Justice Seeking

Does it ever achieve anything, really?

Will filing a complaint, spending so much time regurgitating the last few months that I rely on my journal to remember, since I dissociate so much, actually change anything for anyone?

It certainly won’t change what’s happened to me. It certainly won’t change the string of emergency department presentations and immediate discharge that have occurred over the past two months. People say that when you feel suicidal, you go to the hospital.

They never told me the hospital wouldn’t help.

In the past two weeks, I have attempted suicide three times, presented to hospital five times, and been admitted only once. Even after absconding from police schedule, I was discharged a few hours later. Even after being stitched up, and confessing I probably would do it again, and I probably wasn’t safe by myself, I was discharged again. Again and again and again I am seeking help, the most proactive and the most compliant I have ever been, and still that help is denied to me?

Does that shock you? It shocks me, as the person saying they were unsafe. It shocks my friends, as the people who take me to hospital, and as the people concerned when I am discharged repeatedly, and proceed to hurt myself some more, repeatedly.

Something is failing here.

It could be the three letters that emblazon my file, those three unfortunately stigmatised letters: bee pee dee. I wonder, without that diagnosis, would the same thing have occurred. If it was depression, and only depression, driving my suicidal acts, would that change things? Are clinicians really so misunderstanding of Borderlines? Still?

I am not seeking attention. I am seeking help. I am asking for a safe space, when I can’t find one anywhere else. I am asking for a safe place because I make every other place dangerous. Because my head is trying to kill me.

I’m seeking justice not for me, but for the people like me: the person who is discharged proceeds to kill themselves successfully, because they’ve been given another opportunity. There is the very, very real possibility that I could have been that person. Somehow, that just doesn’t seem to stick with those charged with keeping me safe.

Three Storeys

This is going to be a messy post. I’m struggling tonight. So I’m trying to cope with words. Trying to vent out the pain.

i’m giving up on capitals, and most of the required punctuation too – who needs capital letters anyway? not me.

i have been in and out of hospital more in the past three weeks than i have in the other twenty years of my life. in and out of the ambulance. in and out of the arms of paramedics. in and out of restraints and the comatose state of sedation that i find myself in, as i crawl across the floor searching for knives and bang my body into the ground repeatedly, as if that will stop them grabbing me.

why does it always end up like this. why am i always seeking death when i should be celebrating my twenties, celebrating life, enjoying my studies and my friendships and all the dumb shit that twenty year olds do, like party and drink and act recklessly.

all i want to do is jump off my balcony. but i dont think it’s high enough to cause serious damage. it would probably just hurt. three floors to fall doesn’t seem like enough.

fuck. i am one useless, worthless, hopeless piece of shit. i’m pathetic. i can’t even kill myself properly. not with codeine, not with alcohol – not with the poisons that are supposed to do the job. and why do people keep insisting on saving me. I DONT WANT TO BE SAVED/

I NEED A PERMANENT SOLUTION.

if i had a gun, i would have been dead years ago. what can i use that will be more permanent? swing off my ceiling fan? stab myself repeatedly? slice an artery? drink ethanol? or turps? or methylated spirits? or down a bottle of bleach? i have the sickest fantasies – of being so non-compliant that i find myself restrained face down for just a little too long, just long enough for my body to stop working. or of walking into the traffic of the busy highway in the dark, and being crushed beneath the wheels. or maybe i need to jump from the top of the wall at the rock climbing centre, head first so i compress my spine, except the mats might save me, and we wouldn’t want that (i don’t deserve saving)

what. will. work.

you expected something pleasant and hopeful didn’t you? you came to this blog expecting my usual eloquence, the normal banter. well no. fuck that rosie. tonight’s rosie wants to die. tonight’s rosie sees death as her only option and she is so ready to be dragged away in a body bag.

poison, knife, balcony. the trifecta. drink drink drink. stab stab stab. and then fall, down down down all three storeys. cross my fingers and hope for the best.

but i’m a useless piece of shit, so all i’ll be left with is a dissociative mess to clean up. i’m all words, no action, so no wonder nobody ever takes me seriously. just kill me. ffs, just fucking kill me.

Declined

M, yeah, not much I can do with this, sorry.

Aren’t discriminatory doctors the absolute worst?

They see me as three letters, as my abbreviation; they see me as the negative adjectives in my notes, in the words “aggressive” and “sedated” and “self-inflicted”.

They don’t see me for what I am: hurting, and in need of help.

This is not true of all doctors, but sadly, it is very true to some. I had a rough night yesterday (Thursday). I contemplated whether or not I needed to go to hospital for my cuts, because I didn’t want to wait and wait and wait only to be turned away and told there was nothing the doctor could do about them. I spoke to a friend who is studying medicine. I spoke to a friend’s mum who is a doctor. I used my own very limited knowledge of wound care and The Internet to figure out that yeah, it was pretty deep, and yeah, it probably wouldn’t heal nicely without stitches.

That’ll heal on it’s own.

Look, I get that I put these wounds on my body, I get that I did this to myself, but do you think I like the scars? Do you honestly believe that in one, two, five or ten years, that ragged wound that you left hanging open will have healed nicely?

I don’t think so.

I think that you’ve been caught in stigma without even realising. I think I’ve been unlucky this night. I think you, the doctor delegated to me, doesn’t understand my condition very well – if at all – and I think your punishing me for punishing myself. You just poked and prodded me, turned my wrist over, checked both arms just in case, then dropped it back at my side. You didn’t even clean it. You didn’t even dress it. You just sent me away again.

This is one of the reasons, the strongest reason, why I wanted to study medicine. Because what happened to me in the emergency department is not okay. It is not okay to treat me as a diagnosis, and not as a patient. It is not okay to fail to offer me adequate care just because my wounds are self-inflicted.

I don’t care what you say; what you did was not okay.

And every time a doctor like you succumbs to the stigma, it makes going to the hospital that much harder. It makes seeking help that much harder. It makes the lives of people like me, of us borderlines, but also of everybody else suffering from a mental illness who needs medical attention, that much harder.

We don’t need that. We don’t need to be rejected more than we have been by our friends, family and colleagues. We don’t need our traumas regurgitated by your invalidation and stigmatisation. We don’t need to be afraid of going to hospital, when the hospital is supposed to be there to care for us, no matter what condition has brought us there. We don’t need any more difficulties piled on top of all the other ones we face, every single fucking day. We don’t need you.

We need your compassion. Your care. Your empathy.

We need to be treated like people, not like letters. We need to be treated like any other patient. And maybe if you got talking to me, like other doctors and nurses sometimes have, then maybe, just maybe, you’ll see we aren’t the Big Bad Borderlines you’ve let yourself believe we are.

Learning German: The Bildungsroman

As most of you may or may not know, I’m currently in my third year of university (or college, if that’s your thing). This semester, I decided to give myself a break from science to look after myself and focused instead on the literature part of my degree. One of my courses is about a very specific genre: the bildungsroman.

That’s a fancy German way of saying a story about development. A journey through adolescence. A coming of age story.

We read a wide assortment of contemporary and classic novels, from Middlemarch by George Eliot (who is a woman FYI!) to the Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (the reading of which will become another blog post, because day-um was it incredible, but also incredibly triggering).

Simultaneously, it’s important for you to know that I’ve been writing a book. I’m attempting to gather all the different chapters of my life into a single story. Not a cohesive one, more of a nomadic ramble down the garden path of my life, which is dead for long stretches, and fruitfully blossoming in others. It’s bringing me a lot of joy to collate my patchwork of experiences into something that lives and breathes of its own accord.

It’s becoming it’s very own bildungsroman.

Today, the sixteenth of April, is world semi-colon day. A semi-colon is used by an author when a sentence could have ended, but instead they allow it to continue on. My story isn’t over yet. My bildung is not complete. It rambles, it lapses, it exists in fits and starts. But it exists; between letters and punctuation marks.

Dear body, can we be friends?

It took a deep breath and sighed, I’ve been waiting my whole life for this.

Slowly, slowly, I begin to reclaim my body. I reveal my scars in short sleeves and shorts, and I hide them beneath floral tattoos and deep quotes. Slowly, slowly, I am learning to define myself beyond my mental illness, beyond what others expect of me. I am learning to be me again.

It feels good.

Slides and Steps*

*pretend it says snakes and ladders, okay?

In the town where I grew up, the playground I frequented most often had a deathly metal slide. One of those really old-school, stainless-steel terrors with a ladder at the back and a field of prickles at the base. It was horror in summer, but epic nonetheless.

I feel like many years of my life are analogous with this slide. I started the journey expecting to leap off the bottom, collect my belongings, and run free across the dangerous grass, dodging the painful minefields of clover that dominated the park.

But, instead, this happened:

My life has been a scramble down the slide, where I constantly get stuck halfway because things have never been perfectly polished the way one expects, and I get trapped at the bottom trying to climb back up. I have struggled and thrashed in the pit at the base, desperately trying to claw my way back to the surface to no avail.

And this was where I resided, for many, many years.

Until recently. When, much like something out of an evil villain’s lair in a sci-fi movie, the hidden stairs popped out of the slide, and I was able to get my hands over the edge, and stand up for the first time.

Slowly, slowly, I am climbing the steps. And now, when things come crashing down, instead of slipping to rock-bottom, I stumble down only a few steps, recover, and begin to climb my way back up again.

The stairs are infinite, and I don’t know what’s awaits at the top, but I know that life has evolved from a constant slippery slope into a staircase that I can conquer, over and over and over again.

And that, my friends, makes my life a game of snakes and ladders.

That thing I never talk about

When I was in high school, I went through several severe stressors all at roughly the same time.

First, I was already suffering from anorexia nervosa, which isn’t exactly a great way to kick things off. Then I was bullied incessantly. And by incessantly, well fuck. I was physically and verbally abused every single day, from 8 until 3, and sometimes for even longer because of these magical little objects called mobile phones, and I withdrew further and further into myself the more she hit me and called me names. I felt helpless, and by helpless, I mean that no one helped me. I was hopeless, and by that I mean death seemed the only solution. And don’t let me forget to mention the fact that I was blamed for bullying her, after hitting her once on the thigh of all damn places, after she had been taunting me for months already. Don’t sit here, she would scream. Bitches can’t sit here. Don’t look at me you fucking bitch, bitch bitch bitch bitch. And that’s how I lost all my friends. ‘Cause you know, I had so many to begin with. Oh, and after that, my brother got cancer, and I started cutting, and the words “guardian invalidation” became my biggest trigger, and I got diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and a whole plethora of problems I knew I had but didn’t want to face including comorbid major depression, generalised anxiety, anorexia and bulimia. But because of the bullying, and this basis of self-abuse I had already sparked in myself via starvation, I developed this fun little thing called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

What a scary set of syllables.

I knew what I was experiencing. I absolutely, 100% knew that experiencing nightmares and flashbacks by hearing a word or visiting a space was called “recollection”. I knew that isolating myself, and deadening myself to all emotion, was something called “avoidance”. I knew that I was hypervigilant, and terrified. But to hear my doctor say those eight syllables aloud – to me, a fourteen year old – was a shock. Like I had been electrified. Like, fuck, not only am I dealing with all this other bullshit in my life, but now my trauma can be equated to experiencing war and torture?

And the stupid, most fucked-up thing of all is that once this special diagnosis was dumped on me, after which my life continued to spiral out of control, not a single thing changed. I didn’t start therapy. I wasn’t medicated. The fucking school I went to didn’t change a single fucking thing.

I’m coming to realise how fucked up this all is. Today, of all days, when I’m studying stress and PTSD and the management of anxiety disorders for a neuroscience exam at university. Because where else would I learn more about a condition that intruded into my life and then was just wiped away, like a coffee stain on a countertop, never to be mentioned again, because apparently I wasn’t traumatised enough or some bullshit. It appeared in my medical record, and then it didn’t. That’s some fucked up shit. Surprise yes, just because I’ve gained weight now, my eating disorder hasn’t disappeared, and surprise, yes, just because the source of my trauma is no longer around doesn’t mean that the post traumatic stress part goes along with her. 

I’m ranting.

I’m sorry.

I’m honestly enjoying myself. It feels good. It feels good to relive hurt, when you’re being constantly reminded you’re not supposed to be hurting yourself anymore. There’s more than one way to self harm. There’s more than one way.

This is that thing I never talk about, and it feels good to get it out.