in time I’ve never felt more hopeless or worthless.

 

I might not be very giving at this time. But once upon a time I was. I used to put in so much effort to friendships. I was always a very giving person, until a time came where I realised my friendships weren’t balanced. People took me for granted, and since then I started holding back more. And then of course I was hit by this wave of mental illness, and now I feel incapable of giving, as I’m running on empty. I hope in time I will be able to give back, but I hope you will be patient with me and be willing to accept whatever I have to offer for now, even if it’s only my company. I realise I’ve become selfish. Part of that is feeling like nobody cares about me, so I have to care about me – but the thing is even then I still have that half of me (more than half actually), that doesn’t care about me either.

 

I’m insecure nowadays. People backstabbing me, letting me down, standing me up, playing with my feelings, abandoning me, crushing my heart and overall being arseholes, has led to me being uncertain of people’s intentions. I don’t trust. But if I appear to have any trust at all in you you’re lucky. My paranoia is a troublemaker for me at the moment. It causes conflict in relationships, because it makes assumptions about what you’re thinking – what you think of me, what you’re saying about me. I hate it. And it’s not something that’s really featured in my past with mental illness. It’s relatively new. So it’s hard to know how to cope with it. Keeping away from people tends to be the best way. But even then my mind doesn’t shut down. It continues overthinking things.

 

The bottom line is – if you notice I’ve disappeared, or I sound like something’s really up, then please say something to me. Don’t ignore me. Don’t leave me to stew in my own thoughts. Don’t leave me alone in my head for too long…. if left alone too long I will end up in a place I can’t escape from. Like right now. This could have been stopped if one person said enough, early enough. The turning point was nobody saying anything on the anniversary of my granddad’s passing…. or for a further week after that. That’s when I decided nobody cared. There were warning signs, and I wish someone could have noticed them and said something before it became too late. I only hope it’s not too late to salvage friendships now.

 

The bottom line is – if you notice I've disappeared, or I sound like something's really up, then pleas.jpg

 

I’ve never felt so alone, and I hope to never experience this level of isolation again. Although I felt abandoned at a time I needed my friends, and I was hurt, a lot of this has been in my head. So ‘my fault’. But that’s mental illness for you. That’s why I’m opening up in this way and explaining to you all that this will happen sometimes, and saying what I need from you if it does happen. I can’t blame you for not knowing what’s going on in my head. I can’t be mad at you for not being mind-readers, even if I did suggest I wasn’t okay, you wouldn’t know the full extent of the chaos in my head. I can’t blame you for not understanding a mental illness you likely don’t have. Although I wish people would just learn about these things and I didn’t have to explain it, ultimately if I want the support then I have to make my friends understand what support I need and why. I’ve not been good at communicating my needs, and I hope this is at least a small improvement.

 

I apologise for the ways I’ve handled things in this difficult time. I was upset, and unable to express that in the right way. I couldn’t reach out directly to any of you, as there’s a block there. I struggle with conversation right now. My paranoia tells me I’m an outsider, a nobody, an unwelcome freak. It’s hard to fight those thoughts. My inner voice stops me talking to you all. And I find communication quite stressful so I just avoid it if possible. But I do care about you. Life has just become too much to bear. I’m sorry that my inability to cope with life may impact on you and on our friendship. I was doing the best I could. But believe me, I know it’s not enough. If you can forgive me and give me another chance, I will try harder, but I will need your help. In order to preserve our friendship you may need to learn more about my mental illness, to understand that I’m not trying to be ‘difficult’, I’m finding life difficult, and hopefully a good chat will explain what you can do to help me in the future.

 

If this helps make sense of what’s happened, and you’re prepared to help me going forward, you know where I am, and what I need. If there’s too much water under the bridge, then so be it. Mental illness is an endless, tiring, draining experience – for those who suffer with it, and those who support them. Nobody chooses to have a mental illness. But you can choose whether to support me or not. And there’s nothing to say you have to. It’s not easy. But I will always remember the ones who did. The ones who never gave up on me. The ones determined to help me see the sunshine again.

xxxx

 

 

Mental illness is an endless, tiring, draining experience - for those who suffer with it, and those who%.jpg

A Wasted Life.

wasted life

 

It’s been a difficult day. I spent the afternoon crying, even while writing most of this post. I feel I made the right choices in the end – stepping away, telling family I felt upset, and playing board games with them whilst treating myself to a hot chocolate. Could’ve played out differently. Really tired now, feeling emotionally drained. Here’s what I wrote earlier:

 

 

I carry a heavy burden every day of my life. This is something separate from all the other difficulties in my life. It’s something that dwells inside me, alongside grief, mental illness, interpersonal issues, everyday life. It’s something that not many people could understand. And it’s something I can’t get away from.

 

I’m in my thirties, and I don’t have children. I don’t have a relationship. I live with my family. I love my family… so much it hurts. It hurts me the most, that I can’t give my parents grandchildren. It’s unlikely I’ll be an aunty, so the burden falls on me to be the bearer of grandchildren. But that would require being stable enough and feeling good enough about myself, to get out there and meet people, to find someone suitable to settle down with – even then, they’d have to return my feelings, which has never happened…. I can’t see anyone ever loving me. And if by some miracle I find a perfect guy for me, who loves me, marries me, wants a family with me… how many years will all that take? I’ll be in my forties before then. And what if I can’t have children?

 

Sorry, I’m really upset at the moment. I was in the middle of eating a piece of chocolate before writing this post, and randomly burst into tears while reading something totally unconnected on Twitter … I have no idea what my subconscious was doing, but I reached this place, and I’m in tears as I write this now. I find the topic extremely upsetting.

 

My family have never ever put any pressure on me, or expectations for anything like that. They’ve always made it clear that the only thing they want is for me to be happy. Which in itself is an issue, because I’m not happy. I’m deeply unhappy. And a part of my happiness will only come from making other people happy… knowing that the people I love are happy. The reality is I want nothing more than to have a soulmate, a companion… to not be lonely anymore. To have a best friend for a husband, and to have children of our own. I want that so much. And the realisation that this will never happen for me, is what makes me so unhappy. It doesn’t matter how many people tell me ‘It’ll happen’, ‘There’s someone special out there for you, you’ll find him’, ‘People are having babies in their forties a lot more nowadays’, ‘You’re a lovely person, you deserve love and happiness’…. it honestly doesn’t matter how many people say these words…. they’re empty. They mean nothing in my life. These are things usually said by people who have the very things I lack. Some women are lucky in life. They have their looks on their side. They have confidence. They aren’t as intense, and don’t have BPD. They have great jobs. They have lots of friends. They live alone. They have experience. I have nothing. I have no experience. I have a lot of experience of mental illness. I have low self-esteem, I feel I’m ugly. I feel I’m a mess inside and out. And nobody has shown a genuine interest in my many years of availability. Not a proper interest. They were either jerks or the one guy who was a friend, but didn’t spell it out clearly enough for me at the time that he liked me, so I missed it, I missed him, and my ex-best friend came and swept up the pieces for herself when I was out of the country. Now she’s happy at the expense of my life. I lost everything the moment she went behind my back. Nothing’s been the same since.

 

Even if I hadn’t ended up with the guy, my life could’ve been so different now if she hadn’t done what she did. I’d have still had my group of friends. I would’ve got out more and met more people, built my confidence and have felt less isolated. I would still have trust for people. I’d have hope. So she honestly took so much from me. If it hadn’t happened, six years ago now… I could well have been married by now. But what happened traumatised me, as it sent a shockwave through my whole life – everything changed overnight. And I’ll admit I still hate her for it and can’t forgive her. Not yet. It damaged me and I’ve not met a single person yet, dedicated enough, to help me fix myself.

 

passing time

 

 

I’ve shut off from getting close to anyone. I have closed off to men. I did meet one recently who couldn’t be more off-limits, but I’d love to use him as a template for who would be right for me. I think my taste in men has improved, and I’m on the right track. The trouble is finding one who is single and that even slightly resembles what I need… at my age most of the good ones are spoken for. And I don’t want to settle for someone who settles for me, if that makes sense…? I don’t want to have to accept someone, because they have no other options left. I guess a part of me feels if anybody wants me they must be desperate. And I don’t want desperate. I want to know I stand out above every other woman for him. I want to be chosen. I want my own love story.

 

I’m just constantly aware of the passing of time. I know they make jokes about a woman’s biological clock… it’s no laughing matter. But that’s not actually what this is. This is more the feeling that I’m going to be alone forever. And that I will never give my parents grandchildren. And they deserve to be grandparents. They’d be amazing grandparents. And I wish I could give them that gift. That opportunity. It hurts me so much that I can’t do that right now…

 

I’m upset again. Because I think about the fact we’re all getting older. We never know what’s around the corner. We never know how long we have in this life. It’s all tied in with not wanting to lose them too. But to think I might lose them having never given them grandchildren… I can hear my heart breaking… And if by some miracle I do get to be a mother one day, but not for another ten / fifteen years… what if my parents aren’t here anymore, for advice, support, and to build memories with?

 

There’s just this permeating loneliness in my life. There’s the reality that if things continue as they are… I have one grandparent left. After that I have my parents. If they go, I have my brother… but he might not live in this country by then. If I don’t meet someone, I will be alone in this world. Nobody could ever understand facing that prospect. And that’s why feeling supported and cared about by my friends matters to me, and when I feel isolated and alone, it cuts me to pieces. Because this fear of being alone is a very strong possibility for me. I don’t have a fear of being alone, as in spending time on my own – I welcome it, I need it otherwise I get overwhelmed. But I do have a fear of ending up alone, and of being isolated and lonely. To me that’s a very rational fear. For me it’s this fear that my life is pointless. What is the point of my existence if I don’t bring children into this world? I know some people can’t or choose not to have children, and I don’t think that of them! But for myself I do, because what else have I achieved in my life? I feel all I’ve been is a burden. I have nothing for anyone to be proud of. I’ve not known happiness ever in my life. I don’t want our line to die out. I want to experience everything others get to.

 

all be gone

 

 

I’ve already had to accept that my granddad never got to see me be happy. He never saw me with anyone. He never saw me succeed. He’ll never be at a wedding of mine. He’ll never meet any children I could have. And that shattered my heart back then. I also have to accept that my nan won’t see it either. It won’t happen quickly enough to allow for that. So I’m just sat watching the people I love age, and die, and I’m still in the same place – worse actually as my mental health has gone downhill… it’s like I’m so desperate to be happy and loved, and to be a mother and have them all meet my potential children, but I’m trapped in circumstances beyond my control… and all the while I’m watching them all slip away. I feel by the time it might happen for me, they’ll all be gone.

 

So when people say it’ll happen for me, I want them to realise it’s already happened for them. They don’t know it’s going to happen for me. And if it does happen for me it’s going to hurt so much if it happens too late to share it with the people I love. I want them to see me happy and loved. I don’t want them all to die, knowing I’m so deeply depressed, hate myself, I’m lonely and not heading anywhere good. I want them to know I’ll be okay. But I’m not happy. I’m not loved. I’m not okay. And I have to live with the guilt of that every day.

 

I’m always told not to put this sort of pressure on myself. But try being me. Try being my age, with my mental illness, with my relationship history or lack thereof, my looks, my achievements or lack thereof, my small but wonderful family and tell me you wouldn’t feel bad for this predicament…

 

I feel like a failure. And I feel it’s beyond my control, because nobody will ever want to settle down with me. So I feel powerless to do what I want to do in my life – to be a mother one day. I do feel I’ve given up before I’ve even tried. But I’m tired. I’m tired of all the hurt. I’m tired of trusting people who end up hurting me. I’m tired of all the games. I’m tired of waiting and hoping. I’m tired of believing it exists for me. I’m tired of wanting people I can’t have. I’m tired of getting attached and abandoned. I’m just done with it all. My past has broken me. Once upon a time I was a good prospect. I was young, thin, full of hope and not so cynical. Then shit happened. And you can see on my face, in my hair, in my body, on my arm, the way I walk, talk and distance myself from people, that shit happened. I can see it in photos, behind my eyes, that shit happened. And I wish we could go back to before shit happened…. before I decided I don’t want to do life anymore. But we can’t.

 

So please don’t say to me that I will meet someone, have children, be happy…. you don’t know that, and it means nothing. Please, instead say ‘I hope you find the happiness I know you deserve’. Hope is at least something. It’s something I have nothing of right now, but saying that it will happen one day, is actually very dismissive of how I  feel at the moment. I’ve got nothing against friends wishing happiness for me, and wishing I had someone to love. That would be a beautiful thing to feel… that it’s wished for me. But don’t invalidate my pain by saying it won’t always be this way. Because in my reality it will. You don’t know me well enough to say that… nobody does.

 

shit happened 2

 

 

I know I struggle with my mental illness, but all that aside, I know I would be a wonderful mum. I know I have the mothering instincts. I know how to communicate with children. I know how to teach them. I know how to have fun. I’m protective and nurturing. I would give my children the world. I’d make sure they lived as well as my family have. I’d model their upbringing on the great upbringing I had. I wish I could have that opportunity to be a mother.

 

It’s something I long to do. And I wish life had panned out differently. I was given life, and in that moment I was born, surely there must have been hopes for my future. There must have been dreams of what I’d be when I grew up, and who I’d meet, and the children I’d have – the family holidays we’d all go on… the Christmases spent together… them watching their grandchildren grow up. Somewhere inside, even if they deny it, there must have been hopes. And I hate that my life has turned out this way. That I’ve let them down. Not only have I not given them grandchildren. I’m still a burden on them. They never make me think this in the slightest, but I feel like I’ve ruined their lives. They should be enjoying their lives now, without me, and I’m still here, like a parasite. I feel I’m holding them back. I feel I’m robbing them of their lives. If I was them I would regret bringing me into this world. And that kills me, because there was a time they’d have been so happy about having me, and I just think if they’d known then, how much of a strain life would be for me, and subsequently for them… would they have bothered being so happy to bring me into this world?

 

I’m sorry, I’m so upset. I can’t stop crying this afternoon. I just hate myself and my existence so much right now. I’m not coping with anything. I don’t know the way forward. It seems impossible. I wish I was a child again. I wish I could get back all those years after I left school, and do things differently. I have so much regret. But things have got too  bad now to be able to use that regret to power me towards what I do want. I’m just paralysed by it. I’ve missed too much, and now there’s nothing left. I don’t know what to do.

Update… (Boring Stuff!)

Today hasn’t been particularly wonderful. I feel ashamed to admit that it was a day of sleeping to avoid emotions, and stuffing chocolate down my throat to try and silence any that the sleep didn’t catch. So I’m a lazy pig. I didn’t work today. I wasn’t well enough physically, and had a difficult sleep due to brachialgia (for anyone who doesn’t know, that’s like sciatica in your arm, and I find it more unbearable than sciatica!). So it’s not been too great. It died down after strong painkillers, so much so that I forgot about it, and was playing guitar a short time ago, and I’ve now got round two of pain. So I can’t release my emotions and creativity through music now. Got a guitar ban. Probably a good idea anyway, as my fretting fingers are knackered in the joints. Been throwing myself into it too much lately, and not caring about the pain. Not very responsible of me.

I reached a bit of a calmer place in regards to the loneliness. Think that’s because I have started to accept it. I’ve got too used to being alone now, and my heart can’t take any more upset over it. I have a lot of regret about venting my feelings. But you can’t take back things said and done. You can only go on from here. And I intend to stay more reserved on the subject from now on. I feel I’m out of words now anyway, I wouldn’t know what to say. This topic is both too complex to explain, and also pretty much exhausted now. I don’t know where I’ll go from here. It’ll be hard to talk to anyone now, believing what I believe, and feeling they’re hostile towards me. It’s hard, because probably as far as everyone’s concerned nothing happened… this experience likely all happened in my head. And the trouble was I was left too long in my head, that it became reality for me, but the others are unaware of what that reality is. They probably wouldn’t know what they’ve done wrong. And I’ll be cast as the crazy villain who ‘criticises her friends’, like Hannah accused me of after hurting me… If they still want to be my friends I think I’m going to have to explain BPD to them properly so this doesn’t happen again. But I’m in a phase where I don’t feel I deserve their friendship anymore. I honestly believe if they hadn’t given up on me before, they will now. And it means I need extra reassurance that this isn’t the case…. but why the hell would they reassure me if they feel aggrieved?? I’ve been here before – after a fallout with a friend, they were the one in the wrong, so I expected them to put in the effort to fix things…. they didn’t want to bother, so chose to fallout with me again and blame it all on me. It was easier. That’s when I learnt I wasn’t worth fighting for. I wasn’t worthy of ‘effort’. That’s where my self-esteem was buried. That friends didn’t value me enough to work things out like adults. I’m scared at the moment, because of similarities to the past. I may have come across as harsh, angry and bitter, but it’s not at all how I feel. I feel very vulnerable and quite broken actually. I wish I could communicate my feelings more appropriately so people understood, rather than alienating myself like I have.  I don’t know the answer. It’s hard not having an ‘adviser’. All I know is I have to protect myself in the coming days. I can’t afford to expose myself to emotions at the moment… yesterday was a good example of why… I ended up experiencing an ‘episode’. Have to stay safe for now.

I did manage to throw out lots of stuff today, and bag up some things for charity. That’s a good thing, as I’m usually hopeless at letting go of stuff. But it felt therapeutic to throw away things which no longer serve me. And while life is pretty rubbish right now, I’m looking forward to seeing my little gerbil friends over the weekend hopefully! Other than that it’s a self-care week. I hope to be blogging informative / anti-stigma material again soon. Hope everyone’s well, have a good weekend.

xxxx

Exodus Of Friends.

*Bad language*

 

 

I am the most alone I’ve ever been in my life. And it’s the worst time it could happen. I have nothing left. My mental health is the worst it’s been in many years. I’m grieving for the first time in my life. All of my friends managed to miss the fact I went through the first year mark last month. Look, I know it wasn’t my mum or my dad I lost, so people think ‘What’s the big deal?? It was only your granddad‘ but for fuck’s sake, it was my first major loss. He mattered to ME. I’ve not experienced the grieving process before. I had never gone to a funeral. My first funeral I’ll remember for how my extended family fucked it up. I had never been through the one year mark. I needed to feel the support of people. There was none. Now I’ll remember that first year for the wrong reasons – for the lack of care from friends. I can only assume it’s because they figure I wasn’t that close to him, and all grandparents die. But there is a hole in the world without him. We’re doing our best to carry on, but life is different now. Other people get words of support and comfort on their relatives’ anniversary dates, even years later, but I didn’t get a single nod for his first one… my first one. I can understand if I hadn’t posted about it, but I did. Several times.

This is where a lot of my hurt is stemming from at the moment. This is what made me split on everyone. It’s only been made worse by the fact I’ve disappeared for two weeks, and nobody’s even been in touch to check I’m okay. I don’t know what would be worse – that they’re purposefully avoiding me, and not talking to me because they’re annoyed with me, or that they have just forgotten to get in touch / that I exist. Both are highly offensive. The amount of time that’s passed with nobody caring is too much now. I’ve passed the point of no-return. I have to assume I’ve upset them, or they’ve simply stopped giving a damn about me. In which case fine. I’m not going to apologise for feeling like nobody cares. I’m not going to apologise for expressing that my mental illness is having this impact and that I needed people to reassure me and support me. I was told that my friends aren’t worthy of me. I personally wouldn’t say that. But I did deserve better than this. I am deeply upset at my irrelevance. I feel like an outsider to all of them. But to be honest I wouldn’t be able to see a way back from this now….

With the splitting and anger actually comes guilt, shame and the feeling that I’m selfish. Whenever I’ve felt nobody was there for me before, and someone explained why they weren’t there I’ve felt awful, as they had their own stuff to deal with. So now, whenever I’m upset that I’ve been neglected and abandoned, I automatically feel as though I don’t deserve support, because I’m not there for others. I automatically feel guilty and selfish for the assumptions my mind makes.

I’ve not had an experience like this before, where I’ve been so outspoken about my feelings on this subject. I worry people may have read things and it may have pushed people further away. But there’s nothing I can do about that now. The trouble is, those thoughts send me into a shutdown mode, where I resign myself to having lost everyone, so I don’t try to reach out anymore… and then I’m full of self-pity for causing this mass exodus of friends myself.

It takes me on a tumultuous journey of emotions inside. And the only time anyone would know about it, is when I post something online, or write a blog like this. I can’t reach out and talk to people directly now. It’s become too complex. This is my only outlet. I tried explaining my fears, my needs, my emotions, and either nobody cared enough to read, or they read it and still didn’t care. It really felt like a blanket abandonment. One person was ‘liking’ my posts. But nobody was talking to me… not when it mattered.

I’ve given up now. I may as well be dead to them.

If anyone asked how I am now I wouldn’t even know how to answer. Of course when people ask that they never really want to know how you are anyway. But I’m not able to say ‘I’m okay’. I still hurt myself. My trichotillomania (hair-pulling) is out of control. I’m so depressed and anxious I don’t want to leave the house. I’m not looking after myself. I’m still unwell physically after two months. I think I’m in a cycle – where I feel worse mentally because of physical illness, but my illness won’t clear off because I’m low mentally. I’m still struggling with grief and also with the transference stuff. I’m struggling to do my voluntary work. My ‘mentor’ is on the other side of the world. My ‘boss’ doesn’t seem to understand my mental illness. My family are all I have right now – and I’m so lucky to have them. But I’m not opening up to them about what’s wrong at the moment. All they know is I’m not well physically. So I’m completely alone in my pain and depression. I have no therapist. All I have is the occasional reply to blog posts or on Twitter. But I brought this on myself. It’s just a shame it came to this, and nobody broke my fall in time.

There was a point a couple of weeks ago, when I was going to contact one friend, and ask for her help, as I didn’t know what to do, as I could sense all this happening…. but I never sent that message. I closed my account, and even she hasn’t been in touch. My problem was never with her. But now it’s with everyone. I wish I had said something because now I’m stuck. My presence can’t matter that much to anyone, if they don’t even notice my absence. 

It’s going to be hard to see friendship in the same light anymore. This has totally trashed my self-esteem beyond repair. I can’t even pick myself up and move on, finding new friends, as it’s damaged me that much. I feel like an awful person. And I don’t have friends to help pull me out of my beliefs anymore. So I’ve given up on myself. I’ve given up on people. I’ve given up on working and going out. I’ve given up on life.

It was so bad in my head yesterday, that I had to tie my hair back and wear a beanie hat, to stop me pulling hairs out. And I took the battery out of my clock, because the ticking was driving me mad, and making me aware of the passage of time. I still haven’t put it back in. Today is a worse day. I won’t go into that though. But I’m shutting myself away. My phone is off. I’m done with everyone and everything. There are two people who have noticed my existence in the last few weeks – hopefully they know who they are, and know how much it means to me – they reminded me I’m not a ghost and that they can see me. I am sorry to those two that I’m still deeply upset, and it would seem like their care isn’t enough. I hope they don’t think I’m ungrateful. But the damage that’s been done is too deep, that I can’t just get over it. Not this time.

I’ve never felt this ‘done with everything’. I’ve never given up on people like this. I’d normally close my account for a few days, gain a better perspective and rejoin. My perspective isn’t changing… not for the better anyway. It’s only getting worse, the more days that pass. I can’t see me ever getting back to posting on Facebook again. Because nobody gives a shit. I’ve been in these places before, where I’ve thought, ‘Why bother posting that, nobody will be interested in it…’ and usually I’m right. But in the past it didn’t totally stop me. It has now. I don’t believe anyone is interested in anything I have to say. They don’t care when I post about grief or mental illness stuff. They don’t care when I share light-hearted stuff. They attack me when I share political / news stuff, because I’m the outsider in that regard. I’m the ‘alien’.

I’m shutting down more and more every day. But I don’t think I care anymore. It’s only heading in one direction. I can’t see it improving now. So I’m kind of giving up, and just letting it drown me. Everyone else was fine to watch me drown. So I’ll let myself drown. Without an audience though.

I’m A Ghost.

“I wish I was as invisible as you make me feel”

 

*Contains swearing & a lot of negativity*

 

I spent a lot of time over the last few months, feeling guilty for not being there for my friends who are struggling, because I’ve been unable to cope myself. But in the last couple of days I realised something… when I’ve checked to see how they’re doing I notice all the support they have from others. They’re not alone. Although I’M not there for them, at least other people are. So I don’t feel as guilty now. What I do feel is a tad resentful. Because I don’t have support from others. People always rally around everyone else, and make sure they’re supported. But I have to suffer on my own. I don’t have anyone. I have no partner. I have no friends right now, that I know of. My work friend is on the other side of the world. So I have nobody outside these four walls who I can talk to. Yet I’ve been feeling guilty for not being there for others! Well who the hell is there for ME?!

I might as well say it – I’m done with everyone. I’ve been severely let down by people and I’ve been left alone in my own head for too long now, that I’ve reached the point of no return. I don’t exist to my friends, so they don’t exist to me anymore. If they want me back in their lives it’ll take some big fucking effort. Anytime I’ve needed my friends to be there for me, they’ve disappointed me – times that actually really mattered to me. I can’t forgive that. It would be different if ONE person had been there, but none of them have. It feels like a mass abandonment of me. Like they all got together and decided, ‘Let’s ignore her and let her spiral until she kills herself’. I feel like they’re all sat there willing me to end it. No, that’s not true… actually I feel I don’t even enter their minds for a second. I think I’m a hazy memory now. I’ve been forgotten. Like they’re probably all ‘Enjoying the peace – some people are so toxic! Lol’, as Hannah once said about me.

I feel toxic. Not in a malicious way, just in that I feel I’m a Debbie Downer, a drain and a burden to everyone I come into contact with. I feel as though people would be well within their rights to avoid me, for their own sanity. I feel that. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt that that’s what they’re doing.

 

I know I'm a drag. I know I'm hard work right now. If it was within my power to be my old fun,

 

Too often people say to avoid negative people… cut out the toxic people. I can understand that, however if you’re friends with someone and they seem negative / depressed, is it not the right thing to do, to care about them and help them out of their depressive state? Or at least TRY. I know I’m a drag. I know I’m hard work right now. If it was within my power to be my old fun, bubbly, silly self then I’d do it, but believe it or not I actually need the help, love and support of those who are meant to care about me, in order to achieve that. I need to not be abandoned right now. I need effort, stability and consistency. I need advice. I need practical help. I need gestures, words… anything! Anything but this gut-wrenching, deafening, murderous silence.

I’ve been off Facebook for over a week – some people have my email address, some have my number, some can contact me in other ways…. have they? No. Nobody gives a shit about how I am. They’ve all given up on me. And you know what, now I’ve given up on them. They had an abundance of opportunities to care about me, and show I mattered to them. It’s over. I am officially ‘friendless’ now.

I don’t think I’ve ever split on such a major scale before. Usually it’s just one person, but I’m astounded at how many people decided I was no longer worth talking to…. so I’m splitting on the whole lot of them. I wish they’d understand that when this happens I ‘hate’ them. I’m furious and I’m deeply hurt. I feel they hate me, and are glad to see the back of me. But this isn’t real hate. This is feeling shunned by them, and putting up a defence in the form of anger. It’s protecting myself from the rejection feeling. It’s a scary and lonely way to feel. I don’t hate them, I actually really cared about them, but I didn’t feel it was reciprocal. The anger comes from the fact I reached out several times, expressing my struggle, and nobody stepped in to intervene. Nobody helped me. It felt like they were indifferent, and watching me drown, and didn’t give a shit. It’s almost as if they thought I was attention-seeking or being a drama-queen. In which case fuck everyone anyway, because if someone is crying out for ‘attention’ – i.e. HELP / SUPPORT you bloody give it, you don’t deny them it…

Believe it or not I’m not making a drama out of things. I’m not playing some dumb game – to get people to pay attention to me. If they think that, then they have no clue about mental health, or how to be a decent friend. I’m in a fuck-load of pain, with depression worse than I can ever recall it. I feel isolated, paranoid, and hate myself. Seeing everyone ignoring me, and happily carrying on with their lives, excluding just me, made me feel shit. They have no clue how bloody lonely I am. And friends shouldn’t ever make you feel like you’re alone. I came off Facebook to protect myself from the constant feeling of rejection. But yes, I secretly hoped that if anyone cared they’d find a way to get in touch with me and check on me. It’s not the reason I did it, but it would’ve been nice. Now I know where I stand with everyone.

None of them could ever understand how black my mind is right now. I don’t want to live life. And having to live it on my own, without social interaction is so much harder. Okay, I was struggling with ‘socialising’, and wanted to hide away from the world, but it would’ve been nice to be encouraged and included.

 

I'm sorry I exist. I'm sorry I was never enough to matter. I'm sorry I made no difference to anyone'

 

They’ll never know how much they’ve hurt me, as they don’t know about my past. They don’t know about the years of isolation, social-exclusion and bullying I received as a child. I feel sick that I’m experiencing the same feelings now, in my adult life. My blog and occasionally my Twitter account, are the only outlets I have… the only contact with the outside world. I’ve realised there’s no point sharing my thoughts / voice with my friends…. I’m only ever met with silence. It’s like having a friendship with a brick wall, and talking to it. What’s the point? So I’m silent now. I feel like a ghost. I once used a forum, and my avatar on that said “I wish I was as invisible as you make me feel”. Feels very apt at the moment.

I’m sorry I exist. I’m sorry I was never enough to matter. I’m sorry I made no difference to anyone’s lives. I’m sorry I wasn’t a good enough friend. I’m sorry my mental illness pushed you all away. I’m sorry I had to put my mental health first. I’m sorry I asked too much of my friends. I shouldn’t have needs. I shouldn’t have emotions. I shouldn’t have expectations. I’m a tiny speck of shit on the bottom of the world’s shoes. I’m not deserving of care, love, respect, concern and help. An endless string of people have taught me that. In the past I’d have felt good enough about myself to say ‘Your loss!’ but…. I now know I’m no loss. There is no loss. But you’ve certainly all won.

I’m defeated.

Open Letter: Thank You.

To everyone I know,

Thank you for caring. Thank you for checking up on me. Thank you for answering my pleas for help. Thank you for noticing I was drowning, and for choosing to reach out your hands and save me. Thank you for valuing my life when I couldn’t value it myself. Thank you for noticing I’m gone, and for worrying about me. Thank you for being my friends. Thank you for including me. Thank you for talking to me, and inviting me to meet up. Thank you for telling me you care. Thank you for reassuring me you’re not going anywhere, and that I’m not an awful person. Thank you for letting me know you miss me.

Thank you all for passing on your wishes and letting me know you were thinking of me, on the first anniversary of the death of my granddad, my first loss, it meant a lot to know I wasn’t alone in my grief. Thank you for letting me know that people are there for me in hard times. Thank you for the sympathy when I was so ill I was scared I wouldn’t be able to breathe. Thank you for showing concern about my worsening mental health. Thank you for not taking my behaviour personally, and for seeing it as me needing your support. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for forgiving me and helping me improve my life. Thank you for your great communication and advice. Thank you for not hating me.

Thank you for understanding my mental illness, or at least taking the time to learn about it if you didn’t understand it. Thank you for listening to me. Thank you for validating my feelings, my experiences and my way of thinking. Thank you for not acting like you know my own illness better than I do. Thank you for making me feel safe to open up to you.

Thank you for not taking sides against me. Thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt. Thank you for being so compassionate. Thank you for your patience and tolerance of the difficulties I face because of BPD. Thank you for understanding my fear of abandonment and for not putting me through that fear, by leaving me for weeks and weeks at a time, isolated, thinking you all hate me. Thank you so much for easing my fear. Thank you for putting my mind at rest. Thank you for rallying round me at the shittest point in my life. Thank you for remembering who I am outside of this mental illness. Thank you for wanting me to stay alive, and caring about my desire to end my life.

Thank you for sharing with me. Thank you for opening up to me, and letting me BE a friend to you. Thank you for being close to me and for giving me a hug when I so desperately need it. Thank you for seeing that I’m in need of that kind of contact, having nobody for myself I don’t have an emotional connection, so it means a lot. Thank you for putting me as a person before my political beliefs. Thank you for seeing my worth. Thank you for making sure I see my OWN worth. Thank you for wishing the best for me. Thank you for hoping I find my own happiness with someone one day. Thank you for understanding the loneliness I feel, and making allowances, and making a tiny bit of time for me, to make me feel less alone. Thank you for actively doing things to make me feel better, rather than just saying you wish there was something you could do. Thank you for taking the initiative and doing something nice for me. Thank you for appreciating the things I did for you. Thank you for understanding why I can’t be there for you right now. Thank you for telling me you’re not going to leave me. Thank you for seeing my good qualities and reminding me of them when I’m being hard on myself. Thank you for giving me hope. Thank you for encouraging me. Thank you for your silent presence when I don’t want to talk, but don’t want to be alone. Thank you for making me feel good about myself. Thank you for not seeing me as a lost cause.

Thank you for all the effort you put into caring about me, and for not being indifferent towards me. Thank you for making me feel you can’t live without me. Thank you for leaving me in no doubt that you’re my friend. Thank you for your consistency, your loyalty and your empathy. Thank you for standing by my side through everything and never forgetting I’m your friend.

Thank you.

Thank you for thinking everything I’ve just said is true, when it’s the furthest from the truth it could ever be.

xxxx