I Make Them Uncomfortable

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The rule of them when speaking about mental illness is simple. You don’t. You keep your mouth shut, slap on a smile, and deal with it behind closed doors.

It makes them uncomfortable. It’s hush hush. They like to pretend that it doesn’t exist.

I make them uncomfortable. Because I’m not quiet. I speak up, and I make it loud. I let the ugly monster show it’s face. I don’t play nice. I don’t put on a fake smile as much any more. I talk about what people want to pretend doesn’t exist. I show them we aren’t what they show on television. I show them that we could be anyone you care about.

Sure, they want us to get help. They want us better. That’s what they like to hear about. They like to hear about how Susan down the street with a rich husband was able to take a nice little getaway for her mental health. They like to hear about the hot guy two cubicles down talk about how jogging helped his depression.

Guess what- we aren’t all Susan. We aren’t all some hot guy at work. It gets ugly. It gets painful. You can’t pretend to want us to get help if you won’t support is.

It’s a lonely road because of our forced silence.

I quit that silence, and people don’t like that. People don’t like to hear that I had a breakdown. People don’t like to hear about how I had a panic attack. People don’t like to hear about how I had a binge last night, and nearly threw up. People don’t want to see the truth.

They want easy. They want the other side of the rainbow without dealing with getting there.

You can’t have it both ways.

I’m an addict. I’ll stand up and say it whether you think that’s a “very personal topic” and “needs to be discussed discreetly”. Well, you can fuck right off there, you neurotypical bitch. Addicts are less likely to get help for this reason. We’re less likely to say we’ve relapsed, or that it’s a rough day and we need, oh, I don’t know? Fucking support??

I suffer (yes, fucking suffer) from more than one mental illness. I won’t fake it like your wife there, pretty boy, because “that’s unladylike” or something. I won’t hide behind closed doors while breaking down alone because society is so damn selfish and lacking in empathy they’re uncomfortable with the concept that sometimes a pill and talking doesn’t cut it.

There’s something I noticed lately. The more I posted about recovery in any way- the less people interacted with me. The more I posted information about things that effect my life in a massive way- the less involved they were in my life.

Smile, don’t be depressed. Do yoga. Exercise. Go jogging. Paint.

But god fucking forbid you talk. God fucking forbid you work on erasing the very dangerous stigma around mental illnesses. Because that would make people come out of their little bubble of ignorance. And they like that bliss.

Pop, mother fucker.

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Hello, sailor

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I’ve mentioned before how much I suck at relationships. Pretty much of all kinds.

In 2008, I met Anthony at work. He was the one training me. At the time, I was in an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship. Just 2 weeks later, and me and my cat were packed up, and living with him. He’s been through so much shit with me it’s insane.

From day one, our relationship was looked down on. Why? Because I was 19, and he was 42. Simply from them looking at us, they judged. We were called disgusting, people would glare, leave the line we were in, and I’m sure people talked among themselves.

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That’s our very first picture together.

He’s dealt with my highs, my lows, the days where I want fuck all to do with anyone, and everything in between. Talking about putting up with someone, man.

On November 15, 2013- I remember because it’s the day before my birthday- I was finally given diagnoses that made sense. Before then I was scrambling. I told him what my therapist had told me, and he didn’t even blink. He knew life would get harder before it got better. I can barely put up with myself, yet he does it, and has for over 9 years.

For 4 months after my rape, I didn’t hold his hand, I don’t remember kissing him, or sleeping curled up next to him like I had for years before. Not once did he get upset with me. He let me go at my own pace, and still does. I wasn’t big on physical contact before that, and it just made it worse. He understood how it effected my anxiety, and to this day, if I see a man in a military uniform, I freak. We were in a gas station, and about 5-10 came in. I told him I couldn’t do it. He simply handed me the keys, told me to breath, and that he’d be out with our drinks in a minute. He pushes me to be more, but never, ever, does he push me out of my comfort zone.

I can sit here and know with 100% certainty, that if he hadn’t saved me from that relationship, I wouldn’t be here right now. I wouldn’t be alive. He literally saved my life. Still does.

I’m on birth control for migraines. That’s $10.
I’m on thyroid pills because I only have half. That’s $10.
I’m on Trazodone because I don’t sleep well. That’s another $4.
I’m on Vyvance for binge eating. That’s $50.
I’m on Viibryd for anxiety/depression. That’s another $50.

Those all get refilled the beginning of the month. That’s nearly $125 just for me. Thankfully, my birth control and thyroid meds are 3 month supplies. That’s not including my copious amount of doctor’s visits- primary, therapy, and dermatology. One appointment is a $12 copay, plus gas.

It all adds up. I have the worst luck when it comes to health, and he just shifts life to work around it. I’ve spent years saying I’m sorry for things that I had no control over, and I still do. He doesn’t need me to, though. He gets that I get worn out, he gets that I get overwhelmed, and he gets that half the time I can’t even explain to him what’s going on in my head.

I spent ages hiding that something was wrong. I spent years pretending that I didn’t need help. That’s what you do, right? Because being mentally ill is seen as wrong, or dangerous. He’s the first person that’s truly seen me at my worse in real life. My online friends have seen it like that- but never the need to curl up with my stuffed pig, Herbert, put in my headphones, and squeeze my eyes shut.

I’m still fucked in a lot of ways, but I’m better than I was. I don’t feel as broken as I once did.

I’ll never be completely okay. I’ll never know what it’s like to just live without having to plan and overthink, but I have him to help with that. He lets me ramble, and pulls me back when needed.

He bought me a necklace with an anchor and it says ‘I refuse to sink’. He’s my lifeboat.

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Trying

Impulse is something that has always been an issue with me. Not even gonna go into detail on how that’s gotten me into shit in the past. No need.

I’m not the best with money. I didn’t even know ‘excessive spending’ was something that was common along people with borderline personality disorder. Apparently, it is. I do try. I really do. I try to be smart about things. And the truth is, I’m not. I want to spoil everyone around me. I know it’s a flaw.

I’m trying to work on it even more now. I’m trying to be smarter. However, coming face to face on how I fuck up constantly isn’t fun. I put myself down daily. Always have. Then when something comes up that just adds to that, I feel worse. I know that no one is perfect, and that people make mistakes. I totally get that.

When you’re raised with things drilled into your head, they stick with you. For example, needing to do things perfectly, or not making problems. Shit I am pretty good at.

Now I need to suffer the consequences of a shitty coping mechanism that I started who knows when. I need to be an adult and give up on things I really want in order to pay for my mistakes. I want 2 tattoos after I graduate group, and I have to put them off now. I fucked up, and now I have to deal with the negative reactions.

I’m not saying that I won’t whine about it. I’m not saying I won’t get pissy. I will. Part of me never aged past being a child. And that part comes out at times. I whine. I pout. *shrugs*

Tackling all your problems at once is hard. I can’t turn to another ‘unhealthy’ habit to deal with the strong emotions of fixing another.

I can’t eat to deal with money shit.

I can’t shop to deal with facing my binge eating.

I can’t drink to deal with everything. More like shouldn’t.

I can’t cut to deal with strong emotions that I never learned to process.

I can’t get high just to not care.

When you finally come clean and admit that you know that you shouldn’t be doing things, and that you want to get better…you feel guilty for even wanting it for a split second. You feel like a failure for just wishing for one of them for a moment. And then you want one because you feel like a failure.

It’s a vicious cycle.

I know that I’m making progress, but that doesn’t mean I won’t have my bad days. Fuck, I have more of those than I’d like to admit. My mind is constantly going, and it’s exhausting.

I’m always scared of not doing things right. I’m scared of fucking things up, because that’s just what I do.

I go to bed and the house isn’t as clean as I’d like it, I feel lazy. I go to bed and the dishes aren’t done, I beat myself up. I could go on, and on.

I know there’s no ‘quick fix’ for the shit that’s wrong with me. I know that I can’t just snap my fingers and magically be a little bit more okay. I know I can’t avoid things forever. It’ll beat me down more than it has already.

For so long I hid how bad things really were. I was terrified to be honest. I was scared to admit how scared I was. I never told people when I was suicidal. I never told people when I was breaking inside. I never told people when I wanted to throw up because I was so disgusted with myself. I never told people about how I don’t know how to process emotions. Do you have any idea how tiring that is? Having everything on your shoulders, watching everyone smile around you, and you faking it? You smile because you should be happy. You smile because that’s what expected.

People always question what people have to be depressed about. What do they have to be anxious about. Why can’t they just move on from some event. Why do they let memories effect you now?

I wish I could turn off depression. I wish I wasn’t so fucking anxious all the time. About everything. I wish I didn’t let shit from the past bother me. There’s no off switch. There’s no goddamn erase button.

When a neurotypical person tries to tell someone with a mental illness how they should feel, it’s disrespectful. We’d love to be able to be ‘normal’. We’d love to function without medication, or therapy. Some of us can, and that’s fucking awesome! Some of us can’t, and we don’t deserve any less respect than anyone else.

Mental illness has been something that’s been hush-hush. You don’t talk about that. You don’t admit to it. You smile. You fake it. And you deal with it in private. That’s a big part of the problem. The stigma surrounding this. Hollywood gladly uses mental illnesses for a plot point, they gladly make a star anorexic to add drama. The news uses it to explain why white men commit acts of terror.

And then we’re seen as dangerous. We’re seen as unstable. We’re seen as lunatics. We should be locked up. We shouldn’t be parents. We shouldn’t do this. We shouldn’t do that.

It makes people like me afraid to come forward. I could have been dealing with this years ago, but everything I saw around me warned me not to. Told me to push it down, and to keep quiet.

I couldn’t anymore. There was so much pressure building inside me that I exploded. I couldn’t add anymore pain or lies to what I was already holding on to. I couldn’t keep secrets that were only doing more harm than good.

In high school, I could walk all over town. Crossing streets, walking in neighborhoods I didn’t know, and hanging out at the park after dark.

I’m 28 years old. I cannot cross the street myself. I cannot be outside my house in my own backyard at night without panicking. I can barely walk in my own neighborhood.

As I get older, the worse I get. The worse I get, the worse I feel. It’s got to stop somewhere.

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I Don’t Know

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Today in group, I knew no one. I had a different therapist, and different people. And still, I opened up. That’s a major improvement for me.

I talked about where my PTSD came from.

I talked about shit I want to forget.

I told them something only a handful of people know.

I gave advice. I spoke without being asked to. The therapist even noted it was excellent advice that he’d never thought of. That made me feel really good.

I’m the only one with borderline personality disorder in either group. So, every time if comes up, doc refers to me. I’m by no means an expert, and I make sure to always add ‘for me’ when I start. I have insight that he doesn’t, as I live it, but man. It’s draining. Thankfully, it doesn’t come up all that often.

Once doc asked why I don’t like going outside. I told him simply ‘there are people out there’.

When the female therapist took over, we worked on some techniques to get us through rough spots. She asked how I deal with being in public.

Her:  When you’re out, what do you do if it’s busy?

Me: I cling to my husband.

Her: What’s your thought process?

Me: I don’t want him to go far…?

Her: But there’s more to it, what is it? Why keep him close?

Me: Because if he goes to far people get close?

Her: Keep going.

Me: I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Her: Why don’t you want people close?

Me: I don’t like people being close to me?

Her: But why? What do you think about in that moment?

Me: I don’t? There’s no thoughts going through my head. I just do it. I don’t like people being close.

Her: Why?

Me: ….Because I don’t like people in my personal space?

Like. I get what she was trying to do. But wording things differently won’t change my answer. I want to work through my shit. I want to be a halfway normally function human. I do, but that’s not gonna do me much good. Help me work on the issues we know I have, and I’m pretty damn sure other things will get worked on in the process.

Teach me how to not focus on the shit from my childhood. Teach me how to deal with my anxiety at the core. All my issues are connected- I know that.

I just want to be able to function. I want to have a life. I don’t know what it’s like to not worry. I don’t know what it’s like to be able to just live. That’s all I want.

I start Viibryd on Saturday, and I hope that it helps. Have any of you tried that? If you have, what were your experiences?

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Out of Left Field

Last night, just as my daughter fell asleep in my arms, I broke. I had a complete meltdown. No warning, no signs it was coming. It was like a truck of emotions hitting me.

In the following hour and a half, I would have another. I thought maybe writing would help, so I started one of the fics on my list. I wrote 3 sentences before I just couldn’t focus anymore. I took my meds, texted my husband, crawled into bed, and cried myself to sleep.

I nearly had a 3rd breakdown because all I wanted to do was eat, and drink. We have no alcohol in the house, and no junk food. I wound up making a pan of cookies that I ate 2 of. Didn’t even care for those.

When I came out to the living room to tell my son it was bedtime after getting my daughter to sleep, there was next to no signs of my breakdown.

This morning I went right to cleaning. I put the clean dishes away, loaded the dishwasher, started a load of laundry, and cleared off the counters. I tried to play some World of Warcraft, but just quit.

All I want to do is shower, and crawl back into bed. But, I can’t. Anakin has a doctor’s appointment this morning, and I have shit around the house that I need to do.

Here’s to another long day.

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Who Am I?

One thing that seems to be extremely common for someone with borderline personality disorder, is the lack of ‘self’. Something that everyone goes through at some point in their lives. It’s not knowing who you are at the end of the day, and it sucks so badly.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Identity Problems

I know my sexuality, I know how I feel about certain issues, and that’s just about where it stops.

If you were to ask me my favorite color 6 times today. Each time I could say a different color. Who I am as I write this could be a completely different ‘me’ if you had me write this in a few hours.

To anyone who knows me, they might be shocked. One thing I’ve always been ‘firm’ on…is who I am. Which, in reality, was me trying to convince myself. I have no idea who I am, and I haven’t for a very long time. I gravitated towards dark colors as a shield. Black goes with everything- therefor, there was no right or wrong. It can be casual, dressy, whatever. Just as I blend in with those that surround me many times.

Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

I’ve discussed them broadly, I believe, but I don’t think I delved into personal details.

  1. Impulsive behaviors– Back in high school, this was me. I smoked in the school bathroom, I cut school, I was involved in some B&Es, and theft. Is that who I am? I always joked that it was simply because it was genetic. That we just attract trouble. Was it really me? Or was I just driven to be impulsive? I take responsibility for my actions, I do. I’m not looking for excuses. I just honestly see those memories as someone else. I remember them, but I can’t recall the feelings. I can picture each event, but placing myself there is another story.
  2. Fear of being alone or abandoned even when the threat is not real– This one is major for me. Ask any of my close friends and they will tell you that a constant message/text they get from me is ‘I think that *insert name* is pulling away’ or ‘I don’t think they want to be my friend anymore’. As a result, I’ve put up with a lot of shit so I don’t lose people. Even when I logically know someone is busy, or having a rough time, I’m terrified.
  3. Dependent of others– I’ve never lived on my own. I depend on my husband 100%. I won’t even try to deny that. I don’t have a license, and even if we did? I’d still wait for him to go with me.
  4. Fear of rejection– Reason #1 that I won’t make a new dating profile. I found one for Anthony and I, and I keep putting it off. I keep making excuses.
  5. Make frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment– I admit that I will push people away. I don’t even realize I’m doing it at the time. I’m just so fucking scared of losing people.
  6. Have a pattern of difficult relationships caused by alternating between extremes of intense admiration and hatred of others– Before my husband, my longest relationship was 6 months. Yep.
  7. Act impulsively in ways that are self-damaging, such as extravagant spending, frequent and unprotected sex with many partners, substance abuse, binge eating or reckless driving– I was diagnosed with binge eating. I’m not an alcoholic, but if it’s in the house, it’s all I want. I’ve made the conscious choice to try to only have it in the house 1-2 weekends a month. There was a weekend at one point when the kids were gone where I was barely sober. I’ve never been drunk, but it does help me relax. I love sex. Not gonna lie. I’ve slept with 13 or 14 people in my life so far, and it never seems to be enough. Is that me craving affection? Is it wanting acceptance? Sex has been a huge part of who I am since I was 15. To the point that I was even more lost than usual when we shifted from 1 kid, to 2. One of whom is clingy AF.
  8. Have recurring suicidal thoughts, make repeated suicide attempts or cause self-injury through mutilation, such as cutting or burning himself or herself– I started cutting myself when I was 14, and it was a daily thing until I was 19. It’s an addiction, and it’s hard as fuck to break. I have some of my scars covered with a tattoo, but not nearly close to all of them yet. Suicidal thoughts happen often, to the point where I just brush them off now. If they get bad, I write it out, and cry myself to sleep.
  9. Have inappropriate, fierce anger or problems controlling anger. The person may often display temper tantrums or get into physical fights– No explanation needed here. I have anger issues.

I’ve kept this part of myself tucked away for so long, away from the eyes of people I know that while reading this they may not know what to think. They may say that it can’t be true. I once told someone- I’m an actress, and life is my play. I have to be.

A friend of mine on Facebook had this to ask:

I’d like to know how you deal with this in terms of being a parent! When A is with her dad for the summer I have a terrible time with knowing who I am when I am not taking care of her. It’s easy for me to just exist as Mom. But when I’m not Mom, I have like, an identity crisis and overall my symptoms of my BPD get a lot worse. Do you ever feel similar?

Which was a fucking good question in my opinion. I rarely see anything besides anxiety and depression talked about when it comes to motherhood. And we need to change that. Many mothers are outside that little box.

I feel more centered, sadly, when the kids aren’t home. I love having them around. I fucking love my kids to death. With them, though, I’m reminded of the mother I wanted to be, and the one that will never exist. I see everything that I’m doing wrong. I’m constantly questioning myself.

When they aren’t home, I move about almost like a zombie, but I can shut down. I can veg and watch true crime as much as I want, or game. I can do everything in my power to take my mind off of everything that goes wrong, can go wrong, and will go wrong.

Every moment I could break. I could have a meltdown, and need to hide it. I don’t want them seeing that. I don’t want them to know how fucked in the head mommy is. They know that I’m ‘sick’, and that my brain doesn’t work right, but I don’t go into detail.

To them, mommy taking pills is normal.

To them, mommy needing a nap is normal.

To them, the house going into chaos now and then is normal.

To them, having days where we all just snack all day is normal.

To them, they will never know ‘normal’. Only some sad variation of it where some days I can barely function enough to parent all the way to cleaning everything in site and making everything from scratch.

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Diagnosis Five: BPD

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental disorder marked by a pattern of ongoing instability in moods, behavior, self-image, and functioning. These experiences often result in impulsive actions and unstable relationships. A person with BPD may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that may last from only a few hours to days.

Some people with BPD also have high rates of co-occurring mental disorders, such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders, along with substance abuse, self-harm, suicidal thinking and behaviors, and suicide.

While mental health experts now generally agree that the label “borderline personality disorder” is very misleading, a more accurate term does not exist yet.– National Institute of Mental Health

Saved the best for last lol

This is honestly something that I had never in my life heard of until I was given my diagnosis. The day before my birthday, at that. November 15, 2013.

When I was 13, I was given a diagnosis of bipolar. That diagnosis was changed, however, when I finally saw a therapist that was more interested in work and progress than just sitting and talking for an hour. Of course, my thought was ‘of course, I’m fucking insane’. I felt it. I still do at times.

It’s only been the past 6 months or so that I’ve done more research, reaching out to others with the same diagnosis. I felt isolated and alone before that. No matter how much you explain to someone, they will never understand. Not unless they have been through it.

Also from the NIMH:

People with BPD may experience extreme mood swings and can display uncertainty about who they are. As a result, their interests and values can change rapidly.

Other symptoms include

  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
  • A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
  • Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self
  • Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating
  • Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats or self-harming behavior, such as cutting
  • Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger
  • Having stress-related paranoid thoughts
  • Having severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality

That’s my mind. Some days are mild, and I feel *almost* normal. Others, I want to bang my head against a wall to make it stop. Anything to block everything out.

BPD has historically been viewed as difficult to treat. However, with newer and proper treatment, many people with BPD experience fewer or less severe symptoms and an improved quality of life.–NIMH

Incurable is what this is. It’ll never go away. And while that is a very daunting thought, to be 50 and hit with a bad day. The idea of living like I am at the moment for the rest of my life makes it hard to face it. It makes me wonder why. What is the point of life, when you don’t live, but simply survive?

I am fighting back. I’m going to therapy, I’m on medications, we’re working on our diets, and trying to tackle the hard days with understanding.

My therapist was in awe that I’ve been with my husband so long, as many aren’t able to last. Before him my longest relationship was 6 months. It takes someone strong, but understanding, and flexible to love someone like me. I’m not speaking for everyone else with BPD, either. I’m a very hard person to deal with. I can barely tolerate myself most days, and yet- he does it with no complaints.

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