Borderline

Though, I don’t normally write blog posts on here (ironic, because it is a blog…) I might be posting a few within the next little while. I want to share my stories, and I want to make you feel less alone. I advocate for mental health, yet I still struggle on the daily. As most advocates do. In my previous blog, I spoke about my struggle with the mental health care system, and my diagnosis with Borderline Personality Disorder. Here, I’m going to go a little more in depth about BPD, and my on going fight with it.

I cycle through emotions daily. My environment greatly affects how I’m feeling. Words, tone of voice, expressions, all of it contribute to my change of emotions. It’s hard and it’s frustrating as hell. Because I cannot control how I feel. I actually can’t. It’s like a tornado, I can see it coming, but I can’t stop it. And it obliterates anything in it’s path. Relationships. I have such a hard time maintaining relationships with people. I’ve lost a lot of friends, and I’ve isolated myself. And a part of me is okay with it, the other part is mad at them, but ultimately I’m mad at myself for being so black and white. There is a switch BPD sufferers have, and it changes from love to hate. Or hate to love. Or it stays on a continual loop of love/hate. So, obviously you can see how that affects my relationships. I also am incredibly sensitive and insecure. I’m a lot to handle. I understand that, which is why I often let relationships fade. I need a push back. If I don’t get that, I’m gone.

“The thing is, I hurt. I hurt deeply these days. And I have for a long time. But something is different lately. Something in me has changed. I’ve become darker. I’ve become more stuck in this feeling of despair. I’m desperate for an out. And I claw for it, or at it. I over medicate, and underestimate. I’ve allowed myself to become isolated, and I can’t stop pushing everyone away. Even him. I can’t allow myself to let him love me, because how could he love me? But I know he does. And it kills me. It kills me how much I love him. And how I can’t change this dark part of me. It kills me that I want to kill me, and that would mean hurting him. I can’t live without him, but I don’t want to live. This ongoing battle is hurting my soul. And it’s hurting everyone around me. So, I smile. I pretend I’m ok, and that everything is getting better.” This is something I wrote when I was feeling poorly. Looking at it when I’m not in that exact frame of mind really shows me the strength BPD has on me.

People with BPD are at high risk for feeling suicidal. The word suicidal has some shame in itself. I hate telling people I am suicidal. It is embarrassing. I don’t know why that is, you know, why do I think that? Is it because I’m being too open, and showing my weakness? I’m unsure. It’s the same with self harming. A lot of it does still have that stigma around it. I mean, people don’t understand that it isn’t attention seeking. Brie Larson’s character in the movie Short Term 12 says it perfectly, “It’s hard to focus on anything else when there is blood coming out of you.” It is the truth. It’s a distraction, a release. And it is a hard habit to kick. Mostly because it’s hard to address and difficult to talk about. I always see positive posts about not judging people because of their scars, but what about fresh wounds? Nobody should judge or be uncomfortable of them either.

I have my black and white side. My dark and light side. The thing is, when I’m dark, I am midnight. And there is no dawn in site. But when I’m light, I’m merely the beginning stages of the sunrise. I’m not completely there. And I might not be there for a long time. I’m okay with that. A part of me is terrified to “get better” because who am I without this? I think that’s the biggest struggle for people in recovery. That’s why relapses happen. But I think that is okay. I can go through periods on the right track, and then crash. But at least I tried, and am still trying. Even though I’ve been close to giving up lately. There’s always something that keeps me going. I’m not sure what it is, but I owe my life to it.

Love,

Emma

 

 

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Ramblings On BPD And Our Mental Health Care System

I’m sharing this story in hopes to get our need for better mental health care noticed. We have the resources, but we need more funding, program expansions, better urgent care, and more counselling services that are affordable.

Why is it that every year on December 31st we assume that once it hits 12AM everything will change. That when the sun rises and it’s a new year, the old one will be gone. Because I know it doesn’t work like that. But I still allow the false hope in. This year started out differently than expected.
As a lot of you know, I’m pretty open about my mental illness. I’ve written for Healthy Minds Canada, where I was able to open up and share my struggles. It’s helped me a lot, being open about it. It forced me to be comfortable with my illness, and not as embarrassed. I realized that not everyone is going to respond poorly, or think I’m attention seeking and such. Anyway, I stopped writing for them awhile back in 2016. Since then, a lot has happened with my mental health. So this post is going to explain the journey I’ve been on with mental health.

I have my ups and downs. As we all do. But something in my mind slipped farther than it ever has, and I think it’s because I tried to cover it up for a long time. I’m a chameleon. I change my faces. I pretend to be happy, or content. But I’ve been struggling with mental illness for as long as I can remember, and I hid it for years. It wasn’t until the first week of 2016 that I really started to seek help.

There was no real trigger to that sent me into this downward spiral other than years of built up feelings that I had been pushing away. I had one particular bad night in January 2016 where I went to the Distress Center here in London. I was a wreck that night. I remember being a sobbing mess of a human as I sat in the office with the counselor. I was so distressed that I think I made him  uncomfortable. What he did for me was refer me to a psychiatrist at Vic hospital. So, I waited 2 weeks for my appointment. And when it came around, I went in, sat in the small florescent white room, and was hounded with questions. The end result was referring me to CBT program: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people’s difficulties, and so change the way they feel.  It’s used with people who suffer from depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar, & OCD. I waited 3 months for this program, in the mean time I was put on two different medications, Effexor, and lamotigine(a mood stabilizer). Once orientation day got here I learned that I have more of an emotional disregulation issue, AKA CBT won’t work for me.

So, next up they then referred me to the DBT program: Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy developed to help treat borderline personality disorder. Since its development, it has also been used for the treatment of other kinds of mental health disorders. The program meant another wait list. In the mean time I had to pay out of pocket for counselling. 100$ for weekly sessions. I should also mention that we are now in the end of may 2016. I stuck to counselling for about two months, then stopped going. As someone who has borderline personality disorder I have very black and white thinking. This has been problem when it comes to counselling because I can be turned off my one simple thing my counselor says, then I’m gone.

The fall of 2016 came around, I’m getting worse, and I’m still waiting for the DBT program that is run through the hospital. I called the hospital several times, each time a different receptionist expressed how “sorry” they were, and how they’d make sure someone contacted me ASAP. Never happened. I returned to the Distress Center early December in the midst of another bad breakdown. Out of this I got a second referral put into the DBT program directly. I felt slightly hopeful again. I was also feeling my illness heavily.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) isn’t talked about much: BPD is a serious mental disorder marked by a pattern of ongoing instability in moods, behavior, self-image, and functioning. These experiences often result in impulsive actions and unstable relationships. It’s thought to be triggered by a traumatic experience that happened in childhood. BPD often feels like hell. For me, it’s a whirlwind of feelings, reactions, and thinking that I can’t control. I live in a state of frustration, and uncertainty. This illness consumes me at times. It makes me a person that I don’t know. It’s killed parts of me, and I’ve tried to kill parts of it. I’ve self harmed in several ways, I’ve been reckless, I’ve lashed out at people for no real reason, I’ve destroyed relationships. Then I hit a wall.

Now we are in the first week on 2017. I had a night where I was so done with everything, and the suicidal thoughts were eating me. I ended up at emerge. Honestly, my experience at the ER only made everything worse. A lot of the doctors and nurses were cold, and uninviting. At intake they classified me as high risk and so I was put on a hold, which means if I left they would have called the cops. Yeah, that sure made me feel better. Even in that condition I waited for 3 hours. It wasn’t until I had a full blown freak-out in the waiting room that they finally admitted me. I talked to several different people. Then I was put into a room with a student who was in placement. At first I was mad because what the hell? A student! But he turned out to be the person I felt most comfortable talking with. He had compassion, and was present in the conversation. He didn’t make me feel crazy, or nervous. After the two of us talked, a psychiatrist came in. She was just another robot. She told me my options were to stay in hospital (which would’ve meant on a gurney in the hall due to lack of space) or I could go home. Of course I went home. She set me up with an appointment to come back in the next 4 days, and I’d speak to her and another psychiatrist.

4 days later, I return to the adult outpatient part of the hospital. The receptionist told me I was actually supposed to have been at home and done a brief over the phone follow up with a nurse. Que breakdown. They allowed me to go back and talk to the nurse face-to-face. She was shocked. She told me that the doctor I saw at emerge had nothing about me coming back in my file. Next she looked in my file for my DBT referral. Guess what? After all those months of waiting, and having two referrals put in, I wasn’t even on the list. Nobody had actually put the referrals in. The nurse put a back order in so that I will get in sooner. She also booked a few more appointments with me. She seemed to actually care, but my problem now is how am I supposed to have trust in any medical professional after all they put me through? And what am I supposed to do in the meantime? Pay 100$ weekly, money I don’t have, for one-hour long session.

I’m disgusted with our mental health care. How is it everyone tells you to reach out for help, but when you do, nobody reaches back. I’ve been made to feel like nobody actually cares. That’s a horrible thing when already dealing with mental illness. Now I’m not surprised at why our suicide rates are increasing. We don’t have enough resources. Everywhere is full, or wait listed, or expensive. We need more funding. We need bigger programs, more staffing. We need change.

How You Found My Heart

Sometimes you’re aren’t searching for anything at all, but something finds you. And it grabs you, and holds you in place. All of those broken pieces that were once scattered over my bedroom floor have been resembled, and time is able to stand still.

I was always so lost, and unsure. But now I know that thing they talk about knowing.

And it’s true, you just know.