Back And Ready To Go!

It’s been some time since my last posts.  I’ve not had PC access for almost a month…Dark days and hard times! Time passes, life goes on. Thanks to a generous friend loaning me a PC, I’m pleased to announce my return!

It’s a crack, I’m back yeah standing
On the rooftops shouting out,
Baby I’m ready to go
I’m back and ready to go!

In the words of 90s Electro-Anthem Ready To Go by Republica, a song which means the world to me and my Hometown Ladies!

I look back on the early 90s and wonder before how we coped…No email, social networking still a decade or so in the offing and the few people with mobile phones seen as fly gits! We muddled on somehow. People still met, made it to gigs, went to the pub, caused mischief and mayhem of a weekend. There were fewer options for parents to find out about it back in the day….Teens of the modern age, sucks to be you! A definite argument for not missing what you never had.

During my time wandering in the tech-less wilderness I had one shining beacon of light. My Nokia Neanderthal provided access to Facebook. Thank heaven for small mercies, lest the world grind to a halt! To begin with, there was a definite void left without Wordpress, Pintrest, Tumblr, eBay and the million other distractions found online. As days passed, I compensated with other pursuits. Reading more…from trashy magazines to modern classics like Vile Bodies. I was working harder on my textiles venture “The Rockin’ Old Bag Co”, recycling old garments and offcuts to make one-off bags for friends’ birthdays. I was getting out more – to the gym and meeting friends. I was sitting on my backside less. At the beginning of the month, I made a trip back to The Hometown. The weather was as random as you’d expect in Wales. Nonetheless I caught up with family and friends, got back to my roots and had a blast.

Last month, I attended my appointment with the Clinical Psychologist at the local psychiatric hospital. My condition worsened between May and June, I was worried about myself. My thoughts were disturbing and I was finding it impossible to sleep for more than an hour or so a night. I made an appointment with my GP and was referred to the Crisis Team. They came out to visit me one sunny Saturday morning and it went way better than I expected. Following a meeting the Monday after, they arranged for my assessment. I had no fear of what I may find out…I just wanted to know whether there was a condition underlying my irrational behaviour. In a detached, calm way I was looking forward to finding out the truth. My suspicions turned out to be right on the day…I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder

I’d had an inkling there was more to my mental health problems than depression for some time. It came to a head when my housemate and I found an online test for Personality Disorders and my results came back 82% Borderline. Despite a disclaimer stating the test was “For Entertainment Purposes Only” I began to research the condition. As I looked into the symptoms and traits, I found myself knowing most of them off by heart. It read like a tick list of what had been holding me back.

Below are the symptoms of borderline personality disorder according to government guidelines (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence [NICE] 2009). A doctor may diagnose you with borderline personality disorder if you have five or more of these symptoms and if the symptoms have a significant impact on your everyday life.

  • you have emotions that are up and down (for example, feeling confident one day and feeling despair another), with feelings of emptiness and often anger
  • you find it difficult to make and maintain relationships
  • you have an unstable sense of identity, such as thinking differently about yourself depending on who you are with
  • you take risks or do things without thinking about the consequences
  • you harm yourself or think about harming yourself (for example, cutting yourself or overdosing)
  • you fear being abandoned or rejected or being alone
  • you sometimes believe in things that are not real or true (called delusions) or see or hear things that are not really there (called hallucinations).

I regularly experience all the above, thankfully not often all at once. I’ve always felt pretty alone with it…Seemed a waste of time to try and explain to others as it so often ended in misunderstandings and arguments. People who love me just want me to be happy and normal. I understand that the way I behave during an episode can be frustrating and even frightening. I don’t do it on purpose and I hope people understand that. Once you’ve upset someone however, apologies don’t take away the hurt. I understand that everyone around is seeing a Drama Queen treating all the world as a stage. And that they are judging accordingly…My inner struggles are invisible to them, it’s not like my leg is hanging off. It sometimes feels as if I am watching the scene through a window. I want to bang on the glass, tell myself to shut the fuck up. Climb in and slap myself around the face. Shock the Crazy Woman into silence.  I recall several incidents of my Dad yelling at me I’d upset the whole house when I was in my teens. It made me feel noxious, as if my presence there was poison gas choking my family. Even now, when things turn bad I feel as if I should retreat and hide away. Somehow I can’t though…I feel the need to stay and fight my corner. To try and be understood, even though I don’t really understand myself. I recounted all this to the Clinical Psychologist and Crisis Team Representative…Crying, laughing, raging and curling myself into a ball in my seat. Looking at the ground, twisting and unfurling a rubber band over and over again. It was good to get it out, that torrent of words gushing like filthy water. I was pleased when they didn’t recoil in horror and tell me I was beyond help. They reassured me it wasn’t the worst case of BPD they had ever seen. It was likely I’d had it since I was a child, though I’d been getting better on my own over time. They remarked that it was unlikely I would have managed to go as long as I have without treatment otherwise. As well as being placed on the waiting list for Group Therapy, I’ve also been prescribed Fluoxetine (Prozac). I’ve only been taking it for four weeks but can already see an improvement. My moods appear more stable and my reactions more balanced. Although I understand when others tell me to not dwell too much on labels, the diagnosis has come as a relief.

I am still aware of mistakes I have made in the past. In trying to cope with the conflict inside and around me, I’ve fucked up many a time. There has definitely been times where I’ve Said Too Much in blogs and updates. It’s not much of a defense. but I’m an outspoken bitch in real life too. I’m rarely afraid of anyone. And certainly not above telling them exactly what I think of them – good or bad! I used to think it was all part of being A Feisty Bitch That No-one Fucked with. Since forming that opinion, I’ve done a lot of reflecting on my past. I see now that my strong feeling towards/against people have been harmful and draining. Life is tough enough without all interaction being a constant war. People intent on screwing me over have been only too pleased to do so, despite my shouting and bawling. I have said and done things one moment and regretted them the next…And wanted to shove words back in my mouth and choke on them so many times. Things once done cannot be undone…At last I’m developing a five-second delay between what I think and what I say!  It would be easy to blame my weird behaviour and irrational outbursts on BPD. To simply carry on as before. I can’t now though, not with the knowledge I can recover and live in less confusion. The diagnosis put the power to do so back in my hands.

I know for sure that BPD has played a part in ruining past friendships and relationships. I’ve lost people who will never come back, through my crazy mood swings and nasty temper. Some are missed way more than others. I hope I’ve now reached a point where I can learn from it all. To stop it happening again, rather than dwelling on the past.

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I found myself…In doll form at least!

The time without internet also led me to wonder about the differences between my virtual and real life self. I like to think they are one and the same. That what you see/hear/read is what you get, no matter what the arena.

Both life and the internet have taken me to some strange and wonderful places. Occasionally the two have crossed…I originally moved to Nottingham to be closer to someone I met on a Gothic Forum and for the music scene. When the relationship ended, I stayed put. In those first 2 years and 3 months, Nottingham became home. Like all cities, it seems to have a gravitational pull for those disillusioned with living in the surrounding towns and villages. Though unlike anywhere I have lived before, it seems to be a magnet for rockers of all kinds….we all co-exist and only snarl at one and other occasionally! Everyone is welcome, but there’s a definite hierarchy….The idea of fitting in simply because you’re different is a myth. I’d always looked for a place where I could be accepted for being myself. It doesn’t exist, but Nottingham is close as it gets. The only place you really need to be accepted is inside. Once that happens, friendships and belonging fall into place. It’s the difference between walking into a room and worrying no-one likes you, and striding in there deciding who you like. I’m not quite there yet, but I’ve got the road map at least!

Social Media Sites and forums seem to have become a platform for people to “Speak Their Mind!” There’s an argument for not updating or commenting with anything you wouldn’t say aloud. Truth is this…Once you’ve typed it, you’ve said it. It’s out there in print for all to read and judge. Any medium for criticizing others is as hurtful and inflammatory as the other…Regardless of whether or not the subject deserves it! I once had a friend who constantly raged and rallied against the world in her updates. It was a constant war of words about people treating her badly and daring those who had something negative to say to do so to her face. Ironically, towards the end of our friendship I found out most of her ups and downs through Facebook. I was only invited over when she fancied laying into me or bad-mouthing someone else behind their back. Her constant negativity and selfishness became a drain, so I decided she was no longer welcome in my life. After 2 years of saying she was my best friend and even calling her my sister, we couldn’t even discuss things face to face. It disintegrated into a barrage of abusive text messages and ridiculous accusations. I miss her far less than I imagined I would. Even though my relationship hit rock bottom the same day we fell out. Despite losing those “mutual friends” who got in line behind her and walked away. I coped, I learned and believe I am a better person for the loss.

When you take sides following a fight, you never form an accurate picture of what happened. Some people don’t need one – they just choose to blindly believe who they want to be right. In light of such ignorance, is there really much loss if they side against you? If you want the truth, listen to both sides and settle in the middle of the two accounts. Blame becomes futile when both sides feel wronged. I honestly believe we are all pissing in the wind with how we think and how we act. Sometimes the wind carries it away and other times it blows it back all over us. However, if we stay true to ourselves we’re more in control of our own destiny. Treat your haters with decency. Kill them with kindness. Keep the upper hand and move the fuck on.

In conclusion, I’m confident my online self is every bit as much of a handful as my real life self! I’m learning all the time though, and growing stronger for it. Looking forward to a future where I know my place in the world…And where things may not always work out, but can be handled without a meltdown.

Speaking of which…my caffeine reserves are running low! Time to head for the kettle and to find some class of dinner. I’ll bid you good evening and hope you have a good old fashioned blinder of a Saturday night!

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Blondes have more fun?

…My take on that age old cliche!

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Earlier on today, I was posed with a rather tricky question by a friend.

The lady in question is glamorous, likes to look good at all times and more mature than myself in years. She has recently invested in some rather expensive blonde hair extensions, spent time perfecting self-tanning techniques and keeps fit by attending pole fitness classes. She seemed happier since making the change, as if lightening her hair had lightened her outlook. She hadn’t been in a relationship for a while, but was waiting for her luck to change. She said that suddenly men were paying her more attention and asking her on dates. I was pleased to see her confidence boosted and to hear she was feeling good.

As we sat there being very British and having a cup of tea, she suddenly asked

“Do you prefer me blonde or dark?”

I considered the question for a few moments and answered

“I prefer to see you happy”

After all, isn’t that what we all want for our friends? For them to enjoy life in whatever way they please? Partnered, single, gay, straight, bisexual, transgendered…As long as they are being true to themselves and not hurting others with their choices, in my opinion they are living the right way.

“That’s not what I asked you, do you prefer me blonde or dark?”

Came her reply, thinking I was fudging the issue.

Now, I’m uncomfortable with naming any one look as ideal. I will confess that long blonde hair and an all over tan do not feature anywhere on my list of Must Haves.

I repeated along the same lines…

“At the moment, you seem to be more positive than I’ve seen you in ages. You’re clearly enjoying life, if your new hairstyle is the reason for this then I love it!”

She seemed pleased with my reply and our conversation quickly turned back to her most recent date. Though in my head, I was still thinking over what makes someone attractive. At the moment, I feel pretty good about myself. I’m not the slimmest I have ever been, but I’m certainly not the largest either. The strange thing is, now I’m actually taking positive steps towards improvement it matters less. I think beauty starts with confidence…An idea that has been with me for well over a decade.  Think I really started to appreciate what it meant on starting dance lessons. I became aware of the effect moving my body gracefully had, how good it felt to push myself and the sense of achievement I got from learning something new.

I shouldn’t imagine my appearance is everyone’s vision of The Fairest Of Them All: Am currently rocking black hair with a bright red fringe, wearing less than in previous summers (mainly for practical reasons…It’s bloody boiling out there!) and loving life to boot. I’m working out to feel and look better, hoping to be more toned as a result but still to look feminine and curvaceous. I’m more interested in creating a discernible curve between my bust and my hips than obtaining a six pack…Though have to confess I love the muscle tone starting to show in my legs!

It doesn’t mean that I’m right and my friends striving for perfection are wrong…Or vice versa. I’m just striving to be the best I’ve looked and felt. I believe that any transformation is possible…And that as long as the person making that change still wants to be themselves, it’s healthy to try hard.

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The tactful opinions and good advice I had to offer friends deteriorated somewhat as the day went on. Another friend was complaining that while he is superb at helping females shop for flattering outfits, the same keen eye doesn’t extend to shopping for himself.

My helpful response to this was

“So go transvestite then…Ladies clothing will always be more exciting and fun to shop for than gents!”

Despite admitting to once having owned a manly black sarong, he didn’t really go a bundle on the idea.

Nonetheless, I do hope my certificate of commendation from the Tact, Diplomacy and Giving an All-Round Top Answer Society is in the post for my earlier efforts!

There’s never any excuse for deliberately hurting a friend’s feelings. It’s a tough enough world out there without mates having to tear each other to pieces. One day I’ll strike the tricky balance of feeling great and genuinely not caring what others think. I probably won’t blog for a while then, I’ll be busy bottling the formula and selling it for millions!

Am I a misandrist?

I learned a new word today: Misandry.

According to Wikipedia, that font of all online knowledge

Misandry /mɪˈsændri/ is the dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against men (i.e. the male sex)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misandry

Now, as a huge fan of words (and a curious little bugger, to boot) I would be amazed if I didn’t already know the word. It was probably tucked away in a little-visited corner of my mind.

After all, I was aware Misanthropy is the general hatred, mistrust or disdain of the human species or human nature

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misanthropy

Although, as words go it doesn’t carry the same weight for me as Misogyny /mɪˈsɒɪni/ the hatred or dislike of women or girls.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misogyny

I’ve truly had my eyes opened today. Whilst researching Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), I happened upon an article on a wonderful little site called Return Of The King. It was titled “Don’t Date Girls with Borderline Personality Disorder” and took the form of a tirade about how women with this particular (and distressing) Mental Health Problem were attention seeking sluts. How no amount of “great sex” or no matter “how hot they are” should excuse getting involved with the satanic little harlots. Beautifully written, intelligent words for the modern “Red Pill Man” to live by. It even went as far as to include a step by step guide for getting The Crazy L’il Bitch to text you and say that sex was consensual, for fear of false rape allegation.

To save me ranting further, please see link below…

http://www.returnofkings.com/9482/dont-date-girls-with-borderline-personality-disorder

The reason for my researching BPD is concerns stemming from my experiences in some (not all) of my past relationships. I seem to be a magnet for the broken, the chronic drug user, the problem drinker. I always thought this was down to a desire to nurture and help people, but recently I’ve begun to wonder if there is more behind it. Whether it stems from some unconscious desire to heal myself, to take up a cause and succeed. Am I really that manipulative? Doesn’t everyone have it in them to a degree, but does that make it right? In May, I left a relationship with an abusive ex after taking a second beating from him. I left him a week after the first incident in March, but we drifted back together. I believed we were meant to be together and we could overcome our problems. I was very wrong. After much thought, I reported his actions to the police. Although he admitted the charges, he broke his bail conditions by making contact and spent a month in prison as a result. Last Monday, I attended court for his sentencing and decided to let that be the end of any involvement I had with him.

Despite everything, I don’t hate him. I know my own behaviour during the relationship sometimes left a lot to be desired. I’m not for a minute saying I deserved to be beaten up however. I’ve learned that two broken people can’t have a healthy relationship. It’s simply not possible and not a path I’ll be following again. I’ve also decided that broken people have the power to seek help…I don’t know that I’ll ever be “fixed”, but I’ve certainly been taking steps to understand why my relationships turn nasty. I’ve also been eating more healthily, taking exercise and my sleep patterns have settled down. I have an appointment with a clinical psychologist next month and am not afraid of what I may find out.

Reading the raft of resentment and prejudice against people with BPD (especially women) was a bit of a slap in the face, but not entirely unexpected. I certainly don’t intend to embark on another relationship until I better understand why things have fallen apart in the past. My attitude to sex and relationships is already changing.

I feel a hell of a lot stronger, but I know I have a long way to go.

So in answer to my own question: No, I don’t believe I am a misandrist. There have been times when I’ve hated men’s behaviour, and to be truthful women’s too. People can be total shits. It’s not fair to tar everyone with the same brush though. It’s also possible to hate the behaviour but not the person. I hope that rules out my being a misanthropist too.

I look forward to the day when I can begin to trust people again. Whilst remaining nobody’s fool.