Manifestations Of Anxiety.

I’ve noticed in recent weeks that my anxiety is getting much worse. I’m noticing how it’s affecting me physically. I’m really struggling with it to be honest and don’t know how to cope with it.

 

I haven’t really blogged about anxiety before, as it was more under control in recent years… it seems to have got worse since seeking help for my mental health. Anyone who reads my blog might have an idea of what I’m experiencing at the moment, and my mind is pretty preoccupied with that right now. My mind feels packed to the rafters. I feel paranoid, although to me I don’t think it’s paranoia, obviously. And I feel almost obsessive. My mind won’t stop. I’ve had to become obsessed with crochet for the last couple of weeks, to try and stop my mind obsessing over my feelings and the situation I’m in…. I’ve done so much that I’ve damaged a nerve in my thumb now. That’s the level of obsession and emotions.

 

I’ve noticed so many physical symptoms attached to my anxiety. I’m sure some would sympathise when I say that IBS can be an issue. My emotions definitely affect my stomach. More recently I just feel discomfort and lose my appetite. Food doesn’t interest me. The discomfort of eating in public is coming back – any situation that might require eating in front of people I don’t know, I will avoid.

 

I don’t want to sleep – I stay up late thinking – I think I was awake until 3am last night, and only had about six hours of sleep.  And when I wake up I’m straight into obsessing over everything, so can’t go back to sleep. I’m feeling impatient to sort out this issue that I’ve sat on for two weeks. I know I won’t feel better after having done it, as a new wave of anxiety and issues will start, but having to sit with such uncomfortable feelings on my own for this long, it’s been hard. Saying that, I sometimes just want to sleep through it all and wake up when I can handle it. But the whole ‘can’t eat, can’t sleep’ thing seems to be the main thing for me.

 

Very recently I’ve struggled with breathing. Feeling I can’t breathe deeply enough. Seeming out of breath when walking – and it’s not because I’m unfit… I’ve been walking more this year, so my fitness is doing better. I know it’s anxiety related.

 

I also have palpitations. I sometimes get ectopic heartbeats, so extra beats, where it can feel like your heart stops beating for a second and then it thumps extra hard – I think it’s something to do with electrical impulses to the heart that makes it add an extra beat. It’s odd that it’s actually extra heartbeats when it feels like missed heartbeats. I’ve had them before and the more you’re aware of them, the more they seem to happen. But recently it’s all the time. I’m not even aware of them in that sense. But if I’m imagining a scenario, or I’m about to go out, or exercising… or anything really, my heart is going crazy… like it hasn’t got a set rhythm. The trouble is that makes you start to worry there’s something wrong with your heart – which will then make it worse. I guess more than anything they’re annoying. But I do feel a little ‘off ‘when I get them. This is one of the biggest issues with my anxiety.

 

The other one being the tics. This happens mainly when I’m outside the house and around people. I’ll blink and it feels like I haven’t blinked hard enough. I know that sounds stupid… but yeah, I’d call it a blinking tic. And I feel sure people will notice it and think I’m weird or whatever, and that anxiety about people noticing it makes me do it more. It’s frustrating. I find it’s worse when it’s cold and windy – probably because I wear contacts, so it makes me need to blink more in the first place. I think the answer is to close my eyes and breathe. But it’s hard to do that walking along! I actually have a stomach tic too, which thankfully isn’t noticeable like the blinking one. I used to have this when I ate food, back in the days I was thin and didn’t really eat much food as I thought I was fat. I’d feel uncomfortable, so I’d tense the muscles in my stomach and once I started I couldn’t stop. But that’s not as often now as the face one.

 

Obviously I clench my teeth and get headaches associated with it. Same with other aches – I probably hold a lot of tension in my back, shoulders etc.

 

And my hair issues have become worse again too. For a few weeks I didn’t pull hairs out. I didn’t cut split ends off. It’s one thing that definitely improved. But it’s returned now. Obviously that’s something I do privately at home, but again, it’s obsessive…. it’s compulsive…. it takes over and I have to do it. I know it’s related to the anxiety and maybe the impatience I feel at the moment.

 

I just want to get on and resolve this issue. It’s the anticipation of it – having to psych myself up to confront it and follow through on it. Not knowing what reaction there will be. What consequences there could be. Knowing that once I’ve done it I can’t undo it, but also there will be nothing more I can do. Things are really bad at the moment… I just want them to be aware of it. I’m in a very triggered state right now, in so many ways. It’s too much to deal with alone.

 

I’ll write more about anxiety at some point, but just needed to get this out there. It’s a huge issue for me now.

 

 

 

What’s Real??

 

What's Real_

 

*Self-harm mentioned*

 

 

Struggling so much at the moment. People probably wouldn’t know this. I’m not really opening up about it as much. I’m battling with my own mind.

 

I’m paranoid that the mental health services are fobbing me off. Despite what they said at the assessment, that they’re not doing that, and that I could access DBT in the future, just not right away – that I have to follow the ‘pathway’ by doing the Wellbeing Centre first…. I can’t help feeling they’re lying to me.

 

I was told they won’t diagnose BPD and that I don’t need a diagnosis. Then how come so many people ARE getting diagnosed with it? And are on waiting lists for DBT and yet I have to start at the bottom? Is it because I’ve done it before in the past? Does everyone have to follow this pathway? Or is it just me, being told something different to everyone else, as usual?

 

This isn’t helping my paranoia. I can’t let go of this feeling like they’re lying to me just so they don’t have to help me. Look, they got out of having to do so…. I’m off of their caseload already, after one assessment. I’ve been directed elsewhere…. yes, it could be because that’s the pathway… I have to try this other thing first…. but I cannot shake the feeling they are telling me that to get out of helping me….

 

And that they’re telling me they won’t diagnose what’s wrong with me, and that I don’t need that diagnosis, because they know that once I have that diagnosis, they will have to offer me more intensive help. Not diagnosing it means they aren’t expected to do anything. This might not be the case, but I have paranoia about everything in my life right now. And when I see other people seeing psychiatrists, and getting diagnosed and I’m being told the opposite and directed elsewhere, I can’t help but feel angry, resentful and rejected…. like they’re picking on me ….. like they don’t want to help. Nobody wants to help.

 

Having read the assessment letter I feel they minimised everything – the self-harm… saying it was ‘minor’ – how do they know?? They didn’t see it… they didn’t ask….. ‘minor bruises’ – actually I’ve still got great big lumps (hematomas) left on my arm from two months ago! I’ve deformed parts of my hands, and I’ve possibly even fractured things along the way but haven’t sought treatment for any of it…. I don’t personally think that’s ‘minor’. Do you?? It’s like when they say your cuts are ‘superficial’. This does SO much damage. My response to reading ‘minor bruises’, was to violently attack myself again, saying ‘I’ll show you ‘minor bruises’!’ … it’s as if they’re saying it’s not bad enough to warrant help or to be taken seriously…. it makes you do it worse. It’s like with the cutting – that’s not ‘superficial’. If I’m bruising tendons and having to steri-strip my wounds then I don’t think that’s superficial. The language around self-harm has to change. I will write separately about this soon.

 

But I felt like they tried to paint a better picture of me, to present at the team meeting, than was true. My eye contact was good because I couldn’t understand what he was saying…. his accent was too strong, that I had to look at his face to lip-read. I may look better than I am and relate well to people, because a part of my problem is I don’t let anyone see my reality. I always try and be nice, polite and friendly to everyone. I’m the girl who had her BCG injection at school, got up afterwards and said ‘thank you very much’ for God’s sake! How I appear has nothing to do with how I am and what I’m experiencing. I won’t go outside the house without putting my make-up on or doing my hair. Yes, I did that for my assessment. But it overlooks the fact that 90% of the time I don’t even go outside the house, so do not bother with these things.

 

I may look better than I am and relate well to people, because a part of my problem is I don't let anyone see my reality. I always try and be nice, polite and friendly to everyone. I'm the girl who

 

He said I was present etc. – but what about when I told him that I didn’t feel I was really there…..? That it didn’t feel real…. I felt disconnected from everything. I said that. He also obviously didn’t notice me digging my nails into my hand. He didn’t mention the fact I burst into tears, which he robotically ignored at the time… distressing me further.

 

Yes, towards the end of the assessment I felt we understood each other more and I started to relax a bit. I helped him with trying to get the printer to work…. I may have even laughed a little. Is this the snapshot he took, to report to everyone else? Overlooking the rest of it? That seems unfair to me. I’m a people-pleaser. I don’t like to make others uncomfortable.

 

I felt he played down the self-harm and the suicidal feelings. Why do people do that? Every single time in the past, when I’ve been asked whether I would act on my feelings I have, I’ve said no…. because I’m a people-pleaser! And I was scared of their reactions. This one time I was prepared to be honest and say ‘I don’t honestly know if I would act on it or not anymore…. because I don’t feel as in control of myself as I used to…’ and I don’t feel that opportunity came up…. so I don’t feel they had the full picture when making the decision….

 

But would the decision have been the same regardless? Were they always going to turn me away?

 

And it comes back to… would I have been given more help there and then if I had the diagnosis? To be honest I don’t feel that ‘BPD’ is my only diagnosis…. I feel more and more in recent times, that perhaps C-PTSD fits my life. I would have liked them to look at that side of things…. to understand that everything is traumatising me…. and it feels like a great mountain of pain, loss and trauma that I can’t get over… it just gets higher and higher with each hurtful or difficult event in my life. When I talked to him about what I had experienced in the past he said they didn’t want to know about that – that they wanted to know what my problems were in the here and now….. this is what made me upset in the assessment – they were invalidating my experience and my feelings….. they were saying my past is gone, it isn’t important. But the fact is that my past is why I am in such distress in the present. I needed them to help me with that. I’m not sure they will. I’m not sure anyone will. Even the IAPT service made it clear they deal with the here and now, not the past – WELL WHO THE FUCK CAN HELP ME WITH THE TRAUMA OF MY PAST???? If people keep telling me the past is not the issue, then soon I’m going to kill myself. Because it proves nobody understands what I’m going through. If nobody will help me heal the past then how the hell am I ever to have a future?

 

I wanted help with that. I wanted help with the paranoia too… but I feel that was glossed over. It’s a huge problem for me. It’s new. I don’t know how to cope with it. And as you can see, it’s now causing huge problems for me with mental health services too. I feel stranded at sea to be honest. And feel sick from all the waves of uncertainty and doubt.

 

I also have to make a personal decision soon too… and I’m struggling to do so, as I’m splitting and paranoid with that situation too…. I have nobody to discuss it with. So I can’t make a decision based on facts. I have to base it on how I feel. But my feelings are not centred in reality necessarily…. I don’t know what’s true and what is paranoia. So how do I decide? I also don’t feel it’s my place to decide…. the whole point is I want someone else to make the choice for me…. I need them to take the initiative… be pro-active… choose me and make the effort. I have to know they’re willing to do the things that are needed. But I’m seeing doubt and inaction. I know they may not know what to do, but it feels odd that I have to tell them. I feel I’m in this friendship alone… playing both parts. It’s crazy. And given that things are so unreal and uncertain for me at the moment anyway, it’s frustrating to have to convince someone to make an effort for me when it should be forthcoming.

 

Things are uncertain in every way right now. My mental health feels out of control. With the paranoia, splitting … and then the CMHT stuff and the friendship stuff too…. All of this and life generally feels too uncertain, unstable and unsafe since I lost my granddad two years ago. My grief was delayed. This is how it has manifested. Nothing feels the same anymore. I’m struggling to cope with this new reality. It’s not reality to me yet. Nothing feels real. So having to cope with anything extra is very hard to do. Making choices with friends…. knowing what’s right about mental health services…. being attacked online last year so many times, and then by a friend too after it all… it’s broken me. I’m struggling to adapt to life after loss… I’m paranoid…. I don’t feel safe in this world… and I need people to be supportive, caring and to make me feel safe and secure. I shouldn’t be sat here, having to decide whether someone can do that for me or not…. I should see it in their actions and their words…. I should be given these things without asking for them…. so I’m beginning to think I have my answer…. but then I come right back around to paranoia…. am I assuming things because of my illness? And then straight back to – ‘but if they wanted me in their life they would make the effort on their own’….

 

I am fighting between my head and my heart…. between reality and paranoia…. I don’t know what to do about anything …  and it’s making me sick.

 

stranded (1)

 

I have moments where I feel more positive about things, but they’re so fleeting….. before I know it I’m self-harming and a ball of anxiety about life. I do feel alone at the moment. Even if I do occasionally talk to other people… I feel isolated and like I have to cope with what I’m experiencing all on my own. And when people misunderstand you and you doubt your own mind, that makes it all the more isolating…. Being stranded and isolated in a world that doesn’t feel safe or stable anymore = dangerous. But what more can I really do…?

 

 

The List Of Chaos.

  • I spend months talking about how I feel I don’t have any friends.
  • I talk about feeling alone and like nobody cares.
  • You asked me what was wrong, I said I felt invisible, like nobody cares, and I should just keep to myself.
  • Your response was silence.
  • You left me feeling invisible and like you didn’t care.
  • You hardly speak to me anymore.
  • You don’t tell me you miss me. You tell me the kids miss me.
  • You don’t show that you care. You just say I am your friend.
  • I tell you about my mental health, to try and explain my behaviour – you don’t want to hear me. You just get annoyed with me for not being the friend I used to be, and you’re frustrated that I behave how I do.
  • You don’t seem to accept my mental illness.
  • I write about my paranoia, BPD and self-fulfilling prophecies in relation to friendships.
  • You message me saying you don’t know what’s going on but want to sort things out between us and talk of meeting.
  • I am hypervigilant and paranoid however. I feel scared and under threat, so retreat.
  • I feel ashamed and guilty for saying anything and burdening you, saying you don’t deserve having to put up with my illness.
  • I pull away whilst I deal with a couple of things that were hard to cope with.
  • I fight against my emotions, my paranoia and my illness, to contact you and suggest meeting to talk, so I can explain my illness. I admit I’m scared about it. I warn you things won’t be easy with me for a while as I’m ill, so if you don’t want to get involved you don’t have to. Last thing I want is to inflict my illness on you. I never expected you’d take this option.
  • After a couple of days you contact me, don’t really acknowledge anything I said, and just tell me your side – you tell me what an awful time you’ve been having.
  • You tell me you don’t know how to be my friend as you don’t think I want you as a friend. And you just wanted me to talk to you.
  • You tell me things that make me feel guilty for having not been there for you – but how was I to know? I’m not a mind-reader, and I’m too ill to approach others and ask. Sorry I’m a rubbish friend. It’s mental illness – you may have understood if you’d listened to me.
  • You say you need to focus on your own things.
  • This makes me feel like something you can’t be dealing with right now. i.e. ‘a burden’.
  • You then tell me you are my friend and you are here for me, despite giving the impression you cannot be here for me. Empty words.
  • You showed no compassion for my ill health or suffering. And made no reference to meeting up anymore.
  • I  show care that things have not been good for you.
  • I assure you I wanted you as my friend, and thought the same about you.
  • I repeat that I have a mental illness, one I was going to print stuff out about, to give you to understand better.
  • I acknowledge that we obviously need space to focus on our own issues.
  • I show concern for something that you mentioned, and wish the best for that situation.
  • I close my account.

 

 

  • I have no clue how you could think I didn’t want you as a friend.
  • I had been calling out for you to be my friend for months.
  • The post I wrote about paranoia was based on my illness, but on our friendship too.
  • I wrote about feeling possessive and replaced.
  • I feel replaced.
  • I was replaced as ‘best friend’ when you got married. He became your best friend – as he should be. But to someone with BPD it is still a painful feeling of rejection.
  • Wanted to explain this to you.
  • Being the only single person left, I feel lonely and I feel less important to you, now you have a family.
  • I now feel replaced by your other friend who you frequently post about – you have more in common, family and all… so I feel inferior. This comes from low self-worth / self-esteem.
  • You may not like ‘possessiveness’ or ‘jealousy’ but it comes from valuing you, and feeling inferior and insecure. I would have hoped you would respect this and reassure me, rather than feed my insecurities further.
  • I wish you could understand my FEELINGS instead of taking offence at my words.
  • You seem to look and sound happier with these others friends who are married and have children. It kicks in the thought that you’d be better off without me dragging you down. Whether this offends  and upsets you or not, it’s how I feel. I feel inferior and like a burden to you.
  • You have confirmed this by your message.
  • You have confirmed my worst fears. That you don’t want to deal with me anymore.
  • You want to focus on your personal life.
  • I know this will be untrue. You will see the other friend, who isn’t a ‘drag’.
  • She will become the new ‘best friend’. And that fear of being replaced will also come true.
  • I just wanted you to understand where my fears come from…
  • I wanted to explain ‘splitting’ to you as well. It is beyond my control. It is like watching back a movie of your relationship with someone, which has been edited and only shows you the negative times. You know that the positives exist, but they’re not connected to the movie you’re watching. It is not deliberate, and is not about you. It is a faulty thought pattern caused by my mental illness. It distresses me.
  • I wanted to explain this to you. But you avoiding my illness, and rejecting meeting to learn about it, and responding how you did has made me split even further. It’s just added to the problem and made it harder to fix in the future.
  • My paranoia at least is not paranoia now. It’s just true. But I do still have paranoia and I wanted you to understand how hard it is to cope with that, when you’ve never had support for it before. It doesn’t just go away.
  • I wanted you to understand my fear of abandonment, and that when I shut down it is self-preservation mode. It is me trying to protect myself from losing you. I don’t chase people anymore. I withdraw.
  • I wanted you to know it’s because you matter to me that I fear losing you.
  • I sense the changes. I noticed the way you spoke to me changed. I was aware of the amount of time you’d not talk to me.
  • I was paralysed by depression and paranoia, so I couldn’t take the initiative and speak to you, no matter how much you wish I could. I wanted you to learn why it’s impossible for me.
  • I felt you had expectations of me that I could not fulfil because of my mental illness.
  • I know you want me to be who I was before, but I’m sorry I can’t do that right now.
  • I wish I could. I hate feeling suicidal every day.

 

 

 

  • You wanted to meet to sort things. I was afraid and overwhelmed, so didn’t agree to at that time. Then when I said about doing it, you seemed to have given up on the idea. I just feel you don’t understand mental illness at all. I couldn’t talk to you. I was scared of you!
  • It took so much strength and courage to agree to meet and talk. So it was a blow when you didn’t accept it.
  • I don’t understand how you could think I don’t want you as a friend, when I have shown over and over how desperate I am for you to show me your friendship!
  • You are a closed book, so I had no clue you felt this way, or had problems.
  • I never hid how I felt. So you cannot say the same.
  • I know you have your issues. I actually care about you and your family.
  • I cannot help not being there for you. I beat myself up for it. Literally. My hand is bandaged from doing so!
  • I understand you might feel the same, that you cannot be here for me.
  • I understand you may have felt too much pressure to be here for me, but please understand that I am desperate. My life has spun out of control. You cannot expect out of me, what you would expect from any normal person, or even what you expected from me in the past. I’ve never been this ill. I don’t always know what I’m saying / doing… I’m just trying my best to survive. Being judged for the way I do this is not helpful.
  • It could be you are struggling with mental ill-health too, and I’m sorry if that’s the case. But I don’t know about it. I cannot help you if I don’t know anything. You cannot expect me to just know these things.

 

 

  • I was upset nobody was there for me on the first anniversary of Grampa dying.
  • That is where my splitting and paranoia started. It felt the worst that you weren’t there. I thought you would understand and support me. But you then went two months without speaking to me, before writing a less than caring message.
  • I am grieving. I went into the ‘depression’ stage of grief and haven’t come out of it. I thought you would be more understanding of what grief can do to a person.
  • I’ve never grieved before, not like this, so I needed a steady friendship and security to feel safe in a world that suddenly feels unpredictable and scary.
  • Grief and the longest and worst crisis I’ve ever experienced, mixed together, and having to deal with it all alone is hell, and I wish you understood that.
  • I don’t have other friends like you do.
  • I don’t have a partner like you do.
  • I have a tiny little world.
  • I haven’t seen anyone socially for four months, since the last time I saw you.
  • I don’t have someone to confide in.
  • I am alone now.
  • I feel suicidal every day now.
  • I feel you wouldn’t care if I followed through with it.
  • I feel you don’t value my friendship or my life.
  • I understand you have your own life. To be fair I haven’t exactly ripped you away from that life this year. On average I saw you less often than once a month.
  • I know you have to focus on your family.
  • But you make me feel like I’m too demanding for wanting a friend.
  • You make me feel how Joe made me feel… like I’m too much. Too needy.
  • You made me feel worthless.
  • However unintended that may be, it’s how you’ve made me feel.
  • What if I died tomorrow? Would you wish you’d cared more when it mattered? Or do I really not matter to you now?
  • After your message I wanted to die. Or I wanted to put myself in hospital.
  • I ‘just’ harmed myself instead.
  • I couldn’t find my diazepam to calm me down. I panicked looking for it.
  • I had to just get through it and keep myself safe.
  • I’ve appeared strong and positive the last couple of days.
  • Today was hard.
  • I had so many thoughts and words in my head, which I tried to write out, and I just couldn’t do it.
  • I eventually found this way of listing my thoughts clearly. It’s helping.

 

 

  • You may feel like a victim to my mental illness and my behaviour.
  • But you don’t communicate. You expect me to just know. And then seem to hold it against me for not knowing… making me out to be the bad guy – like I’m selfish.
    But you don’t take the time to understand my illness. If you did some research you might understand how I’m feeling right now. I’d do it for you if I found out you had an illness.
  • I feel like a victim.
  • I’m already a victim of my illness.
  • I feel like a victim of isolation and loneliness.
  • And now I feel like a victim by the cold abandonment over the weekend.
  • I feel like you see me as the one in the wrong here. But I cannot see it that way. Because I know about my illness. I know my limitations. I know how desperately I cried out for help all year, to have it ignored. I know my symptoms. I know I say and do things that might not be the best idea – but if you understood the illness you would know it’s never about you. It’s about trying to rid myself of overwhelming emotional pain and suffering. I know I have paranoia. I know everything I’m going through. But I know nothing of what you’re going through. And you seem to expect me to. You then imply you can’t deal with me anymore, and need to focus on you – as though I’m asking too much of you… making me feel like shit… how is that fair??
  • I am hurt.
  • Maybe one day things will work out.
  • But it needs to be acknowledged that you’ve hurt me.
  • Perhaps I hurt you. But I’ve told you multiple times I am ill. And you don’t talk to me, so I never knowingly turn my back on you at your worst times. But you did.
  • I will forgive, but I don’t think I can forget… again, a part of my illness.
  • One of two things will happen… either I will get better, on my own, and we will rekindle our friendship, when I’m in a healthier, stronger place. You will want me back as a friend once I’m not this ill. Or we’ll never speak again. And you can tell me how much you care about me, at my funeral.
  • All I wanted was for you to hear me, and understand I’m not being difficult or awkward – I am ill and you’re seeing my symptoms. I wanted you to treat me with the kindness needed to survive a mental illness that kills 10% of those who have it.
  • I wanted you to care. To really care about me, and to show it.
  • I’m sorry you couldn’t do that.
  • Goodbye.

Reality Of Symptoms.

Symptoms

 

*Long post – take what you want from it*

 

syms

 

 

I saw this on Facebook the other day, and wanted to expand on it a little in a post. These symptoms do exist, they’re very real and quite distressing for those who experience them. Whilst some can be symptoms and signs of other mental health problems, for example depression, and anxiety, I have to admit I identify with almost all of those, minus promiscuity. So I wanted to talk about each point and the effects of these symptoms so that people can better understand the struggle of living with BPD, or any mental illness.

 

Needing Attention

BPD A1

 

Everybody in this world needs attention. When we were babies we’d all cry to get attention… to get our needs met. Whether that need was food, a changed nappy, or a cuddle and a bit of love and reassurance. We used our natural instinct to get those needs met – we cried. Even as adults we all have basic needs. And whilst some of us may have most of them met, for instance warmth and shelter, food, family, friends… it doesn’t mean we always have the love, support and understanding we need. We don’t necessarily have the reassurance we need, and the feeling of worthiness. And there are some damaged souls out there who cry out for this kind of attention… we want to feel loved and cared for. We want to feel we matter in this big, intense and often cruel world. We want to be understood and supported, and we want to have reassurance that the people we care for aren’t going to leave us. We need to know we’re not terrible people. So we may do things like push people away, to see if they care or not. If they just go, then they don’t care. But if they stand and fight for us, then we matter to them, and this gives us reassurance that our friendship /relationship is real and we’re loved.

Fine, it may not be the most constructive and healthy method of gaining this reassurance, but chances are we’ve tried other techniques and not succeeded in getting our needs met. Once we find something that works, that becomes learned behaviour and is repeated in future situations.

People often imply that self-harm and suicide attempts are a ‘cry for help’ or a form of ‘attention-seeking’… like that’s a BAD thing. We all need and deserve attention. And we all seek that attention in different ways. Some lucky bastards are given attention without any effort at all. Some show off their bodies to get physical attention. Some break the law, because negative attention is better than no attention. Some are ‘jokers’ and extroverts and gain attention that way. And some inflict pain on themselves. But 99.9% of the time it is NOT done for attention at all. In fact people most likely to self-harm are those who would rather not be in the spotlight. We don’t want attention in the sense of all eyes on us. The attention people with BPD need is compassion… warmth… love…. security… reassurance… consistency…. very basic things that every human being needs. But we can feel neglected in this regard, and asking for reassurance or love or loyalty, should not be seen as manipulative or attention-seeking… it should be a sign to people that they’re not putting enough into their relationship / friendship with us. I mean if someone feels so neglected, unloved and worthless, that they’d cut into their own skin, why would you deny them the basic attention they need?? We don’t do it TO GET attention. We do it because of a LACK of attention – it doesn’t mean we’re trying to make people pay attention, we’re just coping in our own private way with our feelings of inadequacy, after months and years of being forgotten, neglected and abandoned.

I’ll tell you, in my darkest moments recently, I have wanted to go to the top of a building and get the attention of the emergency services. This is SO of character for me and I find it disturbing, but it’s not because I’m an ‘attention-seeker’. I’ve just been in a difficult place, and felt isolated. I felt I had nobody to turn to, and wanted to end my life, and emergency services SAVE lives. And if they saved mine it would show I was worth something. This was because of a lack of love, support and attention from those around me. You seek it through any method necessary. If I couldn’t get the basic attention I needed in life, I would end my life. Attention – i.e. ‘human contact’ is so vital to survival. And nobody should make fun of someone or criticise someone for feeling neglected by the world.

Outbursts Of Emotion (Especially Anger)

BPD A2

 

This is something we hate about ourselves. It’s not something we’re proud of. We wish we could control it. But what these outbursts tend to be is repressed anger. I myself have always been afraid of anger as an emotion. I don’t know why. I don’t like conflict. I don’t like arguments. I don’t like aggression. And I see anger as a bad emotion to have. So I never showed it. I’d hide my feelings of anger. And often in the past I’d take that anger out on myself. And then through therapy I learnt that it’s okay to be angry, and I learnt to express that anger in healthier ways.

But sadly, over time I’ve lost those strategies of dealing with my anger, and without the support of the mental health services, I’ve gone backwards. I now try and ‘contain’ my anger again, and with life being so relentlessly hurtful, I quite often have ‘episodes’ of anger.

These outbursts are not meant to cause harm – physical or mental. It’s a build-up of stress and emotions, and they’re all crammed into this little space inside us, and our spirit can only take so much stress or heartache at a time…. but the world can’t see how much we already have crammed in there, so it continues to push us and push us, until the storage for all this stress is bursting and ready to explode. One more ounce of stress and BOOM, that’s it – we’re no longer in control of our emotions… they take control of us.

We all have triggers… things that set us off emotionally, and that’s why one tiny little thing (to someone else) can set off an episode that seems out of proportion with what’s just happened. But it’s because of a build-up of little things, and that last thing was the trigger.

We try so hard to ‘control’ our emotions, by pushing them away, denying them, ignoring them… but this backfires, as emotions want and need to be experienced. We have emotions for a reason. And if we ignore that reason, the emotions aren’t going to simply go away. They will morph into something even more powerful. They end up controlling us instead. We can’t control when these explosions happen. They are a loss of control. And that means the emotions win. Or the cause of our stress wins. The way to take back our power is to recognise stress and anger, and accept them as serving a purpose. We have to healthily express our emotions at an early stage, so they don’t build up.

But sometimes, no matter what we do, there will be some triggers that cut so deep… They’ll surprise us… Out of the blue they’ll attack us. I’m yet to find a way to put a safety on our triggers. I would guess it’s looking at the root cause of why a trigger is a trigger, and working through our feelings about it. But that would likely take time and a therapist – something which is hard to come by in this country nowadays!

Whenever I have an outburst, I feel incredibly embarrassed. It’s the last thing I want to happen. My outbursts usually involve shouting, swearing, storming off, slamming doors, throwing things, punching walls, crying, self-harming. I never want to harm others with my outbursts. I never want to hurt anyone else in any way. I’m aware I probably frighten others with my episodes, but I am also frightened at the time. You go into a dissociative state, where you feel like it’s not you shouting and swearing. You’re hyped up on adrenaline and can’t feel the pain of punching the wall. You’re afraid of what you might do. It’s like you’re watching yourself do these things you don’t want to do. And then you lock yourself away in a room, in a ball on the floor, in the dark, crying, and slowly coming back to reality. And you’re scared to come out and face people as you feel you’re an awful person. Usually someone will eventually come and knock the door and perhaps give me a hug. But I never feel I deserve it. I’ve had some pretty traumatic outbursts that I’m ashamed of and can’t get over. But there’s nothing I can do about them now. I never intended to make a scene. And these outbursts are usually triggered by other people’s anger. I wouldn’t have an outburst if it wasn’t triggered by an experience with another human being. It takes two people to create a negative emotion.

But bottom line is these outbursts are beyond our control, unless we can access the help we need to work on them. They are not something we enjoy or do for the hell of it. We don’t want to hurt you, and we’re often frightened of ourselves. Please look beyond the anger, and look at the cause… the trigger.. and the message it carries.

Not Getting Out Of Bed

BPD A3

 

I know this one quite well, especially in the last few months. This is more an aspect of depression, but that often goes hand in hand with BPD. I’ve had good reasons to be depressed in the last year, and as much as it would be good to keep busy and make the most out of my life, I’ve not wanted to participate in life.

Think about it… people with BPD often experience suicidal thoughts. It may not be that they want to die, they just find it hard to live. They want to escape pain and life. An alternative way to do this is to sleep more. Or to just stay in bed, because if you don’t get out of bed and participate in life, you won’t encounter other people or potential triggers. You won’t harm yourself as you won’t get triggered. You’re less of a risk to yourself, and feel less of an annoyance if you just hide away under the covers.

Sometimes I’ll wake up fairly early, but not get out of bed for a couple of hours. I’ll go online and read stupid things, or play a Facebook game, or write a blog post… it’s all a way of avoiding life. Avoiding decisions, stress and disappointment.

There is a downside to it though – we have more time to sit and think. We can actually make ourselves more depressed sitting doing nothing. I’ve done that before… I’ve looked at my friends’ social media and convinced myself they’ve forgotten all about me, as they’ve not spoken to me in weeks. If I wasn’t sitting around online I wouldn’t have time to concoct these ideas in my mind.

The other aspect of this is that having BPD or any mental illness is utterly draining. Those who don’t know about mental illness are lucky – they have no clue how exhausting it is, fighting with your own mind every day. To live in a body whilst your mind wants to die. Every little thing takes so much more effort when you’re mentally ill. If you experience anxiety alongside BPD that is tiring. The adrenaline involved with anxiety or with angry outbursts associated with BPD, can wipe you of energy and make you tired afterwards.

Depression makes you tired. It makes you feel weary in every sense. It makes you lethargic, like nothing really matters. Like everything is too hard to get through, so why bother. If you’ve never experienced depression then think yourself lucky. If you had it, you would want to hide away in bed too. It’s a tiredness that sleep cannot fix.

 

Social Withdrawal

BPD A4

 

Isolating yourself. It’s a protection tactic. You think if you avoid other people, you can avoid extreme emotions and triggers.

I’ve done this a lot in the last few years. You can always tell I’m in a very dark place if I come off of social media, or stop talking to my friends for a time. I had been doing this until about a week ago. I met up with friends I don’t see often or hadn’t actually met until last weekend. In my heart I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to see other people. I wanted to isolate myself.

We sometimes isolate ourselves to see who really cares about us. If people notice we’ve gone quiet and ask how we are, then we know we’re not invisible. This rarely happens with me now though. I know I’m invisible. I often have to instigate contact with my friends now, and I hate it. I feel such a burden and nuisance. I WANT people to notice I’m quiet… to MISS me and to actually DO something about it. Not just sit back and leave me on my own.

I’m not trying to manipulate people. I’m needing validation. I’m needing recognition as a person. I’m needing to see if I matter in anyone’s world.

Other times we withdraw to protect ourselves. If we’ve been badly hurt or betrayed by someone close to us, we shut down socially, so that nobody else can hurt us. We’re thrown as to who we can actually trust in the world, and believe the world is a nasty, scary place, and nobody has our backs. So it’s easier to cut ourselves off from everyone, since we can no longer trust our own judgement about people, to not see them as people who could hurt us.

And at other times we think it’s what other people want from us. We feel a burden. We feel like awful people. It’s our low self-esteem talking, and we think we’re doing others a favour is we shut the hell up and leave them alone. We think we deserve to be alone.

Sometimes though it is simply that the world is too busy and noisy, and we’re overwhelmed by emotions. And the depression and anxiety are too much, and drain us. So we need to take time to recharge our batteries. It’s nothing personal. We just need our space and some quiet time to rest, and prepare to face the world again.

 

Self-destructive Behaviours

BPD A5

 

This can be anything from self-harm, to drinking, taking drugs, gambling, sleeping around, reckless driving, binge-eating, excessive spending, to self-sabotage.

I’ve sabotaged my own friendships sometimes because of my illness. It makes no sense, but I feel if my own best friends think I’m worthless and abandon me, then it gives me an excuse to end my life. It’s something I do in my darkest times, and I regret it afterwards, and feel like I can’t come back from it. I feel like my friends would see a side of me they don’t like, and will honestly abandon me. And when I’m in a better headspace I don’t want that to happen. I can go from thinking my friends are lousy, to expressing that, to feeling like I’m the lousy one and I don’t deserve friends. That’s where I am right now.

I’ve never taken drugs and I don’t drink. I don’t sleep around at all. I don’t drive. I don’t gamble, although let me loose on the 2p slot machines and it’ll be hard to tear me away until I’ve won something!! I binge-eat when I’m emotional, and when I’m down or stressed I spend more money than I should in my situation. I try to control it though. And I self-harm.

These are all behaviours that are self-destructive. They undermine our spirit. Other self-destructive behaviours would be denying ourselves food and drink. Or denying ourselves sleep. Choosing to not give our bodies what they need to function, because we think we don’t deserve it, or we want to make ourselves suffer.

These things are often done to numb the pain we feel, or to cover it at least for a while. They don’t work though, not in the long-term, and they leave us in a worse position than we were to start with. But they are coping mechanisms, and we all have them.

If you see someone engaging in self-destructive behaviours try and recognise they need your love and support, not your judgement. They likely hate themselves and life. Why not give them a reason to love life a little more, and to see their own worth?

Some of these behaviours are compulsive though, so they’re not something we can simply stop doing. We will feel uncomfortable not doing them, and just sitting with our feelings. So we need support and reassurance throughout. Not to mention a lot of patience.

Being Clingy

BPD A6

 

I hate the word ‘clingy’ just as much as I hate the word ‘needy’. This is the language usually used by jerks, or more politely put ’emotionally unavailable men’ to describe a woman who has emotional needs that they cannot fulfil.

A lot of us ladies have been made to feel it is bad to show emotions, and not want to lose someone. We think it’s pathetic to chase after someone we care about, and to ask for what we need from them. It’s not. We’re not the pathetic ones. The pathetic ones are those we chase after who make us feel needy for making very basic requests of them.

For the purposes of explaining my point here, I will use the word ‘clingy’, but I do so reluctantly, as it has such negative connotations with it nowadays.

People with BPD are afraid of abandonment. We are afraid that people are going to get sick of us, discover something they don’t like, or get bored and leave us. We get attached to people, and feel emotions more intensely than others – so when we love someone we love them with ten times more intensity than ‘normal’ people. And the fear of losing them is even greater. So we are desperate to not lose them, and will beg and plead for them not to go. We will do anything to not lose them from our lives.

I have actually lowered my standards immensely and degraded myself to try and keep certain men in my life before, and feel extremely ashamed that I stooped to such levels. But I was afraid to lose those people from my life. I felt at the time, that I loved them. But now I have the wisdom to know that any man worth loving, will never make you beg, plead, and humiliate yourself just to be in their life. They won’t want to see you crawling on the floor after them. They won’t want to see you upset. They’ll want to lift you up, make you happy and be an equal to you.

Clinginess is actually a sign of love. Some people can’t cope with the idea of someone loving them. Clinginess is us not wanting to lose someone. People should be flattered, and if we belong in their lives it shouldn’t frighten them off.

For anyone who doesn’t like us being clingy – I guess this means you don’t like being loved and appreciated. It makes you uncomfortable. If you don’t want us being ‘clingy’ then simply reassure us you’re not going anywhere and we matter to you. This would calm our fears that you’re going to abandon us, and it’s all that’s needed. We’re not asking you to change who you are as a person, just to reassure us now and again. We shouldn’t have to change as people just because you can’t say a few loving words. If we’re afraid and insecure about losing you, why play on those insecurities and allow us to be afraid? We’re not ‘clingy’ because we want to be. We’re ‘clingy’ because you mean a lot to us, and we’ve had a lot of people betray and abandon us in the past, and we want just one person to prove not all people are the same… not all people will leave us. It’s a desperation to be proved wrong about people and the world. It’s a desperation to not be alone and to not be given one more reason to want to leave this life. It’s expressing our love to you. If you can’t handle the intensity of our love then perhaps you have issues of your own, you ought to work through.

 

Forgetting Things

BPD A7

 

Mental illness takes up a lot of mental energy. The tiredness mixed with the chaotic thoughts, can make us forgetful. It can be hard to concentrate. I sometimes get a sudden brain fog. I’ll be talking about something, and mid-sentence I’ll forget what I was going to say. I’ll walk into a room and forget why. I’ll forget an important date as I’m preoccupied with something else. At times I’ll appear to forget about my friends, but it’s because I’m trying to get through something difficult. I’ll forget the word for something. I don’t always feel very organised, and have almost forgotten a couple of appointments before.

We need people to be understanding and not joke about us having the memory of a goldfish. We usually have a lot of intense stuff going on in our minds, and sometimes our memory, particularly our short-term memory is going to suffer for it.

 

Getting Upset About Everything

BPD A8

 

I’ve been accused of ‘overreacting’ before. And of ‘letting things get to me’. Yes, things get to me that wouldn’t get to other people. So what? Not everyone is thick-skinned. Being thick-skinned to me signifies a lack of emotions. I’d rather be a thin-skinned human being, than a thick-skinned robot thanks!

Just because something isn’t a big deal to you, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be to me. You don’t know my story. You don’t know my triggers. There may be things that get to you, that don’t get to me – I wouldn’t invalidate your feelings though!

Sometimes it can seem we overreact to little things, but what most people don’t realise is that these ‘little things’ build up into bigger things, it’s just the world doesn’t see the build-up, as it happens internally.

Also remember we experience our emotions deeper than ‘normal’ people. If something upsets us we may seem more upset by it compared to someone who doesn’t have BPD, just because we experience more ‘extremes’ of emotion.

Sometimes people say we let things get to us, as a way of washing their hands of responsibility for the pain they cause us. It’s a way of not having to watch their words and actions, and turning the blame onto us instead. Never let someone say that you let things get to you, especially if that person IS the person ‘getting to you’… chances are they’re trying to deflect the blame, and don’t want to change their own behaviour. They want you to accept their manner and mistreatment rather than apologise for hurting you, and changing.

 

Bad Self-Care

BPD A9

 

This is anything from sleeping too much / too little, to eating too much / too little, to not getting dressed, washing, brushing your teeth, taking medications. This is something I don’t like to talk about too much, as I feel ashamed and like people would be disgusted with me and think I’m a dirty, smelly, lazy person. But sometimes, when your depression is at its worst, you don’t want to get out of bed. I have spent days in my pyjamas, not washing, not brushing my hair, heck, not even changing my underwear! That’s how debilitating depression can be. I’d lounge about in bed, no make-up on, or smudged from the day before, as I never washed my face. I’d have my glasses on. I’d not have my anti-depressants until 4pm as I was too depressed to get up and get them. I’d not eat all day. Or I’d scoff a whole big bag of Maltesers, whilst hating myself for being so fat. I’d not drink enough and then get headaches in the evening, and drink so much water at dinner time that I couldn’t eat much of my dinner. I’d take painkillers just to sleep better at night.

I still have occasions like this. But I NEVER talk about them. Nobody ever knows that sometimes this is my existence. Perhaps if they did, they might understand I really DO have depression. Because all they ever see is me with my contacts in, make-up on, teeth brushed, hair straightened, clothes on, clean, together, ‘happy’ mask on and making jokes and playing about, being friendly to people. How can anyone possibly believe my mental health problems if they never see it, and I never talk about it?

This is the reality of depression though, for many people. We pretend we’re better than we are… so then society can’t understand when we hit a limitation, or when we have a meltdown. They don’t see the signs. My closest family are the only ones who can tell if I’m in a bad patch. They’re the only ones who will ever see my real face. I hate this, as it makes it seem like I’m ‘two-faced’, but it’s not like that. It’s just being yourself at home, and being who society wants you to be, in public. They’re two very different personas. I feel people don’t like me already. If they saw the depressed me, no matter what they say, they would not want to be associated with me.

The thing with mental illness is everything is so much effort, and you get to thinking ‘what’s the point?’ … so you don’t bother putting clothes on, as you’ll only be changing back into your Pjs later on anyway. Why wash? You’re not seeing anyone. You’re not going out. It would require taking your Pjs off, and then you might as well get dressed. Too much effort. Why do your teeth? You’re not going to talk to anyone today, and you don’t plan on doing much smiling, the way you’re feeling… who cares what your breath smells like?? Why eat? Nothing tastes that good that it’s worth the effort of getting up and making it. And drink? That just means you’ll need to get up and pee – too much effort. Medication…? Does it really make a difference? Look, you’re already depressed, surely if they worked you wouldn’t be this depressed. So what if you’re late having it… couldn’t feel much worse right?? Going to sleep – what a waste of hours. The best part of the day is when it’s quiet and you’re on your own with no expectations. Better to stay up and think, and write. But at the same time, you’re wanting to sleep to block out the monotony of life. And then you can’t get up in the morning…. so what?? You’ve got no plans today. You’re not going out or doing anything with your time, why bother getting up?

I could go on. But you get the impression. Everything feels pointless when you’re depressed or mentally ill. And yes, doing these things would improve your self-esteem, but when you’re in a bad patch, it doesn’t matter, you can’t have thoughts like that. It’s hard to break out of. That’s why any little step, like brushing your hair should be celebrated. It’s a step towards recognising your importance as a person, and treating your body right.

 

Promiscuity

BPD A10

 

Now, I can’t comment on this at all! I’ve never been like this, being celibate and all!! The only experience I can bring to the table is in my head I’ve been promiscuous, in the sense of having crushes on people. I always wish to have the attention of somebody… very often they are men who are spoken for, which I’m ashamed to say. But the reality is I would never in a million years act on any of these crushes, as it’s not who I am as a person. I have morals, and I’m not like some of my old friends who would put their desires ahead of the feelings of another human being.

But this mental promiscuity is a desperation to be loved. It’s wanting someone to return the feelings and validate me as a person, and make me feel I’m not going to be alone forever. The only trouble is I never communicate my feelings to the guys, I keep them inside, quietly hoping I’ll sense a connection. But I can have feelings for one guy one minute, and switch targets the next. I’ve actually liked three or four people at the same time before – some involved, others not, but I’d act on NONE of them, because I have such little confidence in myself anyway, and don’t believe a single one of them would ever choose me in a million years.

This is how I imagine people feel who have BPD and are promiscuous… they’re searching for validation, and someone to return their feelings, and make them feel like they matter. Perhaps they sleep around to feel like they’re attractive, when they don’t feel like they are. Perhaps they do it to try and find a connection with someone, anyone. Perhaps they do it to punish themselves, or numb some sort of pain. I honestly can’t say from my own experience, and I find it hard to put myself in that position. But I do know the desperation to be wanted, loved and ‘normal’, like all my other friends. So I could understand how playing the field would increase one’s chances of finding that. Not all people who sleep around love themselves and their bodies. I can guess that much.

Weird / Unusual Triggers

BPD A11

 

People have all sorts of triggers for episodes and self-harm. In this moment I can’t think of any ‘unusual’ ones I experience. Seeing others’ wounds / scars, or everyday cuts (not self-inflicted), can set me off. It’s usually being shown up, let down, making mistakes and other social triggers that cause me to go off on one. Afraid I really can’t say much on this one, as I can’t think of any ‘weird’ triggers. But the fact is there is no such thing as a ‘weird’ trigger. Triggers are personal to us. If they mean something and set off a chain reaction of emotions then it is what it is. What may seem weird to one person may not to another. I’m sure for some people, being happy can be a trigger, as we’ve experienced happiness before and it’s usually closely followed by heartbreak, or we don’t think we deserve happiness. But a trigger is a trigger – it doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else. We own them.

 

Needing Validation

BPD A12

 

I’ve already touched on this in the Promiscuity bit… but it’s in more ways than sexually / romantically. We need validation as people. We need validation of our emotions. We’ve probably been invalidated too much in the past. Very often people minimise our experiences and feelings, and dismiss our fears. This can make us feel it is wrong to feel negatively about something. So we hide our emotions and then take them out on ourselves. What we need is people to say ‘I understand why you’re (angry, sad, scared etc), and I’d feel exactly the same way’ – no ‘buts’. Validate the experience, and validate our emotions. And don’t tell us we did the wrong thing in how we dealt with it. We’re doing the best we can with the skills we’ve got. Praise us for our efforts. Encourage us in our fight to survive and thrive. Tell us you admire how strong we are to deal with so much pain. Tell us we’re right to feel angry, betrayed, frustrated, and there’s nothing wrong with our emotional responses.

Validate us. We need to feel we are not bad people. We need to feel accepted. We need to feel our emotions are appropriate to the given situation, because for too long we’ve told ourselves it’s wrong to feel and wrong to show those feelings.

So please don’t dismiss us, minimise our situation, criticise our way of thinking. Support, encourage and reassure us we’re not insane, and we’re not bad people. It doesn’t take much to do. You just need to check yourself and make sure you’re not being dismissive. It’s an easy thing to fall into. You think you’re doing the right thing, telling someone ‘not to worry about it’ or to ‘calm down’…as you don’t want them to work themselves up over something, but sometimes fear and anger are appropriate emotions, and need to be felt and expressed. And telling us to calm down will have the opposite effect to what you intend. Encourage us to express our true emotions in a healthy way, and accept those emotions, whatever they are… even if they don’t make sense to you, we are feeling them, and calmly discussing with us, may make more sense of how we’re feeling, otherwise we’ll simply shut off and the emotions will intensify in our heads. We need to feel able to talk to you, and if you validate our feelings we’re more likely to be able to. Invalidate us, and you’ll be one more person we can’t trust and open up to. So don’t get upset when we no longer turn to you for advice and support.

 


 

Mental illness, particularly BPD is really misunderstood… as a whole and even when taken apart and examining each symptom. If people judge us by just one symptom, how can they ever feel compassion and understanding for our illness and for us as human beings? If people see us shutting down and isolating ourselves, and their reaction is ‘Fine, I’ll leave her on her own’, then they don’t understand mental illness. And if they don’t understand my mental illness they don’t understand me.

People need to educate themselves about mental health problems, particularly if they’ve been fortunate enough to not be touched by mental illness themselves. We only understand something once it happens to us. It’s true. But we can research in the meantime, especially if we want to connect with our friends and loved ones who are suffering.

There may be things you don’t understand about our behaviour…. maybe try asking nicely… learning… showing interest. Rather than judging and abandoning us for our uncontrollable mental illness. As BPD soldiers we already fear abandonment, but we’re aware our illness could make you abandon us… so it’s a vicious circle. Help us break that cycle and show us you’re not going anywhere. Accept our flaws. Accept our symptoms and aim to help us through them. Don’t stifle them. Don’t minimise them or make jokes about them. Don’t judge us for them. Not if you claim to care about us. If you care, you care through the good and the bad. And these are just some of the bad sides you’ll see of us. It doesn’t show the whole picture of who we are. I will be blogging about the positives soon. These are just some of the areas where people like me need understanding and unconditional love. I hope you found parts of this useful, please feel free to ask anything you don’t understand.

All the best xxxx