Today is #TimetoTalk day for mental health, which I agree, it should be talked about, but not just that, if anything, I wish people who suffered, be it the person themselves or a relative, were able to talk freely about mental illness. Even in this day and age, there is stigma, it’s sad that there is.
Anyone who follows my page, has read my books, or friended me on facebook will know that I have mental illnesses, and yes, that is plural, yes I have more than one. Many people do. I didn’t ask for them, but even I am not immune to feeling shame that I have them. It’s funny really, I hate when people get afraid to say, you wouldn’t if you were diabetic or asthmatic. So many with a mental illness think that they should just get over it, or that’s what society sees and it isn’t true. If it were easy to get over, it wouldn’t exist.
This is one I have, many people think it is for veterans, but it is for anyone who has had something traumatic happen. For me it means I haven’t slept in a bed for three years because I just couldn’t stand the terror at night. It means I don’t go upstairs at night unless I have to, because I have terrible flashbacks, even though it is a different house.
It means like today, when I am alone in my house, I sit on the floor in the hallway by my front door so that I can feel safe, everywhere else feels like the stuff from my childhood will come back.
Sometimes I used to sleep outside I would get so afraid.
This is probably my biggest monster. Especially at the moment while I am dealing with a terrible episode of it, my hands are so sore from washing. I’m struggling to eat because everything feels wrong. It’s like that feeling when you forget something, but can’t quite remember what it is, that’s how the obsession feels, for whatever strange compulsion I have that day. Everything from I can’t wear certain clothes and if I try, something bad will happen, to clicking and sounding my words and counting.
It’s probably my most debilitating illness. It steals everything from me. Most recently my love of Starbucks. It has to be a really good day for me to feel brave enough, that somehow my coffee isn’t going to get contaminated, and that contamination won’t bring back the bad man, for me being bad, or make me sick, so I am stuck upstairs, see my PTSD.
It’s like trying to live in a world where I don’t touch anything and nothing ever touches me. It’s impossible. My brain feels like it invents new ideas and problems every day. Only yesterday I stood by my car, scratched my keys into my hand to check of the things I had done, like turn off the lights, put it into gear, and pulled up the handbrake. The scratches stopped me coming back a ton of times and being late for university.
This one has stolen many friends when I have had to cancel plans because going out just doesn’t feel right and I can’t tell them. When I have cancelled too many times, they give up.
Borderline personality Disorder.
This one is the hardest one I think. It is so tarnished by a bad reputation. I saw on amazon the other day, how to stop walking on egg shells and get your life back. It was a very cruel self-help book for people who are friends with a BPD sufferer. It told them to walk away pretty much. Don’t give into the episode the borderline is displaying. I hope that anyone who is in my life never reads it.
BPD should be renamed I survived a narcissist. That’s what it is really. Sufferers tend to be abuse survivors. They tend to have suffered abandonment and feeling so worthless to those who are meant to love them, that now, as adults, they look for every possible sign that this is still true.
For me it means, when someone has to cancel plans on me, or do something that is away from me, I feel like they have just told me they are going to die. It’s a gut wrenching pain inside, it’s so devastating to feel. I can’t control the reaction I have and if the other person leaves, in that moment, that is where the self-harm comes in. It’s how I cope, it’s all I can do to take away the agony I am feeling.
It’s like being 7 years old once again and crying by the road, begging my mum to take me with her.
It’s why I don’t really have friends. It why I am quite. Its why sometimes I stare in the mirror and wish to die. Sometimes I drive my car and think, it’s just a quick flick of the wheel, then it’s all over. The other day, I stood at the train station; I wondered what it would feel like to step forward when the next train came along. Would it hurt? Would it be over very fast?
This illness tells me I am worthless. That people lie to get away from me. That they go away to do things and are glad I am not there. This is the one that says, they won’t come back. They’ll sneak away because I am nothing. This is the one, that if any of you have me on facebook, you may realise, it is rare for me to message first. It is rare that I will say hi first. The reason for that, if people don’t answer, it’s because they want me to go away.
This is the one that makes me cut and starve myself because it’s what I deserve.
DDNOS and Derealisation.
DDNOS is dissociative disorder not otherwise specified. Probably the hardest one to describe, or at least to describe without sounding like I have completely lost the plot. I dissociate a lot. Sometimes I am not sure I am real. Sometimes I am not sure anything is real. It can feel like I am dreaming, as if my words are just an echo in my head. It’s very hard to come back when I float away in my head.
The other part of this, is that I have many parts. Frozen bits of myself that got stuck at specific ages. Sometimes I do not recognise the face in the mirror, sometimes it is not me at the helm in my mind, but a broken child who is distressed. Some days I am quite, some I am sad and alone, some I am angry.
My therapist told me that what happens when a child suffers abuse, that part of them gets frozen because it never got to process what was happening and so the frozen part breaks off and stays there, suffering, in the agony which it was created. It used to be an aspect of multiple personality disorder. Sometimes I do not know when I have switched, but I learnt from a friend, I do it often without realising.
This illness is the reason that the Dear Teddy books are out there. My therapist wanted me to give the boy a voice. She said he was obviously trying to talk and I needed to listen.
I was in my class at university yesterday, we learnt about counselling and we learnt something that clicked for me.
You are who you are right now, not tomorrow, not when you lose weight, or get better, but right now. That’s who you are and it isn’t wrong.
So this is me right now, quite broken and suffering, someone with these conditions. Someone who fights daily. This is me, it is who I am. It is not wrong.