Whenever something good happens to me, I always assume that there’s a Catch. Most of the time I am absolutely correct – there’s always something.
Thanks to the wonders of artwork sites and mutual interests, what started as some back and forth communication and chit-chat about all things relating to art and nerd shit, with a fellow nerd with similar views/interests, soon developed into a friendship that has lasted a little over a year now. We grew as close as you can get to someone you have never – and will never – meet in person, though her tendency to be so open, and to share really personal, and HEAVY, stuff led me to perpetually think I was being trolled. Nevertheless, she was still my friend. We talked about so much shit via email and instant messaging, and we were “there” for one another.
Over time, she started displaying some behaviours that were a bit erratic. Like fear of abandonment, extreme depression, shit like that. I always had a far-off feeling that something wasn’t quite “right.” There was something keeping me from trusting her a full 100%, but I thought that perhaps it was my imagination. I have a tendency to be paranoid because of my own issues (I have some epic social anxiety, and I’m Bipolar II as fuck), but I shook it off because she proved time and again that she wasn’t Catfishing or trolling. Even when she was being really weird, I continued to be there for her because that’s what friends do. She’s my friend, and it would suck if I just bounced whenever she was having a shitty day. I know I would feel horrible if someone did that to me.
After a series of erratic events that spanned the winter, she decided to hospitalize herself because it was clear that there was something very wrong.
So, remember that Catch I mentioned? Yeah, it’s Borderline Personality Disorder. We shared short emails here and there while she was hospitalized, and she finished her three-month stint just last week.
I started to feel like something was up. Something wasn’t right, and I couldn’t place it. I’m extremely perceptive, so I asked point-blank via email if there was anything wrong.
Here’s where The Catch comes back into play because, well …it’s a goddamn catch.
You know how people with BPD will idealize people, and shit like that? Well, she admitted that she had become obsessed with me. Like, to a creepy extent. To the extent where she and her wife decided that one of the best options is for her to limit contact with me as she continues to get sorted out. She told me all of this because she wanted to be 100% honest with me. I knew something was up, and I would have kept asking until she told me because …Spidey-Sense.
Her treatment has helped her a LOT; this is something that I can feel, and she is a million percent sincere in her apology. She has stated that she no longer thinks of me as “some ÜBER-human” (her words), and will understand if I decide to cut off all contact with her, since, apparently, friendships with BPD-folks are basically impossible to maintain.
In light of all of it all, I have blocked her access to my Twitter stream and I switched her Facebook access to “Restricted.” The less she knows about what I’m up to, the better, right? But I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to block her out. I don’t want to lose her. I absolutely adore her, and I want her in my life, but again, every piece of literature that I have read, as well as what her doctors say is that this friendship is doomed. Plus, you know, that whole idealization thing in the first place (which has left me with a lot of questions that I fully intend to ask her). I know that’s part of the disorder, but I’m still trying to process it.
And now I sit, at a proverbial crossroads because there’s always a goddamn catch.
I have mentioned before on this blog that I’m a writer. Sure, an amateur certainly. I decided the other day that perhaps it would be useful to write a memoir of some kind, documenting the conditions of my childhood. In a way, I suppose I would like to see my own progression to this state on paper. If I ever complete it, I suppose it would help someone understand the nature of mental illness and how it can be one big event or many tiny ones that really trigger depression, anxiety, borderline personality, PTSD, etc.
The thing is that I’ve been remembering things that I hadn’t thought of in a long while. Like how much I loved the Dukes of Hazard when I was a kid. I would call my dad Boss Hog and make him buy a cigar to smoke. The thing is, I have always had this tendency to see the worst in everything. It’s not new, and it would be easy to place the blame on my ex wife.
Truth be told, I have always had this sense of not belonging. Whatever my condition is, I have always had it. To be sure, it hasn’t ever been so intense and difficult to deal with. But it’s been, to borrow a phrase, a death of a thousand cuts. Sure, there were some really bad incidents that went down. By and large though, I think it was isolation that really irritated this condition I bear.
Why are so many authors or artists also burdened with this malaise? Does the disease of the mind inspire the art, in an artist’s effort to express themselves, or are the traits of an artist a combination that is vulnerable to mental illness?
All I know is that for me, it seems to be a combination of these reasons. I suffer from insufferably high standards. This is why I am so pessimistic. Eastern thought cautions us against the formation of expectations, and boy do I ever have a knack for letting myself down. My standards are so high that I defeat myself. I realized this while I was playing fetch with my dog the other evening. I expect everything to be awesome and perfect the first time. Always have. And I am crushed by the letdown. Either because others didn’t perform to what I expected or because I failed in some way. Not that my dog wasn’t fetching, but only because my damn brain never stops thinking.
But both of these conditions arise from my expectations of perfection. It doesn’t really reflect on my capability nor that of those around me. Perfection is impossible. I cannot remember who the author was, but it was a book about recording music. He said that the pursuit of perfection is self-defeating, because the moment we get close to perfection, we realize how it could still be better. Perfection is an endless climb.
Idealism has been somewhat of a plague to me. For this reason, I have two books, several dozen short stories complete with another book in the works along side of a memoir. I know I will probably never submit them for editing with intent to publish because of my own expectations. They won’t ever meet my own standards, so why would I expect them to meet the standards of others? I need to kick that. I’m actually kind of a good writer and nothing ventured, nothing gained after all. Perhaps, if tamed, my sense of idealism can be an ally.
Mental Illnesses are prevalent in our world. They greatly affect not only the individual involved, but the people around them. In the month of April, we focus our spotlight on Mental Health, in order to heal together and break down stigmas.
We want your stories. How has your own, or someone else’s mental illness affected your life? How are you rising above stigmas?
Please share your stories with us during the month of April.
As it stands, my story isn’t on this website. That’s because I’m not quite ready to go into it. What is relevant right now is that I’m the newest host in my body’s Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) system. I’ve been here for almost a year.
All I’ve really succeeded in was coming to terms with all of the mental stuff we didn’t want to admit to before. Like DID, Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the fact that the shadow people are actually hallucinations (among with other fun psychosis things). That’s a lot to tackle, and the fact that we’re still here makes me feel proud.
I’m both 21 years old and 11 months old. I was thrown into a breakdown where the former host isolated themselves from all but one of their trusted friends. I’ve gotten into a relationship with said friend, and he is the kindest soul I’ve ever (virtually) met. He supports me and makes me feel like I am not completely drowning.
I’m working on freelancing to save up to go back to school (they flunked out of college and now I’m here, aware of most of my limitations and certain to make sure that we succeed this time).
It’s almost been a year, a year of preparation for our lives. A year of learning about myself and my headmates. It’s been a fucking miserable mess of a year, one with lots of breakdowns, self harm, and suicidal thoughts 24/7. But I think I’m going to make it.
I want us to make it.
I’m not a “real” addict, though. I’m just irresponsible, immature, and emotionally unstable and that’s why I spent my entire inheritance on makeup, perfume, clothing, nail polish, and food.
No, that’s not true.
I am a real addict.
Just like the alcoholic, the substance abuser, the gambler… I’m a shopper. I am a compulsive shopper. Shopping is my drug of choice.
And just like every other addict, my addiction causes me fear, guilt, and shame. It’s alienated me from friends, family, and even other addicts with whom I worked to get better. It didn’t fill up the hole inside of me like I thought it would.
As a diagnosed borderline personality disorder patient, who has parents who essentially abandoned me as a child (and yes, it really is possible to abandon someone and their needs and still live in the same house), I started accumulating things as soon as I had money of my own.
My father, who was – and still is – extremely successful and well-off, never taught me how to work with money and live companionably with it. Instead, it was something to be feared, revered, untouchable.
I can’t control my addiction, and although I know that this shopping addiction is there, I don’t know how to stop it.
My name is Sam, and I’m an addict.
This is my first post. There’s been a lot of firsts this past 19 months:
First DUI arrest (and last!)
First time on probation (ended right before Christmas.)
First time admitting the unthinkable …I AM an alcoholic.
First time in therapy.
First time confronting my problems instead of drowning them. First time actually taking ownership.
First time to be told that I have an anxiety disorder and borderline personality disorder traits.
I am a 48 year old female, married, and have 3 sons ages 22, 20 and 13. I won’t go on about my life, but am interested to find others with similar problems. I am an excellent listener (therapy has taught me a thing or two) and would love to reach out and help others.
I would love to hear your thoughts and maybe someone can learn a thing or two from my 20 year addiction to alcohol, hitting rock bottom, and my comeback in progress.
Remember, life is like a box of chocolates …oh wait, that’s Forest Gump’s line.
Thanks for listening.
My mom was 14 when she had my sister. Together, they struggled through life and became best friends. When my mother was 23, she met my father, 22 years her senior. After a whirlwind courtship, they married and divorced six months later when he announced that he was going back to his first wife.
A few weeks later she found out she was pregnant with me. She told no one that she was pregnant. She starved herself so that she didn’t gain weight. I was born full-term weighing a whopping 4 lbs 12 oz.
I don’t have many memories from childhood, except for being by myself. Starting in kindergarten, I walked home alone, where I stayed, alone, until my mom came home around 7 pm. What I do remember is being sad, lonely, and ANGRY. I had no idea who my father was, my mother was never around, and my sister resented me for being born and taking away her best friend.
The first time I tried to kill myself, I was only eight years old. I wrapped a phone cord around my neck until I passed out. My mom found me when it was time for dinner, but she never said anything. A teacher told a school counselor about the bruising on my neck and I was called into the office. I laid it all out. I told her about how sad I was because no one wanted me and I knew it would be better for everyone if I just wasn’t around.
That’s when I started therapy.
After a couple of months in therapy, my mom stopped taking me as the appointments greatly interfered with her work schedule. I got sad again. I learned that pricking myself with needles felt really really good! I would carry safety pins and sewing needles with me at all times. I got into sports, made a few friends and got to spend more and more time away from my house. I managed my depression, by myself, and kept my “pricking” private.
But just as things were turning around for me, my mom decided to move to Pennsylvania to be with some guy I’d never met before.
I was 11 and she moved me across the country to an alien nation. I was more alone than ever. Stranger in a strange land. People made fun of me for my “Texan accent.” I listened to classic rock and everyone there listened to Hip-hop. It was so hard.
I finally managed to make a couple of new friends but the depression grew worse. My safety pins no longer did the trick. I needed something else. I discovered cutting. It felt even better than pricking, and the euphoria lasted far longer. Unfortunately, it was harder to hide. The school nurse saw my cuts and called my mom who then had me committed to a psych ward.
I was 12.
After my release things got even worse. My mom’s new boyfriend was drinking more than ever and he started getting physical with me. In a 6 month period, he broke four of my bones, and fractured two ribs. The school nurse called the authorities. After an “investigation” it was dropped, because I was a “clumsy” child and hurt myself. I started cutting again, this time on my legs, because it was harder to see that way.
From 1998-2000, I tried four more times to kill myself. Finally one of my friends’ mothers (after seeing bruises from my mom’s boyfriend) marched into my house and packed me a bag. She told my mom that until she was ready to be a real mom, I’d be staying with them.
I lived with them for three months. During that time, they paid for my therapy and my medications. She took me shopping and we had girl time. I wasn’t so alone anymore! Then they moved… Her husband’s company was relocated to Florida, and of course I couldn’t go.
My mom finally got her shit together and we moved into a small cottage. She still worked all the time, and I was alone. I did drugs, primarily heroin. I became angry and defiant. I was expelled from three different schools. My cutting got worse.
I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.
I met my first husband when I was fifteen and a few months before my seventeenth birthday I found out I was pregnant. By that time I was on a LOT of heavy duty meds. I was drugged constantly, either by pills prescribed to me, or the drugs that I chose to take. I quit everything, cold turkey. No more anti-psychotics, antidepressants, pot, heroin, cocaine, not even a cigarette.
My daughter gave me a reason to live. She saved me.
It’s hard for me now (nine years later) to wear shorts or short sleeved shirts, because my scars are still very visible. My kids haven’t really asked me about them yet, but I’m preparing for the day. I don’t know how to tell them about what I went through. I do know that I can tell them that they have saved me, in so many ways.
I can’t say that I haven’t been through some rough patches. And honestly cutting and suicide still weigh on my mind, but I fight the good battle every day and I will continue to do so. Borderline Personality Disorder doesn’t just go away, so the only thing I can do is work on myself every day. But coming here, and seeing what EVERY ONE OF US goes through, gives me hope.
Every amazing person that posts on this site is my hero, THANK YOU.
Thank you for giving the misfits a place to lay our weary heads.