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. 

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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’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? 

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. 

Mummy is in bed

My children are in the hall outside my bedroom playing catch. My daughter’s voice is full of joy and giggles and she bounces about shouting “catch!” to her older brother. He’s excited because he’s wearing his new football boots to his game today. Hearing them happy makes me smile. I’ve already had bad thoughts this morning and hearing them is a nice antidote.

Then my husband tells them off – they shouldn’t be playing here, making all that noise. Mummy is in bed. Mummy doesn’t want you to do that does she?

Triggered.

His intention is good. He knows that I was in a bad place yesterday and he wants me to have peace. He regularly makes these assumptions about what I need though without actually asking me. I’ve told him more times than I can count that he doesn’t need to silence the children on my behalf. It makes me so sad. All I want is for them to be happy and healthy. Please don’t stop that for me. 

I was already having intrusive thoughts when I woke up (I could overdose when they’re all out and then just start walking until I fall somewhere). Now I feel worse. Everything is my fault.

Mummy doesn’t want you making all that noise.

Mummy is still in bed.

Leave Mummy alone.

My daughter is going to the football game despite her chesty cough. It is 830am, cold and damp outside and I worry about her chest. My husband decided to take her without talking to me because it’s what I need, apparently. 

Guilt. Shame. Anger. Love. Sadness. All swirling around. 

They’ve gone now and I’m alone. My family are gone. Without me. I feel so wretched. Swallowing a load of tablets wouldn’t phase me at all but I can’t do that. That doesn’t help them. Instead it’ll be the knife. Will need to go torso I think. Better weather is coming soon…short sleeves…

Oh, I didn’t take anything last night except my quetiapine. That was a positive step forward of which I’m quite proud of. I slept til 4am and then I was restless/awake and any sleep came with nightmares. Lack of sleep is a vulnerability factor they say. Lucky for me I get to stay in bed whilst my family are out together.

Lucky me indeed.

End 

I know that everything I say here will stupid, it will be illness, but I’ve got to say it all and I’m not going to try to make sense.

I cried a bit in DBT group today. Not properly, just that choked up, can’t talk or I’ll sob kind of way. I feel like crying now but I can’t because my son is here. He was sent home from school sick. In fact I had to leave group to collect him which makes perfect sense because in group I was saying/choking about the fact I can’t stop self harming because I’m scared something awful will happen, particularly to my children.I told them all in group that I would chip away at this belief so it is fucking obvious that my boy then got sick. The message is there. It’s so clear. In group I gave the example that I had written details of my last self-harm and send it to Monica because we never get through a chain analysis because I can never remember what happened. Anyway, my appointment with Monica was cancelled this week. She was ill. Nothing suspect there except I know. Of course it was cancelled! Each time I try and push back against ‘this’ it rebounds back at me, knocking me down. I cried that I could have told them that my appointment would be cancelled: I do something ‘positive’the universe pushes back. It’s like chess. 

I had been crying quite a lot this morning so had hoped i wouldn’t cry in group. I was crying this morning because I feel like the end is coming. As I up my efforts to ‘get better’ my opponent ups their efforts too. Then comes the strange contradiction: the suicidal who is scared to die. I just don’t want to leave the kids, i really don’t. I just want them to be safe and ok. 

And I feel totally alone. The universe is organising things so I become more isolated…pushing me further. So my care coordinator Nora left. Then Monica cancelled my appointment. Now I’ve had to leave DBT today. My new care coordinator keeps fucking up appointments so I haven’t even met her….obviously. She rang the other day to reschedule and didn’t bother asking how I was, or asking how the quetiapine is going or you know basically anything. I’m so confused. I don’t know how the quetiapine is going and I don’t have anyone to talk to about it. I  just don’t know anything.

Last nights dreams upset me so much. I dreamt my mum loved me. I dreamt that when I was a baby she had done so much for me, made huge efforts out of love – like flying to London to buy a special baby sling that you couldn’t get where we lived (and it being 1980!) and she did that because she wanted to be close to me. I felt such a fool in the dream. Yes, she had done all these terrible things to me but, actually, she had loved me, she had tried. Then I woke up and remembered that she hadn’t. I cried a lot then. 

I also dreamt of the rape. I kept trying to see his face. I wanted to stare him in the face. I wanted to know his face so I could recognise it if I ever saw it again but he was the shadow man again. This afternoon as I sat on the sofa I saw him out of the corner of my eye, stood in the kitchen door. Gone in a flash. Thankfully I didn’t startle because my son was there. The whole thing just makes me so so sad. Why is he back? I don’t understand. I tried to deal with it before, I told and nobody cared so what is the point?

I just don’t know what to do so I keep trying to do the things that are supposed to be good, to be the right things for recovery but the more I do the worse things happen. I’ve thought a running away this afternoon at least then maybe everyone would be ok.

I’ve got to go. The cat is being a twat and I now have to pick up my daughter. Somehow I need to rein all of this in and be the mum they deserve. Fuck. I can do it for a few hours and then, when they’re in bed, I can break.

It’s Time to Talk, Seriously.

On February the 2nd it is Time to Talk day 2017. I think this is a great initiative. I know it’s been running for a few years now and I really hope that each year more and more people speak up about their mental health because we all have mental health. Just like our physical health, our mental health can be good, or not so good and it will vary. Just like our physical health, we might suddenly find ourselves in a situation with our mental health that was previously unthinkable. Very suddenly everything can change but the world still turns, the people around you still go on, and you can be left wondering.. how could this have happened to me? I’m not like that… Just like with our physical health there are risk factors in mental health – you probably know that being overweight increases your risk of diabetes, but, have any of us really stopped to consider just how that person with mental illness arrived there? I wonder what they were struggling with for the illness to begin. I suppose it’s easier for us to think of those suffering from mental illness as weak, sensitive flowers because it means that we can reassure ourselves that it will never be us. Until it is. And then…what?

Over the last few years I’ve noticed more people speaking openly about depression and anxiety and it’s brilliant. Even men, a group that speaking about their mental health is almost forbidden (sensitive flowers right?). This is awesome…but… (I’m sorry there’s a but) I want us to talk more. I want us to start being able to share some of of the more (perceived) frightening aspects of mental illness. I think they’re frightening because they are so mysterious, shrouded in hearsay, misinformation and sensationalism. Let’s name some of these bogeymen: suicide; self-harm; hallucinations; hearing voices; psychosis; dissociation; flashbacks; delusions.

I don’t work anymore. That came as a huge surprise to me. I never imagined that would be me. I used to be a research scientist for a major pharmaceutical company – intercontinental conference calling, symposiums, shares and benefits. Then I retrained as a science teacher and I was successfully climbing the career ladder with the aim of being a head of chemistry and a lead teacher. See? Normal. Doing life and doing pretty well at it but the risk factors were there. Without realising what I was doing I actually fought mental illness all my life and then, and I don’t know how it happened really, everything changed. I tried to kill myself. Now I’m at home I get to catch up on a lot of TV (no, not lucky me). There’s a lot of crime stuff on during the day. Know who the baddies are? Yeah, they usually have mental illness and are suffering with the bogeymen. But, you see, this is my point – I’ve experienced a few of those bogeymen symptoms and I’m as dangerous as a wet tea bag (i.e. not very). People would know that if I could talk to them about it.

Very few people in my life know that I tried to kill myself. Even fewer know about the self-harm. My husband and I haven’t even spoken about it. I keep meaning to. He must see the cuts but then I hide them so well I wonder if he does know. How do I tell someone who loves me that  I deliberately take a knife to myself? I don’t know but it’s definitely time to talk, seriously, because self-harm is a very real and troubling part of my mental illness. This leads me to another massive misconception about mental illness – that it is attention seeking. Are you kidding me?! Attention seeking?! Ha! Right. No, that’s the kind of attention I can do without ta. People being afraid of me, thinking I’m crazy (which I am but it’s ok)?! No, no,no! Attention seeking. Wow. I’m not saying people don’t ever look for some sort of concern or help and that can be in really messed up ways but that’s mental illness for you – it can make rational thought kind of difficult sometimes!

My diagnoses are borderline personality disorder (BPD) and complex post traumatic stress disorder (cPTSD). I’d never even heard of BPD so I googled it. It’s a heartbreaking and damning read: attention seeking, manipulative, liars. Difficult to love? Aggressive or violent? Hand on heart I will tell you that those particular traits do not apply to me (well, maybe I’m hard to love I dunno) but imagine what people will think of me when I tell them that I have BPD (that they’ve probably never heard of) and if they go so far as to google it? Yeah. So it’d be really great to be able to talk about it, to let them know the truth; what I struggle with and how I manage it and why I’m still me. Then there’s the cPTSD bit. This tells people that I have something awful in my past. They don’t want to ask for fear of upsetting me and I don’t tell them because I know it will upset them (been there, done that, sat through the awkwardness).

No one knows what to say but, you know what, that’s OK. This stuff is complicated. It’d be a lot easier if we could talk about it so that’s what I’m saying: it’s time to talk about the scary (not really!) stuff too. Oh, and I want to make clear that I am absolutely not minimising depression and anxiety. I find the depression the worst part of my illness. It’s brutal and can be life-threatening, as anxiety can be too. These conditions have a continuum and if your depression/anxiety is classed as mild then it is still an illness and you have every right to receive the correct treatment. You deserve empathy and understanding. So, no matter how your mental health is faring currently do make time to talk. Please.

From a  crazy, wet teabag x

BPD & cPTSD: a Monster and a Ghost part 1

The Monster

My DBT one-to-one with Monica was intense this week. Lots of stuff but I think, dare I say hope (?), that she is edging closer to glimpsing what I live with: the monster and the ghost.

Monica saw the monster.

She was pressing me about goals and the future. I felt the conversation was a game of cat and mouse. Do I give the ‘right’ answers for an easy life or be an honest, if devilish, little mouse? I went with honesty. The dialogue burned out and she sat back in her chair, looked thoughtful and fixed her eyes on me. “How angry are you right now, from 0 to 5?” I raised my eyes from the floor and paused to consider it. I tuned in to my body and I could feel the anger inside me. I really wanted to smash the room up. Hmmmm. Outwardly I was calm. I wasn’t flexing my fists, or clenching my jaws or any of that. It was like my outside and inside were completely detached. I finally answered “4? Actually no, maybe a 5. Yes, a 5. I’m actually really angry”. My tone was calm and conversational. She smiled a little victory smile (which I was cool with. )

She told me that she sensed it. I felt a whoosh of fear (the monster!). She told me that whenever she sensed this from me that she wanted to pull back from me and this was a therapy interfering behaviour. I felt tears of shame and horror. I asked her why she wanted to pull back from me and I reassured her that I would never harm her or anyone. She agreed. She knew that, but still…she tried to explain but couldn’t quite. Indeed there hadn’t been any outward signs but there was something…she couldn’t name or describe it. Ha! Yeah, welcome to my world love. I was sobbing now. The voice in my head my repeating oh no oh no oh no oh no oh no. The monster. It’s escaping. Oh no, the monster.

Somehow I told her about my mum – that she did the same thing. That this was my fear. That I tried to contain this monster but I’m so scared of it escaping. Unlike Monica I could explain how it made me felt: I didn’t know what I had done that was wrong but you’d better believe it was bad. Don’t poke the tiger.”Yes!” she said “That’s it!”. Well, of course I could explain it, I’d had a whole lifetime of it. Her excitement was equalled by my despair. I thought I could contain it. Fool. To find out that it did escape, despite my best efforts, was the worst news. My children – what about them? They must see the monster too. Internally I was panicking. What should I do? Killing myself (and therefore the monster) seemed the obvious answer but I knew that would cause the children emotional harm. So I asked Monica, in between sobs, what should I do? She told me that I was very different to my mum. The relationship I have with my children is good and secure. My son can ask about depression and talk to me about it without fear or judgement. My children do not live in fear. That helped. 

It still leaves me with a monster. The monster within. Now she’s seen it too so she can perhaps begin to understand. I hope so. I don’t know if the monster is a product of nurture, nature, or both. I don’t know if I can ever get rid of the monster and that is terrifying. I’m trying not to think about it. The positive thing is though that Monica saw the monster. She knows it is real. She knows how hard it is to articulate. She knows that she has only seen the smallest little bit of the monster and perhaps now she can begin to understand my exhaustion and distress. She doesn’t like the monster either. Really? She wants to try living with it, with borderline personality disorder.

Anyway, with the monster revealed the ghost then decided to appear too. That’s for the next post. 

Really very mentally ill

I’m just awake after another bad night. Dreams of everyone hating me, people leaving me, bombs and bullets, cold, isolation, loneliness and hopelessness. Now I’m awake I feel ill. Really very mentally ill. 

I don’t want to be awake. I don’t want to get up. I feel I shouldn’t as I shouldn’t be part of this world. Acceptance? It is what it is. Maybe this is what I have to accept. Andy has brought me tea. I cried my heart to him. I told him I’m sorry and that I want so much better for him and the children but I’ll keep fighting. He told me he knew today would be like this because I had pushed myself yesterday (going out to a panto – big family outing). I was pleasantly taken aback by his insight. “You’re getting wise to this mental health stuff” I said. “There are patterns” he gently replied. 

My eyes burn from crying. I am exhausted. I feel physically sick. Last night I was planning when (not if) to overdose. I’m going to fight that absolutely 100%. Which means building a bed fort, drinking my tea and waiting for this all to pass.

Dissociation 

Ah dissociation! If you have a mental illness then I dare say you’re familiar with dissociation. If not then you will have dissociated because everyone does it…a bit. I have a mental illness, or two, or who knows how many – doesn’t matter – and I’m used to dissociation. I find it can be pretty helpful to function in that kind of autopilot whilst my mind goes and hides deep inside me somewhere. In saying that the dissociation I’ve experienced in the last couple of days has been, frankly, frightening. That’s not good.

Yesterday it was like being unreal. I’d look at my hands, specifically my scars, and wonder – who did that? It couldn’t have been me (it was). I’d look at the scars and try and connect with the me that did that but, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t. I wondered if this spaced-out-me was actually the real me because spaced-out-me couldn’t understand self-harming and that’s got to be good, right? But it wasn’t and I don’t know why. All day I constantly questioned what I had done: did I really do that? Am I awake or dreaming right now? My hands tingled. It was frightening because each moment felt sort of new and unexpected, like I had just arrived in it without knowing how. I went to bed, took some promethazine and fell asleep listening to plinky plonk music (you know the type).

According to my Fitbit my sleep was the usual night long restlessness. No change there. I’m lucky that I do actually sleep but said sleep is not restorative. I suppose it’s a bit like being sucked into a strange video game; my nights are filled with demon fighting activity. As morning came around I was stuck in a dream. I’d wake up but get sucked back into the dream. This happened countless times, at least 10 I’d guess. I didn’t know what was real: the dream or the awake. I couldn’t tell the difference. The dream was distressing but it sort of made sense. My dreamself was seeing, hearing and experiencing things that were not real (in the dream) so it was almost like 3 layers of consciousness (Inception anyone?!). In the dream I would take people to show them something but the thing wouldn’t exist, everything was in my head. At one point I fought a monster. It was small and I used such force on it that I pushed my thumbs into it and made it bleed. I had killed the monster but just for good measure I threw it over a balcony. In the dream people started shouting and I realised it hadn’t been a monster. I immediately feared that it had been a baby. I slowly peered over the balcony expecting to see a horror but it wasn’t a baby that I had harmed – it was a rag doll. In the dream I was relieved but heeded the message: I was a danger. I could lose touch with reality to such an extent I was dangerous. Another thing that stuck out to me was that in the dream I tried taking selfies on my phone. This was to help me gauge reality. However each selfie of me showed me as black (I’m white). My features were totally different. To be fair the black-selfie-me was much prettier, more girly, but it wasn’t the face I expected. I was so confused.

Eventually I managed to pull myself into reality and properly wake up. It took monumental effort. Tonight my husband described me as talking to myself and not making sense this morning (this was when I was flitting in and out of the dream). He left for work when I was still in bed. When I finally wandered dazed downstairs it looked as if he had slept on the sofa. My first thought had been – oh no, what did I do?! I was scared, scared that I had done something bad. Fortunately I had not but this is my fear: what if I do something awful in this dissociated state? 

I feel a sense of foreboding – like something bad is going to happen. I have spoken to Nora and she reassured me. She said it was highly unlikely that I would do something harmful and that this is all perfectly…normal…in complex PTSD. She told me that the presentation of my condition was changing and, again, that was normal. 

I’m much better now. I couldn’t have written this in that state I was in. My desire to understand has me trying to decode the messages from my subconscious and I have some bits and pieces that I can stick together. My sodding amygdala.