Category Archives: words

Why do people never believe you when you say you’re crazy?

 

I’m allowed to say I’m crazy. You’re not. Lets start with that.

I keep being told that “you seem so normal” and “you don’t act like there is anything wrong with you”. Obviously, not out of the blue; that would be weird. And kind of offensive. But in the parameters of a conversation whereupon it is acceptable to make that kind of comment.

But the thing is, I am legitimately crazy. And people trying to rationalise my crazy with well meant, but ill informed, intentions with follow up comments such as “but everyone feels like that sometimes” pisses me off….because that’s the difference, everyone feels like it sometimes, but I feel like it all of the time.

I visited with my psychiatrist this week, for the first time in…too long to be frank. I’ve had the odd telephone conversation, where I’ve requested to come off of the antidepressant. Or where they’ve checked in with me because other, unrelated medication, has been added to my concoction. But I’ve not had a sit down, face to face appointment in too long. But last week I reached out and said, I’m not okay. 

Because, I wasn’t. And I am crazy.

In terms of life, I’ve had a hard, so hard, last 12 months. Half of it has been my doing, a quarter down to other people, and the other quarter, well that’s how life works isn’t it. I’m not saying I’ve had it harder than anyone else, not for one second. But for me, as I wrote ages ago, I’ve had my coping mechanisms tested, and some failed. The waltzers were getting faster, and I had no point of reference.  I had no sense of control. I had nothing but the pervasive feeling of dread and fear. I was running to stand still, but running through knee deep mud in the process.

My thoughts were, at best, haphazard, disjointed and never stopping. I couldn’t breathe. I knew everyone was going to see through the facade and to the fraud I am. I had no belief in myself, no confidence. I was paranoid that people that make decisions that affect my life, were lying to me about the decisions they were making, and indeed lying about how they were going to proceed with the decisions they’ve made. I’ve been insecure, in my looks and my personality. I’ve been convinced that everything around me is just stained glass and it’s all going to come shattering down, in the most beautiful but devastating way.

And I’ve had to go to work, family and friends, and have to convince everyone that I’m okay. Clearly, it was succeeding. No one could see the fact I couldn’t use language effectively, in fact just writing this has taken 14 attempts (it tells you when you hover over “status”). No one could see the obsessive thoughts starting. No one else could taste the metallic taste of fear on my tongue. No one else was witnessing the debilitating panic attacks. No one could see my brain calculating all possible exits, real and metaphorical.

And by no one, I include myself in most of that.

But then, in a rare moment of clarity, it did become clear to me. As I peered into a magnification mirror, pen in hand, ready to circle every flaw that was thrown up at me. It dawned on me. I wasn’t okay.  So it wasn’t the obsessing over the washing up (which was noticed and commented on) or the return to nightmares, or the failing of my Everest that prompted me into action. It was one, red biro pen.

And I fucking cried, I cried until my eyes were so sore it felt like I was blinking over sandpaper, my fingers itching to start nipping the tops of my arms until they bruised, my heart breaking because I’d failed. Me. The person who claims to control her illness, was being brought back into the fold by the devil and hadn’t even realised.

Thanks to all that is holy, that a passing cult leader didn’t notice me…..

 

Anyway.

 

I didn’t self harm. What I did was. I made a plan. I stopped avoiding. I called my psychiatrist and booked the appointment. I told my husband. I spoke to uni. I told a friend. I took my own advice and I reached out.

So now, here I sit. Re-referred to talking therapy. So much for 28 and all talked out. Self care plans back in place. Mindfulness being employed again (it’s a way of life and I forgot that).

I had to admit to the shrink, that I had failed. That me, the one who was determined to beat the statistics, had been so cruelly claimed by them. That my personal journey had taken me almost full circle.

And as I sat there, and told the good doctor about the last 12 months. As I poured my heart out, all the dirtiest secrets, my deepest shame….as he wrote it down, to keep forever in my ever growing file…two things happened.

I realised I was a goddamn hypocrite.

And the good doctor pointed out, that some things I was describing, that wasn’t even my illness, it was just me being a twat.

Both helped.

was being a hypocrite. I know what is wrong with me is incurable. I know that was is wrong with me means I need help and support. It means I have to be brave and strong even when I’m scared and weak. I know everything I have to do. I preach it. I breathe it. I live it.

But I’d stopped. I’d gotten so secure and so sure of myself, I’d stopped taking my own advice. I’d stopped being as honest as I had to be.

So here I am, dealing with the thing I hate most. The feeling of failure.

But, to fail, means we’ve succeeded before and we can do again.  So three days past appointment, I might be back at square one. But that’s fine. I know I can get out of this again. This is just a relapse. I will be okay.

And the other thing? It’s always good to be told you’re acting like a twat and you have no excuse, snaps you into being a better person.

 

So here I am. Terrified, tired, mind spinning, unable to utilize language correctly. Dreaming of the worst of the worse. Paranoid that at any minute I’m going to be exposed. Feeling like a fraud.

 

But, as with all things, this too shall pass.

So, here goes battle…..battle god knows what. But it’s still not beaten me.

 

Mental health illness is a cunt of the highest order. And fuck me I’m sick of it. But it’ll be okay. I’ll be okay.

 

And with that, I’m out. Remember, the first step to being okay, is admitting when you’re not.

 

 

 

 

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Can I have a do-over?

Or at least that’s what I text my friend the other day.

These last….six months have been relentless. I haven’t been able to catch my breath from one moment to the next. And that has been exhausting.

For someone who requires stability and routine in order to function from one day to the next….the last few months have left me spinning. My very own waltzers have been increasing in momentum….my homing beacon isn’t only just switched off…it’s in a different universe from what I can tell…my swans wings have been flapping almost as hard as my feet have been paddling and still…..the war of attrition has sucked me back in.

I’ve changed jobs, to one that whilst…requires less hours…it requires much more head space and much more mask wearing. I’m on my own for great swathes of the day. That’s a long time to be with my own thoughts.

My very own Everest has beaten me for now. I could see the summit…and then I slipped back too far to reach it this year.

Childcare has been a nightmare, I get that having kids and going to work was my choice. And I did it for all the right reasons. But its a minefield. And mines are detonating everywhere I turn.

There’s been a bereavement…which I found out about…by accident it would appear. Actually there is no appear about it. That’s exactly how I found out.

I’ve had to meet loads of new people. In fact its a prerequisite of my job – forming relationships. The irony of someone like me having to form and build relationships for a job. That’s hilarious.

And perhaps most concerning….I’ve come off my antidepressant.

Not my anti psychotic. We increased the dose of that and removed the antidepressant. At first it was accidentally. In the maelstrom of changing jobs and all the drama that ensued with the big green kitchen company….I forgot to take it. My sleep didn’t change, I woke up in a good mood….so I ran with it…..

The first month was amazing. Everything was fantastic. No withdrawal….no sleep issues…I was happier and more content…awesome right?

Then the second month happened…the nightmares came back, the insomnia came back. I was so tired I cried in a car park because someone snapped at me…I felt physically ill with exhaustion. My bones hurt. I was so tired….but I just couldn’t sleep….and when I did sleep….back to the beginning…back to the violence of past relationships, back to seeing my girls die before my eyes….back to waking up screaming and drenched in sweat…there was just no respite.

Then the third month came….the nightmares are less. I still dream. I still have exhausting dreams, but the antipsychs are keeping me….well sane I guess. My sleep pattern is some bizarre version of fucked up. I’ll sleep for 10 hours one night and not at all two nights later. I’m assuming it’s just my body trying to work out its own thing….I’ll ride it out. I don’t want to go back on the anti depressants.

Not because I have anything against them….but because…the benefits of not being on them are now outweighing the benefits of taking them. And thats part of taking control of my own health….learning when I need the boost and when I can manage on my own….

But in saying this….it’s not been all bad.

It’s kept me on my voyage of learning who I am.

I swapped jobs to another role within an international company…and I love it. It pushes me, it engages me…this could be a career. So I’m passionate about it….the big green company job is another post entirely. And one I will be writing, and one I will tag them in. Because that was a soulless,destroying company and hell will rain down on the heads of the management before I’m through with them…..

I’ve maintained some good relationships with people I thought I’d lose over the natural course of time. But now it’s like, because we don’t have work binding us together…we have to make the effort….and that’s nice. It’s reinforcing the lack of scarlet in me at the moment.

The bereavement…I genuinely…I don’t care. And thats not my BPD. It sounds horrible, but the woman who died….she hadn’t engaged with me for years prior to that, and her son – my father, well he was no better. So finding out by accident was a bit cruel, but hey….so what?

 

So overall, no I don’t want a do over. I’ve learnt lots about myself in the last 6 months. I’ve learnt how resillient I am. How strong I am. How I can adapt as needed.

I’ve learnt that actually, I really am in control of my BPD. And that, that’s amazing. Thats real progress. I really love some aspects of my mental health illness… I still love the empathy I have because of it. I really love how it means I can help people. I love the way I see sounds and taste words. I’m fascinated by the way my mind works.

 

I hate the way I don’t have that much control over my emotions. So I’ve taught myself to control how I react to my emotions. Thats a life skill, even neurotypical people struggle with.

 

So fuck it, overall…I’m still winning this battle. Or at least…I’m keeping from being overthrown. And for now. That’ll do.

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

 

 

If it’s not the dreams it’s the reality.

Screams rent the stillness of the night. Blackness surrounds, a crushing weight lays on her chest. Wrapped in a prison of sheets, her legs kick as the sweat trickles down her back. The screams stop, the panting begins….on her feet looking for her nearest exit…her mouth tastes of pre-vomit acid, her stomach roiling against the images her mind conjures for her. Memories, half embellished, half true to life…horror movies playing relentlessly whenever she sleeps.
At night, the fears and anxieties she manages to gloss over during the day: they fight back. Whilst she lies sleeping, her conscious mind switches off….none of her defences are there. The armed guards have stood down for the duration. The deflective humour, the scathing sarcasm, the self-deprecation…is all gone. All that is left is her imagination…an imagination that appears to be determined to do what her illness couldn’t: send her insane.
For her dreams, some: they’re just memories. 1080P HD images of her worst times, on an endless loop. Other times; well they’re tricks her own brain plays on her. Her own brain becomes her tormentor (not unlike it is during the day). It plays terrifying fiction videos of half buried bodies down the side of the mountain, each face being someone she loves…Pup 1 …Pup 2….Mum….Sister…and on and on….all the way to the bottom where she’s greeted by a masked man ….. or sometimes, perhaps worse…the dreams….they’re so real she can taste them…and it’s just fear after fear being realised. How many times must she watch her children die?
See, even when I’m sleeping my BPD is against me. Right now, surrounded by trigger after trigger….I’m wondering how I manage to get through it. How I manage to stay one step ahead of the battle and one step ahead of my own mind that is working tirelessly, relentlessly against me. It’s like I’m in a whole other world where I can smell the food….but can’t touch the silver wear.
I fight all the time, especially at the moment…the weather…work…university…everything seems like an uphill fight. I’ll win. I always do. But I can see my behaviours starting to manifest again…keeping exits to my back, or standing in the corner, making hot drinks just for something to occupy my hands, black humour, procrastination…all my little coping mechanisms. And sure they make me odd…but they do something to stem the tide of noise and sensory overload.
Do you know what it’s like to lay in bed with your eyes closed, waiting for sleep and suddenly feel dizzyingly sick as in your mind’s eye your rushing into the back of an articulated lorry and you’ve no way to stop? An adrenaline rush as I lay there doing nothing more than practising mindfulness?
It’s funny really. All my plates are still spinning, yet I can hear them crashing to the ground. The panic is raw in my throat, the blood pounding in my ears…yet still…I’m fine. I’m always fine. Like a swan gliding effortlessly on the surface, beneath it…my feet are paddling madly and my internal GPS system is switched off. I have no homing beacon, so I’ll keep paddling away aimlessly until I happen upon where I’m meant to be. And when I reach there; I’ll take a breath. I’ll stop. I’ll stop to smell the roses.
But in the meantime, my resting bitch face is in situe, I’ll be quiet around people I don’t know, and exuberant with people I do. But all the while my mind is like the waltzers that have been spinning too long and too fast. I’m dizzy and I want to get off.
But as ever this is a journey I’ll never finish, an end I’ll never see. And whilst most of the time, it’s fun and exciting, because hey! Who doesn’t like to be surprised by themselves? At the moment, I’m wading through mud in flip flops.

Why I am who I am and not who I’m not.

It’s been a while since I posted. As ever, life took over. University, work, children….all take over and I get caught playing catch up with little time to think of posting or anything else.

But recently, I’ve felt more and more compelled to. I fought the urge for a while, wanting to be able to define where the desire to write about my mental health was coming from. Now I think I know.

Recently, I’ve watched two close friends struggle with their mental health. Quite run of the mill disorders (not saying they aren’t as bad, just emphasising for a reason). Both of them resisted treatment and help.

As usual my trusted line came out. You’d go to to the doctor for an ear infection, why not a mental health problem? Both of them went. And I’ve full faith that both of them will recover and become well again. I’ve talked with them, one at length, about how important self care is. How we need to put plans in place to help us recover, and remain recovered. Explaining that I see mental health like cancer, you’re in remission, but it’s never truly gone.

My own mental health is holding up strongly. The medication is keeping me nice and even and my moods are stable.

So why am I here now? Because I want to explain why I’m proud of myself. Why I allow my BPD to define me.

 

See, for years I struggled with my illness, before it was diagnosed and after. I felt ashamed. Like I had a big secret, that people would turn against me for. Then I stood up, squared my shoulders and took control.

BPD, causes extreme ranges in emotion, massive insecurity, paranoia, to name but a few things. Without my medication I can’t trust my own brain. I become my own worst enemy, and hurt people around me and systematically and wholly destroy who I am. The scarlet shows through the beige.

So now, every night before bed. I take three little pills. Sleep soundly and know I’m probably going to be crabby when I wake up. A small price to pay to keep me in remission.

 

I’m proud of where I am, of how much I’ve achieved. Even now I still want to cut my losses and run. I want to throw in the towel with university, thinking I’ll expose myself as a fraud. I’m just not intelligent enough for a degree. Thats my biggest thing. It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever attempted. It’s my Everest. I won’t quit. I’ll keep going. Keep plugging away. Keep studying too late, and pushing myself harder and harder until I’ve done it though. It’s becoming integral to my well-being. If I fail at this…..well then I hope my coping mechanisms are strong enough to keep me well…

My BPD is on my shoulder and in my ear though, whispering lunatic ramblings about how I’m not good enough, how I’m just winging it, how everyone is laughing behind their hands at “poor old Beth, thinks she can actually do it”. I ignore her you know. I ignore the bitch on my shoulder.

 

So why do I let it define me? Because it IS me. I don’t know who I am without it. And I don’t want to. Because BPD also brings me empathy, understanding, compassion. It brings me loyalty. Even in my darkest of times she’s been there. Ironically, she’s put me there to begin with after all.

BPD is my longest standing friend and enemy. She colours my thoughts, my tastes, my words. She clouds my outlook, which pushes me to look deeper in to things. Pushes me to further my knowledge.

 

Also, because it’s lead me to this point. After years of struggling, it’s given me the experience and tools I need to help others. It’s driven me into studying a subject that will get me to be able to professionaly help people. It’s gotten me to a stage where my friends can open up to me.

Which, from my own experience. I know is invaluable. When I needed someone, no one was around that could understand my random witterings, my catastrophising. No one could understand why I woke up screaming in the night. Or why I’d watch the same show or film on repeat for 12 hours at a time.

 

But it allows me to be there for people and to help them in the way I need it.

 

So yes. BPD defines me. It’s a massive part of me. So fuck you to the people that don’t understand me. And to anyone that needs a helping hand, a sympathising ear….I’m here. Help is out there.

 

You’re not alone now, and never will you be.

Does it matter the love is forced?

So, it’s the time of year where fat little perverts are swaddled in nappies, brandishing bow and arrows fly aimlessly around taking aim at unsuspecting people, and those tinny little tunes blast out of cheery, brightly coloured adverts with a big punch of “if you don’t buy your significant other this particular item they’ll forever distrust your love and feel like you just don’t care enough”.

I’m a big one for expressing my love for people through gift giving, little notes, hugs and kisses. I’m very expressive. Not everyone is like that. I know some couples where a simple shoulder squeeze is their equivalent of “I love you”. There love is no less than mine, it’s just different.

Many people hate valentines day, or dislike it , claiming its a hallmark holiday and forced love is crap. It is pretty crappy if you’re single on valentines day. But then I read a fabulous thing about that just today.

If you’re single, then be your own valentine. Take some time out to pamper yourself. Treat yourself, be it to a takeaway, a new necklace or that PS4 game you’ve been lusting after. Why not?

I’m apathetic about valentines day. For me it’s a great excuse to be gushy and emotional. And I like getting a card from the hubby with the nice words inside. I keep these, they go in my memory box.

And I can’t help but think,

With the world being such a cruel place, with such hatred, aminosity and sadness…then surely even “enforced romance” and subsequent enforced love, well it isn’t all that bad an idea. The world needs more smiles, more I love you’s, more shoulder squeezes. And if people need a nudge to give them, all be it perhaps a bit grudgingly, well it’s not the end of the world.

At the end of the day you don’t have to buy into valentines day with all the hype. You don’t need to buy her Cartier diamonds and send her 10 dozen red roses, and you don’t need to sex him up all night long so you’re walking like John Wayne the next day. You can partake as much, or as little, as you want. But it’s always nice to have someone be kind to you.

I think my biggest thing with valentines day, is that it highlights just how … stagnant we can be in relationships, and when we’re not. We let each day merge into one, all those pressures of life taking up your head space. Leaving you with little time to think of each other, little time to remember to say I love you, or establish physical contact…..Valentines day to me, just reminds me of how far removed we can be from even our most loved ones.

And like I say, with the world in such a sad state of affairs, it’s nice to see even just one day of a little enhanced happiness and love floating around. So this valentines day, instead of bemoaning that it’s an enforced holiday, take it in the spirit it’s meant. As an excuse to let your loved one know they’re loved. Do that how you wish, just remember to do it. Life isn’t infinite. And we don’t get a second chance.