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You will have to forgive me for the insane shit I am about to write. I have been drinking in the desperate hope that it will make me tired and knock me out.

Recently I have had more panic attacks than I can count. My heart races, my breathing becomes shallow and fast, I feel sick, tears appear out of nowhere and the worst part are all these crazy thoughts and feelings that just bombard me at once. I can’t escape and this intense feeling of panic just grows inside me.

Yesterday I had one of these shitty experiences. My panic was that I was going to lose all my shit, get kicked out of uni and be a totally outcast like I was 4 years ago. I am terrified of having a breakdown. I’m terrified that I am going to lose the little control I still have and that my world, my foundation is going to crumble.

October 4 years ago, sleeping well became something I could only imagine. I woke several times a night and struggled to get back to sleep. I remember putting this down to the stress of being at uni, the unravelling of any relationship I had with my mother and sister and having a teenager and 2 young kids to look after. I remember being exhausted and my mood was up and down. I was doing my best to keep it together.

Then in Jan/Feb 4 years ago, one of the service users disclosed his own experience of being sexually abused. This was the reason why he had started to drink and use hard drugs like coccaine and heroin. Fuck knows why now, after all this time it happened, but as I was driving home one afternoon I just couldn’t get this voice out of my head that I had been sexually abused too.

Since that day it haunts me constantly. I try and ignore it, I do my best to deal with possible triggers by avoiding or distracting myself from them. I don’t talk about it, I don’t wear it like a badge on my sleeve for everyone to know. I am like the service user who trusted me enough to tell me. I am ashamed. embarrassed, have elements where I blame myself despite reassurances that it wasn’t my fault and throughout the time I was abused, it was a secret…the voices haunt me and I don’t want to break that oath I made to keep it a secret.

I know it sounds stupid, I am 37 fucking years old now yet I have the mind of a 6 year old.

I took my first overdose in late September early October the year I was 14. I had been planning it for more than year, but this kind of happened without much real thought and preparation. I was really sick because I took antidepressants as the overdose. I regretted it for weeks. It was around this time that I started smoking weed and helping myself to my dad’s whiskey. I just didn’t want to feel anything any more. I bunked off school. My parents couldn’t get me out of bed and when I did go to school I snuck off home at lunchtime. I just didn’t want to be there with people who just didn’t get it and teachers who really didn’t give a shit.

At this time in my life I was seeing a child psychologist. She was probably really good if I had been really brave and told her the truth, but because I was too scared to say anything and the time I had no one had believed me, she thought that I was just attention seeking. I wasn’t, but no one knew.

It was a lonely time.

The last couple of days I have felt more depressed and low than I have in ages. I have not been able to get myself out of the house and to uni. Instead I have kept myself hidden at home. I have taken copious amounts of pills of one sort or another, ignoring completely the recommended dosage and just taking as much as possible of whatever I have in order to knock myself out. Tonight I have no pills to take – at least none of the ones which reportedly are sedating but don’t have much affect on me. So, I have downed some vodka and now working my  way though a cheap bottle of wine. It’s disgusting but it has alcohol which is really the only thing that matters.

I hate my head with a passion. There is a part of it which is capable and motivated to be far more than I currently am, but it gets swept away by this other side which is totally lost, feels totally worthless and a failure. I feel like I spend my days just fighting my own thoughts, trying to decipher what emtotion it is that i am experiencing. It is all such an effort. But one thing which is guaranteed, by early evening, those conflicting thoughts and feelings are replaced by this constant feeling of darkness, of shame and self-loathing. It comes almost like a sun set, it’s predictable. It’s the only thing in my life that seems to be.

I have wondered sometimes whether this dark feeling that takes over is somehow comforting. I think that I have got to the point where i would feel totally lost if I didn’t have these feelings. I know that many of these thoughts etc didn’t just happen for the first time 4 years ago, I know that I have had so many sleepless nights where darkness has taken over and have done since I was very young. The difference being that back then a sleepless night wasn’t something I really understood, I just couldn’t sleep. In fact, for a long time I didn’t understand the enormity of what was happening/ had happened to me.I was too young.

I think that this is one of the reasons I struggle to discuss my feelings about things and why I don’t sleep now. I didn’t have the words at the age of 6 to discuss what I was feeling. I couldn’t tell anyone.

When I was 10 and sent to boarding school sleep was difficult. It would take me ages to drift off and then I would wake multiple times during the night. It got progressively worse as I got older. Being away from home and at school made it all the more difficult, I couldn’t just get up and go downstairs and make something to drink or eat. I couldn’t listen to music or watch tv. The only thing I could do was to stare at the ceiling. Nights were very lonely.

I guess not an awful lot has changed in all these years. Nights are still difficult, lonely and depressing. However, at least now I can watch tv and drink alcohol!

 

 

Sometimes the world seems like an achingly painful place to be. Everyone seems to have a purpose and rushes around fulfilling that reason for living. Whether its a job, being a mother, daughter, husband, son, aunt or uncle. Life has a meaning. 

When you’re unwell mentally this purpose evades consciousness and it’s replaced with an overwhelming feeling or worthlessness, of being a failure and a lost cause. I don’t believe that life is perfect for anyone and I know there are obstacles and moments of doubt which have to be dealt with. It would be foolish to think otherwise. 

I’ve also become acutely aware that any mental illness is a very individual, personal experience. There are of course common themes and similar experiences, but none of us experience things exactly the same. We can attempt to empathise and offer comfort but we can’t see, feel, hear or think like each other. I think that it is this individuality which makes mental illness feel like such an isolating and lonely experience. 

For weeks now my general mood has been fairly down and low. It has been increasingly difficult to determine what I am thinking and feeling. I can’t quite figure out what’s making me feel this way and try as I might I can’t lift myself up. I feel weighted down much of the time which just makes me tired and depressed. 

There’s a part of me which wants to socialise and laugh, to embrace the opportunities I have and to feel motivated. Instead I feel this intense need to withdraw myself, to hide myself away and just shut everything else out. 

I feel frustrated by how slow the community mental health team moves in providing support and help when it is urgently needed. Insomnia is well known to destabilise even the healthiest of minds, so when it’s messing with the life of someone already fighting mental illness, why does it take so long for something to be done? My mental stability is wavering on the edge of a giant abyss and I am terrified that I am going to slip any time. 

The problem is that so many people who work in medicine or mental health don’t empathise or truly understand the debilating effects of mental illness on a persons life. I may be being unfair, but my experience so far is that all these ‘professionals’ have knowledge gained from text books and stupid letters after their names, but how many have real experience? Have had to fight their own head daily for months or years? If they did then perhaps they would be quicker to react and give someone the support they need before it becomes more serious. 
In the UK there are campaigns to raise awareness and end the stigma of mental illness. There’s increased awareness of depression, anxiety, eating disorders and thanks to some famous faces bipolar. There’s more information about suicidal thoughts and how to help. But still there’s a giant fucking hole where there is still ignorance. 

Funding is desperately inadequate and the NHS provides a limited range of therapies such as CBT, dbt and brief psychological interventions. But once you have completed these then what? Fucking nothing…. Just pills, if you get an appointment….Every time I have had to go back to see the psychiatrist for a medication review the skills that have been taught via Cbt or dbt get drudged up. If you’re having a hard time then you get asked if you’re doing the things such as mindfulness, sleep hygiene, distracting, distancing etc. It’s like a one size fits all and woe betide you if you’re not doing them.  It becomes your fault if you’re struggling. You’re not trying hard enough, you’ve been given all the answes so fucking use them. It’s a joke. If you spend too much time distancing or distracting then you’re advoiding which is a bad thing. 
For someone with BPD, medications can do little to help. They help mainly with anxiety, depression, mood stability and sleep issues. Personally I get fed up of hearing about mindfulness and sleep hygiene. These are not new ways of thinking, they are old, taken from Buddhism and other ancient ways of meditation and relaxation. I try to do all the things that I’m supposed to do, but there is a time when it gets beyond my abilities to cope. 

Attending therapy weekly does help, far more than I could have ever imagined. But even my therapist is of the opinion that we have reached the limit of what can be done without the aid of medication. It was so hard to get a gp appointment my therapist wrote two letters to make sure I got the help I needed. This was back in November and December. Now nearly in February and still I have not got the help I desperately need. 

I’m so very, very tired. I’m tired of watching my life pass me by. I’m fed up of working so hard to get stable only for it to all blow up in my face and then have to wait for months and months before I get any help. 

Tonight I am awake as all my family are snuggled up in their beds getting the sleep they need in order to have a productive day. I am sat alone downstairs wishing away the hours so that I can perhaps sleep. My days blur into each other, I am mentally disorientated most of the time, i feel like i am a total failure. I am emotional and nothing really makes much sense right now. 

Being mentally unwell is not something I would wish on anyone, it’s soul destroying and worse than any prison sentence. It’s a living nightmare and without the right help and support it only gets worse. 

Time waits for no man…or woman! 

Time is a precious commodity which does not wait for anyone. The clock ticks by second by second, minute after minute, hour after hour. It is relentless and once those seconds, minutes and hours have passed by there is no second chance. You can’t get them back. The day melts into night and before you know it those days have blurred into each other and weeks go by. There’s no let up in it’s relentless momentum. 

Insomnia, depression and anxiety eat into that precious time. Life isn’t lived, just survived and all you do is exist in this darkend, lonely world with no way of escape. There’s no way to get back that time which has been lost battling the demons that lurk in your head. 

Life is passing you by as you sit on the sidelines watching, aching desperately inside to be a part of it. To have a role to play and the ability to embrace and embody that role with all your being. 

No one else feels the pain, the longing or the sadness that dwells deep inside. Words simply cannot adequately describe the agony which this creates inside your head. Thoughts and feelings are jumbled, emotions are in freefall and life just feels unbearable and pointless. 

Some how, some way, the days and nights are survived. More often than not it feels like a minor miracle. But that feeling of self doubt that you can manage another hour let alone another day simply doesn’t let up. It’s burrowed itself so deeply that it feels like you will never be rid of it. 

My days feel endless, sleep evades me at night and only descends as the sun comes up to greet those ‘normal’ mortals who sleep as they should. This existence is isolating and just increases depression and anxiety. Feelings of being useless and a waste of space build in strength and it feels like it’s never going to end. 

I am told by many people that I am intelligent and capable, but this current situation leaves me feeling that I am anything but those things. My attention span is that of a nat and my energy is non-existent yet I am restless and bored. My brain wants to be stimulated and my body wants me to participate in the art of living. 

It’s a confusing and irritating place to be. I’m sleepwalking through a no-mans-land which is filled with treacherous mountains,  ravines and dark, thorny forests. The pathway is a never-ending maze of twists, turns and forks which just adds to the myriad of chaos I’m trying desperately to navigate. 

That magical light that is meant to be a beacon of hope teases by getting brighter only to suddenly disappear. It leaves me feeling lost, fumbling around in the dark hoping that I’m not going to trip and fall. 

Yesterday I had to battle panic attacks in order to make it into uni. I don’t normally feel anxious about Thursday’s as its the part of the course I enjoy the most and I get on well with the people in my group. My chest felt tight, my heart raced and I felt nauseous. It kept coming in waves, over and over again. I just wanted to sleep so I was a bit more rested. I fought so hard to get through the first year and I desperately want to complete the whole thing so that I can become a counsellor. I want to work with people who have suffered similar trauma as me. I want to help others and make what happened to me mean something more than the pain I feel inside. It feels foolish to want those things when I can’t help myself. I stumble with every step I take and make a mess of the things again and again. 

This year at uni is flying by, the days blur into each other and I keep losing track of time. I get muddled about which day it is and forget important things constantly. Daily living is like climbing a steep hill. I’m exhausted. 

I reach out for help and it takes forever for anything to be done. The doctor can’t even get the facts right when writing a referral to the psychiatrist. The dire need for sleep and the extent of insomnia doesn’t seem to register so the prescription is next to useless and there is no follow up. Instead I am left self medicating in the hope that something will do the trick. All I want is to sleep at night and be able to function during the day. Is that really to much to ask? 

The cruelty of mental illness

Everyday I wake up in the hope that the past was just a horrible dream. That the insidious feelings of depression and anxiety will have left my head. That my mood will be stable, that I will feel secure, happy, motivated and content. Everyday I hope that life will feel worth living and that it won’t just be a battle of survival. 

For as long as I can recollect that day has never arrived. 

Sure, there have been wonderful happy days which were real. The days my children were born, the day my divorce from my first husband came through, getting married to my hubby, finishing an access course with a distinction and getting into uni twice since. These were good things and I know this. 

Today is one of those days to celebrate. It’s my sons tenth birthday and I feel so proud of him. He has his moments when he’s not easy, but he’s a beautiful loving little boy and I love him very much. Ten years ago, I was in early stages of labour. In a little under ten hours I thought I had lost him. He had the cord around his neck and was blue. He made no sound. I remember the fear and the desolation i felt. He was so tiny and vulnerable and I wanted nothing more than for him to breathe so that I could hold him, love him and protect him. That first teeny sound he made was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard. 

He was a fragile little thing for a long time, but now is a healthy strong boy. But one thing I have noticed is that he’s emotional like me. I hope desperately that he’s not going to be anything like me. 

Yesterday morning I was woken by my son to tell me his sister was still asleep. I told him to wake her. She was going to miss her bus so i took her. I was groggy from the tablets I took the night before but the freezing temperature outside soon had me awake. 

Once i got home i decided to make a hot water bottle and get back to bed. I only planned to snooze but I ended up sleeping all the way through until 3.15pm. The dreams I had woke me feeling disturbed and scared. 

I wasted the entire day and felt shit. My head pounded, my heart was racing and i felt disorientated. 

I want to wake up and not feel these things. For them not to consume me day and night. The crushing weight of depression and anxiety are debilitating and take so much energy to fight off. They zap everything good that they touch and leave you feeling like there is nothing good. 

Having a mental illness like bpd is soul destroying. Its like being in a constant whirlwind of thoughts and emotions that just race around and just never fucking stop. Sometimes i wonder what it would be like to be completely manic, to be so caught up in feeling good and invincible. It would be nice to not be stuck in this deep black hole with emotions up and down like an elevator. 

Currently my head feels like a minefield. I don’t know what’s going to set me off and which direction it’s going lead. I can be happy for a moment and then suddenly it’s all gone. The fake smile and fake laugh create resentment inside of me. I know that people plaster on a mask daily, I know it’s part and parcel of life. It’s not just the outside world I hide away from, but also from my friends and family and sometimes from myself. 

Sometimes I try to believe the lies that I tell people. Allowing them to think i am fine, that i am coping and managing with everything. But there is this large barrier that never allows me to cross. It never allows me to feel truly happy, to believe that I am worthy of love and security, that i can be successful and that people might actually like me. 

My depression threatens to ruin everything. My anxiety makes me feel terrified of going out on my own. The bpd has left me scared of my own fucking shadow, incapable of knowing what’s real or not emotionally and constantly questioning if my reaction is normal. 

I search for something, anything to make me feel better. To lift my spirits, to take away the ache I feel so deep inside. Nothing does. It’s all a waste of time, I know that. 

I don’t want to be mentally unwell. I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO FIGHT EVERYDAY. I want to be something and do something with my life, but my fucking head gets in the way. No matter how hard I try, no matter how good things are in my life it’s not enough to vanquish the demons. 

Being mentally unwell is such a cruel thing to have to contend with. It’s not seen by others unless your behaviour is unusual, it’s misunderstood and judged by others. It feels shameful and weak to be constantly stuck in this no-mans-land. I feel ashamed that I can’t fight it all the time. That sometimes the darkness just comes in and takes over. I feel ashamed that I am a shell of a person. That who I want to be is under constant attack from myself, that my inability to deal with past traumas, to douse the flames of anxiety and drown out the darkness of depression, threatens to destroy all that I hold dear. 

New year – same shit

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We are four days into the new year and I have spent much of that time either asleep or procrastinating. In fact, most of the Christmas holiday was spent like that. I have no prescription for sleeping pills right now so I have made do with over the counter shit which doesn’t help me to get to sleep, it helps me to stay asleep once it finally comes.

This has pretty much meant that I am awake until 3 or 4 am and then completely out of it until 12, 1 or even 2pm. No wonder I can’t sleep now. It’s so stupid. I am taking them early enough for them to either kick in or wear off but my sleep pattern is totally screwed.

Being a full-time student and mother has also meant that I have had a shit load of things to do and absolutely no energy or motivation to do a thing. I have relished bedtime so I can forget about the day and what I haven’t achieved and hope that the following day will be more productive.

I have swallowed pills of all types and washed them down with alcohol of some kind. Tonight i have washed the pills down with wine, which is rapidly going to my head. But I know that I am a long way from being tired enough to sleep. And then tomorrow I am going to wake up feeling shit and unable to focus on anything.

Co-codamol features again on an almost daily basis. I have managed to convince myself that if I only take it three days in a row and then miss a day this will avoid me becoming addicted. I am sure it’s all utter nonsense, but it’s what my head needs to hear right now.

I feel really lost at the moment. I am not sure what the fuck is going in and which direction I am actually facing. I want to work on my uni stuff because it’s important to me. It’s what I want for me therefore I feel that I have to do it. If I don’t I am failing myself. But then, there is also the fact that my family are relying on me to eventually find a job and help with the finances. So there is the other pressure. I am hard on myself, but the added pressure of having a family relying on me to make something of myself is somewhat intimidating and scares the shit out of me. I am scared of amounting to nothing. Of being less than I could be. I am scared of being a failure and people believing that this is all I am. My record to date would suggest that they are right. I never stick at anything, I rarely ever get to the finishing line.

Tomorrow it’s two weeks since my last counselling session but instead it feels like months. I NEVER thought for one minute that I would miss going to counselling. It has been ridiculously hard and overwhelming at times. I really have gone from not wanting to go and finding any reason not to attend to living from one weekly session to the next. I have felt lost these last couple of weeks.

I have an appointment next wednesday for an assessment with the local mental health team. I am not sure what I am meant to tell them other than the fact that I can’t sleep and that I have messed it up even more over the holidays because I had no prescription so found a way to self-medicate.

I feel really low as well. More low than I have in a while. I am trying to keep myself going, to remind myself of how far  I have come etc, etc. But instead I am thinking look where you are falling. Look at all the steps backwards you have taken. What a fucking failure I am.

I have so much uni work to do I no longer know where to start or how to do it. And then being a wife and a full time mum I am failing at those things too. I have no inclination to do anything. I just want to hide away from everything and everyone. I am seeking solace from a bunch of pills and at the bottom of a bottle.

I absolutley detest all the excitement about the end of the year and seeing in the new year. I hate it. I stay up to see it in, but I do not get excited about it. Yep, we say goodbye to one year and look forward to what the next might bring, but the fact is, last years problems are likely to still be present in the following year and getting excited and waking with a raging hangover is not going to change that fact. New years resolutions are made only to be broken within days or perhaps weeks if you are really committed. But the new year is not going to change anything for me mentally or emotionally. I still have all the same issues as I had in 2016, difference is that it is now 2017.

I realised earlier today that it was 20 years ago on the 2nd of December last year that I took a massive overdose. Twenty years ago I was 17 years old and had no idea what I was doing. I was miserable, drinking stupid amounts of alcohol and feeling lost. I had no idea what my purpose in life was. It’s really fucking sad to think that 20 years on I am no further forward and that I am still doing the same things I was doing back then.

I am not thrilled about having to go to this appointment next week. It feels like I literally just go round and round in circles. I go for an assessment, I then meet with the psychiatrist, then I go to treatment, then I get discharged to then get referred back to restart the process. Only difference is that because I have undertaken the DBT course which is somehow meant to magically resolve all my bpd issues, they will harp on and on about whether I am using the skills I ‘learnt’ and grill me about what I am doing to make things better.

It drives me fucking crazy.

I am fucking crazy.

It would be so nice to write how everything is falling into place and how great life is, but my reality is far from that. I have moments when it feels like I am moving forward and I can feel happy and content. But i feel like I am more often than not just a raging mess of whatever. I don’t get emotions at all. I am filled with them, but I totally mistake other people’s emotional reactions to me. I feel like I am lost in a sea of emotions, feelings and thoughts. My head rages at me constantly and I never know what other people are thinking. I feel that I used to know, that I could figure things out, but now it’s all a mystery to me.

It’s like I am out of my depth. Arm bands would be nice, because at times it feels like I am drowning. I get so lost in them. At the moment I feel really isolated and alone. I don’t know where to turn or what to do. Pills and alcohol don’t have thoughts, feelings and emotions for me to untangle. I don’t have to worry about being good enough, being successful, happy or sad. It doesn’t matter what mood I am in they are always there with no judgment or demands. They just let me be.

So, new year, same shit….