Thursday, 30 September 2010

Trying Hard To Fit Among You, Floating Out To Wonderland ~ My Thoughts on Having BPD

Ke, my other post was more.. personal about circumstances happening to me but I wanted to make this one more general about my condition and more descriptive. Plus I figured it'd be more theraputic for me right now to try to take the emotions out of my condition.

So... a bit of back story... I was finally diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder this year after a long struggle with diagnoses. Obtaining this diagnosis helped contribute towards the end of my relationship with the lengths I ended up going to whilst on a manic.

People often don't understand what manics are like so let me give a quick summary:

Mania: the presence of which is a criterion for certain psychiatric diagnoses, is a state of abnormally elevated or irritable mood, arousal, and/ or energy levels.

To me it feels like having taken a shitload of uppers and not being in much, if any, control of what I am doing. I won't feel like I need to sleep and will often be up for stupidly long periods of time without feeling tired, can end up doing very reckless things without realising (not looking when crossing the road, having no concept of danger, feeling like I'm invincible) and will generally have a very high opinion of myself. I will feel as though a million thoughts are racing through my head, find it hard to concentrate on things but at the same time am capable of being highly productive. Irritability can increase and I can snap very harshly at people without thinking about what I'm saying. This is very self destructive behaviour and has caused a lot of upset with people I don't want to hurt. When in one of these states I'm usually not aware that I am and will look back and regret my actions.

For a very long time I never accepted that I had manic phases and as a result didn't discuss them with my doctors. As I knew that my depressive phases weren't normal "feeling down" moods, I thought that my manics were just me feeling "normal" or "normally happy". One of the toughest things for me has been to start discussing my feelings with other people as I was discouraged from doing so ever since I was a child. This means that I've taken a long time to realise that my moods are not of normal intensity on either end of the spectrum. My manics have been very difficult for me to deal with as recognising when I'm in one is difficult as I will rarely reflect on things. I have a couple of friends who have Bipolar who can recognise when I'm on a manic and know how to deal with it. They will also tell me that they recognise my mood so I can try to cope with it better. It allows me to warn other people what sort of mood I'm in as well.

The other side of the coin is my depressive phases. While a lot of people think that depression is just "being emo", that's not the sort of phase that I go through:

A person having a major depressive episode usually exhibits a very low mood, which pervades all aspects of life, and an inability to experience pleasure in activities that were formerly enjoyed. Depressed people may be preoccupied with, or ruminate over, thoughts and feelings of worthlessness, inappropriate guilt or regret, helplessness, hopelessness, and self-hatred. In severe cases, depressed people may have symptoms of psychosis. These symptoms include delusions or, less commonly, hallucinations, usually unpleasant. Other symptoms of depression include poor concentration and memory (especially in those with melancholic or psychotic features), withdrawal from social situations and activities, reduced sex drive, and thoughts of death or suicide.

I was actually diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder back in 2005 during an incredibly stressful relationship with someone who was physically abusive towards me and explained to my then GP that I had been having these feelings for several years on and off. He referred me to a psychiatrist whom I described my low feelings to. He, in turn, prescribed me prozac and asked me to attend counselling. At the time I was 19, still wary of the stigma surrounding mental health problems and was still battling the "talking to people about my emotions" thing. Going to my GP alone was a huge step for me. It came to me on a day where after quite a lot of attempted overdoses and self harming by burning, I burst out crying and came to the decision that after 4 years of it, I didn't want to be that way anymore. That instead of ending things, I wanted to get better. Realising that how I was feeling wasn't normal was a difficult thing to grasp.

One of the things I really hate with how people perceive BPD is that they assume that the person with it is blowing things up out of proportion, attention seeking and bring their problems upon themselves. I can honestly say that I don't, nor do I use BPD as an excuse. I will turn around and say "I did x and was on a manic" as an explanation for why something was said/done with such intensity. On some occassions my actions have been directly caused by an episode. I've never intentionally done something and then blamed it on a manic, however manics have affected my judgement severely in the past.

With suicidal tendancies, it's hard to explain to people why I feel the world will be better off without me. Sometimes the feelings of worthlessness and self-hate are really that intense. It can be because I'm tired of hurting people, because I feel that I won't stop feeling how I do (especially as it's been so many years and not just a "phase" I've grown out of), because I'm sick of being a burden to those around me, because I get no pleasure from things that would otherwise make me happy... It can be a whole variety of reasons. Sometimes I get all those feelings at once.

I used to self-harm. Not to attempt suicide, but to deal with emotions that I couldn't process in my head or had problems expressing. Sometimes anger that I felt was so intense that I internalised it. Sometimes pain was the only way to distract from what was in my head. Feeling physical pain would take my mind off the emotional pain. However, self harming is something that that again, isn't "normal" and is looked down upon. Emo kids don't help the image by claiming to be depressed that Daddy won't buy them a new Porsche so they want to slit their wrists. Self-harming now has an even worse stigma attached: again, attention seeking. I never expressed my desire to cut/burn myself. I would just do it when alone. Until Feb this year, I had managed a whole 2 years of NOT self-harming and was gutted that I failed to keep that going. My first incident was when I was 14. My last incident was in August. I am by no means proud of my scars. I feel awkward when people look at my arms. I hate having to explain why to people that I have caused myself harm in the past when they ask.

Having done some research into BPD, I realise now why I have certain patterns of thought. I try CBT on myself and have made SOME progress with this but with a lot of stuff going on, my BPD is harder to fix. Medication has some effects in terms of antipsychotics but it's very limited. Sometimes they can exacerbate some of my moods (being on Seroquel made me more manic after a while and Mirtazapine made me aggressive and argumentative, causing another relationship failure).

One of the hardest things for me has been seeing other people around me suffer because of me. When I've said and done things when not in control. When I've lashed out at those closest to me. When I've shut myself off from people because I don't like them getting too close. Trying to explain to people afterwards that they've done nothing wrong. Knowing that one day "Sorry" won't be enough. Feeling like you can't give people what they really need because of how you are mentally wired. Knowing that sometimes there's no explanation that you can give for how you feel. Wishing that you could stop inflicting the pain on them but not being able to... This has cost me someone incredibly dear to me and caused me more pain so... it really is the hardest thing to deal with right now. All I can say to try and aleviate any of this is that I hate myself more for my actions than anyone else ever will. Not much solace at times but true nonetheless.

I don't like not being in control of myself and learning how to identify my mood shifts when sometimes there is no reason whatsoever is very hard. I know I usually crash into a low after a manic, but other than that, I'm clueless so far. Recognising the signs of my states is also a challenge when I'm alone or around people who are unfamilar. I hate the moods being so extreme too. I do have some days when I'm not bouncing all over the place or rocking backwards and forwards in the corner but they seem so few and far inbetween. On those I generally just feel numb. On a rare few, I feel "normal". Then something will happen in my head and I'm off again.

I'm not happy with how things are. I would trade everything to be rid of this with one exception but that exception is not a part of my life at present. I would, however, trade anything for them to have been unaffected by this. They were my motivation to try and get this under control and most of the time, it worked. At the moment I wonder what the point of battling is. When I feel such low self-worth and so much hatred, I can't do things "for me".

The Face That Fills The Hole; That Stole My Broken Soul

I feel so fucking emo for making this post, but it's something I need to do.

-takes deep breath-

It's been a good two months I guess since I made the stupid judgement call whilst on a manic and things effectively ended between Inigo and I. I've... not been right since. My friends have tried their best to keep me occupied and stop me from falling into a massive low and... well, they've not failed as that would imply that they COULD stop it. The sad fact is that they couldn't. That's not to say that they haven't helped. I've greatly appreciated the company and support but the truth is that it's only worked so much. My eating is fucked, my sleep is fucked... I've cried every day for the past two months. That's something I've never had happen before. It feels as though there's constantly a heavy weight in my chest that I can't get rid of. No matter what I do to try and distract from it, it won't go away no matter what medication I take, how much alcohol I've drunk or how much weed I've smoked. Spending time with people has been fun but it's not taken these feelings away. They keep returning.

In the past couple of weeks I've almost completely withdrawn from socialising. Been shutting myself in my room without talking to people, putting my phone on silent and generally feeling like I can't deal with the world. Yeah, it may sound emo but the truth is that there's more to it than just a regular relationship break up and that's without my mental health problems. I try to keep myself active and involved in things but all too often feel myself slip into the old cancellation because I feel a complete lack of motivtion and just want to be left alone. It's not that I want to wallow in self-pity: far from it. I want to stop feeling like this and I've tried. I don't know how to make it stop and so far all attempts have been futile as I still feel the same. The last time I had social withdrawal was when Richard was a complete dick to me before Christmas and I only knew a couple of people in Norwich. It wasn't as extreme as this. The unstoppable tears (including in public), the uncontrollable shaking, the feeling like a complete and utter nervous wreck around people...

This is by no means a post for sympathy, to guilt anyone or attention seeking. Simply to explain some of my behaviour recently for those who have seen me disappear. It's easy to say "Just get over it" but honestly, I've tried and I can't. I feel as though a huge part of me is missing. I wish to non-existent god that I was exaggerating on this, but the sad thing is I'm not. I'm trying to get on with things as normal and I just can't.

My borderline is a blessing and a curse: on the one hand it makes me a very interesting person, on the other it costs me things that are dear to me. There are not enough words to express how fucking sorry I am for what happened with my mind, with how stupid I was not to notice the interference of a stupid jealous fucked up bitch, how I should have realised what was going on so much sooner... I wish I could take all that hurt away, that things hadn't happened the way they had, that I had actually been given some choice in things, that I hadn't been forced into certain actions... I would honestly give anything to change that, no word of a lie. If there was anything I could do to change this situation, I would do it. I've never felt this fucking passionately about anything before and it scares me. Knowing that part of my aggressive side was to protect Inigo... I said to him months ago that I would do anything for him and that I genuinely meant it. The evening I attacked Misha... I know part of that was not only my borderline but the whole protective side coming out because what she did caused him so much pain. Yes, it hurt me too but him being hurt affected me more. I still can't help but feel that he and I have both been cheated out of something. I said on my birthday to him that I wouldn't be able to take this pain and I was absolutely right.

I still love him with all my heart and that in itself is a double edged sword. If I didn't, I wouldn't be feeling this way. I'd be able to let go. This whole situation would be so much less of a big deal. I just can't stop. I don't want to stop loving him. Not because I like hurting like this, but because my love for him is so fucking strong. If he was a bastard, I'd probably still feel the same. I last felt like this for Steve and I put up with so much from him. Obviously I don't want to go through that again but... This is hard for me to deal with because I have no way of turning it off, no way of making it stop. I want to get on with my life but I don't want to do it without him.