There will be those of you that read my previous blog, some of you that know me in person, and then there are those that don’t know me or this site (old or new) from Adam. Previously, when I would write, I would often reference old blogs and posts. Obviously I can’t do this now and it’s a tad annoying. Not having these old posts leaves me having to go over some old ground, so that you can know where I’m coming from. Apologies if what you’re about to read you already know….
Dwelling? isn’t it the worst!
Firstly I need to advise that one of my biggest issues is that I’m a dweller. I often sit in a dream like state and think of people, conversations, situations etc and think of ways they could have been done differently. I have been guilty of going back to conversations I had with people as far back as my teens. Moments I see as key, life changing moments. Ones I would give anything, and I mean anything, to change. I have convinced myself over the years that if I could only just go back and take back what I said, or just not meet certain people, my life would be better. Their lives would be better.
Would changing these things actually make anything better? What does ‘better’ actually mean? My life could have potentially been been worse had I changed these key moments. I would also, most certainly, be with out my children if I had done anything differently, and that is not a life I want. My children drive me to utter distraction. They each have me with my head in my hands at least once a day. They cause me stress. They’re utterly exasperating and annoying beyond all reason, and I wouldn’t change them for the world.
I was a horrible child!
I was a very difficult child. I never hear any positive stories of my childhood. Not a one. Some of them are amusing stories for my sister and parents to tell, assuming they’re true of course, as my parents (as we like to say here in Scotland) don’t half waffle pish (talk nonsense, it just sounds better the way we say it)! In my teens I went completely off the rails. I got in with the worst possible crowd, where drinking and doing drugs was the norm. I was in trouble with the police, failing school, thrown out at 15 and pregnant at 17.
My children’s father was my first love. I was besotted. The relationship wasn’t all bad all of the time, but when it was bad? It was really bad! It was a very abusive relationship in every way. The physical abuse was bad, but in all honesty, the mental abuse was worse. The lying, gas lighting, manipulation…It was horrible. He had me doubting my own sanity on a regular basis. I was isolated from everyone. It was a very dark time. Funnily enough, it was when things got really bad that I attempted suicide for the first time and I was diagnosed as depressed.
Roll on Depression/Anxiety along with some self medication
After being in that relationship from the age of 13, and being a Mum to 3 babies (I had twins after my first) at the age of 19, it’s no wonder I started to have panic attacks at the age of 21. When these panic attacks started it was like a switch that flipped. They were perpetual, with what seemed to be no rhyme or reason. It was at this point I was diagnosed as having G.A.D (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) and Depression. I spent the next 10 years going to different counselling/therapy and being put onto just about every anti depressant possible. During the first few years after my G.A.D diagnosis, I was still struggling with addiction to alcohol and drugs (no, not heroin!). If I got really sad I needed to drink. And I’m not talking one or two here, I’m talking to the point where I’d black out and not know how I got home. If I wanted to chill I would roll a joint. If I wanted to have a good time it was coke or E’s. I used to also bite my nails until they were almost nonexistent and I was smoking an average of 30 super kings a day, and relying on coffee to see me through being a Mum and being in this horrible relationship. For years I’ve told people that I quit everything when I became a Mum. What a bloody lie that is. It’s a lie that I tell for fear of judgement. For fear that those around me will be thinking I’m a terrible person. Do you think I’m a terrible person for admitting this?
Breaking free for a better life
I got out of that horrible relationship, on the 12th April 2006, piling our children into the back of my Mum’s Toyota Corolla, with nothing but their clothes and toys in black bags. I remember this day as another of the best days of my life. Getting us out of that house and out of that life was hard. I still wasn’t rid of him, not for another few months, as he followed me back to our home town where he tried his best to weasel his way back into my good graces. Thankfully something really bad in his life happened meaning he had to leave our home town, and he can probably never come back for legal reasons. This makes my home town my most favourite place to be, and I’ll probably never leave for that very reason.
My anxiety and depression were at their worst during the time after I left and became a single parent officially. I was in bits most days. I really struggled. I was on 60mg of Citalopram a day, of which is a lot. It took the edge off things, but it didn’t fully help. It also made me incredibly tired, to the point where I would have to take afternoon naps. I spent my days dwelling on all of the bad things that happened. Looking at my children and being so sad because I couldn’t provide them with the life that they deserved. I was relying on benefits, as no job I could get would pay for us to live and pay for 3 children to be in childcare. I remember being in the job centre and doing the back to work calculation and it was deemed I’d be better on Income Support, so that was that. I was to be an at home Mum, living on the breadline. I hated it. It wasn’t the life I wanted for my children, or for me!
Trying to sort my shit out
In one of my counselling sessions I’d expressed how unhappy I was being an at home Mum. How I really wanted to go out and get a job, but that I’d never get one that would pay well enough. It was suggested that I go to college, maybe do an at home course whilst the kids were in nursery. I honestly thought I was too stupid, and given the fact I’d failed high school, I’d never be accepted. Thankfully I was wrong, and there is always something you can do in terms of education to better yourself. No such thing as too stupid. Not long after this session I was signed up to do my ECDL (European Computer Driving License) from home. I would spend my days when they were in nursery studying the course material and sitting the assessments in the evenings. I then used this to get myself into an NC course for computing that also let me sit my Maths and English at a higher level. During this time I got with my now husband and we had a child together. I didn’t let this deter me from my studies, as soon as my youngest was a year old, I went right back to college.
Resisting the urge, and failing!
Going back into full time education was really hard. I felt incredibly stupid and out of place most days. I struggled to focus and keep up, especially with going home to a husband and 4 children. Finding the time, or peace and quiet to study was nigh on impossible. Also resisting the student life of going out and keeping up with the younger people I’d met was tough. I’d say I completely failed. There were some days I’d go to college for 9am, and then phone my husband at lunch time from the Student Union and tell him I’ll not be home for dinner. I’d then roll in at like 5am very drunk and with no recollection of anything the next day. My friend calls this my mid 20’s crises.
Due to the mid 20’s crises I started to fall behind in my course. I was far too interested in meeting my friends for drinks of an evening/weekends, that I just didn’t care about it anymore. I needed to drink, because when I drank I wasn’t sad. I needed to drink to have a good time. I would even sit in the house some evenings with my headphones on and have what I would call my “One Man Disco’s”. It was where I would just get playlists going on my Windows Media Player (mmmhmm the days before Spotify), or YouTube, and get very drunk listening to music. How freaking sad is that? At the time, it was very cathartic, but looking back, I realise I was trying to escape in the worst possible way. On a plus not, albeit a small plus, I was no longer using drugs of any kind at this point. The last of anything that could be given a Class A/B/C rating that I took was in 2007. I’m not proud that I ever took anything, but I am proud that I have been able to resist that dark part of myself for the last 12 years.
Yes, now you can judge me. You’re probably reading this thinking I’m the worst human ever. You may well be right. I love my children, more than anything/anyone in this world, but here I was repeating my parents mistakes. Putting myself and my addictions first. I thought I was doing OK, as I had been to college and was now in a half way decent job. I was providing for my children. They no longer wanted for anything, they were living in a nicer house, and had nice things, but I was still very much a broken mess.
I think I always knew that I had a problem with alcohol, but I never wanted to admit it. I’d just laugh it off when people would tell me about the states I’d been in, or the horrifically embarrassing situations I’d get myself into. Here I am a mother to 4 children, trying to parent, having no bloody clue what I’m doing, but at the same time, trying to relive my youth, whilst masking the pain of everything with alcohol. Absolute shambles of a human.
Realising you have a problem
The day I sat up and took notice of what I was doing was when I gave myself alcohol poisoning at my sister in laws wedding. I was so ill that I was throwing up for 2 days, and was not myself for at least a week. How did I end up in that state? Well, I was having a large Rose wine (175ml) for every one of my husbands pints. I think it worked out I’d had just shy of 4 bottles of wine, over an 8 hour period. Never mind the fact that a glass of wine is pretty much 3 x percentage of a lager! Then there was the shots that he was buying. I was an absolute mess.
I took the two days of hell i’d inflicted on myself to reflect on the fact that I clearly have a problem. I am unable to say when enough is enough. Why can’t I just go out and have a couple of drinks, get tipsy and enjoy myself?? Why was it that I needed to be absolutely plastered to consider it a good night out? I’m one of those that drinks before drinking! You might be that person too, I know I’m not the only one. If I’m getting ready for a night out, I have a bottle of something whilst I’m getting dressed and doing my makeup. I’m already half cut before I’m in the Taxi! It’s a very sad state of affairs. It’s also a very sad moment to have the realisation that you have a problem, and the only one who can do anything about it, is you!
Trying to get my shit together
It took a bad day in work to be a catalyst for me to go back to college and finish my qualification. Something I’m proud to say I did. Going back to college this time I was determined to do it right. I chose to make no friends. I barely spoke to anyone in my class unless it was ultimately necessary. I just got my head into the books and focused on passing.
At the end of this course I landed my current job role, of which I love. I always thought a job was just something that you did for money. You always hear of people pissing and whinging about their jobs, and I guess I do too, but that’s more about the people, than the job itself. I honestly love my job. I love what I do, as no two days are the same. I spent years living in a groundhog day cycle from hell, I hate having days that feel monotonous.
How did I celebrate getting this job? That’s right, a meal and a drink with my other half, that resulted in me spewing up my inners! I was drinking bottles of desperado along with an additional shots of tequila. Lets just say I can’t even look at a bottle of tequila without my stomach doing somersaults! This was just a one off night out though, but still I have to recognise that it couldn’t just be a couple of drinks. It was, again, an all or nothing situation.
Can anyone say relapse?
Things were definitely looking up for me, until a couple of years ago when it felt like the arse completely fell out of my world. I was just so sad and anxious all of the time, very little positive days/moments. I began questioning everything, thinking about not wanting to be here. Everything just felt so unfair and difficult. I was beginning my woe-is-me thinking again.
What do I do when I get into a woe-is-me mentality? That’s right, I drink. Here I was making my excuses. It was a Monday, so best get in a bottle of wine to start the week, or but now it’s Wednesday, which is Humpday, you can’t not have wine on Humpday. Then it’s the weekend, you need to have a drink of something on a Friday, as it’s been a hard week, then it would just be rude not to have a wee tipple on a Saturday. There we have it, 4 days out of 7, all with perfectly valid excuses to have wine. Sometimes when I was drinking wine, I’d down it that quickly I’d be in my bed sleeping in little over an hour.
I was no longer drinking socially either. This was all sitting in my living room, on my own, with nothing but a Facebook feed for company. What a bad combination. Facebook is the fucking devil! The website needs to be deleted from existence and made illegal in every country. Extreme? Definitely not. It’s a load of utter bullshit. It’s where the bams (people who like to gloat) like to go and be all “OMG my life is amazing”, and where the trouble makers do their stirring. I was already in a bad frame of mind, which is why I was drinking, but then sitting on social media having my negative thinking being validated? It was horrible. I was convinced I was a terrible Mum, bad at my job, bad human, my life was less than mediocre, and there was no hope for me!
Back to the good ol’ NHS for some mental health help
It was at this point I went to my GP. I wont even get into the nightmare it was to be taken seriously from the NHS, as their answer to everything is to throw medication at a problem. I refused medication. I didn’t want to leave with a plaster for what is quite clearly an open wound! I needed help! Real help! Something is wrong with me and I need to know what it is, and how to make it better. I cannot go on for the next however many years going through this roller coast of shit!
Thankfully I was put onto a waiting list for counselling. This took about 4 months to come through and if I’m honest, I wasn’t too sure about it. I thought it might have been this hippy bull shit you see on movies, and I’m just not for that. It honestly wasn’t. It was just me and another woman, sitting in a room talking. She’d ask questions, I’d answer, and then I’d leave with ‘homework’. I’d be given some coping mechanisms and techniques to learn. These sessions have been invaluable to me. I have learned so much about myself, my way of thinking, my triggers and how best for me to cope.
I can honestly say that these counselling sessions are the best thing that the NHS has done for me over the years. I’ve been to other counselling sessions, anger management and therapy, but this felt tailored to me. I felt like my counsellor actually listened to who I am, not just what was written on paper. She took the time to listen to me talk about my past and help me deal with the emotions. Something I’d never done. Yes I feel a lot of emotions when I think about my past, mainly anger and sadness, but I never actually dealt with it. I always felt like I wasn’t allowed to feel these things, like I just had to woman up and get on with things. My counsellor helped me to recognise that I’m more than allowed to feel these emotions, but not only that, I do not have to woman up. I know people throw this line around like every other Instagram cliche out there, but it’s true, it’s ok to not be ok. That doesn’t mean it’s ok to be depressed or have anxiety and just keep being that way. What it means is; It’s ok to not put a smile on every day. You’re allowed to cry! You’re allowed to be angry! Cry! Bawl your eyes out if you want. Scream into a pillow, or don’t have a pillow, just scream! slam a door. Get out your negative emotions, because bottling them up? That is worse!
Thanks to the counselling, I barely drink. If ever. I know that I can have that one drink too many, and all bets are off, so you know what? I just don’t let it get that far. In the last 2 years I can honestly say that every social occasion I’ve been to where drink has been involved, I’ve maybe had one or two at a push. I couldn’t tell you the last time I was drunk. I don’t even want to get drunk. I hate drunk me. She’s louder, completely obnoxious and 100% inhibition free, so basically, drunk me is dangerous!
Getting the right diagnosis!
When the counselling ended I felt like my crutch had been taken away. I was back to dwelling on my past. I went back to my G.P who told me the NHS had done all they could for me, and that no more help would be given. That was, unless, I was to try and take my own life again. As becoming a danger to yourself or others is grounds for help. Are you actually shitting me? Honestly that is what I was told. I just burst into tears at this point and told the G.P that it was ridiculous to want to wait and help people when things become extreme. They agreed to write a letter to psychology, who after 3 letters, decided to see me for a review of my diagnosis.
After 4 sessions and 2 tests in Psychology, along with my medical history, I was diagnosed as having EUPD (BPD with manic episodes). This was a eureka moment and a half. Everything makes so much more sense now. My black and white thinking, Idolising, having a favourite person, my addictions, the need to be obsessed with something/someone, my intense feelings, turbulent relationships, my self loathing etc. All of it! The whole shebang is summed up under the EUPD umbrella. Having this diagnosis has been such a good thing for me.
I have learned that a lot of what I’m feeling and how I am can be explained. Something that couldn’t be done for nearly 15 years. Then there is the fact that BPD/EUPD can effectively be cured! Yup, you read right! With the right counselling, therapy and even self help, you can be effectively be cured. Finding that out alone has spurred me on.
What am I doing to help myself?
First of all I’m making a conscious effort to not dwell. I can think of old memories, but that’s it, they’re just thoughts. I now recognise that I have them, and then let them go as quickly as they’ve came.
I can now have thoughts about my childhood for example, and not feel a bubble of rage in the pit of my stomach! I still feel sad at times, but no longer do I feel angry. If anything, I pity my parents for not getting their shit together and missing out on what it really means to be a parent. My parents don’t have a bond with my sister and I, and they never will. I do feel a bit sad, and a little jealous of those who have good relationships with their parent, but I think that’s ok.
My ex? Well, lets just say I’ve made so much progress here! Not only can I think about him, but I’m now even talking to him. Not on a friendly level I hasten to add. Just about the kids. He no longer intimidates me. I feel like Jennifer Connolly in Labyrinth here, but, I can honestly say he has no power over me anymore. Nothing. I can think about all of the bad things that happened in our relationship, but then I can also recognise the good things, like our children. Yes bad things happened, and yes it’s not right, but I cannot let it define me, or my life! If anything, I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.
Also, I’d like to point out that I’m quite proud of, and motivated by the following:
- No drugs since 2007 – 12 years
- No Cigarettes since 2010 – 9 years
- Not been drunk since 2017 – 2 years
- No nail biting since 2014 – 5 years
This may seem like nothing to some, but these are huge. Habits can be tough to break.
I’ve been watching a few YouTube videos from Psychologists regarding BPD/EUPD, as well as videos from people like me, sharing their coping mechanisms and suggestions. A few times it’s been mentioned about exercise and diet. It sounds so utterly obvious, but I’m wondering if it’s worth exploring. Exercise releases happy endorphins and aids for better sleep. Neither of which can hurt! Also, you get out what you put in! So a healthy diet is probably exactly what I need.
Whilst I wait for my DBT (Dialectic Behavioural Therapy) appointments to come through, I’m going to start making small changes. As of this Monday I’m going to start walking to/from work, and no more fast food/chocolate/crisps. I’m not going to buy into any weird diets and regimes, just be smart about what I have. I have had years of addictions to cigarettes, alcohol, drugs and food! why not try to turn that obsessive behaviour onto something more positive and beneficial? I reckon if I try to go hell for leather all at once, I’ll fail. So, small steps it is. Cutting out the obvious and moving more.
I shall do weekly updates for what I’ve achieved in a week, and keep a mood diary. I can only imagine that my first update will be to tell you all I hate healthy food and that my legs hurt!
If any of you have any suggestions you would like to share, please comment below or feel free to private message me, or put a post on the forum.