ACCEPTING THE GUILT OF POSTNATAL DEPRESSION

Accepting the guilt of postnatal depression

Guilt is a five letter word I hate and something that has consumed me for 3 long years since I was diagnosed with postnatal depression. I didn’t choose postnatal depression so why do I feel guilty about it and why do I struggle to let it go?

The thing is every mother feels guilt to some extent and we’ve all heard of the phrase ‘mummy guilt’, but the guilt you have from postnatal depression is magnified, it’s like it becomes a core belief and even after the trauma of postnatal depression has gone the guilt can still linger for years after. I’m writing this post as a way to try to heal from my own guilt and hopefully help others, because that is what my blog is to me, it is my ramblings and most importantly it is my therapy.

The most important thing we need to remind ourselves as mum’s is that a perfect mother does not exist, she is a fictional character we may have appeared to see in the flesh or on social media, but the reality is she is faking it and it’s a big lie we are selling to ourselves. We all know now that social media is not real and that we only include the best bits of our life and we all know that we can all appear on a good day to have our shit together, but it is not sustainable for every minute of everyday for anybody. Everyone has their own struggles, own problems and own tears, just some are better at hiding it than others.

Guilt is a destructive emotion and when it sets in, it is hard to hold it back. It causes us to feel inadequate, unworthy and flawed. It can start to define who we are as a person and as a mother. What I have learnt through therapy is that we do need to sit through these emotions, but we do not need to accept them as fact. All emotions serve a purpose however painful they can be. The emotional of guilt for a normal purpose is to remind us we have done something wrong, which makes us fix our mistakes, in the hope we do not make the same mistake again. Guilt can serve as a very helpful emotion to help us re-evaluate ourselves to be better. Guilt through postnatal depression serves no purpose as we are mentally unwell, we have not done anything wrong and there is nothing we can fix, as we didn’t choose this mental illness. The guilt stops us from bonding with our babies and getting the support we need from others around us. All we are doing is punishing ourselves for something we had no control over.

When the postnatal depression has gone how to we get rid of guilt forever? For me something I felt I needed to do was to apologise. I told my baby I was sorry that mummy wasn’t well, I said sorry to my daughter for not being there as I should and I told my now ex husband I was sorry. It was healing, even though I know now I was unwell and I couldn’t have done things differently, I felt better to have apologised. What I did next was I said sorry to myself, I listened and I accepted it.

Once I was able to apologise to myself I realised that the guilt wasn’t just guilt it was a lot to do with regret. I regretted not having those moments with my baby, that instant bond and I was mourning the loss of the time wasted whilst sucked in by postnatal depression. The expectation you had versus the reality was not what was expected and that is something you regretted. Once I realised it was more about regret than guilt it took the need away for punishment. I had successfully changed the emotion to something that was far more easier to process.

My guilt of postnatal depression is regret and is something I am sad about. I am able to forgive myself for this as I do not deserve to be punished for a regret I have. Sadness about the situation is an emotion I can tolerate and something that is easier to manage to move on from.

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The day I tried to end it all

The day I tried to end it all

On the 7th of February last year I tried to end it all. I woke up in a hospital bed with a drip in my arm and wires across my body. I had no idea where I was, how I had got there and I didn’t understand what was going on. The day before I had sent my now ex husband out, as I needed some peace and promised him I wouldn’t do anything stupid. I had lied to him and for the first time in weeks I was emotionless, I felt no fear, no guilt and no sadness. Today was the day I wouldn’t have to feel anymore. I didn’t think of the consequences of my actions and just saw it as the only way out. I was fed up of fighting PND (postnatal depression) anymore and felt like I had lost any type of control I had over it. It was a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but I couldn’t see that at the time.

That day whilst under the crisis team care I went into hospital to see my doctor who decided after two weeks they would discharge me. I told them I still felt suicidal and I was scared to be discharged without any other support. Just that conversation sent me into a downward spiral and I felt hopeless even though they said they would see me again in three days. I went home to end it and took as many lorazepam I had (about 10mg), coupled up with a handful of quetiapine (antipsychotics) and zopiclone (sleeping tablets), which I washed down with whiskey. I don’t even enjoy the taste of whiskey, but it was the strongest alcohol in the house. I sat back and let the feeling of calm wash over me, whilst I slipped in and out of consciousness, finally at peace.

What happened next I don’t really know, but this is what I was told afterwards. An old school friend had been checking in with me by messaging me on and off. I didn’t make a huge amount of sense so she contacted my sister and a well fair check was arranged. My husband returned home with the kids and around the same time someone from the crisis team and also a police officer took me to hospital.

The next morning when I had realised what had actually happened the feeling of guilt was horrendous. Knowing my children had seen me in such a state and that I had lied to my husband was terrible. I knew from that moment that I needed to fight, my children didn’t deserve this and if I kept going like this, I would lose them one way or another. I would either be sectioned, dead or I would lose my children and all would take me away from the children I love so much.

I was taken in to talk to someone from the crisis team and told that if I was sectioned that I would never get better. As I have BPD (borderline personality disorder) the worse thing for me, would to be sectioned, they gave me the choice, but I declined. 40% of all inpatient have BPD and once you’re in, its hard to ever get out, as this condition is untreatable with medication and the only way to over come it is to complete DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy).

I started DBT quickly after, but I found it impossible to attend as I couldn’t get help with childcare and had to quit. Eventually once my marriage broke down and I started to get help again I was able to start DBT. I am now 5 months in and it has changed my life. It’s changed the way I deal with my emotions, given me inner peace and helped me regulate when I go into crisis. Things still haven’t been perfect and I still struggle, but I am always making progress. To see where I was a year ago and how I am today, I am proud. I am a better person, I am happier and I’m back to being the mother I want to be. I know that as a single parent that I need to get better as I could lose my children if I don’t and that is my driving force behind my progress.

I share my story in hope that it helps other people going through the same struggles. Admitting you feel suicidal does not mean your children will be taken away from you. I know this was my biggest fears, but social services were actually pretty helpful to me and arranged extra support I needed.  If you need support ask for it, call Samaritans, contact PANDAS, text a friend. Please don’t suffer alone as it’s too much to take on by yourself and it needs to be shared. This does not make you weak, but actually incredibly strong. Life can change so much in a year and I am proof of it. Keep fighting, you’ve got this.

Progress is key.

Samaritans

PANDAS

 

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A marriage over and new chapter

A marriage over and new chapter

Writing about how I feel and be honest is something I have found incredibly difficult since my marriage ended in the summer. I feel like I lost my voice and I needed some privacy, whilst I sorted my own head and feelings, but as time has gone by, things have moved forward, emotionally I have found it difficult not having an outlet. I know I need to write for my own sanity, but having the pressure of coming up with content, that reflects me in my current state, that is honest and true to my blog has felt like a massive burden that I have put off. Today I have decided that I need to take the plunge, stop worrying about what everyone else thinks and do something that I love for myself again.

I don’t want to go into too many details, but since my marriage broke down, the months that followed have been the hardest of my life, but also some of the best too. I know I made the decision for the right reason and although painful, it was inevitable. For me my marriage had been over since my suicide attempt at the end of January, but it took months of discovery to finally realise that it was un-fixable and for my own mental wellbeing I needed to end things. Once you fall out of love with someone I don’t think it is possible to ever get it back. I still have the so much respect for my ex husband and think he’s a wonderful father to our children.

A marriage breakdown is incredibly hard and co-parenting children is its own battlefield. With the best intentions of keeping things amicable it’s not been easy for either of us at times and we have pushed each other to the limits. I hope now that we do keep moving forward and keep things amicable for our beautiful children, that we will always share together.

Another big thing to happen in the last few months is to date again, which with two children comes with its own challenges. The right time to date again after a relationship breaks down is different for everyone and I am the first to admit I did move on quickly, but like I have said before I had fallen out of love and hoped to just get back out their and date again. I haven’t dated since I was 20 and I would quickly get bored and move on, but I also found it lots of fun meeting new people and going out for drinks and meals. I took the plunge and went on a date with a guy who I had been messaging and it really was the best thing to happen to me last year. I have met someone who adores me and my children and makes me want to better myself. I now feel like I have a team-mate and someone I can be honest with and doesn’t judge me.

I am well aware for anyone to have a relationship with me isn’t always easy (hats off to my ex for dealing with me at my rock bottom, I do give credit when due), so to find someone who is accepting and wants to understand me better is rare and beautiful. I have borderline personality disorder (also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder), so as a person in a relationship I know I can be pretty draining at times and hard to understand (romantically and also in friendships). My emotions at times can be all over the place, but with the help of DBT (dialectical behaviour therapy) things are far easier to manage than before. I have DBT as a group therapy for two hours a week, which involves lots of homework. I am learning new skills that I am now able to put into practice and although not easy, it is so rewarding being able to see how far I have come in such a short space of time. I still have months ahead of DBT to complete, but I am hoping it’s something I can stick with and I can change for the positive.

Since November I have been getting extra support from the childrens centre and also the health visitor, who have been able to help find me resources and advice that I have needed for the various things going on in my life. I was visited today and after a crappy couple of weeks I was feeling on the teary side, but thinking back now to the conversations we had I think I should be pretty proud of myself. I was reminded constantly today of the various things I have done for myself and children to make our life easier, the extra support I have asked for and my proactive attitude I have had. The problems I have had I have actually managed to fix myself with little help. I have not only been meeting my childrens basic needs, but I have also been meeting their emotional needs. My children are given cuddles, read to, played with and reassured, which may seem small, but those selfless actions help shape them and make them feel secure. I was today reminded of something that I often forget, that despite everything else I am a really good mother to my children and they are loved.

Reflecting back on these last few months I have grown so much and managed to go through an incredible hard things, yet stay positive for the most part. Things are far from perfect and I am forever battling with myself, but I know I am getting things right and I am progressing and learning on the way. I am going to keep writing for me and doing something that I love. I am doing the best I can and that is ok. Leaving 2017 I do have regrets for how I handled certain things and people I upset, but for my own wellbeing I can’t keep dwelling and I just have to accept, learn and now move on to a better 2018.

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The unlikely benefits of depression

The unlikely benefits of depression

I love to look for the silver lining and I have come up with the unlikely benefits of depression that I have found to be true for me. This does not take away from the fact that it is horrendous, but now I am for the most part out the other side, I like to look at some small positives I have found through my depression journey.

  • I now have a new kind of appreciation for the good days, I never know when it could all be sucked away again, so I do appreciate when things are going well and I am feeling mentally strong.
  • I am much more in touch with my emotions than I ever was before. I now know all emotions are needed and valid and that I should never be ashamed or try to hide them.
  • I’ve talked about this before and I think it is one of the most important things I have learnt, which is empathy. Depression has changed my outlook in life and taught me not to judge as we never know someone’s personal battle. I have great empathy and now regard it as one of my best attributes.
  • I have taken time to find what gives me joy in life. I have had to work out what makes me happy in life and have found some hidden talents that I might not have ever discovered otherwise.
  • I have bonded with friends and made new friends on a different level. To talk about depression is something very personal and by talking about it I have found some amazing people.
  • I have learnt not to hide emotions anymore. I was very good at hiding who I was out of fear of making someone else uncomfortable. I have found new ways to express my emotions in a healthy way which has made me better at communicating.
  • I am always looking at new ways to make myself happy. I know how easy it is to get sucked back into depression so I am always aware of trying to keep myself busy and happy.
  • If and when depression creeps back into my life, I now know I have survived depression which inspires me to fight it again.
  • I can help someone else by showing them that they are not alone in this battle and that you can survive it and also flourish.
  • I have now proven to myself that I am a fighter and that I am incredibly strong. To fight a battle with your own mind is one the toughest and I am pretty proud of what I have achieved.
  • I no longer take sleep, health, exercise and diet for granted. I now know that  it is important to focus on these and that they make a huge difference in your mental wellbeing.

What has depression taught you?

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The worry that my own mental health problems have damaged my daughter

The worry that my own mental health problems have damaged my daughter

I have struggled with mental health problems for years without even being aware of them. Well to be honest I did know something wasn’t right with me, but I just believed I was a bad person and my anger and depression was my own fault. Depression and anxiety have dominated me and effected me all of my adult life and after having my second child two years ago and my postnatal depression came to a head and I realised I needed to fix me. I was scared that in this process I could further hurt myself and I was right. To finally move on from my old life I needed to deal with my past to some extent and it was painful. I sunk lower than I ever went before and worried that by dealing with certain things that had happened that I would never feel happiness again.

Having to deal with my own mental health problems with a baby and small child at home was tough and not ideal and it was impossible for me to shield them completely with what I was going through. My daughter Jasmine saw me cry too much, not able to look after myself and many specialists coming into our house trying to help her broken mother. This is not what I wanted, but I either tried to heal at home or leave my family all together and go into hospital. Jasmine grew up quick and learnt what to say to help me, to encourage me and she was my strength when I had none left.

Things have been steadily improving over the last few months and I am in a much better place mentally. I am working on being the right role model to my daughter and I am a much better parent than I was six months ago. I am certain my mental health problems have affected my daughter and that’s something I do feel guilt over. I didn’t want my daughter to see me like the way she did, I tried to hide it as much as I could, but I know my child and she is bright and was picking up on the problems going on and it was affecting her too. Jasmine came home last February with her dad, for them to find that I had taken an overdose. Jasmine doesn’t remember what happened as she was sent upstairs and missed the police and crisis team taking me to hospital, but I’m certain she knew something was wrong

Children are more perceptive than we give them credit for and at times I feel like she is punishing me or that our bond has been damaged for what I had to put her through. Her concentration at school has suffered, her behaviour and even her sleep have been affected. My little girl gets frustrated and angry at times and I understand her frustration and it’s something we are always working on. I don’t want my girl to grow up angry with the world and I want her to continue to flourish and not become who I was as a teenager.

All I can do now is keep encouraging her, showing her my strength and dedicating my time on my own daughters mental health. We are working on yoga and mindfulness to help our bond and our mental wellbeing and I am seeing an improvement. I just hope she knows how hard I am trying for her and that everything I do is for her. I don’t want her to grow up with the same problems that I had and I hope she doesn’t grow up resenting me for what I put her through.

My bond with Jasmine was affected through my battle with mental health, but we now have a more intense kind of bond. My daughter has shown me such compassion through my struggles, I have seen so much of my self in her, that it has helped me understand myself and her better. She really was a blessing for me, my savour and my strength.

Jasmine I am sorry for expecting too much from you at such a young age, I am sorry for not being strong enough at times to be a mother to you and I am sorry for resenting you when I was struggling through my PND. I love you more than you will ever know and will spend the rest of my life making it up to you. I will always be there for you, no matter what. I love you.

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My anxiety journey and how I am learning to cope

Anxiety isn’t always a bad thing and is actually rather useful at not just keeping us safe, but also helping us reach our full potential. It’s healthy to have a certain level of anxiety for real stressful situations, it spurs us on when we need it. The problem with anxiety is when it comes from imaginary danger. We become hyper alert and play out thoughts in our heads and often it leads us to avoid certain situations.

Anxiety manifests in many different ways, shortness of breath, dry mouth, increased heartbeat, digestive problems, dizziness and weak bladder. For everyone it is different, for some people it is deliberating and stops them from enjoying life, from going out and it is damaging to your mental wellbeing.

I have suffered with anxiety since I can remember, but I had no idea what it was until I was in my early twenties. I remember always shying away from crowds of people and even having panic attacks on nights out. To even go out for the night I would have to drink before hand. Having my daughter who is now five really highlighted how bad my anxiety had got, but I continued to fight it and forced myself out my comfort zone, but I still had some much avoidance behaviour.

When I got pregnant with my second child and I was diagnosed with SPD (Symphysis pubis dysfunction), my life changed as I just couldn’t get out. I was avoiding more and more things and was isolated and alone. I kept telling myself as soon as my baby was born it would be ok and I would be able to get out, but this wasn’t the case. I became a recluse and only felt able to leave the house if I had someone else with me who would take charge. I would feel sick, dizzy and I would panic. This would then lead to frustration, anger and then tears. It was apparent after six months after my son was born that I also had PND (postnatal depression) and combined together it was a very sad existence.

I remember not even being able to do the food shop because of my anxiety and getting in the car to go out and having to turn the car back to go home. It wasn’t just my life it was effecting it was also impacting my children’s life and stopping them from having a normal childhood. I decided to seek help and a couple of months later I started CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy). CBT doesn’t work for everyone, but for me it has given me tools on how to deal with my anxiety, so I decided to start a diploma in CBT and I am now almost half way through the course.  

CBT helps you become aware of your thoughts and feelings, so you learn to challenge them. I can now usually notice the negative thought and question it before it and stop it. Once you learn the skills of CBT it can be used in so many areas in your life. CBT teaches you to be your own therapist and as long as you go back and remind yourself how to use it once in a while it will make your life far more positive.

I have tried medication for my anxiety called lorazepam which is a benzodiazepine. It helps with anxiety and sedates you, but these tablets are highly addictive and can be fatal if overdosed as they suppress breathing. I have overdosed on them twice, with other prescription drugs and have had a lucky escape. You quickly build up a tolerance to these drugs and need to take more for the same effect. They shouldn’t be taken long term and you should be monitored. They can cause rebound insomnia and rebound anxiety so these drugs are more for a quick fix and not for long term use. They are known to increase risk of suicide.

My anxiety today is manageable with CBT skills that I have learned and I am now able to enjoy life so much more. If anxiety is a problem for you please see a doctor and explain your worries so you can be referred for CBT.

 

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The real struggle of living with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)

The real struggle of living with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)

This isn’t a post for attention or even pity, it is a post for understanding, making sense of my own thoughts and also helping others understand about different mental disorders, the one that less than 2% of people suffer with. I’m having a bad few days, and when that happens I try to force myself to write as it is more important than ever for me to make sense of my emotions. Having BPD (borderline personality disorder) can be very intense at times and often if I am struggling with BPD my anxiety and depression will be heightened too. I don’t get in this frame of mind often, but when I do it can be pretty dark and very scary. It will sneak up on me when I least expect it.

I have been feeling a bit out of touch with reality and have disassociated myself, which for me is normal when I’m in this state of mind. It’s not that I want to be left alone it’s just I feel unable to interact with the outside world. In truth this is when I do need people around to connect me, encourage me, but I struggle to let people in. My life can begin to spiral out of control and I have no power over it. It’s like I’m just there for the ride. I get frustrated with myself and hate having these thoughts and feelings, but feel so powerless to do anything about it.

You are 70% more likely to be diagnosed with BPD if you are female. 7 out of 10 people with BPD will attempt suicide and this figure does not surprise me. Even more frighteningly is that around 1 in 10 will succeed. 75% of BPD sufferers will engage in self harm. It’s a scary and confusing place to be in when you feel all alone.  Something else that often goes along with this is self harm, it isn’t just something a teenager does, it’s something many people do, especially BPD sufferers do as a coping strategy.

When my BPD is bad I struggle to trust many people, I have paranoid thoughts and I feel like I am being a burden to them. It’s a mentally and physically draining and I still always worry that one day BPD will win. I don’t want it to win, as I love my life and just want happiness I just want rid of this black and white thinking and these intrusive thoughts that try to ruin my life. I am trying to control it with the use of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) a form of the better known cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), but it’s a skill and I am having to relearn my thinking patterns., which will take time.

The thing is BPD isn’t always this way and I have episodes of being happy, organised, motivated, but then with little notice it can come spiralling out of control again back to the dark place where I feel vulnerable and alone. When I am in one of these episodes I withdraw from contact, this includes my own children, I feel flawed, I will even engage in risky behaviour and try to escape reality. I can see myself sabotaging and falling apart, but once in motion I cannot stop it. I am trapped in my own dark mind and don’t know how to make it right again, it’s my own version of purgatory where I am unreachable

One of my biggest fears is abandonment when I push the people l closest to me away. I have been incredibly lucky to have support people around me, but I do worry that eventually they will just have enough of me and leave. My biggest fear after that is that I will eventually commit suicide I know this is morbid and something many people cannot understand, but I do worry that one day when I am not in control that my demons will win. The truth is I want to live so much it’s just my brain that’s stopping me.

Each new day is new start where I can make a difference and shape my future for the better. I am doing everything I can to hopefully recover, which is a possibility with a BPD diagnoses. I have just got to try to stay positive and keep with the DBT classes.

 

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Becoming aware of childrens mental health care

Becoming aware of childrens mental health care

In my opinion as a society we need to become more aware of mental health care with children, even though massive leaps in recent years for mental health have happened, it’s still often forgotten about or brushed under the carpet, especially with the care of children. The statistics say one in four adults will suffer with a mental health problem, but I am certain that figure is higher. I think many of us have been parented in an anxiety inducing way that manifests as we become adults. I am working on my own mental health, trying to be more aware of myself and how I treat others, especially with my children.

People might not want to face up to the realisation that many mental health disorders are deep rotted from childhood or teenage years, this could be from parenting, discipline or even abuse (physical, sexual or mental). People often talk about the chemical imbalance in the brain of mental illness, but not where it could have started.

Parenting is tough and I for one I am the first person to admit it and I am certain I am not doing it perfectly much of the time. I have tried since first having my children to practice attachment parenting and gentle parenting, which helps form strong attachments with parents, which then gives your child security. I try to be conscious how I speak to my children, admit when I am wrong or have overreacted in a situation. I will make mistakes as a parent, but the important thing is that I explain to my child why I acted in a certain way and apologise when wrong. I don’t want my children to be anxious like me and I want to show them why it’s important to admit when you are wrong. I don’t believe we apologise enough as adults for our bad behaviour, yet we expect our children to be so quick to.

Three children in every classroom has a mental health problem and this is something that deeply saddens me. More needs to be done to recognise mental health problems in children by parents, teachers, health visitors etc. Children deserve the chance to get access to mental health care and support.

Something I have been focusing on recently with my oldest is mindfulness and yoga. I have found both have really benefited me and it’s something I want to share with my children to start health habits which will hopefully help them throughout life. Me and Miss J found a great website called Cosmic Kids which has videos of stories, yoga and mindfulness exercises, this has been amazing for Miss J as she is unaware that she is learning and is just enjoying taking part. I believe this will help her with her concentration and mental wellbeing, whilst it helps us bond over a shared interest. More schools than ever are starting to take part and use mindfulness in classrooms and I believe this will increase when people see the benefits it has.

I hope people are starting to realise that children should be seen and heard. They shouldn’t be expected to act in a certain way, be carbon copies of their parents and that every child deserves to grow and express their needs and desires. Children are the future and I am doing everything I can to make my future as self-aware, empathetic and mindful. Mental health care for children matters.

 

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How to help someone with depression who won’t ask for help

I’ve been asked a few times how you help someone struggling through depression, especially when they seem to not want help themselves. It’s a tricky one and not one I have all the answers to, but I want to say what has helped me most.

I am great at pretending that I’m ok, but the closest to me can often sense when I am struggling. I often go on the route of shutting myself off, not writing, staying off social media and not replying to messages. I shut down and by doing this I am cutting myself off and making the problem worse. The whole time I am screaming from the inside for someone to ask if I am ok.

I find it much easier to write than talk and my friends know they are more likely to get a response over text than and phone call, but at times I can be very brief and dismissive. When depression is kicking me down I feel I lose the ability to speak, to explain and ask for help. It’s scary and very isolating to feel like you want to scream, but are too scared to do so.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is just to turn up, be patient, empathetic and let them open up naturally. Ask if they are ok, but care about their answer and give them time to express. Not everyone is the same, but by taking the steps to ask if someone is ok, you are helping and giving them a chance to open up.

With depression I often have felt paranoid and thought people have been talking about me, mocking me and bitching about what a burden I am. There is nothing worse than feeling like a burden to someone and it makes me shut down immediately, feeling worse off than when I started. Be reassuring, without patronising and be honest and open up about your own feelings. By sharing your own experiences you are helping them not feel so alone. Loneliness and depression go hand in hand.

If a friend or loved one is struggling with depression don’t just offer an open door, you need open the door for them, pick them up and ask them if they are ok. You are not intruding, you are showing them love that they need and a chance to share their problem. It’s not easy and can be lots to take on, but the gift you can give to someone by being open could save a life.

We have a responsibility as a society to help others, show them love and respect. We all get caught up in our own lives, but take a moment to ask someone if they are ok and listen intently to their response. Pick up on clues in their behaviour and remind them they are not alone and never will be. Your friendship is a gift.

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Mental health awareness month - Borderline personality disorder

Mental health awareness month – Borderline personality disorder

Last month was maternal mental health awareness week and I got an amazing response from my blog post of my battle with postnatal depression, maternal mental health awareness week is part of mental health awareness month so I thought I would share my experience with borderline personality disorder (BPD). BPD is still not really talked about and still has a massive stigma attached, people often don’t understand it and it’s something people don’t like to admit that they have. Like everything on this blog I am open about my personal struggles, but I do struggle to write about BPD myself, so I will try to do it justice by being open and honest.

BPD has affected me since my teenage years, but was only diagnosed in January after a suicide attempt. It is thought that around 1 in 10 people diagnosed with BPD will complete suicide, many more will attempt suicide. People really don’t like talking about this and it makes people very uncomfortable. For me I just wanted to end the pain I was feeling in that moment not necessarily end my life, but like most stuff BPD related I act on impulse. Many people who suffer with BPD also self-harm and it’s something that has effected me mildly on and off since my teenage years, again this is something I find very difficult to talk about and so do others.

Since I can remember I’ve had a real fear of abandonment and have taken extreme measures in relationships to stop that happening, which has made things worse and often left me alone. My emotions can me very intense from very happy to very sad and can change quickly. I can start the day feeling elated and end the day with negative, dark thoughts. It’s like being on an emotional rollercoaster and I struggle to predict my own moods. Antidepressants do seem to have made this much more balanced than it used to be, but the dark, intrusive thoughts do creep back in.

BPD affects people in different ways and sufferers usually have problems with impulse control, there are continuing studies into why this part of the brain seems to be wired differently with BPD sufferers. Often PBD sufferers will have an eating disorder, for me I binge eat, I binge so much I physically feel sick, I know if I could be sick I would force myself to be, but I am unable to (I have a strange phobia of being sick and am sick very little even with a sickness bug). My impulse doesn’t stop just at eating it also is a problem with spending, which I am learning how to control. Often drug addiction and alcohol can be become problems for BPD sufferers and it’s something I am very aware of, I did have a mild problem with prescription drugs and have used alcohol in the past to numb emotions, luckily I don’t actually like the taste of alcohol.

With PBD I feel lots of paranoia, this is constant and even amongst good friends, I am forever trying to rationalise these thoughts and worry about what others think of me, It’s pretty exhausting, but I’ve made good progress at coming to terms with this. Questioning these thoughts has helped me understand them better.

Many people still think BPD is a lifelong mental condition and there is no cure, I know I did when I was diagnosed. Luckily with so many advances in treating mental health over the last twenty years there has been a talking therapy developed to help BPD suffers called dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), which is a form of the better known cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) that is specialised for BPD patients. I started DBT recently and have found it really helpful, I hope to write a blog post once I have learnt more.

Unfortunately many people with BPD often feel empty and alone and I think the fact that this disorder like many other personality disorders are not talked about just makes the problem worse. Don’t be scared by someones condition, be mindful, open and always caring. People with BPD usually always have great empathy which to me is my greatest personality trait. I understand people and appreciate people for who they are and am great at listening and trying to help people.

Many people with BPD are also diagnosed with another mental disorder at the same time like depression, addiction, eating disorders and anxiety. It might not seem like it at the time but having more than one mental disorder can help work out what care will work best for you.

I hope I have been able to describe how BPD has affected me, but my experience may be different from someone elses, to learn more look at the Mind website  for a full list of symptoms. Keep spreading the love and do everything you can to help mental health awareness month be as powerful as it can be.

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