Loneliness

November 9,2018 8:00pm

Have you ever felt so alone but you feel like you could start screaming maybe in your apartment or even out in a crowd and nobody would hear you or even give you a second look? Well, have you? That’s how I feel sometimes, certainly how I’ve been feeling as of late. I feel alone, I feel isolated, I don’t know that “insignificant” is the word but I feel empty and hollow.

Loneliness fills my apartment. It takes up space as would helium in a balloon. It’s tangible. Palpable. Real. The angst and sadness lingers in the air and just hovers like cirrus clouds on a cloudy day. The artificial sound of connection emanates from my tv on an endless loop, I am surrounded by characters. Some I relate to, some I don’t, some shows that turn my brain to pure mush like a squashed banana on a seat or other shows that stimulate me and wake up my cells. But regardless of what streams out of my Tv from the $79 internet bill I pay a month I am still alone.

The tears that want to pour out of my eyes start in my stomach and then rise to my throat, build their way through my cheeks and then they stop. They never fully make it out of my eyes. Maybe if they did I would feel some type of release, some type of feeling, some type of catharsis. Some type of feeling alive and a little piece of loneliness would leave me but instead I feel boxed in and even more alone and isolated.

Reclaiming my Body

“How am I reclaiming my body?” I am asked by my friend, Haley for a challenge she started. This challenge is the whole reason you are even reading this right now. I ponder the question. A few answers pop up, then push them away thinking they are too personal, so I say I will go to back to thinking about it later. I mindlessly watch Tv, zone out, but the tantalizing question keeps whispering in my ear and finally an hour later I finally confront it.

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Just now- posting that first picture of my mostly naked body…I could stop typing right now is reclaiming my body because I feel like I am going to throw up and my body is hurdling through space and my head is spinning. Am I going to post this? My grotesque body for the world to see? We will see if this post ends up on the internet. But I digress and push all feeling of utter detestation, distaste and revulsion for my body and I’ll post what I originally wrote:

I reclaim my body everyday that I no longer cut it’s beautiful, unique shade of carmel- honey-brown-sugar and in return, the counter on my phone applauds me by tallying another day clean. I reclaim my body with every morsel of food I eat to nourish my body. Is it fun to have to force yourself to eat sometimes? Or realize it’s 10pm and you’ve gotten though another day without food and find satisfaction in that, but also sadness because it’s not fair to yourself? Absolfuckinglutly not. With every sip of water I drink my body silently thanks me. Every cigarette I don’t smoke anymore and pollute my lungs with is a victory after 7 years of wasted money, stinking clothes and rotting breath. I reclaim my body when I remind myself that it is mine and nobody else’s and that *I* am in control from here on out. It’s revolutionary when I have the small “it wasn’t your fault” moments and feel that I no longer have to feel like a victim- they are few and far between but those are moments to be cherished. I reclaim my body when I see myself as more than my physical body and include my beautiful, brilliant, creative, afflicted mind as part as my whole self. I am not the sum of my physical parts.

Even in the moments when I all I can see are is damaged parts; the fat, hideousness, disgust, shame, laziness, loneliness, mental illness and sickness that swallow me whole, I try to salvage the idea that I am not a failure. I am intelligent, well spoken, educated and have an alacrity and appetite to learn more and more about the topics that interest me. I always say, (especially when it comes to dating) “I would rather be respected for my mind than my body.” Body shapes and sizes are ephemeral, intelligence is forever.

I reclaimed my body and soul when I declared my trans identity and express that in a plethora of ways because of the fluidity of my gender expression is infitie. On August 8, 2016 I surgically reclaimed my physical body.

I reclaim my body when I write because all the neurons and synapses in my brain are firing at once. When words surge at the speed of light out of my fingertips and onto a page and simultaneously thoughts erupt out of my brain like lava exploding out of a volcano–I must find a way to express myself because spoken words won’t suffice. My body is reclaimed when I speak about my mental illness because I can use my brain, (a seemingly endless mocking dichotomy of strength and weakness) as a beacon of hope for others because I am articulate, open and honest. I can show my scars, tell my stories, share the trauma and what lead me to who I am today. I use my lips that I once hated because people, men, used to make sexual comments about them to share my message of hope.

I am reclaiming my body when I go to therapy 2 times a week to work on the skewed and sometimes illogical beliefs I hold about myself and my body. I am challenged by a brilliant therapist to really look at myself and thoughts and notions about myself and the world and question if what I am thinking or feeling is coming from an emotional place or a place of logic.

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I am in a perpetual state of evolution.

#ReclaimingMyBody

My Room Is Illuminated and Bright. A story of personal growth and overcoming self harm.

I woke up this morning to this this Facebook reminder. When I looked at it I smiled and was briefly reminded of how much this day was a catalyst to where my life is now. Now less than an hour later, on the 1 train headed to the Apple store, I feel sick to my stomach. I feel sad. You see, I had to just count on my fingers how many days it had been a year ago (when this post was made) that I first started self harming. At this point a year ago it was a week straight; my troubles started December 8, 2016. This is a day that I remember like an anniversary, like one would remember a birthday or death (perhaps this was a rebirth?) On this 1 train at 1:21 pm I am listening to my playlist “December 2016” which consists of all the sad songs I used to listen to for almost 10 months. Just as a little taste some of the songs on this pit-of-despair-in-music-form playlist I’ve got:

⁃ Hurt, Johnny Cash (a personal fav when the self loathing of cutting came in)

⁃ Under The Knife, Icon For Hire ( I think we can all guess what that’s about)

⁃ Creep, Radiohead

⁃ Hurts Like Hell (which, shockingly enough is NOT about cutting- it’s about people leaving you)

…Anyway. You get the hint. #sad #angst

SO! On December 8, 2016 I began to cut, on December 16 school let out for Christmas break, and Christmas Eve I left acting training.

It wasn’t another 4 months until my violent, life threatening behavior ended and I stopped hurting myself in March 2017. I can greatly attribute my recovery to my constant cognizance that what I was doing was dangerous, in addition to my willingness to go to therapy 4 times a week. Now I’m down to 3 because I don’t need to meet with my psychiatrist weekly anymore- we are now on a 3 month in-between period to touch base.

It’s sad because that moment in the status above mentioned a teacher grabbing my face and saying those words to me “you are worthy of love and belonging” was in response to me simply saying I probably wouldn’t return for the third year of training (a whole semester away from where we were now in training.) What I was really saying was “I know I don’t have you as a teacher next semester in the first place, I know I would have you again next year but I can’t do this anymore. Goodbye.” Same thing happened when my classmates and I went out for drinks after class was finished for Christmas break- I knew in my heart that I wasn’t coming back. I sat there, detached at the schools haunting grounds, mildly dissociated trying to quietly let on I was leaving.

I guess word spread among the staff at Atlantic because I soon revived a message from the student affairs director on December 23 and then eventually we had a phone call on Christmas Eve discussing my “options” even though we both knew it would be in my best interest to leave the rigorous training program that I was no longer mentally capable of meeting the demands required for success in the program. It’s funny, I was going through my old phone a few days ago and found the exchange between this human and I over Christmas break:

Looking at the conversation I see the resistance, anger and embarrassment I was harboring at the fact that she had found out what I had been doing to my body. It’s clear the amount of shame that I had considering this is the woman that took me to the hospital in the middle of a school day and ended up saving my life when I came to her and told her that I had tried committing suicide the night before back in September 2015 .During our phone conversation on Christmas Eve with her I decided to leave school. So there I was, in the north woods of my Wisconsin lake house in 18 degree weather, I felt as if a weight was lifted from my shoulders. I KNEW it was the right choice. I wrote a blog post that was called “Christmas Eve Drop Out” that I posted on Facebook and my WordPress blog. That night my post was read over 100 times and I received over 30 comments from people, some current classmates, some classmates in the grade below me who I never got a chance to know, family friends, teachers, and some private messages etc. In that moment I felt loved and supported. Part of my post:

“I had deep undercurrents of sadness and a sense of mistrust in myself and my ability to succeed at this school. By the final two weeks of school I had cut myself near 100 times on my wrists and legs as a way to deal with my feelings that I couldn’t express. I made it through to the final day just barely, missing classes became a pattern for me which is a no no at my school. I had begun to fall down the rabbit hole each night that I took a razor to my skin and inflicted such pain on myself.

I am lost and weak. I have lost who I am. Yesterday I wrote saying ” An inferno of sadness as engulfed my soul.” In this moment however, I don’t feel that way. I see a light in the corner, a light that I am actively chasing to eventually illuminate my whole room. This is the reset button. I will leave school to undergo intensive psychotherapy and get the help I desperately need but more importantly, want…. It is time that I stand  (shakily) on my two feet and walk into the light of recovery. It’s time to rebuild. “

After I came home from the lake house it was time for an action plan. We looked into hospitalization back in New York because I refused to move back to Wisconsin- cutting or not New York is my home. My therapist was in way over her head and told me she couldn’t help me anymore. Luckily that’s when Callen Lorde came in and saved my life. Callen Lorde is an LGBT community health center in Manhattan– the place I make the 2 hour commute 3 times a week to better myself.

So. That’s all in the past, yes? Well happily the answer IS yes. I haven’t cut myself in 286 days (and for those of you that are mathematically challenged *not judging, so I am* OR too lazy to figure out how long that is- it’s 9 months.) I still have sooooo many clinical diagnoses that are listed in the charts by the many mental health professionals I see, but guess what? I am working on it. Although these conditions will never go away, I am finally in a very stable place where my days aren’t soiled with the acrid taste of regret (usually alchohol) and sorrow that used to wake me in the mornings (and by mornings I mean like, 2 pm because I was a depressed mess.)

I have written about my past of self harm and depression extensively on my blog ‘The Rilen Files’ on WordPress (shameless plug. )Most notably the post called “56 Little Marks” that has a (horrifying) 486 views where I document the 56 scars left on my body that still remain a year after my 3 month fall apart-who-the-fuck-am-I-help! period in my life. Below is the beginning of the post (a good read if I may say so myself)

It’s nice that I’ve gained allies throughout that horrific time in my life. I’ve sustained friendships that have weathered my tornado. Friends I’ve met online across the world on different continents who I talk to daily,and trust inherently. Not your every day Joe Shmoe could’ve been sucked in and devoured by my sea of despair because they simply weren’t strong enough or had the compassion to deal. Cuz seriously, what the hell would YOU do if someone was texting you at 3M, drunk, depressed and (sometimes) angry telling you they a) have a knife next to them and either they want to cut themselves or b) they are already bleeding????I don’t even know how I would react to that.

So, to those friends, and therapists (that will never be able to read this- unless I decide to take the whole session to read this novel) thank you. Thank you for your friendship and unwavering love.

It’s been a year and then some but as 2018 approaches in (counts on fingers again- I told you I wasn’t kidding) 16 days, despite the haze that used to cover my eyes and cloud my thoughts, the darkness that consumed me, the vicious thoughts and voice in my head that whispered and sometimes screamed at me to cut deeper and give up, I am excited to see what wonderful opportunities are headed my way. On December 24,2016 I wrote “ I see a light in the corner, a light that I am actively chasing to eventually illuminate my whole room.”

And now on December 14,2017

My room is illuminated and bright.

If I listened to my borderline mind

If I listened to my voice of borderline all the time, I would have no friends and I would have pushed everyone away, of that I am sure. If I were to tell every person when they take more than 2 minutes to respond to my text if we are texting back and fourth, I assume I am not important, worthless, small and not worthy of your time. If I were to tell others that when I sense a change in tone even in writing whether that be simply by the lack of punctuation that I think they hate me and I did something wrong, people would say that I am crazy. People would argue that I am paranoid and need to calm down, smoke some weed. If I told people how attached to them I got after hours of talking to them they would think I am their stalker and a lonely loser. Sure, this does not happen with everyone but with new friendships and romantic interests this is most always the case.

I hang on to peoples word, my mood hanging by a thread on what is said or isn’t said. If I were to tell people how thoughts of abandonment turn to vicious thoughts in my head, people would tell me to seek help. If people knew that when someone does not respond to me I think I am fat, gross, ugly and worthless they would feel bad for me. I don’t want pity. I want a world where it isn’t bad to ask for what I need without the stigma of seeming crazy for having these thoughts. I try to explain these feelings to others and they don’t understand, “take it slow” they tell me. There is no pause or slow motion button in my head or for my thoughts, it’s full steam ahead all the time. How am I supposed to date someone or get to know someone when quickly they become my everything? How am I supposed to be in a normal relationship when I am waiting for the inevitable moment when someone tells me they don’t like me and I am a ruiner. That I have a pretty face, I’m sweet and kind but “too intense” and I “come on too strong?” How will anyone get to love me past my illness when it causes me to push others away? I will never be free of bpd, this is my life- I’m stuck with it.

I just wish there was a world I lived in where I could tell someone all my truths and not be thought of as aggressive or too much. I just want to be freely me and then have someone decide if I am right for them. If I listened to my borderline mind I would have been dead at 22. If I listened to my borderline mind I would have stopped in traffic already or jumped out a window just to see if I would die. If I listened to my borderline mind I allow myself to whole heartedly believe I am crazy and unwell. If I listened to my mind, I would believe that I am unworthy of love and affection because I am too sick. I want my mind to be quiet. To be at peace. To allow things to naturally unfold and not have a ticking time bomb clicking away, making everything so intense and urgent. I want to feel what it’s like to slowly fall in love with someone, and not crash into it. I want to know what it’s like to grow fond for someone overtime instead of them becoming my everything after a day. I want to know what it’s like to have normal, healthy relationships.

Chutes and Ladders

Monday February 27,2917 6:31pm

Recovery is complicated. For some reason when I think of recovery I think of it as a straight line going up with no kinks, just an arrow going up. What I am learning is that recovery is much more complicated than that. While the general direction might be up (if you are lucky and putting the work in) there are a lot of squiggles and knots along the way. When I was in AA, recovery was looked at a day by day thing. Every second by second, as long as you don’t pick up. But then there are the stories of success where people just decided on X day they would stop drinking. When I got sober on February 22,2017, I didn’t drink for 8 months. It was that Monday that I said I am done. We were told in AA that it’s okay to slip up, it’s not the end of the world,but why does it feel like such utter failure when you relapse when its a process?

I have been clean from cutting for 4 days. I am learning to be gentle with myself and say THAT is recovery. Sure, I’m sure soon something or someone will trigger me, whether it be loneliness, depression, isolation or whatever,I am almost certain I will cut again. But I need to realize that at this moment, I am in recovery and bettering myself. Recovery is like Chutes and Ladders. You climb up the ladder (4 days clean) but then you fall down a little bit, but eventually get back up and go further next time. Maybe instead of looking at recovery as a fixed point “I will never cut again” perhaps, I need to look at it in smaller bites. Perhaps it should be, “I haven’t cut in 4 days, that is incredible considering my record used to be 2 days a week ago.” I think the main part in recovery is patience.

I have been manic for the last week since my moms 3 year anniversary. I have been impulsively spending, among other things I am too shy and ashamed to admit to. It seems with me my problems are like a whack-a-mole. One problem gets slightly better and another pops up. I struggle with an eating disorder and have been falling back into those pattern specifically if I am drinking. It’s like, the depression starts to dissipate but then KA-BLAM BITCH! Another problems bitch slaps you in the face. I have felt relatively normal this past week, not crippled by depression mostly because I have been up, because of my mania.

I just hope someday…I’m not sure. I hope things will be easier and I will stop falling down the ladder so far everything, instead of starting at the beginning each time I make smaller slips. But I need to be kind and say I am trying my hardest. I am in therapy 3-4 times a week, I reach out when I need help, I write, I sing, I listen to music. I am trying. But half the time I feel like a loser. To hear the concern and disappointment in my dads voice on the phone when I tell him of my latest relapse or shennagains hurts me more than when I cut my skin open. I want to make him proud of me, I want to be the perfect son who is financially independent and responsible. Instead my days are ruled by depression and now lately mania. Recovery is difficult, but I will keep fighting until I reach the top of the ladder even if I stand shakily at the top, I will get there with the knowledge that there may not be complete recovery.

Stained skin.

February 12, 1:50 am

My pain is represented by my scars. The fresh cuts on my arms and the bandages that cover them weekly demonstrate the hurt. The scars speak more loudly than words ever will as to how I feel. The scars speak to the pain, abandonment, fear and hurt that I feel that I’m unable to express in other ways. I try to speak, to impart to others why I hurt, why I hurt myself. But words don’t do justice. So I stay silent, not trying to have anyone understand. Nobody will get it, if I myself don’t understand, so I don’t try. The only way I know how to speak, is to write. To have words flow out of my fingers, thats that were unknown and un-realized thoughts and feelings surface, not revealed until typed onto my screen. My leg reads as a barcode, 20 or more dark scars stain my skin. My two tattoos on my wrist are framed by dark, self inflicted lines. I look into the mirror and I don’t see me anymore. I don’t know who this is, but it isn’t who I am. I am an actor and now I have to go into auditions with scars on my arms, my weakness and misery on display for all.

Someone tonight told me, for every cut you want to make, there are 1000 reasons not to. I am putting my career at stake with my sickness. I want my body to be pure again, clean, untouched. Instead I am tainted, dirty and soiled. Some people don’t hide their scars because they say they are sings that they are a survivor, proof that they have been through some stuff.They want the world to know they are warriors.  I don’t know that I agree, but its gotten to the point that my pain will be visible to see. Even if I wear a long sleeve shirt the pain will reflect in my eyes. Sure, my lips curve into smiles, my laugh booms out of me, but the darkness still rests within.

I’ve begun to cry more times these past 2 weeks than I have allowed myself in the past year. My eyes become blurry and fill with tears, but they refuse to fall. They sit stubbornly around my brown, sad eyes, unable to dip to my cheeks. I don’t feel a release, I feel nothing most of the time. I am hollow. I am carved out and empty. Covered in scars I did nothing to earn.

 

A Life Lead in Confusion

Tuesday February 7,2017 10:35pm

My life is lead in confusion. I am confused about my gender, my trauma history, why I drink, why I cut, why I am so mentally ill, why I have no friends, why I feel empty. I am surrounded by endless thoughts of what, why, how come? I wish I had answers to all the questions my mind asks of me, instead I walk around in a haze, stumbling around trying to find the door that holds my secrets and unsolved truths.

I want to be understood, I want to be loved, I want to once again, feel whole. I want to have people in my immediate surroundings who I can spend time with instead of seeing blurred faces through a computer screen. I long for someone to touch, to hold and be held by. I want to sit in my sweatpants and watch sappy romantic comedies with a friend while shoving our faces with popcorn. I want to feel so fulfilled and purposeful in life that I am bursting with life, unable to hold in my joy that I could get up and break into song at any moment. I want to greet my days with purpose instead of shades of grey that paint my days. It’s only been 2 months since I’ve been out of school and I feel disheartened. I wonder, will I ever make it as an actor or will this be my life forever? Living off my dad and lying around, like an amorphous blob in my bed.

When will I look in the mirror and be happy and not see double chins and fat hips? When will my legs gain their strength and tone again? Do I want to continue hrt and become looking more and more male, or do I want to slow down and stay how I am, in the middle? I don’t fit with others and I don’t fit with myself ,there is turmoil and unrest deeply settled in my soul. My withering soul that longs to spark back to life. To feel free, love, understood, apart of SOMETHING. So much, if not all of my life I have been alone and felt disconnected, I now wonder if this because of my disorder, or is that just me? Forced to walk beside my own shadow? I don’t have the answer to all of these pitiful questions and it plagues me. I want clarity, I want to take of my splattered glasses that are covered with fog and dirt and see clearly. To feel complete and needed. I make youtube videos to help others and help myself, but I wonder, who is really helping me? I have a mental health team that encourages me and understands, supports, empthathizes and sympathizes with me, but am I really interconnected with anyone? Or am I just a flag flapping alone in a field?

I don’t know what I want most in my life, if its to feel included and understood? Or to just feel whole and content within myself? I don’t have any answers at this point. I am lost.

10:46

Recovery is a fickle bitch.

Monday January 30, 2017 3:06 pm

Recovery, much like life is a fickle, fickle bitch. I find myself on a constant rollercoaster these days. I swing from having good days, where I feel healthy and normal. I spent my days writing, watching TV, reading and playing piano. I sit in my room and feel guilty for not working, for not being in school perusing my career at a school I love so much. I think of myself as being lazy and a bit unmotivated. I question whether my dad thinks I am being lazy for not working, that I am on vacation time, where nothing matters and the days fly by. Then I am stampeded by the bad days. The days where I sleep for 17 hours and can’t get out of bed. I leave my bed to use the bathroom, shower and eat a single meal. Besides those actions my sleeping mask shuts out the light that turns to darkness as I lay motionless in my bed. It’s the days that I feel like a slate wiped clean, and utterly empty that I am reminded that I am sick. It’s the nights when I drink alone in the darkness, and take a razor to my skin that I realize how sick I am. When I toss and wake to the morning to remember the night before because of the bandage I placed on my arm hours before is when reality comes crashing down, I am ill.

I am in week 2 of therapy with a new caring therapist. She is beautiful, nurturing and competent. I see her on Tuesdays at 12 and Wednesdays at 2. I see my psychiatrist on Fridays at 1. I am getting a lot of help, but we are beginning even at this early stage to wonder if it is enough for me. There is talk of beginning a day program 5 days a week to help me get the coping mechanisms I need to function in the world. The nights are just so hard for me. When the darkness settles, a switch turns in my brain to self destruct mode. I feel lonely and barren of connection and emotion and coping skills. I have been sober for 2 days and haven’t cut in 3. These may seem small but especially the drinking is a very big deal, especially considering I have a full bottle in the fridge. I am trying to get better. I was triggered by some unseen childhood trauma that I am not ready to face as my brain has blocked the memories the other night and called helpline after helpline to avoid cutting myself. I finally reached someone who listened to me and was empathetic, I felt heard and understood. They applauded me for reaching out and trying so hard to get help when I was struggling so much. I ended up cutting anyway, but I am trying. I am clawing my way out of this hellish hole that is all consuming.

I know I made the right decision by not being in school, I am a delicate flower as I call myself, and I wouldn’t be able to handle that stress. So I suppose I will just have to hang tight and cling to dear life and try to stay afloat, but most importantly, alive.

Hospitalization: I want to live.

I’ve fallen into a hole and haven’t been able to climb out of it. My fingernails are covered in dirt as I struggle to get out of this pit of despair I have fallen into. I am a fighter. I am fighting for my life every day I have walked this earth, more recently the last year, and even more specifically the last 2 months.

The week started off pretty bad. I was triggered by my sexual assault. A book I was reading about a young trans teen was sexually assaulted for the same reason that I was, because some fuckers were trying to figure out what anatomy they had. I ended up cutting myself over 30 times that night, on my forearms, wrists and thigh. I scared myself because for the first time I cut vertically, I say it was because I wanted to see more blood, but if I am honest with myself I know part of the reason I did that was because I had a severe case of the “fuck it’s” and didn’t care if I accidentally bled out. So to say the least the week didn’t start off well. I then spent the entirety of Wednesday contemplating suicide and decided whether I wanted to go, to press harder that night and eventually reach my half formed goal of bleeding out. I decided against it, because I realized I still had some fight in me. I think I just ended up cutting instead. I went 4 days without cutting, the longest I’ve gone in over a month. Then Saturday based on a chain of events, partly due to money, I cut vertically again with the half intention of not caring if I bleed out on my queen sized bed in my Brooklyn apartment.

There is a difference I realized between the fuck it’s and actually wanting to die and intentionally trying to die. I was concerned enough that I would try to hurt myself even more than the night before so on Sunday January 22, I checked myself in The Brooklyn Hospital. I checked in around 1:20pm and was promptly placed in the ER on a 1 to 1, which is suicide watch where a nurse sits with you every second to make sure you don’t try to hurt yourself. The nurses were amazing, I felt taken care of and a sense of protection. I did however, feel like I was being babysat and felt like a failure for being a 26 year old man having people watch my every move. Around 5:42 pm I was transferred to my own room. I requested a private room because of my transgender status. I wasn’t comfortable sharing a room with a male or female as I look androgynous at this point in my transition and honestly, don’t feel like I fit clearly in either box at this point. I got dinner, and made conversation with my favorite nurse, Adolph. A young 30 something african american woman. We laughed and made jokes, talking about pizza, grilled cheese, hurricane sandy and other things. All my nurses with the exception of 2, one of which fell asleep, snoring while I was laying in my bed were incredible. My room was a freezer, probably about 30 degrees, my nurse was wrapped in a blanket like a nun and I had 2 blankets on. I was woken around 4am to the caring hands of a nurse tucking me into my third blanket.

The thing about being placed on suicide watch is everyone tells you how much life is worth living, they spout knowledge and hope saying, you’re too young and pretty to want to do this to yourself. They told me that I wasn’t crazy which lead me to semi believe them and form the new opinion that while yes, I do have many diagonseses, I am in a somewhat healthy spot. I always laugh when they ask me if I hear voices or see things that aren’t there, and scoff when I am asked if I am homicidal. Which is kind of a dick move because there are people that feel that way. So I guess one of the biggest lessons I learned what is that I’m not crazy. I was able to laugh and joke and carry on coherent conversations. Which given the horror stories of nurses being spit on, chairs thrown or piss cans being thrown on them, I would say I was doing pretty well.

I realized I have too much to live for. About a month ago I made a 3 and a half page list taking note of all the reasons I shouldn’t kill myself. My list varies from a few people that I know would be devastated, to cupcakes, pizza, the opportunity to not be able to help others, playing piano, hot showers and rainy days litter my list in colorful colors by my felt tip pens.

For those of that have depression will be able to understand this statement, there is a clear cut difference between actually wanting to die and imagining it and reaching a point of carelessness if that were in fact to happen. What is referred to as suicidal ideation litters my mind. What if I jumped in front of that train? Ran into traffic, slit my wrists so that I bled out, jumped out of the 31st floor of building I am inhabiting? These are fully formed thoughts but with lack of intention.

I am glad I went to the hospital, because for one night I was safe from my mind. I wasn’t transferred to a psych facility because I wasn’t a threat to myself. My psychiatrist said he wasn’t concerned that I was going to go home and slit my wrists with the exacto knife that sits in the pringle cup next to bed.

I guess the 25 hours I spent being continually watched gave me perspective that I want to live. I was going to fight it if they made me go to a psych facility. You see, I have this bandaid theory about the hospital situations I’ve been in, as this is the second time I’ve voluntarily checked in for my mental health and sucicidal ideation. I look as hospitals as a band aid that cover the safety part of my recovery, I can’t hurt myself, which is great. But that isn’t the bigger problem. The bigger problem needs to be discovered through therapy, to find out why I am hurting myself, was I assaulted as a kid? How has my moms unfortunate death and sexual assault shaped me into who I am? Thats where the healing has to be, not under some 24 hour lock down facility with cardboard veggie burgers and small juice cups that are gone in 3 sips.

I am a fighter, I am covered in blood, I have soot on my face, my body is broken and bruised, but I continue to stand tall in the face of mental illness and trauma.

The Split

Saturday January 14,2017 3:59 pm

So there is something in my life that has emerged or rather come to my attention recently. I was diagnosed as having bipolar 2 back when I was 22, so almost 6 years ago. My life was ruled by hypomanic episodes, severe bouts of depression and feeling suicidal to being manic where I couldn’t stop talking, my mind wouldn’t slow down, acting impulsively like stealing and sleeping with numerous people. My life was a fucking roller coaster which I did not pay to ride. I was ruled by my bipolar. I didn’t feel normal and found it hard to get through some days, I found myself crying for no reason and feeling numb and empty. I felt disconnected from the world and like a crazy person.

Now 6 years later I was given another diagnosis (not in replacement of but rather in addition to) of borderline personality disorder. I would like to clarify right now that the word “personality disorder” sounds much more dramatic and fatal as it actually is—not to downplay how truly horrendous bpd and other personality disorder are. Personality disorder just means the way you experience feelings is vastly different from the norm. You feel things more instensly than others (bpd) or maybe you have lack of feelings which is what anti social personality disorder, which is better known as sociopathy.

Now that I have this diagnosis my whole life makes sense. I remember when I diagnosed with bipolar my life seemed to fall apart and crumble, but I felt relief because I finally had a name to the symptoms that are wreaking havoc on my life. Now that I have this additional diagnosis I have the complete picture of who I am. Bpd is characterized as having the following symptoms: unstable relationships with people that are long withstanding (as in like, all my  friggin relationships are messed up with people) feelings of emptiness, suicidial ideation or self harm, intense abandonment issues— thinking everyone in your life is just going to pack up and leave you eventually. As if that isn’t enough frequent mood swings lasting from a few minutes to hours, impulsive behavior such as promiscuity or stealing, unstable sense of self, dissociation and depersonalization all accompany this disorder.

I think for me the worst symptom that plagues me and other sufferers with bpd report is attachment issues. There is a term in the bpd community called “fp” which stands for favorite person or favourite for all my brits out there! A fp is a person in your life who you idolize and put before all others in your life. This person is a God among men- they can do no wrong. You hang on to every word they say and you need constantly contact and validation with them. One of the worst parts of bpd is the fact that you can turn into a complete raging psycho when people don’t respond to texts immediately. I once went on a 15 day cutting streak because some person- who eventually abandoned me- didn’t text me back for 13 hours. Communication and connection are two very important pieces of bpd. Another horrible symptom of bpd is called “splitting” which is when you go from idolizing someone to hating them and cutting them out of your life. For example I had an fp, someone who at one point I hung on to their every word and looked forward to hearing that text ding from them. Now we haven’t talked in almost a month and unfourtanetly I have completely split on them- I want nothing to do with them, they mean nothing to me anymore- they could block me and I wouldn’t care at this point.

Now, the reason I entitled this article “the split” is because my bipolar used to rule my life. But now things have changed to how bpd affects my life. The long term mood swings that would last weeks are now ruled by short term mood swings. A couple of weeks ago in a period of about 5 minuets I went from being depressed, to cutting myself multiple times, to getting excited about the taco dip I was eating. Now I am on an even faster roller coaster which I wish I wasn’t tall enough to ride. Now at this point in my life, at almost 27 years of age, bpd is my main challenge. I have recently in the past month begun cutting myself- a symptom of bpd. That was never an issue before. And now all the pieces fit together- my fear of everyone leaving me no matter how much they have showed me they aren’t going to, the alcohol abuse, idolizing someone in a short amount of time after knowing them and the splitting. My life has been split between dealing with the symptoms of my bipolar to my bpd.

Sadly meds don’t fix bpd otherwise I would be on that shit in a heartbeat. My bipolar has been stabilized by a mix of mood stabilizers, anti anxiety and anti depressants. So now, the focus of my life is learning better coping skills like not cutting or drinking so much and interpersonal relations. I need to find a way to find the evidence that people are not going to leave me and assume everyone hates me and is bothered by my presence. I can’t say one is worse than the other because they both suck, and paired together it’s a deadly pair. But I am committed to recovery and getting better. Bpd is not “curable” per se but you can do expensive therapy to lessen the symptoms of abandonment issues and such. I just hope there is a day when I can say I am healthier and no longer ruled by either of my disorders.