Earlier.

More noticeably than ever have I been noticing the pull of polarisation that BPD brings. It comes with an anxious tremor, and a silliness fringing on hypomania, and impulsivity and outrageousness. But it also comes with dark thoughts and dark urges and the lure of punishments desecrated across my skin.

Tonight I have experienced every single of the above emotions. I have been silly and happy, enjoying time with friends. I have been anxious, shopping, the type of anxiety that makes me outrageous and loud and impulsive. I have been low, and thinking of pain, and finishing a bottle of wine alone.

A few days ago, I wrote this in my journal:

It just hit me – literally, just then – how big of a deal it actually is that I can enjoy study again. It hasn’t been days or weeks or months of anhedonia for me. It’s been years. It’s been almost a decade. It’s been practically my entire adolescence. But I’m finally not punishing myself by isolating and studying to meet my unrealistic high standards that I can never, ever attain; I’m studying and I’m genuinely passionate about it. It feels good that my head is brighter, and that without a little of the darkness, this is what my mind can do. This is the gift that God gave me to use that’s been hidden beneath a murky layer of depression for so long. It feels good to have a reveal, even it it’s only brief, I’m going to savour it like an individual portion of peanut butter salvaged from a cafe (seems an appropriate comparison). 

And by brief, I meant less than 24 hours. Because the following night, I had one of the most distressing phone calls with my mother ever, in which I screamed at her and essentially told her she didn’t care about me and she didn’t do enough (which I believe, somewhat). And the night after that, I invited her to my baptism. And the night after that, I giggled in the pouring rain at the bus stop. And then tonight, even as I feel the alcohol hit my system, I just want to keep on drinking. And I think, wow, I’m pretty sure I’m not meant to drink on my current medications. But fuck it. 

The ultimate highs and lows of BPD, ladies and gentleman.

The ultimate highs and lows.

Finally Learning to Self Advocate

I saw my psychiatrist today. And for the first time since I started seeing any mental health professional (we’re talking a span of years), I didn’t leave angry at myself. I left satisfied. I left feeling like I’m actually going to get somewhere – even though I’m sick, even though I’m struggling, even though I’m an anxious mess engaging in eating disorder behaviours here there and everywhere, I was able to speak. 

I said what has been on my mind since I started to read the DSM 5.

I asked if I had bipolar disorder, and BPD, and depression, and anxiety. And PTSD at some stage. And bulimia. I asked if that was even possible.

And he said yes. 

Finally, a mental health professional actually confirmed what I have known for a long, long time. And he will pass it on to everybody else who provides support for me – or tries to anyway.

Maybe it’s a bad thing. Maybe it also confirms that there’s something fundamentally wrong with me, which is a belief I’ve held for a similar amount of time. Maybe it just confirms that I’m struggling, and will be for a while, and that’s something I will just have to accept.

But it’s also a great thing. I no longer have to squeak out in the emergency room that I self harm because I’m depressed. That I’m experiencing suicidal thoughts and feel unsafe. I can self advocate. I can say: I have trouble regulating my emotions. I can say: I have also been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and anxiety; self harm and my eating disorder are like symptoms of those underlying difficulties that I haven’t been able to face for so, so long. I can say: call my psychiatrist if you have there’s an issue.

Something else I’m proud of? I stopped seeing that doctor who told me I couldn’t be depressed because I wasn’t failing (aka a naturally intelligent perfectionist with unrelenting high standards who couldn’t fail a test if she literally tried). She also used to grab my arms where I self harmed and told me to stop doing it because she didn’t like it. She also used the word “slashing”. So I found a new doctor. And she is understanding, and supportive, and best of all, doesn’t tell me I can’t possibly be depressed because my marks are too good.

I’m finally, finally, after almost a fucking decade learning to self-advocate. It feels fucking amazing.

 

 

These are not my only needs

I need to draw to calm my anxiety, but I’m shaking so badly I can’t hold a pencil steady.

I need to stop shaking because it’s freaking people out, but I’m so agitated I can’t stop.

I need to look after myself, but a worthless person places all others’ needs above their own.

I need to stop avoiding sleep, but I don’t want to sleep when sleep just means a brief and peaceful interlude after which I will wake up and have to do this all over again.

I need to starve myself in order to be perfect, but I keep failing because of this thing called “being a human who needs energy to survive”.

I need to exercise more to lose weight, but the weight of existence is exhausting me.

I need to relieve some tension by taking it out on my body, but I’m trying to self harm less.

I need to get out of bed in order to face the day, but I just can’t bring myself to.

I need to focus on the present, but I’m struggling to let go of the past.

Need and can’t and won’t and shouldn’t and couldn’t and would and could and should and wish and want don’t get me anywhere. Those words are a path paved with shallow possibility, that leaves me in a darker place than before I left the dusky shore. Each time I cross from the darkness to a brighter horizon, my standards are reset, until I find myself in the blackest place yet. Why must it come down to self harm, and suicidal gestures, and the extremes of my mental illnesses before I am noticed, before I am heard. Why must there be such a divide between the existence I live, and the one that you see. You think I’m better – I hear you whisper it to the person next to you – and you even congratulate me face to face, but you don’t see the tears soaking into my carpet, as I clench a knife in my fist, desperately trying to resist the overwhelming urge to punish myself, the pain I so desperately deserve, and the release I so desperately desire. You ignore the clenched fists and tense shoulders as if they are normal, and for me, they have become normal. But they are not. Normality is based on a timed spectrum, but a decade of suffering doesn’t make mental illness less real.

I need to get better, but I also need to cling to this pain and anguish and despair, because it’s the only part of me that’s left intact. It’s the only part of me that I know anymore. When I fail to meet all my other needs, there’s no point giving myself a chance if it means being let down again. So here I rest, clinging to the past, worried over a future I may not ever reach, yet trapped in the present thoughts and dark demons patrolling my mind. It doesn’t matter what I need. It doesn’t matter what you think I need. 

It just. doesn’t. matter.

The Verge Becomes The Edge

I don’t generally include trigger warnings on my blog posts, but as a forewarning, this post deals pretty explicitly with suicide and suicidal ideation. You know yourself. If this isn’t a safe topic for you, please don’t read on.

It started on Wednesday. I say that’s when it started, but of course it’s difficult to know for sure. In fact, this breakdown wasn’t unprecedented. I was expecting it.

So, it started on Wednesday. I’m not sure why this particular Wednesday was difficult. It just felt bad. I felt bad. The sort of negativity and numbness and self-hatred that I have come to recognise as signalling the distress which will soon follow. It’s a whole new realm of emotional dysregulation. It’s own category of sadness and despair and hopelessness and regret. Memories were pursuing me as strongly as ever, laying a trap which would become impossible to escape, threads of triggers tying me down and rendering me hopeless and defenceless. The torrent of memories and past failings and present failings and future failings brought with it a torrent of anxiety, and finally, a need to suppress that.

So I binged. And binged. And binged. And binged.

And I curled up in bed, and the dark thoughts consumed me.

On Thursday, I made a plan. I went to work. I bought blades on my break. I intended to slash my wrists at the end of the shift. I would do it at the beach. I would do it at the beach because the beach is the only real home I’ve ever had.

I was no longer treading the edge of the precipice, no longer dancing around pieces of facade crumbling around me. No; I was submerged between the cliff and the river, I was dangling, I was unsafe.

And I kept repeating the same things, over and over and over.

I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I can’t do this anymore. Please don’t make me do this anymore. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do.

A friend picked me up at the end of the shift, and she saved my life.

We didn’t go to hospital. Because my values have always been fucked up, and even though I have never felt so utterly worthless as I did in that moment where I collapsed in her arms in her parent’s lounge room, sobbing uncontrollably, inconsolable and in my darkest place yet, I knew that I couldn’t go to hospital because I had an exam on Saturday.

I didn’t kill myself because of an exam. 

I think I seriously need to re-evaluate my life.

Anyway. I got through Thursday night.

And on Friday, the suicidality returned with a vengeance. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. About the knives and the scissors in my friend’s house. About the busy road a short walk away. About the nearby bridge I could slip off. About the fucking knives. About the knives. About the knives. About the knives.

And I melted. I melted again, for the second time. I can’t remember what happened that desolate soulless Friday night. This isn’t uncommon for me. I know there were memories being regurgitated, but that’s not what truly triggered the distress. I know that I was trying to hide my tears, and my face, and my shame. I know that I was lying on my back, dissociating, crying, and someone touched me, and it was triggering, and I started sobbing, and curled up and wanted to scream and run away and act on my plans. In that moment, I was more suicidal than I have ever been before.

And then, I slept.

I slept it away.

I sat my exam. I made a safety pact. I went home.

And I have taken a step back from the precipice. It still lingers there, in my periphery. It still glistens in the distance, in the charming disguise of “an out”. An end. An escape. But it’s fading again. And sometime soon, I hope to be okay again.

Some Things

I had no idea what to write today. Most of the time, when I sit down to write, or to blog, or to journal, whatever it may be, I have a pretty clear idea of where I’m heading and what I want to achieve. Lately, everything is a mess. It’s so much of a mess I can’t untangle all the thoughts and turn them into words. So instead of writing something, I’m going to write about ‘some things’. Here are some things that are going on for me and my super sad melodramatic mental health club as of late:

I’m exhausted. My body is heavy. I’ve been pushing the exercise hard. I need to lose weight. The only way I know how to do that is push myself to exhaustion. Burn off every calorie I consume. Check that I’m really hungry. Feel for the bones. Make sure they’re still there. It’s weird to try and return to something (anorexia) you once so desperately wanted to be free of (and still do) yet this time, it’s intentional. I never wanted to have an eating disorder, it just kind of grew on it’s own until it evolved into a beast which consumed me. I feel like now, because it’s intentional, because I want Ana back, that’s the reason why it’s not working. I haven’t lost any weight in the last six months. It’s disgusting; I disgust myself. My best efforts have failed. My body can no longer stand starvation. It resorts to binge eating and no matter how calories I burn off, the binges aren’t negated – even though they used to be.

On the bipolar front, I potentially had some hypomania happening but chose to ignore it – stupidly. I didn’t share it with my psychiatrist, although I did tell my usual therapist. I probably should have. I don’t know. It doesn’t feel real. It feels like something else I’ve made up to cope with everything. It doesn’t feel worth mentioning. Maybe, just like with self harm, I want the mania to increase in intensity so people can see how bad things really are inside my own head.

On that point, I haven’t self harmed for nine days. That would be because nine days ago I had a scary SH experience where I should have gone to hospital but didn’t and freaked myself out and don’t want my housemate to find out because that happened last time I was in a sharehouse and was one of the reasons why I left the environment. It makes things awkward. My housemate isn’t my friend. Just someone to split rent and bills with.

I’m shaking a lot. It could be anxiety. It could be the caffeine. It’s probably a combination. Trying to disguise exhaustion with caffeine and then anxiety with exercise and then exhaustion with caffeine does not work. Neither does procrastinating, which is a new thing for me. It goes against every fibre of my perfectionistic being, so I’m not exactly sure why it’s begun now. Exams are soon. I’m scared. Procrastination helps me avoid work, and worrying, and anxiety, and failure. And I’m not exactly at peak motivation right now with the emptiness caressing my soul. And the sadness consuming my brain. And the urges I fight with tensed fists and scattered eyes. The anxiety I fight with exercise. The shame I fight with binging. The guilt I fight with restriction. And on it goes.

I love learning, but studying is hard when my entire mental capacity is filled with so much stuff.

Because I’m trying to be less pessimistic (or bitter, or sarcastic, or whatever you want to call it), let’s end with some things that aren’t so fucking awful and emotionally exhausting. It’s autumn over here in the southern blogosphere, and the leaves are so pretty. I didn’t realise how happy autumn made me until the leaves started to shift from green and brown to red and yellow and form heaps on paths and front yards. People find it annoying, but I think it’s beautiful.

Lastly, I’m going to get my next tattoo (I have one already that’s almost 12 months old now) once semester ends. I’m designing it myself based off Rupi Kaur’s illustrations. More on that later. Believe me, the tattoo will be in a post all of it’s own.

Love and hugs and kisses and all that sappy sentimental shit,

Rosie Bogs.

Hatred

It’s been a tough few weeks. It’s been a very tough few weeks. The suicidal thoughts have returned, just as strong as before. I hate this. It’s something I repeat to the friends I reach out to, over and over and over: I hate this. 

I hate not knowing myself, I hate that I can’t seem to control my mood on any given day. Will I be depressed, numb, anxious, lonely, distressed, suicidal, manic – or normal for fucks sake. I’ve kinda forgotten how normal moods work if I’m being totally honest. It’s been a long time. I see glimpses, little fleeting surprises where a moment completely captures my attention and drags me out of the depths of my thoughts, igniting a smile, or maybe I burst out laughing at work from something that popped into my head, that only I can see and understand. Awesome, now they really think I’m crazy.

I do really, completely, hate it.

Most of all, I hate myself.

I hate not fighting back against the bitch that shattered me in high school, the fists she threw, the kicks she landed. I hate the moment that I retaliated, and was punished by the school for physically hurting another student. She was never punished, not even once I revealed the full extent of what she did to me. I hate that I lost my childhood to anorexia, and my adolescence to bulimia, and my adulthood to a fog of suicidality and attempts at medication and hospitalisation and isolation. I hate that I feel like I’ve only ever made wrong decisions, but I know if I hadn’t moved to Sydney, and had stayed where I was, things would probably not have been all that different. In fact, if I hadn’t moved to Sydney, I’d probably be dead already. I hate that I can’t articulate to my therapist the stream of self-deprecation in my head, but I’m perfectly capable of sharing my deepest, darkest, innermost thoughts to strangers on the online international blogging forum. I hate that there’s something inherently wrong with me, that my mental illness(es) are chronic, that I might not ever be fully recovered from years and years of eating disorders. I hate that even though I know how bad certain behaviours are for me, and the damage they cause to myself and everyone who knows me, I continue to engage with them anyway. I hate the scars. The ambivalence. The trial and error. The money I spend on therapy that doesn’t seem to achieve anything.

I hate myself, for everything I’ve done and didn’t do. I hate myself for recovering from anorexia. I hate myself for wishing I hadn’t recovered. I hate myself for developing bulimia in its place. I hate myself for being chronically depressed. I hate the lure of the knife, the prescriptions, the busy road and waves that call to me from afar.

I hate the progress I’ve made, and the distance I have left to cover.

I hate this. I hate feeling this way. I hate it’s unfamiliarity. Mostly though, I guess I just hate myself.

Step Into The Waves, Not To Come Back Out

I say that things are rough a lot, but things are rough at the moment. Not in the usual way either. Things are rough in a new way and I don’t like it. The urge to self-harm has become a desire to hurt myself, driven by a sense of failure and need for punishment. The suicidal thoughts have gone from passive to active and the recklessness is building; I walk as near to the road as possible, I cycle and run at night, I cut deeper and in new and different places to see where it’s easiest to cause the most damage. I think about taking a handful of pills. A bottle of alcohol. A jump into the ocean. I would love to die in the ocean. I grew up beside the beach, and the ocean is my true home. If I were to commit suicide, I would do it there.

I want sand between my toes, or maybe I’ll press my naked body into the damp instead. I’ll lay in the darkness under the stars, the beach will be deserted and I will consider all the reasons to go. All the mistakes. The burden. The despair and pain and memories. The pain that is yet to come. The pain it would take to heal if I were to get past this. I want waves to tickle my fingertips and caress my hair, I want the sea breeze to stroke my neck. I’ll take a sip of something toxic, something tasteful, because if I’m going to drink, I better make it worth it, and I’ll get drunk. I’ll slip beneath the waves. I’ll dive down deep, and I’ll stay there.

I won’t come back out.

I’ve come so close this past week. More than once.

I keep telling the people who ask that I don’t have a plan, but reading over that, it seems like maybe I do. I do have a plan. I do want to die. If I was offered an out, then I would take it. And if God doesn’t forgive me for that, and suicide is the sin that exempts me from Heaven, despite sending his Son and our salvation, then that’s okay. Maybe Sheol is where I belong. I always thought it was a strange word anyway – it reminded me of the beach. Sheol. Shoal. Shell. Sea.

I belong in the sea. What would be better I wonder, to OD on the sand, or drunk-dive into the depths? Which would be fatal?

Fuck. When I swear, it’s a sign that I am unable to express my true feelings. Swearing is just another coping mechanism, designed more to hurt those around me than myself. To keep people at a distance. I’m fucked, I say, utterly fucked.

Things are not going well. I wish I still lived close enough to the beach that I could jump out my window or the back door and run barefoot along the bitumen to the sand dunes, and slide down to the tide-line. It would make this so much easier. I wish I didn’t waste the opportunity of living so close to nature and not seizing it more, because I spent a lot of my childhood anorexic, and the ocean made me hypothermic.

I wish I were dead. I wish I was strong enough to die. I wish for so many things. I wish anorexia had killed me. I wish I could throw up, because even I know that laxatives and exercise aren’t ‘real’ forms of purging. I wish I had the courage to drink and get drunk. The courage to swallow. To OD. To step into the waves, and to not come back out.

The Art of Opening Up (and of lying)

They say it’s an act, as if opening up is purely an action and nothing else. They say ‘just’ open up, as if it’s easy in the first place, like ‘just’ starting the car, or ‘just’ cleaning the kitchen.

It’s not an act.

It’s an art.

Acting would be the way I lie to everyone around me. Are you okay, they ask. How’s the eating going, they request. You’re looking better, they say. I smile, I nod. I’m fine. I’m okay. I’ve been exhausted but I’m fine.

I’m not fine. Exhausted is my euphemism for depressed. It means getting out of bed has gotten hard again. It means I’m eating, but probably twice a day, probably binging because my body is freaking out that I’ve started starving it again and has to store as many calories as possible just in case, just to be safe, just to be sure I don’t kill myself. C’mon body, really? Killing myself is the goal here? Exhausted means that the suicidal thoughts are back. It means staying up late to avoid sleep, but sleeping in because I don’t want to face another day. It means my washing has piled up, the dishes have piled up, the assignments are piling up. It means my perfectionism and obsessions have kicked up a notch, and the act of actively resisting these is enough to exhaust me by itself, never mind all this other bullshit that I have to deal with at the same time.

Opening up is an art, but so is lying. I’ve gotten good at one, and I’m still awful at the other – no prizes for guessing which is which.

I used to do shut down immediately when people asked about my mental health. And when I say used, what I mean is that from when my mental health started crumbling when I was 11, until I was 16, I didn’t share a single word of what was happening inside my fucked up mind – with anybody. So realistically, I’ve come a long way. I can say the words “anorexic”, “depressed”, “anxious”, “bulimic”, “bullied”, “abused”, “traumatised” and “struggling” without panic immediately bubbling to the surface. I still suck at it, and I still have to write down word for word what I’m going to say to my therapist(s), I still lie to my friends and I definitely still lie to my family, but I think it’s gotten better.

Like any art, opening up involves progress, and I think I’ve made a fair bit.