What BPD feels like

Having BPD is like a constant nightmare I can’t wake up from and every day is a struggle to the finish line. I never know how I am going to react to things I try so hard not to overreact and get upset but it still happens multiple times every day. It feels like a life sentence.

People think I’m weird or angry, the pyscho girl; or that I’m lazy and can’t be bothered to do things. Truth is I am neither I am not angry I am deeply hurt by the actions of others and I am not lazy I’m just tired of trying so hard every single second.

I have no identity I don’t know who I am, I move between passions, interests and people because I am so desperately trying to find a sense of self I just don’t possess. I just don’t know who I am or where I fit into the world. I feel lost like I am searching for something I won’t ever find a port in the storm that is my life.

I constantly feel like I am on the outside looking in. Other people seem to understand each other they laugh and have conversations but I just feel awkward and left out, always assuming that people don’t want me to be around. It feels like no one could ever really understand me.

I am so full of self-hatred and self-doubt it makes me feel totally useless and worthless, it feels like there is no point in being alive as all I feel is pain.

Even when I am surrounded by good friends my mind is still telling me they hate me, are just putting up with me, don’t want me around or are laughing at me behind my back like I am just some kind of joke to them. Being around people is when I feel the most alone because I know I don’t fit in.

I get so angry but I am fearful to express this to others as I assume they will just hate me and won’t want me around anymore. This makes me turn into the narcissist, the self-hating narcissist if there is such a thing. I turn all the anger pain back at myself and keep it all inside until I eventually break from the weight.

I go from feeling chronically empty to the point I will do anything to fill it, drugs, sex, reckless spending; to feeling everything all at once the sadness, pain and rage burn inside me. It’s like going from the vacuum of space straight into a hurricane.

Relationships of any kind are hard but especially romantically, I am desperately lonely but every time I try to enter into any kind of relationship it causes me so much distress I have to end it even though that’s never what I truly want. I wish I could be honest with someone about what goes on inside my head, I sit and fantasise about what it would be like to have that kind of honesty and support, but at the same time I know it’s not going to happen.

I feel like the love and support of another person are the only way I can ever get better, but love is hard to find when you have BPD. I doubt there is a man alive with enough patience to deal with this and even if I find love I will probably just destroy it.

I have tried so hard with therapy and coping strategies but I still fail to keep my emotions and feelings in check, it’s a constant battle which I often lose. I’m not sure if things will ever get better the harder I try the worse I seem to feel about myself and my life. The more I go to therapy the worse it makes me feel as surely I should now be able to cope, but I still can’t.

I am a dichotomy I am made of opposites which fail in every way to reconcile in the middle and I don’t know how to fix it.

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Striding Edge

I was for the very first time about to step onto a ridge I was scared and did not know what to expect. After all I get scared everywhere it seemed to my primary setting in life, I was scared bouldering, walking on scree, even walking on the snowy slabs of the Pennine way.

I’m just so scared of falling I still can’t get past the fear but I’m going to keep trying.

We started the slog up the hill as usual I was lacking in energy due to not eating, I decided to stop and eat something which seemed to wake up my legs, as we walked further up towards the start of the ridge I was feeling pretty good but there was still apprehension of what lay ahead.

We had done some scrambling the previous day on Scafell and I think this and the fact I had stood on top and actually enjoyed the journey too had made me feel a lot more confident about my ability to do things. I just felt generally happy that weekend after walking camping and having fun with the friends in was starting to feel closer too.

We were finally there and to my and I think everyone else’s surprise I walked straight out onto striding edge, the first bit was pretty wide and flat but soon narrowed so I ducked down to a side path after feeling unsure. Then we were back up onto the ridge for the final part I felt ok up there again, we reached the end of the Rocky ridge and climbed down and continued up to the top of Helvellyn.

I felt really good like I had actually achieved something, one very small step closer to climbing a bigger mountain however slow progress was being made, it still felt like a step forward.

The NHS Merry-go-Round

I do feel very lucky to live in the UK and have access to the National Health Service, however it seems to be are unable to deal with mental health in any kind of productive or helpful way or at least that has generally been my experience.

I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at age 16 and I was offered some pills and nothing else. No talking therapy, CBT or counselling just some pills. So I took the Prozac despite the fact it made me feel ill all the time because I thought I should do what the doctor said. It made everything worse I still felt depress and anxious all the time but no I was physically ill as well.

I didn’t have anyone in my life to really help me, my Mother had moved to the other side of the world and my Dad was always working away so I was on my own most of the time, so I saw the doctor as an authority figure who might actually be able to help me.

I stopped taking the Prozac and was given beta blockers which did not seem to have much effect apart from making my mouth dry, then Citalopram which made me even more ill that the Prozac.

Eventually I was referred for CBT, I tried my best to do everything they were telling me it was hard though because it just didn’t make any sense to me and they didn’t seem to understand that.

At the age of 20 I basically gave up trying to get anymore help as it just wasn’t helping it was just making things worse – the things that were supposed to make me feel better didn’t so what was the point?

I spent the next 10 years struggling with my life and not being able to cope, having turbulent relationships with men, losing jobs and many friends, had a complete breakdown at 25 and spent nearly 2 years in bed.

At 30 I really knew something was wrong I was trying so hard to change my life and I just couldn’t cope, I could barely function and seriously started to think that ending my life would be the best option as it felt like nothing would ever change.

I signed up with a new doctor and it was a good decision, he knew I wasn’t depressed and that something more was going on. He referred me for DBT but the mental health team refused to see me as I wasn’t unwell enough. I mean seriously are they fucking joking? Not unwell enough to be helped? Too high functioning because I manage to go to work? I was very angry and upset; it made me feel totally worthless. I didn’t even deserve to be helped.

I was referred to talking therapies instead; I waited 13 months for an appointment with someone who couldn’t help me and at this point I truly was suicidal I wanted to die. As he sat there telling that the waiting list was so long they could only provide limited appointments I got more and more angry, how many other people are not getting the help they so desperately need?

After the allotted 6 sessions with a man who couldn’t help me and continually told me I was depressed when I wasn’t I’d had enough and totally lost it, I shouted at the councillor and left feeling worse than I had in the first place.

My GP referred me back to the DBT team how actually agreed to assess me this time. At the assessment the nurse suggested I didn’t need this help as I wasn’t a danger, so I have to hurt someone or myself to get help? That is the state of the NHS they can only help people with mental health when they hurt someone or reach crisis and hurt themselves? What about prevention?

I told her that if this was my life I didn’t want to live it anymore as there was no point in living as I didn’t have any life, she eventually agreed to put me onto the DBT course.

The DBT course itself was great but defiantly not the “cure all” they sell it as. I did the DBT course for a year and was then immediately discharged with no further support and things started to go downhill pretty quickly again and are still headed in that downward direction but I am being told there is no help from the NHS anymore so what am I supposed to do now?

If you are trying to get help from the NHS please don’t give up, keep trying, keep going to the GP and playing the game until you get what you need. Everyone deserves to get help with mental health if they need it.

The Allendale Challenge

The Allendale Challenge is a 26 mile walk through peat bog which starts and finishes in the Northumberland town of Allendale. The challenge is organised by Mountain Rescue to raise funds for their team.

This is still to date the furthest I have walked in a day (but hopefully that will change next year!). I was a bit worried about the distance of the walk but I knew the ascent was not that great so I figured I would manage it.

The challenge was a really enjoyable day, we were very lucky with the weather the sun was shining all day which definitely makes walking across a bog easier and more enjoyable.

All of the entrants started in one large group which was a bit stressful for me, being in a large crowds of people is something I struggle with a lot but everyone slowly spread out and as the day went on it seemed less and less crowded.

The day was amusing in few ways; hearing people squeal, shout, squeak and laugh (including myself) as they fell into the bog was great fun. The spectacular number of people with their gaiters on backwards was also a great source of amusement to me.

My head felt clear and I enjoyed the company of the people I was with, all people totally different from me in career, age and life experience but it was a joy to share this day with them.

Onwards we walked climbing through the bog in places stopping at various points to eat drink and chill for a few minutes, at one point stopping under the very welcome shade of a tarp to get out of the blazing sun, it really was such a warm day for the time of year.

Eventually we were on the home stretch and I was feeling pretty good about the fact I knew I would complete the challenge. Sadly a guy had collapsed on this stretch of road and was being cared for by mountain rescue who did an amazing job, it served as a reminder of how important it is to keep yourself and others you’re with safe and always look after each other.

I can truly say this was one of my favourite days walking this year and I can’t wait to do it all again next year, a good day out and raising money for a really good cause at the same time. I even got a certificate which is now proudly on display in my bedroom to remind me that I can do things that challenge me and succeed.

Unhappy Home

I live in an unhappy home and it’s ruining my life.

I live with my Dad and his Fiancé who has spent the last 10 criticising everything I do. After years of being made to feel uncomfortable in my own home I can barely function at a normal level.

I get criticised for getting washed as I don’t do a good enough job of cleaning up afterwards; even though I clean the whole bathroom, so I don’t get washed not sure what kind of person that makes me it feels pretty messed up – I feel so uncomfortable in my own home I don’t get washed. Baby wipes are like my best friend. One of the few times I was brave enough to run a bath while she was in the house she got in it.

I get criticised or berated for cooking my dinner and stand washing dishes while it gets cold for fear of being told off and made to feel small, so I just don’t make my dinner, I can eat some crisps instead because that’s really helping with my health and weight loss issues, or get a takeaway which I can’t afford.

I get constant snide comments and under breath mutterings so it’s easier to hide away.

They invite her whole family round for dinner and not me, so I sit upstairs alone hiding as I am unwelcome. I sit and wonder why everyone hates me so much and think about how I am a bad person who hurts others and doesn’t deserve to be loved. It causes me so much anxiety I am literally paralysed afraid to leave my room. The situation makes me feel totally unwanted, these people are supposed to be my family and they are doing this. It makes me fearful of what other people may do to me and it makes it even harder to trust any other person.

I keep all my feelings and upset inside until one day something pushes me too far and I lose it and shout, which to be honest I do feel is sometimes deserved and it seems to stop her tirade for a week or two before we’re back into the constant criticising and comments.

I know I need to change this and move out but I am so afraid I will screw it up and then have nowhere to turn as I don’t have any other family living locally.

However I have chosen to take the first step and I have signed up to local authority housing in my area, as terrifying as it is something needs to change. I am still procrastinating on this at the moment but it’s still a small step in the right direction.

Scafell Pike – My First Mountain

After 3 months of walking up hills it was time to tackle a mountain, granted a very small one but a mountain none the less. We had climbed Haystacks and Fleetwith Pike the previous day and with my poor eating habits I was seriously lacking in energy.

It took ages to get there from our chosen wild camp spot, walking back the country mile then going the wrong way, eventually we arrived at Wasdale Head.

The walk pretty much started with up and continued up. I felt truly awful; all the energy was drained from my body I honestly thought I was going to collapse, this in turn just made me awful about myself too, I’m so bad at this who am I kidding thinking I could one day climb any sizeable mountain. Every step got harder and harder I just wanted to cry.

My friend made me drink a lot of water and this seemed to help. So I continued upwards and after a lot of effort and many sit downs got to the top.

I’ve got to be honest I have no recollection of feeling good or any sense of achievement at all when we got to the top, I just felt like a tired failure who just holds everyone else up and spoils things. It just made me realise all the things that I wasn’t and could probably never be.

The way down was a new challenge, down to Mickledore and then down the scree. This was my first experience of scree and it really wasn’t fun, probably due to the fact I was feeling so bad about myself to start with. I was scared I would fall and just keep going or that I would somehow be swallowed by the mountain. We eventually arrived back at the main path and then back to the bottom of the hill.

Definitely not my best day ever, but at least I climbed a mountain and I didn’t give up.

A Country Mile…

My second wild camping experience was certainly not as enjoyable as the first. After parking at Stonethwaite we were advised that camp spot was a mile away, myself and some others in the group had not yet invested in larger backpacks so we had several bags full of stuff and added a good bit more as after all it’s only a mile.

I’m sure we walked for an hour although that may be my mind over-exaggerating the situation. We were struggling to carry everything we had brought, bags hanging from ever possibly place on our bodies, falling over, struggling through gates and over styles.

Eventually we reached a saturated piece of ground by a small waterfall which I now know to be called black moss pot and the tents were pitched.

It was damp, cold and raining slightly. My friend invited me to stand a dry tuft of grass with him and gave me a pat on the shoulder; I think he knew I was a little bit sick of things by then. So there we stood on our tuft looking longingly at the guy who was making us a fire (we didn’t carry all those logs for nothing!).

Eventually we got warmed up around the fire and I manged to eat a whole half a packet of noodles, I was starving but my fussiness meant there wasn’t really anything else I could manage to eat so I just kept quiet. Soon after it was thankfully time for bed, I was tired from a day’s walking, cold from sitting in the damp and hungry because I couldn’t eat, sleep was a welcome relief.

We awoke in the morning surrounded by very loud sheep!

I do look back on this one and laugh at us carrying all those bags and will never forget standing on that tuft of grass! But at the time it didn’t really feel like much fun.