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.

Image

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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