So, this is an interesting one for me. Many times throughout my life I have tried to start a blog, only either to give up almost immediately, or wish that I had a few years down the line (ah, teenagehood…).
I had never, however, been as anonymous as I intend to remain on here – certainly for now, at the very least.
An introduction post in my past foreys into the world of blogging would be full of superfluous information about myself, and who I am; “Hi, my name is [REDACTED], my pronouns are she/her and I’m *insert age here* (I’m 21, for the zero people who asked) and I like these things and also here’s my face! :).” After all, how do you acquire readers for your blog if you don’t start with the couple of loved ones you’ve still got who might, juuuust might, indulge you if you offer to bring them coffee later?
Upon reflection, however, I think that’s a large component of why I always gave up once I was past the age of thirteen, when trying to ‘take this seriously’. Because I couldn’t say what I wanted to say freely – after all, who could find it? Who could end up reading it? What did I say? Will they find something they’re not supposed to see? What could the repercussions of that be? What have I even said on there, again? Oh God.
Ah, yes. Good ol’ fashioned paranoia, coupled up with their mischievous little imp of a sidekick, social anxiety. What joy.
So, instead, all you shall see for now are my words. I’m sure you’re just bound to the edge of your seat right now to see what on earth this unidentified, unfocused and unstable stranger has to say, aren’t you? Well, that’s alright; I don’t expect you to be. But hey, it’s 2021, lockdown has resumed (in the UK, at the very least, and in many other places also)…what else have any of us got to do besides gambling on random sources of time-suck, right?
All sarcasm aside, my intention with this tiny little space I’ve claimed for myself within the vast, never-ending interwebs is to share some of my experiences day to day as I struggle trying to pull apart my own brain, hoping to ‘peek and tweak’ what’s inside it. And I hope in doing so that someone – even one person – can find something that resonates with them within it. Maybe a nugget of insight they didn’t have before. Maybe an ‘a-ha’ moment that inspires one of your own. Maybe just the sheer comfort of company within mutual misery, but without the sometimes agonizing vulnerable intimacy that usually accompanies it.
Or maybe it’s a casual read before you, I don’t know… scroll down Instagram for several hours (bonus points if you do so while dissociative as all hell), make yourself a superfluous amount of toast for no particular reason at 4am, and crawl into bed to ‘spend time with yourself’ (*coughs*… ahem…) for the sheer thrill of it being something to feel while you’re alone. Or perhaps that’s just me, and I’ve revealed far too much about myself. I guess we’ll never know…
Whatever it may be that’s kept you here this long – thank you. I appreciate it.
“So… what made you decide to do this? What led you here?” (TW: Suicide, Crisis, Hospitalisation, Police Intervention, Sectioning)
Well… to put it bluntly, what led me here is not only my past lifetime of instability and mental illness (yes, I do mean that literally; I promise I’m not just being melodramatic), but more specifically my past several months of crisis. And by crisis, I mean a loooooooot of suicide attempts, Home Treatment Team phonecalls, moving homes, and many, many, many instances of police having to send out their forces to find me and whisk me to hospital. All of this reached a head in late November after several instances, starting in July from my family home, when I was found in the woods by an entire squadron of police, their dogs and literal drones flying overhead to locate me, before I fell unconscious. Following on from this, they Section 136d me, which led to me being put on a Section 2 and sent to an acute psychiatric ward for 4 weeks.
I mean… fuck 2020, am I right?
But even if 2020 hadn’t been the absolute dumpster fire of a year it was for so many of us, I suspect much of this would have happened anyway. It’s hard to say… but after 9 years of being headed down this suicidal road, it seems somewhat inevitable.
“So,” you might be wondering; “If this is a blog [predominantly] about your experiences with mental illness, and you even ended up on a psych ward, why have you gone into precisely zero detail about what you’re actually dealing with? What have you got?” A pretty reasonable question, I’d say – so let me explain as best I can.
(TW: BPD/EUPD; Paranoia; Dissociation)
My primary working diagnosis is probably one of the most heavily stigmatized, most infamously despised out there in the mental health world – I have Borderline / Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, coloquially referred to as BPD / EUPD. For those who don’t know, both are the same condition; therefore I’m going to stick with BPD, despite this technically being ‘out of date’, purely for the sake of clarity since it’s more familiar term for most. There are nine key symptoms of BPD, of which I have either eight or the full nine, depending on slightly differing definitions.
The most obvious of these – as the alternate name implies – is emotionally instability (and intensity). I mean, hell, it’s the one I based the entire name and tagline of the blog around; everything points to chaos because that’s all I know. Moderate levels of emotion? The ability to regulate said emotions? Not going off the rails at 0-100 over something I probably won’t even remember a week later? Who’s she? I don’t know her.
The others, however, are as follows:
- Fear of abandonment
- Unstable relationships
- ‘Splitting’ – which is when someone snaps (kind of like a light switch) from ‘Oh, this person is amazing and so loving and caring and everything is wonderful and they’re perfect’ to ‘This person is so selfish and uncaring and has never loved me and never will…’ You get the gist. Yikes. It’s messy.
- Impulsive & self-destructive behaviours. The classic face of this is somebody who might drink a lot, use drugs, engage in unsafe sex etc. – a point which I used to deny my having the condition for years! – but these aren’t the only examples of impulsive and self-destructive behaviour. I’ll… get back to some of that stuff later in this post. This also includes self-harm and suicidal behaviour
- Explosive anger (ties into the instability and intensity thing and is also not particularly condusive to super awesome relationships with people).
- A tumultuous sense of self – frequently being uncertain of who you actually are; the person’s self-image and self-perception may change rapidly at times.
- Chronic feelings of emptiness – feeling numb, or like a void, when not feeling a super intense emotion as opposed to a simple feeling of average ‘contentment’ – a feeling that someone might try to overcompensate for with risky behaviours.
- Feeling suspicious/paranoid/detached from reality. Now, I’ve seen different websites define this one in different ways. Some describe this in a way that essentially refers to experiences of psychosis – something I am fortunate enough not to have any experience with. On the other hand, some describe this in ways that refer more to paranoia and dissociation – two things I do have a great deal of experience with on a daily basis, if paranoia is to be understood not in the sense that aludes to psychosis. This is why I said whether I have eight or nine of the ‘nine key symptoms’ is dependent on different definitions of the thing. Blagh. It’s complicated, I know.
Another thing to note – although it isn’t a ‘symptom’ or diagnostic criteron, per se – is that many (but not all) people’s BPD is triggered by some kind of trauma. It can be a more traditional picture of trauma and traumatic events, or can be a build up of ‘less acute’ trauma over time, as opposed to obvious, stand-out traumatic events.
In the future I’ll go more in depth with my own personal experiences with this roster… but unfortunately, a lot of people’s mental illnesses come with fun little co-morbid conditions, and I am no exception to this (yippee.). I already briefly joked about my social anxiety, and depression is in of itself a significant part of BPD (in a similar way to it being a significant part of bipolar disorder, which has similarities with BPD but is very much not the same), but this conveniently leaves one rather hefty stone unturned.
As I mentioned in my delightful little bullet point list a moment ago, one of the symptoms of BPD (that I do experience) is impulsive and, perhaps more relevantly to what I’m about to explain, self-destructive behaviour. I also stated that I do not fit the ‘traditional’, stereotypical image of said behaviour; in fact, I am intentionally tee-total to avoid this as I fear for what could happen were I not to. But that’s not to say I don’t engage in impulsive and self-destructive behaviour – and not all, but a great big chunk of mine revolves around… food.
(TW: Eating Disorders; Diabetes; Diabulimia)
“So,” you might think, reading this, “is she about to tell me she’s got bulimia, anorexia, or binge eating disorder maybe?” Well… I mean, in some ways, little bits and pieces of all three. But it’s a little more specific than that.
Another fun little tidbit of information about me is that I’m a Type 1 Diabetic – the type that, for the record, has literally nothing to do with lifestyle or diet, ta very much (although let’s be clear: let’s not shame Type 2 Diabetics either, thanks). One day, after I caught a cold or something, my white blood cells looked at the beta cells in my pancreas and went ‘Time for war :)’. And the rest was history.
This, however, must seem completely bloody irrelevant to anything I said before it. Bear with me. As I’ve had to explain to mental health professionals what feels like a thousand and one times, they’re very closely related. A lot of diabetics sadly develop eating disorders, for a whole host of reasons… to the point where there is in fact a specific eating disorder a lot of diabetics face that others physically cannot: diabulimia.
Now, the name does a pretty decent job at indicating what this might be about: diabetes + bulimia = voila! Preeeeetty much exactly what you’re thinking. Diabulimia has a lot in common with bulimia, or anorexia binge-purge type (depending from person to person, of course), but with one pretty crucial difference: the focal method of ‘purging’ is instead restricting insulin intake.
“That makes no sense… what does that have to do with ‘purging’?” Well. If someone is to have continually high blood sugars, this causes the release of ketones. This can lead to ketoneacidosis (which, let me make this unequivocally clear: you do not want.) But whether it does or it doesn’t, one of the key side effects – y’know, if we’re to ignore all the horrendous physical symptoms and potential irrevocable physical damage it does (gotta love it!) – is weight loss. Or, at the very least, a prevention of weight gain.
From there, you can probably put two and two together. Oh, and on the anonymity thing again – yeah, this is the condition which makes that absolutely fucking essential more than any other. A lot of people in my life don’t know about this, and I, for a plethora of very complicated reasons, have no intentions of changing that.
I feel like that’s probably a pretty good place to end this one for now. I have a habit of going on for far too long and being clear, concise and chronological is far from being a strong suit of mine. In future, I’ll go into more depth about my own experiences (otherwise this whole debacle would be pretty damn pointless, right?). But yeah. There’s the overview. I sell myself well, huh.
All the ‘Hi, I’m super ill lmao’ stuff aside, I’m also a 21 year old who graduated university during quarantine, I’m a great big flaming lesbian, and I like listening to music, singing and playing instruments, video games, reading and writing (particularly poetry) and all that jazz. On that note, I’m also a pretty big fan of musicals. There ya go – the jovial bit came in at the clutch at the end. After all, people with mental illness are still people, right? Ya gotta at least try not to splice your struggle and your identity together too tightly…
If you’ve read this far along, then I don’t really know what to say besides ‘thank you’. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing, as you can probably tell. But I hope I can go somewhere with this – maybe even in the direction of surviving, or maybe even healing a little bit. And I hope you, whoever you are out there in the ether (if there is anyone here), can survive and heal alongside with me. I hope I can do my little bit to help you through all the bullshit every once in a while.
With a virtual hug or a preferred alternative, I sign off for now. Take care of yourself, lovely. ❤ x