Please don’t continue if you are at risk of self harm or feeling suicidal as this post contains triggers. I do not wish to adversely affect any one else’s struggle with Mental Health. This is my stuff.
I had thought of not posting this as I feel like a thought thief but it is more a gathering of information, dissemination and realization.
This comes after a recent event that I am having trouble getting past. I need to compose these thoughts so that I can understand them.
Since 8 years old, I knew I was not like my peers. I have memories from as early as 4 yrs I now know were not normal.
This is only re-enforced when I compare and peer with fearful diagnostic eyes upon my own sons life. I have always been assured to find only a beautiful, well balanced, compassionate and caring young man. He is truly my best legacy to this world.
I am in physical pain as I write this, as is confronting nature of what I need to address. Give me the pain of a hernia operation or a broken bone any day, it is easier to handle.
I voluntarily saw my first Psychologist at 19, I’m now 45. I remember the sea shell music to this day. Get me outer there.
I am currently facing an awkward situation in relation my treatment and diagnosis. I have touched on these in earlier posts, I can’t speak about this specifically on a public forum anymore, for fear of litigation, it is disturbing and I will need to generalize over these, but must touch on these events to illustrate the difficulty in trying deal with self harm thoughts and BPD.
I had an episode in the ED after presenting with suicidal thoughts, again. This was after years of presentations and associated treatment with the mental health service. I ended up in the police station cell as detailed in earlier posts.
Sometimes situations and locations reverse, resulting in essentially the same behaviour though.
Once I started in the cell and ended up at the hospital like replaying a horror movie backwards. After a brief wrestle with 6 of our finest, then 3-4 hours of self abuse in the cell screaming F%$@ and slamming my fists on the floor, sweating and physically exhausted but unable to stop, only to be strapped to a gurney, screaming and fighting against restraint like a wounded wild pig, another ambulance trip, on arrival to ED I was still aware enough to notice a young (doctor, ED worker, student, patient, by stander, cleaner?) male laughing at me. I screamed at him: “What are you laughing at? Do you find this F@#*ing funny?” They wheeled me into ED screaming and sedated me.
Gaining information yesterday from http://twitter.com/HealingFromBPD , it hit me like a ton of bricks.
At the risk of plagiarizing some of Debbie’s and others thoughts and words and which to summarize below is an extract of part of a letter I sent to a person who is advocating for me:
-“Simply, I was put in jail when I sought help from them. This is disturbing.
Yes, I exhibited symptoms and behavior as per the DSM IV criteria for BPD.
I wonder if someone who attended hospital for unregulated and untreated cancer who was in trauma, exhibiting attention seeking behavior or with suicidal thoughts to relieve themselves of pain (a natural human response to severe pain), would be sent to jail.
I wonder if the ED staff on duty at the time where confronted with one of their loved ones or next of kin in trauma from a mental health issue would accept their loved one being put in jail, if they were in unregulated pain, because staff lacked understanding or training.
The most difficult part of having constant suicidal thoughts, is not the thoughts alone, I have dealt with these since 8 yrs old. It is the fact you are having these thoughts. These may drift past at times barely noticed like a cloud or can come crashing down on you like a violent thunderstorm that demands attention. This is unregulated and unbearable pain.
The very fact I have these thoughts is part of the problem and why I attended ED.
I am constantly amazed at the lack of understanding when MH assessors focus on the plan. I always get asked “do you have a plan?” This is the ignorance. If you say you don’t have a plan they think you are okay and not at risk and send you home not medicated and untreated. This is the blanket approach to mental health that is so detrimental to the BPD sufferer.
I don’t have one plan. I am very resourceful and have no real preference to alleviate my pain. Short of putting me in a straight jacket and a padded cell 24/7, 365 days a year, if I wanted to act on these thoughts, it couldn’t be avoided. The fact is I don’t want to die. It is the reoccurring thought, which is the problem. This is what causes me distress.
The inability to regulate emotion is a huge daily internal battle for me. To know your behavior is not considered normal yet not being able to control is debilitating and exhausting. This is scary and confronting for observers, I completely understand. Yet, this is a one way street. Observers can’t imagine how scary or confusing it is for the sufferer, especially when the sufferer is fully conscious and aware of their own actions as these behaviors take place. I compare this inability to regulate behavior like trying to regulate your own heart beat.
This is the basis of my fears for returning to the MH service or ED, this is why I don’t want them involved in my treatment. These are the people who are meant to understand these issues. This is the ignorance of mental health by people who are oblivious that their actions are actually discriminatory”
The consequence of my actions is more insurmountable pain, self loathing and further isolation.
This is just a recent snapshot of my life. My life has revolved on a never ending nightmare, a hideous merry go round in a Stephen King horror, flickering from one emotional event to the next, one crisis to next, one job to the next, one interest to the next, one coping mechanism to the next, one self harm thought to the next or one relationship to the next, resulting in very few constants in my life, always with irreparable damage to myself or relationships with others resulting in further shame, guilt self loathing and the feeling that even death is better than this fractured life.
Debbie’s analogy of the “cloud” and suicidal thought’s is the nearest descriptive form of these thoughts that I have come across. I hope she does not mind if I expand on these. This is the only way I can explain these thoughts descriptively.
As I stated in my letter above about suicidal thoughts; “These may drift past at times barely noticed like a cloud or can come crashing down on you like a violent thunderstorm that demands attention”.
BPD symptoms such as behavioral issues and suicidal thoughts don’t have any consistency; they are as fickle and as unpredictable as the weather. To further this analogy, some days I have there is not a cloud in the sky, or just a whisper in the far distance just to remind me I am a creature of the planet. Some days are dull and overcast, some days are violent and unavoidable. But usually most days are essentially different in time and nature.
Sunny days with not a cloud in the sky have their own repercussions for BPD. These are the days I feel normal and don’t have self harm thoughts or irrational behaviors. These are destructive and where many of self harm thoughts originate. Because I am feeling normal, I self talk such as: “Just get over it”, “Be a man”, There’s nothing wrong with you”, etc, etc. These fester on not so clear or overcast days to become very destructive self loathing, especially when none of this self talk has been achieved.
Sunny days, with a whisper of cloud in the distance, these days put me on edge, things seem to be going okay, but in the far distance a small cloud is desperately trying to stretch across the sky, it will either build or abate. These days put me in a state of flight or fright. I’m aware it’s there, wanting to dominate the atmosphere, as are the BPD symptoms. Some days it grows. Other days it disappears over the horizon leaving me apprehensive whether it will return tomorrow. What will the weather be like?
Overcast. These days are the norm. They have varying levels of cloud cover. Not only am I desperately trying to function in society and fit in with society norms, mostly with abject failure, additionally, I attempt to deal with the behavioral issues and suicidal thoughts wearing the public mask that unfortunately cracks and falls off on occasion, exposing BPD symptoms and letting self harm thoughts and behaviors erupt into prevailing storms. Mostly these days I just want to hide from the world.
Storms. These days are the days I desperately try to avoid. These are days I can’t face the world or myself. These are the days BPD symptoms take over my life. These are the days where the pain becomes unbearable. These are the days the self harm thoughts are overwhelming. These are the days that scare me.
Today is just another dull gray day, both literally and figuratively speaking. Some sun is trying to shine through.
I understand that my life has probably not ideal been, yet it doesn’t lessen the pain. I am trying to get passed the abuses I have faced and accept I can’t change them, yet I can’t get let go of the self harm thoughts that comes with painful memories.
Living in BPD is a constant battle, of eternal self talk. The fight or flight response and anxiety are a constant and I try to preempt nearly every interaction with others. This is destructive when conversations or any minor alteration of preemptive situations don’t go according to plan. It results in further self loathing and self harm thoughts.
For me, the constant state of two minds and analyzing every thought, produces and nothing but inaction, rumination, procrastination and self loathing.
I know I need to resource the right tools to overcome these most disturbing aspects of BPD
I will fight for treatment as it’s a just cause. It is reassuring that I finally have some people who are willing to stand by my recovery. It will be difficult and I usually give up when confronted by barriers. Not this time.
It’s re-assuring to know I am not the only one, that there is a collective conscious and resources that I never knew existed. I am not alone. I hold empathy and pity for those who remain un-diagnosed and like myself untreated. For these people whose lives, if any reflection on mine will continue to suffer in isolation, stigma, discrimination, guilt and confusion, my heart bleeds for these people.
I know suicidal thoughts and BPD symptoms are confronting to the non bpd, for me it is just the way it is, always has been. I have known no other life.
The fact is, I am very sick. I have been for a long, long time.
This is hard to accept, I am having difficulty coming to grips with BPD.
I hope I can get appropriate treatment and services.
I hope, I just hope.