Mental Illness Is A Thief.

I once wrote a list of positives about myself…. I have that list in front of me… I don’t remember when I wrote it, but I can only assume I was in a better state of mind, as I’d find it hard to say many good things about myself at the moment.

Here’s what I wrote:

 

  • I am sensitive to the feelings of others.
  • I have a good heart.
  • I am approachable.
  • I am honest and trustworthy.
  • I am protective of those I care about.
  • I am creative.
  • I have a good sense of humour.
  • I am respectful to people and animals and the world alike.
  • I have good morals.
  • I don’t let people down.
  • I say what I mean and I mean what I say.
  • Even if I sometimes doubt it, I am mentally strong – I’m still standing.
  • I like my own company.
  • I don’t need anyone else to complete me.
  • I enjoy the freedom of being alone.
  • I am a reserved person. I save my best for those who earn it.
  • I take the time to care about others.
  • I am polite.
  • I am capable of learning.
  • I am thoughtful.
  • I am not too proud to apologise or ask for help.
  • I am understanding.
  • I am down-to-earth.
  • I have good taste in music.
  • I may not have much but I have a lot to offer.

 

 

 

Mental illness robs you of many of those things. It also robs you of the ability to see any good in you, even when it is still there. That’s when you need your friends to remind you of who you are. I had a friend say to me just yesterday some of the good things about me. I may not believe them all, but hearing it does help… if for no other reason than to know they don’t all hate me!

 

When I look at the list, there are some things I feel remain – good taste in music, creative, sense of humour – these tend to be a constant. Other things are subject to change… for instance I do let people down… I’m not that approachable anymore… I don’t always take the time to care about others… I’m not always understanding, though I try my best to understand the motives and feelings of others.

 

The reality is that when you’re ill certain parts of you close off. You can’t be the person you’ve always been, because you’re fighting a battle nobody else knows about. The worst thing that can happen is for someone to judge you on who you are as a result of mental ill health. It makes you think that’s who you are as a person.

 

I received a message from a friend the other day which threw into turmoil my image of myself. Those of us with BPD struggle with a sense of who we are at the best of times…. It made me feel like I’m a terrible person. It created chaos in me, because everything said to me was a misinterpretation and misunderstanding of me, my words and behaviour. So whilst I was showing certain positive qualities (in my mind at least!), they twisted it into me showing all the worst qualities they could think of. And the trouble with someone like me, is that others’ opinions of me become MY opinion of me. I think if one person thinks something, others must too, and therefore it must be true.

 

They may not have said the words, but the words they did say painted a picture of me as a selfish, controlling bitch. Instead of seeing me as someone in huge emotional pain, traumatised, mentally ill and doing the best I could to survive… alone, they warped the truth and made me the ‘bad guy’.

 

Part of me was furious with them and thought what a horrible person they are and how much I hate them. But the rest of me took it as a reflection of ME. If I’m not all the bad things my friend thinks I am, then I must at least come across that way, either because of my illness or because I don’t communicate my reality correctly.

 

They were upset with me for blogging about them, as they interpreted it in a negative way, not as intended. And they asked if I could understand how that would feel…. yes, I do understand. And my initial reaction was that I should blog about what an awful person I am. Even though my blog was not about attacking them, and was actually about explaining that my own mind (my illness) is the problem – therefore I was effectively taking the blame (even though mental illness is not my fault!) …. they interpreted it as me blaming them and painting them in a bad light. So to ‘even it up’, in their mind at least, I felt I should tell you all how damn awful I am…. even though I already know that, and I’m constantly putting myself down for having an illness! Here you go:

 

  • I am a bad friend.
  • I don’t deserve friendship, happiness or love.
  • I’m too honest.
  • I’m selfish.
  • I’m messed up.
  • I’m manipulative.
  • I’m attention-seeking.
  • I’m a bitch.
  • I’m too demanding.
  • I’m a Debbie Downer.
  • I’m boring.
  • I’m lazy.
  • I’m a failure.
  • I’m a bitter, angry, resentful person.
  • I’m unforgiving.
  • I’m immature.
  • I’m clueless about real life and real problems.
  • I’m nasty.
  • I deserve pain.
  • I don’t deserve to live.
  • I’m hateful.
  • I’m a drama-queen.
  • I’m fat and ugly.
  • I’m stupid.
  • I’m an embarrassment to know.
  • I’m a terrible person.

 

This is the list I feel my friend would want me to remind myself of. At a time when I need reminding of my good qualities, they only want to make me think bad things about myself. Even if it’s unintentional, the way they talk to me illustrates their opinions of me.

 

But I look at this list, and as much as it came to me a lot quicker and easier than a positive one ever could, deep down I know it’s not the truth. Some of it is. I am fat and ugly, I am too honest and at present I am rather hate-filled. But most other things are as a result of my illness. Some of them aren’t even true then – it would just be an opinion of someone uneducated. I appear selfish, manipulative, attention-seeking, lazy, a bitch and a drama-queen, because I have a mental illness that has taken over and is close to winning. But I am none of those things. I do know that.

 

Whilst I feel like a terrible person and at present I question my original list about the ‘having a good heart’, I know what my intentions are. A lot of people may think bad things about me and my motives. Just as my friend interpreted my blog as me attacking them, rather than explaining my illness to them, other people probably think I’m a certain type of person. If my friend thinks I’m selfish, heartless and controlling then I’d like to say this…..

 

You’re wrong. I have a heart and you bloody broke it. While I might not appear to care about others, I care about them sometimes more than I care about myself. I have a lot of compassion and empathy. It may not seem it, but I AM capable of putting myself in others’ shoes… something they seem unable to do with me. I try my best to understand others whilst they don’t even try to understand me and my illness. I am aware of people having their own lives and stresses – I’m not selfish… but being in distress can make me seem that way, like I’m ignorant to the existence of others’ lives. I worry about them and show concern for them, whilst they just attack me and make me feel like a burden. I take my time to consider my responses to people…. I don’t want to hurt people. People don’t seem to do the same for me. They all just react. I’m actually a very reasonable person, where others without my illness seem to be the unreasonable ones. I will apologise when I hurt people – none of them do it for me. Even if they’re the ones who owe me an apology, they just double down on the hurt or give a false apology, whereas I feel genuine guilt, shame and remorse and am genuinely sorry (and I’m the one with BPD!). I am thoughtful, considerate and to some degree kind. Even if people hurt me, I’ll still send cards, I’ll still send thoughts on anniversaries, I’ll still try my best not to let their bitterness towards me change who I am at my core. I still try my best to be gentle even when hurt. It’s difficult though.

 

So whilst people are out there thinking bad things about me, I am here, hurt by their low opinions of me…. their misunderstandings of me and who I really am. The only reason I appear to show more of the qualities from the second list than the first, is because I am unwell. I’ve always been unwell – I just used to be able to hide it better. I’d wear a mask for everyone, even my best friend. After my granddad died last year my mental health deteriorated, and after a breakdown at therapy a year ago I’ve lost control. With being abandoned and isolating myself this year it’s just got worse and worse, until I can no longer hide how I’m feeling. I can’t wear the mask. I suppose if you were a fan of using the words ‘high-functioning’ and ‘low-functioning’, I’ve always been high-functioning…. now not so much. Now I’m a lot lower-functioning and my illness is plain to see…. except to those who refuse to see it as an illness. They will just think I’ve become a bitch. Thank God for those who see it for what it is and still believe in me. Thank you to those people. ❤

 

I am many of those things on that first list… inside. I wish I could show them on the outside again, because where I don’t, people think I’ve changed – I haven’t. I just can’t express the good as loudly as the bad is screaming from me. It then makes people treat me differently, which makes my illness worse and makes me feel worse about myself.

 

It is SO important if you know someone with a mental illness, to never treat them differently because of their illness, or to blame them for how they are. How they appear to you may not be how they feel inside. You need to remind them of the good in them, because mental illness is a thief, and an illusionist… it plays tricks on the mind, whilst stealing the good. It’s not the fault of the person with the illness. We never asked to be ill, and we likely hate ourselves enough, without feeling you hate us too.

 

I may not like who I am right now. I may not be able to confidently state to the world who I am and make a list…. but I DO know who I am at my core. And when people try and misrepresent me it frustrates and upsets me. But they’re not my concern. Let them think what they like. I’ve lost people in the past because they chose to stick by their false opinions of me, rather than admitting they were wrong, or trying to understand my illness. I don’t say this in a big-headed way, as I don’t actually think much of myself currently, but… ‘It’s their loss’. If people want to lose me because of their inability to listen and understand my illness, and because of the qualities they lack, then so be it. I shouldn’t have to explain myself to them. They should know who I am.

 

I struggle enough to hold on to who I am. I don’t need people gaslighting me.

 

One day I hope to rediscover the good qualities in me… those I listed, and hopefully more. But right now I just have to exist with my reality and try not to hate myself any more than I already do. I know some very nice and wise people would say to cut myself some slack… to not be so hard on myself. They’re right. It’s not easy but I have to try and block out other people’s opinions of me and forgive myself for being too ill to be the true me. Hopefully it’ll return in time.

 

xxxx

Better Without Me.

One of the most distressing feelings I have with BPD is a feeling of paranoia and ‘possessiveness’ when it comes to friendships. I haven’t always had it. It seems to be when I’m under more stress, or my mental health is worse like it is now. If I hardly hear from a friend anymore, and I see evidence of them having fun with someone else, seemingly happier without me, I feel a pang of something… it’s not jealousy… it’s not even possessiveness as such. It’s more a kick to my self-esteem. It just starts me attacking myself.

I have no issue with friends of mine having other friends. Yes, perhaps I’m a little envious of them having other friends, when I don’t. I only had the one in the end. And of course it kicks in the loss of all the friends I did have before 2012 happened. But it’s not a problem.

The problem is I automatically go to ‘I’ve been replaced’. ‘That person is their new best friend’. ‘They’re happier without me’. They look it. They sound it. They have more in common now with the new person – I’m single, childless, depressed and suicidal. Why would anyone choose me as a friend? I feel I’m being ditched. This could be because of my mental illness, telling me this is the case. It could be because life has changed, and I used to see my friend once or twice a week, when our lives had more in common, and this year I’ve seen her seven times in nine months… twice in January, twice in February, once in March, twice in June…. with two lots of three months in between where I don’t even hear from her… maybe that paired with my mental illness makes me arrive at this point, of feeling it’s over. I’ve been replaced by someone better.

I know it might not be that I’m being replaced… she might just have several friends. But the reason it feels that way is because she sees other people, seems happier and more like her old self, she doesn’t see me, give me the care and understanding I need… and all of that mixed in with the paranoia and depression, and the state of my mental health right now, it tells me … that she’s better off without me. That if she’s friends with me anymore it’s purely out of pity or just because we’ve been friends a long time.

I feel us drifting apart, and nobody can understand what that does to someone with BPD and a fear of abandonment… to lose your rock. To see it happening gradually over time. It’s mental torture. In some ways it’s worse than a sudden abandonment. Believe me, I wish I could be one of those laid-back friends, who you don’t see for ages, but you don’t stress about it, you never doubt the friendship and you pick up where you left off. Perhaps in the past I could have done that. In fact I think I have. But so much has changed in a year or so. There’s so much I had to go through alone. So much that happened that I wanted to share with someone, and I have nobody to share it with. To ask what I’ve been up to since the last time we spoke or met… that’s three months… you’d need three days to hear the answer. I feel so disconnected… detached… and it’s nothing personal. I feel that way to everyone and everything. I feel like I’m a non-existence just floating around a world where everyone else lives. It’s not just about her. But it feels worse towards her, because I felt so close to her. It’s like it would feel if I felt disconnected from my family…. thankfully I’m not. They’re the only stable thing I have left, and they’re always there. But to have someone who felt like family drift away over time – yes, maybe because of circumstances beyond their control – but to have so much distance during a mental health crisis… for so long… that they feel like a stranger to you… it is hard to get your head around that. It’s not just your common ‘friends become strangers’ thing either. I’ve had that happen many times in my life, usually brutally. This is something else. This is ‘It FEELS like we’ve become strangers’ but I don’t just feel disconnected from her… but also from existence. Therefore it is hard to challenge my thoughts, because I’m disconnected from life. It’s like the thought is floating around in my head, and normally that would be fine, because I am grounded. But I feel like the thought is floating around in my head… and I’m floating around in existence. So nothing feels safe. Nothing can ground me and reassure me.

But more than this, if I expressed my feelings about this, I don’t believe I would be reassured. I believe having these sorts of paranoid thoughts about friendships will actually push people away. Like if I’m ‘possessive’ over my friend – or seem that way based on my mental illness and paranoia – it will make me a less desirable friend. It will make her more likely to replace me with the other one. I also wouldn’t believe it if I was told I’m also her friend. I’d feel it was pity. When I expressed pain at the distance between us before, I heard things that made me feel I’m ‘too much’. That she needed a break from me… time to focus on herself and other things. I respect this. Six months of this year I’ve respected this and kept to myself. Respecting it doesn’t mean I’m not hurt and won’t sometimes express that hurt. What am I supposed to do? Suffer in silence? I have nobody to talk to about anything.

I know I’m too much. I know people need time away from me. I know my mental illness is draining, and I have nothing good to offer anyone at the moment. I know that all I am is a burden. I know I bring the mood down – why do you think I keep to myself nowadays?? I know my inner turmoil when expressed, makes others feel like shit. I know people would be happier with me dead. Okay. I know that. I know I’m just one more problem that people don’t want to have to deal with. I don’t need reminding of it by people I care about. I’m too much. And I don’t matter to people.

All I’m saying is that I saw this coming. I always knew life would change and I’d lose relevance. But while my friend’s life has moved on, and she has other priorities now, I’m still traumatised and stuck in a time she’s left behind. It’s not her fault. But I wish people could understand this. While their lives have moved on, my life was destroyed in the process and I’m still living in that time. Losing a social life doesn’t exactly help me to move on and find my own happiness, and to evolve with them. So when I say I need my friends, it’s because I have nothing else. And when I feel like I don’t have friends it hurts … because I’m still stuck in 2012, and it’s like losing all my friends all over again. It’s magnifying the fact that I STILL have no friends… I’m STILL stuck here.. and everyone else is merrily moving along with their lives, forgetting me, and expecting me to save myself…. alone. 

I would have loved to share in everything with my friend. To have found someone for myself, and to have children at the same time as her, so our children could be friends, and I’d be part of the ‘club’, and everything would be happy and jolly and great… it KILLS me that that’s never going to happen. It KILLS me that I’m watching her go through all this, and I’m just a nobody… I have no children. I have no relationship. I know nothing of the world she lives in, and we both know it. I remember with another friend who used to rub it in my face, that I don’t know what it’s like to have XYZ like she had (like a house, partner, pets, job etc) – because of course I have and always have had NOTHING. So I don’t know the stresses of life for people who have it all do I….? So if I get upset about not seeing my friend, or not feeling like she cares, I know that the inner response at least, will be ‘You have no idea what it’s like trying to juggle all the things of an adult life – you live at home, don’t have a partner / children, a job etc.’… exactly. I don’t have any of that. And if you knew what it was like to not have any of that, and to lose all your friends as they move on with all of that, you’d never think something like that again. I actually feel like crying now, I’m that upset by it.

I don’t have the life I wish I did. It hasn’t turned out how I thought it might. It’s paralysing. It’s frustrating. It’s deeply upsetting. I know that people are busy. I know my friend is busy. I know she has a lot to think about.  But this year I feel like a burden. I feel she’s reached the point where something had to go… and it was me. Her boring old, whiny, depressed drag of a friend. And if she hadn’t already concluded that herself, then me expressing my feelings about it will have done it for her. That’s what I mean – it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, but one I couldn’t avoid. My BPD and fear of abandonment saw to that. 

I honestly believe she should dump me as a friend, and find her happiness again without me. I’ve been such a drag the last few years. She won’t know who I am now. I’m different. All the years she’s known me she’s never seen me as bad as I am now. I’ve had low points, and she’s stuck by me through all of them. But this is something else. This is the lowest point ever… mixed with grief, trauma, isolation, and all the worst parts of BPD coming out in me. That’s something I’ve not had before. The symptoms ripping through my life like they have been and still are. I have had the symptoms before, but never to this extreme. It’s not in my control. And I hate who I am. I would be hurt, but I wouldn’t blame her if she gave up on me. She should. I’m not a good friend to her anymore. In fact right now I’m doubting if I ever was a good friend to her.

I’ve become selfish. I’ve closed down from everyone – I find it hard to talk one-on-one with people anymore… I wouldn’t know how to talk with her. I’m struggling so much with not wanting to live, that it’s hard to think of the feelings of others. People might think me pulling away from them is because I don’t care about them. This isn’t true. I just don’t think they care about me, and it’s protecting me from that. But when they don’t try to pull me back, that tells me I was right, and I never mattered to them. Self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s one of the hardest aspects of this mental illness. The fear of abandonment makes you pull away, and you end up abandoned anyway. And logic would say just to not pull away, but that’s rational logic, in a sound mind. And that’s where we end up feeling so misunderstood. Because people think of us in terms of ordinary thinking / behaving people. So they don’t understand why we say and do the things we do. 

It’s exhausting having this illness, trying to stay alive and trying to battle crippling paranoid thoughts… this is the first time in my life I’ve experienced paranoia to this degree, and it’s hard to challenge anything as I feel so detached from reality. And the trouble is that people’s responses matter. If they’re upset by my paranoid thoughts, and respond to me in a short, sharp, defensive way, it won’t help ease the paranoia… it feeds it. That’s been my experience this year. It makes me detach from reality even more. It makes me think they’re mad with me… they’re getting fed up with me… I’m ‘too much’ again… they’ll leave me for sure now… So it’s become this thing lately that it’s better to keep to myself, because anything anyone says is highly likely to make it worse. Even if they’re trying to be helpful I’m hyper-sensitive at the moment, and see everything as a threat… an attack… a veiled abandonment.

It’s like in my mind at the moment, people can’t do anything right. My friend will have a very hard time reaching me now. I will analyse every word said, and every word NOT said. I will say I want to know she cares, and then not believe her when she says she does. I will hear reasons as excuses, because of past experiences with people she knows about. I will not trust in the long-term, as things have improved at times and then reverted back to this, and I’m sick of that rollercoaster. But mainly I just don’t know what to say to her anymore. And it’s not fair on her. It’s not fair that she would have to walk on eggshells. That I don’t trust her or believe in our friendship anymore. It’s not right for her to feel neglected by me. Or criticised by me because of my paranoia. It’s not fair on her to make bits of effort, like I’ve wished for, for so long, and to have those bits of effort rejected, because I can’t communicate anymore… because too much is going on inside me to be able to form words and converse with her. I know how unfair it all is on her. That’s why I know she’ll be better off without me. I don’t want to be the cause of unhappiness for her. I’d rather she was happy with her new friends, and her family and didn’t have to worry about me anymore. Yes it would break my heart, but I live with a permanent broken heart anyway, because I feel like a burden and I feel neglected. No point someone else being dragged down with me. 

Inside I feel flooded with devastating emotions and so much pain and distress… but outwardly it’s like I’ve turned to stone, and silence is my preferred response.  It’s not about ignoring people. It’s just not having the words. I’ve written blogs, I’ve made videos… I’ve said all the words I possibly could. All were ignored. I’ve lived my life quietly this year, without anyone to confide in. It’s hard to open up again. I don’t feel I want to. I don’t feel I can. I’ve accepted my fate, and that I’m alone and have to do things alone. I don’t know how you can ever let people back in once you’ve reached that point.

I have just reached the point where I have to live each day suffering. I have to take it a minute at a time, and those minutes are filled with paranoia, self-hatred, screaming emotions and suicidal thoughts. But I have to just tolerate every minute, and not beat myself up for feeling how I do. I have to accept that my thoughts may just be paranoia… that in this moment I cannot safely challenge those thoughts… I just have to hold on to the belief that one day my mental health might improve, and I’ll see the truth more clearly, but that right now this is me, and what I think and feel is my reality, even if others think it’s distorted. I have to just bear the pain and the sick feeling I get when thinking about everything, and just breathe. For so long now I’ve been screaming inside to ‘fix things’… to get rid of the horrible feelings, as I feel they’re going to lead to my suicide. But now I have to stop looking at the bigger picture of life, of friendships, of my mental illness, and take it a moment at a time and just survive the little moments. Hopefully recovery will happen in its own time. Hopefully resolution of friendships will occur on their own, either by people going above and beyond, or by walking away. I have to ignore the cries inside about losing people, and focus on not losing myself to this world. I really want to at the moment. Nobody in this world knows how much I want to not exist right now. Everything is too much. And paranoia is scary when you’ve never really experienced it before. I have to wait a month to see my doctor. It’s going to be a long month. I wonder if I’ll hear from CMHT by then or whether they’ve rejected me already. Life is so difficult right now. I’m trapped within myself, and that inner experience is hell. 

Why I Died.

This is a difficult month for me, because of reminders of the past. I know people would just say not to think about it. But it’s not as simple as that. Life traumatises me. Things that happened six years ago still haunt me. I’ve never been given the opportunity to work through these issues with therapy or the like. The last therapy course I did made a point that they don’t look at the past, they look at the now… CBT and mindfulness don’t cater for those who have unresolved pain and trauma. I don’t know what help there is out there, and if any of it could help me at this point. I feel like a lost cause now anyway.

 

It would just be nice to have my pain recognised, understood, validated and to be told how I can let it out. I don’t want to be told to just ‘move on’, ‘let it go’ and ‘forget it’. To be told those things is to misunderstand me and misunderstand my mental illness.

 

Six years ago I lost everything. My life has never been the same since. I was betrayed by one of my closest friends, hurt by another, hurt by a man I had feelings for, a friend passed away, I had a bit of a breakdown whilst I was abroad, lost another close friend – all of this happened in the space of a couple of months. I lost my group of friends. My social life became zero. My confidence and self-esteem plummeted. I could no longer trust anyone. I had no hope. I was destroyed.

 

Then the next year life changed. My goddaughter was born. Wonderful. It allowed me to be a loving, fun version of me. But life changed so dramatically from how it was only a year before. It was a good change, but whilst everyone was busy moving on with their lives – my friends were all getting married, having children, growing up…. I hadn’t attained the sort of life they did. I stayed stuck in the year 2012, and everyone else’s lives happened around me. I was suddenly the only single one left. And I was not left in a good place. I don’t think they realise that yes, their lives have also changed… but they have their lives. They have their partners, they have their families. All I had was them. Their friendship with me. I was stripped of everything else in 2012. They were all I had left. My godchildren became my focus. But at the end of the day they’re not my life. They’re my friend’s life. Her life has changed, but she has a life.

 

When left alone I have no life. Nobody understands this. My life changed so drastically overnight. From a sense of belonging with friends, and support, care-free fun and socialising…. to losing it all….. to seeing everyone else settling down…. to being my fun self with the kids….. to seeing less and less of them, and of my friend … to having nothing left.

 

I’ve accepted it’s over. I’ve accepted I’ve been abandoned. I don’t even blame anyone anymore. I saw it coming years ago. I knew eventually I’d be left on my own. I’d lose relevance. I’d drop down the priority list. What do I have to offer anymore? I’m single, childless and severely depressed and broken. Who would want anything to do with me? It’s okay. I’ve made my peace with being totally alone. I’ve been feeling increasingly alone for the last couple of years. Yeah I’m upset, but best not to let it in too much. Dwelling on it would kill me. And as that’s starting to appear on the horizon now I shouldn’t really hasten it.

 

All this change in my life… and loss… losing my friend who passed away – we weren’t the closest of friends, but she was a positive influence in my life… I still miss her. Losing the guy I had feelings for – he was a jerk as it turned out and had been playing me, but it still hurt. Losing two of my best girl friends because they hurt and betrayed me. Losing another guy – a friend of mine who I thought I’d settle down with & the way he left things between us. Losing the young care-free social life and replacing it with babies (which was good – but was ‘growing up’ … only problem is I wasn’t ready & lost a social life that could help me find my own happiness). Losing my mental health and physical health. Losing my granddad… my first loss… so also losing that sense of security and safety, and that belief I’d never lose anyone. Losing my extended family because they attacked my family the day before the funeral. Losing my confidence to speak out about things, as I kept getting attacked for my views, or nobody really cared what I had to say. Losing most of my friends – not knowing why. Losing my best friend. Losing the support group from therapy, and the therapist I had feelings for. Losing the ability to talk to people anymore. Losing everything. Losing the will to live.

 

Life is loss.

 

I have lost so much over the last six years, and nobody gets that. Nobody understands how that feels, to lose things, lose people and be abandoned by everyone. To have your life changed so much. From finally having friends and building your confidence up…. to utter despair and isolation…. but having your family in tact. Having your godchildren and one friend at least. To a broken family, real grief, deteriorating mental health and nobody there for you at all through it, and losing the godchildren and friend… watching it fade away. I now have nothing left besides the closest members of my family. The world is also different from a few years ago. It’s all going to hell.

 

A part of me is quite chilled out about it though. The world is going loopy just at the right time, when I’ve lost everything. Not much left to stick around for.

 

I book to go and see things by myself again now, like I used to do before I had friends. I’m going to a show next year alone, and the cinema this week. No I don’t like going on my own particularly, but I don’t have a choice. I have two events I’m going to in the next six months where I booked two tickets – I now have nobody to ask to tag along. So will be either going with family, on my own or selling the tickets and not going.

 

Nobody understands this level of isolation I feel. I don’t have anyone to talk to about anything. That’s why I make videos and write blogs. This month is hard for many reasons – some are as far away as six years ago… some are more recent, a year ago and therapy. I can’t talk to anyone about it anymore. They all want me to just move on already and I’m sick of it. Don’t you think if I could move on I would’ve done by now. I’m not choosing this!! I tried opening up to the only person I have left who I could talk to, about how I’m struggling at the moment, and they had the same response – ‘Are you still thinking about that? How can you move on?’ … I clammed straight up and resolved never to open up about my feelings to anyone again. And I haven’t since.

 

So I truly do suffer in silence now. Yes I write. But writing doesn’t let out the internal scream in me. I can’t vocalise my feelings. That’s why I made so many video journals lately, to talk my feelings through. But I can’t have human interaction and compassion from anyone, because nobody gets it. Nobody gives me the time and care I need. Nobody asks how I am, actually wanting to know the answer and help me.

 

So yes, I am really struggling at the moment with flashbacks, distressing emotions, so much pain and turmoil, and deep loneliness and sadness. But I will never breathe a word of it to anyone in my life. I’ve closed up now. I feel everyone is sick of me still being caught up in my past and not being happy. It pushes me closer to the edge. I wonder why I bother going on if I’m such a failure that I get on everyone’s nerves. If they’ve all given up on me and think I need to ‘just let things go’ what hope is there? It’s one of the most distressing things to hear when you’re in pain because of the past…. to just let things go and to live in the here and now. Believe me I want to do that. Unfortunately for me though the here and now fucking sucks. Unless you’ve been through what I have keep your mouth shut.

 

Some people I know really don’t know how lucky they are. I wish I could hand them my pain, my memories and my mental illness, just so they could understand how impossible it feels to live my life how it is right now… alone. Abandoned. They wouldn’t last a week. Probably not even a day. And it’s what I have to endure every day of my life. And I know some of them would compare their problems with mine. They’d tell me their life isn’t that great, blah blah blah… stop trying to relate to me. You don’t understand isolation and having NOTHING. You have a partner. You have children. You have a social life. You have a job. You have a home. You have purpose. You have mental health! You cannot understand how I feel. You can’t understand how it felt to be starting to live your life finally, and to just as quickly lose everything. To have it change you as a person. And to lose even more because of that change, and because of your mental health. To lose everything you had left. Nobody could understand that. Nobody DOES understand it, clearly, as they’d be here for me if they did.

 

I’m just so sick of existing in a world where people don’t want to know me, because of my mental illness. I’m trapped. I can’t end my life because of my family. So I have to exist. But my depression and negativity offends other people and pushes them all away. So I have to exist in constant emotional pain and isolation. It’s enough to make you want to end your life. But like I said, I can’t, because of my family. I AM TRAPPED. And this is hell. And I don’t know what to do anymore.

 

I’m not who I once was. And there’s no way I can ever get that back. With every loss, a part of me dies. The best part of me died six years ago this month. But so much more … anything I had left died in the last year.

 

I need help.

 

I need someone to help me. PLEASE. I don’t know what to do anymore. Life is so dark right now. Even with support I wouldn’t know how to get through this. But I am alone. I don’t think I can do it.

 

 

The Lonely Mountain.

The Lonely Mountain

 

*Self-harm & swearing*

 

13th July 2018

Life is hard at the moment. I haven’t been coping very well. I’ve been unable to talk to people. I’ve been incredibly stressed out about politics. I’m still trying to recover from being attacked by someone because of it. I’ve been so fragile emotionally.

 

When we got through to the semi-finals in the football I felt good, but had an awful headache so went to lie down in the garden as it was so hot. Some prick let off fireworks almost over the garden… in the middle of the day! You can’t even see them, so they were obviously doing it to be noisy and anti-social! I tolerated it for a short time… well, when I say ‘tolerated’ I mean quietly swearing at them, telling them to kill themselves with a firework…. but eventually I went indoors, slammed the door, stormed upstairs swearing and punched the wall. I knew it was an overreaction but I couldn’t stop it. I wasn’t in control. It was someone being unnecessarily annoying and I had a bad headache, so wasn’t able to keep control of my emotions like I normally might.

 

Wednesday was hard. Someone close to me said something I found hurtful. The trouble is they have their own issues, ones that make them unable to see how their words could be hurtful, so I have to accept it’s how they are. I love them and I know they wouldn’t really want to upset me. Their issues and mine just don’t always go together very well. So I had to pretend it didn’t upset me. But when I got home I self-harmed… those words spinning in my head. I was upset because the words attacked who I am – they rejected my care, told me I was doing something wrong, that I was an annoyance, and being the caring person I am is wrong … I felt I couldn’t say anything after that. I’d been lumped in with someone else who they think is ‘overbearing’ – they don’t recognise it’s called caring and being concerned – loving someone! Also I was asked to care on behalf of someone else, so I was put in the firing line. The annoying thing was that I had told myself a second before the question came out of my mouth ‘ they’re going to say *this*’… so when they did it was instant regret for opening my mouth. I went quiet, excused myself and went and punched myself for saying anything. I then went back and pretended everything was fine, until I got home and cut myself.

 

Later on we lost the football…. not really that big a deal. Just a shit ending to a shit day. I blamed myself for buying the flags…. told people…. thought they blamed me. I’d ‘done the wrong thing’ again. So went away and punched myself again. It’s become my preferred way of hurting myself lately. I know it makes no sense, but then self-harm of any kind makes no sense to those who don’t know the struggle.

 

I couldn’t stop causing myself harm. I was really upset about life. I self-medicated. I took a diazepam, hoping it would calm me down. I wanted to just sleep, as at least I’d be safe then. It helped. It made me very tired. I’m thinking of asking the doctor if this would be an okay thing to do in a crisis or if there’s something extra I can take if I just can’t stop hurting myself. I know it’s not the answer – I need to use skills I’ve learnt, but for times I’m beyond that it would be good to know there’s something that can keep me safer.

 

There’s only one other time I ever self-medicated, and that was during my therapy course last year. The anxiety got too bad that I took a diazepam before the group once. That was a low point for me. Nobody ever knew I did it. I wrote about it on my blog, but never told anyone. I know it’s not good, but the other day my body was telling me what I needed. I needed ‘restraining’ and if the only way I could manifest that was through medication making me too tired to do anything, then that’s what I had to do. I won’t make a habit of it, but it was that or break my hand.

 

25th July 2018

 

A couple of weeks have passed since writing the above. I had my doctor’s appointment on Monday, and I’m being referred to CMHT, to see if they can be of any help to me. I don’t hold out much hope, but the doctor does… so we’ll see. I’ve also been told that in a crisis it’s okay for me to take the diazepam… my doctor knows that I won’t abuse it, and will only take it when all else fails. And that just having it there as a ‘just in case’… a safety net, might help too. I won’t be using it all the time… only when absolutely necessary like the other week.

 

Things don’t feel good at all right now… I’m on a break at the moment, but very soon I’ll be back to normal and expected to continue as before – doing my volunteering, I’ll have my hospital appointment, job centre stuff to worry about… it’s all too much to cope with.

 

I’m in one of my depressions again, where I feel nobody outside of my family really cares about me. One person has spoken to me to see if I’m okay. Other than that people just ‘like’ things. Nobody chats to me. Nobody seems to care when I’m not okay. Nobody offers support. Nobody acknowledges my existence. And when I’m alone that’s a very hard thing to deal with. It is TRUE ISOLATION. Don’t get me wrong, I like being by myself. I often find socialising overwhelming and prefer my own company. I don’t always have the spiritual energy to respond to people. But it’s quite possible to enjoy your own company but to not want to be forgotten. It’s the whole ‘I don’t want to join you, but I’d still like to be invited’ thing. It’s nice to be thought of.

 

Where I have got a lot of time to myself at the moment, I have to stop myself from letting in the thoughts of being neglected. I’ve almost gone there a couple of times on my break, and I don’t want it to take me to that place of anger at the world. I don’t want to give air to the paranoia. I just have to switch off from it and focus my mind elsewhere. I have to tell myself that I don’t matter that much and to stop being selfish. I have to tell myself I am alone, and that will just have to do. It’s the way my life is meant to be.

 

The prospect of life continuing as it is when I get back… I don’t want to do that. It feels like an impossibility. My mind goes straight to self-destruction at the thought. But I have to tell myself that although things are going to be hard, there will be the possibility of help by the mental health team. I feel sure they will reject my plea for help, which will make me so much worse, but I’ve got to have hope for now. I’ve got to hold onto it as my one chance for life improving. I can’t go on like this.

 

I want to remember what it was like to want to live…  ten years ago, when I was doing DBT, my life was improving…. I had a group of friends, I was starting to consider the world of dating. I had a lot of problems sure… I didn’t suddenly lose my depression and anxiety – it was always there. But the social network I had gave me confidence – even if it was just a front… it’s more than I can do today. Even after a glass or two of wine I would do karaoke! This was totally out of character for me, but it was a phase I went through with friends at the time. I felt I mattered. I felt stronger. I felt a part of something and more connected to life. My group of friends would meet every week, sometimes twice a week – I’d see them all individually. Men found me attractive. I’d get beeped by cars as I went about my business. I started to have more control over my self-harm and my mind because of the DBT. I wasn’t ‘cured’ by any means. But I was on the right path. My granddad was still alive – I didn’t know the horror of grief… our family was still together so I felt connected to them all too. I had none of the cares I have today.

 

Now I have days I feel I don’t even have one friend (though I know I do). My group of friends fell apart because of two of them seriously betraying and hurting me. Any friends I have I’ll see once a month if I’m lucky. I don’t want to think about dating – I don’t trust men. I hate my body. I hate myself. I’m not attractive anymore… I have health issues which have contributed to my weight problems etc.. I don’t have any confidence – any that people may witness is a complete lie. It’s a mask. I will never do karaoke or any kind of performance again – even with wine… I wouldn’t drink wine nowadays. I did it to be social… I don’t do social now. I don’t feel I matter. I feel weak. I feel disconnected from life and like I’ll never fit in. I’m shown no interest by men… possibly because I’ve closed off from them… but more likely because I’m fat and ugly as fuck. I get no beeps anymore. I have no control over my mind or my self-harm – I’m a slave to both. My mind shares a space with a ‘hijacker’ who dictates where my thoughts are going to go for the day. I have no support with my mental health right now. When having help from an IAPT service I got the sense that because I’ve done DBT once in my life, I won’t be offered it again. That once you’ve done the course, that’s it… you either look at your folder and do it all by yourself, or you’re screwed. I always felt mental health services have wanted to wash their hands of me… they always have. But I didn’t know that DBT is a once only offer. I know they want to offer it to people who haven’t learnt the skills before – I get that. I don’t want to be a burden and take up the space of someone else. But I’m asking for help. I know it helped in the past. I’m desperate for something to stop me harming or killing myself. I know I have the folder, but that was over ten years ago now… am I meant to just drown now then? Now my granddad is gone… I know the full horror of grief and my family is split. My world is very small and I’ve never felt as troubled as I do now.

 

Where I once wanted to live, I now don’t want to live. That’s not to say I want to die. I just don’t want to live. I know that would make no sense to those who don’t understand mental illness and suicidal thoughts. But it’s less about death and more about life. What I want is life to be how it used to be. I want it to be better than it currently is. I want a reason to live. I want to feel connected, important, valued. I want to like who I am. I want to feel worthy and attractive again. I want to trust people. I want people around me who genuinely care and go out of their way to show me they care. I want people around me who want to see me happy, and would never hurt me. I want to feel safe and secure. I want to be accepted. I want to not have all the cares and worries I have. I want to love and be loved. I want to achieve something. I want all the hurt to go away. I want to forget the past. I want to enjoy life. But none of that is possible. My reality is the previous paragraph. I can’t see beyond that. Sure I can say what I want it to be like, but I can’t make it so.

 

I am alone with all this. That’s why I want to give up. I’m being expected to climb a mountain, having never done so before, with only a couple of tools and instructions… no company… no guide… no protection from the elements…. no way of avoiding rockfalls or avalanches. I’m expected to figure it all out myself. So you know what… I’m going nowhere. I’m sitting down on the side of the mountain and giving up. I can’t do this alone. It’s a powerlessness – feeling trapped, because I can’t climb, and nobody’s coming in a helicopter to save me. I’m on the mountain, and I could easily jump down to my death – that isn’t what I truly want though. So I just sit instead. I give up. I don’t want life to end. I want the struggle to end. I don’t want life to end. I want it to begin. But it’s beyond my control. And nobody understands that. They think I just need to do ‘XYZ’ and I could have the life I want. No. Not with current circumstances I couldn’t. You don’t get it. Nobody gets it.

 

My life has changed so dramatically in the last ten years. Ten years ago I was at the start of my life, with a world of possibilities before me… with people I could count on, a feeling of belonging and a hope that things could improve for me. It’s all gone. I am a different person now. I feel I’m at the end of the road. Too much has happened to me. I’m not who I used to be. And I hate who I have become. My experiences have changed me. And the only thing that could change me back are better experiences. But my story in life has always been that nobody gives me a chance. Nobody is prepared to be the change I need. Nobody is prepared to put in the effort to help me. They all expect me to save myself or die trying. They don’t realise how close to the latter part I am. My spirit doesn’t want to do this anymore. It’s had enough. Existing in this world right now is hell… knowing what life used to be like, traumatised by the things that destroyed it, and certainty that it will never be like it again. It’s torture. And I don’t want to live with it.

 

I don’t want to die. I just want all the shit to be over. I want to be happy again.

Emptiness.

emptiness

 

I find myself in an uncomfortable emotional state. I don’t know why I feel the way I do. And I feel ashamed about feeling the way I do. I feel empty. And as a result of that I’m experiencing urges that make no sense to me.

 

I feel the urge to hurt myself. I want to self-sabotage and either alienate myself from friends, or to throw myself to the wolves online and let them bully me. I’m contemplating throwing myself at people who are unavailable. I don’t understand why I feel any of these urges. It’s like I want to feel something. I want a reason to self-destruct. I want to harm myself and fall apart entirely. I want a break from existing in this world. It feels wrong to say this, but it’s almost as if I’m feeling the need to cause myself drama, so that I can hurt myself for a legitimate reason…. that feels so wrong, manipulative and attention-seeking. It’s not like me at all. Any drama that’s caused me to harm myself before has always been incidental…. it’s always taken me by surprise. I never set out to cause drama. Just having this urge to do so makes me feel so ashamed.

 

I feel my existence is pointless at the moment. I’m trying to get along a bit more now. I talk to people more, see people, do my volunteering. I’m enjoying the football, and I’ve taken up knitting. To an outsider I’d seem to be doing better. But honestly, in my heart, I’m not okay.

 

I’m scared of myself. I feel so detached from the world… still. No matter how many interactions I may have with people, it’s like it’s all happening through layers and layers of bubble wrap. It’s so distant and muffled. And whenever I’m left to my thoughts my heart lurches at the reality of having to continue existing in this world. I don’t want to. No matter how hard I try and how many things are thrown at me as inspiration to live life… I just don’t want to.

 

This world is different now. So much has changed in two years. Forgetting the fact that two years ago politically things were different, and in that time the most disgusting sides of humanity have been shown, that I don’t feel accepted anymore. My granddad isn’t here anymore.  Two years ago he was. He was here… he was frail. He had his troubles, but he was still here. We’re approaching the time when he went into hospital, and our lives changed forever. Although I’m carrying on with life, as you do, the world feels different now. It’s not just about missing him… it’s the realisation that life has changed. You don’t just lose the person, you lose the reality you knew. You lose who you were. You lose a lot more than your loved one.

 

I’d been fortunate to be untouched by death until last year. I was able to live in a little bubble where the people I love would live forever. I never imagined my life without them. Life is a darker, more grown up place now. Now I see life differently. I see it as all of us waiting in line to die. It’s just a queue. And I think about the others I have to lose, and what order they’re likely to be in. I think of how little time I might have left with other people. I think about cutting in line… jumping the queue, to save having to go through grief again.

 

Life isn’t safe anymore. At any moment I could lose someone I love. That never entered my mind before. It  feels like I’m waiting for the next loss. I have nothing to give my life purpose while I wait. So it really is like sitting in a waiting room, waiting to hear who’s next. Before my granddad went I didn’t really appreciate what this kind of loss did to people. Not really. It changes your whole outlook on life. You don’t feel safe anymore.

 

The thing is I don’t think anyone can help me with it. No amount of talking will change reality. The reality is that he is gone. I can’t talk to him anymore. I can’t see him. I can’t hear him. I can’t hold his hand. I still remember how it felt to hold his hand in hospital, and how he moved my hand to his other hand so that he could move his oxygen mask… even though he was barely conscious. He didn’t want me to feel he was rejecting me. He wanted me to know I could still hold his hand. I can still feel his hand in mine. I can still feel when I stroked his head, eight months later, as I said my last goodbye to him. I can  still hear his voice. I can see his face. I can see him crinkling his nose up with laughter. Everything is so vivid in my mind. I just wish he was here, so I could talk to him… to know he’s okay.

 

I reached out for psychological help before he died. I wanted it in place to help me when it happened. By the time I saw someone he had been gone for four or five months. I then started my group therapy, breaking down in the first session because of my grief. And then everything went insanely wrong from then on, with the transference and self-harm. What I needed as help to make all this feel better, ended up making me worse. And as hard as they tried to fix it afterwards, I’m sorry to say it’s not at all fixed. Now I’m on my own trying to deal with so much loss and change. So much pain. The deepest depression. And trying to see a reason to live.

 

But the darkness got into my veins. It’s in my blood now. No matter what happens I can’t see the light. Matt was a ray of light. It always seems darker once a brief glimpse of light is taken away from you. Having seen him recently it’s darkened my world again to know I never will again. Everything feels so desperate and bleak, and as little sense as it makes, I want to run to him. I can’t though.

 

I just have to hold on to this uncomfortable feeling, and ride it out. I have to surf all these different urges. I have to comfort myself. I have to ‘just hang on’ and hope the feeling passes. I have to put on a front and pretend to be better than I am. I have to be there for other people. I have to ignore the constant paranoia.

 

I’m sorry, it’s still there, no matter what. What I described as the ‘hijacker’ in me. The bastard who drove me away from all my friends before. He’s still here. I’m trying my best to block him out, but it takes such a lot to ignore him. He keeps telling me to run away from everyone. He tells me I shared too much of my illness with people, showed too many flaws and unattractive / unacceptable behaviours to them, that they’ll never see me the same again… that I scared them all off. And that if they haven’t given up on me, they will. I have to keep fighting the thoughts in my head. I have to sit with the fears that people hate me or don’t care. I have to just sit with them and not act on them, which I’m managing to do a little more now compared to a few weeks ago. But it’s so exhausting and it’s the constant fight in my head that makes me want to give up on life.

 

People would look at me, hear me and think I’m alright. They can’t see what’s going on inside my head. A lot of the time I try and ignore the fighting in my head. It’s not always possible. It hits me the worst at night. It’s setting in now actually.

 

I’m really struggling with the monotony of life. It feels like life is about surviving from one day to the next. Wake up, exist, do any duties you have to do including volunteering, go home, sleep, wake up and repeat. Even fun things have become like duties. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy them while I’m participating. But I almost live for the quiet time and solitude. I live for sleep. There can’t be much that’s more depressing than that statement… ‘I live for sleep’. That’s no life. I need the time alone, shut in the dark, hiding away… I couldn’t keep functioning without it. Yet at the same time it allows me to think and go to very dark places.

 

I don’t know what’s going to get me out of this pit. I don’t even know if it’s a pit I can get out of, or if I’ll get out of it but still have the darkness coursing through my veins. How do you extract darkness from your blood? How do you clear the dark fog from your vision of life? I think I’ll make an appointment tomorrow to see my doctor. It might be time to ask to be referred for more help. As much as I’m scared of changing meds I’d try anything to feel better right now. And I don’t think it’s something I can do on my own anymore. I crossed that point months ago. It’s become so dark that I feel incapable of pulling myself out of this. I need someone to hand me some light, and if it takes pills to start me off with that, then so be it. I know it’ll be another month before I can see my doctor, so better get on and make the appointment. My fear is that I won’t get the support I need… that they’ll turn me down.  I suppose I’ll never know if I don’t ask.

 

It doesn’t look it from the outside, but I can tell you, from the inside it’s getting to quite a serious point.  I’m starting to feel afraid of my own mind. I just don’t tell anyone as I feel they can’t do anything to help me with it.

 

I will try to not do the things I said I have urges to do. I’m trying so hard at the moment. I don’t want anyone to think this is easy for me. It’s not. I really want to self-destruct… feels like 85% of me wants to allow myself to be destroyed, either by myself or by others, and 15% is holding me back from that edge. It’s a very strong part of me but very small. At least I have that part still. It’s getting smaller by the day.

 

There is nothing to look forward to. When I look forward into the future, and even think of things I’ve booked to go and see or whatever, I don’t feel excited. I think ‘Will I make it that far?’… I feel doom. I feel fear. Hopelessness. I see darkness. I feel that I see as much darkness with my eyes open as when I close them right now. I don’t see the difference between being asleep and being awake…. except often life is better in my dreams. Apart from the ones where I’m desperately trying to harm myself and can’t – they’re not good dreams. But at the moment sleep has more to offer me than life does. I don’t remember ever feeling this way before.

 

I want to go back to a time when my granddad was here, I was innocent, life was safe, I didn’t know Matt existed, and I felt some level of control of my life. Everything is wrong now. I’ve had so much taken from me…. spiritually… caused by physical losses. So many parts of me stolen… broken… I barely resemble who I used to be. There’s a lot of people I wish I never met. Many things I wish I hadn’t done. But what’s done is done. What’s lost is lost, and I have to somehow survive and pick up the pieces. I’m always reminded in my life now, of a quote from Lord of the Rings…..

 

“How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand… there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep, that have taken hold.”

 

This is how I feel often. And I wish I could do what Frodo does next, which is to sail off in a ship, leaving Middle Earth behind… going off to a better place.

 

I can’t think of anything that hurts more than life.

 

havens

Making A Change.

Change

 

So this weekend just gone, I did something I’m really proud of… I changed. There was an event I had intended to go to, but having fallen out with someone I decided months ago, not to go. I had pulled out. I had chosen avoidance, as I had done in the past with my old group of friends. I missed out on a lot back then, which I still feel upset and bitter about to this day. It didn’t stop me reacting the same way in this situation though.

But then something funny happened. I stopped and thought, ‘Hang on, why should I miss out on something I was looking forward to, just because someone hurt me?’ … I had been the victim of someone else’s nastiness, but I was continuing to make myself the victim by choosing not to go. I was giving myself something else to be bitter about because the person had ‘made me miss out on it’. I suddenly realised how ridiculous that was. Nobody could make me miss out on it, if I didn’t want to.

I decided two weeks ago to do something different for once, and to face the horrible feelings… after all, I had done nothing wrong. I was the one who was wronged. So I had nothing to feel awkward about. It was the other person who should feel awkward, having upset me deeply. If I could show my strength, and their irrelevance to my life, and that they couldn’t stop me enjoying my life, then I could grow as a person.

I’ll tell you, it was the most challenging experience I’ve had lately. My anxiety was off the scale. But I wasn’t going to show it. I was there to enjoy the event and to meet new friends. My energy was to be purely focused on that – at least outwardly. No matter how sick with nerves I felt, I was going to be the adult…. the bigger person. Had this person tried to apologise to me, I’d have said that it wasn’t the time for it, as that’s not why I was there. As it happened there was no attempt at apologising. They hardly even looked at me, let alone spoke to me. Whether it was awkwardness or some warped idea that I was the one in the wrong, I don’t know. I don’t really care. Simple fact is I opted for growth.

I now know that if someone in a group of friends hurts me, I can hold my head up high, continue being the friendly person I am, and not let them get to me. I know it doesn’t have to completely destroy my self-esteem as it did. It doesn’t mean the others will hate me too. It doesn’t mean I miss out on my plans because of another person’s hurtful behaviour. It means I don’t become the victim twice.

I was anxious enough, going into a group as the ‘outsider’, but sitting with them all after the event, I began to feel included, and whilst my raging self-doubt, self-hatred and poor self-esteem kept telling me I’ll never fit in, be accepted or liked, I had fun and for a moment, felt a part of something special. It was nice. I met a group of people I’d be honoured to call friends. And that’s what mattered the most this weekend.

If you have BPD you’d know how hard friendships can be, and you’d know all about the thought processes I went through after being hurt…. about the decision not to go… the anxiety after deciding to go…. the self-doubt… all of it. So I really feel it was a big accomplishment for me…to face the fear and do it anyway! It’s not something I’d have done in the past, so I’m evolving. And it’s a nice feeling to do something different.

So I’d encourage you to every now and then, make a change. Try a different response, even if it makes you uncomfortable at first. You’ll be proud of yourself for it. I know how hard change is with BPD… BPD is all about patterns of behaviour, and coping strategies. We’ve become so used to ‘reacting’ with episodes of anger. We’ve coped with self-harming. We push people away so as not to be abandoned by them. Very often all these things happen automatically, they’re so ingrained it’s instinctive. But every now and then you’ll get these moments where you can actually take a step back and look at a situation objectively and challenge your thoughts. If you find yourself in one of these moments, and you have the option to do as you’ve always done, or to try something different – choose different – it’s where improvement and growth comes from. As they always said in DBT ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got’. It’s true. If you want improvement in your life you have to make a change in your behaviour. That is the lesson I learnt this weekend.

 

Changea

 

Nobody will ever know the strength and courage it took for me to do what I did. But I do, and that’s why I can feel so proud of myself…. it builds self-esteem too. I feel like a better person for it, and have some wonderful new friends and memories to show for it. Some people thought I shouldn’t go – they were just looking out for me and wanted to protect me. Others agreed why should I miss out on it because of one person?! I didn’t know the best thing to do at the time, I just had to go with my gut. And as it turns out it was the right thing.

I conquered the fear, engaged fully in the moment and got through it. There were no problems, and I don’t have to see the person again for some time. And I know that if I do have to see them again, I can get through it, by focusing on what really matters, and remembering that I have nothing to feel bad about. I have a clear conscience. If I hold that in my heart and mind, I can continue my life as normal. Why should my life stop? Why should I be punished for being hurt by someone? Makes no sense! And that’s the growth I’m talking about – recognising when your thought processes make no logical sense! Sometimes with BPD we can be stuck in apparently childish behaviours, in the way we react to the world around us and our experiences. We’re not childish people, but the ways we’ve learnt to cope, I can openly admit are not always the most grown-up. I can say that without judging myself or putting myself down. It’s not something I can help. Everyone has their own coping mechanism. I have mine – avoidance, isolation, self-harm, self-pity… the list goes on. It all acts to protect myself from further harm, and to make myself suffer as others have made me suffer. The past me, would go with these nonsensical views that I deserve to be punished if someone has hurt me.

My thoughts would be if someone hurt me, it’s because I’m a bad person. I provoked it. And if one person doesn’t like me, neither does anyone else – hence the self-isolation, to prevent myself from being abandoned or hurt by more people. Whenever someone hurt me in the past, I’d cut myself, 1. To show the emotional wound they caused me, physically, and 2. To punish myself for being so worthless that someone could treat me how they did. The more adult thought is, “This person hurt me, I don’t understand why they did, but that’s their issue, and it doesn’t lower my worth as a person. I didn’t deserve it, and they’re the one in the wrong. Just because they don’t like me, it doesn’t mean nobody else does. They’ve hurt me enough with their words and actions, I don’t have to continue the hurt by allowing them to affect my life so much”.

 

Changeb

 

This has encouraged me to create something. Maybe a scrapbook, or blog post or something, with cheerleading phrases… these adult views that challenge our built-in responses to pain… because I know as much as I’m proud of this change in me, it doesn’t mean I won’t fall into old patterns again the next time. It takes time to make a permanent change. But every little step in the right direction is worth celebrating.

xxxx