Month: January 2016

Thank you, Daisy! The Liebster Award

Thank you, Daisy! The Liebster Award

I am extremely surprised and honoured to have been nominated by Daisy in the Willows for the Liebster blog award. This came as a wonderful surprise. Thank you so much, Daisy!!

Blogging is very new to me (I’ve been writing for around 6 months, I think). I was not sure what shape this blog would take. I don’t think I’m a particularly skilled writer but I do try to write honestly and not skip or hide the painful things because they are just as much a part of reality as the good things – of which there are many and writing this blog helps me to find them as well as keep going through the hardest times.

It’s my hope that we can encourage each other and build support and hope, sharing pain, joy, success, struggles, sickness, recovery, health, the extraordinary and the day to day.

There are 5 rules to the Liebster Award (I have found various versions on the internet. I sourced this version from Daisy’s page at https://daisywillows.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/5620/ )

1 Link back to your nominator

2 Let him or her know, by leaving a comment on their blog

3 Nominate 5 bloggers for the Award

4 Tell your nominees the rules, and invite them to do the above

5 Write 5 things about yourself that others may not know.

I am not quite sure whether I am meant to nominate only blogs with under a certain number of followers? When I looked up online, I found various suggestions such as that the award is for blogs with under 200 followers, however this is not consistent. I am afraid that I have ignored this part of the rules and simply nominated blogs that I find interesting, helpful, etc – I hope that nobody minds this too much.

I nominate the following for the Liebster Award:

Daisy in the Willows – https://daisywillows.wordpress.com I have not yet had the chance to read as much of your blog as I would like to have done. However, I’m eager to read more and I am very thankful for your caring, supportive, responsive comments and suggestions. I am very thankful that you reached out here to me.

Cathy Lynn Brooks https://cathylynnbrooks.wordpress.com – for telling a beautiful *story* full of love, respect and curiosity, and for posts that help us to be thankful for the hope in the every day.

a2eternity https://a2eternity.wordpress.com – for strikingly honest posts that do not hide or diminish the truth through a journey full of uncertainty, pain and change; for your amazing strength to keep fighting on through recovery.

Breaking Sarah https://breakingsarah.wordpress.com – for walking on through such a traumatic struggle to encourage me and others to keep on going one day more when it is so very hard. Again, I have to say that I have not yet had the chance yet to read your blog as much as you would like to. (That probably applies to everyone I have nominated here, to be honest! Which maybe shows all the more the value of what we share.)

Elsie’s Borderline Personality Journey https://elsiesjourney.wordpress.com – for sharing so honestly your fears and your path, building common ground and encouraging and understanding me so much. (And for reminding me when it’s hardest that “you don’t waste good” 😉 x)

Now for 5 things about me. This part is difficult! For all I write on here, when I’m tasked to say something about myself I find it very tricky! Kind of want to disappear sometimes 🙂 But here goes, though I’ve no idea how interesting these facts are.

1 – My dream job (disregarding all practicalities such as ability and finances!) would be to run my own coffee place with a retro theme. I’d organise small meetings and drop-ins there to bring together people who might be lonely in the local community, especially those suffering from poor (mental or physical) health.

2 – I love taking photos and making my own greetings cards.

3 – Sometimes I think I was born in the wrong era 🙂 hee hee… because I love 1950s / 60s retro and vintage styles.

4 – I’m thinking about getting a pet, possibly rehoming a rescue animal.

5 – I’m blessed to have 3 beautiful godchildren (2 girls and 1 boy, aged 2, 4 and 4). Though I often worry very much about being no good to them, they never fail to lift me up when I’m feeling shattered and numb inside and to remind me how as children, we live as though every moment is a gift.

Thank you again Daisy.

Ginny xxx

 

 

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A closing drawbridge and a silent cry – Eating Disorders and Personality Disorder – #5

A closing drawbridge and a silent cry – Eating Disorders and Personality Disorder – #5

Protection in emptiness

Eating Disorders and Personality Disorder – #5

“You will never touch me”

[I am sorry I have not updated this series for a while!]

In my first period of anorexia, one of the greatest functions of my eating disorder was a kind of defiance and separation. Anorexia definitely changed my personality, or rather, it was often as if there was a separate personality, much stronger than my own, rising inside me and gaining strength as I got thinner. She was strong and defiant and could not be hurt. She could keep me away from everyone and every thing that hurt me.

I was about 15 by this time and had suffered at least 11 years of emotional, physical and sexual abuse and exploitation. The family unit of my mother, my father and I were increasingly isolated and cut off into my mother’s sick (in both senses of the word) world and anything that tried to penetrate it led to terrible consequences (her sickness, her threats to kill herself, her threats to abandon the family, her threats of breaking up the family or of me causing her and my father to die, be taken away and so on). Anything that posed a risk to the world of her twisted thinking, delusions and manipulation had to be invalidated or removed. Visitors weren’t allowed to come into the home. Any social contact had to be planned and rehearsed beforehand, carried out to Mother’s specifications, reported back to her, analysed against her pre-prepared script. The daily routine had to run exactly according to her needs. She had to be recognised as super-human, a genius that nobody could ever sufficiently understand, the victim of everyone’s cruelty and misunderstanding who was so gracious as to forgive everyone because she “loved” them so much. Appease, pacify, agree, conform….the disaster wouldn’t happen, maybe….

My eating disorder couldn’t appease, pacify, agree or conform. It couldn’t be manipulated or invalidated. My eating disorder could defy, protect, shield, consume, grow stronger, defend, refuse to succumb and refuse to be controlled or analysed by her and even refuse to recognise her at all.

I remember that eventually, as my weight dropped and dropped, even Mother started to worry I was too thin and getting weaker. She’d encouraged my eating disorder at first, requiring my weight loss and dieting and reminding me how ugly I really was. Eventually it snapped out of her control and I think it was the one thing that actually scared her.

One evening, she called me into her bedroom. She told me to get undressed and stand in front of the full-length mirror. She’d done this many times before in order to shame and humiliate me and to slowly and methodically point out all the bits of my body that were bad and “too plump” and “too much fat”. Usually it followed a ritual weighing and reporting of my weight to her, her disbelief and being forced to repeat weighing myself in front of her. Now I flatly refused to weigh myself in front of her, but delighted in doing it in my bedroom in secret (always in exactly the same place, lining the scales up with a particular pair of floorboards) and was satisfied with the thrill of seeing the pounds drop. But for some reason, this day, I did obey her to get undressed and stand in front of the mirror. This time, instead of pointing out the places I was too fat, she pointed out where it showed I was too thin. Even I was shocked when I was forced to look at where the normal shape of my behind had started to flatten and disappear at the base of my spine. She continued telling me I was too thin and how she was worried.

A thrill of power went through me. It was frightening but I had never felt power like that. No, I thought. No. This is my body. All mine and you will never touch me again. In total silence I walked away from the mirror, away from her, out of her bedroom back to mine and got dressed again. I resolved to lose as much more weight as I possibly could and get as sick as I could, because this meant she would never ever touch me again. I hated her at that moment. I don’t think I was thinking of the sexual invasions, specifically (and indeed a lot of them I didn’t even accept as invasions at that time), but of all the hold she had on me and all the hurt. She would never do it again.

I had an awareness, somewhere, that she was worried for me and she was upset, and that my father was too. At that time, the need for the protection and power of my anorexia was much greater. I had become quite a nasty person, disregarding the hurt I was causing people who loved me (my dad loved me, if my mother didn’t). Or the anorexia in me was quite a nasty personality and I was becoming that personality. The power of anorexia was stronger than my usual nature.

Of course, it didn’t really stop me getting hurt, and it hurt lots of other people in the process. Eventually, it was acknowledging my father’s fear of what was happening to me that started to bring me out of this first period of starvation. To this day, I am not quite sure what, at that time, made me acknowledge that and shifted the balance of power towards empathy and reason, and away from the protective force of anorexia.

Ginny xxx

“I will not abandon you”

“Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you,” says the Lord God (Isaiah 49 v 15)

These lines from the Bible came into my head just now. Thank you Jesus. It’s very hard to hang onto anything when everything I trusted in, so much – too much – seems to be taken away. The Lord alone suffices, St Teresa of Avila wrote. The Lord alone will never forget us and never fail us, even if His face is hidden from us for a little while. He loves us like a mother or a father, and more.

“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” (Psalm 27). When everything else crumbles, when we are totally alone, still God who is love remains. One translation of the Aramaic actually says “Because my father and mother forsake me,”; “because” rather than “when”. The Lord knew we would be abandoned, and so, He never leaves us and He takes us up in His arms.

I struggle very much to pray when I feel as I do now. The hurt and obstacles and anger and frustration and alone-ness, all obscure my hope in God and too quickly I allow them to cloud who God is and who He created us to be. If all I run into is this pain, He must be angry, He must wish me punished, He must take pleasure in my pain. I must return to His Cross and return to listen to His Word in the Bible. This is God, not my pain of itself. Love surely brings pain, but it is not the pain and hurt and isolation itself.

And then in prayer, came my Jesus’s tender promise – “My gaze is longing love.”

Out of it

I’m going between boiling anger that I can’t stand (a force rising inside me which I can’t swallow down, just force and power uncontrolled and bursting free) crushing anxiety with spiraling thoughts, lists, growing out of control faster than I can count, no air to breathe, dread that I can’t surmount, and numb.

Numb. Nothing. Stopped. Watching. Un-engaged. Dumb. Deaf. Hearing what everyone else says but it makes no sense and causes unbearable sensations if I try to respond – I need numb.

I’m drinking tonight to make sure I stay numb and make warmth and cotton wool replace the ache, distancing the hurt from my dissociated state so it can grow without sensing the raw pain or maddening and crushing demands of the ‘other’ (real) world.

The pain from my gynae problems has been scary too, as well as the arthritis. It’s almost funny – completely messed up inside and the physical stuff out of control too, things ‘breaking’ one after the other. Nothing medically serious but it does seem to make me as useless as possible in the real world.

I don’t often drink and it’s a dangerous and stupid choice, especially now. I’m in a really dangerous state right now. I tried and couldn’t get help. I can’t choose rationally what to do. I’m saying it’ll just be tonight and tomorrow I’ll try to face it all again.

Thoughts too close to the edge

I really don’t know if carrying on with therapy is a good thing or not at the moment. I am more broken now than before I started this route and know more certainly that I’m on my own in it. I can’t keep trying to fight through day to day, to go to work and to keep going to therapy. I’m starting to wonder if it wouldn’t be better to just push everything back down again and live in my imaginary world. I functioned better day to day when I was anorexic and numb to everything. There isn’t enough support outside therapy to keep it going.

I keep on hanging on to things desperately, for them to be snatched away. The only times I’m not alone are when I’m faking it, even if I’m doing a bad job of that. When I can’t do it, when I am on the point of taking my life, when I am cutting, when I am terrified by the flashbacks, I’m on my own every time. Apparently I’m not allowed anyone there. Apparently I “wouldn’t qualify” for any social care support, and no family or friend wants to be a carer for me. I know they have no responsibility for me but that still really hurts.

I am thankful for my friends. I am not trying to be ungrateful. They do much more than I could ever ask. I know they can’t be there. I know often they are there when I can’t possibly believe they would still want to know me, after I’ve lost it and screamed and snapped.

Trying to keep going used to help. But now I get closer and closer to complete breaking point every day.

I’m going for another appointment at the hospital tomorrow for my 1:1 and I think I’ll tell her I’m thinking about not carrying on therapy. Things feel very very dangerous and close to the edge right now.

Walking this Borderland #7: Pigs in the clouds

Walking this Borderland #7: Pigs in the clouds

It’s very easily impossible to believe “this too shall pass”.

In BPD, that can feel like the most hurtful thing to be told, in the midst of utter pain. Even if the pain was triggered by a very small thing, at the time, it is not minor – it is the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back or the rope you were holding onto so so tight because everything else had been snatched from you, then this too disintegrates.

But the fact that is at once cruel and possibly hopeful, is that every time you go through that utter pain, and still continue, it is proved that “this too shall pass”.

On Friday afternoon this week I was about to end it because for the n’th time it was more than I could stand, more betrayals than I could bear, pain only for pain, the original source now lost amid the impossibility of existing beyond that moment. I was evil rubbish and the world was laughing at my hurt. It was time to overdose and walk in front of a train and end it. And perhaps I was going to hurt someone. My memory blacked out.

Somehow, on Saturday morning I was at my friend’s and she was cooking breakfast. She made “eggs in clouds” for a treat (look at the picture – literally a little egg yolk in a little savoury souflee cloud).  There’s chopped bacon in the soufflee cloud so we thought perhaps it should be “pigs in clouds” instead. We talked about everything, minutiae and serious: baby showers, Harry Potter, Alan Rickman, jogging, marriage, how to stay in love and what to do when something nobody else cares very much about is unbearable to you, a mutual friend who may be in a bad home situation, sunshine, work…

So you see, it turns out pigs do fly, and this too did pass. It seems ridiculous that both these scenarios were real and followed each other by less than one day. But both were real. The change, although I do not know what brought it about, was real.

Perhaps it’s worth keeping a short note of the times that pigs did fly, that the darkness did end, what you did to change things, if you can remember – but if you can’t, even just record the fact that you did change things. That although that night you thought you could not go on one more moment, the next day you took a few steps out of your house, maybe walked down to the bottom of the road and back. That through the terrible flashbacks, you held on, and now you are back in today’s reality.

Both are real. Neither are permanent, both shall pass, but both are real. Note it down, however small it seems. Then the next time when the darkness starts to come, you can look back and be encouraged.

 

Victim roles – holding on tight and falling faster

Victim roles – holding on tight and falling faster

A couple of posts ago I said it is very hard not to be bitter. This week it continued to feel like a twisted game someone is playing. God, perhaps, and I have to keep looking back at the Cross to remember my God is not vengeful, twisted, scornful or delighting in our hurt.

This last week, things continued to snowball and I clung harder and harder to the smallest things. I felt completely alone and the importance of every tiny possible bit of help or hope increased.  The pattern repeated relentlessly that every time I counted on something, inside I built up to, “if I can just hang on to xyz, maybe then I can just manage, maybe then there will be help, maybe then I won’t die” and just as that had started to give me some security, whatever xyz was would be snatched away.

Whatever xyz was didn’t matter so much. I went to the Housing Benefit office to try to get some questions answered. I got some answers but also found out my Benefit will be suspended for weeks because of a 2-hours-per-week change in my working hours, likely putting me further in debt with my rent. I got another 3 page long form to fill out and supplementary statements to write. The time I’d counted on to rest to be able to work the next day was then filled with more anxiety over debt and more form-filling. In pieces losing it I phoned the hospital. We agreed that I could cope with telephone support until my care coordination appointment on Friday. 30 minutes later someone else from the hospital phoned to say that my appointment was cancelled (second month running) because my CPN is on training. I insisted I needed to see someone else.  My friend cancelled our meet-up for the second time within a week (not really for any fault of hers). But I snapped at this point.  The last thing I was hanging on to had been snatched away from me and I couldn’t take any more. Then Friday came and the day of the “replacement” appointment to try to talk about support I needed to cope with finances, Benefits, the threats from my landlord, the mountainous paperwork that needed to be completed and numerous telephone calls, and the effect all the confusion, delays, stress was causing to me, to the point that I was overdosing and cutting several times per week. I admitted that I’m not safe on my own, especially at night, and can’t manage simple things like cooking or keeping my flat in order, because the strain of trying to keep working, therapy, then all the financial problems, combine to be too much and leave me with nothing to go on with. The first person I was speaking to appeared to understand and suggested that there would be help available to me and that we could look at whether more social care support could be available. She asked one of the hospital social workers to see me straight away. The social worker came in and said I wouldn’t qualify for any help, that nobody gets anyone to intervene on their behalf or do forms etc for them, that I wouldn’t qualify for personal independence payment as they don’t recognise BPD and I’m working, and that I’m just “in a bit of a pickle” and that everyone has to deal with problems with benefits, tax and so on. She had no conception whatsoever of the extent of my distress, my self-harm, the danger I am in. I lost it totally and walked out.

At that point, yes it was a twisted game. In my mind, someone was delighting in my hurt, laughing at me, seeing just how far they could push me before I broke totally. And they were going to win that day. I was going to take an overdose or maybe I’d walk onto the train line because that was it and they had finally won. They’d had everything they wanted of me and there was nothing left. Everything had gone beyond possible to absolute desperation and this was the end. Everyone who was “supposed” to help me or whom I tried to rely on, was doing me the most harm when I had most hoped and could least take more hurt.

Obviously, I didn’t go and end it,  because I’m here writing this blog post. I can’t really remember exactly how I didn’t, though I’ll write another post about that later.

Something hit me today.

Vengeful. Ridiculing. Laughing at me. Hurting. Snatching from me. Hitting me when I’m most vulnerable. Rejection when I most need help, by those I most trusted. Scornful. Delighting in hurt. Delighting in making everything my fault and taking no responsibility. That’s what I find I meet with when I most need help and they push me to self-harm and suicide.

My abuser was all those things. Now the world takes that role to me and I am in the same position of being hurt. I’ve got away from my abuser, physically (though not in my head), but now the world takes that role to me and I am trapped and still its (her?) victim, not allowed to be saved. I got away (bodily) from her when I walked out, shut the door, got on the train, hung up the phone. That was hard enough and took over 20 years. Getting away from this abuser’s force in the world is going to be much much harder and the leaving I must do this time is going to take much much longer, I think. I don’t think it’s leaving, exactly, but changing something in me so as to receive something other than abuse.

Ginny xxx (Very confused)

I can’t. ..

I’m going to be disloyal, or hypocritical, I don’t know which the word is, to my last post. But I’m crashing tonight. I can’t do it. I’m done and I haven’t got anything to be able to go on. I know it’s stupid and they say it’s not worth getting worked up over, it can be fixed; but it’s done and I ran out a long time ago. Why can’t anyone hear me? Why do they tell me it’s okay? It’s not anxiety it’s desperation and just needing one tiny thing to hold onto – no I’m not strong enough without anything to cling to and I know it’s stupid it’s so small but it really, really matters when everything else is too much and spiraling apart.

So it’s taken away as well and I’m done. Nobody will come and nobody can hear me screaming (stupid nasty spoiled child inside me and stupid ugly needing. ..) Even now I’ve told them the very worst and how much I can’t do it and nobody will come. And I won’t go to the hospital and I don’t deserve it and I don’t want them to stop me because I don’t want to go on and it’s nobody’s fault or responsibility but mine. I should have been able to do it.

I don’t think I can do any good…

I cut and cut but it wasn’t enough. I don’t think I can feel anything but this spent, hurting, screaming silently, needing it over.

I don’t think I can go to work tomorrow or anymore. Not even go out. I don’t know how to get to tomorrow. I’ll lose my job again. Well it’s clear enough I’m rubbish anyway. They’ll want me out of my house. I’ve wasted so much again. I should have done good. But I’m so so … just had it…

And everything I say I’m scared and whoever I tell I might manipulate or they think it’s to threaten or think it’s just stupid and not worth it and just get over it. ..and I’m scared of my anger. I’m sliding in and out of dissociative states right now.

To me it can be all I am holding to and I’m on the edge of ending it all, but to someone else it’s nothing, not worth it, and just fine that more and more is taken that I was clinging to and more and more heaped on that I cannot cope with. I can’t cope with this detachment itself either and knowing every worst feeling is invalid.

You don’t waste good

“You don’t waste good.” [Or, Gibbs’ Rule #5, for NCIS fans 😉 ]

Don’t waste good…. I’m trying to hold on to that right now. Hold on. There is good even though it’s very hard to feel it right now. I have a home (for now). I have a job. I have an understanding employer. These things can be built on. Two very good friends seem to be able to see some hope that it will be alright, even though I can’t. Don’t waste good. Don’t waste it because I give up right now because it’s so scary and I don’t know how to get through this night. Don’t waste it because everything crumbles and I lose my job because I stop going to work and give in to the fear and drowning sensation that tells me to stay at home. Don’t waste it because I stop looking for little gifts and little joys – or big ones – my beautiful god children, compassion of a friend, something at work that makes me laugh, being able to try to do at least something to help people at work. Don’t waste it because I assume rejection and punishment is all I deserve and all I will get in the end. Don’t waste it because I get so wrapped up in my own little world and little problems that I miss chances to serve, chances to thank, chances to show compassion or do that little bit more to help another in some small way.

You don’t waste good.

Ginny xx

[“You don’t waste good,” – from NCIS Series ?8 episode “Baltimore”. All rights to NCIS series belong to CBS / Channel 5 and respective directors and artists]

Snowballing. Not the white fluffy kind.

It feels like breaking over and over at the moment. I hang onto something then it gets taken away. I don’t know why I’m quite so stupid and childish that I keep hanging on to things and people. Last week it was trying to get my tax credits sorted, so things wouldn’t be so tight. Resistance and obstructions all the way. Then it was trying to negotiate a payment plan for my rent arrears. No response (again) to my phone call and letters, so another letter to write. Then trying to get the harassment and discrimination at my last employer investigated. Dismissed without any consideration whatsoever by the regulator. Another complaint to write and my case to be presented again. Then plans with a friend – cancelled. Then hanging on until my appointment with my CPN on Friday – cancelled, because he has to go on training. I can absolutely understand he has to do the training, but I so needed that. Last month’s appointment was cancelled too. Letters I can’t understand about my Housing Benefit and yet another form to fill out to claim for a Discretionary Payment…terrified I’ll lose my home and so my job….

Snowballing, snowballing, problems everywhere there should be help.

Only able to carry on one day more, then one day more, and only by cutting and taking more pills than I should to knock myself out so at least then I can’t take even more and end it.

Hallucinations and flashbacks shaking me too much to breathe.

Hating myself for being so so weak and so childish and for hanging on to things I should by now have learned well not to count on. Hating myself for needing to be cared for and needing help and not being a proper adult, just a burden.

It is very hard not to become bitter and not to give up. I can only try to think, God is teaching me to trust in nothing and no-one except Him alone. “God alone suffices,” St Teresa of Avila wrote. It is right, of course. His Love is all we need and all we cannot lose. But it is very hard not to be angry, bitter, childish and wrapped in my own hurt.

Ginny xx