Airing My Dirty Laundry

***Trigger Warning- Suicide***

You know, I thought long and hard about whether or not I wanted to write this blog. It took so long because I was ashamed and embarrassed about writing it and then I thought, ‘fuck it. Maybe it will help one person.’

So I have been going through a very difficult time. I would share that part with you but I stated to another party that I wouldn’t… people are so particular. <insert eyeroll>

But that part doesn’t matter. What does matter is that this particular situation broke me so badly that I have shattered into a million pieces. There are shards of my well-being all over the floor and I can’t seem to pick them all up. I have fallen back into old behaviors, the biggest one is self-harming.

This situation has destroyed a piece of me and I don’t think anyone that is involved really cares. I started scratching my arms till they bleed and over medicating my body. I am not self harming for attention; I am self harming because the pain inside is so severe that I don’t know how to get rid of it. The pain in my body is so deep that the only way to feel better is to harm myself and release some of that inner tension and inner pain.

On Thursday night, I contacted the suicide hotline so I could talk to someone. I thought about calling my best friend and even considered calling my therapist but I just couldn’t because I feel like I am such a burden to others. I am sick of hearing myself tell the same people how I feel and getting the same response. My pain runs so deep and dark that I don’t think it is fair to tell anyone how I really feel, so i decided to tell someone who didn’t know me; and that’s when I contacted the suicide hotline.

It felt good to get my issues and my pain off my chest. I could be honest about how I took too much medication and how I was considering taking the rest of the bottle. You see, people that want to commit suicide don’t want to do it to hurt themselves; they want to do it to get rid of the immense internal pain.

And let’s clear up some clich’es that I am sure you are thinking of already. Yes. I have an excellent family. Yes. I love my husband and love my children but in my twisted mind, I feel like they would be better off with someone healthier than me. Someone more patient. Someone happier. Someone smarter. Someone more beautiful. Someone skinner. Someone better.

I know what you are going to say, that I am perfect the way I am and I thank you for thinking that and for loving me for me but I don’t love me and that is my issue. A huge issue that I have been working on in therapy for close to three years.

So I contacted the suicide hotline and I thought it was anonymous but it’s not. Thirty minutes later, the police were knocking on my door. And as embarrassing as this encounter was, it was one that kept me from doing any more harm to my body or pushing myself just a little too much from not waking up. It saved me from me.

I was given two choices, to leave with the police voluntarily or involuntarily. I had to really balance my mind in that moment to realize that I didn’t really have a choice and I was going either way. I was taken down to the police car, patted down and took a taxi ride to the hospital.

Once there, they cut my drawstrings because I refused to wear their clothes and they gave me fuzzy socks. After check-in, I went to bed in nothing but a recliner.

The people at the hospital were friendly and even though I was scared to death, I still felt a sense of comfort surrounded by a large heaping pile of embarrassment and shame. I was hoping that I could connect with someone and someone would connect with me. Like having similar war stories, similar pain, similar feelings; a sign that I wasn’t alone.

The next day I ate a granola bar for breakfast and had a cup of coffee while gathered around the TV with other patients. I watched three movies that day. Three. There wasn’t a group or anyone to talk to; I met with the psychiatrist for ten minutes before I was discharged. I knew all the answers to get out of the hospital. I just wanted to go home.

The reason I am writing this is because:

1) I am grateful to the people that called the police from the suicide hotline, even if I did feel betrayed.

2) Mental health help, guidance and perception needs to change in America and people like me should get real help when we hit rock bottom.

3) Even though my mind is in dark places, my husband, kids, friends and my therapist, I will be forever grateful because they are the ones that make me feel like I can make it one more day, one more minute and one more second when all i want to do is slip away.

Until next time,

Allison

If you are suffering from suicidal thoughts, call the national suicide hotline at 1 800-273-8255 or text 741741.

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You’re Blurry.

So I have been going to the gym this last month- I know, I am surprised myself.

Surprised or not, I am constantly noticing that I am judging myself for how fat I am and how ugly I look. I also imagine that because of how I think I look, that other people must see me in the same way.

So yesterday, I went swimming and as I walked onto the wet pool deck into the warm atmosphere, I was self-conscious that my bathing suit barley covered my boobs (neither do turtlenecks) and that my bathing suit is literally falling apart. I got into the pool fast so no one could see anything. My bathing suit is black and because of my weight, I think I look like an orca whale sloshing around the water. The movie should have been titled, Free Ally instead of Free Willy.

As I am bobbing around in the deep end, I realized that this was the first time that I haven’t put in my contacts and basically the whole world was blurry. It was so blurry in fact that I couldn’t see people’s faces, their expressions and I barely knew what genders were surrounding me as the water sloshed back and forth. At first, it made me angry because I am so self-conscious that I feel like I am constantly checking people’s facial expressions to see if they hate me as much as I hate me. However, I then realized what a great relief it was not to have that pressure for an hour straight. Then it hit me; this is how I should live my life.

I want to live my life legally blind, so to speak. I want to live my life three feet in front of my face and not worry about what happened in the past and what is going to happen in the future. I want to live my life in the present.

Having Borderline Personality Disorder, I am constantly worried about who was in my life five years ago and why they left or who will love me enough to be in my life in the next five years. And being legally blind in the pool, I realized that I couldn’t worry about what has happened in the past and I can’t obsess about what is going to happen in the future because all I have is here and now. And if I need to look at life through a blurry lens to keep my focus on the now, then that’s how I have to live my life.

The people that are going to matter will be in my life in my future and the people that will be exiting my life will either leave quietly or leave with a bang. But either way, I will pick up the pieces and live my life the way it was meant to be lived; in the here and now and three feet in front of my face.

Until next time,

Allison

Special thanks to my therapist who constantly tells me to live my life this way and constantly reminds me to focus on the present when I lose my way.

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. 🎵🎶🎵

You Can Sit in the Front

Being a person with Borderline Personality Disorder is like being on a rollercoaster. Everyday has an up and down; even if my day is going well, you don’t know what is setting me off and going on in my head.

Waking up is like taking a ride everyday; the ride looks great from afar- it starts with waiting in line and waiting for your turn and once you are at the front of the line you need to take that ride… after all, all your friends are doing it.

I get on the rollercoaster and take the first seat available; the front seat. That’s it, I crave the thrill of the ride. I feel nauseous but I am anticipating the seat belt check and the team member to give us the ‘go ahead.’ This time I am going to make it.

Click, click, click… I can feel the ride and the day starting off bumpy. My whole body shakes with the click, click, click of the tracks. My day starts off with not wanting to go to work because I don’t feel like I am making an impact; but I stay in my seat till I reach the top.

Just as fast as I get to the top, something sets me off and I am plummeting to the ground; a thought, a feeling, a memory. I try to open my eyes but the flashes in my head are too fast and I just tightly grab the bar and close my eyes. I don’t want to be in my head.

The twists and turns come as fast as the initial drop and my head is making things up about me. Telling me that I am not good enough and that I don’t belong.

The ride is jolting me left and right no matter how many times I checked the seatbelt, I am still being pushed back and forth. I hold on as tight as I can but this skill doesn’t help. I hit my head on the side; I hit the side repeatedly and I can’t stop. It’s the way to make the thoughts stop so I just let it happen.

My day comes to a slow plateau when I pass Joe on the side of the rollercoaster. He is watching me and cheering for me on the side and telling me to hold on and he will be there at the end of the day; at the end of the ride.

The rollercoaster comes to a screeching halt and I hear, ‘click, click, click…whoosh.’ and that’s the end. I get out of the first car with bumps, bruises and a sense of accomplishment.

I made it another day; I made it another ride.

Until next time,

Wait for me at the end.