In My Head *Trigger Warning: Self-Harm*

***Trigger warning: Self-Harm***

The rage bubbles up like a once dormant volcano about to explode. There is nothing I can do fast enough to stop the feeling and I feel the warmth on my skin and the ringing in my ears- it’s going to happen; I am about to lose control. The rage inside me is hard to explain; it’s like an untamed wild animal that is trapped in a cage. There is nothing that necessarily provokes me; just everything and nothing all at once. As I break out of this cage, I feel more able to control what is going on in my head but I know that that is a lie.

The ringing in my ears isn’t even ringing, it is just a constant buzzing like bees swirling my head with their stingers at the ready. The warmth in my face is so hot that I feel like my skin is bubbling like cheese on a hot skillet. My stomach drops. I feel nothing and everything at once and I feel like I am plummeting down a roller coaster; no twists and turns, just a straight free fall. And then it hits me. I am watching my body punch the walls and release some of the rage. It’s like I just paid the matinee price on a Sunday afternoon. I am watching my body react like an Oscar winning movie except I am not dressed for the occasion. I watch myself punch walls and I can hear the bangs in my ears but I can’t stop my fist from punching.

As soon as the rage hits me, embarrassment and shame follow; kind of like my shadow at high noon. They follow me around taunting me and poking me; egging me on. The shame runs so deep that my mind goes to dark places. Part of my brain is telling me to hurt myself and the other part of my brain says that I am stronger than this; however, I don’t know which part of my brain is right. My thoughts bounce back and forth like a tennis match- back and forth, back and forth.

As the night draws to a close, my emotional level is low and I feel numb. I am literally in an emotional collapse. My body has gone from being revved up to being numb. I feel nothing. I watch the rest of the night just like I did with the matinee before but this time I don’t want to be a part of this movie. I am just too tired; the rage has come and drained what was left of me for the night and I start to fall asleep. I start to drift in and out of consciousness and when I wake in the morning I realize that I made the choice to live another day.

Until next time,

Allison

*If you are having suicidal thoughts text 741741 to talk to someone.

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Thump, Thump… Thump, Thump… Thump, Thump… Beeeeeep…

The air escapes from my lungs at the sight of you; I finally can breathe. I have been holding my breath for too long. Just the sight of your face and your presence is enough for my broken heart to start beating again. It has been such a long and hard break that I haven’t been able to breathe since I saw you last.

No, I am not in love with you. And no, I don’t have any desire to be. I do love you but in a very different way. In your presence I can feel safe and I feel like I matter. My husband and my children make me feel solid but there are so many other places in my life that are empty and I cannot fill this void on my own with self-love and compassion; it is just too hard. When I am with you, I just feel more complete.

You may not know the extent of how much you mean to me. Everyday that goes by is one day closer to the end- the part where we say goodbye. I know you understand how I feel- I feel like everyone leaves me and I know you will be next. Not because I can’t be with you but because I don’t need to be with you and you need to move on to someone else.

I see that I am getting better and when I get better, we will see less of each other. You warned me that by doing so well, I may turn on myself and start sabotaging my own successes. Not on purpose you say. And I know that you are right but the shame of doing well and then starting over is too much.

I want to take that step forward- I swear I do. I want to know that I can stay in this state of stability. I want to make sure I can breathe on my own and that my heart, no matter how broken, will still beat without you.

With much love and respect,

Allison

May is Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month. Let Me Educate You.

May is Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month and I thought that now was the time to open up and bare it all- I don’t have anything to lose.

I feel like this blog is important to write because it will give you insight on my disorder and perhaps make you aware of the issues that I deal with every minute of every day.

I know what you are thinking, ‘it can’t always be like this,’ and you are partially right. However, know this, my mind and my actions drift through this disorder like a ship during a hurricane with a side of tsunami. The only way I make it safely to land is through hard work, skills and my amazing therapist. I practice DBT Skills every day. DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy. There are major skills that go into DBT in order for me to try to live the greatest life possible.

According to the Mayo Clinic, Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness has the following symptoms. I am putting the symptoms in bold, and then explaining to you how these symptom affect me.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • An intense fear of abandonment, even going to extreme measures to avoid real or imagined separation or rejection -BPD does develop even before you are able to talk and abandonment is my biggest fear. If I feel like I screwed up in a relationship, even if it is a strong relationship like me and my husband, I automatically assume he will leave and divorce me. It’s not once and a while, it’s a fear that is ongoing in my home life but is also evident in my daily work life as well.
  • A pattern of unstable intense relationships, such as idealizing someone one moment and then suddenly believing the person doesn’t care enough or is cruel – My most stable relationship, and one that I am forever thankful for is my husband, Joe. However, my other relationships usually end on a bad note, either I get too clingy or I get scared and push away. Either way, the outcome is usually the same which is that the relationship ended on bad terms.
  • Rapid changes in self-identity and self-image that include shifting goals and values, and seeing yourself as bad or as if you don’t exist at all -This is something that I fight with everyday. I view myself as an unworthy, bad person. I don’t know my own identity. I tend to take on my surroundings like a chameleon in the rainforest. The rainforest is the world and I am a chameleon that doesn’t know what color to be because I just want to fit in. I don’t feel like I even fit in with myself.
  • Periods of stress-related paranoia and loss of contact with reality, lasting from a few minutes to a few hours -I catastrophize every and all situations. If Joe goes to work, I think he will die in the 1.2 mile car ride there. To give a more extreme example is that I also have PTSD from an active shooter drill that my school made us participate in in 2013. It has been five years since that drill but everyday I kiss my own kids goodbye, for what I think will be the last time, because I think they will die at their school. When I would walk into my school I would take a big breath in thinking that this would indeed be my last day. Part of that is the paranoia and a giant part of it is the PTSD but either way, it gives you a glimpse into how I think.
  • Impulsive and risky behavior, such as gambling, reckless driving, unsafe sex, spending sprees, binge eating or drug abuse, or sabotaging success by suddenly quitting a good job or ending a positive relationship -So, yeah, I drive recklessly especially when I am angry. I pray to God that another driver will kill me in the process because I don’t have the guts to do it on my own and I don’t think I am worthy enough to live. However, I am aware enough not to do this with my kids in the car because I love them too much. I also enjoy drinking, sometimes in excess. And it’s not because I like to be wasted but I use this as a coping mechanism. I use it as an escape. I need to escape and this is how I do it. Luckily, in this category I only have those two things. I am fortunate enough that I made the decision to only have one partner. I was a virgin when I got married and that was a conscious and religious choice and I am glad I followed through because that is something I am proud of. I don’t gamble because teachers don’t have money. I have never even tried drugs and never had the desire to so that’s out. I do spend money but not to excess and if you checked out this body, you would see that I like binge eating.
  • Suicidal threats or behavior or self-injury, often in response to fear of separation or rejection -This is a sensitive subject for anyone but one that still needs to be talked about despite the uncomfortableness of the subject. I do a lot of things that fall under self-harm. It’s not that I necessarily want to die, it’s that the pain inside me is so severe that self-harming is a way to feel. It’s hard to explain but it’s like feeling like I am dead inside already and I do it to feel any type of life within me. Last year, I got a tattoo on my wrist to remind me to Just Breathe. It’s a way to help me drop that pill bottle when the pain gets to overwhelming and the demons in my head tell me that I am not good enough anyway. (The demons are metaphorical… I don’t actually hear voices. )
  • Wide mood swings lasting from a few hours to a few days, which can include intense happiness, irritability, shame or anxiety -Yes, I am all of these things. I could be in the best mood and something will trigger something so deep within me that I snap into a whirlwind of other emotions. I have many triggers but to give you an idea of how quickly, and what you would think is so minor, something can set me off, is actually being called stupid. When I was younger, I wasn’t good at school, not because I didn’t try but because I was labeled as stupid. I was taught that I would never be smart, especially at math or science and that’s how I grew up, with a label so simple and so hurtful as, stupid. And that word sends me into a blind rage.
  • Ongoing feelings of emptiness-I am basically Swiss cheese. I have so many holes that are empty and they long to be filled and I am just not able to fill them on my own. I tend to look towards others to understand and to realize if I am worthy enough. And even if that validation is given to me, the moment and the feeling is fleeting and the hole returns. I have to learn to fill it for myself which is what therapy is for and why I depend on such an amazing therapist. She helps me to fill in my holes with love and validation and I can depend on her.
  • Inappropriate, intense anger, such as frequently losing your temper, being sarcastic or bitter, or having physical fights -Well, you all know I am sarcastic if you read my blogs or if you know me in real life. A lot of people say that they can’t take me seriously because of my sarcasm but what regular people don’t know is that my sarcasm is my defense mechanism. I need to beat you to the proverbial punch in the face. I insult myself before you have a chance. Then onto anger, I am angry person. I rage. I throw things and if I am really mad I will leave the house just to keep myself from raging in front of my family. Don’t worry, Joe is with the kids. But I don’t want to be that person and because of my intense therapy, I have become so much better. My levels of rage have diminished and I am like a new person. I can’t thank my therapist enough.

I want to thank you for reading about me and for taking the time to educate yourself. I am not a crazy person but a person who has a deep fear of abandonment and emptiness. It will take a lifetime of healing and patience but I am in this for life. I can’t give up now because I want to see tomorrow.

Until next time,

Allison

If you are suffering and are thinking about harming yourself, please call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

All information was from: http://www.mayoclinic.org.

Trigger Warning: Suicide

I just wanted to give everyone a fair warning that this blog is going to be straight up honest and blunt.

I have a mental illness. I am not shy about sharing it because I hope that it will help others be brave enough to share or to get the help and support they need.

In case you are wondering, this is what I have: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Depression and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I basically am like a buffet of issues- a little of this and a little of that. It’s like going to a Chinese buffet that has pizza and chicken nuggets.

Either way, I have discovered something about mental illness that made me so angry that I can’t be silent anymore. I was asked today why I am on intermittent FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act).

I am on FMLA because of my PTSD which was a direct result of an active shooter drill that one of the high schools did where I used to work. The school I worked at brought in three men with assault rifles, shot up the school with blanks and they had people banging on the door screaming to let them in because the ‘shooter had a gun and we are going to fucking die.’

So yeah, getting up and going to work is hard because I am going to a place that doesn’t feel safe and although feelings can feel real, they are usually not true. And as much as my mind understands that, my PTSD and Trauma brain does not.

When I was questioned about it today, I was open and honest. I mean I write a blog for God’s sake. But then this person, who is extremely kind but I feel like doesn’t realize how they come off, said that they ‘understand people that are on FMLA because they need medical treatment but they…

And that’s when it hit me. I told this person that just because this other persons pain is physical and can be seen, doesn’t mean that my disability doesn’t exist because it can’t be seen.

And that’s when I realized, in order for people to believe that you are in fact sick, you have to have physical problems. So it makes me sad but I believe the only way people will know that I suffer and that I am sick is if I self-harm and develop physical scars or if I just can’t put up with life anymore and decide to kill myself.

So do all of us who have mental illness a favor and believe that we are suffering. Believe that we are hurting. Believe that we are scared. Believe that we are triggered. Believe us when we say that we are trying to get better.

We don’t ask someone with cancer to show the results of the tests that changed their lives forever. You don’t ask a diabetic to show their pricked finger or their empty needles. You don’t ask a person in a wheelchair to walk just to be sure that they would fall. Why is mental illness different? I am fighting battles that you will never know anything about and for that I am brave. For that, we are all brave.

Until next time,

Allison

If you are suicidal and need someone to talk to, contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

A List of Clichés That Make Me Want to Punch You.

People are getting on my nerves so I have developed a list for the people that don’t have a mental illness. Study it. There will be a test douche bag.

Here is a list of what not to do with someone with depression or, in my case, Borderline Personality Disorder:

1) I don’t want you to tell me that I have a good life. I have eyes asshole, I know that I have a good life.

2) Don’t ask me what is wrong and then when I say ‘nothing’… don’t act like something is wrong anyway. It’s just my bitch face.

3) And even if it’s not my bitch face, did you ever think that I don’t want to share my feelings with you because I am sick of hearing myself talk about why I don’t understand why I am depressed? Or maybe it’s that I don’t feel like hearing your broken record telling me that, ‘I should be happy.’

4) Don’t tell me that if I exercise, I will feel better. When would you like me to do that? Between my full time job, being a mom or going to therapy three times a week? When I am not doing the above, I want to do something for me and that is not the gym. And why is it not the gym? Because the gym smells like sadness and despair.

5) Don’t tell me that things will get better in time. Shut. Up. Like seriously, do you have a book of clichés?

6) Don’t tell me to use therapeutic skills. Do you know what I want to do when I am in a rage of emotion? It’s not to use skills… it’s to do the opposite. It is just to sit there and wonder why the hell I have to be the one to use skills to regulate emotions. Maybe you need to use skills because you are pissing me off.

7) Don’t tell me that if I eat better, I will feel better from the inside out. I will tell you what will make me feel better. It’s a few eggrolls, a whole pizza and ice cream, you clean, eating, health hippie. Go hug a tree while eating granola.

8) Don’t tell me that I am thinking too emotionally. You know why? Because I can’t control my emotions… that is part of being a Borderline you ass.

9) Don’t tell me to take a deep breath. I will tell you why, because when I take a deep breath, it only helps me to channel my energy into pummeling you to the ground.

10) Don’t tell me to enjoy what is around and take in the moment. I want to get out of the moment and I want to run. I want to run but I am fat because I don’t exercise because of my emotions which is part of my disorder which is part of who I am which is part of what I can’t control which is why I have my problems in the first place, hence the therapy. Jerk.

So, remember people… think before you speak. Don’t give us the clichés. Just sit with us because we just want to be with people that are comfortable with being in our presence.

Until next time,

This is not a multiple choice test.

 

Is this Cheers?

So, you want everyone to know your name right? Just like in the old sitcom, Cheers.

I always thought it would be so cool if I could just enter a bar and everyone screamed out ‘Allison!’

Woo! I got so close…

So earlier this week, I went to the pharmacy and the woman asked for my name and I started spelling it and she said, ‘I know who you are and you are the teacher right?’

Well, it finally happened. Someone knows my name… maybe she can be my best friend now… I mean she knows my medical history and all.

So why is this such a different experience than Cheers? I will tell you using my all mighty list.

1) She knows my name from all my antipsychotic meds. Just kidding, they aren’t antipsychotic… at least, I don’t think they are.

2) She remembers that I am a teacher. It must be the bitch face I have going on.

3) She asked me which medication I was looking for and how many… so she has good attention to detail.

4) We bonded in the drive-thru about our crazy classes, (she is also a teacher).

5) We discussed how it would be beneficial to have a bottle of wine in your desk drawer so you can drink before classes.

6) My pharmacist understood me and is aware that you shouldn’t mix alcohol with medication but here she is, supporting me 100%.

7) She didn’t care that the pharmacy drive-thru was getting long because we were having a deep discussion about how we can’t wait till we retire.

8) I think I found my best friend in the pharmacy drive-thru.

9) She doesn’t know it yet that we are best friends but I feel like when my medication is ready, I will ask her out on a best friends date. I mean, I have BPD so boundaries are a non-issue for me.

10) And just like Cheers, I am happy to go where this woman knows my name, knows my medication and still likes me enough to hold up the drive-thru. That’s real friendship right there.

Until next time,

🎵🎶🎵Don’t you wanna go where everybody knows your name? And they are always glad you came… as long as you are still taking your anxiety medication. 🎵🎶🎵

I Can’t See You

I need an escape. I clawl my way from the bottom, trying to get to the top and I can’t seem to get a grip. I slide down the sides of these walls because there is no solid ground. It’s like an avalanche all around me and the bottom is filling quickly. Soon I will run out of air but I don’t even know if that will bother me.

I see you above me; holding a rope. You are screaming at me to hold on. Your words fall on deaf ears. I see you and I understand what you are saying but I am not worth it. There are so many other people you can give your rope to; help them.

At the last moment I lunge for the rope. Too scared to go under. The rope feels good in my hands as you try to pull me out. I’m too heavy; too much borderline. The rope is slipping through my hands causing dust and dirt to fly through the air. Just as the dirt and dust go all around me, so do my thoughts. ‘How did I get to this point?,’ I think.

And just as quickly as the rope leaves my hands, I see you disappearing from my view. Everything is black.

Until next time,

Allison