Bipolar disorder · Feelings · Life

Hello mania, my old friend

Ah yes, indeed it has struck again.

Talking fast.

Racing thoughts.

Fidgety and restless.

Unable to complete tasks due to focus issues.

Scattered thinking.

Elevated mood.

Decreased need for sleep.

Increase in energy.

Increase in goal directed behaviors.

Impulsivity to the maximum.

I’m a textbook case. Especially when it comes to my impulses. I have literally got a grand total of 0.55$ left in my bank account, and a impulsively cut up credit card, with no available balance left on it anyways. I’ve been drugged up mostly on whatever I can find, wine, weed, even including other peoples prescription medication, taken without their knowledge or consent. In short, I’m an impulsive mess. However, I must pride myself on two points: I have not purged due to impulsivity, and I have not self harmed due to impulsivity – both of which are concerns in the back of my mind when I become more impulsive, a.k.a manic.

Anyways, the past two days have been absolutely, fabulously, lit. I’ve smoked every day, not slept for two days now (without the help of coffee, miraculously I am not even tired after my second night in a row awake), I’ve done chores around the house like a banshee, cleaning this and that, and vaccumming and doing laundry and dishes. I call my parents and chatter at them for half an hour, at perhaps three times my normal speaking speed. It’s just that I have so many thoughts to convey, I can’t possibly get it all out in the normal fashion. So I go overdrive. I get excited about everything, going on rants and tangents left, right and center. I chatter away to my hamster, who is sleeping in her little igloo, and can’t even understand English anyways, but I talk nonetheless, running my ideas past her for approval.

I call my doctor, and chatter away at him too for awhile, and he gets mildly concerned. He tells me to come and meet him the very next day at 9am, and to take some loxapine to try and get me calmed down and sleeping at night. I do not comply with this suggestion, instead, I warm up my old coffee and drink that. Stupid Jenna. I smoke, which helps to slow me down a little.

I go to my morning appointment with my doctor. When he asks what has been going on for me lately, I freeze. I do not know what to say, or why I am even here. I stumble my way through a sentence of unconvincing examples of my mania, conveniently leaving out the really bad parts, or else minimizing them completely. Thus, I am unsurprised, if not very dismissed and invalidated, at his verdict: I am pretty much fine. I simply am in an “up-swing”. I’m not manic.

I know better. I know what I feel, and I will tell you right now, that I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite as manic as I do now. Not to an excessive point, but I am noticeably more manic than I’ve been in the past. While I don’t think I need to go to the hospital, I do think some sleeping medication would be very useful in this scenario. Without sleep, I am, (pardon my French), fucked. I NEED my sleep. And in this state, I just cannot even lie in bed and TRY to sleep, I’m too race-y for something as peaceful and serene as sleeping, or lying still even.

So that brings us to the present moment. My boyfriend is sleeping in my teeny tiny bed, snoring away contentedly, and I am clacking away on my laptop, writing and writing, the room dimly lit with candles, my music on repeat matchbox 20. I am very happy. Don’t get me wrong. But the happiness is also dangerous. It never lasts, and never does it come on it’s own. It always brings its friends anxiety and stress-induced paranoia and psychotic thinking. This is the part of mania that I hate. Luckily I haven’t reached that threshold yet, of turning from good mania to bad mania, so I’m still in the clear – for now. I dread the day when my mood drops though, or my mania turns sour. I’m trying to enjoy my elevated mood for as long as it lasts, but I am also trying my best to quell my mania and stop it from becoming a full-blown episode. It’s quite a balancing act, of wanting verus shoulds. I SHOULD try and sleep for at least a little bit tonight. I WANT to stay manic, and harness my excess energy for good – meaning no sleep. I can’t sleep either way, so my decision on this point is moot anyways.

I hope that my boyfriend is at least having a good sleep. I am certainly having an excellent night, despite my lack of sleeping.

BPD · Feelings

Things to know about a Borderline

I have borderline personality disorder.

  1. This means I have a serious and potentially life-threatening illness. It is not something I can simply “out-think”. My neural networks are cemented into their patterns of bad and self-destructive behaviors. Changing this is not easy. It is possible, with intensive treatment, to out-manoever BPD, using skills learned in Dialectical behavioral therapy, and possibly medication. But one cannot simply “stop” feeling a certain way, or “quit” one’s bad habits.
  2. When I ask if you hate me, I’m being serious, and expecting a serious response, lest the invalidation train would strike.
  3. My mood swings are not my fault. I have minor control over my moods, in that I can change my immediate environment to (sometimes) suit my needs. However, when you factor in the aspect of dealing with other people, then it becomes a whole different ball game. I am not capable of controlling other peoples “vibes”, their moods, their actions and reactions. I am extremely sensitive to all of the aforementioned stressors and there is not much that one can do to lessen the effects of them.
  4. Sometimes, I’m a liar. I lie. Mostly it’s the fault of my BPD, and my problem is mostly with lying to myself. I’ll go through a process called “splitting”, during which something (oftentimes it is a person) is biased in my mind to either be “bad” or “good”; no such thing as being “in-between”. However, this is a blatant lie on my part, to my own self. I lie routinely about my interpretations of the world, in order for my fragile little brain to be able to handle reality. I skew the facts to make them easier to digest. I lie to myself, and with that, I spread the lie – just know, if I ever say anything along the lines of “I hate you”, I am also lying. I am not a hateful person, and at heart, I love everyone.
  5. Despite how it seems, I really do want to get better. My habits are simply so entrenched in my reality that I can hardly separate myself from my self-destructive behaviors. I do try. I really really do. It just isn’t an easy disorder to handle, let alone to actively treat and challenge thoughts and behaviors.
BPD · Feelings · Life

A gentle time is needed

I think I have had sufficient self-reflection to this point to be able to recognize what my problem is. I am well-versed enough in my own emotions to see what has been happening. There are two levels to this.

Level one: Why am I not feeling better yet? Having recently been released from hospital gives the impression of being “cured”, which, I am learning, is TOTALLY UNTRUE. You can’t see the damage done to my brain, but I can feel it. Right now, I can’t concentrate enough to sit and read like I normally can. Knitting patterns are too hard for me to comprehend. Work is just too overwhelming. So I must make accommodations for my healing brain. Read something short and incredibly engaging (inspirational poetry). Knit something simple, like a sock with no bells for whistles – nothing fancy right now. DON’T go to work until your glass can handle the sheer volume of living that is required of a functional human being. Be gentle with yourself Jenna. You deserve all the kindness in the world.

Besides my over-eagerness to be a “normal” person, my medication may have been playing a role in my failing neurotransmitters. You know how doctors ALWAYS warn you that in the first few weeks of starting or increasing antidepressants, you may feel actually more depressed and suicidal than before? Well, this is what has been happening to me. After my doubling of my prozac, I expected to feel way better, right away. And when this didn’t happen, I lost hope: thinking that nothing was ever going to change, that I would always be this much of a fuckup.

Not true, not in the slightest. The way I know this is through the eyes of my boyfriend. He sees someone valuable, someone unique and full of life. I feel deserving when I’m with him. I feel like I’m enough.

On this note, I must change some of my habits surrounding my boyfriend: this brings us to level two of my current depression.

Ever since moving to Victoria, I have been floundering. At first it was fine, I was enjoying the splashing around in the waters. But I began to get tired. With my particular case of borderline personality disorder, I find myself questioning my identity A LOT. I will often feel like I don’t exist on my own, that without another person to validate my existence, I’m not even a real person. So instead of rebelling against this identity disturbance, I fell into its clutches. I faded into my boyfriends life and became an extension of him. My definition was that I was his girlfriend. I ceased to be an actual person. My own life had disappeared. I already felt lost on my own, and this situation just aggravated my sense of non-existence. When he was at work, I would simply stop everything. I lost touch with myself in those moments.

What I need now is to remember who Jenna is. I need to read, and write, and knit and dream and live and remember that living is amazing and that sometimes, so am I.

So that is what I shall do for the next little while. I will be the most Jenna that i can imagine. I will start a new notebook, and fill it with all the minutia that makes me happy, so I don’t forget it all. I will watch all of the harry potter movies again, just so that I can recite all of the lines to myself. I will knit a sock. I will read Kurt Vonnegut letters. I will ride the bus and look out the windows as we move. I will keep my room tidy. I will do my makeup in the mornings.

I will remember myself again. I still exist, I know I do. I feel more like myself already. Today is a good day. Tomorrow will be better.

BPD · Feelings · Life

That is a blog post that I nearly posted yesterday afternoon.

I think I’ve figured out why I don’t just DO IT already.

I’m, ultimately, not hopeless. Not without hope. I’ll be sitting there with a literal bottle of advil – 28,800 mg of ibuprofen in my grasp – note already ready, it’s been ready for weeks – and I won’t do it. I tell myself that I’m completely ready.

I just keep putting it off, like an addict trying to quit smoking: “I’ll do it after the laundry is done”, “I’ll do it after I’ve eaten this orange”, “After my nap”. Those are, quite literally, my thoughts.

But then a glimpse of hope will somehow creep into my brain. Some little glimmer. I’ll remember a time when I laughed, I’ll take a sip of perfectly steeped tea, I’ll watch a great singer on the voice get a four chair turn. And I’ll realize, once again, that my life is precious.

There seem to always be a crushing amount of reasons to give up, to give in, to let go – a world full of pain and despair. A box doesn’t fit on the shelves at work, I may as well be dead. My dress has a tear. Three people are dead. I finished drinking an iced latte. These all seem to be perfectly sane reasons to die.

But I’m still here. I still have that one little flame of hope to live for: the joy of living itself. I might just make it through until tomorrow, to see the sun again. And I will cling to that hope with the skin of my teeth because that is literally all that I have. And in the end, that will have been enough. That I have tried with all my might, to live a good and happy life.

(Don’t worry about me, right now I’m completely safe, safer than I’ve been in weeks).

Feelings · Life

I smile. Another diagnosis. Just keep ’em coming.

I write this while in a very strange state of mind. I am on the edge between hypomanic and real fucking crazy.  This has thus led my psychiatrist to the conclusion that I, in fact, am Bipolar (of some sort).

It all started with the addition of prozac to my medication diet. It was necessary to calm the shit-storm of my eating disorder. However, this little bit of extra antidepressant took its toll and shifted my mood up. Way up.

Imagine the best day of your life. Now intensify that (because of my BPD – feeling emotions intensely). Then replay that heart-fluttery, floating feeling again and again. Then you might  be close to how I am feeling currently.

Apparently I have been hypomanic for a solid couple of weeks. Dressing up and going out, drinking amazing amounts of coffee, sleeping less and less but having tons more energy and motivation, dancing around my room alone to a soundtrack of Disney music, spending all of my money  and more.

At this moment I keep having to pause and erase what I’ve just written as my fingers are simply flying across the keyboard and paying no attention to spelling. My heart pounds, my eyes flutter, my hands have so much energy, my thoughts race. I’ve never quite felt this high before in my life. And I’m not even technically high off of anything at the moment. I’m drowning myself in sound – BLASTING Disney music in my eardrums. I’m so eager for this day to get going that I can’t even sit still. I don’t know how I’m even going to finish this blog post. Perhaps this shall be the end of it, for simplicity’s sake.

Feelings · Life

A progression of events

It all started with a handshake…

That is how I introduced myself to Brodie. He went for a hug and I countered with a formal handshake. And this would then start a chain of events, ending, I don’t have a clue where.

If you aren’t familiar with some of the psychology of BPD, often what happens is a thinking pattern called “splitting”. This means that you see thinks in black and white. This splitting leads to the perception of certain people as being “all good” or “all bad”. There is no in between. So, occasionally, I totally idealize people, or devalue them, depending on my perception of them. The idealized people then take a position in my brain called FP (favorite person), where they can do no wrong in my eyes.

So, the first thing that happened when I met Brodie, is my entire interpersonal clock got reset. He usurped the place of my top FP and is now my most favorite person in the world, despite only having met once (thank goodness, because I think my family was getting sick of my constant clinging and dependency).

This complete takeover of FP led to much more. My adjustment disorder took a say; explaining that we can’t just DEAL with changes, we have to freak the hell out about them – despite the change being very awesome. This is just how my adjustment disorder works. Even if it were the best change that could have ever happened, I still will want to stay stuck in my old habits because I can’t handle the change. But in this case, I am welcoming my adjustment disorder with open arms, meeting her halfway, listening to her tales and woes, inviting her in for a nice hot cup of tea. I needed this change. I needed to become unstuck. Brodie’s sudden introduction has gotten me unstuck for the first time in years.

This change means that I have to be totally gentle with myself in the coming week or so. I must be careful, lest my emotionality take hold and drive me off a cliff – as it so loves to do.


Feelings · Life

Why is it that I cannot have a normal conversation with people about non-mental illness related topics? For what reason do I find it necessary to bring forth the subject, putting myself and the relationship in harms way to needlessly sprout my theories about my own psychology? Is this simply my ego taking control?

It’s because, dear Jenna, your mental illnesses have taken over your life. Not necessarily in a bad way, but just because your brain is scrabbling to try and make sense of the mental turmoil that’s going on inside. You are a deeply intellectual individual, and the fact that you cannot make sense of this phenomenon has you very concerned, and leads to obsessing over it. Thinking constantly about it. Writing about it always. This is fine. This is necessary even.

Bringing it up with other people, being truly open about your mental state, is also fine. You just need to be somewhat guarded with whom you share things with. But, sharing is also a totally normal thing. I crave connection and validation. These are my main motivators in life, along with my self-image. So it is unsurprising that I would bring up the subject of my mental health regularly – I am looking for CONNECTION with others. Waiting for someone to say “yes, I understand”. I will elaborate on this need in further posts. For now, just bear with me when I talk about my mental illness – it is literally all I can do to cope with it.