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

The Double Standard

So the flu came to our house and it came right in time for Christmas. It was kind of like the family that you don’t want to see but they invite themselves over anyway and basically annoy everyone.

First our sons had the flu and then my husband received the precious gift of sickness. When I talk about him being sick, I mean the flu basically knocked him on his ass for a full twenty-four hours.

I made sure that the kids didn’t bother Joe and I personally checked on him to make sure he was still living.

Then I got sick. The first thing I did to acknowledge and celebrate my illness last night was to clean the bathtub. Then today, I slept for four straight hours just to bolt upright, a little wobbly from dizziness, to acknowledge my ‘laziness,’ and pull my dying body out of bed to help with the kids.

So why do we, as women, do this to ourselves? Why is it so important for us to take care of everyone else and never stop and think that, ‘I should be taking care of myself.’? It’s guilt. Plain and simple. We have grown up in a society where it is the woman’s ‘responsibility’ to take care of everyone else and to put herself last.

Tonight I was helping my daughter make bracelets for all of her little friends at school and quietly asked myself, ‘what the hell am I doing?’ I am putting everyone else’s needs ahead of my own and at this moment, I am putting other people’s kids ahead of my own sickness.

‘Oh, what colors did Brooke want? Dark Pink, light pink and medium pink… ok! <eyeroll>’

The result of this, at least for me, is to get angry and rage and that is exactly what happened. Imagine how wonderful and pleasant we would be as women if we just cared for ourselves the same way we care for the world.

So, as usual, I made a list:

  1. It is ok to get sick and to take the time to get better.
  2. It is ok to need a break, leave the world behind and get a massage.
  3. It’s ok to not get it all done today but it is not ok to feel guilty about it.
  4. It’s ok to make a frozen pizza for dinner.
  5. It’s ok for the kids to have dinner in a bag if it means a little more sanity for yourself.
  6. It’s ok to open a bottle of wine and it’s ok if the bottle is open before noon.
  7. It’s ok to use paper plates as your fine china.
  8. It is ok if the laundry doesn’t get washed. Just smell your kids before they leave the house.
  9. It’s ok to turn up that rap music in your minivan and pretend like you are in high school again. Yeah, go ahead and get those hydraulics.
  10. It is ok to talk to yourself like you are your best friend. It sounds extremely cheesy but my therapist tells me that all the time and she is right. If we are own best friend, we would be happier and I personally would rather be the happy one instead of making sure the world was happier first.

People will survive if you are not there but will you survive if you are not there for yourself?

Until next time,

It’s ok- pass the wine while listening to rap music in a massage session with some man that has rippling biceps.

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.

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).

I’m Great and You Can Fuck Off

I haven’t written in a while because nothing has really been going on but I am writing today because I am so pissed off that some people think that being depressed is a choice. If you do, you can fuck off.

I get really upset and distant when people say that what I am going through is a choice; I personally want to crawl out of my skin because that is how much pain I am in. I hope you never have to experience this type of pain. So before you judge someone with mental illness, maybe you should stop and put yourself in there shoes and think before you talk and hurt their feelings.

From now on, don’t ask me if I am ok because from now on, I am great! It’s a choice right? Just don’t ask me. You can call me stubborn or willful or whatever but from now on I will be the only one that knows how I feel and from now on, you don’t have to worry about me because I am fine.

Peace out,

G.R.E.A.T