Stop Seeking Reassurance.

Stop Seeking Reassurance

*Self-harm and a lot of swearing near the end – sorry*

 

I don’t know where to start…. I don’t know how to put into words how messed up this week has been. I was originally going to write about ‘transference’, or basically having feelings for a MH professional…. I was going to write about the pain of that experience….. and then by Wednesday / Thursday I felt positive and was going to share that with you all… but now I’m completely broken, triggered and absolutely hate everyone at the Wellbeing Centre. I don’t want to go back there. I’ve been left triggered and in deep water with a weight around my ankle, left to drown for at least two weeks – and even if I then return, I can’t talk to anyone about any of this. They’ve messed up badly, repeated what the IAPT service did two years ago, so now I’m closing down…. I’ll resent MH services…. I won’t open up about anything…. I won’t engage positively with them as I had intended to in a couple of weeks…. it’ll all be for nothing. All they had to do was listen to me… to see that I recognised what would help me… if they could’ve done as I’d asked, I could’ve used the next couple of weeks positively and returned full of beans, focused on recovery and feeling happy and safe there. If they’d done what I suggested it would not only have solved the issue I’m currently having, but it would have healed the wounds of the past – the trauma caused by the IAPT service. But they chose to deepen the wound and further destroy my trust in MH services. I’m done.

 

Okay… I’ll try and start at the beginning of this week. I’ll try and be brief. I went to my group earlier in the week. I decided to say to X that I might not be coming back to the group, so wanted to thank him for all he was doing. I wanted to build him up and let him know he was doing a good job. I was dreading the three week break from the group. I said three weeks is a long time in my world, and anything could happen in that time. Part of me felt I might not survive the three weeks. Part of me felt it all depended on my discussion with Z the next day. I didn’t know what would come out of that discussion, and I might decide it best to not return. So I chose to ‘say my goodbye’ to X just in case.

 

Unfortunately during the group, before I had that chat with him at the end, there was mention of his partner…. I already knew he was off-limits. I knew about professional boundaries. I knew he could never be mine. I had actually begun to accept this and was trying to turn my romantic feelings towards him, into just being appreciative of him as a person. But hearing he has a girlfriend was the most sickening stab to the heart. And I had to sit there as if it didn’t affect me at all. When it came to the end and he said I’d wanted to have a quick chat with him, I felt like saying ‘no, actually it doesn’t matter’. It wasn’t like I was having the chat to try and seduce him or something… but the pain of discovering his relationship status just threw me, and I didn’t feel as appreciative of him all of a sudden. I also felt it really did mean goodbye. But I did talk to him for a couple of very awkward minutes. The things I wanted to say didn’t come out as smoothly as I’d intended. It was very forced. And I regretted it. But he seemed grateful for the positive feedback and hoped to see me come back to the group after the break. I said I’d see.

 

Wednesday I went to see someone at a different Wellbeing Centre, we’ll call her Z. This was to talk about the feelings I had, and the connection to my experience at the IAPT service. I won’t go into all the detail, but I discussed it at length with her – for almost two hours! She had said some helpful things…. She had said my feelings weren’t wrong to have. She just kept reinforcing the idea of the ‘boundaries’ and that it’s serious stuff, as ‘people can lose their jobs’ (which made me feel crap to be honest, as I already knew all that, and it seemed she cared more about their jobs than my distress). She said that MH professionals do care about their clients. They may not love them in that sense, but they think of them and want the best for them etc. She said he probably felt good that someone feels good things towards him. She said they agreed that I was brave / strong to share the truth with them. She said he wouldn’t judge me. She said he might feel hurt if I just stopped going to the group. She said all sorts of things…. I found it helpful at the time. It was overloading though…

 

So I went to the cathedral afterwards, lit a couple of candles for lost loved ones, and then sat in the Epiphany Chapel to quietly reflect. I’m not actually religious myself, but I asked for my heart and mind to be healed. I asked for the strength to get through this. I asked for help.

 

The next day I woke up and had a whole new outlook on the situation. I wanted to get the most out of the experience. I wanted to be positive, grateful and learn everything I could from X before I lose him. That way he’ll have made a difference in my life. That way there will be more to his presence in my life than the pain of losing him.

 

I had realised what would help me in order to move on and heal. Although she had said what he probably thought / felt, it wasn’t enough to convince me. They were only assumptions. I can’t be expected to base my beliefs on assumptions. The IAPT service never allowed me closure. I thought this place might be different. So I emailed Z and suggested that if I share a list of statements that would help me heal, could she share it with X and see if he’d agree with those statements, and then report back if he did. It was a pragmatic approach to the problem, that meant I didn’t have to speak to X again myself. And that I respected the boundaries, and would use her as a go-between.

 

The list included:

  • Although he may not care about me, the way I care about him or wish he could care about me, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about me on some level – in a human way. Care doesn’t mean ‘feelings’. Care is care.
  • Even if I feel a level of rejection from the whole situation, I’m not being rejected as a person. I’m still accepted and liked as a person and will be treated the same as usual.
  • Even if I’m not valued personally by him, I’m still valued as a person.
  • Maybe he does worry about me and wants the best for me – for me to stop hurting myself and to treat myself with more love and care than I do.
  • Maybe he respects me and is proud of me for carrying on and trying to overcome this and everything else.
  • He might even feel sad if I gave up and stopped coming to the group, because he wants to help people and wants to see me recover too. He doesn’t want me to give up.
  • Maybe he appreciates the honesty, and appreciates being appreciated.
  • He’s not disgusted with me.
  • He doesn’t pity me.
  • He doesn’t feel threatened by me or the feelings I have.
  • He recognises I’m trying my best.
  • Though a time will come where I will lose him and never see him again, he’ll know he made a difference in my life. And even if it’s only in the tiniest way I’ll have played a small part in his journey too, so I won’t be completely forgotten when it comes to an end.
  • Even if I don’t matter to him like he does to me it doesn’t mean I’m ‘nothing’… (my friend who died last year, her partner got a tattoo with her initials and date of birth/death on his arm, with a quote saying “Every contact leaves a trace”… it feels like it’s all coming together and it’s a sign that even though I may lose people from my life, it doesn’t mean I never existed in their world. We all make a little difference to each others’ lives… feels like a message from beyond, that I can use now to deal with this situation).

 

These aren’t things that I DO believe. They are things that if I heard that he agreed with, would’ve allowed me to sit in a room with him again, comfortable that I’m cared for, appreciated, and that I matter, even if I’m still a ‘nobody’ in his world. I would’ve felt safe, supported and at peace, as I said to Z.

 

She didn’t respond, and I was concerned I might’ve gone into her spam folder, so I texted X to ask – and he also didn’t respond. He’s now off for two weeks. And she’s now off too. But she did reply to me last night….

 

Her response was that she saw X briefly and he assured her I’m a valued member of the group, he doesn’t feel anything negative towards me. She said as with all service users he wants me to succeed with my recovery and do well. So she successfully made me feel like a number. Like a nothing. A nobody. That was all she said on the matter. So after opening up and completely baring my soul and vulnerabilities to her, that was the extent of reassurance I got on everything. She clearly didn’t share my email with him or the sentiments in it. And then she said “I hope you can accept this and successfully manage your feelings without needing further reassurance” – WTF?!?

 

No, I cannot accept this and manage my feelings without further reassurance. I’m sorry that my need for reassurance is pissing you off and being a burden to you, but I actually fucking need it. So the moral of the story for me now is don’t seek reassurance from any of them. I feel I’m not allowed to speak to X anymore about any of this. I can’t seek his reassurance. She sure as hell isn’t going to reassure me, not anymore. She fucked that up. I don’t even want to hear from her ever again.

 

I’m now left feeling too demanding. But I knew in my heart what I needed to be able to move on. If I had properly been given that, then I could’ve used the next two weeks to get to a better place in my head, and everything would be fine when I go back. I’d never have needed to mention it again. Now I have two weeks of hating the guts of that place… I am splitting on them – and not just on Z, but on X too. It’s upsetting. I feel like they’re in it together, and he doesn’t want anything to do with me either. So I’m back to where I was on Tuesday – me, being in so much pain, whilst he’s out there with the woman in his life, happy as Larry, unaware of what Z has just done to me and my prospects of recovery.

 

When / if I go back, it will be more of the same I’m afraid. Any healing I could’ve done in this time off has gone down the toilet with that dismissive email. I now feel I’m on my own with it. I don’t want to talk to Z again. I feel I’m not allowed to talk to X anymore. Face to face Z had said I didn’t need to discuss this with X or his colleague again. I’ve been silenced. I sure as hell won’t bother opening up to anyone else at the Wellbeing Centre. So that’s it. It’s done. I either don’t go back and just live with the scars. Or I go back and don’t fully engage, because they fucked up. I’m trapped whatever happens.

 

If only Z could’ve accepted that I knew my own mind best, and what would help me. So often these bloody MH ‘experts’ ask their clients what help they need / want… I never know the answer – I always think ‘you’re the expert, you tell me!’ – but on this one occasion I knew it would’ve allowed me to accept that it could never be, but it would’ve probably healed the wounds that made me have the feelings for him in the first place. If I could’ve known he was proud of me, cared for me, appreciated me, and that I might’ve made a slight difference in his life (not personally, but just in some way that I wouldn’t be totally erased when it comes to losing him) – that would’ve made my time there and the impending loss a little easier. But fuck that. They don’t want what’s best for me. They want ‘boundaries’. They want to cover their own arses, no matter the cost to someone in distress. They want the power of being the professionals and knowing what’s best for me.

 

 

The remote possibility of someone losing their job in a worst-case scenario, is more important to MH professionals than the prospect of someone losing their chance of recovery.... or losing their l

 

They’ve solidified the feeling of shame that came with being attracted to X. And Z has made me feel I can’t even talk to X anymore. So there’s even more shame. It feels like she’s holding me away from him, and denying me any sentiment that could help me. She is the obstacle to my healing. This is exactly why I didn’t want to see a fucking woman about this issue. Same happened at IAPT. So she’s triggered all that shit off too. I said I didn’t want to see a woman. That was for a reason. I was right. They didn’t listen. And she didn’t listen when I said what I needed. They don’t want to help me.

 

I now know my feelings ARE wrong. My NEEDS are wrong. They don’t deserve to be met. I therefore am nothing. I’m a statistic to them. So I might just turn up in a couple of weeks, as a statistic…. give my statistical feedback on mind-numbingly inane things that I’m not really struggling with… just to make them all comfortable with the situation… I’ll make up some things I’ve done well in this two week period. I’ll think of a minor struggle I can talk about…. I’ll lock my reality up inside my head and heart again, as though I never said anything – you know, I really wish I hadn’t said anything. Then I’d just have my feelings to deal with. Now I have my feelings, plus the trauma of IAPT opened up, and my trust in MH services completely yanked out of my system… and the negative feelings about them and about me, that this experience has left me with. I have to stuff ALL of that down inside me now, rather than just my stupid fucking feelings for a guy I can’t be with.

 

I never want to talk to Z again. Ever. Not allowed to talk to X. Now I’ve been burnt I won’t talk to anyone else. This is it. They blew the one fucking chance they had to help me. Just like the IAPT people did. Even back then I knew what I needed and they denied me it. The upset I felt at that – because I knew if they’d just listened to me and done what I knew my soul needed to heal, they could’ve stopped this situation ever happening again….. well now the Wellbeing Centre are just the same. They missed the chance. It’s too late to fix it. I don’t trust them anymore. They could’ve helped me change and heal. Now I will shove everything down and this will happen again in the future – only, I will probably never ask for help from MH services ever again as a result. I cannot afford to feel this way ever again in my life. I couldn’t afford to feel this way now. I was afraid to feel this way again. Now I do, I know I’ll never survive it happening again. Right now I’m not sure I’ll survive this.

 

Right now I’m angry. I may be crying, but I’m angry. When that anger dies down and the depression side kicks in, I’m screwed. I can survive with anger. I can’t survive the darkness and the hopelessness.

 

I feel very let down. This last week has been the worst, most intense rollercoaster, and I’ve ended up lower than I started. All it took were three / four days, to feel hope and to have it extinguished by the same person. I’m just done with recovery right now.

 

Yeah, honestly if I believed X wouldn’t want me to hurt myself, then it could’ve helped with my self-harm. As it is, I’m obviously just a number to him, so what I do doesn’t matter does it. Plus the way they’ve made me feel has only increased my urge to hurt myself. So fuck it. I won’t stop. I would’ve stopped for him. But as I’m that irrelevant, they won’t care if I don’t. I don’t exactly have any other way to cope with the shit they’ve left me in right now.

 

They might interpret it as ‘going to the group is making me worse’ – wrong. The way they’ve handled the situation is making me worse. Going to the group is fine. Feeling banned from talking to X makes me feel worse. Feeling watched makes me feel worse. Being told to stop seeking reassurance is making me feel worse. Being made to feel like a number, when I wanted to believe I mattered, is making me worse. That woman – Z is what is making me worse. But I bet they stop me going to the group, because they think that’s what is making me worse. Seeing X and everyone else has been the only thing keeping me alive this year. If they take that away from me I have nothing, and I’ll go. They’ll kill me. I just wish they could’ve handled it differently. I wish I never spoke to Z. I want to forget I ever did. I want to forget all of this. But it’s too late. It’s spiralled out of control, and now I resent them. If I resent them I can never make progress with them.

 

Maybe this will feel better when I’m not splitting on them like this. I’m aware that’s what’s happening. It doesn’t stop it happening though. I cannot see the good in them at all right now. I don’t even want to go to my course next week, which involves neither X nor Z, as I hate all of them in response to Z. But never mind. It is what it is. I have no choice but to tolerate all the negative thoughts and emotions that will be my existence this fortnight. My only hope might be the Samaritans again…. but given how I’m feeling about having opened up and had the response I’ve had, I’m reluctant to do it again, with anyone. Besides, I can’t talk… I feel too upset.

 

Time to hide it though, and pretend everything’s okay. Don’t want those around me to know about any of this. It will only add to the shame I already felt, and had confirmed by my encounter with Z. Silence is the way forward. This will be the only place I break that silence. Thank you to my followers who don’t judge me, and just allow me to air my feelings without making me feel shame. I appreciate you guys xxxx

“Pathetic Slut”

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*Self-harm & suicidal references*

 

Wrote this the other day…

 

Wednesday 15th January

It pains me to have to write this post. I’m filled with shame and embarrassment. But I need to get this out there, to organise my thoughts and make sense of everything I experienced yesterday.

 

Despite saying I’d never do it again, I tried to tackle a problem head-on by being honest about my fears and my feelings. It backfired and resulted in the same things I experienced at the IAPT service I used two years ago.

 

I was afraid that I’d go through the same problems in a group setting again. When I started one of my groups, I was horrified that it was run by two young men. I was scared I would catch “feelings” again (which last time I referred to as ‘transference’ – but this time I’m saying that phrase is BS and invalidating of what I’m experiencing… which is simply attraction). I did indeed catch the “feelings” and now everything’s ruined… again.

 

I don’t know where to start so I’ll just dive into what I’m feeling right now. I’m feeling like a pathetic slut. Or that that’s how the world sees me. I feel these mental health services are so concerned about doing the right thing, and ‘boundaries’ and ‘procedures’ that they forget their service-users are actually individual human beings, with different needs, personalities and histories.

 

I was unable to say what the problem was, so I wrote it down. Now it’s on my record. I didn’t want it to be, but I lost control of that. That loss of control / power made me angry with myself first of all, for ever saying anything, and now I’m angry at them, for not respecting my wishes to not keep it. I feel violated. Now it’s there in black and white, how I feel and why. And I feel it’s probably led to misunderstandings of me as a person too, and that’s what I want to come on to….

 

I’m going to refer to a couple of people as A and B, as I can’t be bothered thinking up fake names…. I was meant to speak to A before the group yesterday about the issues I raised in what I wrote. When he came down B came with him and I was asked if it was okay that he joined us. I could of course have said no – but I never feel able to say no – it’s like when doctors or dentists say they have students in… I can never say how I really feel. And to be honest I read into this decision as being based on what I wrote, and that A needed a ‘chaperone’…. you know…. in case I were to pounce on him whilst alone – as huge sluts like me do, naturally…..

 

So anyway, I had to sit and talk to both of them about the issues, and I disclosed more information that explained why I was struggling with my self-harm issues at that time. It was the longest silence I’ve ever sat through, waiting for A to read it… knowing I was completely effing up my life. I was regretting it already, but I think a part of me at the time thought ‘what the hell, why not…won’t be around much longer anyway!’. Basically A was just finding out that I was attracted to one of them in the room, and the shame attached to that (which I will come on to in a bit) was making me hurt myself for being a bad person for having feelings again. B didn’t read it, so didn’t know what was being referred to when we discussed it afterwards. It was an awkward talk.

 

I’m apparently going to have help from someone else for a couple of sessions… but they said it might be a good idea if it’s a female…. yeah…. because I can’t be trusted around the male species can I?! Can’t leave me alone with one of them for five minutes or I might jump his bones or whatever the cool kids call it nowadays….. this is how these mental health services and the way they handle this sort of thing, make me feel….. they make me feel like some super slut who fancies anything in trousers. And that I’m a risk to them all and their jobs. I doubt it’s for my own safety, no matter what they say… they just don’t want a situation where they could get in some kind of trouble themselves. I know that. And that’s why I’m offended. Because they don’t know the first thing about me as a person. I’m not someone who acts. I admire people…. I may even admit to admiring them. That is the extent of it. I will never make a move on someone. I never have and I never will, because I used to be the person who admitted my feelings for guys, and they either rejected me, or they led me on, messed with my emotions for a while and then ghosted me. So I stopped making the first move. I stopped seeking a man. I stopped believing that anyone would want me. Because they never really did. If I’m ever to end up with a guy, he will have to be the one to admit his feelings to me first. I’m not going there again.

 

So while these people are so preoccupied with procedures and boundaries, I’m over here like ‘Hello? Never broken a rule in my life! Never made a move on a guy… never even had a guy…. pretty much a nun… quiet, reserved person here, hello?’ … I feel they’re assuming that I want every man. I don’t. At all. Admittedly A and B are lovely and attractive in many ways of their own. But there is only one I have feelings for. I don’t feel attracted to any of the others working in that building. I’m not a super slut. I don’t ‘fancy’ everyone. I’m very selective and always devote my attention and feelings to one person at a time. And even that one I like is under no threat from me. Even if no rules were in place, he was single, straight and interested in me too, I still wouldn’t make the move, because of my past experiences and because of the type of person I am, the morals I have and the respect I have for boundaries – both professional and personal.

 

So this concept that I must be kept away from the men… and not allowed to speak to them one-on-one…. it’s BS. I feel I’m going to be ‘watched’ from now on… it’s really bad for my paranoia and self-esteem. God help them when they offer me the self-esteem course…. not much point… I don’t think I’ll be too receptive given they’ve already trashed that.

 

I feel totally mischaracterised. I feel painted as some temptress… whose sole aim is to seduce these men, and that I must be stopped. The ‘wall of women’ must be brought out again…. ‘DEFEND THE MEN FROM THIS SEX-CRAZED HOPELESS ROMANTIC SLUT OF A WOMAN!!’… that’s how I feel. That they see me in that way…. I’m nothing of the sort. But they made me feel that way. I took it on as though it were a fact. That’s how I felt. That, and pitied. I felt pathetic last night.

 

I was inconsolable. It took scarring myself for life with the words they made me feel, to stop me crying…. to stop me wanting to die. Nothing was working. Earlier in the day I had called the Samaritans. I had taken my emergency medication. Nothing was working. I had to reach that point where the pain, the shame, the regret and everything that was tearing away at me, became anger…. anger at THEM. Anger for the way they made me feel about myself. That’s the only way I could sleep and make it to another day.

 

I don’t doubt that there are probably people out there who would make a move on a mental health professional, but I am not that person. I don’t want to be treated like I’m that person… just because others are like that. OR because they’ve had so little experience of people having feelings for them in their position – that’s just as bad really, because they then don’t know how to respond best, and I realise they don’t know what they’re doing, because it’s rare… and then I feel like a freak and a ‘problem person’.. which is the last thing I want to be.

 

I hate asking for help. I hate admitting I’m struggling. I hate asking for their time for anything. I had that conversation before the group, which overran… then I was allowed to take five minutes to gather myself before joining the group… in that time I took a couple of diazepam because I didn’t feel good at all. I wanted to harm myself. I would’ve done.

 

But I went in and I did my best at pretending everything was fine. I talked when prompted. I sounded normal. I nodded along to other people. And then as the end came along I had images of what I wanted to do. I felt zoned out by then…. I knew where I would end up if I walked out the door, and it would probably have led to me not sitting in that room again next week. I wanted a permanent solution to what I was feeling. I knew where to go to get that. The thought of the Samaritans crossed my mind, and I thought where I could go locally to phone them… even the thought of phoning them having left the building I felt unsafe. I felt I would still end up at the place I had in mind.  I knew I couldn’t leave the building. I wouldn’t make it home.

 

So I stayed behind at the end and told A and B that I didn’t feel safe. They asked what I meant. I told them I wanted to do something stupid. At least I think that’s what I said… it’s a bit hazy now. I asked if there was a room I could use in the building to sit and phone the Samaritans. They said yes. So I sat in a room downstairs – everyone worked upstairs so I didn’t have to worry too much about being overheard. A and B had to leave and go somewhere else, but they said a colleague would pop down and check on me in a bit. When this person did come down I was still talking on the phone, so they gestured to me then went back upstairs.

 

I spoke to a lovely woman. The Samaritans really are incredible people… they tend to know what to say / ask… and before you know it you’re spilling everything to them. I kept catching myself saying things, and thinking ‘You do realise you’re talking to another person right??’ … ‘You are speaking out loud….’ … it helped a little. I talked for almost an hour with this wonderful lady. I talked through what had upset me, and how I felt… some background stuff too… at that point I wasn’t aware of why I was so upset. I hadn’t pinpointed how the actions taken in response to what I said, had made me feel like a pathetic cheap slag basically… that came later that night. I cried a bit. I once again answered the suicide question honestly straight away… I never used to, but if someone asks me now if I have thoughts of ending my life, I straight away tell them yes. No more bullshitting people.

 

Once the call ended I wasn’t sure what to do… whether to just sign out and leave, or wait downstairs, or what.. so I ended up calling ‘hellooo’ up the stairs. Let them know I’d finished my call and then went. The Samaritans couldn’t stop me doing what I did later that day, but they stopped me making a permanent choice. They got me out of town and back home.

 

At home I pretended nothing was wrong. I think that made life more difficult… but I couldn’t tell anyone what had happened. I only told them today that I made the phone call yesterday. I didn’t say why. I only did it so they know I’m a bit delicate at the moment.

 

I made some bad choices in terms of self-harm… things I regret now. But can’t do anything about it now. I wasn’t fully in my mind last night anyway. I was distraught and medicated, so didn’t make rational decisions. It was a breakdown. I do really stupid things when it’s that bad.

 

It really was a bad day. Even talking to the Samaritans I told them I hate using the phone, but I knew I had to anyway. And she said I must have felt really desperate to push through my fear of using the phone, in order to call them. It’s true. Yesterday was the worst day of my life since my friend Liv took her life eight months ago.

 

Now I have to pick myself up and carry on. From now on I’m not going to open up again. I won’t ever pour my heart out or share my feelings with anyone, for any reason. The exception being telling them how it makes me feel, what they’ve done. That’s only so they might learn from it. And as much as I could write that down so they can again put it in my record, I think I’ll brave the conversation if possible and then draw a line under it. After that they won’t even notice I exist. I’ll just become a nobody again, speak only when I’m spoken to, get through the courses I’m doing, be discharged and either never ask for help again, or likely experience this same problem again the next time I need help – because yet again it’s been dealt with wrong and scarred me… it’s a wound that’s not been healed and has been made worse, so very likely to have it happen again in the future. Nobody wants to help me with this shame / attraction issue. I’m not sure anyone really can…

 

The whole point of admitting how I felt, was because of the shame attached to it – that shame was making me self-harm every day. The response I’ve had has only confirmed it’s right that I’m ashamed. That it’s wrong to feel how I do. And they may well say that in the ‘real world’ it’s fine… it’s just in this setting… but what they don’t get is that I’m attracted to someone in this setting right now…. it’s a current problem…. and more importantly, what I experience in this setting translates to what I feel about the ‘real world’. If I have to be kept away from men in this setting, as I’m thought of as an intensely desperate, pathetic slut and temptress, then what bloody hope is there for me around any man, any place?? If that’s really how I’m viewed. It tells me I should stay away from men full stop. It tells me that it’s indeed wrong to be attracted to a man. Having BPD I already feel I’ll never fit in to this world…. this experience only makes me feel the same in terms of relationships… that I’m incapable of having a man in my life. They’re doing so much damage to someone who already doesn’t see a future for herself in this world.

 

I’ve called it ‘attachment’ because of the shame of saying I’m attracted to a man. This has probably led to some misunderstandings. Of course when the time comes I won’t see him again the ‘attachment’ element will kick in and I’ll be devastated. But it’s attraction right now. And I feel it’s wrong. They’ve confirmed it’s wrong by saying I should see a female, and if I speak to a man, he seems to need a chaperone. So not only was it wrong to have these feelings for him… it was also wrong to say it. So basically, in a nutshell, I’ve f*cked everything up, yet again, just because the shame of being attracted to someone makes me hurt myself. This is so messed up.

 

I’ve lost control by seeking to gain it. I’ve gained more shame by trying to ease it. I’ve given myself more reasons to self-harm by trying to stop it. I have to deal with one-sided feelings yet again, which I can do… I’m so used to it, but it’s the shame that was the problem. But I just have to accept that shame is part and parcel of feeling anything for a man from now on.  I will now bury my feelings. I won’t bother anyone any further with any of this. I let out too much. I can’t take it back. I will feel what I do for him, alone… I will keep the shame to myself and deal with it the only way I can. I just have to accept I’m a self-harmer and a loner, and always will be. I should never have reached out about this. I regret it, and it will never happen again. Even if it kills me. From now on I keep everything to myself. This has proven that I can’t trust anyone. They’re all as bad as each other. And I’m beyond help. My heart is closed from now on. No more outpouring of feelings, for any reason. I live my life on the inside from now on. There is no other way.

 

 

 

 

I’m Sorry.

*Strong suicide theme – don’t read if feeling unsafe yourself, please*

 

I keep hearing Liv say to keep writing, and that my blog was good for her as my friend, to help understand how I’m feeling. That I should use it however I want to… it’s my space etc. – but I’m seeing other bloggers and I’m thinking how positively they write. I feel ashamed of my blog. I feel it’s so negative. I wish so much I could be positive and helpful to others.

I’m just struggling so much with life myself. And the reality is I have absolutely nobody I can talk to about that. So I write on my blog. I know those in my life won’t read it. The only one who ever did was Liv. She said she always read my posts. I miss her so much right now. Again, I have nobody to talk to about that. My doctor is the only person I can be honest with about everything, and I can only see her once a month.

I just feel the walls closing in around me at the moment. Even having told the doctor things nobody else knows about how dark things are for me, they’ve only become much darker since my last appointment a week ago. I’m scared where this is going to end. I’ve never felt more alone or scared in my whole life. Everything is a complete mess. There is nothing good left in life. There is no ‘life’. It’s just pain and grief… so much loss…. and just pure despair.

The only people I want and need to talk to, are the same people who are either gone from this world or abandoned me for being ill. My heart is so broken by it all. I wish it would stop beating. The only people who even notice my existence are my closest family. To be born into a world where only they would notice me not being here, is to never have really existed. It’s such a waste. To have made no difference to anyone’s life…. not a positive one anyway. I hate myself so much. I hate other people. I hate everyone who just threw me away like I was nothing. How can I ever recover from what they all did to me?

When Liv took her life, it was too much to bear. I got in touch with my former best friend who abandoned me, as I just couldn’t take having lost them both. It made no difference. I even got told by her husband it doesn’t mean things going back to normal….. just like she had painfully said to me that nothing would ever be the same now. I don’t understand why not – all I did was be mentally unwell last year…. how does that warrant treating me differently from now on? It’s not my fault. Why am I being blamed and persecuted for being unwell?? It doesn’t matter how much pain I’m in, how ill I am or if I didn’t even exist anymore. She’s decided I’m the villain in all of this and I deserve to be punished by her withholding friendship from me. She’s killed me.

And Liv’s gone. Nothing can change that. Nothing can make that alright. I have to carry that with me forever. I feel angry, because things were hard enough for me without this. But then I’m also angry that even with this added to the mix, nobody cares, not even my former best friend. Nobody can see how close to the edge I am… it’s almost as if they don’t want to acknowledge that suicide can get passed down the chain. Even people without mental illness can feel suicidal after losing someone to it. I was suicidal before losing her. Enough things had broken me and made me want to give on living. But I’ve talked about my suicidal feelings too much and done nothing about it, so people don’t believe me anymore. That’s why I’m not talking to people anymore. What’s the point? Nobody takes me seriously anymore. Nobody understands or cares. I know the occasional person on my blog might, and I’m so grateful to those people for noticing me. But I need people in my life to see me and save me. I’ve given up on it though. They’d have to read my blog to hear anything more from me. Any they don’t care enough to do that. And if they did then they don’t care enough to reach out to me and ask if I’m okay. If my former friend didn’t want me to end my life then she should’ve thought about that before abandoning me at a time like this.

I feel so alone. So lost. So entirely destroyed. I can’t be fixed anymore. I mean it. Nothing can make this okay ever again. I feel sick all the time, and numb from the pain. Not numb enough. Things were extremely dark before Liv died but I could still imagine light at the end of the tunnel one day…. the tiniest bit of light. Even if I couldn’t see how to reach it.  But now…… I’m sealed in a dark tomb. I can’t get out. I see nothing. I’m struggling to breathe under the weight of darkness and nothingness and utter pain, and nobody will reach out a hand and help me out. Nobody will show me the way towards the light again. I wouldn’t believe it existed or that I could ever find it again, even if they did, but nobody’s even tried. They’re all just leaving me to rot in that tomb, all alone. I just want the darkness to kill me now. I’m as good as dead and buried already and everyone treats me as though I’m a ghost. So why can’t it all just end? I’ve had enough.

 

And that’s what I mean about feeling ashamed of this blog. Because instead of breaking stigma, helping others and showing my journey to recovery, I’m basically documenting my downfall into nothingness. I’m laying bare my breakdown. And what’s killing me right now is that Liv isn’t here to guide me. I just need her so much right now, and she’s not here and never will be again. And I don’t even have anyone else to fill that void. I have nothing and nobody. It hurts too much. She’s the only person I need to talk to right now. I don’t know what to do.

I’m sorry. I’ll stop writing here. I can’t see anymore, having cried writing the whole damn thing. I don’t know the purpose of this. I just had to let a little of my pain out somehow. And no, I don’t feel better for it. But I’ll do what I can to solve that for tonight. Don’t want anyone to worry about me imminently… not that I believe they would. I’m sorry, I hope I haven’t triggered anyone. I was going to switch to a new blog – a positive one.  A fresh start. But I can’t be positive at the moment. Maybe I should truly suffer in silence… total silence… I don’t want to upset others with my feelings.

Hope everyone’s okay. Keep safe. I’ll try my best to as well. It’s just becoming harder every day to do, especially feeling so alone.

xxxx

 

 

 

Outburst.

*Self-harm & suicidal thoughts*

 

I feel so ashamed today. I feel broken and done with life. I finally cracked. This had been building for the last few weeks, if not months. I was triggered by someone saying something and the switch was flipped. I had no control anymore. I don’t fully remember everything…. I wish I could forget it all actually. I just remember running out of the room, shutting myself away…. shouting, swearing, roaring the house down, punching something, collapsing on the floor, crying…. I don’t know how I got a grazed knee….. I don’t know how I did so much damage to my hand when I had a bandage on. I don’t remember getting from A to B.

 

I had to pull myself together and apologise to the person who triggered me. They can’t help saying hurtful things – they’re not aware it’s hurtful. It’s a condition. I ruined their day. But there’s been a pressure building on me, for many reasons, some I will write about soon…. but a series of events happened in the immediate lead-up to it, and I exploded.

 

I had to take two diazepam straight afterwards…… and I was shaking and struggling to breathe. I always feel disconnected from reality at the moment, but that was another level … that was out-of-body stuff…. not even like watching myself do these things…. almost not seeing them at all. It was like during that episode I had no eyes, if that makes sense? I could hear… I could feel, more or less…. it was terrifying.

 

I have a very sore hand now, and I felt so awful about what had happened, that I put on a brave face to try and improve the day for others, but I knew as soon as I had the chance I would self-harm to punish myself. I did, and that was a scary experience too. I’ve either done myself damage or very nearly did, as it felt different. It’ll take a long time to recover. But the memory of the emotions and the shame will never leave.

 

I hate being this person. I hate who I am. I hate this illness. I hate all the shit that’s happening to me at the moment. I hate living. I can’t do this much longer. I can’t be around people. I can’t live in this amount of pain. Anyone who can be cut out of my life, who has hurt me, they’re gone now. They have to be, unless they’re trying to make me feel better. I deserve better. I’ll be writing about this. There are enough people who bring me pain, who I cannot cut out of my life. I can’t take any more. If they can go, they will. This is all their fault anyway. I didn’t deserve what they did to me. That’s for another blog.

 

I can’t get over the guilt from today. And I keep reliving it….. even though there are blanks in my memory, I’m replaying all that I remember. It’s been a traumatic day. I keep wanting to cry because I feel like a horrible person. I don’t want this to be my life. I don’t see how I can avoid it though. There is no warning…. it really is the flick of a switch and I’m out of my body, running, shouting, punching. I don’t want people to hate me for it. I’m so scared and paranoid now that people blame me, hate me and judge me because of it. I feel so embarrassed. Ashamed. I just keep wanting to punish myself for it over and over again. I wrote most of this earlier, and now the urges have started again… and the tears… having outbursts like today just make me want to live even less than I already do. I just feel everyone would be so much happier and at peace if I wasn’t here.

 

I’ve been offered a reason to get up tomorrow, to do something…. probably just so I’m not on my own…. I’ll do it, but all I want to do is hide in my bed. I’m in so much pain right now. I just shouldn’t be allowed to talk to anyone. I hate myself so much. And I hate the world too. There are a few nice people in it, who unfortunately don’t live that near to me, most of them. But besides that I just don’t want to be a part of this world anymore. It’s a difficult enough experience for me on my better days…. but I’ve been hurt and abandoned and left to cope on my own, with more pain than anyone could imagine. I’m constantly in a war with my mind… and I’m losing. I want to surrender.

 

I started off as a mess with no friends…. I gained friends – a group of friends….. and then one by one they hurt me or abandoned me…. as I got more ill more of them left, giving me more reason to be ill ….. and then there was me…. back where I was 10 / 15 years ago…. but worse. This is much worse. I have fewer reasons to live now. I am more violent to myself. I’ve been through too much that has broken and traumatised me…. I just want it all to end. I just want something good to happen. I want people to stop hurting me. Please. This isn’t fair. Are you all trying to kill me? If you want me out of your life that much then just keep doing what you’re doing, it won’t be long.

 

So much can change in a year…. the last year has seen me spiral down to the lowest I’ve ever been…… and everyone pretty much sat by and watched it happen. Some even blamed me for it. You can’t forget that sort of pain. I wish I could take a pill to forget everything and everyone who ever hurt me. To start anew … I can’t live this life with this mind and its memories. It’s impossible.

 

All I can hope is that I’ll fall asleep. Sleeping is the only escape I have in this hell others call ‘life’. It’s better than living. I wake up every day to a never-ending and worsening nightmare. I hope one day I don’t wake up.

“I Hate You, Go Cut Yourself!”

*Will definitely contain very strong language, self-harm & suicide references*

 

 

And another thing – does anyone ever feel they can’t do anything right? I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t. The world fucking hurts when you have BPD, am I right? We feel our emotions more intensely. We’re more sensitive to everything around us. We feel a hollow emptiness… a chronic loneliness…. we feel misunderstood and immensely isolated. The depression we feel is darker than black; emptier than a void; deeper than a bottomless pit. The fear of loss and abandonment controls our lives. Our self-esteem is next to nothing, and we feel we’ll never fit in, in this world.

 

Sometimes we get hurt by people, or feel like they don’t care about us. And it cuts to the bone. This is how I have felt for at least the last two months. And I have the choice: Say something about it, or put up with feeling like shit… alone.

 

It seems people would prefer me to do the latter. But I can’t keep living with this sense of neglect from people. Asking me to shut up and put up is abuse. It’s asking me to live with my insides being shredded and spat out every single day. It’s shrivelling up any residual feeling of self-worth – not that I have much now anyway. And it’s asking me to suffer.

 

But I cannot do the alternative either, as it upsets other people. Using my voice and speaking up about my feelings… being brutally honest… doesn’t make me very popular. In fact even after posting my previous blog I’m eaten up by guilt and shame.

 

The thing is I shouldn’t HAVE to say the things I did. I shouldn’t have to explain to friends that I need them to care about me. If they actually did care about me then I wouldn’t need to say how I feel, and that wouldn’t then offend people. I just can’t win. I suffer either way. I have a choice of pain and loneliness, or guilt and shame. So you know what? I’m closing my account down again. I’m sorry my friends think I’m such an awful human being. You know what I agree with you all.

 

The fact I need to post about how isolated I feel, and how unloved I feel, and asking for what I need, naturally makes me feel like a worthless piece of crap. To know it then offends people too… I feel awful for having to be honest and say such things – I FEEL like I don’t deserve friends. Straight after posting my last post I hated myself for it. And it made me feel like closing my account, as I’m such an awful person. And I have offended someone. Probably more than one someone. And I deserve to fucking die for it. Don’t worry, I’ve punished myself for it already, which I’m sure I’ll do again later. And my psychological punishment will be isolating myself again… probably for good this time. If people didn’t hate me before they bloody do now. And I don’t fucking care anymore. All those people saying nice things to me the other day, they shouldn’t have. It’s not true. I’m not a nice person. I only deserve pain. So now that’s all I’m going to have every day.

 

I just wish someone had stopped me from spiralling before it was too late. I can’t come back from this.

 

At one point I believed I deserved an apology for people not being there for me. Now I don’t. Now I’m the ‘bad guy’, and I owe the apology for being me, having needs and expressing them. I will get no apologies. I will  get no care. I deserve none. And I shouldn’t blog anymore.  I only did so as I had no other way of expressing myself.  I thought it would be better than hurting myself. I thought my friends would rather I express myself in words, than to cut into my own skin. But clearly I was wrong about that. They’d rather I stay quiet. So bottling it up and taking it out on myself it is. I’ve gone so far backwards in my recovery I’m feeling as bad as I did when I used to hurt myself every day. So why not complete the transition back to my teenage years…. no friends, terrible anxiety, pulling my hair out, hurting myself every day, not wanting to do anything or go out, wanting to die. Complete set. And fuck everyone who contributed to this downfall. Fuck therapy. Fuck friends. Fuck work. Fuck everything. Fuck asking for help. Fuck recovery. Fuck hope and self-worth. None of it matters anymore. Now I’m just a loner, existing, waiting for it all to end. The world has destroyed me. I have nothing left in me. I have so much self-hatred that I want to tear myself apart just to apologise for existing. I hate myself for speaking out about my feelings, when I should’ve just done what everyone wanted – kept my mouth shut and continued spiralling until I killed myself. This is worse than that now anyway. By putting myself first for a change and trying to make a situation feel better, I’ve only succeeded in alienating myself further, and pissing a lot of people off. People will be pleased I’ve disappeared again, and I won’t be showing any signs of existence towards anyone now.

 

These people couldn’t love me when I needed it. They couldn’t care. They couldn’t save me. Now I don’t want to be saved. Now there isn’t enough care in the world to drag me back from the edge. There is no hope that any soul on this planet could feel love towards me. I’m the definition of evil. Any coping strategy I try is rejected by those around me. So the blade is my new best friend. This is what you all wanted right? You might as well have just sent me a barrage of private messages saying ‘I hate you, go cut yourself!’…

 

I’ve never felt this level of disgust at myself, and pain when reflecting on my life. I just saw lots of photos… of happier times…. of people from my past… of people I’ve loved and lost. And every single photo stabs me. How can one person bear so much pain? Why was this done to me? Why do I have to be me? I can’t live with this past, and this present. There is no future. If there is it’s a lonely and painful one. Nothing worth living for.

 

I had depression. I had severe problems with my mental health. I asked for help. I received none. I felt I’m a terrible person because nobody talked to me. So I talked about the fact I felt like a terrible person, and saying what I needed. And people think I’m an even worse person. I can’t win. Some people are going to hate me whatever. They left me to feel like shit, and then get upset with me when I get upset about being left to feel like shit. Story of my life. I’m always the one being hurt. And I’m always the one being blamed for being hurt. I’m always expected to just accept it, for the sake of other people’s feelings…. fuck my feelings. Fuck me entirely, my life doesn’t mean a damn thing in this world.

 

This is how everyone made me feel. But I’m not blameless. I am a horrible person. If I was a nice person people would’ve cared about me when I needed it. If I was a nice person I wouldn’t be hurt by so many people. I must deserve it. I deserve to die alone, a painful death. If I was meant for anything better then people would’ve treated me better in my life. I’m a waste of oxygen. I am nothing.

 

I’m sorry I add nothing good to anyone’s lives. I’m sorry all I am is a burden. I’m sorry all I am is a dark cloud in the sunny skies of others, and that my depression gets so heavy sometimes, that I strike out with lightning and cry some of the heaviness away. I’m sorry I’m nothing to you. I’m sorry you wasted your time on me. You won’t have to do that anymore. You’re all free of me. I hope you enjoy your lives better with me gone. That’s what matters right? Your lives… everyone’s lives apart from mine….? I’ve always known it. I’ve always known I’m irrelevant. I’ve always known my absence would make no difference… not a negative one anyway. Anyone who’s ever tried to help me, I’m sorry for wasting your time. I can’t be helped. This has gone too far. Every bit of effort in my recovery, was for nothing. It’s all gone.  And I no longer care. So come on, do your worst… I’ve given up on life now anyway. I just want it to go away. I want to go away. I know I won’t be missed. And I won’t miss the pain. The pain only stops when I sleep. Sometimes I wish I could sleep forever…

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