Sticking a label on it

“What does the name matter?”, “Everyone has their issues!”, “There is no such thing as normal”, are just a few of the things I’ve heard from people recently. They are totally right. Everyone has their issues. Life is not perfect. Everyone has their off days, their fuck it days, their you’ve got to be shitting me days. What makes me think I’m so damn special to warrant a label?

A Bit of Background

As a young child my parents would describe me as difficult, horrible even. My teachers always wrote the same things on my reports, of which basically said I was uninterested and disruptive. I was bullied growing up for being poor, not having a Dad around, and for being ugly! When I was 15 I was diagnosed as depressed. When I was 23 I was diagnosed as having depression and anxiety.

For years I was on anti-depressants. They never made me feel better. They just made me groggy or numb! Who the fuck wants to be numb? I mean who? As a good friend of mine said “I’d sooner feel something than nothing, even if it means I feel shit”. Couldn’t have put it better myself. A part of me wondered if the medication didn’t work, because I was just too broken. I have gone through a lot of different counselling sessions over the years. Some of it pointless and some of it really helped. Especially the counselling I received this year. It has made such a difference to my outlook on things.

When my counselling stopped, I became so low. I needed the help, I felt like if I didn’t have the crutch they gave me I couldn’t do it on my own. I would start to relapse and be overwhelmed again. Well, of course, this caused me to overthink and cause the very thing I was scared of. Complete self sabotage. It was horrible.

I went back to my G.P, basically begging them to start my counselling again. I was rejected. Apparently, they had done all the could for me. I was devastated. I mean, I was feeling better than had been a few months ago, but I am by no means feeling ok. My moods are all over the place. I’m crying at the drop of a hat. I’m back to bubbling in the car all the way to work. Not because I hate my job. I just feel like I’m sinking and my car is the only place I can just scream if I want to, cry if I want to, or blast my music and sing until my throat aches! I’m still on this horrible roller coaster doing everything in my power to avoid a dark spiral! I am not coping.

After three months and two letters from my G.P, psychology got back to me with an appointment letter. With this letter was a mood diary. I had to rate my moods daily on a scale and write a note about my day. I did this for just shy of a month.

I wasn’t nervous on the day of my appointment. Not like I was for counselling. Maybe it was because I’d gotten over that initial fear with counselling? Or maybe I was just so relieved to be getting help again? I honestly don’t know. I was just really keen to get there.

When I arrived I didn’t even get to bend my knees in the waiting room, and my name was called. I was met with a smile and walked into a room that just looked like a standard G.P office. As soon as the initial pleasantries we’re out of the way, he started with a lot of questions. He knew about my diagnosis at 15, my anger management, counselling/therapy, abusive relationship, I mean he asked me questions about things I’d not thought about in a while. This man had done his home work.

We spoke about my parents, their divorce, my childhood etc. If you have read my previous blog, you will know that my parents divorced when I was 3, my mum moved us quite far away, they were both functioning alcoholics (aren’t they all), and I was essentially raised by my sister (9 1/2 years my senior). My sister did the best she could for me, and if anyone was to ask me who I see as my Mum, hands down it’s her. I love my actual Mum, and my Dad for that matter, but my sister did so much for me and was there for me when she shouldn’t have had to be.

As great a job as my Sister did, she couldn’t be there for me all time. She too was a child, and had school, friends and a life. I don’t have many memories of being a kid, but the ones I do have, I was alone a lot. My Mum was always sleeping, working or just out with friends. So if my sister couldn’t be there for me, I was sitting alone. I grew up hating my Mum, always wishing to be with my Dad. It wasn’t until I got older and lived with my Dad at the age of 16, I realised that the grass was definitely not greener. In fact, let’s just say there was no grass.

Their separation was horrible, and I was definitely used as a pawn. My Mum used me to manipulate my Dad to get money out of him, and my Dad would tell me things about my Mum to warp my mind. I grew up very hateful, resentful, angry and bitter.

I turned to drinking and drugs at a very early age. Much like a lot of the people that were my age and from my area. Why? Well, we were all escaping something. We all had shit home lives and absolutely no positive influence or outlook, so why not? When you’re a teenager you feel infallible! During this already turbulent time in my teens, I ended up in an abusive relationship, that I was in from the age of 13 – 23. In this time I had attempted suicide twice, had 3 amazing children, and nearly died (through no fault of my own this time). It was after all of this, and a horrible time of perpetual panic attacks that I was diagnosed as having depression and G.A.D.

Psychiatrist Appointment

I was asked questions about all of my history. We discussed how I deal with my emotions, or more to the point, the fact that I don’t. I don’t know how. I don’t know how to express affection and I definitely don’t know how to receive it! If you know me personally, you’ll know this about me only too well.

There are some emotions that I can express! For instance, I would have no qualms exploding in anger at the slightest thing , cry at the drop of a hat, or feel completely woe-is-me! I have often been perceived as irrational or a bit mental. I know when I’m going through my roller coaster of emotions it’s wrong, but I can’t help it. I’ve also been guilty of having impulsive moments. Times where I have gotten so excited by something/someone/a situation that I just throw myself into it, feet first and worry about the consequences later. I talk about this in my blog “I am a living breathing contradiction“.

Once we spoke at length about my past, and my emotions, we then looked over my mood diary I was asked to fill in. It was at this point he suggested that he believes I have a form of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), called EUPD (Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder). EUPD is like BPD but has the impulsivity side. It is much like Bipolar, except the pattern of emotions and how long they last is different.

If you look up the symptoms of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, you will see the following:

  • An intense fear of abandonment – constantly! I push everyone away, for fear of it. No one is allowed to get close, and if they do, I push them back. This is 100% down to the fact that everyone I’ve loved/trusted has completely let me down, lied, cheated, left me etc. I can honestly say, I have never felt enough for anyone. I’ve had a glimmer of it at times, but I’m swiftly dropped. Christ, even supposed friends have just upped and left with no rhyme or reason. 
  • A recurring feeling of emptiness – yup!
  • A confused or unstable self-image – mmhmmm.
  • Sharp fluctuation between different moods: Strong irritation, fear or depression that may last from a few hours to a few days at the most. – My family would most certainly be nodding along with this!
  • Stormy relationships that swing between intense admiration and extreme contempt – I can go from loving you, to hating you in an instant! Just ask my husband….
  • Intense, heated anger that is disproportionate to whatever triggers it. – All the time. I even know my anger/reaction is OTT but I cannot stop it.
  • Short-lasting, excessively suspicious ideas or temporary feelings of detachment from reality. – Depersonalisation is something that I experience a lot.
  • Impulsiveness that leads to abuse of drugs, sex, food or money, for example. – Mmmmhmmm
  • You harm yourself, have suicidal thoughts, talk about or plan to take your life – OK, I would never do it, I’d never leave my children, but, I do think about it. I think about just being free of the shit!

How do I feel now I have a label to put on it?

In a word? Good!! Why? Well, it explains why the antidepressants never worked! The feeling of being depressed and anxious are just a byproduct of the fact I’m completely emotionally unstable!

Why am I this way? Children learn emotional response from their parents and peers. I had limited contact with peers at a young age, alcoholic parents who neglected me and a sister who has her own issues, who did her best considering. So, essentially, I just never learned how to think/feel as a child, causing me to be erratic. This is most likely the reason for me going off the rails, and turning to an abusive man, drugs and drink! This only made my emotional state and frame of mind worse. Couple into that having children at a young age? It just all became too much, causing my anxiety to surface.

My emotional instability is definitely flared by stress. The last few years have been incredibly stressful with me trying to take a career seriously, with kids, a husband and other personal relationships taking their toll. Then there is the shit my parents have put me through, my teenagers, disputes with family, my Dads cancer treatment etc. According to the psychiatrist it’s perfectly understandable and ok to recognise that this has affected me.

I know it sounds lame, but hearing someone tell me it’s ok, to not be ok with things really helps. I have had people close to me tell me to get over things, to just stop thinking this way, to just get up and get on, to just go out, to just stop! It’s all as simple as just?

What now?

I am awaiting another appointment with this psychiatrist, and I have been given a series of questions to answer on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 being very likely, and 5 being unlikely, that kind of thing.

Based upon our meetings, and how I rate on this questionnaire, they will look to suggest some therapy sessions for me. He also wanted to put me on mood stabilising medication, but I’m too scared to take it. I’m scared of being numb, or that I’ll take a reaction and die! Shit you not. I was honest and told him this was why, and he’s said he understands and if I change mind I can get them later.

Me being me, I’ve been reading up on EUPD. The different therapies they’re looking to offer etc and the best bit I read was the fact I could be effectively cured! Ok, I will never be “normal”, because there is no such thing. But oh my god, the idea of having a day where I don’t feel like this? It almost makes me want to cry!

I have been told about an application called “head space”. Admittedly I’ve tried it once, and I’ve not made time to try it again, but I will. I also read that diet, sleep, and exercise can have a huge impact on your mood. I know right? How utterly obvious!

At this moment, I am prepared to jump through every single hoop they give me. I need to feel better. I am so desperate to not feel how I have been, that ill do everything I can, although, I hope to not have to take medication.

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