Do I Want to Get Better?

The last couple of months have been very hard for me. In part because I’ve struggled to find and use the DBT skills that would help me through this, but mostly because I’ve just been plain old struggling.

I’m not sure what’s wrong exactly. I’ve tried to think on it but admittedly I haven’t stayed on the thoughts for long because they scare me. The feelings have been overwhelming; in no particular order: fear, shame, disgust, anger, and guilt; have all popped up and in to take me over.

For the most part fear is the big one. Although I can’t say exactly what is scaring me because so far I have avoided looking at it. I have suppressed looking at the fear so well that several times over the last couple of weeks or so I didn’t even give myself a chance to recognize that I was feeling afraid I put the emotion down so fast.

I don’t want to think about what scares me. Hello? It scares me. The reason is right there in the sentence. Why would I purposely look at something that scares me? That seems counter-productive and counter-intuitive. To me at least. When the professionals claim that exposure works to minimize it, logically I agree with them but emotionally I think hell no.

I don’t know how to handle the emotions and I feel very helpless. What should I do? How do I get through this? What skills do I apply? I feel lost and hopeless. I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. I do want to get better, I think. I’m sure I do. I mean the choice of staying in this misery is not all that appealing although it is familiar. And it sometimes feels like better the devil you know right? But as my mood spirals lower and lower I know that this is where bad things can happen.

In the moment the bad things feel good, and like a super-great idea, or at least that’s what I tell myself. And the bad things successfully squash whatever I’m feeling or thinking, so they also feel successful. In the moment, anyway. They feel like they help me cope but my Wise Mind knows better, my Wise Mind knows that they may help me ride out the emotion and squash it down enough not to feel it or think it longer than I have to, but they don’t actually help me. My Wise Mind knows that it’s at best a band aid and at worst an excuse to numb myself to all feelings and thoughts.

And where has doing the bad things gotten me so far? Well, nowhere good. So I sit and think, on one hand wanting to do the bad stuff and move away from my thoughts and emotions, but on the other hand, I know I will regret it. I know deep down this really wasn’t what I wanted. I don’t like how it feels to be laying on the bottom of life looking up and hoping things would get better.

It’s an internal, eternal, tug of war. Do the bad things and have instant relief from myself? Or do the skills and maybe feel better in the moment? But I still have to come back and deal with my emotions. It was a tough call. And for the past couple of months I’ve chosen the bad stuff.

Things are getting out of hand and I want to at least try. I know once I slip down this slope, the wanting to get better may not be there. It may be sedated and suppressed by then to the point of silence, and all the bad things will take me over and take me down until I feel that I am better off dead. And maybe, maybe, I’ll get help before I do anything I can’t take back and I will, again, start the slow process to get back to where things weren’t this bad. I’d at least like to try and get to the vicinity of a better place because right now I’m just barely functioning, and compared to a couple of months ago, it’s A LOT lower than where I was before.

You know that point where you feel like you’re drowning, and you’ve got a life preserver, or a branch or something, and it’s holding your head above water but only barely. It’s on the brink of breaking down and you going under and you know it’s only a matter of time. That’s how I feel right now. I’m holding on, but barely.

I know I hate how this feels. I know that I hate the ways I do cope and what they do to me, emotionally, mentally, and physically. I hate myself when I’m in this place. I hate how I feel. I hate who I am. I hate what I do. And yet…

I just continue to keep a sliver of hope that it will work out.


Waiting For My Head to Fall Off

When I’m feeling anxiety and it starts to permeate into physical symptoms like lightheadedness, heart palpitations, and a sense of numbness or tingling throughout my body, I panic. I realize that panicking is the fastest way to have a panic attack and does nothing to make me feel better but I panic nonetheless. 

I panic because I’m genuinely worried that I am going to die. I’m sure this is familiar to anyone who has struggled with anxiety and panic attacks. It’s a hard feeling to explain. Especially since the physical symptoms can be so fluid where one minute it’s my heart racing and I hold my breath and then in the next minute I don’t feel palpitations or that I’m holding my breath but now I feel sweaty yet cold and my body is tingling. 

The fluidity of symptoms can vary widely over the course of seconds, minutes, or even hours, as my body struggles to cope and regulate itself. 

The perceived threat I am feeling is pervasive that my mind goes to worst-case scenario. And that is death. Or rather dying. My mind has gone to place where any twinge or tickle throughout my body suddenly becomes the ominous sign that the end is near. 

It’s a paralyzingly feeling. And scary as hell. The odds of it being anything fatal are extremely low and, if present, most likely totally unrelated to my anxiety. It would be a coincidence that something truly tragic happens and due to an unrelated medical issue. 

But it takes me over regardless. I know logically that it’s anxiety-related but try telling my emotional mind that. My emotional mind has gone from trying to cope with anxiety and possibly an impending panic attack to absolute terror that that twinge I just felt means I am moments from a heart attack or stroke or aneurysm. That is, if I’m not already having it. 

As I await my tragic fate I try to hold it together but the anxiety is so crippling that I actually feel in my body like my head is going to fall off. I don’t know if it’s just the way my body responds to the anxiety, and I hope it’s not just me, but I actually become super-aware of my neck and shoulders and I wonder if they will be able to continue supporting my head. It’s an odd feeling to just think of your neck and wonder “is my head going to roll off?”  Believe it or not this is a genuine fear for me when I’m feeling this anxiety. “Will my head just roll off my neck and into the ground?” Will this be how I die? So on top of my anxiety I now have to watch that my head doesn’t fall off. 

One issue feeds the other until I am totally convinced that today I will die. It grips me so tight that sometimes I’m afraid to move or even breathe for fear I will push it over the threshold and into death myself. 

I absolutely HATE this feeling and all the fear it causes. I try to talk myself down and do some tips to calm myself down, and sometimes it works. But sometimes I can’t seem to get a hold of my logical mind to be able to realize that I’m okay. Sometimes my logical mind is nowhere to be found and I am left in the unforgiving grip of my emotional mind who is currently freaking out. 

For anyone who has gone through this and felt this I sympathize with you how tough and scary it is. I’m hoping that it’s not just me because that would really freak me out. 

For now I just do my best to get through it and hope like hell I’m not dying. 

Working My Way Back

Struggling with relapse is hard. Even when you’re on your way out of it. It’s a fine balance between getting back to functioning and going back into the dark hole of depression. They both hold something good. The hole is familiar and easy to hide in. But getting back to functioning means not feeling so low I can reach up and touch the bottom. It’s between darkness and familiarity and feeling better with work. It may seem like a no-brainer but it’s not. It’s actually a hard choice. 

Working back to functioning is hard work and it means a lot of effort and awareness to things I’d rather stay numb and oblivious to. I know that the greater good is what I’m working towards. Having fun, living life, laughing, and participating, instead of burying, hiding, avoiding, and dissociating. It means having purpose and feeling better, thinking more clearly, and maybe even having some fun. 

It’s a worthwhile journey. But this time I am unsure. I am not feeling as confident about things. I have started this journey before. I have worked my way back several times already. I have somehow managed to find my way back. Whereas I can say it was worth it, with each time I find myself having to work my way back, it gets harder and harder and takes longer. And I can’t help but wonder if it really is worth it. If I most likely will find myself in relapse again then why try to come back in the first place? Why not stay in this darker place? At least this way the fall back the next time won’t be as far. 

It feels like a destiny of punishment. It feels like being knocked back down just when I finally managed to stand. Do I try again? Do I put myself again through the hard work and hard moments to come back? I’m honestly not sure. I feel jaded and cynical. I feel like I’ll just find myself back down in the darkness again and everything I did to come out of the darkness will be for nothing. 

Finding hope right now is hard. Whatever happens I just hope I’ll be okay. I’m really tired of feeling kicked while I’m down. 

The (Well) Mean(ing) Psychiatrist 

So last Thursday, a regular Thursday by most standards of late. Where I am feeling exceptionally low and trying to find interest in something, anything, besides the dark hole I’m sitting in. It is this Thursday where I also have an appointment with my psychiatrist. For a few weeks now I have been telling her that I am sinking lower and lower every week, and basically everything feels numb and holds zero interest for me. She suggested around then that maybe I come back into the hospital for a few days, so that she can change my meds and monitor me, and so I don’t find myself thinking, doing or attempting something with serious consequences that I can’t undo once it’s done. 

At that visit I agreed with her that, yes, it was something to consider but I wanted to give myself some time to try and come out of this on my own first. 

Over the next couple of weeks and appointments things got worse, and with every update I gave her that things weren’t looking good, she suggested again to come back into the hospital, “just for a few days”. Every time I agreed with her it wasn’t a bad idea but I was still holding out. For what, I have no idea. 

The truth was, I was afraid. I was afraid to go back into the hospital. It felt like I was a failure and I chastised myself that I had been doing so well and now had managed to relapse. I felt like I had screwed up. I put my psychiatrist off for those few weeks telling her that I was still thinking about considering it, and that I wanted to wait. (I have no idea what I was waiting for because the depression was not getting better. In fact, it was getting worse.) 

So I managed to put it off, and dodge her inquiries until this past Thursday when she asked me again, “why don’t you come back into hospital for a bit. (Again) Just for a few days, to help you and so I can monitor you while we re-work your meds.” This is what she told me. And despite my best efforts of trying to put it off for at least one more week, she asked me “what was wrong with coming back in today”, and I was stumped for an answer. She pointed out to me, “the depression is only getting worse, and if we wait, if I wait, I most likely will sink even lower and my thoughts will only get darker.” She was right. And I knew she was right. I knew she was right three weeks ago. And because I couldn’t give her, or me, a good reason not to, I agreed to the re-admisssion. 

Almost immediately though I regretted it. I panicked. I started crying and freaking out as they handed me an admission form.  It was too soon. Not yet. Slow down. Give me a minute, no, a day. Let me think about this. But too late I was filling out the paperwork and a room was ready. 

Damn it. 

For the next two days I sulked and pouted and wallowed in self-pity. I mean I wallowed. I felt like I had been abandoned. I felt like I was alone. And I felt betrayed, blaming my psychiatrist for preying on my weak mind, viciously ripping me from my home and my hole and putting me somewhere that can help me and most likely save my life. How dare she? 

But then, as I stubbornly laid in my assigned room, staring at the familiar dotted ceiling, I stopped crying and I really thought about why I was in hospital and why she felt it was so important for me to be there. I stopped acting like a child and realized, really realized, that she was right. She really was. I was in a bad way, and a part of me knew I would need help to get out of it. Professional, clinical, hospital help. My relapse wasn’t a failure. It didn’t mean I had screwed up. It didn’t mean I was a failure. All it meant was that I had relapsed. On my journey to wellness this is an obstacle, or a bump in the road, nothing that proper support and treatment can’t help me pull through. 

When all is said and done, I trust her. I trust her to have my best intentions at heart, and that her goal, no matter how stubborn and wilful I get, is for me and my well-being to be in a good place. I asked her during one of our recent sessions if it really mattered if I wasn’t here, and her response, without hesitation was “of course it matters.” At the time I felt like maybe she had to say that but now, I’m not so sure. I think…she may have actually meant it. 

I’ve said before that I feel like my psychiatrist is the leader of my support team, and this past Thursday I felt that more than ever. (Well, technically it was Sunday before I realized it because up until then I was the sulky child stuck in hospital by the mean psychiatrist. Note that I don’t mention how she asked me, and I responded yes. But no in my great wallowing I was not happy with her). She saw what was coming, and she knew that it could get bad. She knew I needed help, and since I wasn’t asking, she was. She knew that this was what I needed. To be honest, this may very well be the second time she has saved my life. 

I feel truly lucky to have her as my team leader, guiding me, supporting me, and encouraging me, on this long, hard, tested and trialled journey to wellness. With her at the helm, I feel like I have a chance. 

To my psychiatrist, I thank you for everything you have done for me. Thank you for helping. Thank you for supporting. Thank you for caring. I am so glad you decided to become a psychiatrist, so that you would one day be my psychiatrist. 

And for the record, it was my sulky, pouty, inner child who thought you were mean. I think you’re awesome. 🙂 

Losing Interest

The things I normally love to do are of zero interest to me right now. At first, I didn’t really notice because the one thing I was still showing interest in, my favourite thing to do, writing, hadn’t really disinterested me. It had waned, for sure, because I was nowhere near the level of writing output, or even idea output, as usual, but I knew that it was still there. Just subdued.

No matter how disinterested I get in things, somehow the writing always squirms its way in. It may come in the form of journalling instead of other projects but there is usually a sliver there. I hold onto that when the times grow dark.

But right now, even writing, even writing this, feels detached. I’m sorry if it comes across harsh that I’ve lost interest and don’t care. I never want my writing to be such a chore, in any capacity. But it has. I enrolled in a writing course at the university thinking, “if anything will get spark me back into at least having my sliver of interest in writing, nothing could do it like a writing course”. Weekly writing assignments, in class writing, discussing writing, and workshop writing, were all potential for that spark to come back. There wouldn’t be much that would excite me the way a course like that would. Except it didn’t.

I enrolled, and still no interest. I didn’t dread going to the first class but I wasn’t excited for sure. I was very meh about it. Whatever. I hoped that once I did the class it would stir something, but no. The first class was alright. I expected to come away with that sliver of excitement, talking about the course, the people, the writing, but nothing. And when in the following six days I not only didn’t complete the homework writing assignment, I completely forgot about it until the night before the next class.

I. Forgot. A. Writing. Assignment.

What the crap?


Something is not right here.

This was new. This is new. And I’m somewhere between not caring and being a little surprised. I’m now completely disinterested in ALL that formerly made me happy, or gave me pleasure. ALL OF IT.

I see my psychiatrist this week, and I think she will be surprised to learn of this as well. Either way, the course is out. Instead of wasting my time, I’m withdrawing from the course.

Wherever my interest has gone, I hope it comes back.

No Relief

Right now I am stuck. I dread the day and I dread the night. I’m used to one or the other offering me some reprieve but right now I have none. 

I hate what the day offers. This wide open expanse to produce and accomplish and I don’t really do either. I have yet to produce or accomplish more than becoming vertical. I do try so I give myself credit for that. I am close to camping out on my couch and leaving the world behind but I haven’t gone to the dark side yet. 

Typically the night is bittersweet for me because if I can’t get to sleep then I will lie awake while the demons of my mind crawl out and take me over until, if it does happen, I fall asleep. 

The night demons are relentless bastards who tell me everything I don’t want to hear, and convince of all the bad stuff that I am and then they just leave me like a dying carcass waiting to return to the earth. The reprieve from the demons either comes with daybreak or sleep. 

But even my sleep is messing with me. I can fall asleep for the most part but I don’t stay asleep. My dreams disturb me awake or for whatever reason I just wake up, once, twice, maybe three times a night. 

The dawn of a new day fills me with dread that I will fail and crash and burn before the day is out. And the creep of night fills me with dread that some demon or Dream will take me over and take me down before I have a chance. 

The downside to this? I only have two choices, day or night, and neither are working for me right now. I’m enlisting the support of my DBT therapist, “Grace”, because I’m tired. And before this gets bad I need help. 

Wish me luck. 

*TW* Like Ripping Off a Bandage

I just want start this off with a disclaimer here because I am well aware that how BPD manifests for any borderliner could be very different than how it manifests for me. As a rule Borderliners tend to be very high functioning for day-to-day activities however we aren’t always able to maintain that functionality for extended periods of time. It’s our personal lives behind closed doors that are a chaotic mess. And it is only a matter of time before one spills into the other and we are not so functioning anymore. This might not be how another person struggles with BPD, is this is how I struggle with BPD.

For me, I sometimes have to work to get to functioning. It’s not easy, and it can take me weeks or months to finally get to a baseline of just doing the best that I can. Which is a minimal level.

This usually involves a lot of meds having to be administered in order to get myself functioning. If I’m lucky it will involve therapy of some kind at the same time as taking the meds but until recently it was either one or the other. There was no balance. There was no equilibrium. I either could take the meds and just do my best not to fall backwards. There was no support, not the way I needed it. Or I had the support and the meds weren’t really doing it for me.

Doing the meds cocktail, for anyone struggling with mental health issues, or mental health disorders, knows that it can be an exhausting, tiring, and frustrating journey. And it is a journey. It can take months and years; dozens of medicines and dosages, mixing anti-psychotic with anti-depressant, uppers with downers, meds to get you to sleep, meds to keep you asleep, meds to allow you to think, meds that stop you from thinking. Finally finding the mix that works is daunting. It took me three decades and finally a diagnosis of BPD to get the mix that is currently working for me. Although because I’m still struggling, I am still developing the right mix for me. It’s a work in progress.

So I have to choose therapy or meds, if I’m lucky, I’ll get at least one. And it will help me. Because I usually end up back at the bottom of life, I also feel abandoned, rejected, alone, and angry.

Except the anger would be directed at myself. I was a failure for not being able to magically fix myself when I was broken. I was to blame for not having the support I needed. I was to blame that the drugs didn’t work. I was to blame that therapy didn’t work. I was to blame for everything in my life going so wrong that I would end up feeling suicidal. And suicidal was where I stayed until I either tried, or I was able to find my way out.

Having BPD is tough. Every day feels like a battle. Every interaction feels like a wound that starts out bandaged but within moments can be ripped off by either telling me I’m too sensitive, that I need to get over it, that I am being difficult, that I am causing trouble by not letting anything go, that I am making matters worse for myself, or if I feel abandoned or rejected, and just that fast the bandage would be ripped off and my wounds would be exposed, and I would be open to pain and hurt and suffering. Again.

I want to be able to keep the bandage on long enough so that I can heal. I want to be healed enough that it won’t feel like I’m exposed and vulnerable. I want to feel like I can take what someone says or does to me that doesn’t send me spiralling out of control into bad and dark places.

I am fighting to keep my bandage on right now because I’m terrified of having my wounds exposed.

Dear life, please give me time to heal.