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{July 17, 2015}   One Foot In, One Foot Out

Words seem so inadequate at times, when your soul is breaking, stripped, gutted and fighting to stay afloat. Emptiness, so full it threatens to swallow you, make you into nothing, pull you down into the depths of grey. How is it that I can ache so hard from within from emptiness? Shrouded, like an Arab concubine, moving in slow motion through dense fogs, trying to swim out from myself to feel. I am trying to smile, to find fun, to find an emotion outside of loneliness. It’s so hard to even breathe life, to lift the corners of my mouth, to try and spark life in my eyes. It’s not pretend but it feels like pretend, I am trying. Surrounded by humanity but trapped by my mind. I can’t find the exit key, is it time, is it to drop lower to come back up, like a seesaw.

Encapsulated, walking and talking in a sphere of gelatin. Each movement an effort, each word a push, a smile painful. Trying to break out of this jail of an eggshell without shattering. I keep saying “this too shall pass”, what do you want? What does my mind want to let me go back to normal, what do I need to do, what skills should I reach for, what salve do I rub, what means do I take. I feel like I have tried them all.

One foot in hell, the other grasping for a ledge in normalcy. Momentous, the tiny foothold, every small weight is a burden larger than life, minuscule as it may seem. Multiple feathers eventually become a weighted quilt mantled on my shoulders. Trying to juggle them, watching parts of me float silently into the abyss as tears come and go.

Inside looking out while the outside tries to look in, bewildered.

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A simple yet compelling series of illustrations that highlight much of my world.

Sometimes simplicity is the best way to make a point.

After seeing firsthand how mental illness can take a toll, Marissa Betley decided to sketch out how it truly feels to struggle with a mental health disorder. She then posted the minimalist illustrations on Instagram. The results are simple, yet powerful — and thus, Project 1 in 4was born.

The initiative is aptly named for a statistic that many people still have yet to grasp: Approximately one in four American adults — or about 26 percent of the population — suffers from a diagnosable mental health condition in a given year.

Despite the fact that it’s so common among men and women, mental illness is still incredibly stigmatized — and that could prevent those who experience it from seeking the help they need. Betley says she created the project for this reason.

“So few are talking about [mental illness] and initiating change,” she told The Huffington Post in an email. “I thought if I could just find a real human way to raise greater awareness then maybe I could help break down the stigma surrounding mental illness that is preventing so many people from getting the help and support they need. Maybe the project could even save lives.”

Betley posts one illustration a day on the project’s Instagram page and plans to do so for 100 days. She also shares the images and other mental health resources on the project’s website.

Project 1 in 4 isn’t the first of its kind, but it’s a welcome initiative for a community of people who often feel alone in their experience. Anti-stigma projects like singer Demi Lovato’s Be Vocal campaign and beauty brand Philosophy’s Hope & Grace initiative also assist in promoting awareness about mental health issues. But society still has a long way to go: Only about 25 percent of people who suffer from a mental health issue feel that others are understanding about mental illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I hope the project will help erase the stigma surrounding mental illness that prevents so many people from getting the help and support they need,” Betley said. “Also to provide a sense of comfort to those suffering, knowing they are not alone. Millions of people around the world are up against many of the same daily challenges.”

Ultimately, for those one in four individuals experiencing a mental health disorder, Betley hopes the project inspires acceptance within themselves.

“You deserve to be happy and healthy — don’t forget that,” she said.

We couldn’t agree more.

Check out the slideshow below to see more of the Project 1 in 4 illustrations:

CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE

Please share.



Really having a hard time finding the light these last 6 weeks, it’s there but its pretty damn weak. I can’t put a handle on why I am convincing myself to keep enduring this misery. Sure, I am doing great, staying strong, just so I can keep this groundhog day of a nightmare ongoing? Truly it is very hard to answer the why each day. And I say the mantras, that “this too shall pass” and the question they always have you ask in class is “what is the worst this could possibly be?”. Unfortunate for me, death seems to be the answer to this one, and to the regular person that’s pretty damn bad. It’s very confusing and I keep anxiously turning each corner thinking that silver lining is going to pop out and surprise me but nope, still wake up each morning wondering why I am still here and why on earth should I make that effort to get up.

Im having one of my sleepless nights, my head is churning out scenarios of morbidity at an alarming rate and sleep is not to be had. Tomorrow I have a day off from work. Thankfully. If someone had handed me a revolver today i would have gladly shot myself a few times and enjoyed it. Work felt like nails on  chalkboard all day, and smiling was about as enjoyable as being water boarded.



Mental health suffers from a major image problem. One in every four people experiences mental health issues — yet more than 40 percent of countries worldwide have no mental health policy. Across the board it seems like we have no idea how to talk about it respectfully and responsibly.

Stigma and discrimination are the two biggest obstacles to a productive public dialogue about mental health; indeed, the problem seems to be largely one of communication. So we asked seven mental health experts: How should we talk about mental health? How can informed and sensitive people do it right – and how can the media do it responsibly?

End the stigma

Easier said than done, of course. Says journalist Andrew Solomon: “People still think that it’s shameful if they have a mental illness. They think it shows personal weakness. They think it shows a failing. If it’s their children who have mental illness, they think it reflects their failure as parents.” This self-inflicted stigma can make it difficult for people to speak about even their own mental health problems. According to neuroscientist Sarah Caddick, this is because when someone points to his wrist to tell you it’s broken, you can easily understand the problem, but that’s not the case when the issue is with the three-pound mass hidden inside someone’s skull. “The minute you start talking about your mind, people get very anxious, because we associate that with being who we are, fundamentally with ‘us’ — us as a person, us as an individual, our thoughts, our fears, our hopes, our aspirations, our everything.” Says mental health care advocate Vikram Patel, “Feeling miserable could in fact be seen as part of you or an extension of your social world, and applying a biomedical label is not always something that everyone with depression, for example, is comfortable with.” Banishing the stigma attached to mental health issues can go a long way to facilitating genuinely useful conversations.

Avoid correlations between criminality and mental illness

People are too quick to dole out judgments on people who experience mental health problems, grouping them together when isolated incidents of violence or crime occur. Says Caddick, “You get a major incident like Columbine or Virginia Tech and then the media asks, ‘Why didn’t people know that he was bipolar?’ ‘Was he schizophrenic?’ From there, some people think, ‘Well, everybody with bipolar disease is likely to go out and shoot down a whole bunch of people in a school,’ or, ‘People who are schizophrenics shouldn’t be out on the street.’” Solomon agrees that this correlation works against a productive conversation about mental health: “The tendency to connect people’s crimes to mental illness diagnoses that are not in fact associated with criminality needs to go away. ‘This person murdered everyone because he was depressed.’ You think, yes, you could sort of indicate here this person was depressed and he murdered everyone, but most people who are depressed do not murder everyone.”

But do correlate more between mental illness and suicide

According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), 90 percent of people who die by suicide have depression or other mental disorders, or substance-abuse disorders in conjunction with other mental disorders. Yet we don’t give this link its due. Says Solomon, “Just as the association between mental illness and crime is too strong, the connection between mental illness and suicide is too weak. So I feel like what I constantly read in the articles is that ‘so-and-so killed himself because his business had gone bankrupt and his wife had left him.’ And I think, okay, those were the triggering circumstances, but he killed himself because he suffered from a mental illness that drove him to kill himself. He was terribly depressed.”

Avoid words like “crazy” or “psycho”

Not surprisingly, nearly all the mental health experts we consulted were quick to decry playground slang like “mental,” “schizo,” “crazy,” “loonie,” or “nutter,” stigmatizing words that become embedded in people’s minds from a young age. NIMH Director Thomas Insel takes that one step further — he doesn’t like the category of “mental health problems” in general. He says, “Should we call cancer a ‘cell cycle problem’? Calling serious mental illness a ‘behavioral health problem’ is like calling cancer a ‘pain problem.’” Comedian Ruby Wax, however, has a different point of view: “I call people that are mentally disturbed, you know, I say they’re crazy. I think in the right tone, that’s not the problem. Let’s not get caught in the minutiae of it.”

If you feel comfortable talking about your own experience with mental health, by all means, do so

Self-advocacy can be very powerful. It reaches people who are going through similar experiences as well as the general public. Solomon believes that people equipped to share their experiences should do so: “The most moving letter I ever received in a way was one that was only a sentence long, and it came from someone who didn’t sign his name. He just wrote me a postcard and said, ‘I was going to kill myself, but I read your book and changed my mind.’ And really, I thought, okay, if nobody else ever reads anything I’ve written, I’ve done some good in the world. It’s very important just to keep writing about these things, because I think there’s a trickle-down effect, and that the vocabulary that goes into serious books actually makes its way into the common experience — at least a little bit of it does — and makes it easier to talk about all of these things.” SolomonWax, as well as Temple Grandin, below, have all become public figures for mental health advocacy through sharing their own experiences.

Don’t define a person by his/her mental illnesses

Just as a tumor need not define a person, the same goes for mental illness. Although the line between mental health and the “rest” of a person is somewhat blurry, experts say the distinction is necessary. Says Insel: “We need to talk about mental disorders the way we talk about other medical disorders. We generally don’t let having a medical illness define a person’s identity, yet we are very cautious about revealing mental illness because it will somehow define a person’s competence or even suggest dangerousness.” Caddick agrees: “There’s a lot of things that go on in the brain, and just because one thing goes wrong doesn’t mean that everything’s going wrong.”

Separate the person from the problem

Continuing from the last, Insel and Patel both recommend avoiding language that identifies people only by their mental health problems. Says Insel, speak of “someone with schizophrenia,” not “the schizophrenic.” (Although, he points out, people with autism do often ask to be referred to as “autistic.”) Making this distinction clear, says Patel, honors and respects the individual. “What you’re really saying is, this is something that’s not part of a person; it’s something the person is suffering from or is living with, and it’s a different thing from the person.”

Sometimes the problem isn’t that we’re using the wrong words, but that we’re not talking at all

Sometimes it just starts with speaking up. In Solomon’s words: “Wittgenstein said, ‘All I know is what I have words for.’ And I think that if you don’t have the words for it, you can’t explain to somebody else what your need is. To some degree, you can’t even explain to yourself what your need is. And so you can’t get better.” But, as suicide prevention advocate Chris Le knows well, there are challenges to talking about suicide and depression. Organizations aiming to raise awareness about depression and suicide have to wrangle with suicide contagion, or copycat suicides that can be sparked by media attention, especially in young people. Le, though, feels strongly that promoting dialogue ultimately helps. One simple solution, he says, is to keep it personal: “Reach out to your friends. If you’re down, talk to somebody, because remember that one time that your friend was down, and you talked to them, and they felt a little better? So reach out, support people, talk about your emotions and get comfortable with them.”

Recognize the amazing contributions of people with mental health differences

Says autism activist Temple Grandin: “If it weren’t for a little bit of autism, we wouldn’t have any phones to talk on.” She describes the tech community as filled with autistic pioneers. “Einstein definitely was; he had no language until age three. How about Steve Jobs? I’ll only mention the dead ones by name. The live ones, you’ll have to look them up on the Internet.” Of depression, Grandin says: “The organizations involved with depression need to be emphasizing how many really creative people, people whose books we love, whose movies we love, their arts, have had a lot of problems with depression. See, a little bit of those genetics makes you sensitive, makes you emotional, makes you sensitive — and that makes you creative in a certain way.”

Humor helps

Humor, some say, is the best medicine for your brain. Says comedian Wax: “If you surround [your message] with comedy, you have an entrée into their psyche. People love novelty, so for me it’s sort of foreplay: I’m softening them up, and then you can deliver as dark as you want. But if you whine, if you whine about being a woman or being black, good luck. Everybody smells it. But it’s true. People are liberated by laughing at themselves.”



{January 20, 2015}   Psychosis is my friend…

Dedicated my yoga practice to me tonight.

I watched some TedX Talks last night and it took me back years (17 years) to when the madness really started. My Gollum, my voice in my head. How controlling and fierce and foreign he used to feel, creeping through the channels of my mind, at times holding on like a vice grip, the seductive innuendoes and outright blatant suggestions of my death, our death, the beauty and peace in it. My uselessness a constant monologue I listened to daily, fought with, screamed with, while living externally. How adept I am at having 3 conversations simultaneously. Second nature now.

And yet, Gollum and I, we still fight, but we’ve mellowed with age and learning, or perhaps I have learned that they way to manage Gollum is to not fight him but to have learned him. Learn that no matter what, he is a manifestation of me, echoing and voicing all my deepest fears and insecurities, letting him/me, scare and frighten me into actions, and believe in exaggerated truths about who I am. He takes the nuggets I hide and exploits them, and because they come from me, buried within, I believe them as they are my worst fears and thoughts about who I am come alive in his voice.

He still talks, always, I don’t know life without an internal dialogue of questions and rebukes. I’ve learned that when I am strong I can turn the volume down, that I can talk him down, that I can listen and not act. Everyday there are the suggestions on ways to die, I can’t drive the highway without the silky suggestions of how easily it would be to go over the rails, I can’t step on the balcony without the push to wonder how quick it would be to jump that edge, or listen to him remind me how good it feels to cut and feel that blood. That I’m useless, stupid, incompetent, unloved, you name it. We’ve grown old together and yes, he can incite me, when I’m feeling weak and sad, the buttons are there to push. He can still push them and he can still reduce me to a ball of misery when I am low. But it’s not daily or weekly, we talk all the time, I’d miss him if he left (i’m quite aware I can’t leave myself), I don’t know my mind without the voice I talk to everyday, all the time, subconsciously, consciously. These days I don’t even realize half the conversations are happening, it’s second nature.

Therapy, time, experiences- psychosis can be tamed and become the enemy you would rather hold close. I can turn him off with meditation, I can turn him off through yoga. I know how to escape if I am losing the fight, distraction is my friend.

There are times I can’t win, when both outside and inside are yelling at me, one fuels the other, conflict is Gollum’s friend. I know I need to walk away, not give him wood for the fire from someone else, I am bad enough! My head has ached a lot the last 2 months, without the pills, neither myself nor Gollum have been tempered and we’ve been eye to eye many a time. I’m not drugged and neither is he. I know we can co-exist, without the drugs, with the learning, my training, history has taught lessons, and god knows i have paid the price time and time again, we’ll never be perfect together, but we’re coming to equal ground.

To the people that have empowered me, believed my psychosis, given me the tools and support to embrace who I am, voices and all, and never doubted me, you have all my love. So few and far between, I can count you on one hand, you never disbelieved, you opened your mind to crazy and always listened, always stood by with words of support and never judged or commanded when I sunk lower than low, sank in and out of depression, raved and ranted, hated, and did nothing at times, lost my mind, lost my soul, lost my will. You’re angels and I hope you stay with me till whenever that end comes.

Namaste.



{January 14, 2015}   All Roads Lead to where??

At a crossroads but all of them are either washed out, barred or have ogres under the bridges.

I feel good about my mental person but I am despising my life around it at the moment. Unfortunately, these two roads will cross at some point. I want to enjoy the fact that my head feels strong right now, for however brief amount of time that may be. But I don’t because I am irritable, cross and feel like I have ants and people crawling all over my ass, under my eyelids and in my ears and mouth.  All I do is work work work work and work. My saving grace is I love the industry I am in, but my bosses are starting to make me want to suggest they find someone better for their job. For pete’s sake, rather than fucking me from all angles everyday, 12 hours a day, find someone that can get the job done in 30 hours with minimal pay a week that’s a super spreadsheet, sales superstar, forward thinking, business planning, do-it-all superwoman, it’s not me.

evilboss

I am going to see my counsellor soon and I think I am going to just ‘fess up, it may cost me my disability and assistance I need but I need someone to talk to about the 70 hour days, the pressure, pressure and lack of self time and life breaks. I am not supposed to be working at all, let alone at this maniacal pace. I think part of the reason I have been able to push through is I stopped taking the meds so the mania could kick in and keep me going. But, history, good old history, which I do not want to repeat is a knock knock knocking at the door, this almost killed you twice, it can do it again honey.

It’s not worth it. I know it’s not. I don’t see my kids, I don’t see my sister, I don’t talk to my best friend, I have no time to get anything personal done, bills aren’t getting paid, I haven’t seen a doctor/shrink/counsellor in over 2 months, I have no time for classes, I am too tired to talk to my friends or give them what they need, my relationship is gone, no time for any hobbies, no planning which I love, my partner is mad, no breaks, not even enough pay.  No, it’s not worth it.

I didn’t ask for this. What I wanted to was a job I could do 30 hours a week, maybe 3 days, even weekends is fine, see my friends, my family, take the time off when needed, get to yoga, meditation, do BPD classes and connect with other BPD folks, time for side projects I like, have a life with not so much worry.

Work-Life-Balance-Sign-post-by-Stuart-Miles

Things got far out of hand last year: my best friend had a nervous breakdown at work and went into a depression, another friend spent 6-8 months dying slowly and terribly. My aunt died which didn’t affect me so much as my mother. But people don’t see these things. I’m an emotional being. People come first, family come first. Right now, all everyone cares about is work comes first. It’s not me yet I am trying to curl myself into it because of responsibility and PRESSURE and hating that all other parts of my life are getting chopped off like limbs from my body. I may be strong but now I am strong, hateful, alone and pointless. I’m not crying and whimpering in a depression but neither am I seeing a future or even a light in the next while.

What’s the point? If I don’t have any of the loves, creatives and emotions that keep me buoyant, it brings up the age old BPD question of, why am I here? I am not here to work 70 hours a week, be crawled over with gnats and raked through with a comb and hate getting up in the morning and spend my nights sleepless and my days tired. ab963c4b4cbaa8981d2e5523741a-660x518

I have been trying to get to yoga these days, it’s like running a triathlon to fit it in and costs me more time staying up to get what I couldn’t get done while at yoga done which wrecks any happy happy joy joy that may have come out of it. I enjoy myself in the moment, its my hour to hour and a half of no noise in my head and then as soon as I step out the doors the alarms start ringing non stop and I start running. Sometimes I wish I could stay seated after the class is over and stay there for an extra hour and savour the bliss, swallowed by the peace and quiet of post practice where my mind feels like a glowing pulsing orb of positive energy.

I am a yucky person. I am. I don’t like the outside me. I am cross, grumpy, and I feel myself biting my tongue to not lash out at people. That BPD anger part of me, without the drugs, is very prevalent in the back of my head. I want to say “FUCK OFF, IF YOU DONT LIKE IT DO IT FUCKING YOURSELF!” Yes, exactly like that, sadly, true, it runs through my mind when I am face to face, on the phone, on emails, text, it itches to come out. Where I used to feel the pain of sorrow and loss, now I can feel that itch of anger in my throat that burns hot. I had to hold back the reins very tight today and finally just stopped answering calls because I knew I would just tell her to fuck the hell off.

leaderfunny

Well, spent so much time writing, just lost my window of getting to mental health and some drugs for tonight. Time to go rummage under the sink and in my handbags for old pills. I know I have some somewhere in the bloody house. When it rains it pours pills and people are hiding them from me, when I want them, where are they?



{January 25, 2014}   Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I’ve come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.

dark place

My hands are shaking, I can hold them out in front of me and watch them trembling, out of my control. It fascinates me, the lack of control. My body, my mind, but not my will.

It was an effort to force myself out of bed, albeit only to the couch but to me, I felt like I just ran the marathon. Then to preclude myself from going back to bed, I threw all the sheets in the laundry. Not that I can’t easily worm myself back int a hovel of a mattress and uncovered pillows and a duvet.

Listless, I find myself, listless today. It’s almost more pleasurable to shut my eyes and feel the noise, the thrumming of the invisible rubber band against my brain. Between my eyes, a scorpion has its pincers gripping tight with a deadly tail swinging on the other end. Red, everything is red. Does everyone see red when they close their eyes?

It’s insidious how thoughts ambush you. One moment I am innocently thinking of my day and what I’ve done and the track changes so slowly that I only realize almost half an hour later I have moved back into the grey of negativity, looping endless tapes of death, what would happen if I jumped off the balcony? I’d break a lot of bones, not die and be even more miserable. golumFlashes of conversations with my sister of her abandonment brings sadness and disappointment welling. Thinking forward of the nothingness that faces me, makes me want to reach for the pills.  Even the tediousness of making it to the end of the day sets about despair.

My DBT, of opposite action, helps, but my gosh it’s tiring trying to head everything off at the pass. Deflect the ball back into the opponent’s court for a quick breath. It’s far harder to live than die. My phone bill popped into my inbox today and I almost threw up at the reminder that reality was coming for me.

My BFF posted pictures of her and her family in Asia right now and I wish I was there. Escape. All the doctors and psychologists and whomever all want me to stay in my little hell hole, bottom of the barrel and fight my way out, I’d rather take the side exit to denial. Can’t I just have a break, can I have something fun to look forward to? Come back and face the demons after seeing some light. Right now, there’s no light so what am I striving for?

I have nothing that I want to do. There is no impetus to leave the house. It’s cold, it’s boring, and I don’t have a community, what am I getting better for again? I forgot?

I finally got H to leave today, the guilt of him sitting here nurse maid-ing me was driving my guilt far up the chart. Yes, him leaving did reverberate some abandonment, but it’s a twinge compared to all else these days. All I want today is to lie in that bed and talk to myself. It’s so easy to take that step back to darkness, I don’t understand how they think I can look forward to going back to the life I was leading. If anything is pulling me down that is part of it. I don’t know if I can be happier anywhere else, then that trails into can I ever be happy? Which leads right back around to “what’s the point of my life again?”

The sad part is, the only thing I can viably see myself doing is driving to the liquor store for some wine. Numb the fuck out of everything, pop an Ativan and get drunk. It’s all wrong but its better than cutting and that’s option 2. Option 3 is to mindlessly watch TV all day. Option 4 is to just say fuck-all.

Hello darkness, my old friendmetal clown



{January 23, 2014}   1 Step Forward, 2 Steps Back

Confused. Very confused. I suppose that happens after you’ve seen 3 psychiatrists, 1 psychiatric nurse, 2 emergency room doctors and your psychologist in the span of 3 weeks and tried to kill yourself and cut yourself.

That, all that, in itself is a lot of noises, voices, thoughts coupled in with well-meaning friends and family advice.

I saw a new psych today who thinks that on top of BPD, a lot in itself, I could also have depression on top of that. That’s just depressing, no pun intended. So, my medications have been mixed a little to see if it makes a difference, more bupropion, cipralex and trazadone. Yes, I am hoping it works and at the same time I am heaving a sigh of almost giving up. Can it get any harder?

depressionMeeting a new psych is also hard, new everything, start again, how do I compress 12 years into one hour and have you UNDERSTAND me. Then see you in a month and almost start again. I realize this is how psychiatrists work, especially govt run psyches, though when I had my first brush with death, I saw mine almost every week till life turned a corner.

I am still in home jail because I am volatile, to myself, being a quiet borderline and all. I’m prickly, sensitive and my mother poked me with a red-hot poker yesterday which induced a few steps backwards in the hockey pokey dance and involved some broken glass and cutting. I feel like a vibrating energy line loose from its pole, just on the verge of electrocuting.

I dont know what im supposed to do, stay where, do what, see whom, what do I want? One step at the time, I get it, but which path and which direction am I stepping? Am I going to live at my mother’s house and be visited by the psych nurse and another pysch every week, not guaranteed the same person each week, but they are just there to keep me safe, sane and stable. Then go see my psychologist. Then drive 40min to see the new psych I saw today once a month, plus the ones that see me every week, and attend DBT “light” classes once a week also 40min away from town, though without the 24 hour access to the therapists I had w my private program. I am already feeling crazier than the crazy I am. Maybe I should call the 1-800-SUICIDE line.

Safety plan, make my safety plan. And that includes who? It seems like a lot of people, professional people but other than there’s H and… 911 and some sedatives. SAD.

God, I have no idea what to do, why the fuck am I here, this is ridiculous, stupid, a waste of time, and I am miserable. Why does everyone have to be miserable along with me? It feels like playing a game with parts from other games thrown in, so nothing

stock-photo-close-up-shot-of-old-soccer-ball-basketball-baseball-football-bat-hockey-stick-baseball-glove-50956663quite fits together or plays together and you can’t win the game with mixing a basketball with hockey player with a soccer net on an football field. Yes, they’re all sports but which sports team am I playing with?

My head hurts, my heart hurts, my brain hurts and people wonder why I just want to go to sleep, this is so fucked the hell up. 

 

 

 



{January 18, 2014}   Suicidal Ideations **trigger**

why

I tried to end my life 2 Saturdays ago, Jan 4.

Since then its been darkness, emptiness and sadness, sparked with occasional madness.

Right now, I am pretending. Pretending that I am not hollowed with sadness, with no light.

My suicidal ideations come every time I shut my eyes. I am rolling out of the car going 100kmh onto the highway and smashed by oncoming cars, feeling the bones break in my body, the grit in my mouth, the tear of skin and then silence. Sitting in my car, inhaling and exhaling before I push the accelerator to the ground straight into the wall or another variation, right over the cliff. One I die immediately, the other I feel the rush of air as the car tumbles forward and I scream myself to a mangled end. Ever since I cut myself with the broken glass, the image re-appears constantly, how deep, how much blood, how good and all I can think is can I do it again? If I devolve will that be my new cutting of choice, so deep you see the whiteness of the skin before the outpouring of blood. And if I wanted to say good bye, I would take all my sedatives and sleeping pills, do both wrists and fall asleep into the silence feeling all thats bad seep out of me.

I now this isn’t normal.

I feel very much isolated in my mental state, I try and explain and people make excuses for me, they don’t want to hear it, believe it or deal with it. So, after a while, I shut up, clam up, bring it back inside and hold it in and bring out the smiles, the normalcy.

Of course I’m screaming inside, holding back the tears. Today I stood in the elevator taking the cart back down to the basement sobbing so I could get it out before putting the smile back on to go back in the door.

I’m a freak. I’m different.

broken



In 2010 I tried to commit suicide by ingesting all my pills. I was in a bad place for someone with BPD, a small island and not a soul other than my boyfriend that I had told about my disease. But, for the 3 years I was there, life was good, I was surrounded by everything I loved, the sun, water, freedom, the taste of the sea air and the sight of the most beautiful ocean in front of me every morning and a community where everyone knew my name, it was safe and comforting regardless of my BPD and lack of network. 

Then the tide began to change, my boyfriend became very jealous, angry, loud and possessive, making me feel guilty and claustrophobic at every turn. But, I, in turn, could not leave as I could not see forward enough to stand on my own feet in a time that was turning into a pressure cooker. My work environment that was once a carefree Caribbean workplace started to grow and fill with corporate US employees whose work ethics were more demanding rather than cooperative. Being non-confrontational, I retreated rather than stood up and let the dissatisfaction pile up. And when the tide shifts everything shifts with it, my favourite cousin died, leaving 2 small children behind, my work schedule kept me pinned to the island and unable to attend the funeral which caused a rift of family politics that cascaded down. My sister, in a complete shock to all, gave birth to a Down Syndrome baby, again, I was tied to obligations but her world was falling apart there as was my mother’s. Holding the glue together was becoming more difficult but as BPD tend to do when we can’t face the pain, we bury our head in the ground and hope the pain will subside. That it did not, my pressure cooker continued to grow with a boyfriend with a volatile temper, opposite to my cringing fear of anger and confrontation against me, sending me spiralling downwards into a sense of where else was there to go but to find the bottles of solace and take them, which I did, huddled in the bathroom stall, pouring pills as fast as I could down my throat, hearing my boyfriend rage outside, and praying they would put me to sleep sooner than he would enter the room.

What happened next is as expected, i awoke to find myself, stomach pumped in the hospital, alive and unhappy and as far away from a support system as I could be. No psychiatrist, no psychologist, no friends I trusted with my secret and no family in a country that did not quite understand suicide with nurses that would pass my bedside to console me with the fact that they were going home to pray for my soul.

In 10 days I was released to the only person who knew, my boyfriend, but at this point I had broken down and told a close friend the truth of my hospital visit and asked if I could come stay with them through my recovery. Much to my fear of rejection and abandonment, this sent her into a tailspin, not many people can comprehend an act of suicide and she took the guilt of not seeing it hard and from that point on, though I stayed with them, the strain took over her, and I knew, once I left the friendship was over.  

2 days after leaving the hospital, to which I had explained to work I had had a nervous breakdown, they fired me.

I was not sure how much lower I could fall and spent my days drugged and stayed hidden in my dark room, waiting for day to end, night to come and day to end again till my hospitality came to a limit. I was referred to a local psychiatrist who was unfamiliar with BPD, and though the intention may have been there, we did not click and I never felt she made the effort to at show me she cared. And again, the only person I had, regardless of whether I wanted to be with him, was my boyfriend, my sole lifeline. I move into his apartment in a hole of misery, and as I know now, with no tools to bring myself out, lying on the tile floors during the day doing nothing but watching re-runs of The Kardashians and dreading the return of anyone or thing to break my trance.

Somewhere in there, I knew I had to leave and find help, and through some good friends here in Canada who stuck by me on the phone, I booked a flight out with nothing but clothes I could throw into a suitcase. I don’t remember who knew or didn’t, I put on my mask of independence and tried to muster on but with enough sense to re-connect with my psychiatrist and psychologist to lay a path forward. I hate the city I live in, it’s cold, insular with non of the warmth and friendliness of the Caribbean, a clique of people who think they are the nicest people on earth. Canadian Stepford wives.

I wasn’t sure where to start. I have a love-hate with my mother, she loves me to death and I her but she is a glass half full individual who does not handle crisis, who is passive aggressive. I never told her about the suicide attempt. Not the best mesh for a BPD. I was running out of savings fast, it had been months of no work and slow rehabilitation. I still had my boyfriend, if I could call it that at that point. I had very few links and though this was toxic, I could not let go and be alone as yet. I hadn’t told the full story to anyone but a few friends (2) and doctors. But I hated the Skype calls with him and dreaded the phone calls which should have been a glaring clue but I could not cut the cord, virtual as it was, and escalated my toxicity.

Some of my events after this I lose timeline. With my psychologist and psychiatrist we made a plan to move forward and make a base and home here. I was still unemployed but I had a goal, something to reach for, I wanted to make it, to show myself I could create happiness in a town I hated, but I would do this for family, to be with them, to love them. My light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s not till you look backwards, hindsight is 20/20 that you see the ripples that lie under the calm. I made many changes, I moved into a new place, my storage company lost half my belongings to which I had no repercussions not having taken out any insurance. In the time I was away my ex-husband had found himself a new, young, but rather insecure new wife who was no threat to me from that angle but was with my children as she had a new-found joy to be Martha Stewart and the perfect mother to my children. This meant subversive means of cutting me out of school activities and the usual tactics played by women that I have no time or energy for but which required energy. I also needed a job but with the emotional toll of the last few months, it was clear that a high pressure job as I once had was not going to sustain my health, i had to back down if I wanted to put my health and family first.

I went from being Director of Operations making $130,000 a year tax free to being an Executive Assistant making $45,000 less taxes. It was a horrible change mentally and psychologically, a failure. My world was moving backwards not forwards but I rallied myself that my health meant my family. 

I suffered through several episodes through this time, many panic attacks that took me to the hospital convinced I could not breathe.

My mania blew up, the only way I knew to hide was to distract myself, be out, be happy, be consumed or the alternative was to sink.

I found the nerve to leave the boyfriend but it was a hard fought leaving, guilt remained that he had saved my life, and with survivor’s guilt, I know now I wasn’t wrong, I felt like a horrible human being doing it. He came up at Christmas time and it was a comedy of horrors, uncomfortable and filled with spaces of silence and guilt. We tried to take a mini holiday to a ski town for a few days and he spent the days sleeping on the living room floor because I couldn’t bear to be touched. It was the the end which I confirmed by phone shortly after he left.

Life took on a bit of a manic momentum at this point, doctors, kids, work, and going out. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I wasn’t sure if I was happy or who I was or why I was. Things did coalesce as my therapy went on, i went back to yoga and found calm, my children brought joy, work was boring but calm, I had a place to love I liked and i met an incredibly nice man to spend time with. 

Calm before the storm? Outside was fine, I did everything I was supposed to do but inside it I was still that stone cold pit, that morass of pain and voices that I kept shutting out and pushing through. If I stayed busy enough, I could handle the noise in my head and the pain in my gut, the throbbing that never went away. I was living wasn’t I? Doing everything I was supposed to.

I had to face reality that I had run away from the Caribbean to find healthcare here but I had left in a lurch, bank accounts still open, mail boxes, clothes, like I had disappeared into thin air without telling a soul. I needed to go back and close up, finish. I wasn’t ready and now almost 3 years later I still am not. The demons launched the minute I stepped off the plane, I felt like an outsider with the world gossiping about me. You can’t try and kill yourself in a town of 5000 people and not expect everyone to know in 24 hours. Things started out bad from the get go, a friend that was supposed to pick me up from the airport, never showed up due to boat issues, but was never able to tell me, so I waited for 3 hours before making my way across island to try and island hop 2 more islands by ferry to get “home”. I was exhausted and I was still embarrassed and not ready to talk about what happened, I wanted in and out and then I ran into my ex. The shock, the confrontation, the tiredness, my mind shut down and disassociation sank in. It felt like being slammed into a brick wall with no air in my lungs and all my mind could do was split and shut down from the accusations, the tones and all else that came afterwards.

I did what I had to do and I carried on, saw friends, went out on boats, went mildly manic, packed up my things and left, again, just pushing the pain away and living with insidious moods that threatened from every angle to bring me to my knees.

And that it did, I came back to a new hostile worker at my job that took all my fortitude to hold strong but then cry in the bathrooms, the new man I dated found out about my ex and threw me into a tailspin, how do you explain something you yourself cannot explain, money issues started to surface, all the debt I incurred unable to work and paying for medical bills could not sustain with life on an assistant’s salary, the pressure with the new wife and then my ex husband threatening to move our children to a new town, and all the voices in my head knew they had won.

They brought me further than my knees. i cried for 3 days the pain was excruciating, i crawled across the floor of my apartment and writhed from the voices that threatened to splinter me into pieces, voices that talked me into death. I cut myself to alleviate the pain and then cut some more. The fact that I had lost so much control to jeopardize a life I had just started gave fuel to more guilt. I still remember being on the wooden floor in the dark, letting the negativity play a song through my body as I watched from some other place far far away. My mind and body no longer belonged to me, possessed is a new word I have started using and my BPD had possessed me, I was ready to say, take me, you’re right, I am worthless. I lay all the pills on the bed, not believing, I again had come to this juncture of no escape. I had ruined yet another chance at life. My phone kept ringing and it was H, the new man I had started dating, someone I knew there could be a future with that my disease was never going to allow. He had rained guilt on me for my trip and lack of control in the BVI, and my words were useless against his rage, how does one explain your inability to control your mind, he had every right and I stood the abuse, though I begged and cried.

I did not end up taking the pills that night, H gave me a glimmer of maybe there was a chance we could re-build and my children’s faces swam in front me and what would it be like to know your mother had committed suicide. There they all were, my magic bright pills, promising peace and the world outside promising nothing but a will to live and survive. My psychologist pulled through and went above and beyond for me here and I am eternally grateful, I am sure she saved me.

I become fuzzy at the point but I came to a better place, with big changes, again that needed to happen. I couldn’t afford my place and moved in with my mother. H helped me into a 6 month DBT program and I maintained my yoga and the monthly therapy. Life began a rhythm it hadn’t had, I was content and the ability to connect with other DBT sufferers gave me  a feeling of finally belonging somewhere where people understood me. I re-learned new tools and picked up fresh new ones to use, and they worked. The children were doing fabulous, H and I were too and work was ticking along. My episode times stretched, i was able to crack the whip with the demons in my head and keep them manageable. Don’t get me wrong there were still episodes and triggers, I was just able to circumvent some and mitigate others and of course go through some. But they were manageable. I think I can say it was a pretty decent year.

But all good things come to an end, I stopped working and went on EI. Something i never thought I would see myself at the point of, I was a career person!! Successful!  My husband took the liberty of moving to a different city and then moving the children out of school which prompted my moving to a new city, which didn’t seem so bad (but change is bad for BPD, I keep forgetting that), my finances got worse from little work though I did pick up contract work that kept me going. A few months ago I was given disability by the government realizing that I was handicapped mentally. I moved out my my mother’s and was able to find a great little place that feels like home but far away from everyone I know, but the kids. Moving, threw an unknown to me, wrench into things, it disrupted a lifestyle, my exercise stopped, due to funds all my therapy stopped, I didn’t take the breaks I needed, or when I thought I did they weren’t breaks but stress vacations. My children started to grow up and become teenagers and not need me anymore. Pressure started to mount on large responsibilities and then little things grew, kids got sick, Xmas came around the corner, work got behind, and my kettle was screaming on the stove in my head. I should have seen the signs, regular headaches, pain in my body, bad sleep even with drugs, my jaw locked up from stress. 

You read this thinking I am an idiot and I think same. I was devolving and not acknowledging it. H told me one night during an argument that my job in the relationship was to be happy and not burden him with my little humdrum issues. So, I shut up as much as I could, I started bleeding though it wasn’t time for me period. I locked down and I spoke to no one. I couldn’t afford psychology anymore and my doctor was on vacation.

Breaking point was coming. Christmas with not a lot of money is never a fun time. H took me away to a spa for New Year’s which was happiness beyond happiness, it blocked out everything, my mind was able to go blank, though all the pain still moved within me, I had gotten used to bearing it and just smiling. Then the catalyst came, the prick to the balloon. All the layers that had piled up, the drug addicts inside of me, waiting for this moment, got there fix. Over dinner, H made a small minuscule but damning comment about my time in the BVI and that I had essentially “asked for it” and the walls, all the walls crumbled in a tsunami and him not knowing what to do reacted in the way most people don’t know what to do, I was over reacting, I needed to get over it, and he shut down, which threw me into the morass of pain so strong I could have birthed demons, and looking at his stone cold face, I had no where to go but back to the knife which I did, this time deeper and harder than I had ever done and though I was horrified at first, it felt like a rush of opiates coming to me watching the blood pour out. But this time, it wasn’t enough. H had shut down and decided i was a lost case so I wrapped myself up with whatever semblance of sanity was left and took myself to the  hospital to get stitched up before i bled out, not before having thoughts of slicing the other wrist too. 

We rode home in deathly silence the next day and that calm, that scary calm came over me, the one where you know with all certainty that you are done. I mentally went through every loved one and realized they could all live without me, and for the first time, I realized the children could do. There was nothing left, nothing. Why was I running the rat race, hamster wheel, working through this torture everyone never saw and discounted. Clarity was a shining light, this time, I could die, happily. H still maintained his stony silence of anger that I had caused him no sleep and ruined our holiday which even that guilt couldn’t penetrate, I was going to go, none of this mattered anymore, NONE OF IT. We had 4 hours to drive and I put all my finances and my will into place in my head. I planned everything down to a science, to what I would eat, drink, wear and even smell like. It was beauteous, this was good bye and it was clean and organized.

I left H’s place and sat in my car for 2 hours writing out my will. Therein lay my mistake and as I have now learned, do not send your will till after you die and do not leave your cell phone on when people are looking for you. I was headed home, this time even taking calls from people who knew what was to happen, it was my way of saying good bye and hearing their voices, nothing was clearer to me and I knew no matter what they said I had my plan.

The next part I will gloss through, the police alerted by my sister, pinged my phone, found me and took me to the ER where H had the audacity to show up after all his talk about my being a burden, I could have punched him. The last place I wanted to be was stuck back in a hospital relegated to the psych ward that still looked like a place out of the 70s. And the irony, all my family knew that I would rather die than be placed there.

Fast forward 3 days and I am home now, home being my mother’s house watched like 2 year old, this was after 2 previous days being watched by H. To my benefit the hospital had no beds so they had no choice but to let me go. 

How do I feel? Angry primarily. My choice that was thwarted by others. They say abortion is your choice, I believe in that. Death should be your own choice too. You can put your baby to death but not yourself, come on, buck up. Selfish that no one has yet taken the time to really learn how hard it is to live with BPD. Everyone swears to be my support but they know nothing and I still see the incredulity on faces. You like fine… if you like fine, how can their be any pain? Can they think how much pain it must take for me to want to die to end it? If you don’t want to be involved, go away, don’t pretend to care, call the police and then go on with your merry lives not knowing that you have now forced me to climb an unimaginably painful road back up so I can live for your conscience. Fuck you.

Abandonment and rejection, our hallmarks, the golden hallows of BPD. Did I see my family at the hospital. no. Did I see my family at home, no. I move to my mum’s house and my sister says she cant see me because she’s going to Tae Kwon Do and then to the airport. Oh ok, I don’t feel rejected and abandoned at all, let me see, you called the police, you did your job and now your life can go on and I can go fuck myself. I don’t need sympathy and guilt, you want to help, help. Pick up a book and find out you just rejected and abandoned the suicidal bitch you saved.

 Right, so where am I now? At a juncture than can go either way. I haven’t found my light yet, my will to be. Since I am alive, though guarded 24/7, the laughable thing is I still need to work and pretend to go on, because, well, you brought me back to reality and reality means survival regardless of whether you wanted to whack yourself. Fun, just what I wanted, to go back to what i was, even more ill equipped and in even more pain.

I think with the right positivity and light i will move forward but I also know a few wrong moves and triggers and I will give up. There’s not a lot of hope left in this body and there are a lot of demons. The scale is tipped precariously towards more bad than good.

As of today, 6:25am, Wednesday, Jan 8, this is my story.



et cetera
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Thoughts and ideas

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