Tag Archives: alchoholism

Borderline Personality Disorder/Emotional Intensity Disorder………….what’s worse? Introduction

This is another one of those moments when I feel like I am about to take a huge leap of faith, and am about to share yet another part of who I really am.  What will you do?

Will you laugh? Will you leave me? Will you understand? I have to be brave and not worry about what you think if you don’t get it, and hope that someone out there will really get it, and will understand.  My friend Matt called it ‘Finding Your Tribe’ and I guess that is what is so cool about being true to who I really am, I will continue to find my tribe.

At last, I have had my diagnosis!!! In one way it is such a relief and another it leaves me with great sadness that it has taken so long and caused me and others so much pain.

I have been into two re-habs, assessed by a Psychiatrist, and still, no-one knew what was really wrong with me.  I was told in the last re-hab that I did not have any signs of Borderline………….and thank God one of the support workers suggested I did not leave without connecting to my local Community Mental Health Team…………….although it has to be said, they have taken almost two years to get their act together due to lack of funds, staff cuts and all the other chaos that is around the mental health support at the moment.

I was offered this label as a possible reason for my problems way back in around 2000, when I had researched and saw that I was possibly bi-polar as my mood swings were so up and down and no matter how sober I was, my head was playing havoc and I was really mentally unwell.  That was one of the worst things about getting sober, the lack of booze to sooth my mind was leaving an even bigger issue, my mind was not right, only I had no idea until I put all the substances down.

So, in April 2010, I come out of re-hab, no money for follow up and on a waiting list so long that it took months to see a psychologist.  In the meantime, I was seen by a psychiatrist who did not understand addiction and offered me Lituium, just in case I had bi-polar or borderline, while I wait to see someone…………….no thanks.  Then, I finally see someone, the failed attempt at a form which I found ardeous and far too painful to complete and not enough time to go over the questions it all seemed horrendous and unsupported, then, she left as her job had been cut, and I was left high and dry, in the midst of an emotional turmoil which I found so hard to manage. It is because of this that I have such gratitude to my friend who pays for me to see a therapist, because without her, I actually do not know where I would be.

Now, months and months later, I am finally called in, told they would like to assess me, I get 9 out of 9 of the questions right and I am now on a course called STEPS, designed in America to help people who have Borderline Personality Disorder, or as they like to call it now Emotional Intensity Disorder.  I will be blogging as I go through this, it feels like my world as I knew it is not going to be the same.  What I thought was normal I am being told is part of my illness, that to me is very odd indeed, because it is who I am I thought!

One of the symptoms is the use of at least two of the following potentially self-damaging behaviours, eg: sex, spending, substance misuse, including alcohol, binge eating and reckless driving………….It makes me wonder just how many people have this and don’t even know it.

It stems from childhood, and whilst this is not to blame my parents, hard as that is cos I really feel like it and somedays I actually really do blame them, I am not there yet with that.  It stems from the level of abandonment trauma in childhood and this sets up a pattern of real or imagined experiences as we get older.  I know it has with me.  For example, I think everyone is going to leave me and never ever come back, it is agony and I find the world a very painful place to be.  It also stops me expressing myself sometimes fully because of fear of abandonment and rejection, all this has a devastating effect on my life and those around me and I am going to do my best to learn all I can.

I hope to hear from anyone who has anything to add to this and look forward to learning all about myself.  I have always found the world a very difficult place to exist, I battle on a daily basis and I hope that I will learn some tools to help me. I am a bit worried that it might be a bit of a plaster job but lets hope that emotions are encouraged to be expressed!!

Post Natal Depression and the 4children charity

Thank goodness, it is finally being talked about openly and making news headlines, the real numbers behind post natal depression.

According to the 4 children charity ‘suffering in silence’ research paper, the number of women who don’t realise they have it is 29%; the number who are too scared to tell anyone is 33% and the number who don’t think their symptoms are serious enough is 60%…..wow!

I didn’t know what was wrong with me 26 years ago when I had my son, all I knew was that I thought everyone was going to steal him away, that people would climb up drain pipes or wysteria and break into my house to steal him and I did not tell anyone, because I thought it was real.

It has taken me 26 years to really break my silence because I felt so bad about what I did.  I actually took my son away from his father, lied to him and everyone else because I thought he was going to steal him, so I left the country to get away so no-one would come and get him.

I wish to God I had told someone how I was feeling and the chances are, I may have got help, but how can you when you believe what you are thinking is real?  One of my friends said she thought I was depressed when she visited me,  because I had not got dressed for days and was just with my baby and not doing anything else really, not for a good few months.  I had shut down and put on a really good act whenever the health visitor came to see me.

Looking back now, I know it started in the hospital because I could not have my baby out of my sight and I thought the midwives were going to take him away from me.  Then it came to being at my friends house, shutting all the windows upstairs, convinced that ‘they’ were coming to get him, were going to climb up the drain pipes outside the bedroom window or the wysteria and no matter what she said, I had to have the windows shut.

I have since been told that this was a form of psychosis, and it has taken me years of therapy, years of searching for the truth to put the pieces of my shattered mind together, it has been a living hell. I am currently writing my autobiography which you can find excerpts of at http://www.ifsbutsandmaybes.com

I urge anyone who thinks they may have post natal depression to seek help before it is too late.  I lost almost everything because of the state of my mind and I used alcohol to shut my head up. I am now in recovery from alcohol dependency, and have been told that it is quite common for women to use alcohol with post natal depression, which is a relief in many ways.  I hope by speaking out and joining the desire to raise awareness that things will change around the stigma of such a crippling illness.  Thank you to the 4children charity for bringing this to light

My Mental Health This Week

This week has been amazing.  It started with me still feeling pretty groggy from a cold and stressed with some family stuff that has been going on.  I went to London on Tuesday to visit my son and some friends, we had a great time with them, but I felt sad.

It really hit me that 25 years ago, I owned my own flat, I was living in London, if things had gone well I would be mortage free this year and here we are walking miles and miles because we are needing to find a restaurant that we can afford. Past some restaurants that at one time I would not have thought twice about going into. It is not what I had in mind for when I turned 50.  I was grateful to have the talks I did with my son, to have the closeness that he wants to share his world with me and to ask for my support emotionally.  I am grateful to get on so well with his visitors and it really touched me to feel so comfortable with these people.

The sadness I feel is grief, some call it self pity, but for me it is a process I have to go through, I know that my mental illness stole a lot of my life and that makes me feel very very sad. It also makes me very very angry that I did not get the help I needed when I needed it, because that made me worse.

Now I have to do something about it.  I still get bad days, so does my son and we are having to face a huge truth about his father, he does not want to know. This is a truth my son is really struggling with and I am powerless to do anything about, as much as I want to, or am I?

I walked along Notting Hill and remembered how I love being there, I long to live in London again, it is a case of how.  So I keep writing, praying and moving forward. I felt a failure actually, a complete and utter failure that I had not been able to provide in the way I wanted to. Thank goodness that out of this we are close, money cannot buy that. I feel sad that at the age of 50 I am on welfare, still signed off sick.  The impact of mental health on my whole life cannot be underestimated, together with the impact on my sons life. I am changing things slowly and I need a lot of support.

Two other things have happened to confirm my mental state this week, one past, one present.  I was helping a friend move today and we went to visit a place he used to work and I was a client of approx 12 years ago, Creative Response. The man who worked there when I was there came up and said I recognise you, were you at college with me.  I said no I was one of the clients when you were at the other place and he was really shocked.  He asked if I liked it and I said no, I found it really distressing, and as we talked he remembered me.  He told me they felt unable to help me because I was so distressed, how he tried to get me to focus and draw, how I told them I needed someone to sit with me and they just did not have the funding to help me in a way I needed to be helped.  He told me they were all really concerned about me and often talked about me, because I was so fragile.

I have to say I felt really sad, again, because I did not think anyone could see me or understand me, I was obviously in a bad way. I used to walk past him in the street and really resent him for not being able to help me, I felt so scared and lost and I wanted some help not to just get on with it, I was so shut down I needed someone to help me get in touch with my feelings and for some reason it didn’t happen for me.  Nowadays they have more funding and it is better, but it just shows how vital it is for people to get the help.

I also went for an assessment at Oakleaf Enterprises.  The man was amazing, he has had several breakdowns himself, commented on the psychiatrists writing being illegible and was able to see that he had commented on my state as fragile, which I was surprised with but also relieved.  We went on to talk about experiences with mental illness and how their funding is being cut, how they cannot provide as much as they would like due to it.  Most people there are on benefits and they are now restricted as to what they can do as they now have to pay their own travel there and also pay £5.00 per session, which makes it very difficult for some.

When we were talking about our states of mind he said how difficult it is when you are having a breakdown and you believe what you believe is real and that nobody can convince you otherwise, I found his way of being so open and sharing a real comfort.  I know that feeling so well but I had not known it so clearly as all being part of the breakdown if that makes sense.  The loss of reality is something I am only really begining to come to terms with.

In Search of My Mental Health

I am so excited…….it has been a really emotional week, one way and another.  In the midst of it all, it has all started to come together. The hope of a documentary with two Addictions Therapists talking about service provision, or rather lack of it, for people like me with no private health care and little funds to pay a therapist, has finally come to fruition.

I have got a production company on board and we are shooting on 13th August, it will be on this website asap after that. We are not commissioned, we are all doing it for free because we believe it is a very important thing to be doing.

It is my  passion to use my journey, (battling with Mental Health, Addictions, Eating Disorders and Co-Dependency, to name but a few of the Addictions I have), to highlight the gaps in the provision available to people like me, and just what a huge impact that has on mine and others lives.

The jury is still out on my diagnosis of Borderline personality disorder/Bi-polar, the Psychiatrist has now passed me over to a Psychologist and hopefully I will get to see her before the end of August.  Thank God I am not as unwell as I was even a few weeks ago, this waiting and having to go over what is going on, over and over again really does my head in……!

I once saw a huge bill-board on the way out of Waterloo Station which said, ‘If Britain was a person it would be sectioned……’ I do truely wonder if it is not the people but what we are expected to tolerate that compounds the state of our minds, it certainly feels like that to me.

The series is entitled In Search of My Mental Health.  I will keep you posted.