Trigger warning: please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. There is discussion of self harm.
It’s Saturday night and I feel awful. Current time at writing is 22.53 and I’m laying in bed. I hate myself. That’s what I can identify. Pure hatred. I hate myself so much it hurts.
The evening involved trying to be positive. Or rather not admitting the negativity. I messaged some friends. I asked them how they were and they reciprocated. The thing is I just ignored the question. I diverted the conversation to discuss them or other things. And to be honest all I could say is I feel bad.
Emotions aren’t my strong point. Identifying them seems impossible and it’s bothering me more and more at the moment. I want to make people understand me and I can’t when I can’t understand me. The feeling is that I’m trapped alone. I’m trying to work on it but it feels scary and I feel like I should of done this as a little kid not as a 31 year old.
Since I’ve come to bed, I’ve self harmed. I tried a new area on top of the usual and felt a failure when I couldn’t do what I needed to achieve. My thoughts spiralled again and what I was trying to escape intensified. The hatred for myself at my failure is immense. I just wanted to destroy myself. Self destruction seemed a good option.
The voice is back as well. We’ll it’s never really left just subsided slightly. Not over the last few days or tonight. It’s telling me people hate me and want me dead. People are fed up of me and want me to die. I should do them all a favour.
So yeah that’s Saturday night. A night of mental illness taking over. A night where I hate my existence. And tomorrow will be another day the same. Waking up with blood on your hands will do that.
This isn’t a typical mental health blog but it’s one I needed to write. With the abhorrent tweets from J. K. Rowling, it left me questioning a huge part of me. I have a love for Harry Potter. And this situation made me question it all. Should I rid myself of everything related to it? How can I cut such a huge chunk of me out? I had to really think. I came to my conclusion and here are my thoughts about it and how I got there. I only made it coherent when talking to someone else who was having the same struggle.
With J. K. Rowling, I’ve decided she is not Harry Potter. That has grown bigger than her. It’s the people who love it that have made it what it is. The people who have brought it to life. It is the friendships it’s formed and the lives its saved. And those people are statistically more open and accepting than the rest of the world. (Info on study here)
As the wizarding world is bigger than her my friend who I was discussing it with said maybe we should focus on supporting the publishers and actors. The actors have spoken against her. (Find details here). They know the world is more than her. She had an idea but others took it further and the wizarding world made it it’s own. They removed it from being about one person. With any fandom it’s not just about the creator. The fans take hold and it belongs to them rather than the creator.
In the story it teaches us to be accepting of all. It shows us that differences can be overcome and it shows that people who try to eliminate anyone from society will not go far. She wrote her own downfall in these books. She showed the fans of Harry Potter that you can not push out a whole section of society and expect no backlash or to keep your status. It will catch up with you.
I’m not going to feel guilt for liking and loving something that actually made me feel part of the world a little bit. For being the kid with no friends who then finds them later on. For needing a bit of magic in my life to deal with the shit storm it was. Harry Potter to me is not about J. K. Rowling. Its about the friendships it created, its about the magical world, its about finding something that made me see that people should be accepted in society and sometimes we just need to find the right people, it’s not us causing the issue.
My final words are for the people of the trans community. You’re not on your own. We love you andd accept you. We want you in our society. You make it a better place. Keep fighting together and we will beat people like her. Big love.
Please be aware that some of the content may be triggering. Please take care when reading.
People always want to know what it’s like to have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). They want to know how I live with it and what’s going on in my head. They want to know what is me and what’s the illness. So I thought I’d try to put into words some of these things and few other bits. It may not be succinct or always easy to follow but that probably says as much about this disorder than anything else.
I hate being in my head. Life is exhausting. I second guess myself all the time. I know there is something wrong with me. For years now people have officially known that doctors see my personality as screwed up. Thanks!
The thing is I’ve thought I’m screwed up for a long time. I’ve always felt on the outside. I’ve never felt a part of the group and for years it’s bothered me. I couldn’t work out how people made friends so easily and even more how they kept friendships without coming across as totally needy and to be called “a sheep”. Believe me it’s happened.
To begin with I tried my best to fit in. I rejected things I liked in favour of what others liked. This included music and television shows. It included the way I behaved with others. I just wanted to be “cool”. It didn’t work. I was seriously unhappy and it was totally unnatural. I hated myself. And I lost myself.
That’s part of BPD, lack of a sense of self. Knowing what I like and who I am is hard. Do I like something or is it just because someone else says they like it? Obsessions come and go often depending on other people’s feelings towards them. With age there has been a bit more stability in this area but it can still fall apart. I will allow myself to like things that others close to me don’t now. It’s quite freeing but hard as I fear my likes will make others dislike me.
The fear of being disliked is strong. The fear people will hate you and leave you very much in evidence. This can lead to desperate behaviour. This is where the term “manipulative” comes out. We can appear manipulative because we are desperate to hold on to people so can make what appear as threats of harming ourselves. But we don’t use it in a manipulative manner. We are scared. We don’t know how to keep our fear under control (and this fear is strong and terrifying) so we want to hurt ourselves as we can’t imagine being without the other person and we are hurting so much. We don’t want to hurt you really. We want to stop the pain. However we can learn to deal with this better but it takes time. And the fear doesn’t seem to ever leave. At least that’s my experience.
I talked about overwhelming fear above. All our emotions though can be overwhelming. I can feel physically sick with fear over something others would feel vaguely scared about. If something apparently trivial goes wrong that can lead to suicidal thoughts taking over. It may seem silly and overdramatic to you but to me these are my real feelings. Saying they’re silly and overdramatic to me just invalidates me. I already do this to myself. I know it sounds silly to you. I know I sound overdramatic. But it’s how I feel and it takes me time to work out if that’s justified and change the feeling. For most people this is an automatic process. For me and others with BPD it takes using therapy skills and many checks. We may even have to get notes or a book out to help us deal with it.
Self harm and suicidal thoughts can be a daily occurrence. For me they definitely are. I wake up wanting to die and go to bed wanting to die. I can be smiling but planning my suicide inside. I can be making plans for the future while wondering if I’ll be alive for them. Self harm feels like my main coping mechanism. It’s been there most of my life now. Losing it in favour of other skills is hard work. Self harm works for me in a way they don’t. It’s easier than going through multiple skills or sitting with the feelings. And when feelings are overwhelming it can feel like you want to be rid of them as fast as possible. I’d rather feel the pain physically than sit with an emotion that is painful.
Another reason sitting with emotions or dealing with emotions is hard for me is that I struggle to identify my emotions. I can maybe go as far as good or bad emotion but finding other words is more challenging. It’s frustrating not being able to express yourself and how you feel. To only be able to guess at an emotion. I want to tell you how I really feel but how? What. Words do I use? Will you truly understand how I feel? What if you don’t and it all gets confused and taken out of context? How do I sort this mess? Easier to keep it inside and deal with it how I normally do. It’s nothing personal. I promise.
There’s a lot of things from the past I’ve expressed here. The thing is they all build on each other until it becomes a complicated web. Untangling it by using different skills takes an awful lot of time. I want to make it so these skills are second nature and I don’t have to sit up with a big manual so I can discuss and deal with emotions, or interact with others, or stop myself trying to kill myself. I feel an idiot.
The thing is I feel a screw up but it is an illness. It’s the illness that makes me feel that way all the time. That’s the main thing that’s hard living with it. The self hatred. The constant need to apologise. It’s hard to break down these walls.
So that’s a small insight into what is going through my head a lot of the time. It can all be in there. There is also probably a lot more that adds in too. It won’t make you feel like I feel. No one can do that for anyone else fully. Even others with BPD will have different experiences. But this is me.
Step 1: How are you feeling? Are you able to look after yourself as well as offering kindness? A self check-in is important.
Step 2: What kindness is needed? Is it straight away in the form of a listening ear or a smile? Or can it be planned, like a letter or card?
Step 3: Offer kindness. It may be that at this time it is not wanted. That’s OK. Save it for later. By offering that’s a kindness in itself.
Step 4: Do you feel OK after the act of kindness? Is there anything that it has brought up in you that you need to deal with? This especially important when listening to others. Also do you need to carry out some self care if the kindness has taken from you? That’s OK. Do it.
Step 5: There is no need share the act of kindness on social media. These acts are a personal thing for the other person.
Step 6: Be proud of yourself for being kind. Know you have done something for another person and made the world that much better.
Random acts of kindness are also a lovely thing. You might not know if someone needs a particular type of kindness so be kind anyway. Make the world that bit better.
Kindness. In my mind it is the most important thing in this world. If I brought children into this world it would be the main thing I’d want them to be along with happy. It’s the thing we can give to anyone for free (in money terms).
So why is kindness so important?
How would you feel if you weren’t feeling great and someone was nasty to you? How does it make you feel when someone shows you that little bit of kindness instead? That is the difference between being unkind and kind. It can make the world of difference to people. It can help them feel more positive or more able to deal with whatever they are facing. They will know someone cares about them. They will see that they are worthy of kindness.
Being unkind can have serious consequences. We have seen some examples of people taking their own life when they are exposed to extreme unkindness in the media. We then see the outcries from the same people dishing out this unkindness to be kind. If we were kind in the first place maybe these reminders wouldn’t be needed. We never know what someone else is going through.
How can we be kind?
The main way we can be kind is to think about the way we act towards others. We need to think about what our words and actions do to others. How would they make us feel if someone was to do the same to us? Do we really need to say something mean or in that particular tone of voice? Is there another way to get our point across?
Other ways to be kind can include reminding people of their value, listening to them, being there for them or helping them out. Think about what you’d like people to do for you in different situations and how maybe you could do something similar.
Being kind is important. But we also need to make sure we look after ourselves while being kind. Part of this is putting some boundaries in place. We need to make sure that we are not giving everything to others at expense to ourselves. We need to know we can say no and still be kind. It is possible and true.
So how do you show kindness? I’d love to hear your ways. Feel free to share in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
This year’s mental health awareness week has the topic of body image. I was unsure how to cover this as I don’t have an eating disorder or body dysmorphia. However I realised I have had my own issues with my body and my mental illness has effected how I feel about myself physically.
What is body image?
“Body image is a person’s perception of the aesthetics or sexual attractiveness of their own body. It involves how a person sees themselves, compared to the standards that have been set by society.” (Wikipedia, May 2019).
My body image
Throughout my life I have been overweight. This has led to me hating my body and the way I look. It’s eaten away at my self esteem and led to me having little confidence in myself. My body image has had a negative effect on my mental health. It hasn’t been helped by the medication I’m on leading me to gain even more weight. It has become a bit of a cycle of feeling worse so increasing meds leading to increasing weight and then feeling worse again.
People have told me that they have found me attractive or that there are nice features of me. I struggle to believe it and cannot see this at all. My body image in their eyes is skewed. I think this hasn’t been helped by the trauma I’ve been through that has led to me hating my body even more. I can only see something that has been used and abused. Something that has let me down when I’ve needed it most.
Improving body image
There are some things we can do to help our body image. They are not always easy and it won’t be a quick fix.
The first thing you can do is avoid negative media. Avoid looking at diet accounts and airbrushed models. They give us a false representation of what we feel we should look like and feed into our doubts about ourselves. Instead try and look for body positivity accounts to follow. Body Positive Panda is a great account on Instagram to follow and there are many more like her.
Another thing we can do to improve our body image is to stop comparing ourselves to others. Easier said than done, I know (I am probably one of the worst offenders for this). But we should know that we are unique.
We can also improve body image by dressing in a way that makes us feel confident. This will be different for everyone. I’m most confident in a funny t-shirt and jeans. Others may prefer a suit. It’s up to you.
Practicing self care can also help with body image. Seeing ourselves as someone who is worth treating nicely and respecting our bodies will have a positive impact.
For more information on body image check out National Eating Disorders who have lots of information (you don’t need to have an eating disorder to have a problem with body image). Feel free to share your experiences and tips for better body image in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
This is a personal piece. Please be trigger aware when reading.
There are many things in life that can have a negative impact on our mental health. There are all sorts of trauma that we can go through. One thing that has impacted negatively on my mental health is bullying. Bullying is something many people experience and it can have a lasting impact on those it touches. Bullying is not the only reason behind my illnesses but it has had a major impact, therefore I thought I would detail my experience and show that you are not alone if you have experienced or are experiencing bullying.
The first time I was bullied was in primary school. A boy in the year below me decided he didn’t like me so started by calling me names. These names were hurtful and stick with me today, over fifteen years after the event. The name calling soon escalated until eventually he hit me hard. That’s when I had to tell someone what was going on. He was dealt with and it did stop him from attacking me further. Then I went to secondary school…
At secondary school things were OK for the first couple of years. Then a group of people in my French class started picking on me. It was a mixed group of boys and girls. It started off with masking commented about me. French lessons became hellish. I couldn’t walk into the classroom without some comment. No teacher picked it up as we had a run of stand in teachers and I was much too scared to take it further and tell someone what was happening. My mental health was already suffering at this stage and I was self harming. The bullying made this worse.
Then the bullying got worse and I started to be followed on my way home by the group from my French class and some older children from different year groups. The comments increased and I was threatened with physical violence. Life started to feel not worth living and I was self harming more than ever, but still I didn’t talk. I thought it would make things worse. I hated school. I didn’t want to go. The bullying continued over years.
The bullying continued to get worse. I dropped French classes but the bullying continued in other lessons. I found a new way to walk home but was always looking over my shoulder. I felt isolated. Then as I was nearing the end of my schooling, I had the worst comment I had to hear, “why don’t you go and kill yourself?” Suddenly in my head I felt like I had an answer to all my problems. I would end my life.
I made an attempt on my life. I was unsuccessful, obviously, and managed to hide it. I just made myself unwell. But it could have been so much worse.
While bullying was not the only reason for my attempt on my life, it did play a massive role. People’s words and actions towards me could have left me dead. Bullying is serious and needs to be treated seriously and not as something that we accept as part of growing up. If you are being bullied please talk to someone. Talking will help and that person can hopefully help you find a solution. It doesn’t matter if you’re being bullied at school or at work. It is not acceptable. For more information on bullying check out bullying.co.uk or anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk.