Another morning. I wanted to deny it… Turn off the alarm on my phone, shut my eyes tight, and pull the blanket up to my chin. I wanted to rewind and rewind so I could sleep like forever. But the morning registered in my mind painfully, still numbly. I laid awake, slowly gaining awareness of the apartment. The wardrobes were all open; our clothes were flowing out from them and onto the floor. The carpet was so dirty that I could see dead curls of my hair gathered by the door. The smell from the kitchen bothered me, reminding me that I did not do the washing up in ages. The state of this place troubled me beyond measure, causing several sleepless nights, but every time I tried to tidy up I found the barriers of my physical strength knocking me back. By the time I tidied up a small part in the room the bathroom would be sticky with mess… and by the time I could finally do that little by little the room would go all messy again. Maybe I am losing strength and interest lately at a higher rate. – I thought. But I did not dwell on it much because my whole life seemed to be a slow-paced series of losing strength and interest. I saw her standing in the corner again. The ghostlike figure of a girl I kept seeing these past weeks. She nodded, smiled and disappeared. She is my only friend now. Silent for sure, but at least undemanding. Sometimes she is what you call scary if you are not me. When I am in a very low mood blood flows from her eyes. Well, I can’t find it scary. It’s like normal emotions have been blocked by the fog clouding my mind. I opened up a book and sat down to read a little. In two minutes I realized it was too much to ask from myself. I will probably never be able to read a book again. Just cannot concentrate long enough to understand a sentence. One hobby is clearly departing from my life forever; I have to make friends with that thought. It was time to get on the computer and look for work like I have been doing for the past few months. Nothing in this wretched town. Nothing I could do anyway. I chose the wrong education or had too little of it. I am looking for a cleaning job or something I can do mindlessly, because clearly my mind faces difficulties functioning. I turned off my monitor and laid back to bed facing the ceiling. I thought, what I cannot stop thinking, that maybe it is high time for signing off. I remembered having an mp3 player for years that slowly went wrong. At first the back cover loosened so I had to duct tape the thing together but it worked fine. After a while the player did not want to turn on. You had to press the button repeatedly and frantically to turn it on after 20 attempts… but then it worked. Then, after a short while every time I turned it on it only stayed on for minutes… then it lost power. In the end I had to press the button a 100 times but it refused to turn on. It was broken beyond repair, gone forever. I feel like my life came to the same point. The point where there is no reason to keep it running. Later that day I sat in the therapist’s office. I wondered if I should make it my last visit. What was the point anyway; I was a waste of her work hours throughout all these 3 years. Others would give like everything to have someone like her supporting them. But me? I started feeling even angry. Feeling like she keeps on lying to me. Telling me everyone can be healed. Lying to me that I don’t have depression like I suspect… it is “just” the borderline… that’s what’s causing me all this. Not like it mattered at this point. Or ever. Lately I started feeling therapy was like throwing a chicken off the 10th floor saying it will learn to fly on the way down because it has wings after all… and then… when it is dead on the ground standing above it and saying “it did not want it enough I guess”. Maybe I should just stop trying with those stupid, deformed wings and give her working hours to someone else who actually has the strength and potential to put in the needed effort. Because I have ran out of efforts. Have not talked to any of my friends in weeks either, hoping they would just forget I ever existed. No more efforts to put into anything. I feel like I have turned against the world. The night came and I found myself not keeping up with my tries to look out for cheerful things. I pulled up all the suicide songs I could from my music player and just let myself get lost in them. Someone made me think of hell lately… but I think even hell is better for me than this world. In hell everyone suffers… no one puts on the smiling face or expects you to do it. Maybe I should opt for hell?
Not saying everyone has the same symptoms, but I will post some e-cards borderlines will probably understand. The struggle behind these is real and unrelenting, but I also believe we have to learn to laugh at ourselves. So here goes:
Have you ever had one of those phases where you just want to be invisible while terribly afraid you will not be visible?
Or the feeling that although you have friends, you have to suffer in silence?
Or started doubting if they are your friends at all?
Or have you consciously taught yourself not to go with the spikes of idealization when you meet someone new because they were gonna hurt you or leave at one point anyway?
Or have you ever had to convince yourself that you are actually you, alive, breathing and feeling? That you are not in a dream?
If you’re like me, you probably have suicidal thoughts and feelings every day… And maybe you do the same as I do and binge eat sweets.
Have you ever refrained from a dinner at someone’s house in the last moment because you did not feel ready to meet people and act normal or you felt you’d be a burden and the invitation was just a formality?
Maybe it has taken a toll on your relationships 😦
It is one of the saddest things to have to listen to an advice from someone who does not understand what’s going on…
Sometimes I feel like my therapist has known it for long that I cannot be saved or helped but she will not admit because how would that look.
Sometimes I see my disorder in everything.
I hoped you enjoyed these cards, and maybe now you can make some of your own and share it with me. 🙂 Also, I think you are awesome, you kick ass and just keep trying! That’s what I’m doing.
When I got my borderline diagnosis I was almost even relieved. Relieved that I am not alone, that my condition and dissociative experiences actually have a name. That there were others who self-harmed. Others who have felt suicidal for most of their lives. That I wasn’t just a standalone individual who was affected by an unrelenting curse others seemed to have evaded. Every question I ever had about myself seemed to be answered as the pieces of the invisible puzzle were finally grafted together. But it turned out this diagnosis will hurt me more than it helps me. It did not take long to take notice of how people treat borderlines. I remember reading a website that told you to run if your significant other turns out to be borderline, Christian pages that insisted borderlines are destined to hell by nature… and most sadly ”professional” articles that made us all look like attention-seeking, manipulative, promiscuous, unbearable drama-queens who do not deserve to be cared for by mental health professionals. The media did not help us much either. Almost every film depicting borderline employs unlikeable characters, who pose an immediate threat to everything they touch. At first, I wanted to write about how I don’t fulfil the stereotypes, but then I thought of something different. The story I want to share is how it feels to be stigmatized. How it feels to never be taken seriously even when you get to the verge of suicide.
It feels like being buried alive. Just imagine it. You wake up in the darkness. At first, you are just confused. You don’t know where you are, how you got there and how you will get out. Then you tap the four walls of the coffin and slowly realize you’ve been buried alive. Suddenly the air runs out. Not because all air is gone but due to the panic that chills your bones in an instance. You scream with your heart in your neck for hours but then you have to make the terrible realization that no one is going to hear you. You are just buried too deep. You don’t know if it is night or day outside but inside it makes no difference anymore. You start scratching the lid of the coffin as if to claw your way out. It takes immense effort. Meanwhile the thoughts just race through your head. Thoughts like ”Has no one seen I am still breathing?” or ”I have to die now just because people thought I was dead”. In the end your strength leaves you and you just don’t fight anymore. Years later they exhume you… just to find the marks of your nails on the lid. Then come the ”should have-s” and the ”could have-s” but that does not save you now does it.
It feels like becoming a ghost. The people shift by you, step through you… talking about wishing you were there. Wishing you were something else. Visibly present. They reminisce on how different you were before. So full of life. So pleasant for the eye. They wish they could get through to you but in reality it is you who cannot get through to them. You wave, scream, shake your head frantically… Try to tell them you are still there. In vain. You are no longer one of them. They can no longer accept you.
The only difference is… when you are a ghost no one blames you for becoming one. When you are a borderline you have to face such a vast amount of shaming. Blame. Suddenly everything you say is a lie and everyone who encounters you should just run for it. Suddenly your condition is your fault, and you just don’t get better because you are not trying hard enough. Even today these sentences make me want to crawl into a hole and hide. But I will not hide. I will no longer succumb to silence.
Because maybe you have the same experiences, which is why I want to leave you with some good thoughts. You are not a monster. You are worth caring for. You are lovable, and I wish you would join me in standing up against the stigma in any way you can.
- There is more to reality than what we see
When Harry Potter was locked up under the stairs, without any friends and basically without any light in the seemingly dark tunnel that was his future, he would never have thought that a day might come to transform his life in basically minutes. He never would have thought that one day Hagrid would arrive with his first birthday cake under his arms. He never would have thought there was a world where he mattered and where his voice would finally be heard. Point is you should not underestimate life’s ability to write unimaginable twists. Good ones too.
- You sometimes have to lose the battle to win the war
Whoever catches the golden snitch gains 150 points for their house in quidditch and ends the game. This usually means instant win. But do you remember those occasions when Harry must not catch the snitch? Because I do. There was at least one time when 150 points were not enough for Gryffindor to win. Harry saw the snitch but needed to wait until the team gathers enough points so that catching the snitch would make a difference. We imagine the road to success would be straight. That once we see the snitch we should just jump at it because we might never see it again. Sometimes however patience and planning work better than pushing forward. You lose a battle when you let the snitch out of your sight… but when it comes again, and you are finally ready to catch it you win the war.
Also… Do you remember how Umbridge punished Harry with a pen that drew his blood and carved words on his hand? ”You must not tell lies”. With every word he cut in his hand he lost a war against Umbridge in that room. But later, in the forest, when Umbridge was given to the Centaurs and she begged Harry, Ron and Hermione to tell the centaurs not to hurt her because she came with good intentions, this very sentence was Harry’s victory over her as he told her: ”I can’t…. I must not tell lies”. I guess what I am getting at is just because you lost the battle – does not mean you’ve lost forever. The bricks that are thrown at you might later be used to build your fort.
- In tense situations people can exhibit traits you never thought they have
What did you think of Neville first? Of Luna Lovegood? Would you have thought Neville would defeat the snake? Would you have figured Luna can see Thestrals and is not repulsed by them because she is brave enough to face her demons? Would you have thought she would play a key role in the end? I sure as hell did not see these coming. This just reminds me that I might be surrounded by heros everywhere I go. Villians too, but there is a vast amount of goodness hiding in the people around, waiting to unveil itself in the light of an unusual event.
- You have to go to the roots of the problems
It was not easy to kill Voldemort. He seemed downright undefeatable. In order to kill him they had to deal with all of his horcruxes. They could not just miss one. This just reminds me that the problems can only be solved once they are througoutly investigated and their background is completely eliminated. Otherwise they just grow to the point where we are afraid to call them by the name.
- Level of education is not everything
Just one word here: Hagrid.
- Teamwork makes the dream work
Harry did not win the triwizard tournament alone. He did not save Sirius alone. He did not defeat Voldemort alone. He could not have no matter how big of a hero he was. It was always about the team.
- Sometimes you have hidden friends and unseen enemies
Remember how Snape saved Harry from falling off his broomstick at quidditch? Or that moment Harry shared with Snape when the professor was dying? This black haired man never failed to show resentfulness and hatred to Harry…. meanwhile saving his life. Who would have thought he is actually on Harry’s team? Or who would have thought the prisoner of Azkaban, from whom Harry was so strictly guarded will become one of his most trusted people?
Also there was Scrabbers. Everyone’s favourite rat from book one… Look what he turned out to be in the end. He was an enemy hiding in plain sight.
- There is a story behind evil
We like to think that people who do evil are just born that way. We assume that a moment of losing one’s mind makes a killer. We need to study Voldemort. How he was treated at the orphanage, how he grew up and how much it has to do with what he has become. I think initially he was thrown into darkness and did not feel too good there. Then – to cease his pain he learned to surf this darkness like a sea, to use it and to enjoy it. Noone is born evil. Society makes evil happen.
- Darkness does not last forever
The Dursley’s will not be your caretakers forever. You will not always live under the stairs. You will not stay ununderstood forever. You will not stay in the lair of spiders forever. Umbridge will not be your teacher forever. The minister of magic will not be corrupt forever. Hagrid will not stay in Azkaban. You will not fight all your battles alone. Ultimately: Voldemort will not live forever.
]Today I just found a folder on my computer which had in it almost all the songs I listened to at 15-17. I pondered how long ago that feels to have been as I loaded the playlist into my winamp. Looking back I guess I did not change much… Back then I had this huge inventory of sad songs with melancholic topic. My taste was a bit wider than it is today. Nowadays I am all for goth and metal, but I guess the thematic preoccupation has not changed much. Anyway, I guess what I am getting at is I found Rehab’s “Red water” in the list.
I wonder what I used to think it means, but I remember thinking it was a little silly. The song is about a man who recalls the time he was 12 and had this, rich organized, happy neighbour who was the luckiest man alive – he assumed- with the most beautiful wife, tidy house, brilliant job, happy son and all the wealth a 12 year old could dream of once having. Then one day this neighbour went home, laid back in his bath and opened up his veins… The song expresses this inconsistency between what can be seen, what cannot and what can never be unseen.
Listening to this song now, I do not think it is silly at all. It is rather mind-wrenching to hear lines like:
“And he was laying in an overflowing bathtub of red water
The first and the last time he ever relaxed
And they said, he had a smile on his face
His final offer, the steam on the mirror said
One more thing to say”
I do not mean to put down an analysis of the song, but these lines say all about it that can be said. But I understand a new aspect since then, that is humans were not created to live the way they do. The only chance to relax (while we are trying to gather riches or just earn enough to buy all the products that we are told we need) should not be while we are bleeding out in a bath… We are not meant to be the pretentious, malicious, shallow little things we pretend to be… which implies that too many things are left unspoken so badly that the steam on the mirror knows more about us than we know about each other – or sometimes even – ourselves.
See, these lines are the confessions of the most ‘un-brave’ person there is in this world right now. A person who cannot calm herself with inspirational quotes about how we should shoot for the stars… because I just want to stay on the ground. A person who craves to just put this computer away, sell her things and just build a hut in the forest and reunite with nature… and is still unable to do that. I guess the reason I love series like The Walking dead is the concept of man re-thrown into nature… Maybe when I get older I can just give it a try, who knows. I guess all I meant to say is how well this song depicts this corrupted human nature. It makes me think of something ‘biblical’…
We always think the fruit we were not supposed to eat in Eden was an apple. I wonder why, but anyway apples and men have something peculiar in common, that is, we can still look okay from the outside while the worms are chewing us from the inside. I wonder how our beautiful red apple of a society will last anyway.
This week a long and leaden era ended for me in many ways. I graduated from the university, when I never even hoped to last through secondary school. I also got a job, which I am hoping to be able to keep. My dragons are hatching and I still don’t dare count them.
Sometimes when someone asks how I have done this – I really do not know. I cannot be that glorious story – the person, who climbed up and got an education on her own. Because this was never true. I never had a special talent, or extraordinary craft and will. And today – it is high time I say thanks to everyone who contributed to showing me I might be worth saving
Firstly. The friend who let me live in her home for a year and encouraged me to go to the university. Secondly all the friends from the university who helped me in times of need – with food and other supplies. Thirdly all the teachers who stood by me. I would never have imagined people to be this good. The head of the institute was the one many times, who saved me from falling out. Another teacher got me a psychologist, which contributed a lot to me finishing this year. The administrator was always there to help me, and when I came to the state exam sick she arranged to postpone it. I got e-mails, helpful numbers, and many of you know that a vast number of people from the university contributed to my crowdfunding campaign without any moral strings attached. I will make announcements about that soon. Thanks to one of teachers – this campaign reached many.
So I went to the university to attain a degree, but I see that it was the least I could get out of it. I also regained my faith in humanity. I will miss all those lessons in literature that kept opening up my world. They were occasions when I felt utterly understood and cared for. In the final year – thanks to groupmates and teachers I finally could open up, and be very plain about everything. And nobody laughed. And no judgments were told.
My personality developed enormously in these past years, and I now feel more ready to face life. I am no longer afraid or ashamed. We are who we are, and whoever we are can be understood. The key was always so close. I just had to speak. Why was it so hard to use this key? I still don’t know. When you speak out, you learn who your friends are, and lose your enemies. They either flee or become your friends.
A teacher of mine told me he thought people crave honesty if you say it right. I disagreed, even raged in myself and I swore to prove him wrong. I couldn’t. And that makes me happy.
Lastly I am grateful for the family, who acted like my very own family. The people who called me to dine with them at Christmas, 6 people who kept believing in me. Thank you! Never would have made it without you.
I wish I could give something back to all of you in my life.
Why I am writing all these is to tell you that I never could have survived alone. I don’t want to think of where I would be now without all of your help, people!
Since I got so confessional lately, I guess I can keep the honest boat rolling and tell you that sometimes I get really mad. Entirely mad about how I turned out as a “borderline” person, and how this killed everything around me, and how it was not my fault, not the fault of my friends either, but this slowly ate up all the bridges that would tie me to anyone. They often say that this is characteristic of the personality disorder to cut ties intensely, but I have another theory. Why would anyone want to lose relation with a society which is the only place they can be safe? Because this society, out of its own will – I like to believe – is drowning in a cult of moralizing and stereotyping about mental health. For many years I did not want to even talk about that, thinking the world was a solid entity incapable of change.
I’m talking about how people are trying to help their friends with mental health problems and how they fail one by one, wondering why they ever got involved in the first place. This is a very painful process on both sides.
When they just laugh at you
I remember the very first people to whom I told – as a child – that I have strange experiences. (Namely that the world seems to drift off and become a frightening, bizarre dreamlike place where I am so slow that even crossing through the road bears enormous danger). The reaction was a laugh. I don’t know what was so funny about it, and probably never will know. Now I am aware what this experience was and what it was signalling, or what its name is.
When they think you are ‘making this up’
I also had a bizarre habit as a child. I used to believe I had a dead sister, who was buried under a tree not far from our block. I would take flowers there sometimes, and whenever something bad happened, which I wanted to forget I would put it on a piece of paper and bury it at the tree too, thinking my sister will come at night and take the paper and the thing I put on it disappears forever. I guess I made it up. Maybe I did not want to be alone and thought someone who is dead knows more than me and can help me. But this experience was still frightening and I still wanted to get rid of it. But when I told adults about this it suddenly was a lie and that “all in your head” crap commenced. Well of course it’s all in my head, genius! Where else could it be? This is like telling someone with Asthma “It’s all in your lungs”. The person already knows and it does not help them anyway… however, it is a good way to make someone feel alienated and misunderstood.
When you seem to be “making it for attention”
I had thoughts of suicide ever since I can remember. But at the age of 16 or so I could no longer contain it or fight it effectively. These thoughts crept up on me, like snares underwater that would not let go of my limbs, and the more I tried to break away from them the more they kept dragging me down to the bottom of the lake. Not a clear lake either. A stinky, blood steamed lake of tears. I was frightened and chilled to the bone. So I told someone. Did not listen or bombarded me with the stereotypes of cowardice or other. And came the next person and the next and the next, but nobody wished to fight for me. So I fought for me with the methods I had. Already told you, it was the cutting thing. So I told only one person about this at the start, and this person went home, read about it on the internet, and figured out I just want some attention. Question one, why do you figure out what I want when you could just ask me? Question two, how come ‘whys’ matter more than ‘how to make it betters’? This is where I started losing it and friend after friend I lost contact, lost interest. When someone can tell you things and you cannot do the same it suddenly becomes a relationship you are unable to fight for.
When some people are “just acting like they want to help you”
Once I felt very bad about someone. The person who read the stuff on the internet (mentioned above. So this person decided to sit and have a talk about suicide with me. Mostly it was them talking and me listening, which I know should have been the other way around. I learnt that later, that when you are feeling suicidal the last thing you need is a lecture on the devastating nature of suicide. You probably know more about that than they do anyway. No, when you are in distress you need to talk. Talking is like action. You should not be afraid when someone shares a suicidal fantasy with you – it means they want to talk it out because it saves them from acting on it. Anyway we were in a café with this person and I could talk a bit about what I was feeling and while I was in the middle of struggling over to breathe or not to this person sprung to their feet and started talking to the “bartender” asking what song was on the radio. Sitting back “So where were we”. Of course I did not continue….
When “Starving Africans and orphans have it worse and you should be grateful”
If you suffer from a mental health problem you must be awfully familiar with this approach. While it may be true on the physical level not having a toilet or starving is not a mental disorder. It can induce one – which is why starving Africans can also suffer from a mental disorder, what you really need to understand is that mental health problems are “way better than us” in a way that they don’t discriminate. They do not differentiate between rich and poor etc. So when you cannot get out of bed or have delusions it truly does not have to do anything with whether you are grateful or not. Besides when someone you know gets out of their brand new car to tell you that others have it worse than you when they do not know you might not even own a bed is another aspect, but it is not relevant for me now.
“Everyone has their fights”
I could go on for what seems way too much for a blogpost but just one more. This is the latest thing I heard. Again it is a cliché. Of course everyone has their fights. You too. You may be fired, you may be broke, you may be sad, you may be lonely etc. But to tell a mental health patient that everyone has their fights is like telling someone with malaria that everybody gets a fever every now and then. Why is it so hard to understand, that nor malaria nor mental disorder belongs on the scale of “normal life hardships” because they just don’t. You don’t tell someone with diabetes “you don’t need insulin” or “your illness is your fault” or “snap out of it”…. So why tell someone so who is mentally ill? I just don’t get it.
This is not a judgement. It’s not an aimless whining. I want you to see these! So next time you could help a friend effectively! If your friend is in distress they do not need moral or religious – and preferably any – lectures. They need ears that listen and hands that hold. You may not be able to provide them, but that is what professionals are for and you can sure as hell convince them to seek that help. Do not promise anything you cannot or will not do, because it fills them up with false hopes they will regret later.
I don’t know if I can put up with this world forever. Maybe not for long, who knows. But until that point I sure as hell cannot be silenced about this one hope: that I and people like me do not have to lose anyone. That all the world needs is to be more educated on mental health for us to fit in better and live a relatively better life. If you want to help us, please come down from the chair of judges, believe me we can judge ourselves very efficiently. If we are worth the fight for you, please fight for us. For our rights, for our case. For our lasting friendship.