My spine slumps, my shoulders sag, my neck aches, my arms are perceived by me as feeling far longer, as though they are weighted down like depression’s leaden version of mittens on the end of strings that dangle down the innards of the sleeves of your winter coat. The mittens are iron ones, not woollen. The weight is?….too much to carry; and the mittens make your body temperature cooler and chillier, bracingly so…not warmer and cosier.
There is nothing cosy about depression. Though the things I often do in response to low moods are to induce cosiness and warmth. I aim to de-frost, to do behaviours that are anti-freeze/anti-skid, to cope with the profound anti-climax of my new found melancholic demeanour.
I cuddle down under the squidgy comfort of the duvet. I tell my husband, don’t go out. I’m scared to feel this feeling alone. But he has to go. We need food for the week ahead and I know I am not up to that trauma. No crowds. No people. No pressure to make choices. No thanks. I call the girls upstairs.
I tell my eldest I’m not feeling good today. She cuddles me in and strokes the skin of my arm, giving me goosebumps which help me to feel something, albeit momentarily. We have a brief talk. I tell her I wish I wasn’t a Mummy who sometimes got poorly. She tells me I have no need to say sorry- that she understands and that is isn’t my fault and if I could choose to feel better I would. I squeeze her in to my body tighter, and feel grateful that I brought her up to be empathic and considerate of others. I also feel like my decision to tell my children I have mental health problems was a good one. They grow up understanding, taking it in their stride, with no need to worry about anything that is hush hush. There is no hush hush in this house. We are open to each other. We share our moods and our desires. We share our frustrations and disappointments. We share far more joy than pain, but we don’t stick our fingers in our ears and pretend the pain isn’t there. Then my youngest comes up and giggles. She clambers under the duvet at the foot end and creates a breeze by flapping the duvet up and down. That lightens the mood. I smile as much as I am able to.
I live with chronic illness. I have PTSD, and sometimes PTSD has me. Sometimes the BPD is something that evaporates, to the extent where I wonder if I still have it; then I’ll notice an anomaly, a symptom, a suffering, a unique kind of floaty feeling which clings only to me and me alone. I look to the others in my household and recognise the floatiness is all mine and very much separate to anything they might be feeling. I feel mostly glad and grateful they don’t feel it. One person feeling it is plenty enough for one household. Though sometimes I wish I wasn’t the only one.
In my home I am the 1 in 4.
In life in general I am also the 1 in 4.
I am a census statistic. I am a mentally unwell statistic. I am a NHS identifying number. I am two diagnostic codes that spell out s.u.f.f.e.r.i.n.g. I am someone who can function well in so many ways whilst simultaneously doing private battle with suicidal ideation. Sometimes I will say “I feel suicidal ideation today”. Sometimes I will even post that on a Facebook status in the interests of suicide awareness.
I hurt badly. I seek solace under the duvet. I now sit and type in my husband’s dressing gown.
I think about death a lot, a lot of the time. Not because I necessarily want death. I want life far more than I want death. But still the thought of death lingers. A symptom of depression is a morbid fascination with death and dying. In my darkest moments I wanted to make suicide attempts just so I knew what it felt to die.
I remember my closest near death experience, post-overdose. I loved it. Honestly I did. This is not an endorsement of attempting suicide, by the way. Hell no. This is not an encouragement of other people playing Russian roulette with their life. What other people do is their business-their life-their responsibility. It is simply an honest admission of how it felt to be near death when I was suffering a great deal.
Death is on my mind particularly so today.
I know why that is. It is April. This is my peak time of the year for suicidality.
It is very much at the forefront.
I am glad I survived my attempts. But I will never forget the feeling of wanting to die and trying hard to make that a reality. Never again can you be the same after getting to that point in life. N.E.V.E.R.
So today I float around in Neverland…feeling glad I am NOT Peter Pan. The idea of a perpetual childhood is horrifying. It was all horrifying. I do want to grow up. I do want the bad dream to stop.
I have a mission to fulfil, and I can only fulfil that mission alive, not dead. So I hide and rest and float and mentally escape in whatever measly way I can-no matter how ineffective it proves to me. The point is I try and I’ll always try. I feel and I’ll always feel. I hope and I’ll always hope. I grow and I’ll always grow. I change and I’ll always change. I’ll decide what is best for me, and not let anyone determine anything for me. I can manage. I will cope. I will survive. I choose life. I choose hoping. I don’t pray.
Prayers are not answered-effort is.
The more effort I engage the more I will overcome. It isn’t down to anyone but me. I will self-determine positive outcomes for myself, and I will look back on these duvet days and marvel at my ability to hang on through the relentless crap.
No matter where that crap comes from-from inside or from outside, I’ll overcome it.
I’ll take all the duvet days I need.
A mighty crop can grow from a single seed.
On positivity I’ll feed.
And I’ll never feel bad for obtaining exactly what I need.
What I need today is the cosy warmth of my anti-iron mitten depression-neutralising feather down duvet.
The selfie below is what depression looks like. Unfiltered.
#Borderline Personality Disorder #Depression #Suicide #Self-harm #Survivor