Sanity

This is another one of those posts from me asking what people want me to talk about. TeAnne asked, “How you kept your sanity. I know you had survival mechanism in place?”

I am not sure I have really. I have many problems that I deal with day to day, but back then, I didn’t know I had them. In writing Teddy, I can see where many started. I can see where my OCD began, and I think that was a survival mechanism to begin with – some kind of order in my mind about this world I didn’t yet understand. sanity-is-madness-put-to-good-uses-george-santayana

Obviously there is my bear. I told him everything. I had an imaginary friend, too, called Andrew. He is also in the books. Both of those helped me; it was a way of having some kind of social aspect without a real social aspect. I also read a lot. I could read for hours and hours and take myself away into the stories. I learnt to read very young. I was reading at four, and by the age of six, I had read the Hobbit – to give you an idea of my reading abilities.

I also wrote. I wrote all kinds of things; stories for one. I wrote those for hours. I wrote poems too. Sometimes, though, especially right after some form of abuse, I would cry and write everything down, asking why my dad didn’t love me. Why I had to do those things.

I used to count too. I think that’s where my number OCD came from. I’d tell myself that in an hour, I’d be in my own bed. I’d be sleeping. I used to try to count to sixty, sixty times. I pretended I was asleep a lot too. I could pretend it wasn’t happening to me.

Of course, there were times I didn’t cope. I was maybe six, I think, when I tried to drown myself in the bath. I got into sniffing petrol fumes when I was about 9. Started smoking and drinking at 12. I even ran away from home, but got taken right back.

I became very introverted. I think that was the best mechanism I had. Taking everything inside, and outside, I just smiled.

Facts of Shame

Sometimes I have to be brave when writing these blog posts. Sometimes I want to say things that I think might make people hate me or find me disgusting. Sometimes fear keeps me silent.
This one probably falls into the hate me and disgusting category, but I have tried to write it before and feel it is important, especially to those like me.
There are three facts that I have struggled with since I was a child. Three facts that used to make me think I was the evil one. That everything that happened was my fault and that in no way was anything that happened to me abuse. I want to write this post for those who still think those things, but it is going to be very hard to write, and maybe a little odd to read.
My body would react to what my father did. I enjoyed what he did. Sometimes I can find that thoughts of rape/abuse/incest arouse me.
That sentence was so hard to write. Even harder to see and leave it there. Will you think I am disgusting? Will you think I deserved what happened? Will you think I am sick?
For a long time I thought that about myself. People talked of child abuse and give this image of a crying or screaming child. And there I was with my father, and my body would climax. It had to be my fault, right? It had to be, because if it wasn’t, then I would scream and cry too, and I wouldn’t have this feeling that felt nice. I was 7 years old the first time it happened. After that I craved that from him. I went to him with the purpose of that feeling. I didn’t understand. Someone said to me once, “Congratulations. Your body works.” I stared at them as if they had gone insane. Was that really the answer? I wasn’t sick? I was shaking so badly that day.
I remember reading after that, having it likened to be tickled. No one really likes being tickled, but when they are, they laugh. Laughter is something of a pleasure, right? So why would you possibly have a pleasurable experience of something you neither like nor want…? Because the body is designed to have these reactions.
Does a child who orgasms during abuse, or an adult during rape, hold some of the responsibility? No. It’s exactly as I was told. Congratulations, your body works. shame-child-face-hiding

I also once read somewhere, and this was a post from a woman, but I think it still applies. She stated that the sex with her father was the best she had had. No partner since had ever come close to it. You’d be inclined to think she was sick? Twisted?
I stared at this when I read it. Is it really normal to feel the way I do? I took this then to a counsellor. He told me that we learn everything from our parents. Lessons that we take into our adult lives. These things become the “right“ way to do things. They teach us how to cook, how to write. They teach us what to believe in, the way we should act, the norms of the society we live in, and in our minds, these are right. So what happens when your parent is the one teaching you sex? It becomes the thing that you gauge every subsequent encounter with. If like me, the sexual relationship with my father is probably the longest one I have ever had, maybe it was the same for that woman too.
Perhaps the last part of the statement is the hardest to get across without sounding as if I will repeat what my dad did, because I won’t. It would never enter my head. In fact, I often feared dressing my own son when he was little in case someone thought that of me. But I know I am not alone in that violence and sex is arousing, even in the worst forms. There’s a whole world of BDSM and erotica out there that makes a fortune. It is just the same, except… I guess it links in with the first two things. My father was doing something that my body liked and he did it for a very long time. My experiences with him became the foundations. Most teenagers have this period in life where they explore. They take things at their pace, try things out, fumble, mess up. All the things that are normal. People like me, we never had that. I was taught that sex was violent. That it involved incest and secrets and shame. I still fight with this one. I don’t know how to put it across properly without sounding like I might be a monster, but I just want people to know they aren’t alone. And they aren’t monsters either.
Remember the child only had the tools he was given.

Monster

It’s been a while since I have written my thoughts on here. Of course I have written many other things. I have since finished therapy. I had in total 14 sessions. I didn’t find them very helpful. It was ironic in a way that I was there because I had stumbled into my doctor’s surgery one day to tell them I wanted to kill myself and it took so much inside to say what was at the root of that, my father, and yet, when I got to therapy, if I tried to mention my parents in anyway, my therapist would tell me that it doesn’t matter. It’s in the past. And while this is true, it is in the past. Most of the occurrences are years ago. They are still big to me. I have not got over them and the parts inside me struggle.  how-to-fight-depression.WidePlayer
Mt father is dying. He has cancer. He has had it a while and because he is older, it is taking a while. I do not imagine he will be here this time next year, maybe not in six months either. He is in the final stages now. I used to think I wouldn’t care if he died. Not because I hated him for what he had done, not because I had cut him off, but because I was sure that I wasn’t capable of loving anyone or anything. I don’t feel it inside for people, not until they leave. It was a terrible time when my children were growing up and I questioned continually my feelings for them. It feels like some part inside me doesn’t work.
My father at the moment was just awaiting tests to see if his cancer had spread even farther. He messaged me today to say that it hadn’t. I found myself disappointed with that and I have no idea why. It isn’t that I wish him anything bad. When he had a heart attack recently I found myself upset, but what I realised was that I wasn’t upset about him dying. I was upset that his chance to ever make things up to me was gone. The chance he would ever be my father was at risk.
I sometimes think that inside, I am a monster.

BPD – Help Wanted

Asking for help.

It isn’t a secret that I have borderline personality disorder (BPD). Anyone who reads my page often will see that it is something I suffer from. I find it is a much stigmatised illness too. So many think that sufferers are nasty and manipulative and that people with this illness should be avoided. I have even seen books advising family members to just carry on and that the BPD sufferer will get over it. It hurts inside to see those things.

On the contrary, many BPD sufferers are very kind and giving. They love nothing more than to make someone they care for happy. It is more of an imbalance of emotions that become very intense and the sufferer does not know how to deal with them. Simple things. I often liken episodes of someone cancelling a lunch date with me as having the same emotions as if they told me they are going to die tomorrow. That is how intense it feels inside. I feel helpless in a matter of seconds and I can’t control it. For me, this is where I take hold of my razor and cut into my skin just to get it out. in12_volunteer_help_wanted

My reason for blogging isn’t so much to write about my experience. There is a world of information on the web about BPD by sufferers. It is to talk about the silent sufferers – our friends, partners, wives and husbands, and so on. People who we care about deeply are the ones we lash out at the most. Afterwards, there is such guilt. I know for myself I can get so ashamed of my behaviour. I hurt someone who is very close to me often when I am upset. I make her feel helpless and she doesn’t know what to do to help me. It makes me very sad afterwards when I can think clearly and I have calmed, but it is too late. The marks are carved into my arms and she’s pointing at herself thinking they are her fault.

I have searched so many times, as has she, for something good that can help her to understand what it is I need in those moments, and there is nothing we have found yet. Not a word. All I can do after each episode is tell her what we should have done and maybe we can learn from it. Because of this, I want to write about my journey, but I want to write about hers too. I feel it is just as important. I know also that every BPD sufferer’s illness is different, so I am also asking for some help.

If you have BPD or are a supporter of someone with it, would you be interested in helping with this project? To get some real information out there as to what helps and what doesn’t. Tips and advice. Real stories from real people, not text books from someone who has never been on either end of the illness. You won’t have to have your name in the book if you don’t want to. It would be your choice, but as I write each little bit, I would be wishing for others to contribute what they can from their experience so that we, the BPD sufferers, can help those who support us.

I Want to Show You Something

If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

Blogging 101 Day Two.

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I want to show you something. I want you to really see. I want you to understand. Not through your eyes, nor through mine, but through what I show you. I want you to look.
The room, it’s filled with shades of orange and yellow, warm sunlight filters through the curtain from the dusky autumn evening. The sunshine creeps in so much that the smell of the warmth permeates through the room. Evening motes dance idly across each ray that gets through, oblivious to what they are about to see. On the floor, leaning against the wooden box, just in front of a window, is a boy.
He’s sitting there, small and innocent. He’s almost silent, save for the small hiccups that make his body tremor from the crying he’s since pushed down. His tiny arms wrap around his legs, small hands and small fingers try to ease away the fear that’s inside. His head is down, he doesn’t want anyone to see him cry. He doesn’t want anyone to know that he is upset because he’s getting a new brother. He doesn’t want his mum and dad to be taken away. He’s five years old, his parents are his world.
He’s afraid.
Look at him. Look at his face, so small. Look how he bites his lip to keep it from quivering. He doesn’t blink to keep the tears in his young eyes. He’s trying so hard to make himself happy. His dad is happy, so he should be. His dad is happy; he’s going to have another son.
Watch the door. Watch it and see. Cruelty ascends from the darkness below. Hidden behind the face of an ordinary man. Covered in the mask of a love. He gets closer, the heavy footsteps approach, and his evil design in his mind.
Just watch.
Dark intent drips from him with every step. The walks over to the other side of the room first, he turns his back, but don’t look at the man. Look at the boy, look at his face as he swipes away his tears so the man doesn’t see. Did you see?
The man walks over to the boy, crouches down and enquires what’s wrong. He hasn’t been fooled, he sees the boy has been crying. The boy puts his head down, he doesn’t want to say. The man gives a loving sigh and smiles down at the boy. He reaches out and touches the boys hair, soothing him as he invites him to sit on his lap for reassuring comfort.
Maybe I could stop there. Leave it in a moment of care. I want to scream at the boy. I want him to put his arms down. Don’t fall for it. Don’t. Run away. I want to shout until my voice is hoarse and my breath is gone.
Do you see?
Does it not make your heart constrict?
The man had plans all along
Did he not care that it was wrong?
He lifts the boy, picks him up.
Turns him around, slams him down.
His hand over his mouth to stifle his screams
His clothes torn from him, to shatter his dreams.
Listen to the cries of stolen innocence. Listen to the screams as the man violates.
Listen to the sound. How can you stand it? The wail of agony. Pain so deep, it will stay forever. Listen to the sound of those falling tears, I can’t stand it. I cover my ears.
The boy is five
The man doesn’t stop
He doesn’t listen.
After, he stands victorious above the boy.
The boy, broken, bleeding and bewildered. Innocence never knew such evil.
I said I wanted to show you something. I want to show you the boy. Look at the child, curled in a ball. Look at him shaking. Look at his face. Look at his tears. Listen to the way he cries. Look at the way he tries to get up.
Watch as he looks at the man, not understanding.
Watch as the man leaves.
I wanted to show you a day, the say when the sunlight came through the window and evil came through the door. I wanted to show you when the man broke the boy and didn’t care anymore.
I wanted to show you the day a father killed his son, not the living and the breathing, but his soul that is within.
You dad, you are the man and I am the boy.
I wanted to show you.

I Hate My Stupid Head

I hate my stupid head. Probably one of my most favourite says and one of those things a friend of mine hates to hear all the time, but it is true. I do. I hate it with a passion. The crazy stuff it conjures up, the way it makes me feel the times it argues with me and it always wins. Always. I am powerless against it. I fight it with logic and reason and it just comes back at with me with more and more until I am pulling at my hair, taking a knife to my skin and just begging it to please shut the hell up because I can’t take it anymore.

I am so glad at the moment everyone is talking about depression and suicide, although I know that in a month or so when the news of Robin Williams death has begun to be forgotten, so will the cause and soon we will be back to ignoring mental illness. I really hope it isn’t. 10402377_10152509082674396_8618635040360211892_n

A couple of weeks back I posted a blog on the time limit for mental health, because there is one. The medical professions fob you off with medication that only works for a little while, then your body gets used to it and you need more. Any therapy that is given has a limit. I find it so stupid. Twice this year I have come to the point of making an attempt on my own life. Twice the hospital have sent me home after fixing me up. Last year I had done the same. In my last therapy session my therapist asked me on a scale of one to ten, one being dangerous and ten being no danger, how do I rate my risk for another suicide attempt? I told him that I was a three. Which means it’s there. I want to do it. Sometimes it’s so overwhelming I plan it in my head, visualise what I am going to do, but I have something that stops me – my children and my family. What if one day that is not enough?

My therapist then showed me a chart about people like myself who think bad thoughts, self-harm and then feel bad because they self-harmed and it’s a cycle, which is true of course, he said what I need to do is step out of this cycle and draw on my compassionate self to self sooth. It feels somewhat like being told to think myself happy. I have tried explaining to him that some days I feel so weighed down and sad and alone and so desperate that the thought of feeling this way for another minute has me sitting in a corner and all I can do is cry and self-harm some more because I don’t want to feel this way anymore and no amount of happy thoughts can pull me from it.

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I wish I had a physical illness instead. At least then I would get the help. I hope if anything comes out of the heart-breaking death of Robin Williams, it is that people start standing up on both sides of the fence. Those who are sick with this dreadful illness and any other medical condition no longer fear talking about it and those with the power to help, do so.

I hope that if you are reading this and you have these hours, weeks, days or even months of darkness when you can’t climb out of the hole, know that you are not alone.

Time Limit on Mental Health Recovery

Why does mental health recovery have a time limit? It’s one of the things that bugs me the most. Many people put into therapy get 4-6 weeks of therapy and then they are cast out into the world again. Some people get 12 weeks if they are lucky, but that seems to be the maximum. Why is it that mental illness comes with such a limit?

Would we treat a cancer patient and say well you’ve got so many weeks of chemo, but after that you’re on your own? Or tell someone who is recovering from something like a stroke that they have 12 weeks to rehabilitate and then off they go to do it themselves? I don’t think so. Why is it okay with mental health? It’s just as debilitating as any other illness. The difference is, is that it can’t be seen.

The reason from my rant today comes from my own experience. When I had taken an over dose those few weeks ago and gone to my doctor after the hospital had discharged me and for the first time I said to someone that I think my thoughts are wrong. I need some help, did I get some and felt relieved.

I was assigned a therapist. I have had therapists before and for various reasons either I didn’t stick or my time was up. This time I tried to give everything I had. I tried to be honest about how I was feeling. I even showed him my many self-harm episodes across my skin. tumblr_mjvm92IrOr1s8qsclo1_500

It was heart-breaking to hear at my last sessions that I only have three left. His manager said I could have 14 sessions. I’ve done 11 so far, because I needed so much, but that’s it for me. I feel let down again. I feel lost again. I keep hearing those words in my head and it makes me upset.

I am not a stupid person, but I am an ill person. I don’t understand how the doctors can say to someone who –

Who is suicidal and has tried many times before.

Who self-harms almost daily (although at the moment it’s been 8 days)

Who has flashbacks, sometimes so bad he has to leave the house.

Who suffers disassociation and often doesn’t know if he is a real person.

Who has BPD and breaks down and wants the world to end at something as simple as a cancelled lunch date.

Who suffers DDNOS and flits between different parts of himself at different ages because he is fragmented.

How can someone with so much to recover from be told they have 14 weeks and then they’re on their own again.

No wonder people don’t tend to get better. You can’t put a time limit on recovery from anything. That includes mental health.