Category Archives: child hood

This kid’s not alright.

So young. Sat on a bench, her short legs just hanging there listlessly, unable to reach the ground. But without engergy enough to swing. Her scuffed shoes just there. 

All encompassing, pervading every facet of my being. Darker than the blackest black. The stuff emo kids can only dream off. So thick it’s a relative forcefield around me. Ironically the one thing keeping me together was the same thing that was destroying me.

Loneliness.

Not the kind that a text from a friend, or a smile from a stranger can help stave off. But the kind where you know you’ll never be free of it. The type where you’re surrounded by people, quite literally, but no one can reach you and, most crucially, you can’t reach any one.

It’s only now, in my stronger self, with my new learnt techniques and medication, that I can look back on my darker times and start pinpointing what the emotions I had were.  I can identify fear well now, that was an emotion I only really felt in my mid to late teens, other periods of my  life seem to be conspicuous in the absence of fear. Sadness, I was never sad, I was always…..melancholy. Sad implies a cause and therefore a solution. Acceptance, not from people, or even myself, but acceptance of the way I was/am (interchangeable at times). Etcetera…I felt happy at times…like on journeys with my step dad to watch the football, or getting a good mark on a piece of work I’d really worked on, or when I completed prose that I felt told the story….

I’m painting the picture of a very unhappy child, but I wasn’t. I was certainly grumpy or crabby or mardy. Now it’s pretty obvious that actually it could have all been avoided pretty easily.

No, I wasn’t unhappy. That darkness I was speaking of? That’s loneliness.

It is only with time and hindsight I have learnt that. It’s still something I battle with now. Which is tedious given the fact from the minute I wake til the minute I sleep I’m with people. And even when asleep, I’m not alone. I’ve got the good old night mares to keep me company.

We all know my back story, I’m 27, had 5 different psychiatrists, 6 different counsellors, 3 psychologists, 2 overdoses, 5 different anti-depressants, 2 anti-anxiety drugs, and now a lovely cocktail of happy pills and none crazy pills, 4 diagnosis’ (Depression, General Anxiety Disorder, Chronic  Anxiety and now Borderline Personality disorder with an addition of dissociative and schizophrenia behaviours thrown in for good measure).

So what does that have to do with the price of fish?

Simple really. As a child, I couldn’t name my emotions. I didn’t understand them. Even now as an adult, I have to focus to see what the cause behind the emotion is. I mean, happiness is easy to determine, as is melancholy. But anything beyond those two, well thats harder. I feel anger, immense anger. But only temporarily, very fleetingly. The only emotions that seem to take hold and stay are loneliness and melancholy.

But admitting to that, isn’t allowed. How can I be lonely when I’m married and surrounded by friends?

Well I’ve figured it out now.

How can you not be lonely, when you don’t like being alone?

Which sounds absurd, because I love alone time. But never silence. I can’t sit in silence. Which is difficult, because too much noise overstimulates me and makes me cranky. But when I’m alone, I have to have music. Always music. It acts as a dampener to my thoughts. I can’t think too much when I’m concentrating on lyrics can I?

I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this. Loads of people can identify with the feeling of being alone when at a party.

My problem is, I can’t take being alone for what it is.

I have to over analyse. I have to over think. The ball of neuroris that is my brain can’t tolerate too long without input from other sources. Otherwise it takes off at a tangent and colours everything green.

Remember, everything has a taste, colour or sound. Thursdays taste of bacon, my teeth itch, lonliness is green.

Back to that kid. That young girl on the bench in her playground. She was eight. Eight. One year younger than my eldest is now. I still remember it. Clearly. As if it was frozen in time, an image I get to replay every day. That young kid. She wanted it all to stop. All to go away.  Her heart hurt, her brain hurt. All she wanted was for it to stop. To stop and end for ever ever.

See, I’ve been battling this for longer than I can’t remember.

I’m okay now. But acutely aware of the fact I’m still in this war of attrition. Knowing that I’m only okay because my medication stop me being anything else. Knowing that too long without the tablets and it all comes back. Knowing that I still don’t have the energy to fight it again. Not yet. I don’t think I ever will.

I don’t have the energy to fight and still be a good mother. To fight and still be a good friend. A good wife. A good person.

But that’s fine. At least I’m honest about my crutch. I’m honest that I need the pills. I’m all talked out. All lessons learnt. All opposing thoughts done. I’ve done the years of therapy, and psychiatry. Time served. I’ve spent over half my life in therapy. Therapy can’t change who I am.

And I am that neurotic mess who hides behind a face of makeup, hard walls, sarcasm and apathy. I am that person who will say something cutting just because she can. I am that person who will always be there for my friends. I am that person who will burst into tears because her hot bread has been toasted too much. I am that person who will learn, learn and learn some more. I will set myself unachievable targets and hate myself for failing. I will always be my harshest critic. I will always be battling my own brain.

Because I have no choice. I can’t be anything but who I am. I can’t be that happy, easy going person I want to be. I can’t wake up in a good mood when I’m coming round from a drug induced sleep. I can’t be that person who always has a kind word. I can’t be that person that other people gravitate to, because she makes them feel good.

 

I’ll forever be that person, that makes most people feel slightly uncomfortable, despite them not even knowing why. I’ll forever be that person who’s more spikey than cuddly. I’ll always be that person, who people think is joking because no one can be that mean.

But, I’ll also always be that person, who is the first to help. The first to offer solace and comfort. The first to empathise. The first, and last, to stop caring.

Me and my resting bitch face, may be unapproachable. We may make people feel uncomfortable.

 

But, something I’ve learnt over the years? That’s usually because in me, they see parts of themselves they don’t like. They see in me, the chance of the battle they will have to face. And no one likes that. No one wants to admit that mental health illness can, and will, attack anyone. They want to think its only the weak. It’s only the lazy.

.

And in me, they see that unfortunately, its indiscriminate. It will take anyone it desires. It will render even the strongest, warmest, move loving of people. And turn them into a shell. It will make them feel that lonliness I live with. It will make them feel like no one around them wants them or needs them. It will twist your own brain so much you can’t trust it. So by extension, you don’t trust anyone.

 

 

Oh. And I’m a total bitch…..

BPD and me…my new realisations.

I appear to be writing more frequently about my BPD at the minute. I’m not having a relapse, but I am acutely aware of it at the moment.

I’m tentatively telling people about it again. Mainly because I’ve been seeing flashes of the scarlet me coming through. But also, because every so often I gain a new level of insight. It’s like all the time my subconscious is working on it, trying to unravel the thread and help me. Help me to know just exactly what is going on inside my head.

Recently I became aware of how even missing a single dose of quetiapine will spark my absurd behaviours and brain whimsy.

My BPD causes me to suffer with dissociation. This means that I have a constant “out of body” experience on my life. Like I’m looking down on whats going on, but I’m not really there. The quetiapine and mirtazpine mean that for the last 18 months that hasn’t happened. Well. Not as bad as it was. See, I have great swathes of my life that I don’t really remember. The mundane things, the day trips to castles, the grocery shopping, passing my driving test….these things happened through a curtain. I could see, smell and taste. But I couldn’t engage properly. It means my recollection of these things is hazy. It’s why I’m in the habit of documenting life through photographs.

My grasp on what I actually look like hasn’t improved. I’m still surprised when I look in the mirror. I still see my self as that ugly sewer rat. I’m sure other people do too. I know, logically, that I’m perfectly average looking. But I can’t believe that. So I cover up the insecurity and low self esteem with makeup and bravado. It’s a tool in my armoury that gets me through.

My paranoia is at an all time low. Unless I miss a dose of the Quetiapine. Luckily, I have a close friend I can rely on to give it to me straight. She soon tells me if my reaction to a situation is within normal parameters or not.

My control over my emotions…well. I’m there. I’ve grasped it sort of. I know how to present a neutral face. I’m still the swan paddling furiously, serene to everyone but hectic underneath, and I still don’t have a homing beacon. But I’ve learnt to put a facade on. “If it’s not okay, it’s not the end”. I get described as “cold”. Which I’m fine with. I’m not. I’m about the most loving, spirited person I know. I’m legitimately batshit mental, I laugh so hard I cry, I get so angry I can’t see, I love so hard my heart hurts. But each, and every single time. “Are you ok” or variations there of, always, without fail get answered with “yeah I’m good thanks”. Because, not only do people not want the legitimate answer, but I don’t know how to give it. How do you respond to “are you ok” with “I’m seeing and tasting words, my thoughts are too loud and I’m over stimulated” which is what my “Im good thanks” translates to. You can’t. You can’t give people that answer.

Which brings me nicely to … yes, I still see words. I still taste them. I see sounds…not in the cool way with colours, but in shapes and patterns. Remember old alacetel phones? The ring tones on them were little red cuboids with rounded corners. Thursday still tastes of bacon.

My self esteem is largely the same. I still use bluff and bluster to get me through most situations. I have a telephone voice I use with nearly everyone. I still ignore most phonecalls. And most social situations. Unless it’s a random spur of the thing. I just can’t handle it.

So have I really come that far in two years? If I still avoid situations? If I still wake up screaming in the night? If I still feel like I’m on the waltzers and want to get off? If I still question everything…why did they say that, why did they look at me like that, are they laughing at me, what do they want from me? I still lie in bed and feel like the words in my thoughts are too loud  and too bright…like I’m hurtling head first into the back of a truck.

I have. I’ve come a long way. I’ve had a job for the last 18months, I’ve maintained a couple of friendships, I’ve helped people. I’ve been good and kind, just because I can. Not because I know it’s the normal thing to do. I’ve stopped getting stuck in the memories that I wish I could rip out of my mind and pour bleach onto.

But I’ve also become quite numb. Things that should devastate me…well I can switch off to them. That’s brilliant. I don’t obsess over the negative now. I’ve learnt that my emotions are fleeting. And something that hurts in that second, well, in the next second I’ll probably have moved on from it. Because thats what I do. Ultimately, afterall, BPD is defined by being unable to regulate emotions. Now I’ve learnt thats why I can’t…I’ve stopped hating myself for it. And instead I’ve educated myself on suitable responses to normal , everyday situations.

Have I forgiven the people that have contributed to making me this way? No. I never will. Have I forgotten them? No. Does it consume me still? No.

 

And thats that. That’s why whilst it doesn’t seem like I’ve come far…I have. I’ve come miles. I’m still on a journey with no destination….but now the journey isn’t horrible

 

 

Why life sucks as a mother.

Let me start by saying I love being a mum, I love my children and wouldn’t change anything about either of them for all the world. They aren’t what this is about.

Why does life suck being a mother?

Because it’s the only thing in the world where you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Whatever you choose to do there will be 50% of the entire population of the world hurling abuse at you for it.

  • Lets look at just the early years (0-2) in this stage of your childs life people will be judging you on:
  • How you feed them: formula vs breast. Weaning: how and when
  • How you let them sleep: co-sleeping, separate beds, on you, in a cot, in a pram, by demand, routine.
  • How you transport them: Baby-wear or pram?
  • How you toilet them: cloth nappy, toilet train early, toilet train late.
  • What you name them
  • What you dress them in
  • How you talk to them: baby talk, as a mini adult
  • How much you have them looked after by other people.

All of those are personal choice, and some of them are heart wrenching choices. First hand, feeding. I tried and failed to breast feed both of my girls. With my youngest, I can remember her being two days old, coming in from a walk with my husband and mother in law and silently leaving the room, going up to my bed, curling into the smallest ball possible and silently sobbing. I couldn’t cope with the breast feeding. And I felt like a failure. It hurt, so much. I was bleeding from places blood should never come from. But I knew that BREAST IS BEST and FORMULA IS POISON. Ridiculous really, I’d formula fed my eldest who’s a startlingly intelligent, well adapted and healthy child. So logically I knew that wasn’t the case. But neither the midwives or, even worse, other mothers were telling me it was ok to formula feed. Everyone was adamant I should breast feed and in that over wrought, exhausted (and believe me, until you’ve given birth you’ve no idea what exhaustion actually feels like) I felt like an evil, abominable person for wanting to formula feed. Luckily husband talked sense in to me.

Being a mother people are judging you endlessly. You stay at home? You’re failing your children by not showing them a good role model. Go out to work? You’re failing your children by letting other people look after them.

And then in addition to all of the crap that does have some legitimacy, feeding there are benefits of breast feeding, there are benefits of co-sleeping, there are benefits of routine, there is the absoloute bull shit that is spouted by people.

Like this meme that is doing the rounds on facebook/peoples kitchens again:

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Or ones to that effect.

So now we can’t even have clean and tidy houses without it meaning we’re depriving our children.

Awesome. I can’t cope with untidiness. It stresses me out. It’s a major trigger for me. Mess and noise make my head hurt and trigger my anxiety. So my house is pretty much always immaculate. (I’m getting better, I can leave the pots until after the school run now). Apart from two rooms: the girls bedroom and the playroom. They’re generally fairly untidy. But not massively. I make my children, yes even the two year old, tidy them up. Some times they even have to do it properly. But according to holier-than-thou parents out there, I’m depriving my children of making memories?!

Personally I prefer to look at it as

  • Instilling values: they should look after their area
  • Valuing worth of toys, if one gets broken because it wasn’t put away properly, I’m damned if I’m replacing it.
  • Responsibility: I am not having one of those kids that doesn’t give a damn about rules.

So that meme annoys me every time I see it. Because it’s bullshit. Children making memories comes from spending time with family and friends, learning things, going out and visiting places. Not from running around in a messy and filthy home not caring if they’re trampling their toys.

So, so far we’ve established life sucks as a mother because:

  • You’re judged on every basic need choice you make whilst the children are infants
  • Becuase apparently if you have a clean and tidy home you’re uptight and don’t let your kids have fun
  • Because if you work you suck and if you don’t you suck.

And I’ve not even got started on the social life.

There seems to be an entire quarter of the population that are martyrs to the cause! OH NOES WE HAVE BABIEEZ WE MUSN’T HAVE FUN!

This quarter (quarter: mainly mums, and only half of the mums so 1/4) seem to think that as soon as you have children your life must revolve only around them. These mums are usually hemp wearing, baby wearing, co-sleeping, vegan, new-age moms (that’s not true, but see how easy it is to judge?!). This type of mum is the type that considers the dad to be “babysitting” if they do the grocery shop and leave is children in his care. (It’s not babysitting when it’s looking after your own spawn). This type of mum would look aghast at you if you dared hint at having your child looked after by someone else so you could ahve some “me” time. Apparently, according to them, once youre a mum, your social life revolves around the child.

I’m sick of all this judging. Surely, as long as the child is happy and healthy nothing else matters? So why then, is everything you do as a mother judged and critiqued by all of society?

I, for one, am sick to the back teeth of it. I don’t want to be judged because I’ve gone back to work. I don’t want to be judged because sometimes I put my children into childcare so I can have a day to myself, sometimes to do nothing more than nap and laze around. I don’t want to be judged because sometimes I throw a pizza in the oven and call it dinner. I don’t want to be judged because I still like to go out dancing with the girls. I don’t want to be judged because I keep my house clean and tidy instead of letting the kids trash it (we’ve worked hard to have a house we’re proud of!). I don’t want to be judged because I spend time doing things for me that only benefits me. Oh gosh!

Just because I do those things it doesn’t mean I love my kids any less. It doesn’t mean I don’t adore them. I still go in an kiss them every night before I go to bed. I still have them in my thoughts 90% of the time. I still put their safety and happiness first. I just don’t see why my life should stop because of them? Because in 15 years time, I can garauntee that hopefully by children will be off every second of the day without a second thought for what me and their dad are up to. That shy of a quick message to let me know their safe and if they’ll be back for a meal that’ll be the most contact I get from them .Because surely that’s what we want to raise? We want to raise happy confident kids that fly the nest without a backwards glance? We want to raise kids that are confident to go out into the world and forge their own way?

It’s high time mothers stopped judging other mothers. That we all looked at one another and went “cool whatever”. That we stop screaming BREAST IS BEST. And instead just went FEEDING IS BEST! That we just said to each other “hey, you’re doing a good job.” or even “well I do it differently, but I can see you’re way works for you and your sprog, so cool”. Why are we always trying to put each other down? Is it because raising kids is hard and we’re all terrified of getting it wrong?

Because actually, as long as we love them, keep them safe, feed them, instill values and morals into them, well they’ll be okay. They’ll probably life to an age where you’re sometimes nothing more than a foot note in their lives. And actually, we all get things wrong. We all do. Frequently. But as long as they know we love them, then nothing else matters sometimes.

So please, fellow mums, please lets stop judging each other. You stop judging me because I have a clean, tidy house, I work and I have a life way from my kids. And I’ll not judge you because you’re house is messy, and you only associate with your kids and kid friendly things. Then we can all get a long and focus on the main thing that matters: turning our little bundles of joy into well functioning, caring and confident adults.

TL;DR

Life sucks as a mother because what ever you do someone thinks you’re wrong.