So this weeks topic is mental health.
You can not recover from anxiety by just staying calm. You can not recover from depression by just being positive. You can not recover from anorexia nervosa by just eating more.
If mental illnesses were that simple, we wouldn’t be struggling in the first place.
Now I’m not sure who actually said that but I agree with it. I think there is a high level of stigma surrounding mental health and suicide that pushes those with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts backwards.
On Friday I had to refer myself back to the mental health team. It took a lot but my goodness do I feel better for it!
During my pregnancy, I was receiving CBT with a therapist every fortnight and she believed that I have BPD and for those of you who don’t know, it’s borderline personality disorder. She would have put me through for a diagnosis but was concerned about the level of emotional stress it would put on me and the baby so we agreed to wait until after I had given birth.
Fast forward to the present and here I am. Not only have I started the process to get my diagnosis but also to get change and acceptance back in my life. I mean up until we discussed BPD, I had no idea about any of it. Having done my own research, I have found it’s more likely that I have it than I realised. Of the 9 most common symptoms, I have most.
Borderline Personality Disorder for me is probably harder to cope with than my Addison’s. At least with that disease, I know that I can get through the day physically by taking my tablets but it does put my mental health at risk.
With BPD, my emotional range is far smaller but more extreme. I can be happy and smiling one minute and have a breakdown the next because my brain goes from one extreme to the other. Whether it’s extreme pain and sorrow or extreme happiness, there is no middle ground. I can relate to Tinkerbell so much as she only has room for one emotion that consumes her and that’s what it’s like for me.
After an outburst, usually I would revert backwards. I would become very withdrawn and that’s because I’m over analysing everything. I’m feeling extreme guilt of losing my cool and then extreme regret because although I may have handled it that way I wish my mind would have thought logically and kept calm. There are days where the negative thoughts and emotions get so bad that they drive me to think of suicide. They would have me believe that I’m worthless and negative. That I’m a toxic person. That I cause everyone pain and I don’t deserve to be around. As much time as I spend exploding and losing control of my emotions, I probably spend analysing everything before, during and after that outburst.
Because of the extremes of my emotions, my thoughts become uncontrollable and unmanageable. They become the worst versions of me, telling me every negative thing I’ve done, reminding me of the people I’ve hurt and encouraging me to believe the worst. Because of it, I’ve been known to seek attention from people to get the justification that I’m not a horrible person in an attempt to subdue the thoughts.
Then you have the impulsiveness. The impulsive need to self destruct. Because I over analyse, because I over think and because I’m over emotional, i seem to have a habit of repeating self destructive problems because I don’t believe the happiness. I find so many problems in every day life that it’s hard to see the positives. For example, if I’m having an episode and my thoughts and emotions get too much, I will scratch myself. I will cause myself pain because that’s what I’ve inflicted on others. I’ve cut myself because of the pain I’ve caused others. I blame myself because I couldn’t control myself when everyone around me can.
A problem I’ve had all my life is one of keeping healthy relationships. Now this isn’t just sexual, it’s all relationships. Those with partners, with family and even with friends. If I’m honest, I’d say it’s relationships with people that are my biggest trigger. Not only because I will self destruct and cause pain with my outbursts but because I’m a lot to handle. And it shouldn’t be taken like an easy task. One of my biggest fears is abandonment. It’s also the one that happens the most. Whether I’ve pushed them away intentionally to stop myself getting hurt or if I’ve done it as a result of being “over the top”.
When I feel like I’m losing someone I react in one of two ways, although on occasions it has been both.
– firstly, I can become very frantic. I start to get scared and will cling onto that person. I become very anxious and start looking and asking for reassurance that it’s okay. Even if there was no problem to begin with. This has a habit of making people irritated because I don’t give them a break. I feel like if they don’t answer me, they want to leave and it sends my brain into overdrive.
– Secondly, you have the pushing that person away reaction. I become very angry and start lashing out. I say things I don’t mean without thinking because I’m hurt and because I can’t cope with the level that it gets too. I wouldn’t say I’m a horrible person but I would say that I can’t cope emotionally.
I have lost people due to arguments over the silliest things. I have been called toxic because I overreacted. I have been pushed to the point of breaking down because I took something the wrong way which hurt my feelings. Now most of the time, I can see afterwards that I was in the wrong but by this time the damage is done. The pain is caused and I can’t change that. I have also stuck by people that repeatedly did wrong by me because I don’t want to lose anyone else. Most of my best friends now, hated me at one point. Now they love me and would stick by my side through everything.
My brain will always make me see either the very best or the very worst. The black or the white. It doesn’t recognise the grey areas in between. It leaves me feeling low and empty. My emotions leave me feeling weak and lonely. They never turn off. It just there are some days where I am so much better at hiding it. Some days that it’s just easier to pretend I’m okay. There are days where my emotions are so heavy that I feel like I’m either going to buckle under the pressure or explode from it.
My journey with BPD isn’t only just starting because I’m getting the diagnosis. It’s always been there. It’s just now, it’s getting recognised. Now, I’m being able to stand up and know that I may not be okay at the moment but one day I can be. That although it’s going to take time and effort, although so many people aren’t going to understand, one day in my future, my emotions won’t be the one in control.
My therapist told me a way to attempt to deal with my emotions. Imagine that life is a bus and we all have our journeys. On everyone’s bus is themselves. It’s all the different versions, the happy ones of us, the sad ones and all the ones in between. It’s okay to let them have control of the wheel as long as we keep our eyes on the road and not the driver. Because it’s losing that focus and that control that would let that emotion change the drive and it’s the change in the drive that will lead you off a cliff. Only problem is sometimes, even the road isn’t there and the control has disappeared with it.
I have also found many quotes to do with BPD but this one speaks to me above all others. And it could only have come from someone who suffers.
Why does BPD have us push people away? I will tell you why. It’s because when we LOVE, we LOVE stronger and beyond the UNIVERSE. LOVE is intense for us. We may try to give you the world if we could.
But we are terrified when we get too close because when it’s time to say “GOODBYE” we are terrified and lost. The separation emotion is extremely INTENSE and painful. We feel that the pain would kill us.
We push away ONLY out of FEAR! As if we were going to fall of from an edge. You understand?
We honestly don’t mean to push away. We sincerely enjoy the company and care.
Please give us more time. We are a work in progress. Once we learn to love ourselves 100% pushing away won’t be an obstacle.
By Ana Landa
No one can expect you to take care of yourself when your mental health is suffering. And nobody should make you feel like you’re worthy because your mental health is deteriorating. You deserve to be happy and you will be. There are people around that care and that want to help. You just have to be accepting. Because not everyone is open with there battles.
My aim is to recognise my triggers and limit their ability. And I hope that one day, I’ll be able to think logically when it comes to coping.
I may be smiling on the outside but inside, my world is failing at the moment and I can’t stop it. 💕