World Suicide Prevention Week.

I only ever seem to use this blog or any blog now when it’s a national something relating to mental health day, so I thought yet again I would reboot it for this week.

So, let’s talk about suicide.

Suicide rates in the UK rose 11.8% in the last year, 6859 people took there own life. I don’t know if I agree that all suicide is preventable, but if that is the case that’s almost 7000 deaths that could of been prevented. In America alone over a million people attempted suicide. it’s easy to talk about statistics and numbers but each number counted was a person, a person who somebody lost, who somebody cried over.

Suicide prevention will always be a cause close to me and in the years I have been writing about it on various platforms, or talking about it with people, luckily I have seen reactions change. A lot of people are less embarrassed, more willing to engage in conversation, but there are still a lot of myths that people hold on to. So for day 1, let’s look at some of them.

1- People who are suicidal just want to die.

A lot of people who think about suicide don’t just want to die (some do), most are going through something or are feeling something that they need to stop and don’t know how to else to make it stop. Normally suicide isn’t the first thing that’s thought about, it is the last thing and they have tried everything else they can think of. “The majority of people who feel suicidal do not actually want to die; they do not want to live the life they have. The distinction may seem small but is very important. It’s why talking through other options at the right time is so vital.

2- talking about suicide might put the idea in someone’s head.

Talking about suicide in a constructive way will not make someone suicidal. If they are thinking about suicide they would of done before you mentioned spoke about it. Talking about suicide will not take someone’s life, but being embarrassed or not wanting to talk about it might make someone feel more alone. A lot of the time someone who feels suicidal will not talk about it for fear of the reaction they will get, what people might think of them or how it will make the other person feel but by initiating the conversation you give someone the chance to be open about how they feel.

3- only mentally ill people think about suicide.

Many are, and at the point where suicide is thought about most are seriously ill. However life events or other stressors can be a trigger without a prediagnosed mental health condition.

4- when someone survives a suicide attempt, it is going to be OK.

Someone surviving a suicide attempt does not mean they are no longer suicidal. Recovery takes a long time and is a journey, it is rare that someone will “snap out of it.” In most cases when someone survives but does not receive the right support they will try again.

5- as long as I’m supporting them they will be Ok.

People need other people, they need friends or family or people they can rely on. But that is not enough and professional help needs to be sought. Particularly when someone appears out of control or is acting in a way that might make you think about if they have capacity to ask for help or not. Being the friend supporting someone who is ill or contemplating suicide is difficult and may mean you have to make decisions like calling for professional support or using emergency services.

6- Suicide is impulsive.

In some cases it is, particularly when particular mental illnesses are a contributing factor but some people think about it for a long time or plan it or try to make logical reasons to why or why not. Each is as serious as the other.

See you tomorrow.

Because tomorrow is better with you in it.

Get help here

Remember, if someone is in crisis and at serious risk of harming themselves or someone else, use 999.

Let’s talk BPD

I have spent the last hour browsing different Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) articles online while Benidorm plays in the background. It’s rare I learn something new in these, but today I did, not particularly about my illness but about raising awareness of it. Apparently, May is Borderline Personality Awareness month.

I haven’t blogged on here for a while, mainly because I write more when I’m struggling as a way to process what’s going on and recently, for a while now (luckily) things have been pretty stable. When I read it was BPD awareness month I thought about how if I’d know i’d of written something new each day on statuses to explain what BPD really is but seen as I missed the majority of the month I thought I’d take to the blog again.

Here are 31 things about BPD, one for each day of the month. Some are specific to me, some are general facts and some are things I wish people knew.

1 – There are 40 different terms that are used when talking about BPD which all mean BPD, some of these are BPD, emotionally unstable personality disorder, emotional disregulation disorder and complex developmental trauma.

2 – These different terms make it harder for clinicians and patients to understand what is been talked about and diagnosed, BPD is still the most commonly used name despite the official name of the disorder changing to emotionally unstable disorder several years ago

3 – There are 9 diagnostic criteria for BPD, a person who has 5 or more of these can be diagnosed however all the criteria are blanket terms which branch into different issues, meaning a group of people with BPD could sit together and not one of them experience the same symptoms

4- The only symptom all people with BPD share is emotional intensity/instability

5- BPD is normally comorbid with other mental illnesses, the most common of these are depression, anxiety, substance misuse and eating disorders

6- It is common, in times of emotional stress to experience psychosis and disassociation.

7- Disassociation is difficult to describe, the best thing I can compare it with is being in a dream like trance, you’re on auto pilot, you don’t know what’s going on around you and things done feel real, but somehow you can still do things

8- People with BPD can experience flashbacks

9- No one is really sure what causes BPD, it has been suggested that it is a mixture of genetics and traumatic experiences

10- BPD is highly stigmatised, people with BPD are labelled manipulative, attention seeking, not worth the effort and hopeless cases, this stigma has caused funding to be withdrawn from treatment plans

11- the emotional extremes of BPD are not triggered by huge events, one word can trigger severe depression, one tiny change to a day can trigger mania

12- this emotional unpredictability has been classed by professionals as “unbearable” and “too much to handle.”

13- BPD has one of the highest suicide rates of any mental illness. 70% of people diagnosed will attempt suicide, 10% will succeed.

14- For people with BPD suicide and self harming thoughts can become obsessive and intrusive

15- Over 40% of people diagnosed with BPD are initially misdiagnosed with something else first

16- BPD can have some strange symptoms caused by the umbrella diagnostic criteria, these include

17- Oversharing

18- Emotionally shutting off / refusing to have close friendships or relationships

19- Appearing emotionless or cold hearted

20- being tired or physically ill

21- People with BPD diagnosis’s make up at least 20% of patients in inpatient units in the UK

22- People with BPD make up almost 10% of A and E presentations

23- BPD is classed as a sever mental illness which needs long term treatment, group therapy, one to own therapy and crisis management. There are currently 3 places in the Uk which offer this, despite 0.7% of the population having this diagnosis, that’s 448,000 People.

24- BPD and bipolar are often confused as the same thing but they are very different, the key difference relates to how quickly moods and emotions cycle and the thought processes behind these

25- there are no medications specifically to treat BPD

26- Splitting or Black and white thinking is a common and misunderstood symptom of BPD An explanation of what this is can be found here

27- the focus of BPD treatment is not how to get rid of it but how to learn to live with it having less of an impact on day to day life

28- personality disorders are there own category of mental illness, they are not mood disorders, anxiety disorders or psychotic disorders by so share some of the same symptoms

29- People with BPD share some positive traits, it has been proven that generally they are more creative, expressive, compassionate and can pick up on others emotions easier than neurotypicals

30- early 20s are the most common time to be diagnosed

31- Despite the common myth, it is possible for people with BPD to go onto live a normal life with the right treatment and support

If you are worried about you or someone you know having BPD Click here

If you want to learn more about BPD, try this amazing explanation Video

If you or someone you know are in crisis call 116 123

If you or someone you know is an immediate risk to themselves or others dial 999

Am I human yet?

Sometimes I don’t feel human.

I assess my life and realise it’s a some total of experiences and memories and I get stuck. I realise to some extent everybody is made up of where they’ve been, lessons they’ve learnt, what they’ve faced. It shapes us as people. But sometimes I feel like I’m not a person, I’m a robot, who I am, what I do, it’s dictated by who I once was and who I have been. It feels like I’m on autopilot and it leaves me asking questions like why did I do that? Why are these memories still there? Why does no one know this about me? When will I just be normal?

For the past couple of weeks this has been my state. All because of one thing, one word I said. One counselling session I had and within that just one answer I gave out of many. The word I gave as my answer, a one word answer has left me experiencing flashbacks everyday. Sometimes on the days I’m not distracted, it’s left me experiencing them all day, unable to do anything much more than relive my memories.

I hate the word flashbacks.

It brings to mind Hollywood scenes of people lost in there thoughts then snapping back to reality with people around them looking confused. Whenever I think of the word my mind goes to the newer Charlie and the chocolate factory film. Where Willy Wonka flashes back to his childhood in a dramatic manner and makes people question his sanity. The reality is much different.

I always have the same one to begin with. When it happens I go onto autopilot, it doesn’t stop me doing the things I need to do. I can hold a conversation, work, go about my daily life without anybody noticing. While I’m doing that I’m also lost in my memories. I can remember everything. I can remember the conversation, how everything looked, how I felt, what I was wearing, what the 2 other people involved were wearing. I can remember how the front door looked, how the sun was out, how everyone was sat. It’s all consuming and no matter what I look like I’m doing or thinking, I’m not thinking about anything but what my brain has reminded me of.

I say I always have the same one to begin with, sometimes it’s others but when it’s this one I know I’m in trouble and it’s this one that I’ve had everyday recently.

Once that ones over it goes to another, then another, sometimes it’s stays in the same place, I relive every moment of being in that place. Sometimes it’s stays there for a while and then moves on, suddenly I’m back in the back of an ambulance, I’m back on my bathroom floor, I’m back in hospital.

Sometimes after a few minutes I’ll snap out of it and feel I’ve got away lightly, sometimes it will be hours later and I feel unable to carry on and I beg with myself to forget about it all, to move on, to be normal.

Sometimes, like right now, I debate running away, hopefully thinking if I started a new life somewhere everything would be better, I’d forget everything that’s ever happened and start becoming a person.

Sometimes, like right now, it becomes to painful and I start to hope that I have an overactive imagination. That non of these things really happened and that I’ve made them up without knowing. But as hard as I wish that I know it’s not true.

With the flashbacks come a desperation to tell somebody every single part of my existence. Every story I have to tell and hope that makes them go away, but I know I can never do that.

Sometimes I write it all down, but I’ve learnt that that only makes it more vivid.

Like an unwelcome hotel guest they take up a room in my brain and when they come I’m reminded how much I hate them and I’m left just waiting for them to check out.

They are the part of my life I don’t have a plan for, I don’t have a coping mechanism. They come and go as the please and I am left helpless until they leave.

The lies I tell myself.

I’m currently on holiday.

I’ve had a pretty shit few months and I thought I just want to see some sun, so booked a break and here I am, sat on my balcony I’m Tenerife, red from the sun, watching Netflix with a stack of drink from the all inclusive bar, over looking the sea.

There’s no place I’m happier than in a hot country, it’s the place I crave for pretty much every day. Anywhere will do as longs as there’s sun and sea to look at.

But I find something weird about being abroad. The sea, the mountains, the sun, it makes me realise how small I am and how actually as humans were pretty small and insignificant and I find that liberating. I also find it’s where I do my best thinking. I become this deeper person. inward looking, constantly questioning, forward planning, existentially philosophising about my life is a task that faces me and chases me around the pool.

This time I’m on holiday with my mum and on the first night she asked me some questions and there began this years questions for myself. She asked me about my future and I answered her with my rehearsed lies. The lies I tell everyone and tell myself so often I’ve started to believe them but when I said them to my mum. I instantly came to the realisation I don’t believe them. So let’s take a look at them shall we?

1-my view on having kids.

I tell everyone that asks me that I don’t want my own children, that I just don’t see the need and I’d be happier and freer on my own.

Truth is I desperately want my own children, I’d be an amazing mum. Truth is I Darn’t admit that because it would mean I’m failing at something I want because I’m such a long way off. Truth is I’d be terrified of bringing a child into the world because they might inherit the pre disposition for mental illness that all my family has, and I’d hate to think I’d bring life to someone who would battle so hard with it.

2- my views on a partner

I tell everyone I don’t want a partner, that I’m independent, that I make my own decisions and don’t have to consider anyone else and that’s best for me

Truth is I’d love to find someone but I refuse to put myself in any situation that might involve a relationship. I’m too much to handle, what if it didn’t work out and it triggered my BPD and it fucked me up even more? What’s the point in trying when I’m so unattractive? Who would ever want someone like me?

3- my view on my career

I tell everyone I don’t care what I do as long as it’s helping someone.

Truth is I don’t really care about that right now, what I actually want is a job that’s easy going and enjoyable so maybe just for once I could focus on having fun rather that stuff that’s so intense, but it feels to selfish to admit that.

4- my views on my past

I tell everyone I’m over it,

That it doesn’t matter and I don’t blame anyone, things just happen and now fuck it, I’ve made something of myself.

Truth is, I’m still angry. There stuff I’ve never told anyone, and even the fact I’ve not told anyone makes me angry. Truth is I feel pretty hard done by, why me? Was it my fault? Who am I to still be upset by all this stuff? But actually, why was it me? Things happen and have happened that should never and that’s not ok.

5- my views on God.

I tell everyone that I don’t believe in God, that i am against organised religion, that the whole thing is ridiculous and cult like.

Truth is I do believe all those things, but I’m desperate to believe in god again, I just don’t. I constantly flashback to my church days and I get it out of my head as soon as possible, because I flashback to the hurt and the pain and the embarrassment I faced. But I miss the purpose, I miss feeling like there’s a point. Sometimes I try and convince myself that god is real and I made a massive mistake leaving the church, but it just doesn’t stick.

I could go on and on about this topic fo days, but 5 is a nice round number and it already got to heavy for my liking, so for now, that’s all.

Happy New Year … again

It’s another New Year. Happy 2018! It seems the New Years come and go really fast and after just recovering from Christmas were expected to be all festive again.

I hate New Years, until the last couple of years I was always scared to admit that. I wanted to be all positive every New Year’s Eve and would talk about having a fresh start and making all my dreams come true but the truth is every time I’ve said that I’ve know I’m lying and I’ve felt that sinking feeling that comes with failing to believe your own bullshit.

So now I acknowledge that I hate it, I hate all the “New Year, New me” stuff, because in reality the only thing that’s changed is the number on the end of the date. I’m the same person at 12:01 that I was at 11:59. I hate New Years resolutions because I believe if you want to change something, truly want to change it, I’d do it whether it was New Year or not.

Last night though, I learned something. There’s something freeing in admitting the truth. I acknowledged that i don’t like New Years and that generally it makes my mood quite low. So I put a plan in place that meant I was in bed by 10pm and would miss anything I might find difficult to deal with. I had no expectations for the night, just that it was a night like any other. So when at 10:30 I found myself hammered with my brother and his girlfriend walking to the pub to bring in the new year, it felt like a real celebration, something I wouldn’t normally do, something chilled but something that felt exciting because my expectations were low. That sounds like the old keep your expectations low and you’ll never be disappointed way of thinking. Which isn’t what I mean, I guess what I’m getting at is when you don’t put pressure on yourself to be ok, you might find that you enjoy yourself, or even better end up actually being OK.

New Year’s Day meant I ended up in the normal depressive spiral of fuck another year, I don’t want to, gross, why is everyone so happy? But by marking actually going out for New Years and attempting to celebrate there was respite from the negativity, a distraction and some fun in the midst of the chaos.

How I feel about the show ‘Crazy Ex Girlfriend’ as someone with a BPD diagnosis.

Crazy Ex Girlfriend is a TV show that started running in America in 2015. It only recently became known to me because it was put on Netflix and a few of my friends were watching it. To be honest it came up as suggested a few times but I ignored it, assuming it would just be another rom com about a girl trying to get back with a boy and eventually doing just that. What Crazy Ex Girlfriend actually is, is an exploration of relationships from the perspective of Rebecca Bunch. The protagonist struggles with her mental health and coping with the effects on her every day life. Her story is told through comedy, musical numbers and some intense moments. In season 3 Rebecca Bunch is diagnosed with BPD, borderline personality disorder. As someone with that diagnosis, I generally think they do it as well as possible. Comedic musical theatre TV is, I imagine, a difficult genre to cover a series mental illness so let’s allow some artistic licence. That being said there are still some parts of the show that made me cringe.

What I think was done well –

  1. Ok, so I’m kind of starting at the end here, but this is the part of the show that made me think “I’m so glad they did this.” When Rebecca Bunch googles BPD the show goes into the answers you find on google about the illness. It shows the characters response to these (and it was exactly the same as my response). It shows on the screen how when you google BPD, the internet will tell you that those who suffer are unstable, manipulative, untreatable and 10% will eventually kill themselves. The show talks about how misunderstood the illness is, and even follows the googling scene with a scene from a Rebecca Bunches therapist, talking about how the internet is full or misguided and uneducated information on the subject. I’m so glad this was addressed, stigma and BPD is a massive issue, and this raised it as just that.
  2. Can we just praise the show writers for actually using a BPD diagnosis. This is hardly ever done in TVs and film. If you google shows about depression, anxiety, bipolar etc, a lot of films are suggested (I’m not saying they are correct in doing so, or that they are accurate, or that they haven’t caused damage and stigma in themselves). If you google shows about BPD, you get a list of 1, Girl Interrupted, the rest of the lists consists of fans that have suggested certain characters have the illness but it’s never mentioned. So just using the diagnosis, giving it a name and talking about its symptoms is amazing.
  3. The instability of BPD mood changes fits in perfectly. I’ll admit in the beginning it annoyed me, I felt like the show didn’t portray how long it can take to get over small events and how debilitating it could be. However the nature of TV is that things are resolved in an episode, which fits perfectly with BPD. In an episode of the show we can see a full mood cycle, which is how quick mood cycles can be in real life. It also showed how the little issues that caused instability build on each other if they are not dealt with correctly and how catastrophic that can be.
  4. The show explores moods other than depression. BPD is not mood changes between depression and “normal” it’s also anxiety, hyperactivity, over excitement, impulsiveness etc. Rebecca Bunch is a character that experiences all of these things. The show explores them, there impact and how characters deal with them.
  5. A massive symptom for most people with a Bpd diagnosis is fear of abandonment. This is the focus of the whole show, and it shows how different breakdowns in relationships can influence mood, or how successful relationships can heighten moods.
  6. The show makes reference to anxiety, delusions and disassociation. I particularly love the idea of Rebecca’s anxiety manifesting itself as a hallucination of her younger self. I also love that the show didn’t chicken out of this and made it obvious that it wasn’t just a dream or staying in Rebecca’s head but was actively effecting her ability to function and the other people around her.

The show picks up on some of the small issues that generally get missed and go untalked about. In fact the whole are of BPD is often a silent one with little discussion in culture and media. This show is a step forward, it’s hilarious, brave, entertaining and educating. Also, Rachel Bloom, the actress playing the protagonist is one of the best I’ve seen, both in her comedy and in the depth of the character, she also helped create and produce the show, so you know, genius all round.

That being said, there are some issues I have with the show.

  1. Paula – Paula is Rebecca’s best friend throughout the show and although I love her on an entertainment level I have some issues with how she is portrayed. It is very clear that Paula has some faults, she’s not perfect, non of us are, but she is displayed as a positive and helpful person. This is where I disagree, Paula feeds into Rebecca’s behaviour and struggles to see it is unhealthy until a while into the show. In fact, as someone with BPD I relate to a lot of Paula’s actions and feelings, maybe even more so than Rebecca’s. The need for approval, need for excitement and the need to try and make everyone happy are all things that can also be part of BPD. If someone asked me for advice on a similar friendship I would be encouraging them to limit the influence of that person.
  2. The lead up to diagnosis, if you’ve not seen the show, before the event that leads to diagnosis everything is chaotic. Rebecca does some, well as in the title of the show, crazy stuff. I felt like this went too far, obviously there’s always going to be an entertainment aspect to a show, but watching the things Rebecca did left me in a panic of “people are going to watch this and think that’s how we actually behave. ” Although everybody’s illness is different, people with BPD are generally not stalkers, kidnappers, threatening or prone to psychotic laughing while standing outside someone’s house.

3. Now, I am not one for being adamant that recovery language is the only way we should speak to each other. If I want to call myself crazy, I will. If that’s how I talk about myself or how someone else who struggles wants to talk about themselves as a way to cope that’s also ok. If someone else wants to refer to me as crazy, that’s not Ok. Essentially that is what the title of the show does, by calling it Crazy Ex Girlfriend and then diagnosing, it insinuates that those with that diagnosis are crazy.

Finally, I wanted to separate this point because I believe it is a general issue with Netflix and other streaming sites rather than just the show itself. I found parts of the show difficult to watch. Not in a stereotypical triggering way but in a “this show is so close to home it’s sending me into my own panic” kind of way. I saw so much of myself in Rebecca’s character that it sent me into similar thoughts stemming from ‘that’s so accurate, I probably am going to be alone forever’ and ‘it’s true I have no idea who I am without that certain person as well.’ And ‘what am I doing with my life, maybe I should run away.’ In fact on the back of watching the show I applied for loads of different jobs all over the country and googled how much I’d need to save to be able to run away and start again in my own search to be happy. As dramatic as that all sounds, that’s the nature of the impulsivity, thought spirals and emotion changes of the illness the show is dealing with. Yet there’s no warning on the shows description, there’s no indicator that it may be triggering or that the show deals with a serious mental health issue, or that the show may touch on sensitive areas. Come on Netflix!

5 Songs…

I’ve neglected this blog recently. I keep seeing it in my diary that I’d planned to post on a specific day and then ignoring it. I guess that’s partly because my beauty and lifestyle blog and YouTube channel are growing and it’s exciting so I’m putting a lot of work into that. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway.

Truth is, I find it really easy to blog most of the time, but right now I really don’t want to. I have a style of writing, it mainly involves overcompensating for anything negative I write with humour and positive cliches. I write that way because I think it’s more enjoyable to both read and write and I can cover up what I actually think by typing a well timed pun, comment or fuck. It’s difficult to write like that when you can’t see the positive and don’t have the energy to pretend to be witty.

So anyway, last night I left work and went in my diary to make sure I had my next shift correct and I saw on today it said that I should post. Past Naomi was trying to be organised and had even chosen a theme to write about. Thanks past Naomi, that really irritated me. My immediate thought was “maybe I can blow that off and write a new eyeshadow palette review on my other blog and still feel productive.”

The theme I was going to write was “5 songs that help me in recovery.” But fuck that, because right now I don’t care about the songs that help me in recover, I care about the songs that help me feel sorry for myself. So here it is “5 songs that help me feel sorry for myself and make me even more likely to ignore the world and get back into bed” (catchy blog title I know).

Sometimes, and by sometimes I really mean sometimes, I think it’s OK To wallow maybe even healthy in some ways but it’s also important to recognise it, move on and work on it. Logically, I know that. However, right now I’m really good at the wallowing part, the rest not so much. Let’s just note that this is also quite a sarcastic post, it’s partly written to help me recognise how stupid I’m being and partly written as a sarcastic look at my own behaviours, I’m going to sound like a dick at times, but I’m ok with it.

1 – Empty Apartment by Yellowcard

I have no idea what some of these songs actually mean or are talking about. Sometimes it’s just a line or a phrase that catches me and helps me in my self indulgent spiral. The line in this song that hits me right in the broken bit of my brain is “how’s your life, what’s it like there, is it all that you want to be, does it hurt when you think about me and how broken my heart is”. I mean, I’d write about why but I think it’s pretty self explanatory.

2 – I Can’t Do Anything About It by Felix Hagan.

“As the walls are crumbling I am tumbling to the ground and I can’t do anything about it”

“Give me the keys and I’ll wait outside and I’ll smoke myself into a hole”

Because why take responsibility for my own wellbeing when I can ignore it and sing “I can’t do anything about it” repeatedly and pretend I have no power over my own life so as to avoid any work on my own health I should be doing?

3 – Same As You by The Fray

“You can stand if you want to, fall if you want to, I’ll do the same as you”

There’s something really beautiful in this song, it talks about compassion and how someone is willing to do the same as another person for comfort. I like to twist it and use it to fuel my anger at people in general by listening and thinking about how no one would be willing to do that for me (actually a lot of people would but that doesn’t fit in with my feeling sorry for myself attitude)

4 – You Should Be Here – Cole Swindell

“Everything’s just right except for one thing, you should be here”

There’s nothing to make you feel more sad than a song that makes you think about your dad who died last year. Although on a alternate note when this song does make me sad it also reassures me, like hey, look at you having normal emotions for a valid reason, you can be a normal person.

5 – Plain Sailing Weather – Frank Turner

“Give me one fine day of plain sailing weather and I can fuck up anything”

Well yeah, that’s just me in a sentence isn’t it? However having this on repeat also get me of my arse because I think if I carry on, that sentence really is going to be true.

Anyway, that’s all for now, I promise next week I’ll get back to scheduled blog posts with a happier overtone. Sometimes it’s just more fun to be a negative dick, you know?