Slam the door.

I was in the shower yesterday when I got a set of three unwanted callers- that’s right folks, the dark passenger was back and smarting with it’s earlier defeat at the hands of J. The voices proceeded to let me know what a whore I was, how awful I was, what a stupid bitch I was for believing that J truly cared for me- the list went on. I argued back a lot, telling them where to get off, but they kept wanting me to pick up a razor, get hold of the blades and make a mess of myself.
Eventually, when I was feeling awful, I snapped. I got angry.

I squared up to them and told them the following- “We’re not having this conversation. I’m going to be happy and I don’t give a damn what you think.”

After that I slammed a door on them, hard, in my head, and I let them just bash against the door in my head.

The image of that door is very important to me. It is blocking them from talking to me- but more than that, it means that I am still very capable of fighting them alone.

ALONE. Without shrinks or medicine.

It proves to me that there is a power in me I am starting to learn to control, and I will one day beat them forever.

Fed up.

Today, I talked to a friend, D, who suffers from mental health issues of his own. He is currently undergoing therapy for his problem, and for some reason, today we ended up talking about the mental health services, and how different our experiences have been.

He had a huge wait for therapy, but after he moved, he was able to access therapy very quickly. He has regular sessions, and he says that they are helping him a great deal. He is also taking an antipsychotic, but it seems to be helping him to relax, and he says he hasn’t seen any of the side effects that can occasionally manifest.

He also said he thought that I hadn’t got the right people helping me, which I completely agree with.

So far, I am STILL waiting for regular therapy. I have had NO HELP managing my symptoms. I had to stop cutting by myself. I still have panic attacks, and the antidepressant I am taking has only helped me feel a little more balanced. I have still felt suicidal on it, and if I forget to take it, I suffer chronic headaches which make my jaw lock.

I have been prescribed an antipsychotic which I am not going to take because I can’t afford to see if I will gain weight on it- I’m a dancer, and my stupid judgemental peers will never hire me if I am the wrong shape. Personally, I enjoy being fit, and I don’t want to be any more lethargic than I already am.
I still have no diagnosis after seeing three psychiatrists and a CPN. I saw a psychologist for four sessions, and I know I need more because that was what helped.

I am slowly coming to the conclusion that the mental health services actually don’t care that I hear voices, that I have a history of suicidal thoughts and attempts, of self harm, of emotional and sexual abuse. I think I am yet another unsolvable problem to them and that I will never get the help or answers I need. You may say that’s paranoia, but I am at heart willing to believe the best of people. So far all I have seen is that the mental health professionals I have seen just don’t have a clue what to do with me, and some of them don’t care.

Despite the mental health assessment going well on the 23rd December, it’s now the 9th Jan and I still don’t have a follow up appointment or a referral to their psychologist, something they both promised me I could have.

Stop bullshitting me, please. If you don’t want to fix me just say so, and I will continue to try and fix myself. So far I’m not doing to well with that- I had another panic attack on the tube yesterday. I see my ex wherever I go in London. I am terrified he will find this blog and I will lose you all.

I suppose my big question is this- what happens next? When do I get help?!

I am beginning to fear that the answer is never.

The good news is that my awesome friend D is going to give me the number of the mental health team who look after him. Maybe then I will get some answers, and they might help me like they have helped D.

I hope.

Manipulative? Ugh, please, YOU are the manipulative one, Mr Shrink.

I’m once again researching BPD/EUPD and I am once again filled with disgust about it. It is nothing but an ugly sham.

The website I gleaned the link below from purports to be ‘helpful’ to BPD/EUPD sufferers, and the link is supposed to be to get people to ‘think twice’ about calling someone with BPD/EUPD ‘manipulative’ or ‘demanding’. Unfortunately, it’s worded in such a way that it just reinforces these preconceptions.

Take, for instance, this:

Manipulative

Dictionary definition: “To manage or influence skillfully, esp. in an unfair manner: to manipulate people’s feelings”

This is a very harsh comment to make about someone that is using the best skills they have available. Try to imagine what someone with a personality disorder has gone through, and then think about what extremes you would go to protect yourself. Isn’t it true that life is a fight for survival or would it be seen that way through the eyes of someone with a personality disorder?

Now hold it right there, folks. This is cleverly written. I think I was taken in at first glance- I thought that there was another medical professional out there willing to think. Now I’ve re-read it, that isn’t the case. The words ‘the best skills they have available’ makes out that a BPD/EUPD sufferer is literally incapable of normal interaction at all. Moreover, it’s still saying in a roundabout way that sufferers are actually manipulative. Apparently it’s because ‘we are lacking in skills to function normally’.

I call bullshit on that one.

I have said many times I don’t believe it should be recognised as a disorder, but to actually go as far as to say that one of the ‘symptoms’ of this ‘personality disorder’ is manipulation actually blows my mind. To say that if you have suffered so badly from abuse, the only tool left to you is manipulation is utterly demeaning.

I was raped. I was emotionally and sexually abused. I was laughed at, humiliated publicly, and, to cap it all off, I was manipulated.

Now I’m intimate with the horrors of emotional blackmail, so you would think I might be the least bit capable of recognising it in myself. Guess what, shrink- manipulation is a zero here. I have asked countless friends and family members to tell me if I am, and they have said no, not at all. I haven’t seen its ugly claws in me, and I know I would lose so many friends if I really was manipulative. Bullshit.

So I will keep demanding that this archaic, misogynistic diagnosis is ended. It seems to me the epitome of manipulation for a shrink to convince everyone who knows you that you are a horrible bitch who brought this on yourself for having a “disordered personality”. Isn’t that true manipulation?

It feels to me how I used to feel with the ex- like no-one would believe me, like I was a crazy bitch, a drama queen, and I needed to keep my mouth shut.

All you other BPD/EUPD girls out there, I believe you. You are not this label, and you are not manipulative. This label should not have been given to you, and it should not exist.

Come join me in defiance. It’s a really good feeling.

(PS: Sista, I’m talking to you too. I believe you have PTSD, like me. We’re in this together. x)

Time to shake things up.

I went to my hearing voices group yesterday. One of the topics of conversation that came up was “does schizophrenia exist,” i.e. Should it exist as a diagnosis or not?

It was an intense debate. Several of the members of our group have it as their diagnosis and all have very conflicting beliefs on it. One person is convinced it is a medical label for the disease they suffer. Another says that it is partly the illness, and partly down to other spiritual entities that they hear voices. Yet another believes that they are hearing the spirits of the dead.

I decided I would put my half-penneth’s worth in. I told the group I believed that there is a line I draw in the sand depending on the feelings I experience between seeing ghosts and hallucinations. My ghosts are always calm and non-threatening, whereas the hallucinations terrify me. They have an element of personal threat, and I feel physically vulnerable and often frightened for my own life. I said I felt like by drawing this line, I am able to differentiate a hallucenogenic experience and a supernatural one, and it’s therefore easier to tell when I’m ill.

The group received this well, I think. It made room for everyone’s beliefs and also I hope it will help them draw their own lines in the sand.

Anyway, I was struck by the bold statement of “schizophrenia does not exist.” It made me think. If people diagnosed with the condition are reluctant to believe the veracity of their diagnosis, then what does this say about psychiatry? Moreover, what does this say about BPD/EUPD?

My feelings on the subject are pretty clear- I believe that a lot of women are thrown into the “crazy place” when they are given this diagnosis, simply for not fitting one simple diagnosis/ pissing off their therapist/ being a woman with bad life experiences. We are effectively told that we were to blame for every single last bit of the horrific trauma we suffered, for all the horrible people who hurt us, and for not being a more stable person. I believe that EUPD/BPD should be changed from a personality disorder, and reclassified as a part of PTSD- face it guys, I was abused by my ex and that has caused my problems, NOT the other way round. I think the whole damaging label should be discredited as hogswill- seriously, people used to be burned at the stake for hearing voices, so why persist with this chauvinistic and medieval label?

I went to see one of the psychiatric nurses who help run the group at the end and I told her of my grievances. Brilliantly, she agreed completely with me. She thinks that I’m right, and she is working in the system!! I was so pleased to talk to her on the subject and hear that another person in the mental health profession thinks that this diagnosis is wrong for so many women. She agreed with me that there isn’t enough research done, that the real questions are not answered (such as why in the hell are we not addressing the people causing the abuse? Why are psychiatrists blaming the victim for her problems?) and that she also believes it is a form of PTSD.

Good. That pleases me.

I think it is about time we people diagnosed with this archaic and demeaning “disorder” spoke out. I think it is time for us to stand together, demand PROPER help, and demand to be listened to. We know the insides of our own heads better than anyone, and we know that being listened to, as a normal human being, really helps us.

I think I am going to be raising awareness of this fallacy, and I won’t stop until I have made some serious noise. The medical profession HAS to start seeing things our way.

(Also, in a completely weird side note, when I went to the doctor recently, I discovered that the psychiatrist wrote “diagnosis unknown” down, despite telling me I had EUPD. What the hell!? Yet another instance of tell your patient one thing and write down another. Lack of bloody transparency. )

I’m here with you, people. Let’s get this started. Time to shake things up.

Success, persistence, and a huge thank you to you all.

Guess who woke up with her boxing gloves on today?

I decided to ring the psychiatrist back and explain how sad and angry I was. Luckily, I got through on the second ring to the consultant’s secretary.

“Hi, I’m just ringing because I’ve recently been to an appointment here and I’ve been thinking about it a lot…”

The secretary was lovely. She listened carefully to my concerns about my diagnosis, the time between appointments, and my desire to get an appointment with the psychologist. She was polite and understanding, and immediately took my number so she could talk to the consultant and then ring me back. She asked me if I had been referred to secondary care psychology, and I said that I had. She assured me she would get back to me as soon as she could.

That in itself was pretty good, so I gave myself a tick for being assertive and arguing my corner. I had a nice rest of my day: my dog is really sick now but he is so up for cuddles still, and I managed to get him to eat something today. I talked through the whole situation with my mum, who is of the firm opinion that I just need talk therapy, and she always has been.

I went out with my mum and sister to the dance school my mum owns, and Ive had a great time teaching the children here. They’re bright and hopeful and innocent, and it makes me so happy to teach such uncomplicated souls. I feel protective over them, and as a result I only ever raise my voice to them if they need it. I am determined that in their dancing lives they should feel capable and not knocked down. I want these children to have good self esteem and good self confidence, something which the voices have tried to drive out of me.

I was in the middle of explaining a point of technique when my phone went off. I ran to check what the number was, and was surprised to find that it was listed as private. Hope welled in me- perhaps this was the psychiatrist! I asked my mum to quickly take over for me, and she did so as I left the room to answer the phone.

It was the lovely secretary again. She had talked to the consultant and he had agreed to take over my care. He agreed that it was too long in between appointments to leave me, and I would be sent a letter detailing when I would be seen. Also, she had asked about the progress of the psychology and it turned out that my letter had been dictated today, to be sent on Monday. I should hear back from them within two weeks.

Apparently, if you ask politely but firmly, and insist you need something different, people are inclined to listen.

I am so proud of myself for doing this, and so grateful to all of you here, my parents and sister, and of course J, for all your support, advice, sympathy, encouragement and help. You are truly a crisis team all by yourselves, and I want each one of you who reads my blog to feel proud of yourselves too. Without your backing, I would be so much less than I am today.

The voices are pathetic at the minute. I think they are scared of all of us.

They’d better be.

Tomorrow- D Day…

Tomorrow, I go for my Psychiatric assessment. Tomorrow, I could possibly have a diagnosis or two.

Right now, that’s not actually a concern. I’m exhausted and my back injury is causing me a little discomfort, but that’s still not my main concern.

My main concern is this- on my way home on Friday, I saw my ex at my hometown railway station.

I’d had a stressful journey- I had to sit next to a man, my train was overbooked so I was late, and my hypervigilance was through the roof as a result. All I wanted to do when I got to the station was meet my Dad, go home, talk to my sister and J (my Mum is away on business) and sleep. I was exhausted- I hadn’t slept well the night before, and I had been hearing the voices of the dark passenger at moments I least wanted to.

I stumbled off the train and dragged my case to the lift. I was cold, tired, and frightened. I just wanted a hug, I just wanted to get home and safe. Walking out of the lift, I was keen to get to the exit and get in the car. The darkness outside beckoned me to come and feel safe, blanketed and hidden from unfriendly eyes.

I’m trained to search night and day for a particular silhouette. A tall one, one with broad shoulders, one which walks in a certain way and motions with its hands in a manner that sets my teeth on edge. I make a routine scan of the area wherever I am, and note down threats in my head. I did it on Friday- and I saw that silhouette that I had dreaded.

I vanished round the corner as fast as I could, back into the safety of the station. I felt my eyes fill with tears, my chest constricted in panic, my head started to feel light. I had to be hallucinating. I had to be having some sort of flashback. If I just pinched myself or closed my eyes and breathed in and out gently-

I looked round the corner again and he was still standing there. Side on, facing the street and talking on a mobile. I could see the profile I feared. I could feel hands on my body despite the distance. I was sick with fear.

I hid again, trying to tell myself that what I was seeing was a hallucination. I checked again, trembling and terrified, and he was gone.

What I didn’t realise was that he had moved round the opposite end of the station. He was leaning against the clock, in shelter from the rain. I felt this horrible compulsion to go to him, to beg for forgiveness, to tell him I was wrong and he was right. I felt the old net of fear and shame and anxiety closing in, and I shrank back into the shadows round the door of the station.

Thank gods Dad appeared – he was smiling, happy to see me, and I broke down in tears of the relief to see him there. He asked me immediately what was the matter and I told him what I had seen. He said to me I hadn’t got to let him get to me this way. He took me home, sat me down, and I gave my sister a huge hug to let her know how much I was grateful for her just being there.

J was wonderfully pragmatic on the phone. “Seriously, if you do ever see him face to face, just tell him to fuck off, then walk away. That’s all.” I laughed, properly, for the first time that night when I heard those words.

I’m tired today as a result of teaching and this incident- I slept for an hour this afternoon. I don’t really want tomorrow to come if I’m honest, but I also want to know what is wrong with me. I hope that it will be a positive experience and not a negative one. I was sent some forms with the letter to my appointment that are really intrusive and frame me as a potential criminal, so that doesn’t inspire much confidence. So much for the whole ‘mental health is like physical health’ thing.

I suppose what will happen at the end of tomorrow is I will know if there are any decent psychiatrists out there who are willing to help me. If not I suppose I have to go back to fighting to get someone to help me.

Wish me luck everyone, and thank you so so much for sticking by me at the moment. I am so thrilled by your continual support.