It’s all an act.

June 29, 2009

I was bullied a lot at school. I’ve been to many schools – boarding, international, state – and in some way or another I was bullied at all of them. I guess that goes to show I don’t fit in anywhere, but I already knew that. At one of them I was told that I could make it stop if I could just change my behaviour, act like I belonged, fit in. The problem is, I was already acting just as hard as I could to simply keep my head above water.I was doing my best to belong and it was never enough, not by a long shot.

I work so hard to exude a persona of normality, to pretend that everything’s ok even when it’s not and when I can’t act any more, I simply withdraw. Even what I write on here is an edited version of the truth. I censor myself so as not to let people get too close, to know the real me.

It’s self defense, for as long as I can remember whenever I do let my guard down, I get hurt worse than ever before. At least when the public face is attacked it doesn’t cut quite so deep. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had groups of friends. Admittedly they tend to be groups where I’ve existed on the periphery – useful when nobody else is around but not really worth wasting your time on. But that’s been enough, I’m so desperate to be liked and to fit in that I’ll accept that without question and I’ll be happy with it.

And slowly, I’ll relax, cracks will start to appear in the perfect mask and little slivers of “me” will escape. Those slivers will expand to expose whole facets of my personality until *BANG* I’ve gone too far. People realise the real me and are horrified. Just like that, I’ve lost another set of friends.

Only one person’s ever got all the way in, didn’t run when the cracks appeared, instead appreciated them and drew closer. But in the end, the result was the same and because they were so close the pain is unbearable.

So I will continue to act, play the part of Ana, the public persona because without it I’m alone.


The fairy in the forest

June 27, 2009

Both my parents are primary school teachers. This means that as the end of term approaches I get roped into assisting on school trips where they’ve been unable to otherwise find a selection of willing sacrifices. This means on Thursday I assisted in taking 49 year 1/2 choldren (so 6 and 7 year olds) to the park to play games (I mean do curriculum relevant science and maths based activities obviously).

One of these activities was a mini beast hunt down a wooded trail. They had to work in pairs and make a note of any minibeasts they found and where they were located. All well and good. We found a beetle on a rock, a spider on a branch and a woodlouse in the leaf litter. One of the girls was a bit quiet so Miss asked her “Emily, what have you found?”. The response, “well Miss, I saw a fairy but it flew away and I can’t see it anymore”. Trying desperately not to giggle, we quizzed her further in case fairy was some previously unknown piece of Yorkshire dialect for a fly or similar. But no, it was actually a fairy. Apparently it was wearing a dress and had wings so it was a girl fairy.

What was so lovely was not that she genuinely believed it but that all her classmates did too and backed her up. The total faith and innocence was almost enough to reinstate ones faith in humanity. Where do we lose it all? Not the belief in fairies, but the trust  in others.

When we were walking back my mum was asking another of the girls if she’d seen the fairy. The reply “No, but I wish we had found the dalek”!

One make you think.

June 21, 2009

Ok, this isn’t actually mine. It was written in our local Parish magazine, the sort of one that drops through your door every few months and lets you know that the church is still falling down and that the £2.34 and 3 buttons raised so far aren’t going to be sufficient to fix it. Anyway I thought it was pretty poignant as these kind of things go. But then and again, I’m an emotional, hormonal woman at the best of times and an emotional, hormonal woman with BPD the rest of the time so my judgement doesn’t necessarily count for much and you may well think it’s cloying, meaningless rubbish.


Can I borrow £10?

A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5 year old son waiting for him at the door.

Son: ‘Daddy, may I ask you a question?’

Dad: ‘Yeah, sure what is it?’

Son: ‘Daddy, how much do you make an hour?’

Dad: ‘That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?’

Son: ‘I just want to know. Please tell me how much do you make an hour?’

Dad: ‘If you must know I make £25 an hour.’

Son: ‘Oh,’ the little boy replied with his head down.

Son: ‘Daddy, may I please borrow £10?’

The father was furious. ‘If the only reason you asked is so that you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you’re being so selfish. I don’t have time for such childish frivolities.’

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.

The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money? After an hour or so, the man had calmed down and started to think: maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that £10 and he didn’t ask for money that often. The man went to his son’s room and opened the door.

‘Are you asleep son?’ he asked.

‘No Daddy, I’m awake,’ replied the little boy.

‘I’ve been thinking maybe I was too hard on you earlier,’ said the man, ‘it’s been a long day and I took out my aggression on you. Here’s the £10 you asked for.

The little boy sat straight up, smiling ‘Oh thank you Daddy!’ he yelled. Then reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some crumpled up notes. Seeing he already had money, the father started to get angry again. The little boy counted out his money and then looked at his father.

‘Why do you want more money if you already have some?’ the father grumbled.

‘Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,’ the little boy replied. ‘Daddy, I have £25 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home an hour early tomorrow, I would like to have dinner with you.’

The father was crushed. He put his arm around his little son and begged for his forgiveness. It’s just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers, without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that £25 of your time with someone you love.

If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of hours. But the family and friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.


Crafting with Ana

June 18, 2009

Am still attempting to distract myself from over catastrophising everything and sending myself spiralling any further. So it occurred to me that I’ve written lots about mental health on here but not that much about the rest of me. I refuse to be defined just as Ana with BPD, I’d like to just be Ana for Ana’s sake too occassionally. Anyway here are some pictures of what I get up to in my spare time, namely attempts at creativity. I love crafting in just about any form – I always have at least 6 projects on the go at any one time. Admittedly a lot of them are preferred by people of shall we say a greater age than me but for once I’m going to pretend not to care about being odd and share some of my efforts. Try not to laugh too much 🙂  And forgive the crummy photography (and the state of the kitchen floor), my really shiny camera got nicked a couple of yrs ago and the replacement isn’t half as good.


Necklace and bracelet

Necklace and bracelet

Remember I signed up for a jewellery making course aaaaaaages ago and it got cancelled? Well, I eventually found one that was going ahead and these are my first weeks efforts. I may have been the youngest by about 20yrs but it was so good to get out the house and meet other people. Plus the room was just full of beads, I could have spent hours just stroking them, never mind making anything…


Patchwork (it's going to be a cushion)

Patchwork (it's going to be a cushion)

And up close...

And up close...

Bear in mind that, due to a slightly eclectic educational upbringing, until last weekend, I’d never used a sewing machine before. Yes, my seams are well off straight and I still need to border and back it but I was so suprised it came out half way decent I thought I’d share.


June 18, 2009

Crisising badly. Nobody to talk to. Did you know you have to pay to phone the Samritans. Bloody cheapskates, what use is that? I was referred to the local mental health crisis support team but I’ve lost the sodding phone number. Shit.

EDIT: I am ok, honest. Just had some bad news from work and it all spiralled rather uncontrollably. Am compensating with flapjack.

Funding, step 1,000,062.5

June 17, 2009

The story so far:

  • I (well my parents really) pay large sums of money for private assessment.
  • Private assessment confirms diagnosis and recommends a course of DBT.
  • This recommendation is passed on to the GP who supports it.
  • GP writes to Psychological Services asking them to offer me DBT, even though I’ve told him they don’t offer it.
  • Psychological services read and consider GPs letter at their team meeting.

So, today I had a phone call to confirm that my request for DBT had been received and reviewed. THey are going to wirte to my GP and tell him to write to the funding committee at the PCT to ask for approval for private funding for DBT via fancy private therapy place. I have a feeling this is who the GP should have written to in the first place, but who am I to tell him how to do his job… Still, at least doing it this way I now sort of have the backing of psychological services which has to work to my advantage, right? In the mean time, I’m still on psychological services waiting list for CBT but since I’ve been languishing there since October, I don’t hold out much hope for any movement on that front any time soon. Convuluted or what? And people wonder why the mental health system in this country is failing badly!

I guess I’m cautiously optimistic that things are at least moving in the right sort of direction albeit unbearably slowly. I’m getting slightly concerned though with regards to time. It’s now June, the Gods of occy health willing, I should be starting back at University at the start of October. This doesn’t give much time to get approval and squeeze at least some therapy in. There’s no way I’ll be able to continue therapy in York while studying in Cambridge, I’ve been warned it would be nigh on impossible to fit both in even if they were at the same end of the country. I don’t want to put off studying any longer, I’ve put it off long enough for the sake of other people, now I want to do it for me. But I really want some form of therapy too. Although I’m relatively ok at the moment (more on which another day), I don’t want to crash again with no support in place. I’m scared I’m heading for a Catch 22 of being allowed one and not the other, in which case whatever I chose would turn out wrong.

Still, for now it’s fingers crossed it won’t have to be that way. Let’s keep this optimism up while I can!

Me vs BPD

June 9, 2009

This post on Mental Nurse has kicked me into action to ramble about something I’ve been thinking about for a while. On a side note, it terrified me when I logged into my google reader and thought it was communicating directly with me. I almost managed to convince myself that the internet was conspiring against me to write posts telling me just what a failure and a bad person I was. Damn this irrational paranoia!

So compartmentalisation – me vs BPD, where does one end and the other begin and is there really that firm distinction there? As I’ve said before, the diagnosis has helped me no end. Instead of seeing it as a life sentence, I’m using it to start to explain some of how I am and how I’ve always been. I feel less like an insane lunatic, more like someone with a genuine illness that needs help and treatment but is still a nice person underneath it. It’s just a shame a lot of other people don’t see it that way. It doesn’t help that BPD seems to be the dumping ground of mental illness, anyone who doesn’t fit anywhere else gets lumbered with that as a diagnosis. It’s not for me to say whether it’s for real or not but in reading the descriptions of the disorder, I see my behaviours mirrored in text.

An asthmatic tries to run a race and collapses breathless. Very few people would judge them for being unfit or a failure, they can differentiate between the effect of the condition and the person underneath. Someone with BPD, flips into irrational anger and panic because of an unavoidable change of plan. They are instantly judged as being selfish, mental, uncontrollable, manipulative. But are they, or is it just a symptom of the condition? That’s the problem with something that so fundamentally affects who you are, where does the line lie between a reaction being caused by the condition or just because the person is being stupid. The chances of the “flip out” happening can be mediated with treatment, be that drugs or therapy, in the same way an asthmatic can take inhalers to minimise the chance of attacks, but no matter how good the treatment, an asthma attack or a BPD “flip out” can still occur. And while it does, those judgements will still be there.

At the moment, I have this strong urge to tell people I’m with that I have BPD, in an attempt to protect myself when I say or do something stupid. I hope that by making them aware, they will be kinder when the inevitable happens. But instead I have a feeling it makes me sound like I’m making excuses for behaviour yet to occur or worse that I’m proud of it.

So yes, compartmentalisation… I try and do it and for me it makes things a little easier to accept and understand. I wish others could try it occassonally too, to read the good intentions behind my actions rather than seeing them as negative. But does that distinction really exist? Is there truly a line before which it’s me and beyond which it’s BPD? I doubt it, this is something that influences all my relationships, my conversations, my mind, ultimately this is me.