The Borderline’s Dilemma: Don’t Fight the Calm Waters in Life

I am generally one to exaggerate any given idea, event, moment, description, but it is truer than true that my life is really pretty darn okay right now, and has been for a little while.

Yes, there are bumps in the road, but I am using skills more frequently (and without overthinking) to get through the bumps, and the bumps pass much faster than they ever used to.

For once in my life, I can say that my stress level is relatively low, and while that is super and great and amazing, the mental health issues I deal with can make me take calm and serenity and throw it out the window, to replace it with something a lot more familiar, like drama.

Yes, I am saying it:  My life is good right now and it is a daily, sometimes moment-to-moment struggle to not sabotage the hell out of it.  I have my slips mostly with LarBear, and he is very forgiving and never holds those little fits against me.  He knows what is going on, just as I do.  Things are good, and it is hard sometimes when things are good, because that is just so unfamiliar.

 

I laughed when I saw this post on Facebook, but there is such a grain of truth to it.  How many days in the last five years did I basically not get out of bed, or get up and get showered or dressed?  A lot, y’all, too many to count.  I spent months at a time not even leaving my house.

Now that I have regular activities like church and social whatnots and am exercising at the local pool every day, I am finding that I actually LIKE being out and about.  I don’t like to be out all the time, but I like it more than I ever thought I would.  Because things were the opposite for so long, sometimes I start to fall into a pattern where I ignore my social obligations, my appointments, the pool, these new people I have met, but I find myself turning the mind quickly back to this semi-stability that I have gathered (through a ton of hard work).

 

After years of angst, I finally have the people in my life that I need and deserve, and I have enough self-respect to cut ties when things are toxic or harmful in some way.  I still give people far too many chances, but I rarely let another person really harm me without slamming the door in his/her face.  I truly believe that the church family that has come into my life recently was meant to be, that the people in my exercise classes and at the YMCA were meant to be in my life right now for specific reasons.  I especially see now how my relationships with family members have changed for the positive, and how it could not have happened before.  And of course, some may tire of hearing it, but LarBear was certainly paired with me by something more purposeful than chance.

I really think that the key to my happiness now, and the methods that I employ to stay that way and to avoid fighting the peace within and without, is that I am doing things in my life every day that I love, with people that I love, with intention and purpose.  I have an amazing amount of love in my heart that is poured in by others, and my heart is full enough to pour into others, as well, which makes my heart even fuller.  Being positive and doing what is effective, is what works.  Keeping a close eye on your mood and your thoughts and your feelings, is very important.  I think so much of it just boils down to paying attention and to living a life you love.  That may sound oversimplified, but that is my sound bite.

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That Sinking Feeling

It comes from almost nowhere.   Previous thoughts were joyful, content, happy, the feeling of “everything-gonna-be-ok” running free.  The sun has set on those thoughts, and in their place is negativity and uncertainty and noisy feelings of fear.  The “ups” never last too long, around here.

What I wouldn’t give to have the last few hours back, the last few days, the week…ha!  I never seem to enjoy the “up” as much as I should.  I take it for granted, because it always comes back, but I seem to remember that it goes away, too.

It doesn’t go away in a roar or even a remotely noticeable way.  It skitters like grains of sand across the ground, until it accumulates in a pile large enough for me to recognize that those feelings are back.  The feelings that I thought would be gone, at least for awhile longer.

This crockery that I am working on right now, the idea of mental health recovery.  Who am I even kidding?  How foolish of me to finally decide to buy-in to the idea, that someday, I wouldn’t have to worry about any symptoms.  Does that really happen to people in reality, or is it just something for the self-help workbook?  Or are people just fooling themselves?  I think that is more likely.

This time is slightly different, because this time I recall exactly what I was thinking when the negative thoughts started to roll in.  The thought in my head, singular, standing alone — “I am going to worry about myself and what I need, and stop putting everyone else first.”  That was the thought, the idea that sparked all of this downhill slide.

Just as I knew the downhill slide would come, and I would have to stay busy refuting all of the garbage in my head, I know with certainty that the “up” will come back.  It might be an hour and it might be an hour or a week or a month, but my money is on an hour or a day, because there is so much up and down in my brain right now.  No mood state is lasting very long.

So I’ll talk with LarBear and cry my eyes out and then maybe understand a little better what is going on.  What is underlying.  I have my suspicions, namely my poor physical health of late and the fact that I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow.  Let’s hope that’s what it is, and maybe I can even find some middle ground, and not just go “up.”  I simply thought it might be helpful me to document the exact “what” of the downward slide because hey, maybe someday I can change it.

There are bad feelings right now, but there is also hope, and hope must be fought for with every shred of self that one has.  Without hope, there is nothing, and with it, everything.

Can’t Touch This

Up and down and all around, as you know if you’ve been reading.  The past two days, the depression has really stabilized, but I have been left with soul-crushing anxiety.  Anxiety that absolutely nothing touches — not a single DBT skill has gone untried, a PRN gone untested, a theory, a trick, an avoidance, nothing.  I don’t remember the last time I had such intractable anxiety.

Usually, there is something that will work.  I can fool my brain for long enough to fall asleep or sweep the unpleasantness far enough under the rug that it doesn’t peek out for a few hours.  I haven’t been able to do this lately, and the added near-unbearable irritability that has come with it…well, I just don’t know.  I just don’t know about anything right now.

Well, that’s not altogether true, I suppose.  I know I’m not ready to give up and I know I’m determined to not hurt the people around me who love me most with this irrational irritability and anxiety.  I’ll keep trying this and that because, all it takes is one thing to ease it for awhile, then maybe I can sleep for awhile, or at least rest, and then the irritability can go away.

The anxiety has been the worst in the mid-morning and the beginnings of the evening.  I keep find myself trying to find reason behind a most unreasonable emotion.  As if I am dissecting anxiety, and if I can figure out how it’s heart beats, then I can clip the right blood source and it will die.  I am far too rational, too logical, too black-and-white in my thinking.

Perhaps there is no what/when/why/whatever to this, and my trying to dissect it further makes it worse.  Perhaps that.  The thought that I am making this worse by all of my struggling seems to hit home, and I ponder to myself that maybe I need to rest and float upon these waves of anxiety, instead of trying to kick my legs and flail my arms in an attempt to stay above water.  You know, like JulieTwo always said, depression is an ocean, and if you float you survive, and if you fight, you die.

Food for thought, right there, and maybe QoB was right in suggesting that I spew it all out here on this blog.  Because, the fight or float thing makes sense to me, but I need to retrain myself to float.  Floating is hard, y’all.  Maybe this is also just like my most recent favorite gem — that it is so frustrating to watch someone flail in knee-deep water, believing they will drown, when all they need is to stand up.

I’m gonna try that.  I’m gonna float and I’m gonna stand up, and I will persevere in the end, mostly because I am too stubborn not to.

“Rosie’s Lullaby”

She walked by the ocean,
And waited for a star,
To carry her away.

Feelin’ so small,
At the bottom of the world,
Lookin’ up to God.

She tries to take deep breaths,
To smell the salty sea,
As it moves over her feet.

The water pulls so strong,
And no-one is around,
And the moon is looking down.

Sayin’,
Rosie – come with me,
Close your eyes – and dream.

The big ships are rollin’,
And lightin’ up the night,
And she calls out, but they just her pass by.

The waves are crashin’,
But not making a sound,
Just mouthing along.

Sayin’,
Rosie – come with me,
Close your eyes and dream,
Close your eyes and dream,
Close your eyes and dream.

Throw a Bunch of Thoughts into the Pot

sunshine in three days

It has been a very up-and-down three days since I released from the residential crisis center.  To start with, the weather has been crap, or (to be more accurate) severe, and I am tired of rain, tired of thunder, and very tired of keeping up with two dogs who suffer from varying degrees of thunder and storm phobia.  I told my mom I was going to order them and myself a doggie thundershirt.  Yes, they really are driving me that crazy (ier???).

After reading a friend’s post about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), I realized that some of my angst might be coming from a lack of sunlight, so I have my sunlamp blazing now, and I just pray it doesn’t throw me into a manic spiral.  It seems like the last month or so, I have experienced the true ick of rapid cycling, and to say it hasn’t been fun is an understatement.  Right now, this moment, I am desperate to feel just a little better, so in front of the sunlamp I will sit, until the bipolar devil on my left shoulder releases it’s talons from my flesh a bit.

I spoke with my peer mentor yesterday, and the conversation that I was worried about went just fine.  We are going to start meeting twice per week for 90 minutes each session, which is what I wanted.  She states that she never received any word that I was at the crisis house, including the Trust Quotes (9)voicemails I sent her and her unit secretary.  I don’t believe her.  I completely think she is lying, but it just shows that you can’t trust people.  Which is sad, because before all of that happened, I had been thinking about trusting her more than the average human being.  Now, I’m not so sure.  It isn’t easy for me to trust people in the first place, and my faith in people is easily lost.  What is different about me, is that I do give people many, many, many chances.  So, while I am not trusting her so much at the moment, she is going to get another chance.

Now that I have pushed through the suicidal ideation and self-harm thoughts of the past little while, I find I am stuck with huge spikes in my anxiety level.  I have spoken with a few people about it, and my therapist today even wanted me to go into the hospital.  I am not going into the hospital unless I am at a danger to harm myself, and I’m not, so therefore I will figure out the anxiety problem while I am living at home.

I’ve read a few interesting articles on evening anxiety, including this one because it talks directly about anxiety specifically in the evenings.  Every evening between four and five o’clock, I am having a very severe anxiety spike.  This has happened with regularity for over a week, since before I was in the crisis residence, and has happened at other times in my life as well.  I have a hard time when it gets dark outside, but its light at that time right now, although I do notice a further anxiety spike as the sun falls.  My mom and I jokingly have said for years that I have “sundowners,” which is a worsening of symptoms typical in Alzheimer’s patients at dusk.

Obviously I don’t have Alzheimer’s, but I have never been able to figure out why evenings are so difficult for me, other than maybe for trauma reasons.  I think it also has to do with my fear of the dark, which hasFear-of-the-Darkbecome more pronounced as I age for some reason.  Those little things that go “bump!” in the night…full body shiver.  I do believe all of that also relates to my issues with sleep and near-constant nightmares.  It is ALL related, I do believe.  I just have to figure out how to ease my unease.

 

image by listzblog.com

Does Pain End?

HOPE

link

Slightly better times are here, but not in permanent way.  I am still experiencing a tremendous amount of hopelessness, suicidality, despair, depression, overwhelming sadness, non-stop crying spells, mind-blowing anxiety.  What I have now that is different, is each day I can sometimes find a little pocket of time that is not destroyed or taken over by the monsters in my mind.

If I am really careful, I can stretch that little pocket of time upwards of an hour before the lows inside of my head start to drag me back down.  The past week, I have been able to get lost in some jewelry projects, good quality time with LarBear, entertaining online chats, Kizzie snuggles, and some magic in the kitchen.

Now that I have these pockets of positive time, it almost make things worse.  It’s like a tease — oh, here, you can feel semi-decent for an hour, but then it will be snatched right out of our hands and you will be back to fearing your own shadow and crying off all the makeup you so carefully applied and choking back sobs until you feel like you could vomit.

So I have my hour here and there, and I force myself to do things, creative things, hands-on things, fun things, in those short stretches of time.  Because they aren’t long pockets of time, the don’t always come everyday, and I may jump back and forth out of a “good pocket” several times in the course of one day.

I am lacking in the area of my brain where hope is created, and really do feel like this is probably going last half past forever.  Or really, that it will change, but only change inasmuch that it will be just a different version of Hell.  So, I posted the HOPE sign at the top, because that’s what I’m clinging on to with my shredded fingernails.

Pain ends, pain ends, pain ends.  I repeat it to myself over and over.  I don’t buy in, I don’t believe it, but I repeat, repeat, repeat.  Because deep down inside, there is hope that things will be better, and that itty bitty, tiny shred of REAL hope is all I have to hang on to, as far as thinking my mental health will some day ever be in “recovery” or “remission.”

Because really, I just don’t believe it.  I don’t think “recovery” or “remission” can be applied words to what is happening to my brain, and I’ve never been able to understand the use of those words on this particular disease.

 

 

Tweaking the Crazy Recipe

According to the experts at WP, it has been 10 days since my last post.  Now, mind you, I have considered updating on several occasions, but have been extremely BUSY and IMPORTANT doing things like sleeping extra hours, watching copious amounts of basketball, doing everything I could to avoid getting dressed or showering, severely curtailing any limited contact I already had with the outside world, and backing out of every appointment and engagement possible.  BUSY, I tell you!  IMPORTANT, I’m saying!

selfish

Anytime something seemed remotely threatening to the tiny scrap of sanity I clutched in my sweaty palms this week, my answer was to retreat to my bed.  Phone ringing?  Bed.  Text message?  Bed.  Appointment?  Cancellation, then bed.  People wanting to swing by?  Ignore phone call, avoid with text message, go to bed.  Mess in the kitchen?  Bed.  Time to start thinking about a shower, or brushing my hair, or dragging a toothbrush across my mouth?  Bed.

Ok.  Apparently everything was threatening to my sanity.  Figuring out meals was terrible.  I wasn’t ever hungry, and I can’t just feed anything to LarBear (who has Crohn’s disease), and he can’t cook.  Stress multiplied by three!  Multiply that by one more, because I couldn’t conceptualize food because it was too difficult to think of when I could barely think of how I was going to keep myself alive, going into the next hour.

Up until late last night, I was having very intense self-harm thoughts and urges.  I hadn’t had self-harm thoughts or urges in years, although suicidal ideation is always hovering near the surface for me.  But self-harm, like harming myself just to harm myself, just for the release?  Wow, it has really been awhile, and for the past couple of weeks it has been intense and it has been SURPRISING and nasty and terrible.  I have spent ridiculous amounts of time trying to remember how I “got over that shit the last time.”  Hahahah!  Sorry, that’s funny, if you’ve been there, you know that.

And the answer to that — “how did I get over that shit the last time?” is, well…I don’t remember.  It’s a myriad of things, I have decided, that “gets one over” it.  Because you’re not really “getting over” it.  You’re more tamping it down, so that you don’t see it or hear it (until next time, right?) anymore.  I don’t think this stuff is every going to REALLY go away.  Like, AWAY, away.  It gets buried under other stuff, prettier stuff, healthier stuff, better stuff…you know, until next time.  And hopefully, the next time is a really, really long time away.  I think that’s really all I can hope for.  That the next time isn’t, ya know, tomorrow or next week or even, say, March.

What I do know is that the first thing I must personally do in order to “get over” this stuff, is to be ACTIVE in my pursuit of other feelings.  The passive push-away does not work for me, in ridding myself of these bad thoughts.  So, today I sought out good feelings, and actively pushed away bad feelings.

And today, January 31st, was a better day.

I went to church and sang very loudly.

LarBear and I went for a long drive.

I ate good food that was also healthy.

I talked to a friend.

I set boundaries with someone I have been meaning to set.

I made positive plans for the future, near and far.

I am blogging.

I have set my mind against taking other people’s crap into my own mind.

I have promised myself to try and stay out of bed, as a coping mechanism.

These are the things I did today.  I have many more plans for the start of February, and definitely do expect that I *may* have some success, just as I expect I *may* have some setbacks.  Part of getting better is making a conscious decision to get better, and that is something that I CAN do, that I HAVE done, that I AM doing.

content with who i am prayer

 

 

 

 

(Escalation) — Trigger Warning

TRIGGER WARNING — mentioning of self-harm behaviors

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My anxiety level has been through the roof the last two days.  Yesterday, I went to a basketball game with my dad and LarBear, and totally lost my shit in front of an arena full of people.  I tried to calm down for awhile, sitting outside smoking a cigarette, and then sitting in a folding chair in the hallway.  I couldn’t calm down enough, with a combination of Klonopin PRN and talking to my mom and breathing exercises, and gave up and left the game mid-way through the second game.

I felt like a failure for not being able to go back into the game, but all I could say was, “I’m losing my shit” over and over.  I was shaking, my chest hurt, my mind raced ten times more than normal.  I was having a panic attack and nothing I did could make it subside.  Sometimes the only safe place is home.

And sometimes, home isn’t safe.  It’s been another day of high anxieties.  I noticed today that I have been using my gum floss pick to destroy my mouth.  And then sitting it down for five minutes, but having itchy fingers and picking it up over and over.  As I sat with anxiety higher than I could stand, I noticed my mouth was full of blood.

And so I picked away some more, because, DAMMIT, it felt good.  And bad.  And like SOMETHING, all at one time.

I did eventually point this out to LarBear, and he took them away, but my little secret is that I know where he hid them.  I’m not even thinking totally logically, because while I know its a bad idea, there is such a sense of relief.

I haven’t self-harmed in years, before this all started up again.  Its funny (oh except not-so-funny) how easy it is to fall back into old patterns.  Just the other day, I took all the skin off the pads of my fingers, just like I used to do in high school, because it was soothing.

That’s sick, people.  Removing skin from your body should not be soothing.  But it is.  Jabbing a sharp object into bleeding gums over and over should not be soothing, but it is.  I don’t want to devolve into some other self-harming behavior, namely bulimia, but I suppose anything is possible.

Life is so different than it used to be.  My support system is different, my day-to-day life is different, winter is different.  I have to adjust, I have to adapt.  I am having a hard time doing so.

I didn’t want to put this out there, this bit about self-harm, but I think if I am going to be truly honest (and I want to be), then I have to.

It’s something I’m going to bring up in my next therapy session and its something I will have to explain more to the LarBear.  Just because its happening doesn’t mean I need to go to the hospital.  I’m not at that level yet, and hopefully won’t get there.

Changes, changes, changes.  All things must change, and this is another one of those things that’s gotta go.  I am giving myself an atta girl for recognizing the problem, and now just need to focus on ways to avoid these problem behaviors.

 

max-depree-quote-stress-relief