Friday, 26 April 2019

New's Flash, I'm Not Going To Hurt You

I may want to, but I promise I won't. 

I've just had someone, let's call him Andy, tell me my BPD made him feel uncomfortable and that he essentially couldn't "deal" with it and it hurts like hell. I cried a lot (specifically on the shoulder of the lovely woman at O'Grady's bar who I will take flowers to at some point) I was angry and, in all honesty, would have done anything to change his mind. But you know, you can't change people. 

BPD makes you angry, really REALLY angry, and having someone tell you that essentially they can't deal with something you have no control over is painful. As well as being told I make people feel uncomfortable I have, on more than one occasion, had people tell me they're scared of me. These words hurt, it's one thing experiencing the different components of BPD, but being told someone is scared of you or that you make them uncomfortable can be soul destroying. But trust me, TRUST ME, I'm really not going to hurt you. 

Sitting in bed thinking about it today, it's occurring to me that, as with so many things, the words scared or uncomfortable are really synonyms for ignorance or a lack of understanding. BPD is a serious but relatively unknown condition, and even I can't blame people for being apprehensive about something they don't know anything about, especially when you see my gnarly ass scars. One ex of mine, who I affectionately refer to as the weasel due to the many times I allowed him to weasel his way back into my life, referred to my self harming as "teenage emo shit" instead of the only way I could find to deal with how I was feeling. 

How I let that one go on for as long as I did I'll never know. 

Normally in these situations, people would be encouraged to educate themselves about what they don't understand, but with BPD it's different. A lot of the research and content online doesn't paint people who live with BPD in a positive light. When I first started researching my condition, the majority of the content I found was about "recovering" from being in a relationship with someone who has BPD. If you feel such articles are for you, then have at it, but they're not going to help anyone with BPD in the long run. 

Not only is the information kind of vague, but there also isn't a great deal of it, relatively speaking. To compare Google search for other mental health conditions, depression brings up 796 million search results, anxiety 367 million and eating disorders 217 million. BPD only brings up 56 million. Still a lot, but nowhere near enough. 

What it all boils down to is this; if you don't know, ask. There is no cure for what I have, only treatment, and the only way people are going to stop feeling scared or uncomfortable around someone with BPD is if they learn.  

This is my reality and I live with it every single day. 


Wednesday, 10 April 2019

What to do when you can't do anything

As someone who's mental state is about as stable as a 3-legged Ikea chair, I'm well experienced in not feeling able to do anything. To being stuck, unable to move, in bed for days on end being periodically visited by family members to check that I'm still, in fact, breathing. On these days the world is dark and painful, and it's nothing short of an understatement to say that living moment to moment is the only way of making it through.

When I feel like this which, thankfully, I haven't felt in a while, there are very few things that I feel able to do. Through my experience, however, I've put together a list of actions that I'd recommend you try. If you don't manage them, who cares, this is just what I've put together. Take care of you, and do whatever it is you feel able to.

Open the window

When in the midst of a BPD attack the last thing I want is sunlight. Remember that scene in Sex in the City where Carrie walks straight into the Mexican resort, lies down on the bed and instructs her friends to close the shutters? That's me. I become sensitive to light and the darkness is both comforting and easy to handle.

What's not comforting, however, is the headache that I get when stuck in a stuffy room for too long. When I've had attacks in the past I've, luckily, been at my mum's, where I was relegated to the box room after leaving for university when my brother took over my room.

The size of the room meant that it got very stuffy very quickly, and so opening a window, even if only for half an hour, was incredibly beneficial in clearing the air and preventing me from getting a headache. When you're feeling mental pain, the last thing you want is added physical pain as well. If you can't manage it yourself, as a friend or family member to do it for you. It's a simple action, but one that can really freshen your room.

Drink a glass of water

This is another one geared towards avoiding headaches, although keeping hydrated never hurt anyone.

When feeling low, different people have different attitudes towards food. Some people find themselves able to eat, some people find themselves overeating and some people find themselves unable to eat at all. However your body and stomach are feeling, trying to get at least one glass of water into your system is a bonus. Not only will it help ease any stuffy-headedness, but it'll also help you stay hydrated while your brain and body take the rest it wants to take. Can't manage a whole glass? Sip as much as you can throughout the day or place a cup of ice chips in a cup next to your bed to place in your mouth when you feel able to, anything to get some fluids into your body.

Get out of bed, straighten your bed, get back in your bed

When we spend days on end under the covers, things can get a little messy. Crumbs, tissues, stray hairs, our beds can start to feel a little uncomfortable, but changing your bed sheets can often feel like too much of a challenge. If this is the case, but you still want to feel more comfortable, simply get out of bed, wipe the crumbs from your sheet and straighten your pillow, and get back in again. It may seem small, but even the accomplishment of managing something so easy can make the world of difference.

Rinse with mouthwash

This is a personal one for me, but the thought of not brushing my teeth can leave me feeling on edge. My mum is a dental hygienist, and I will forever be scarred by the image of a puss-engorged gum she showed me when I was eight. My teeth don't always take front row in my priorities when I'm feeling low, but it's important to me to do my best.

Sometimes, however, brushing your teeth can just feel too much. When you're only making it out of bed to use the bathroom, standing for two minutes plus to keep your teeth clean can seem like the least appealing thing in the world. If this is the case, and you want to add some minty freshness to your day, try simply rinsing with mouth wash. Or, if that feels too daunting, try flossing from your bed. It's important to take baby steps and do only what you feel you can manage, without pushing yourself before you feel ready.

Change your pyjamas

In the same category as straightening out your bed, it's easy to feel a tad icky when you've been in the same pyjamas for days on end. If you don't feel up to showering and freshening up entirely, there are few things as comforting as a fresh set of pjs, or even a clean T-shirt if that's all you feel up to. When you're feeling on the edge of a black hole, it's not so much about what you feel able to do, it's about what you can manage without pushing yourself too far.


Thursday, 4 April 2019

Minimalism, Pt 1.

One of the things I've discovered since I started travelling is that I don't like "stuff". I can't stand clutter and I'm finding a lot of comfort at the moment through knowing that I want everything that I have.

This isn't anything to do with the KonMari method, although I have read her book and attempted and failed to watch her Netflix show, it's more a case of feeling weighed down by the negative connotations associated with having my life filled with things that don't benefit me. Clothes I don't wear, half used bottles of shampoo, earrings to which I've lost the matching pair and will never wear again. It becomes very stressful at times and I needed to find a way of streamlining what I had in order to feel relaxed, and so I've decided to put together a little series of posts on how I'm reintroducing minimalism into my life.

I first discovered minimalism through Conor McMillen and Brittany Taylor. Inspired by their oh-so-covetable life of living a nomadic lifestyle, I realised that I needed to feel more free in order to feel content, which was the exact opposite of what was happening when I looked at my possessions.

That isn't to say I'm particularly good at de-cluttering. My husband always says that my major clear-outs often lead to me chucking things I need and then replacing them days later. In the heat of the moment I become ruthless, but still have a hard time letting go of things that I really don't use or need.

My shoes, you will never get me out of my shoes.

Attempting to find a balance between the two is difficult, and has become more and more apparent since I've settled down in Toronto. I know that I want to reach a middle ground with finding what I need and what I want, but it's going to be a slightly longer process than I hoped.

That's why I'm revisiting my minimalist journey. Lately I've found myself buying things I don't need or use and so I need to address not only what I'm buying, but why I'm buying it. I've also been procrastinating a lot lately, and I'm hoping that finding clarity with the things and thoughts that are clogging my head will help me push through what's stopping me from sitting down and writing and allow me to find relaxation in putting fingers to keyboard again.

Here's hoping.


Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Excuses excuses

I've been making a lot of excuses not to write lately. I could bore you with them, I'm even making them in my head now, but they all boil down to a recently discovered terrible problem with procrastinating and a feeling that in order to actually be a writer again, I need to be employed as a writer.

It would seem that the logic of actually writing something was lost on me.

This morning I'm lying in bed, having recently moved from the strange chair/table hybrid I've been using as a desk where I was opening tab after tab after tab of job applications that I have no desire to apply for. I even wrote myself a list of why I struggle yesterday, with the main points being my lazy ass is fed up of sending out job applications. Job hunting and dating are feeling very similar at the moment, completely pointless.

A lot of my problem at the moment is that I'm scared. What if I never get the have the career I crave so badly? All, and I mean all, I want to do is write. Once I start and really get into it it's like my fingers no longer need me, and they simply tap away producing all the words, phrases and sentences that need to be said. I'd like to think that I don't need the validation of employment to be proud of what I do, but right now I'm really not so sure.

Another issue I have with job searching is that doing what you love in a capacity that you don't like quite as much, be it in a new format, for a different platform or working the dreaded 9-5 that I'm sorry I've tried and I find soul destroying, is that it has the tendency to replace your enjoyment with feelings of obligation. When you've spent all day doing what you love for someone else, doing it for yourself becomes difficult.

As always, what I need to do is stop thinking. To let the words just come and not pressure myself into applying for things that fill me with nerves and nausea. I'm going to New York next week, fingers crossed getting out the city will help.