Numb, Tired

I don’t feel real or alive. Numb on the outside. Inside I don’t know. Turmoil? Sadness? Fear? 

I’m so tired. Exhausted. Moving is a challenge but a necessary one. I want to escape into a bed fort. 

It feels like everyone can read my thoughts. Everyone can see all my private stuff on my phone. Everyone is laughing at me for being so pathetic. I know this isn’t true but I still feel it.

I considered texting Andy and asking him to try and come home a bit earlier. I wrote the text but didn’t send it. Hes supposed to be having a drink with a friend tonight and I really want him to go because I’m worried he’s depressed. He’ll also start making rules and predictions and put pressure on me so Ineed to get through.

My hands are cold and have pins n needles. I didn’t go to DBT. They rang because it’s so out of character so I told them I was tired.

I am so so tired.

Running v Cutting

I’m still in bed. I have a cup of tea and I’m really cosy. Im also fighting a terrible battle in my head.
I have an overwhelming urge to hurt myself. The image in my brain is of cutting my wrists. Not badly. Just enough to hurt. I don’t want to have to go to hospital or anything. I definitely don’t want any attention for it. No! I just want to hurt myself.

However, I also feel the urge to run. To feel my muscles pushing me along and my breath filling my lungs and then emptying. To feel my heart pounding and my body going ouch! Whilst my brain encourages go on! You can do this! You are free!

A dialectic? Maybe.

So run it is.

Here’s the thing though: everyone sees the run. It is praised and noted in my file as further proof of how well I’m doing. No one sees that I could have just as easily cut my wrist. No one is bothered because I didn’t slit my wrist and that doesn’t feel quite right. It’s like I’m choosing the right thing (which is good) but at the same time making it easier to be dismissed by the healthcare professionals. But I still want to slit my wrists. But no one cares.

I can’t figure it out really. 

Now I’m off out for a run. 

Give up

TW: Self-harm (and a lot of swearing)

Fine!

I give up.

Fine fine fine. Fucking FINE!

Over reacting?!

I DON’T CARE.

Let’s make it 7 weeks of not checking my diary card.

Let’s not see my care coordinator for another month.

Let’s fight for a psychiatrist appointment and then get given a half hour check up instead of a proper assessment.

Let’s deny my ESA claim and send me to a DWP assessment which will inevitably result in refusal of my claim.

And let’s criticise me for over reacting or catastrophising or self-harming or, y’know, actually being fucking right ALL THE TIME. 

I hate them all. Always banging on about my life threatening behaviours. What a joke. An absolute joke. How am I supposed to take anything they say seriously when they say one thing and their actions are something different.

I’ll just crack on and do it my way. Cheers. 

I don’t want to hear any reasonable, logical arguments. Wise-fucking-mind can PISS OFF. 

If, at any point, anyone wants to give-a-shit then I’ll be here just trying not to destroy my children by my sheer fucked-up-ness.

Oh, and did I mention? FUCK YOU (not you reading, general them as you)!

The End.

I feel bad

I feel like I’m tied to reality by fine threads. Sometimes I can pull and reel reality right back in. Other times I worry that reality is going to entirely slip away  from my grasp. Today I’ve veered between these two states uncontrollably. And it’s not even 5pm.

I’m so tired.

I met a friend for coffee at 1030am. As I drove there I was wondering if I should ask her if we were really alive or was this all a dream. The fine threads of reality tugged and jolted me back. I parked up and my feet hit the real ground when I got out of the car and I was back in reality. Coffee went well. I gave my friend a lesson plan (she’s a teacher and had asked for my advice). The lesson plan had come to me in my dream last night so I wrote it this morning. It was pretty good I think!

Then I went to DBT group. I think I might have been in and out of dissociation. I spent a lot of time focusing on objects or closing my eyes. In the break I sat on the floor curled up in a ball. Then I went back in and was sort of ok. Then I wasn’t again.

Home and so tired. Confused. What’s going on? My head hurts. I want to sleep, rest and be cared for. My jaw aches. 

I’m really unsettled by these feelings. Then my dad emailed. It was weird. That doesn’t feel real either. 

I can try and tell my care coordinator tomorrow but I expect she’ll tell me this is normal (for people like me) but it doesn’t feel very normal. I must use all the wrong words. I don’t know the right words but I know I feel bad.

I’m managing 

Trigger warning: self harm and suicide.
I’m managing. That’s what I tell myself or anyone else who happens to ask. I look pretty good outwardly actually.

There isn’t anyone watching over me. No one is asking any monitoring questions. They haven’t in weeks. So no one knows that:

  • I’m struggling with dangerous impulses.
  • I can’t go near painkillers in shops despite my feet naturally pulling towards them
  • I’m self medicating with cocodamol 
  • I took 3 cocodamol the other night and was so close to taking the rest of the packet that I nearly went to give the packet to my husband. Nearly.
  • I’ve closed my eyes when driving just to explore what happens.
  • I’ve accelerated towards certain objects quite a few times now, slamming the brakes on and shouting at myself – what the fuck are you doing?!
  • I cut my own neck last week. It didn’t bleed. I found where the vein was, avoided it and took a knife to my neck. I have a couple of creases on my neck so I cut in one of them so it wouldn’t be noticeable. It was more a scratch really.
  • I cut my thigh and panicked because it wouldn’t stop bleeding. It did eventually though.
  • I’ve had thoughts of having superpowers, and maybe I should test this out.
  • I’ve been scared in the supermarket and felt the urge to scream and shout at people because they are a threat.
  • Sometimes I think I might see little things that aren’t there.
  • I faced my abuser with a letter.
  • I’ve lost 3 stone (actually a few people have noticed that and congratulated me on it).
  • I’ve been trying Quetiapine and have been on it for what 5 weeks? And increased my dose and not a single hcp has checked how it’s going.

My usual GP has disappeared. My care coordinator is new after my last one resigned and my relationship with my DBT therapist has broken down. 

So all this stuff is going on with me and no one knows any of it. Except me. I did pluck up the courage to ring my psychiatrist a week ago. I left a message and it was never returned. I’m just not ill enough – which is a blessing I suppose.

So it’s a good thing that I’m managing. Just like I managed all this stuff before. Until I can’t manage anymore and decide to take a break. And then… ? 

Well, it so totally doesn’t matter does it? 

A Therapy Breakdown

Yesterday I had my meeting with the head of the DBT programme, a lady, D. This was to discuss my future in treatment now I was refusing to work with M (with good reason: My Last Appointment).

D immediately put me at ease and cut to the chase – what were my options?

  1. Leave DBT, the only treatment and support I have.
  2. Suspend DBT until an alternative therapist becomes available (predicted 7 months away) leaving me with nothing in the meantime.
  3. Continue DBT with M as my one-to-one therapist.

Not an appealing whole bunch of choices but that’s the situation. This is the overstretched NHS. There just isn’t another therapist available. It’s a strange thing though as I asked to continue attending my weekly DBT group which would also give me access to the dedicated helpline but that was refused. The argument given was that I could not continue in DBT without the one-to-one appointments for my own safety, because of my life threatening behaviours. Damn. It didn’t occur to me at the time but it does seem a bit odd that they would rather leave me with nothing rather than provide a limited service, given that I have life threatening behaviours…but they have their rules and there are reasons for those rules that are much bigger than my own individual situation. I told her that this felt punitive to me. I had done absolutely everything asked of me and have approached this whole process in good faith, to have it taken away when I’ve done nothing wrong just seems so unfair (predictably unfair). She said it wasn’t punitive. I said I knew that but that was how it felt. It also made me angry. Hello radical acceptance!

Hmmmm. We then spent the next hour discussing how I had found myself in this situation. It was good conversation: open, honest and on my level (I can feel quite patronised by health professionals). I felt that D succinctly got to the core of the problem: in my sessions with M I had not been validated. Her approach had wandered more into other therapies. However, in DBT the approach is to validate and change. So I was turning up every week, working my socks off and never feeling like I could do anything right, constantly criticised and just worn down. M always had this saying “In DBT we say we acknowledge you’re working hard but think you can always work harder”. I explained to D that I just didn’t think this was the case – sometimes I can’t work harder! I really, really can’t! And she agreed. She told me that that particular phrase comes with the caveat unless change is happening. So, no, I couldn’t work harder because change was occurring and I have been regularly applying the skills I learn in group. I didn’t know if she was playing along or if her some of her shock and concern was genuine. It felt genuine and I’m pretty good at telling. After we had discussed why I no longer wanted to work with M she seemed to really get it and, in fact, this meant that I really was in a tricky situation.

D told me that M had to make a repair to me. I started to cry because I didn’t want to upset M and I’m really sorry that all of this has happened. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. D gently reassured me that she could see that. I said I was happy for M to make a repair to me because I knew M would be feeling bad about what happened and I didn’t want her to feel bad. D told me that the reason M was to make a repair to me was because I deserved a repair. I was uncomfortable with that so I’ve to do radical acceptance work on that. I’ve also to do a cope ahead plan for the repair meeting. I’m dreading it.

The final piece in the puzzle was what I bring to the relationship and there is a problem with that. M has to try and read me in our appointments but yet I am extraordinarily difficult to read. To be fair I often don’t process challenging information immediately. Instead I take it in, file it and then, when I get a chance (when it’s safe), I have a look at it – that’s when the emotions generally come. So in my last appointment with M I outwardly appeared fine. I laughed and held conversation and reacted appropriately because that’s what I do. This makes it really hard for the therapist and leads to another problem. It may be that M feels unable to continue with me because her own confidence is so dented that her self-doubt would really get in the way. I get that. It’s not good though.

It’s unsurprising of course because it’s what always happens. I try and believe that it will be different but deep down I know it’s only a matter of time before anyone who tries to help gets taken away from me. I reckon M will say she can’t work with me anymore and then? Well, here I am. Just me and my life threatening behaviours for company, because they never leave.

 

Falling Apart

I thought I was pulling myself out of that last black hole. Slowly and tentatively I really thought that I would improve my functioning and coping. I know with BPD that things can turn on a sixpence and here I am, standing in an emotional tornado, trying to think. 

Observe and describe they say in DBT. Yeah done that. Panic continued to rise. Then I start pacing and want to mutter to myself but my son is in the next room so must stay calm. Stay calm stay calm stay calm. Breathe. That helps a bit. Shit! Tears now? Can’t cry. Choke them back. What am I even crying about anyway? My skin feels extra sensitive. It’s crawling just from the sensation of my own clothes. In the kitchen I pretend to shout at an invisible force “I CAN’T CRY! I’M NOT ALLOWED AND YOU WILL NEVER SEE ANYONE AS GOOD AT HOLDING IT IN AS ME!” I only mouth the words, no sound owing to boy in next room. I imagine throwing a glass vase at whatever this entity is.

The panic builds and builds because I  in charge of one child, have a 2nd to pick up from nursery soon and a dinner to make. Need to stay with it. I’ve used DBT skills and grounding techniques all day but it’s doing diddly squat now. This is what happens. I try and tell them and they never take me seriously.

I’m wondering wtf to do and remember that I have lorazepam for emergency use. This counts. I take it and 2 propranolol too. I make my son a hot chocolate and do so mindfully…stay with it, stay with it.

I realise I need help and then I remember that there is none. Why is that the story of my life?! So I write this waiting for the meds to kick in, breathing and wishing that someone could remove me from this tornado. That’d be great.

Another Crisis Survived 

Another crisis survived. It’s a victory but a quiet one. No one cares. They’d have cared, presumably, if I hadn’t managed the crisis. Although when I say cared I mean be angry at me for being selfish etc. 

But I did manage yet another crisis. I’ve had a lot of these crises over the last few weeks. Each time I get through it, without professional help, without much of a fuss and, I suppose, that may invite judgement:- these can’t be real crises if I’m managing them on my own. Hmmmm. I disagree. When I can’t leave my house for fear of buying pills to overdose, can’t care for my children, just can’t manage much at all other than crying, or being vacant, or sleeping? When I have a constant narrative to harm myself or to be dead? When I find my hands moving to my own throat to choke myself? I think that counts but I guess it doesn’t because I am managing it.

I was very depressed yesterday. I went to DBT group and that was quite good actually. We started Interpersonal Effectiveness and I think I need this more than I had realised. I enjoyed the session because I felt like I was learning. I enjoy learning. If something interests me then I just want to soak it up. Pretty much as soon as I got home the emotions became intense. Although I was alone I felt harassed. I had so much to do, too much to do. Every time I tried to tick something off the list it created another job. I was totally overwhelmed.

By evening it was too much. The emotion was overwhelming. Be dead, be dead, be dead. Urges. So I started thinking about my crisis plan and recognised that it was pretty pointless. The crisis team can’t do anything so no point ringing them. My husband can’t help, he gets emotional and overreacts and makes it worse. I looked at the NHS Suicide section on their website. It suggested emailing the Samaritans. I could do that! So I did, I emailed jo@samaritans.org I knew that they couldn’t do anything but listen but, to be honest, that in itself was hugely helpful. It’s funny how many professionals I speak to but rarely feel listened to; they have their specific questions. Everything is lead by want they want from the appointment. 

After the Samaritans I chose self-soothing. I had a little Graze box treat and a hot chocolate, took my quetiapine, made a hot water bottle and retreated to bed. I put lavender on my pillow, cuddled up to my blanket and bunny. Then I took 3 cocodamol for good measure and downloaded an audiobook (The Humans by Matt Haig). With my headphones in I drifted into the safety of unconsciousness. It’s the next best thing. 

My night was full of vivid dreams of the past. Some of it was reliving abuse and some of it was comforting. The important thing was how I woke up and I woke up ok. Ok. Tired, mentally bruised and battered, but ok. Another crisis survived. It’s a quiet victory and no one will celebrate it, not even me. For me the feeling is relief. I know that this is temporary. I expect that I’ll hit crisis point again in the next few days so I’ll try and make plans now with the aim of avoiding crisis. I get scared. How many times will I successfully negotiate these urges? I’m so used to this; to having to survive. I do get resentful about it, about having to fight so hard for something that I’m not sure I want. Having to fight for something that other people want (my survival) on my own.

Still, survival brings options, death doesn’t. So quietly I’ll just go about it. Invisible. 

Is It True?

I’m confused. Was that therapy? 

I was terrified going into my one-to-one with Monica today and I told her so. She briskly went about business, about how this therapy wouldn’t work unless we were more specific about my behaviours. It felt like being told off. I wasn’t sure what I’d been doing wrong. She asks questions, I answer them and that’s how it goes. How could I be doing that wrong?

She told me that she hadn’t read all of my letter, my chain analysis I had sent her. I was embarrassed. I had opened myself up and it was viewed as the warbling of a madwoman. She hadn’t even read it all. God I’m so foolish. 

She said we had to be more specific about my behaviours. I was confused. I thought she knew but I answered as we matter-of-factly went about creating an itinerary of the awful things I think and do. It was shameful for me. Trains, guns, throat cutting. She categorised each thing in front of me. I felt disgusting, like I was standing naked and being evaluated. 

Then it was therapy interfering behaviours. This is hard to explain. She spoke about the way I am and that this causes problems in our sessions. I felt my trust drain away. I don’t understand. I am who I am and I’m trying to change. In our last session she had sensed my stifled anger and it had made her want to be away from me so I needed to change this behaviour for therapy to work. Now I was beyond confused: but I was trying to keep the anger in as best as I could – what else could I do? She suggested I let it out. No, I can’t, I’d destroy the room, smash it all up, be vile – how is that not therapy interfering? If I shouldn’t keep it in and shouldn’t let it out then what the actual fuck was I supposed to do?! 

I changed my posture to a slouch so she told me that was another thing I do: slouch and become wilful. Then she mirrored my posture. I laughed but it was awful, like being mocked. She criticised my behaviour but I do these things subconsciously whereas she was choosing to behave in that way. She said it was like talking to her 16yo son. I said I wasn’t being wilful – I was disagreeing. There is a difference. 

A different tack – she reminded me how in one of our first meetings I spoke about my lack of friendships, and that I hadn’t understood why this was. Well, if she got the urge to leave the room because of how I was then that would also be happening in my other relationships. I think this was supposed to motivate me to change. I’m already motivated to change! I didn’t need a fucking character assassination. My sarcasm so unpleasant. This confused me too. I’m never sarcastically horrible to anyone (but myself), it’s generally my dry sense of humour which is actually quite a bit part of my character. 

She said I looked despondent. Well, seeing as how we’d already categorised how fucking suicidal I was and I’d just endured a blow by blow account of how bad I make others feel despite only trying to be good YOU BET I’M FUCKING DESPONDENT. Instead I told her it was a lot to take in and I needed time to process it.

Well, I’ve been processing it for a few hours now and nope, I still feel despondent. Worse than ever. I had always hoped that these bad things I believed about myself weren’t true but they are. And I don’t know how I can live with that. 

One Mindfully Flashback 

Mindfulness is at the core of DBT. We learn the what skills (observe, describe, participate) and the how skills (one mindfully, non-judgementally, effectively). Personally I find these formal labels really confusing and tie myself up in knots trying to figure out which mindful skill I’m using, or trying to use.

Anyway, at the end of each module we revisit mindfulness. None of us in group like this. We all bitch and moan and roll our eyes about fucking mindfulness. Still, yesterday’s session (week 20 I believe) was about revising the how skills.


So, I still find DBT group extremely stressful and I’ve discovered that if I sit and colour in then it allows me to concentrate on what is being said, stops my mind wandering and allows me to participate much more effectively. I am calmer and remain an adult. This is good. Everyone in group gets it so they’re fine with me doing it. So yesterday I was sat colouring in, participating and all was going well. Psychologist Amy then says the whole group are going to do some colouring in and we are each going to focus on this work one mindfully. Awesome! There is an initial scrabbling for pictures, pens and pencils. I have my own so I just carry on and internally have a rueful little smile to myself; they remind me so much of the students I used to teach. Amy is teacher so gets everyone settled and instructs us all to focus and be one mindful. And we do. The room falls silent. The only sound is the rhythmic ticking of the clock.

Amy, being teacher, is now a bit lost. She doesn’t want to disturb the silence, the focus, the concentration so she starts getting bits out ready for the next bit of the session. I know exactly how she feels. I have felt that way countless times in front of my classes when they are absorbed in a task and I have become surplus to requirements. Yes I know that feeling very well and I see it in Amy. She is the teacher and I am the student…the child. Uh oh

I won’t have that sensation of leading a class because I am not a teacher anymore. A great sadness arises within me. A sense of loss. I used to be a teacher but now I sit and colour in. I let the sadness come, acknowledge it and try and focus back on the colouring one mindfully.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Just like my gran’s grandfather clock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. It’s warm like my gran’s house too. Gran’s house; a place of safety. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Focus: which colour for these berries? Gran was a teacher too. I wonder what she’d make of this. She’d probably quite like it, she liked arty stuff. 

Then the smell – the smell of gran’s house. Comforting. A place of safety. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Sometimes when things became too dangerous at home I would take the kids round to my gran’s and we’d stay there. She only had a tiny flat and the grandfather clock was in the hall. Sleeping there was always so special. She would make tea and toast before bed, she would make us brush our teeth and wash our faces, we’d be tucked into a warm, cosy and clean bed. We’d say our prayers (like that helped) and then I could read. Gran had loads of books. They were old. Old book smell (yum!), tucked up in a safe bed listening to the tick tock of that grandfather clock. The rarest of moments for me, feeling safe, feeling cared for. 

But I wasn’t at my gran’s house. She is dead. Long dead. More sadness at the loss. Made so much more bitter by her dying 5 days after my son’s birth. This prevented me attending her funeral. I never said goodbye. I was given nothing of her possessions. Our relationship not even acknowledged by the rest of the family. I was out of sight, out of mind. I am no one to anyone. Every year the family travels back to where gran is buried, to remember her and to keep the family ties. I can never go because I have my son’s birthday stuff going on, which no one thinks of. To be honest I often wasn’t even invited. That hurts. A family gathering of my parents, 3 aunts, 1 uncle, their partners, my 3 brothers, my 11 cousins (and their partners and children too as they’ve grown) – but not me. And no one misses me. 
And I know it’s all part of the fucking Universal balance thing. I fucking know it. Every year I am punished. Special was she? Ha ha ha. Take her away in a way where you can never say goodbye and be always excluded. Ha ha ha. Know your place. And not to be outdone, exactly 7 years after she died (5 days after my son was born) my daughter was born. Her birthday is my gran’s date of death.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

I’m supposed to be colouring in. Pick up another pen. Focus one mindfully. Fight the flashback; my vision is going dark and grainy and I feel faint – this is often how flashes come for me. But I fight it. I breathe deeply and mindfully. I fight the urge to run out of the room. God, the sadness. It’s overwhelming. If I start crying I won’t stop. I look at the chimes they use to signal the beginning and end of each mindfulness practice. I’m willing Amy to chime them. Please, please, please. 

Finally she does. With a peaceful smile she asks how we found that. I speak up. I share the sadness, the wanting to run, the near flash but I don’t share the details. Amy asks how I am now. I shyly bring my hand out from under the table. It is shaking violently. I feel faint and sick. I’m sweating. This is fear. I know this. There is no insight or conclusion about what happened and I manage it skilfully. 

When group finishes I am still shaken. Another ghost has been awakened. And I feel alone with it. Again back to the psychotherapy argument – why won’t anyone help me with my ghosts? They awaken them with their stupid mindfulness bollocks and then I am left with them. As if I didn’t have enough to manage already. 

At home that night I want to obliviate everything. Instead of taking all the meds that I want I make, what I consider to be, a wise mind choice. Instead of taking an amount of substances that would be dangerous I take 2 cocodamol, drink one beer and pop my quetiapine. Good night.

No doubt I can look forward to being bollocked for doing that later today. Sometimes I think…wilful? Wilful?! You have no fucking idea how wrong you are. Since when is fighting for survival wilful?