Slip and not fall

As I sit here in the private clinic, my home for the moment, I have time for reflection. 

Thoughts of what I don’t deserve. That I’ve made such a fuss. Just get over it. Don’t be so drastic. What if they don’t believe me? What if they see BPD and chuck me out? My presentation right now might look too together. 

It’s ok. I’m not back in crisis where I used to be. I’m proactive. I have great insight.

The psychiatrist was warm and understanding. I didn’t have that new doctor awkwardness where you have to go through your whole life story again. He thoughtfully asked the right questions, discreetly understood my history. 

We have a plan. To get back where I was and functioning well. Medication with time. We need time for it to take. Regular outside support, so I can manage my strategies but keep accountable. And while I’m in here, get back to working with the strategies that were working. Back into exercise. Yoga. Meditation. Singing. All the things that I allowed work to gradually consume. 

I slipped, but I have not completely fallen. I have grabbed onto the railings, using the support to be there and keep me sturdy so I can confidently walk without them once more. 

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The note (TW suicide) 

I’m losing it. I must be. It was my ‘good’ week and it has ended in tears once again. I think back over today and put it on replay. The early composure, the conscientious perfectionist that thrives on control and outcomes. I felt so ‘above it’ all. Like I’m walking on the highest of clouds, skipping from one to the next. Sorting them all, supporting them all, aligning them just so. Think about everything but how you feel. The thoughts run so fast it’s hard to keep up. So hard in fact that I miss patches. “Did I put my keys here?” I don’t remember finishing that drink, but I must have because it’s empty. Weird. Now why did I walk in this room? 

The frustration builds. I’m so savvy tho that I recognize it and go for a skill to bring that down a little. I can bring it down enough to face the music and continue on my charade. 

I listen to a guest speaker talk about her mental illness and ability to hold a full time job, and shine in her other performance job. I am jealous. I didn’t realize that till right now as I wrote it. 

I’m sad and I’m jealous. 

I want to be authentic and not have to hide my health struggle. I want that support. I wish to be able to have my calming piano music in my ear without worrying about losing my job. 

It’s so stressful trying to hide mental illness. It’s so heartbreaking when you don’t want to hide it but fear, yes fear what happens when you if you don’t. 

At the time I wiped away the tears and reassured my boss I was ok to go and present. I would have been if everyone had been nice and cooperative. It was unexpected that they weren’t, and I had to leave the room. 

I managed to gain recomposure again and go back and deliver the next 55mins. 

The result is exhaustion. And more tears. Tears that fall with defeating thoughts. Tears that seem to fall for unexplained reasons, in the middle of random places. 

Drip, roll, drip roll……

Wipe

Sniffle. 

And again. Over and over. 

So now I’m seriously considering going back on my medication. 

Or seriously considering writing a note. 

When I was suicidal in the past, it had never occurred to me to rent a hotel room. My mind goes there now. 

What if, instead of doing work and releasing stress by catching up, I just leave altogether?

I would hate for someone to have to find me. I could perhaps write a note and stick it on the outside of the door at the last lucid moment. 

Please do not come in this room but call emergency services. I have committed suicide and would prefer only paramedics to deal with my body

Or pre-record a message and call when it’s too late? 

I would ruin my children’s lives. Forever. I wouldn’t just be killing myself but my family too. Their lives would never be the same. No, I cannot do this to them. 

So I binge and purge, and this makes me feel better for now. That’s twice in 2 weeks. Another slip. For now, I fall asleep and nap and I feel a little relieved. 

Try not to think of the purge as feeling better…. That behaviour will just get more frequent and before I know it I’ll be relapsing. 

I can’t have that. I can’t deal with that again. 

Keep positive, keep perspective. Keep swimming. 

Just keep. For now. Just keep. 

Wanting

Friday night, American honey on the rocks, listening to music, beautiful scenery, so peaceful…. Yet I feel so so alone. Like nobody wants me. 

I’m messaging people. I’m eating pizza. I’m intolerant to dairy and right now I don’t care. 

I feel abandoned. Why do I neeeeeed such a deep connection to particular safe people?

Why do I keep pulling…. I need you to care. 

I feel like such a reject sitting here on my own… Contemplating purging the pizza, thinking how disgusting I am. How no one really wants my company. Like I have to be someone else for acceptance…. And I just want to….. (Not wanting to trigger anyone) but I want to release the pain. 

I want to be stronger, thinner, more brilliant…. really i want to be reassured that I’m ok.

You are such an idiot. Why would they want to talk to you? No one does. They are too busy enjoying their own life without you in it. 

please dont hurt me.

Guilt 

Do you know what it’s like walking through life, picking up the guilty pieces and fitting them over the self hatred to impersonate confident brilliance?  

I am slipping. I can feel it. I am scared. 

The drinking has increased. I’m drinking on my own to numb. To get through. To cope. And the dink of choice is now always preferred on the rocks. Straight spirits. Fck soda and empty calories. The sole purpose is to calm. To separate me. 

My husband has noticed, and indicated his concern…. And then played the PlayStation. But now his concern has been stated, I feel the need to hide it. Or get help. I don’t know. 

I feel guilty because I did a radio interview on recovery a few weeks ago. Inspiring people to remove stigma and get help if needed. Now I feel like a fraud. I badly want to self harm, and I’m dealing with life by drinking. 

Not sure how this night will end. How will this guilt play out? 

Fighting for recovery 

Today I am finding it so difficult to look at my body. I pulled out a photo of when I was smaller. I used to think I still had big shoulders there. Now I look at it and see how tiny I was. Perspective huh?

So I’m fighting. If I feel like I look horrible in my swimmers… I’m going swimming anyway. I’m remembering what I didn’t have in that body. I didn’t have presence. I hardly lived in that body because my lens came from outside. It was like my ‘self’ walked outside the body and dictated everything from that perspective. 

I drink, and the urge to self harm increases. 

Fight. 

Fight for those girls you teach. If you cannot fight this, how are they supposed to? How can they have hope if you cannot beat this? Fight it for them. 

Paying Survival Dues (Trigger warn: Self harm)

Point.
Press.
Pierce.
Precipitate pain

Silent.
Slice.
Spurt.
Slowly seeping.

Drip.
Defect.
Done.
Death deterred.

My DBT Journey – A letter to you embarking on Dialectical Behaviour Therapy

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Arriving into the program (besides being shit scared but trying to appear tough) I perhaps had an expectation and sense of relief that the ‘therapists’ or the ‘program’ would fix me! I had already heard about the promising results from DBT so I couldn’t wait ‘to be fixed’ and was vaguely okay about such a commitment to the program.

I very soon realised that ‘they’ can’t fix me with some easy magical wand but I actually had to put the work in myself and try to incorporate these skills in my life… and slowly but surely things started to get better.

For me it seemed to get worse before better, but so much better now on epic proportions J

So with being on the other end of DBT I wish to give some advice…

1)    Let this be the priority in your life! Although a year sounds like a long time, in the grand scheme of your whole life, it really isn’t much. You have this at your fingertips now, so use it now. I rearranged my uni timetable around it. I organised babysitters. I committed. What’s my other option really? If you can understand that this will only benefit you and make your life worth living, put your ass into it for the little time you have. (I still go through periods where I’m unwilling but I have to work through that too)

2)    Mindfulness – We all hate things we cannot do! If I asked you to get up and dance with me as a mindfulness activity some people would HATE it. Not really because they hate dance but they because they THINK they can’t do it. The ones who like dance would probably jump up with excitement. I couldn’t do mindfulness very well at first. In fact I was scared of it. At first I would sit and disconnect from it so I could avoid it. Then when I tried I got so distracted. My unwilling attitude would get in the way too. ‘I mean, how can observing and describing a shell/picture/scarf/insert your problematic object here, really change my life?’ But like anything you practice you get better at. Unbelievably to me, it is now the most helpful and foundational skill in my life. With it, the other skills work even more! Life is less messy when I get my mindfulness dose in. Unbelievably, it is mindfulness that ended up being panic attack curing. True story. I had collapsed once in a severe state and I did external mindfulness with whatever was there right then. In this case it was a dust pan and brush. Boring huh! Anyway, it was through the detailed description of the object I ended up slowing my breath and return to normal. I was shocked. I encourage you to learn it, practice it to be able to get to a stage where this can work for you. Keep trying, you will eventually get there

3)    How to practice the skills – Do you find yourself forgetting the homework, filling it in late and scribbling something down at the end of the week? Yeh, me too. I tend to overfill my plate of things to do so a lot of the time homework became a case of ‘I’ll get round to it later’ not even remembering what it was I had to do that day. Homework is actually about helping to put the skills into your day to day, not trying to tick the box at the end of the day. It is a continuation of the skills training, not a report. If you can set an alarm in the morning for a time to check what your focus is for the day, you will end up looking for or recognising more opportunities to use the skill…… which means you will practice more, which means you will nail it quicker, which means it will make your life easier and decrease the suffering you feel! YAY!

4)    YOGA  – Okay this is NOT in DBT specifically, it’s a skill that I decided to employ from doing therapy but it has been so life changing I have to recommend it. It is here that I met myself (and I have blogged that experience previously if you would like to read) 

So there are my top 4 tips for getting the most out of DBT. Keep going UNTIL. It took a long time for me to see a huge difference to my life. Kind of like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. You know how you can connect some clumps of pieces here and there and get glimpses of the picture? The DBT journey (for me) was like that. I could see parts of improvement along the way. It was frustrating that I couldn’t see more for a long time. But the more time I spent practicing putting more pieces together, the clearer the picture became. So don’t give up on that puzzle cos it’s a pretty picture at the end. xoxo