I feel good today. Yipee! Yesterday everything turned around in the way only a borderliner can understand. My life changes itself around rapido.
‘I am ill I am ill I am ill……I am well’! Just like that.
There is NO CONSTANT. The only constant for me and others like me is variation and variability and highs and lows and occasional plateaus, but I am not a middle line person. My borderline is really two lines. I have a happy buzzy line and a depressed slumping fed up with life line. I don’t operate on the middle line of neutral. There is no neutral!
I am fifth gear cruising on easy street or I am kangaroo petrolling it down a disused roller-coastering mood track.
Hold onto your hats. Summer was feeling shite, but now she is shining and sparkling and glimmering and shimmering once more.
Yesterday was a day of transformation. Two things that needed to happen for me to return to a state of OK-ness actually did happen, so now I’m ok (!) Simple! and all the mental health relapse jazz is forgotten like it never even happened.
‘All good here. Nothing to see. No rubber necking required. No mental health mood crash wreckages to slow down and gawp at. I’m in one piece. I’m fine. I’m ok. It’s all good. No problemo!’
The two things were:
a. getting my new prescription with the adjusted doses and taking them
b. a re-stablising chin wag on the phone with my psychologist
All sorted :) I felt better immediately when those two things happened, and I was insistent they happened asap as I knew that was all I needed to happen to rescue me out of the mood wreakage that once was.
My awful day of suicidal and self-harm wishes was I know realise due to the fact I mistakingly didn’t take my anti-depressant! I thought I had, but counting the tablets yesterday realised I hadn’t, so I feel far less bonkers now I know that as I have a sensible explanation.
No wonder I felt suicidal and wanting to self-harm with the tension. My brain chemistry was fucked! I hadn’t taken my Seroxat. Phew. Seroxat is an SSRI that needs to be taken exactly at the same time every day because of something mysterious and psychiatric known as ‘half life’. The half life of Seroxat is short, which means it is metabolised quickly by the body and when the body runs out of Seroxat juice, it enters full scale brain panic. My serotonin was VERY angry with me that day, which meant it punished me with suicidal tension just to get back to me. ‘Cheers serotonin’
Taking the tablets constantly is absolutely essential. It’s your brain you’re messing with after all- and the brain of a human is kind of important I’d say.
To maintain good mental health, medication (if you take it) has to be constant in dosage and timings, and it is also a huge bonus if you can maintain constancy with particular people who help you when you’re distressed.
Human constancy and predictability is hugely crucial when you have the kind of psychological situation that I have; ie. you have traits of Borderline (or Emotionally Unstable) Personality Disorder. We need constancy in an in-constant world.
I needed to speak to my psychologist on the phone inbetween appointments this week and last week because they have both been challenging weeks. On easier weeks where my coping ability is better or there is less circumstantial life pressure then I can tolerate the gaps without contact and emotionally fend for myself far easier. But on challenging weeks this is fairly impossible without my emotional state deteriorating at quite a rapid pace.
I am always driven to want contact when things are going particularly well for me, and also when things are going particularly shit. I like contact with my psychologist at these points of extremes, and as I’ve already explained, I am quite an extreme person who spends a considerable time on the two opposing poles of depression and mild hypomania, so I crave contact fairly often inbetween appointments so I can get that constant feeling to help me manage the ups and downs.
I apologised to her yesterday as I admitted I felt bad for being so demanding of her time and attention lately. She said there was no need to apologise, but I did anyway because I don’t like to feel reliant. It makes me feel nervous and inferior and uncomfortable and uneasy. I still struggle with feelings of shame and inferiority when I experience strong needs for wanting the soothing contact of other humans. I don’t wish to be dependent on anyone, especially people from the NHS. I imagine in my head that I am the worst patient they have ever had in their very long careers, and they all secretly hate me and are plotting to discharge me asap so they can find some kind of happiness in their jobs again! LOL!
These are seriously the self-depreciating (bordering on paranoid) thoughts I have. I have an awareness that they are [hopefully] irrational assumptions with no actual basis, and I accept these fears are what my mind concoct rather than a true representation of reality. I think things such as these people would not speak to me or have anything to do with me unless they were paid to. And on one level that is accurate and correct as I only have relationships and contact with these people because I am a patient under their care. However that doesn’t mean that they necessarily HATE me and despise every second spent communicating with me! Maybe they do actually care. Maybe I am a likable person in their eyes, someone who they want to help. Stranger things have happened!
Lately I am beginning to believe that my NHS care team do care for me (which admittedly sounds like a pretty odd thing to say), but it has seriously taken me a VERY VERY long time to believe that ANYONE would care or me and like me and want to help me with no ulterior motive.
I am an adult human product of an abusive childhood. Affection was conditional and I was resented, particularly by my mum, for daring to need her. My mum had her own psychological baggage weighing her down, so she couldn’t deal with my emotions on top. Anytime I would express my vulnerability I was made to feel guilty for causing stress on her shoulders. My pain made her feel bad and “affected her nerves” as she put it. My mum was and still is undiagnosed Borderline. I told her before our relationship broke down that I strongly believe she has the same disorder that I do, which she vehemently denied and felt very offended by the mere suggestion of.
My upset became a source of deep shame. I felt guilty anytime I wasn’t happy because I felt that was letting her down. This dynamic still plays out in my relationships with my NHS care team. I still feel I am letting them down when I deteriorate for a short while. I feel fear that they will reject me and shame me for it and point out my failings and think to themselves I am a demanding patient and they wish they didn’t have to care for me cause I’m a pain in the arse. I am reacting to them as though the whole world is like my mum was. I do my psychologist and psychiatrist an unfair disservice though as I believe they don’t care and can’t possibly care and they are just acting with me to conceal their annoyance at my whole personality. The annoyance must be there surely? There must be deep resentment they are concealing, surely? But they do care, I just have difficulty taking that in.
Yesterday my psychologist reassured me I had not let anyone down by being depressed lately and having the self harm urges and suicidal thinking return. She said it was inevitable that sometimes I would feel this way, and it doesn’t take away from all the positive mental health recovery progress I’ve made. She reminded me I was interviewed for the telly only last Friday!…doing wonderful things to try and ease the way for others by openly telling my story to banish stigma. I am not useless and a human failure just because I needed to send an email to them when I was in state of extreme psychological despair saying ‘I am slipping fast. I need help. Please help me.’ That is brave, not weak, and demonstrates self-awareness.
She said it is natural I turn to her because she is my constant who knows me best and has been with me all the way through this journey of diagnosis, treatment, breakdown and then the full rebuild mission. It is OK to want or need a constant so she says. Talking to strangers who have no prior context of where you’re at in the bigger picture is harder. I am fortunate I have two people who have been with me through it all. (Since 2013.) CPNS have been and gone and counsellors, but at least I have those two constant people.
Dr Cautious (my psychiatrist) and me tend to disagree on many things and have different philosophies on life, her believing I need restraint to stay well, me wanting to rebel and resist against that and get over to her that my non-depressed personality is notably hypothymic (buzzy and positive and productive, and not an indicator of insight-less hypomania) , but at least I have enjoyed the constant of her predictably cautious approach to my recovery and her fears for any times when I non-depressed personality comes out, believing it will inevitably end in tears. I expect her to fear for me whenever I get excited about things and she knows I will ignore every cautious word she says and this is how the Dr/patient relationship plays out. I am stubborn as a mule and she has learned to temper everything she says to try and be more accepting of my viewpoint because she know I am feisty and will shake my head at her (to me ridiculous doubting pessemistic comments). I can honestly say I have thoroughly enjoyed our four year power struggle. It’s been an absolute ball ;) I will miss our friendly fights lots when I’m discharged :P
And my clever psychologist lady has become the most important of all professionals in my care team and helps me more than anyone else does. I told her this yesterday on the phone and she got all modest because she is probably concerned I am idealising her (another BPD thing-YAWN). I have the most contact with her throughout the last four years and she knows me in a therapist patient way very closely. She has witnessed my full evolution as a human being since entering treatment.
I saw her for about a year at the beginning, then I fell out with her :P then I entered psychological treatment with another therapist who was fab, then I fell out with her (CAN ANYONE ELSE SEE THIS PATTERN?!) then I resumed with the original lady I can’t remember how long ago but I think it’s well over a year now.
You know you have a firm therapeutic alliance with someone where you start to feel you don’t have to count the number of sessions as you know they will be there for you if you need them and not just throw you out onto the streets after a set number of apppointments. I continue to see her (and have had shed loads of previous psychological therapy because my PD and PTSD is on the severe end of the spectrum).
I asked my previous therapist how serious my psychological problems were relative to other patients, and she said they were very significant, but what you’d expect given a childhood trauma background like mine. I took that to mean SUMMER YOU ARE EXTREMELY FUCKEDUP.
I have therefore come a long way in 18 months as my psychological issues were severe, so my starting point was I was a hugely emotionally damaged person. I am now faring very well relative to others with my diagnoses, so my recovery, and the extent of this change and improvement is very impressive (to me and them). I feel proud of that, really proud :) I’ve worked hard for this. Therapy is bloody hard. No lie. It is hard to confront yourself. But so rewarding if you stick at it.
Having the human constants throughout the last four years has been hugely important and beneficial to me, and I know not everyone seeking professional help has mental health professionals that are with them the entire way through from diagnosis to discharge. I am very very lucky. I am also lucky as I have had all of this for free on the NHS. I feel massively grateful for the NHS care I get. I have complained bitterly about them at times, particularly about the crisis team, but the way my care is now I am massively grateful :)
If you cannot find a constant professional in your life to be there for you, an an alternative, try and seek out those informal constants of friends or family members who are consistently supportive and avoid those who are not. Seek positive constancy and it will benefit your recovery.
Wobbly people like me need constant people like you.
I am sharing this ace film from the Mighty about what we want you to know, and how you can help us by being that human constant in our life to help us weather our inner storms.
Take care, and stay well x