Three Weeks Over; Work on Monday

Monday is return to work day; I am anxious already (understatement!). I can’t seem to put my finger on what in particular is worrying me about it. I know my manager and team are cool about things so there shouldn’t be too much pressure in that aspect of things. Mostly I think I’m just worrying about the fact that nothing has really changed in three weeks of resting. I’ve not learned anything new that may help me cope with work, and that’s a worry. What if everything goes back to square one and I just re-enter that spiral into total meltdown territory?

But I suppose the best I can do is go into it with an open and optimistic mind. It may well be that these three weeks of rest have allowed me to reset my mind and that reset will be enough to help me get through until Christmas. I’m trying to look at things as chunks of time though – maybe I will be able to book some leave to break up the next eight weeks. I don’t know if that’s going to work, but I do need to try to believe it will.

Symptoms-wise it’s not been too bad. The biggest issue has been these horrible intrusive thoughts of hurting people. It isn’t something I think I’ll ever feel compelled to act on, but it does terrify me. Even Luke isn’t exempt from the bad thoughts; that’s pretty scary because obviously I love him and therefore I can’t understand why these things are raising their ugly head to make horrid suggestions of things I should do. Essentially it’s a kind of mental torture that I seem to be unable to stop inflicting on my own mind and conscience. There’s this ever-present worry that one day I will not be thinking so rationally and one little thing will tip me over into a full-blown and uncontrollable rage.

My CPN thinks I need to stop seeing everything as a concern for my health, but I can’t help it. It’s a combination of knowing the red flags thanks to almost four years of developing good insight, and a permanently fretting mind-set. There are pressures I know I don’t cope well with and worry so much about. And yes, I would love to stop worrying and analysing, but what happens when I stop keeping an eye on things and everything hits a rapid spiral? That’s the challenge I think a lot of people face and it really does suck.

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Three Weeks Over; Work on Monday

Week Two

It’s my second week of rest and recoup and Friday is almost here. I am happy to report I’ve been so much calmer and feeling a lot more stable; I’ve even been going into town most days instead of stewing at home. It’s been relaxing for the most part; there have been wobbles but nothing major.

But, I am nervous about going back to work. In these three weeks of being away, nothing has changed. I’ve not learned any new coping skills, there’s been no change of medications (although generally there’s not any medication that works for borderline personality disorder). I just don’t know if a simple rest will have done the job of resetting my mind to a point at which I can cope with work and living life.

Of course, my mind has been wandering onto the thoughts that haunt me every now and then – “What if I can’t do this?” – and that’s a dangerous road to think down. But I just have to give it my best shot and see how things work out.

Week Two

One week down.

It’s been a while since I last posted, and I’m pleased to report things are starting to look up. I went to see my GP on Monday and explained what’s been going on with me and my mental/emotional health (yes, probably more emotional lately. That EUPD diagnosis is seeming more apt by the day.) We had a little chat, and he was truly lovely about listening to me; he also said I seemed a lot less ‘hysterical’ than he’d expected – and he signed me off work for three weeks. Cue minor panic and upset; I don’t like to feel I’m letting people down, but as Luke pointed out, I’m not much good to my colleagues if I’m getting into a state every day that I make it into the office.

And actually, things have been a lot better without the pressures of work. I’m afraid that I’m just delaying the inevitable breakdown when I do have to go back and face the office again. People are so lovely there, I just upset myself over very minor things that I can’t seem to rationalise at the time. Things like feeling colleagues are trying to help me! I mean come on Alley… that’s a lovely thing for someone to do if they feel you’re struggling. But, I just seem to take offence to it, like they’re implying that I am incapable. It’s that whole stubbornness thing that seems to be a strong streak throughout our family. It’s a bugger.

One of the nicer things about being off work was that I was able to attend a mental health conference here in town yesterday. There was a whole day of talks on things from mindfulness to workplace health, and workshops like emotion gym and a drum circle, as well as lots of local service providers setting up stalls to showcase their work. I found out about many services I didn’t know existed (there’s a crisis café in Aldershot, and one likely to open here too!), and even spoke to one of the facilitators for the depression support group at Cornerhouse. With my diagnosis being far removed from pure depression, I often feel like I’d be an imposter in these groups, but she thought it would be alright for me to go.

I really do want to get better and not always cycle back around to feeling like this. I am hoping that finding additional support will help me stay stable for longer and longer. CMHRS are also referring me onto the personality disorders service, which – fingers crossed – will give me another outlet and source of support going forwards. Most of all, I’m hoping that these three weeks of rest and recoup do their job and I get back to work totally ready to face everything life throws at me.

One week down.

My Jimney Cricket

So I think I want to use a post to talk a little more about Eve. I’ve written about her in the past on here but lately our dynamic has changed and I’m at a point where I feel I don’t want to have to deny her existence anymore. Even if it upsets people – it upsets me and her more.

She is such a kind soul; almost to a fault. But lately she’s been acting as a kind of extra resource of conscience for me. With feeling as bad as I have been, I’ve found my reaction to a lot of situations is anger, or even pure rage. And, honestly, I’m scared that I’ll act on that rage one day. But I’m reassured by the back-up of a purely selfless and caring identity in my head, who reminds me that acting on anger would be a ‘really bad thing’ to do.

I’m really not trying to say that living with her is always a good thing. She takes the bad to the extreme; she feels that if I get angry I should be guilty about it and punish myself somehow. It’s just that life feels a little easier to deal with being a ‘we’. Between us, we find some kind of balance. It makes me feel like I did as a child when a friend was due to come over for dinner, so we’d spend all day holding hands. It’s that feeling of not being alone. It is about reassurance and acceptance. She knows every dark thought in my head and shares the burden of that with me. Things I can’t verbalise to anyone in the ‘real’ world, she just knows them the second they appear in my mind.

My Jimney Cricket

The Curse of Silence

When I was little, as I’m sure was the case for many people, my parents sang to me. Most of the ditties have been lost to time and only come back in snippets now and then. But there is one song that is almost constantly my mental soundtrack – The Worms Song.

I suspect a lot of you know it:

Nobody loves me,
everybody hates me.
Going down the garden to eat worms.

It is my companion throughout my waking life lately. Every time I feel ignored, or stupid, or lonely, those lines are there in my mind – everybody hates me – and I can never seem to shake it.

One of my least favourite attributes is this tendency I have to jump to the worst possible conclusions. Rationally, I know that if someone hasn’t spoken to me it doesn’t mean they never will, but it doesn’t stop that wriggling ear-worm playing repeatedly in my head.

I feel abandoned – and I’m afraid of being abandoned. It’s a dangerous and endless spiral of me isolating myself and people picking up on that and leaving me alone. It is unhealthy, but I don’t know how to stop doing it. I try so hard but when my mind is full of self-loathing I find it impossible to reach out and connect with people on a social, casual level. After all – says my brain – if I can’t stand to be with myself, why should I expect other people to want to be with me.

Simultaneously, it’s easier and harder to just be alone. Easier because I don’t have to worry what people think of me, and easier still because I can simply shed accountability. Harder because I’m a sociable person when I’m well and like to talk to people. Harder because I feel unwanted and unloved.

Once again, I now feel I’ve written too many words and have further isolated myself this way because I think people just aren’t interested enough to read this far.

The Curse of Silence

In the Storm

The storm is raging. I am weathering it, but my lifeboat is taking on water quicker than I am able to bucket it out.

It’s Monday again. It’s been four weeks since I was away on business; four weeks since my resilience took a massive knock and four weeks that I’ve been feeling, well, dreadful. I’m not depressed though, just… unstable. I know I’m not depressed because I don’t wake up and instantly feel that there’s nothing right in the world. It’s more circumstantial than that. Things happen during the day and I don’t cope well with them. Low-resilience.

I wish I knew how to fix this. I don’t believe this is a medication-tweak fix. Short of adding diazepam (Valium) which can sometimes help a little bit (as long as I’m not already raging and stressed and upset), I don’t see meds being the answer. And, in truth, I don’t want that to be the answer. I want to learn better distress tolerance, and find ways to cope without turning to synthetic chemical tweaks.

The team have referred me on to the Personality Disorders service. Hopefully with this referral comes more help with tolerance and coping skills via the tool of talk-therapy. It’s looking likely I’ll be doing traditional psychology, rather than CBT or DBT. This will be a welcome chance to develop my self-awareness and understanding of why things trigger certain responses.

Until that comes through, I don’t know what to do. I try my limited coping skills; mindfulness, breathing, writing. But more and more I am turning to the Bad Things. The more days that end in – to my mind – disaster, the more I want to drink the pain away. If I didn’t have Luke looking after the diazepam, I would be misusing it to give my poor mind a temporary rest from the incessant, obsessive thoughts that I just can’t shake.

Part of those thoughts is this idea that I just can’t talk to care coordinator. I worry he’s thinking I’m trouble, or an attention seeker. I wrote him a long email on Friday, pouring my heart out into words that I can’t seem to express vocally. That I am terrified I’m going to hurt someone, that I would rather hurt myself before things got to that point. And yet, when we spoke on the phone, post-email, I just bottled up again. I don’t even know if he knew I was crying.

Luke and I have an appointment to see CC this afternoon. I hope Luke can help me get my words out and be heard. I need some extra help at the moment, else I’m going to fall to pieces.

In the Storm