Saturday, January 8, 2011

An End to It All - Criteria 5 / Suicidal Gestures and Ideation

I haven’t tried to kill myself since I was 16. Nearly 13 years have passed since then. My life was so scheduled away, so full of pressure, unobtainable standards, and emotional pain I couldn’t imagine feeling that way for an entire lifetime. When you’re in the moment it’s often hard to see that there is another one just around the corner. To understand that these feelings will pass. Especially when they’re persistent and don’t go away. Don’t actually pass. 

I have known of my mood disorder since I was 12. I could see my increasingly shifting moods reflected in my grades. Where I would be an A student normally, as my depression worsened, so did my grades. The material wasn’t difficult, maintaining my interest and ability to care, was.

I’ve been clinically depressed (Major Depressive disorder) all this time, nearly 17 years. It’s hard to tell me that these feelings will go away, when so far, this has proven to be untrue.

You can’t just tell someone that is Major Depressive to cheer up, to take a look at all the wonderful things in our lives and be happy. The real bitch of it is, it’s often impossible to pinpoint one major reason. Often there is no reason. Just a pervasive melancholy that won’t go away. Everyone feels depressed every now and again, but usually this follows an appropriate event or situation. With a mood disorder, there’s not necessarily one good reason. Sometimes there’s none. The sun is just too bright, the air too biting, laughter grates the nerves and nothing smells so sweet. It’s not a rational issue that you can logic away. However gaining an understanding of depression is a first step in controlling it. Be it with medication or cognitive behavioral therapy, it first needs to be recognized. Without recognition all there seems to be is one vast grey, gloomy horizon stretching onward forever into the future. Who wants to live like that?

What’s more, who can imagine living like that for the rest of their life? Waking up everyday to the same dull outlook. Getting up in a shroud of unhappy feelings, it’s almost logical to ask yourself if it’s worth it to continue like this. If there’s nothing better to look forward to, what’s the point of going on? It’s often not an individual glaring reason that kicks on the ideation of ending it all, it’s the monotonous drone of hopelessness that seems endless. The resignation that things have been this way for so long and most likely will continue to be this way for even longer.  

For me, it’s often this monotonous drone. I’ll have moments, maybe even a day or two of brighter happiness but this never stays. However, I’ve also had a lifetime of turbulent relationships, one after the other, abuse, abandonment, that make me fear the pattern will continue on forever. My anxiety spikes at the smallest infraction and I relive all the horrible emotions that have crippled me before. After a lifetime of build up, the little things now set me off. One small thing in and of itself is not the reason I’d think of killing myself, it’s that proverbial straw that broke the camels’ back.

For me, it’s not a grand suicidal epiphany. It’s a quiet resignation that if this is all I can hope for, then it’s not worth continuing the trauma.

 I’d never even considered killing myself, again, until last year. I slammed the door on any thoughts of suicide a long time ago. Then the thoughts started creeping back. I wasn’t forming plans, rather it was a small voice in the back of my mind questioning if it was worth it, offering me release from the bleakness. That even after I’d done so much to change my life, my environment and now in a more stable one, STILL nothing ever goes my way, still faced with even more upheaval, it doesn’t stop, it will never stop. I should simply end the turmoil of my days because nothing will ever get better.

Fortunately, I have a good therapist and psychiatrist that I am diligently working with to get through these issues. I’ve found that one or the other isn’t enough for me. I need to balance my medication with my cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s a lot of work, but now I have hope that I can open myself to better experiences and live a better life.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Hiding Scars - Criteria 5 / Self Mutilation

 I detest that look of pity in your eyes. I do not want your attention. I do not want your sympathy. No one hates whiny emo brats cutting for attention more than people that truly know the meaning of self harm.

"…Self injury may be used to garner attention, but this is not the focus of chronic, repetitive self injury. The fact is that people who self injure make a great effort to hide their bruises and scars, and are loath to discuss their inner or outer pain. Self injurers rarely seek medical attention for their wounds, and are wary of seeking support from the mental health services. Self injury is private and personal, it is hidden from family and friends…"

I’m curious about this statement in regards to myself. When cutting/burning, I often hide the healing wound, but once it’s healed I make no attempt to hide my scars. Pushing too hard, going to deep. I often end up having heavy scars that raise up and never fade. My scars are permanent. I find them beautiful and not in any way a sense of shame. They’re more a badge of courage showing myself I had the will to brave the pain and fight. With the exception of professional situations, I also don’t divert attention from them, this doesn’t mean I deliberately try to attract attention, nor do I deny their origins, I simply wear my scars as they are another part of me.

Why don’t I hide this? What is different about me that I don’t do this?

I am also at conflict with discussing inner and outer pain. There was a time that I would flat our refuse to discuss my feelings or emotions. Only over emotional whiny girls complained about their feelings. I was tougher, stronger, didn't show my pain. Buried it deep beneath my surface. Eventually, I would turn them off and completely disassociate from them until it was no longer possible to feel them. I would not seek anyone to talk to. I dealt with it in my own manner.

I don’t mind talking about my feelings now, however listening to myself speak it sounds ‘matter of fact’. I can discuss things, I can try to pin point the origins and causes of my feelings, hash them out with others, but it’s rare that I hear or feel any of that emotion when I discuss it. It seems a clinical analysis like a doctor discussing a patient when trying to convey what should be something very personal. I may feel something, but in discussing it, I detach, and more often then not, those feelings go away. It’s like I’m discussing how someone else feels, so logically I can't convey emotion that someone else would feel because I wouldn't be feeling somone else's emotions. More than logic, I actually feel nothing. I image that from an outside perspective it makes me difficult to relate to; to talk about deep or distressing emotions but display a passively neutral, almost cold reserve. How can someone feel this way, and have no outward display or affectation? I wonder if people even believe me.

From another aspect, I may have no trouble talking about it because I’ve already had just about everything possible used against me to humiliate me, abandon me, or injure me mentally and emotionally. Fear of humiliation, rejection, etc. are primarily the reasons I imagine someone would withhold how they are feeling. Having become accustomed to this, there is little point in withholding. Especially as in a twist of defense mechanism I decided to simply take everything about me and put it out in the open myself, instead of fearing that someone else would do it.

Open, but detached.

Sometimes I wonder if I talk about how I feel for the benefit of others. People feel helpful, closer, when you let them into your inner thoughts. Trusted, relied on. There are very few people that I seek out to discuss such things. These people are those that I would trust and keep close. With others it’s easy to recognize that people like to listen and feel satisfaction when they are able to provide advice, or guidance, or their own words of wisdom. It’s amusing to see the self-satisfaction in others. These are the times I feel less than nothing about the things I talk about. I tend to become agitated or annoyed with the simplistic, simplified, prosaic, platitudes that people spit out. Maybe I’m hoping that someone will tell me something I didn’t already know; but I am generally disappointed. I become annoyed at the suggestion that I was not intelligent enough to have come up with such an obvious conclusion. Odds are, I have; many, many times for many different instances, and am too polite to tell you that your suggestions have nothing to do with my world. I also know these suggestions are not actually meant to insult my intelligence, but that little voice in the back of my head says they should know I’m smart enough to have thought of that myself.

My openness may also be a way to push people away. Not let them get close in the first place. If they see my scars maybe they’ll judge me and keep themselves at arms length relieving myself of the responsibility of maintaing the distance. Ultimately it makes it easier for me to protect my core.

Potentially protecting myself from future external emotional harm

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cut to the quick - Criteria 5 / Self Mutilating behavior

Another hallmark of the Borderline personality is Self Harm.

Criteria  5: recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.

People don’t understand cutting, self harm. It’s almost always met with expressions of repulsion or revulsion. “Only whiny emo kids need to do that for attention.” Or “Why would you hurt yourself!?!”. It creates disgust or something to look down on, fear or a scapegoat. This comes from people that have not taken the time to understand it. Once you unmask the monster, it begins to make more sense.


I stumbled upon cutting by accident. Well not completely an accident, but I didn't know it was a thing, then. I was ready to commit suicide. Slit my wrists. I was testing the waters, to see how it felt.

I was 13.

It was then that I realized that this made me feel better, more alive. Hold to life harder. Not make me want to end it. At the time, I didn't completely understand why, but it jolted me back to reality and grounded me. There are three primary reasons I self-injure. The first is most important so we’ll start there.

1.) To Remind me that I’m alive. 

--- I look out for myself, unfortunately my subconscious is less than thrilled with me. Self harm reminds me that I am alive when I otherwise feel like I am not attached to anything. When I dissociate, I could be walking along a road, stumble in front of a car and part of my brain would think it unnecessary to jump out of the way b/c I feel so far removed from my own sense of Self.

My dissociative disorder is a way to deaden my nerves to such things as past abuse. It’s a defense mechanism against emotional trauma. Unfortunately it is not selective and now takes over during my day to day more than just for specific harmful interactions. I’m not necessarily unhappy about this. I do still connect with the rare good people I have in my life, but I often lose that feeling of connection. When I am unconnected I am left with something of a cold rationale, logic. I’ve learned to utilize my disorder to my benefit, but as a result it leaves my life a very dreary place and me numb to the world around me. Feeling nothing.

To see my blood flowing, hot and thick, reminds me that I’m alive. The sharp wounding a reminder that there is something left to feel. Extreme forms of physical sensation bring me down to earth, back into myself and I remember that I am fully alive in the now. So in a sense, my self injury is helping me look out for myself. Keep me alive. 

My Self harm counterbalances my Dissociative disorder, now. I don’t know if I’ve always had a dissociative disorder as it’s a recent diagnosis, but I do know that I’ve always felt separated, other.  

 
2.) Punishment, for when I believe I’ve done something wrong, or not well enough.

--- I have to be perfect. Everything I do must be done right. And I do a lot of things at one time. Things are very time dependent and synced to provide the perfect outcome.

What’s funny is, I don’t actually believe in the concept of perfection. The concept of Perfection to me is also a concept of Stagnation. A point where there can be no further growth or progress.

Cutting to punish myself, helps push myself, to keep me striving to do better because what I just did was not as good as it could be.

3.) Controllable Pain.

--- This may be more a result than a reason but it is worth including. It’s also a pain that can be controlled. When everything surrounding you seems to hurt (emotionally, mentally) beyond your ability to influence, cutting is a pain that is manageable. Provides control.  Welcome to an aspect of Self Harm that most people don't understand. Self harm is a physical (outer) representation of emotional/mental (inner) pain. As the physical wounds heal, so the psyche represents the mind healing, the real inner wound heals. It's a process I can see, touch and feel. Know that something is healing the way it should and that there is hope that other things will be able to heal as they should.  

As for my self-injury I appreciate many forms. I cut, I burn, I fight, I scratch. Fighting is probably my favorite (as in mixed martial arts, not petty arguments with people). I walk away covered head to toe in bruises. I’ve used oven racks and irons to burn. I do prefer cutting most though. I have two pocket knives of significant sentimental value. What many find surprising is I’ve never used razors. Scissors and broken mirrors I will use if I have nothing else, but never such a traditional tool as a razor.

I don't do it so often anymore, only during times of extreme stress, but that's still more often than most people think is healthy. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with it as long as it helps me. You can tell me it's fucked up all you want, but I do what I need to do.

I feel strong again for enduring the trial. Having deadened the nerves to things that might otherwise hurt and filling in the cracks of my mental armor with blood and scar tissue. Sometimes I feel like I am clad in full platemail. Other times it’s like I’m walking beneath an icy sky, bare.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

More sex... Criteria 4/ Impulsive Behavior Part 9b

Sex. Attraction. I don’t really have a type of person that I’m drawn to, but I do tend to like more assertive people. More aggressive. I like men that can take charge and challenge my dominance or strong women with soft well trimmed features that give me a run for my money. That softness, femininity coupled with an inner strength appeals incredibly. There’s something in being with a woman that I don’t get with guys. A connection. I don’t believe that sex should be meaningful, but there should be some kind of connection, even if it’s just for a night or two. Some spark of excitement. Heat. Intensity. Some thing that attracts. Without that kind of attraction sex becomes pretty pointless for me. I could do more for myself without exerting so much effort. This is probably why I don’t just jump into bed with anyone to feel something. Most people don’t have substance enough to hold my attention, connection.


I love being maimed during sex. Tooth and nail, biting, scratching… marked. The best sex is rough. The best foreplay is fighting. I had a friend that I used to spar with (I never actually screwed him). We would beat the shit out of each other but the sexual tension was palpable. I’d wake up covered head to toe in deep bruises and feel like I just had a night of the greatest sex. Of course, everyone else was horrified at my bruises but I loved them. Marks of an evening well spent.

Oh that’s not to say that sex can’t be good if it’s not rough, it definitely can be, but that’s what really gets my blood flowing. Sometimes literally.

I don’t really understand why I like things that hurt me. When I can throw all of my repressed emotional turbulence into the heat of a moment I feel free. It’s fun, exhilarating, almost intoxicating. I like dangerous things and the adrenaline rush. I guess that’s something I should work through with my therapist. Maybe I’m really just an adrenaline junkie. Does it really matter what society thinks at all? Sometimes it makes me sick, why does it mean there’s anything wrong with me? Maybe I’m just more in tune with myself, less repressed than the rest of society. It’s them that are all stuck and jammed down, I’m more free. Who the hell knows….





Monday, January 3, 2011

Sex... Yes, Please. - Criteria 4 / Impulsive Behavior Part 9


Sex. Being promiscuous.

This is one of the trademark Borderline attributes. There’s no point denying that this is one of my ‘issues’. So I won’t. I love sex. I am a very sexual, sensual creature. I love the flirting, the game of it all. Seeing what get’s people going and what each button does. It doesn’t take a whole lot to get me to bed… if you’re a woman. I have a lot of issues with men. It takes me a very long time to warm up to a man, if I do at all. And I never sleep with more than one guy at a time, if I choose to sleep with men at all. Now, women on the other hand.

Women.

I love the feel of women. The soft curves, the delicate scent. They way their body hugs my own, how our curves fit together. I can see an attractive woman and just KNOW that I want her. This doesn’t happen with guys, I never just see a guy and think he’s good looking enough to jump in bed with. Sex with men is invasive, a violation. It takes a long time for me to get past the point where the idea of having sex with a guy no longer feels intrusive. Even then, I believe men just want to use me for sex. Some part of me always resents men afterwards. With very rare exception, I will never be convinced that men don’t have ulterior motives when befriending me. I’m always suspicious. Oddly it doesn’t bother me when women do this though. Maybe because there’s always been more there, something deeper. I’ve had no truly traumatic experiences with women.

I have with men. Consequently, sex with men has all the appeal of getting stabbed in the vag with a blunt object. Or maybe the men I’ve managed to fall into bed with are just boring. Oh, not always. There have been a few to get past my walls, and curl my toes, but most don’t have the patience for this and that’s just fine by me. With women there’s an equality I don’t generally feel with men. A natural ease and flow.

But, sex, I do so love sex. It’s one of the few times it’s absolutely appropriate for me to lose any hold of my rational mind. Sex is heat, passion, intense. I FEEL, and only feel. Sex turns off my brain and just lets my body go.

One of my greatest weaknesses is simple human contact. Just touching me makes me feel more connected, less dissociated. With my dissociative disorder I process emotion from a different place. As mentioned before I can either Think about my emotions, rationally but detached from actually feeling them, or Feel my emotions but lose hold on the rational mindset that tempers them. If it’s someone I’m close to, intimate with, physical contact is like a life line tethering me to reality. Sex amplifies this; times a thousand. Fully physical, and fully connected. It’s a heady experience to say the least.

It’s no small wonder I want to reach for this feeling. If I’m attracted to a woman I won’t think twice before wanting to sleep with her. There will be no doubts. With men there are always doubts and suspicions at first. This doesn’t mean I always jump in bed with women though. Attraction to me is not just physical appearance. It’s attitude, demeanor, intelligence, personality. You can be the prettiest person on the planet but if your attitude sucks I’ll have zero attraction and want nothing to do with you. But if a person is able to stimulate my mind, my intellect, as well as my sex drive, the melding is intense. Pulling all aspects of me together. It’s about as close to spiritual experience as I get.

Generally the more interested I am in a person, if I want to cultivate a relationship or there are other circumstances I will take things slower. I know what it is to be used, and I don’t want to leave anyone that I could care about with this feeling. That doesn’t mean it’s not on my mind though.

I love to talk about sex, wrap myself in the idea and play of it all. In sex I’m free to feel. There’s no disconnect because I’m feeling when I SHOULD be feeling. I don’t feel myself two feet to the left of the situation because it’s appropriate for me to let loose. When I can throw logic to the wind and let my blood pump, my body connect, my inhibitions are lowered in the flood gate and finally I can just feel. Everything
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