Intense Feelings – BPD and Mood

Today is probably going to be a relatively short post. Because today my friend is getting married! So I have a ton of stuff to get done. But I want to head towards finishing up this project I’ve been working on where I told myself I’d look at how all the different criteria applied to me. It’s part of me trying to open my eyes a little bit to all the ways BPD has crept into my life.

I’ve got 4 criteria left, but I’m going to explore two of them today because I think for me they are incredibly interlocked. If I discussed them separately, I’d just be doing a lot of repeating what I had already said. And anyway, isn’t that the recurring theme in this little journey that all of it is supremely connected?

Criterion #6: Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).

I think what’s most important about this criterion is that it’s been with me for the longest. I have always been the person who feels things at a deep, intense level that far surpasses most of my peers. Too the extreme. It took me what feels like eons to realize that other people didn’t feel things like I did! Which is why I was always confused when others weren’t crying when something felt like it was the end of the world to me. Or why I was confused about how no one else felt so damn angry about the same things I did. Because everything was Earth-shattering. Everything felt like some grandiose change. Even the little things, although I didn’t comprehend that those things were “supposed” to be little.

So I was a sensitive kid. I cried (and still do) often. If I was annoyed, I was annoyed with everyone and everything. If I’m happy, I’m really excited. My mom has always said that I’m easy to please but she’s also told me I’m way too sensitive. I’ve written in previous posts how I was considered dramatic. Well, funny, now I understand it a little better. To others, that’s exactly how it seems. But in my world, I’m reacting with the same intensity that I’m feeling. How could anyone possibly know that though?

The overwhelming intensity of my moods makes them nearly impossible to sit with. The physical sensation of these feelings complicates that. For example, when I’m anxious, it’s like an electrical current runs through my whole body. That can be so intense that I don’t know what to do with myself except try to escape it, which is impossible when now the feelings are in my mind and my body. Sometimes I just have this low lying dysphoria that’s…running through my veins for lack of a better phrase. It’s there and I feel it, this general feeling like something in my life isn’t right and maybe I’m the part of my life that isn’t right. And it’ll be there for hours or days until maybe it’s just not. So for so long, I’ve tried to avoid my moods as much as possible. This is probably part of the impetus for my depression, seeing as I’ve been shaming myself for feeling anxious, sad, mad, etc for about 10 years. If you tell yourself long enough you’re not supposed to feel, you’re going to believe that. But believe it or not, that didn’t stop me from feeling, it just stopped me from accepting the fact that I did. For a typical person, that would be a problem. For me? Disaster.

When I feel anything, I feel like I’m a prisoner to my feelings. I never know how long it’s going to last. My therapist has always tried to remind me that everything is temporary, but that’s the ultimate problem sometimes. I can’t trust myself to stay in any one mood for awhile, which sucks when I’m feeling good or happy about something. I can flip at the smallest trigger: a mistake on my part, the words of someone else, one minor inconvenience. I think the easiest thing to slip into is anger. Which leads me to…

Criterion #8: Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).

Like I said, I think this goes hand in hand with extreme moods and mood instability. Anger is a mood after all. But perhaps it is it’s own criteria because the repercussions of expressing anger inappropriately are the most damaging. I can’t really cry myself into trouble, but an angry outburst at the wrong time could be cause for trouble. This happened a lot more when I was a teenager. I remember exploding during gym one day and screaming at a group of people for whatever reason. But when I was with my ex, it used to happen too. My ex could get my temper sky high with little effort.I think there’s something to be said that it was the worst during my only real relationship, where feelings are already more precarious. I’d get so angry that I’d slam my hands into a wall or would just explode and walk away because I couldn’t handle the fury stewing in my stomach.

Probably the hardest part of having such extreme emotions compared to the rest of the world is that I don’t know how I’m supposed to be reacting. I’ve gotten better over the years at knowing when it’s better not to explode into anger, but it’s still difficult to gauge if it’s appropriate to be expressing how I’m feeling at all. For example, if something bothers me, will I face judgement or criticism for communicating that to someone else? Or will I just be perceiving the judgement because I already feel guilt for feeling that way? I’m still working on that and on coping with my extreme moods. It’s become an instinct to flee when what I really need is practice is just getting through them. My therapist wants me to start looking at my extreme feelings in a positive and more accepting manner, but I’m not always quite there yet.

Day by day, my friends.

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A Handful of Thoughts

Some random thoughts today as I can’t seem to get my act together to write a real post.

  • Last night was seriously difficult. I found it nearly impossible to cope with the feelings I had to sit with for apologizing to my friend for my behavior this weekend. Emotionally, remembering that event and what I did is shameful. I’m still trying to forgive myself. After I texted her (since she is away), I had to deal with waiting for hours before she responded. It was literal hell on my mind because it gave me a lot of time to think of the positive and extremely negative ways she could respond.  She forgave me, as part of me she would do, but I can’t help feeling as though everything is different now. I’m trying to remind myself of all the evidence that things are fine between us now, but it is so automatic for me to think otherwise.
  • It strikes me lately as I read about other people’s experiences with BPD and think about my childhood how evident this was in me since I was so young. I was such a sensitive child and easily prone to anger or tears. Always emotional and “dramatic.” And it makes me wonder at what point did that sensitive kid become a teenager (?) with BPD? I know that my friendship troubles began in high school. I know that’s when I always said my depression and anxiety first started getting bad. So is it at a certain age? Or just because my environment made it so that the sensitivity and emotionality reached a certain level of dysfunctional so that it began to affect me?
  • In reference to my point above,  I think the most frustrating and defeating realization that I’ve come upon is how long these issues went undetected. Once I had the criteria in front of me, it immediately became so obvious that BPD fit me and I fit it. It’s been behind the wheel of my personality for so long, which means it’s driven away friendships, messed with my thoughts, made me wish for death and hurt myself. It’s fucked me up, to keep it to the point. And it makes me so angry that there was no one in my environment who saw what I was going through and helped me. I don’t mean I was in college. I mean I wish someone would have approached that struggling 14-year-old and seen beyond what everyone thought was just drama. Maybe that’s just part of me needing to feel taken care of, but I think of all the ways my life could be different right now. There’d be people in my life that aren’t now. Maybe I’d have been drawn to friends who treated me better than some of my friends did previously. Like attracts like, so for a long time I think I sought out others like me with a low self-esteem. It didn’t always produce the strongest friendships. And I know a lot of that is on me too. I like to think I would have had better coping mechanisms for conflict, less anxiety, more tempered emotions. It’s tough to know any of that for sure, but I know that any amount of help would have been better than what I did get, which was nearly nothing. I don’t know how equipped my parents were to deal with me then (a post for another day), so I don’t know who I expect to have “saved” me and prevented all this madness. But the feeling’s there.
  • Sometimes just getting through the night is all you can do. Last night, the fact that I didn’t self-harm was admirable.
  • I should be heading to therapy right about now and I wish that I had the opportunity to unload all this. But one of the strengths of having such a strong rapport with my therapist is that I’ve internalized her voice in my head. So I can guess with some level of certainty what she’d say to some of this stuff. Not all of it, which proves there’s work to be done, but some. Therapist tells me one day the voice in my head will stop being hers and morph into mine, but for now I’m just happy I can have part of her with me at a time where I still feel I need support.
  • I talked about the metaphorical box the other day, the one that I can draw on when I need to feel loved/cared for. Why is it so difficult to fill the box? I’m having trouble thinking about what it is I need when I’m in distress. I felt like I needed to talk to therapist about it, but isn’t that negating the point? Needing to talk to her so I can find out what need to help me?

8 days to go.

Fighting the Urge – BPD and Impulsivity

Criterion #4: Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).

Sigh.

Let’s start with the obvious, shall we? The whole reason I’m in such a low state of mood right now. The drinking.

I have a terrible habit of taking the drinking too far. I’m not someone who drinks a lot, or who even enjoys it much to be honest. If I can hit a very specific point on the “drunk” scale then I’m having a good time. Unfortunately, hitting that point happens about as often as hitting the center on a dartboard. Usually, I overshoot. I miss the dartboard and then there’s a gint hole in the wall and as much as I try to cover it up the next day I still know it’s still there. With me, that looks like someone who is stumbling drunk. Someone who is too drunk to realize it’s time to STOP and will just drink whatever is in a 5 foot radius. Often, I’ve gotten there because I’ve overestimated my tolerance or haven’t paid attention to how much I’m drinking. Or I’ve ignored the warnings my body is sending me to please calm down. Sometimes to the point of sickness, but more often to the point of tears. Serious tears. A storm that can’t be calmed no matter how much anyone tries because I’m shit-faced which doesn’t exactly lend itself well to rationality. It’s all my fears coming to the surface and getting blurted out because I’ve shut off the part of my brain that keeps me from concealing it. And then I eventually pass out and wake up the next morning shameful and wanting to get as far away from whoever saw me in that state as possible.

It literally took me years to realize why I do this. To understand that I was drinking because I was trying so hard to be “fun” and to fit in. Social situations aren’t easy, parties least of all. I use alcohol to try to minimize that discomfort, to loosen up. Or I use it because I’m sad and trying to distract myself. Pretty much, all the wrong reasons. Although I can’t really say there’s a good reason to drink until blacking out. Those concepts (trying to be “normal” happy and likable) may seem super simple, but even that took me a long time to recognize. I never analyzed it much, just repeated the same cycle of discomfort, yearning, drink, regret. And now since the BPD diagnosis I’m looking at it in an even different way. It seems like this level of behavior is in line with everything else I do in my life. Extreme. I don’t just get mad, I get furiously angry. I don’t just drink some wine, I drink four glasses of wine, a beer, two shots, and then whatever else is around me on the table just for good measure. And then I try to walk into the street or slash my wrists with a knife.

Always good, right?

So yeah. I’ve done this a handful of times. Maybe 4-5 since grad school and about the same before that. Therapist is not going to be happy with me when she hears I’ve done it again. I imagine she’s going to be screaming on the inside wondering how the hell can I make the same mistake again and again how many times have we talked about this? She’d never directly say this of course. And part of me knows this is me projecting my own thoughts on her.  I have to assume though that she can only watch me repeat the same pattern of behavior so many times without wanting to shake me a little bit.

I seriously want to get it under control.

Drinking is the worst of my impulsivity problems, but it is not only one. Sometimes, I eat. Not to the point of binge eating, but enough that I would call it impulsive. I’m not sure there’s another word for deciding on a whim I need to eat half of the bag of cheddar popcorn. Or deciding I’m going to buy two of the decadent dessert because “fuck it, who cares if I don’t lose weight.” I can tell you that it is never helpful and usually just succeeds in making me feel gross.

There’s also the spending. Again, it’s not to the point of danger. I’ve never drained my savings. But I’m definitely prone to impulsively dropping money at a time on things that are not necessary. $50 here and $100 there adds up. I collect pins and there are times I buy 4 at once for no other reason just because of “insert non-justifiable reason here.” It’s never a good reason. Even if I’m satisfied with my purchase in the moment, that shopper’s high doesn’t last very long and then I’m back where I started.

And remember that emptiness I just posted about? I think that’s the hole I’m trying to fill food and all my wasteful shopping items with. If I’m going to eat or shop (or drink), it’s going to happy when I’m feeling like I need something in my life. It’s going to happen if I’m feeling poor and need a pick-me-up. It’s me trying to validate and care for myself in less than appropriate ways.

More and more I keep realizing how this is all connected. No wonder I have been struggling for so damn long.

Unfulfilled – BPD and Emptiness

I haven’t written in the last few days because I haven’t had the energy to do so. Right now, I’m just trying to keep myself above water.

I might write more later about how I’ve been feeling but I’m going to focus on my little project at the moment. So next up? The most relevant of my feelings the last few days.

Criterion #7: Chronic feelings of emptiness.

As with some of the other BPD criterion, when I first read this I didn’t think that this was one of the criterion that applied to me. I mean, certainly don’t feel like “nothing.” I wouldn’t characterize myself as empty. I mean, one of my biggest issues is that I’m so full of feelings and thoughts that sometimes I want to burst.

But then I started reading some other people’s definitions of emptiness and I got that sinking feeling in my stomach. It’s not so much a feeling that I’m empty, but that my life is. More than once, I’ve said that I’m very unhappy with where my life is right now. Despite that I’m in graduate school and am holding down another separate job. Despite that I’ve got enough funds to do the occasional fun activity. Despite that I have a few good friends.   Nothing for me is ever enough. I can look at my life and if it doesn’t measure up to other people’s then I start to feel very unfulfilled. I think about what they are doing and what I’m doing and feel very inferior. It’s not always logical either because some of the things that I compare myself to and which make me feel unfulfilled are based on a life I don’t even want. For example, I see my friend living her life at her job in NYC and feel jealous, even though I would never want to live there. Maybe it’s just knowing she’s out on her own living independently and I’m not. Some of the biggest triggers are seeing other people who are in relationships (something I’ve strived for but struggled with) or who are traveling. I’ve had to limit the amount of exposure I have to social media for that reason because I can spiral out pretty quickly. The summer is the worst for this, because everyone else is traveling right now it seems.

I have a general idea in my head of what would make me feel satisfied in my life. Living on my own. Being in a relationship. Having enough money to take vacations to places I want to go. Having a wider range of friends. My therapist has asked me before whether I think I would truly feel fulfilled if I had all these things. I used to think it would, but now I start to wonder. I imagine myself employed, married, with a few kids, living in a good home, and taking a vacation or two a year. Would that be enough for me? Would I still be searching for something to make me feel like I’m living my best life? It’s funny, because I don’t even know what standard I’m comparing myself to but I feel acutely aware when I’m not measuring up.

This criterion can be pretty awful to me, especially as I’m at a point in my life where I can’t do the things that I feel like might make me happy. For the next year, I will continue to live with my parents and focus on school because I don’t have the money yet to leave (thank you mandatory unpaid internship). That means limited “fun” activities, limited social life. I will have little time to date or see friends. And even when I do have time, my issues with relationships make it awful difficult to find successful relationships to fill that hole.

Maybe part of the problem is that I’m using things like relationships and vacations to try to feel fulfilled.

And yeah, I get that. I know it’s a problem. I know about a lot of these problems, but knowing is only a fraction of the battle. How do I overcome these issues? So much of the time this lack of idea of where to go from here paralyzes me. Nothing feels like the right move since nothing feels like it’ll be successful.  Instead of making moves to eliminate this emptiness, I’m stuck.

 

Making Lists – BPD and Identity

I really need to talk to my therapist. Or my best friend. But I can’t talk to my therapist because of boundaries (12 days on the therapy clock). And I can’t talk to my best friend because I’m busy trying to give her the space I think both of us need until the events from yesterday blow over. I’m trying to take care of myself, support myself, validate myself. That’s really hard to do when my mind won’t shut itself off.

So I’m going to keep writing. If I can’t escape my thoughts, I’ll embrace them.

Criteria 3: Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.

When I was first reading about BPD, I scanned each criteria and decided whether or not I thought it fit. I told my therapist that I didn’t think the identity one was a match for me. And then I did more research.

Turns out, I have more in common with this third criteria than I thought.

All good or all bad. I’ll have plenty to talk about related to that when I get to my post on relationships, a post my brain has been simultaneously begging me and preventing me from writing. But let’s turn inward for a second. I’m good at that. Some days, even some moments, I feel like I’m a good person. I’m doing things right, making good choices. I feel strong and right and on top of the world. More than anything, I feel hopeful for my future.

But those other times?

When I talked about this with my therapist, she pointed out how grossly different the identity I described above is from the other side of me. The “bad” side. When I’m in that place, I can’t see progress or growth. I can’t see the benefits of therapy. I can’t see the good in myself or the potential in my future. A lot of people have a hard time understanding that part. I think for awhile it even baffled my therapist until the BPD thing gave it some clarity. It’s literally like two separate people. Like each morning when I get dressed I choose to wear one identity or the another.

I was so sure that this whole unstable sense of self thing didn’t apply either, but the more I thought about it, my opinion on that shifted too. Because it occurred to me how vulnerable I am and have always been to changing on a whim, especially when other people are involved. A great example of this happens with my opinion on any topic. Let’s say I read an article about a socio-political topic that’s important in today’s climate. By the end of the article, I’ve formed an opinion about the situation. And then I do that thing a lot of us do where I read the internet comments. Hey, surprise, people tend not to agree on controversial topics. I’ve noticed that as I read the comments, my opinion changes. Back and forth back and forth like a game of ping pong. It’s like I’m trying to shape my opinion into a one-size fits all idea that fits the values of each person whose comment I read. And for what? To impress a bunch of strangers on the internet who I won’t even actually respond to? Yet I feel this overwhelming urge to do it every time.

It’s hard for me to know if I’ve made a decision because I like actually agree with something or I just think I’m supposed to. And if my opinion changes, I have difficulty being sure that it’s because I actively decided to change my mind and I’m not just going with the flow to make someone happy. Even when I was researching this and my opinion changed, I wondered: Am I just changing my mind about my sense of self because I don’t have a stable sense of self? Does having a stable sense of self mean I should stick to my initial idea that this didn’t apply? If it sounds exhausting to you, it is. But that’s the a difficult thing for me, knowing whether I’m using the information at my disposal properly. Am I being too stubborn to change what I think? Am I changing too easily? How do I know?

I still make decisions sometimes based on what my friends are doing or their opinion. A few weeks ago, I wanted to throw out a book I had used to study for a test I had passed. A simple book. Unable to make that decision on my own, I asked my friend what she would do. Even though I really wanted to throw the book out, I needed a second opinion. In the end, I did throw the book out even though my friend was keeping hers, but it pained me to do it. I’ve said before that my self-worth is poor. I’ve said that I trust other people to care for me and validate how I feel, to solve my problems. Looking at that from this lens, it all makes sense to me.  This is the product of an unstable sense of self that I can’t even trust myself to make a decision because I’m unsure my values or desires are right. I don’t trust the validity of who I am, why else would I constantly be changing?

The lack of sense of self scares me more than some of these other BPD-criteria because if I second-guess throwing out a book, how will I learn to stand my ground with the real issues? Not being able to hold onto an opinion leaves me speechless during disagreements with my people. It makes me think again about whether what I think is really correct. In everyday life, that’s bothersome. But in my future job where I have to make important decisions about a child’s future, ones colleagues may not always agree with, this will be a real problem.

I have to work twice as hard to be sure of my sense of self. I have to keep working at it. Even so, I’m still working on that with myself and under my therapist’s guidance. Sometimes, I make lists in my head of things I like and values that I have. I like peanut butter. Criminal Minds is my favorite show. I like country music. Wait I do, right? Yes, I definitely do. I also like Train and Linkin Park and Ingrid Michaelson. That list may sound trivial, but it’s almost grounding when I’m feeling unstable. I can make other lists too. About my social views. About my fews on finances and government. And the more complex the lists are, the more evidence I need to use to support them.

Evidence. Maybe that’s the answer to knowing whether I’m changing to suit another person or because I truly believe. Look at the evidence and see what it supports.

Stay tuned.

Glowing Exit Sign – BPD and Suicidal Ideation

Last night was a difficult night. I wrote about it here in the throes of my drunken stupor. In that post, I talked about how I knew I was going to wake up today feeling guilty and angry. And while I’m not feeling the greatest, I’m trying very hard not to beat myself up as much as I normally do. So instead, I’m going to channel my feelings into this little project I started the other day in hopes that I can be more productive. I also hope that being able to look at this topic from a different perspective might help me forgive myself a bit.

Initially, I was going to go in order with the DSM criteria, but this one seems more relevant today, so I’m going to mix it up. Criteria 5: Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.

Unfortunately, this one fits me very well.

Perhaps this is where I should say trigger warning because this post may be detailed. I’ve really used this blog to keep me honest and open about what I experience (and it’s working, amazingly). I don’t know if anyone who will read this deals with these types of thoughts/feelings, but obviously I don’t want to make it worse.

Until I started going to therapy, I don’t think I realized just how much I thought about suicide. I remember her asking me during my first session if I ever thought about killing myself. My answer then was a resolute: “A little, but I’ll never actually do anything.” And at the time, I thought that was an honest answer. Thinking about suicide seemed to be the product of the extreme. By this I mean that I thought that my suicidal thoughts came from being too drunk or if I was deep in depression. I hated feeling that way, but they usually passed when I sobered up or after a few days.

If you’ve ever watched Neil Hilborn speaking at a poetry slam in 2013, you may recognize this quote: “I think a lot about killing myself, not like a point on a map, but rather like a glowing exit sign at a show that’s never been quite bad enough to make me want to leave.”

This representation of suicide is actually much more accurate for me personally. And I didn’t realize that until I put this topic under a microscope in therapy. Suicide has become an automatic thought to me. In a way, it’s always on the backburner, waiting to be triggered. Drinking or periods of major depression bring it out at max, but it’s always there. I can go days feeling fine and hopeful, only to be hit with the sudden thought of “it would be so much better if I were dead.” The trigger doesn’t have to be anything huge. I’ve felt that way just walking into a room with too many people or after saying something I feel I shouldn’t have said.

My suicidal ideation is directly correlated with my mood, such that the lower I feel the more intense the feelings are. But I think the scariest thing about suicidal thinking is how much it makes sense to me sometimes. So even though I’ve never had a concrete plan, when my mood is at its worst and the feelings are the most intense, suicide seems like a perfectly viable option that I want to pursue so damn desperately.  That’s called hopelessness and it’s a common side effect of BPD thinking, which is probably why BPD and depression are so comorbid. Of course, thinking of my parents stops me in my tracks. I can justify ending my life as being better for my friends. I can tell myself that they’d be okay. But the thought of putting my parents through that is too much. So in those moments, I hurt more for the fact like I can’t go through with it because of how much sense it makes to me to stop existing.

I know that my tendency to think about suicide is so automatic because my feelings about my own self-worth are virtually non existent. You have to think really poorly of yourself to truly believe that other people would be better off if you weren’t in their lives anymore. And that critical narrative running through my head isn’t helping. My therapist often requires me to list some of my strengths and positive qualities as a way to challenge some of those feelings, but this problem is still slow to change. I’m working on it, because I want to get to the point where minor distress doesn’t make the thought of suicide seem so glorious.

Self-harm is a completely different demon. I didn’t start struggling with self-harm until late college during a relationship. It began as digging my nails into my skin whenever I was so stressed or emotional that I felt I couldn’t handle it. As far as self-harm goes, this was relatively minor, but still implies a real problem. I graduated to cutting myself over the past year as my levels of distress have tended towards higher intensity. And it’s crazy to me how addicting something like that can be. This isn’t a coping mechanism I use with very high frequency because I know it’s not good for me. I know it’s dangerous and I absolutely hate going into a session and having to admit what I’ve done. There’s a lot of shame there. But I do it and I wish I didn’t want to do it.

Therapist and I have had many talks about self-harm and why I keep falling back on it. Her argument is that it serves me in some way, otherwise I wouldn’t keep doing it. So why do I do it? Although I deal with suicidal thoughts and desires, cutting is not a means towards ending my life. It’s both a release and a punishment. It’s release in the short-term. The moment I choose to cut, I’m usually doing so because my feelings have overwhelmed me. I mean there’s literally research that shows self-harm releases endorphins, which helps the body deal with pain (emotional or otherwise) and stress. So as messed up as it is, it makes sense why so many people with BPD turn to self-harm. In the long-term, cutting also serves me because I have to deal with the physical pain later. Maybe that’s useful because it gets to overshadow the emotional pain. Maybe, like I said last night, it just works as a punishment for making mistakes. That’s what happens when your expectations of yourself are unattainable, even the slightest mistake makes you angry enough with yourself to take a razor to your skin.

The same argument has also been used by therapist when we discuss suicidal thinking. And as I’ve been pushed more to consider this and what I gain from the thoughts, I’ve learned that it’s a multi-faceted answer. Like many, suicide makes sense to me because it’s an end to the continuous emotional pain I’m enduring thanks to brain chemistry and irrational thinking. It’s an escape. It’s a figment of my poor self-worth. But I think it also comes from how I have romanticized this idea of a perfect afterlife. One where I don’t have to worry about making mistakes and being who everyone else wants me to be and dealing with all the stress of life. It’s place of peace and calm, a perfect world. Who wouldn’t want that? There’s the problem with unrealistic expectations again. Even though it crushed me when she said this, my therapist has reminded me that there’s no guarantees about what comes next. And I know she’s right. There’s no perfect world, I need to learn to be able to cope in the one I’m in. I need to learn to be able to sit with these feelings and not project them inwardly in a way that hurts me more.

So we will have to keep working on my ability to tolerate distress and my emotional moodswings. We have to because digging into my subconscious and bringing all of this stuff to the surface that made suicidal ideation and self-harm more constant than ever. It’s the nature of dealing very sensitive topics that require absolute vulnerability. I know that this is part of BPD and I have to keep fighting it. And though it scares me that these types of thoughts may be a constant battle for the rest of my life, I can take comfort in knowing that I’ve been struggling for almost 10 years and I’m still standing here.

So I will keep fighting.

 

Punishing Myself

****TRIGGER WARNING: Suicidal Ideation/Self-Harm****

Right now, I’m struggling against feelings of wanting to die.

Remember yesterday when I posted about how I drink copious amounts of alcohol when I’m uncomfortable? Remember when I said it usually succeeds in making things worse?

Well, that’s the story of today. Today, we went out to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Among the crew celebrating were people I knew and people I didn’t. So of course we get there and I’m on edge. I feel like no one cares to hear what I say and what’s the point of talking? Worse, there was a girl there who is a friend of my friends but I feel like dislikes me. And when I feel like someone dislikes me, it warps my rationality. Usually, it feels like everything now revolves around trying to pose topics of conversation that draw that person in.  I tried to be aware of what I was feeling in the moment. I tried to focus on other people who didn’t make me feel like I had to fight to capture their interest. It worked for awhile, but I was hardly paying attention to how much alcohol I was consuming doing this. It seemed great. I was interacting with new people, making friends, putting myself out there.

You know this can’t end well though, right?

Eventually, we were shooed away from the table where we were sitting. Only then did it really occur to me how drunk I really was. I remember some of it, but not all. And when we were back at my friends, I was acutely aware of how I’d fucked up because everyone had to coordinate a whole plan to get both my friend (who I’d driven) and me home. And I knew that one girl who I felt didn’t like me was there being apart of all of this and somehow that’s what broke me. I couldn’t say that of course, because how do you tell your best friend that you feel like one of her best friends hates you and it makes you hate her back? That doesn’t really work. So I started to spiral quickly. There was too much attention, too many eyes on me. Or at least that’s how it felt, maybe it wasn’t true.  It was all so overwhelming and what I really wanted was for them to go away and leave me to figure it out by myself so I couldn’t feel guilty for burdening them. But of course, that didn’t happen.

So I cried. Like I always do. In front of my best friend, who has dealt with this more than her fair share of times. I cried because I just wanted to be as far as the situation as I could be, yet there seemed to be no way out. I was so angry for putting myself in that situation to begin with. I know better. I really do. But I never stopped myself because I was so convinced the alcohol would loosen me up. She ended up yelling and so did I. It’s difficult, I think, because she doesn’t get why I can’t let certain thoughts/feelings go (i.e. the fear of her being pissed off and not being my friend) and I don’t understand why she can’t get that it’s not that simple for me.

Stupid stupid stupid.

But she took me home with her for awhile until I was sober enough to drive myself. I felt like I was itching to get out of my own skim, looking again and again at my phone and trying to decide if I could drive. Because all I wanted was to get away from them and the reminder of my mistakes as fast as possible.

I am not good at sitting with the aftermath of mistakes. Too many feelings.

So now I’m literally in the position I discussed in my post yesterday. Feeling like I screwed up, worrying about my friends leaving me, but knowing nothing they could say would be of comfort to me. Knowing I’ve fucked myself over until I can forgive myself for this very stupid turn of events.

It is literally killing me that I can’t talk to my therapist right now. I seriously just want to call her and have her talk me down. But I know I can’t. And I can’t sleep either because I feel like I need to punish myself for being so. fucking. stupid. How many time have I done this? Too fucking many. But unfortunately I don’t seem to learn from my mistakes.

I know that I will wake up tomorrow regretting my actions more than I already do right now. The alcohol is still masking some of the guilt, but tomorrow it will be in full swing. And I’m alone to cope. 13 fucking days of alone.

I was at my friend’s for awhile, but I’m home now. And what did I do? I cut myself. For the first time in months. I dragged the razor across my skin and felt a semblance of comfort as I saw the blood. I deserved this, or at least in the moment I thought I did. I know at some rational level, even as drunk as I still am, that this is me punishing myself. This is me coping this high levels of distress in a very negative manner. Because I can’t deal with the overwhelming level of anger, fear, and sadness I’m feeling right now. Mostly at myself. I want to cut more, but I’m trying to hold off. I kept that impulse at bay for months, I don’t want to keep doing it.

I’m writing so I don’t cut more, so I stop entertaining the tempting thoughts of suicide that are buzzing through my head. I can’t describe how much I think about swerving off the road when I’m in this state. I fantasize about it. About stepping off a bridge or jumping in a lake. It’s always on the cusp of what I view as an irreparable mistake that these thoughts seem so tempting. And that’s where I am right now. I won’t do anything, but I’ll think about it and use that to comfort me. It’s sick and twisted. Unfortunately, it’s how I am when I fuck up at this level.

I feel like I can’t talk to my best friend now. Apologies seem worthless, so now I need to take space until she doesn’t remember what a stupid idiot I am and thinking about my mistake doesn’t hurt me to the core. I’m so sick of doing this to myself. I thought I had this under control.

I need to stop punishing myself and go to sleep.