Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Straight up or Sideways

It's been said that when you hit rock bottom there's only two ways you can go, straight up or sideways. I want to believe that, but it often feels that right when I have hit my lowest, the floor drops from underneath me. That's what it feels like now for me.

This morning I was forced to pack my stuff and leave the place I had been staying at. The reasoning is complicated, but part of it had to do with me being accused of things I wasn't doing. Also, I'm going to be honest. If you don't get mental illness, especially BPD, then I am a difficult person to live with. I'm not difficult in the sense I'm mean or I cause trouble; no it's much more trivial stuff. This is something I recently talked to my therapist about, and I will try and explain it to you guys.

Sometimes my mind gets so overwhelmed and so filled with anxiety that smaller and more trivial things may slip my mind. I know this is going to make me sound lazy and immature, but I sometime need prompts. If I'm not helping out around the house it's not because I don't want to, it's because my mind is either in complete anxiety ridden overdrive or I'm so beaten down that my capacity for dealing with anything other than knowing my name is very slim; so, sometimes I need to be asked/told to do something. Like I said, I don't kicked out cause I'm threatening people or stealing or anything like that. I get kicked out cause I don't help out enough (and when I do stuff it usually goes unnoticed), and because whoever I live with usually doesn't understand the extent of my disorder.

It's my fault. It's my fault because I put myself into situations where I live with strangers I meet on the internet. It's my fault for thinking I can do more than I can handle. It's my fault for not having better control of my disorder sooner. I've lived (if my count is right) in 12 different places since November, 2011. I don't even know how many jobs I've gone through.  I still struggle though. I just experienced one of the worst breakdowns I've had in six or seven years. I've had no real stability in a long time. Sure, I've come a long way with my disorder. I am able to control it better, I have learned so many skills, and I'm incredibly insightful and reflective. I've picked myself back up so many times, but I've also lost so many friends and gotten myself into bad situation after bad situation.

Perhaps I'm not giving myself enough credit though. I'm an incredibly relentless person and I am a fighter. I also know what I need to work on, and there are a lot of people with BPD who don't even realize what their symptoms are. Not only do I know them, but I can describe them and give personal examples. I think that's saying a lot. I know I need to work on my relationship vulnerability, I know I need to work on coping in the moment, I know I need to work on controlling my anger.

You know what, though? I really am not giving myself enough credit. To a lot of people it may seem like I have no made progress, but let's put things into perspective:

T Breakup (6 years ago): Drove to his house in the middle of the night, texted/called him 50+ times in 5 hours, threatened to kill myself, quit my job, and basically flipped out on everyone that came near me.
Pete Breakup: Tried contacting him (not as much as T), cried, called friends, vented on FB, went to be with family

Anger (6 years ago): Threatening people online, saying things like "I hope you get raped", spitting on people, throwing things at people, screaming. It was also never my fault.
Anger Now: I still yell if I feel like I'm not being heard. I've also flipped out online. However, I haven't said anything close to what I used to. I also feel remorseful now, will delete it and apologize and then work through it with my therapist.

Now I have my self-sooth kit, now I'm able to recognize my flaws and take responsibility for them. It may seem that I just flip out, but what people don't see is me being incredibly remorseful and understanding my disorder is affecting me. That's not using it as an excuse, that's being aware. If I was using my disorder as an excuse then I'd wouldn't be wanting to start DBT. In fact, I'd probably be dead.

Yes, I've pushed a lot of people away. You know what, though? It's not always my fault. Sometimes it simply comes down to the fact people can't handle me and my illness at it's worst. Am I blaming them? No. I'm incredibly difficult to deal with. I'm just saying it's not always because I was a bad friend, sometimes it's that I was simply too intense. Trust me though, I know when I've been a bad friend, and I am in no way saying my actions have never caused loss relationships.

I've also had to deal with tremendous amounts of stigma; I've had to deal with being accused of things I didn't do or I wasn't, I've had to deal with being called a liar, I've had to deal with people thinking my disorder was just a cry for attention or a reason to be a drama queen, I've had to deal with tremendous bullying, and most of all I've had to deal with all the shame and regret and remorse that comes with this disorder.

I haven't had stability in a while, but it's not because I'm a bad person. It's not because I'm not a good worker or that I'm a bad house mate. It's that I am still growing, I am still progressing. But society needs to progress as well. Society needs to be more educated on mental illness. If I had cancer, it's not your fault I have cancer, but if you treat me like less than or abandon me when my cancer gets bad and tell me I brought it upon myself; then that's a huge problem. This is what happens with mental illness.

Right now I'm in a situation where I got kicked out of house today (literally had to pack everything), my car could be taken away any day, I have about $100 to my name, and I can no longer start the critical and extensive therapy I was supposed to. You know what I did?

I found a place to stay for a couple of days, I'm moving in with a friend this weekend, I already put in a call to the mental health center near where I'll be living, and I'm supposed to be hearing back from a couple of jobs this week.

For someone with BPD who is going through what I am, that shows a lot of courage and resilience. There's a reason there is a Phoenix on my back.

Finally, as a note. If you hear stories about a person maybe try confronting them instead of automatically believing what you hear. Unfortunately if people want to they can use my disorder to make me look like an evil, ungrateful, lying, attention seeking bitch. I asked my friends what they thought of me and the replies I got were, "empathetic," "high level of intelligence," "profound openness," "resilient," "soulful," "caring," "kind," "compassionate." The point I'm trying to make is that I shouldn't be judged by what people who do not understand have to say about me.

I know I have a long way to go and things seem dark right now, but as I always say "compare me to me" and the me now is a lot different and a lot further a long than the me a few years ago. Back then I would not have bounced back so quickly. I'm obviously upset about what happened today, but I actually feel positive and hopeful now.

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