My Eating Disorder

FB_IMG_1469579059959.jpgThe picture above is me two years ago and this was not at my worst. I have always struggled with eating disorders and depression.  Are they related? Do I not eat or over eat because I am trying to fill some void in my soul? Honestly I don’t know.

Today I am considered a healthy weight, yet I am on a diet. I have been for months. After the picture above I moved states and began eating unhealthy and put on some weight; now I want it off. Do I want to be as thin as I was above? Not really but it wouldn’t bother me. By the way I am 5’11” so I was literally skin and bones.

I don’t like who I see in the mirror. My weight may be “healthy” in my doctor’s opinion, but all I see is cellulite and fat. So, I diet and weigh myself daily. If my weight fluctuates (like it always does) I starve myself to get the one or two pounds back down. I try to exercise but my depression and the fact that I am in chronic pain affects that. I have to force myself to do the minimum. I over exercised before the chronic pain began to affect me. That was a problem in itself.

So, I will keep weighing myself daily but I will try to keep my weight at a “healthy” number. Right now I am doing keto and intermittent fasting. I know I need to learn to love my body the way it is, but it is hard to do when I struggle to even like myself.

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Invalidation of PTSD

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Watching a horror movie this morning with my boyfriend. We started talking about how we would react to the same situations. All of the sudden he starts talking about veterans coming back to war with PTSD. The movie had nothing to do with war or PTSD, so I am not sure what influenced his rant. Oh, by the way I have CPTSD (Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

He went on and on about how he doesn’t understand how they can categorize everyone with PTSD under the same thing. How fighting in a war is so terrible. The soldiers are afraid they are going to be killed, and generally live in constant fear for the rest of their lives. They watch their friends die; they may even have to kill someone out of defense. Of course this causes flashbacks and nightmares. Now before I go on, I have the utmost respect for our military and believe they should get PTSD therapy as soon as they get home.

My CPTSD is caused from sexual, physical, mental abuse and going through the deaths of some very close family members in a short time. Guess what I have experienced. I’ve lived in fear of death. I was afraid the person who physically and mentally abused me would kill me. He threatened to. Even attempted to a few times. A few years ago I went through another relationship where the man threatened to kill me then himself so we could be together forever. I had to get a restraining order on both accounts. I know what it is like to live in fear of being killed. I know what it is like to constantly have to watch my back and even fear the phone ringing.

Sexual abuse. Have you been afraid to let someone touch you? Even your own family members strike fear in your heart. To have flashbacks when you are in a loving relationship of someone abusing you when the person you are with just wants to love you? I know what it feels like to have flashbacks. To be afraid to go out in public because you may run into your abuser. Fear, flashbacks, and what about the nightmares?

You can’t run away from your past. It comes back to haunt you in your sleep. Sleep should be peaceful but instead you dream of the past. Of loved ones dying, of being sexually assaulted, being beaten or chased. I know the nightmares.

I am not a veteran, but I do have PTSD. The causes are different but the symptoms are the same. Everyone’s story is unique, but everyone deserves validation and help to heal.

BPD: Favorite Person

men-2425121__340Most of us whom have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder have, or had, a “favorite person.”  A favorite person isn’t necessarily the best friend or significant other. In fact, most times he or she is not. The favorite person is however, someone the borderline seeks the most attention from.  In my case, the favorite person of the time decided how my moods were on a daily basis.

At this time I don’t have a favorite person. It actually feels very strange, and I feel I am missing something in my life. I do know this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because my feelings become so intense and I become obsessed with the person. I’m going to use “he” for my pronoun the rest of the post, because my favorite person has always been a man.

I’m going to be speaking for myself. Of course everyone’s experiences are not the same. When I have a favorite person I will do anything for him. I need to be validated by him in every part of my life. If I feel ignored or invalidated it is like the end of times for me. I feel hopeless, depressed, unloved and unworthy of even living at times.  Sometimes my feelings become sexual, but not always. Being a sexual abuse survivor, many of my relationships revolved around sex.

Having a favorite person can be positive or negative. If he is someone who understands me, my feelings and validates me daily, I have joy and feel secure. I have had favorite people that I would do anything for and they in return would do anything for me. Years ago I had a favorite person where we would watch each others children, hang out together with our spouses and play cards and I knew they genuinely cared about me. I realized this at a time where I became deathly ill and he came and would just lay in bed with me as I burned up with fever. It was completely nonsexual, it was friendship. This relationship was a positive one for me. He ended up moving away and I had to find a new favorite person.

A favorite person can also be negative. Unfortunately, I have had more of these.  I would give all my time and gifts to make sure he had everything he needed. Others I would give myself sexually only to realize they didn’t care about me like I did them.  It was horrible to have these men whom I worshipped invalidate me and my needs. Validation, what a huge need for us with BPD.

So, yes I do not have a favorite person at this time. Part of me wants one, but only if it can be a positive one. Right now I feel lucky to have found friends on social media that share the experiences that I have and a great therapist. I still feel very lonely, but at least I am not alone.

Somewhere BPD Belongs

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“I want to heal, I want to feel,
What I thought was never real
I want to let go of the pain I felt so long (erase all the pain ’til it’s gone)
I want to heal, I want to feel
Like I’m close to something real
I want to find something I’ve wanted all along
Somewhere I belong”

If you know me Linkin Park is one of my favorite bands. There music hits home and listening to them makes me feel less alone. The band wrote their own songs and I am convinced by the lyrics that one of them, possibly Chester (RIP) suffered from BPD or something very similar. *Note that I do not know Chester Bennington’s diagnosis that caused him to die of suicide. This is just an observation I have made. I’m not a doctor.

I was ready for bed. I painted today, watched some tutorials, listened to music and stayed away from the television. All coping skills my therapists recommends for me when I feel anxious or disassociated. I felt those and everything else today, the coping mechanisms did and are helping. Blogging is another one. Anyway, I couldn’t sleep. The song kept going through my head. “I wanna heal, I wanna feel. Like I’m close to something real. I want to find something I’ve wanted all along. Somewhere I belong.”

This song, along with others really hits home. I have never felt like I have belonged anywhere or with anyone. I have been through three divorces. All that I left. Had to leave before you are abandoned you know. At least that’s how borderlines tend to think. I sure do. I’m currently in a relationship and it is a struggle every day, but I’m not putting that business on here and I’m not planning on abandoning this relationship although I would like to strangle him 90% of the time.

I lived in Florida and after my first divorce I dated and bounced around relationships trying to feel at home. I never did. Doing things with my children, and now my grandchildren were and are the only thing that has given me any comfort in life.

So I impulsively packed my things within just a few months of talking to my current boyfriend and moved to Tennessee. Maybe it could be home. Been here a year and a half and I just don’t like the state. I miss the beaches, I miss my crazy friends. Luckily my mom, son and grandkids followed me up here recently which has helped me because I have not had the opportunity to make any friends since moving, because I don’t leave the house other than to go shopping, the doctors and therapy.  Thank God for therapy or I would have no one to vent to.

What I am getting at is that packing up and moving didn’t help either. Didn’t feel at home in Florida, I don’t feel at home here. It isn’t anyone’s fault, I suffer from a serious mental illness. I just don’t feel at home in my own skin. I don’t even like to look at photos of myself anymore. I don’t fit in. I’m a city girl at heart and this place is SO country, ugh. I know this is something I have to fix within myself, but I cannot even trust my own feelings. People with Borderline Personality Order struggle in relationships because one minute they are completely obsessed with the person and then the next they hate their guts. So what I consider my dream home one day would be my nightmare home the next.

“I will never know myself until I do this on my own
And I will never feel,
Anything else until my wounds are healed
I will never be
Anything ’til I break away from me
And I will break away, and find myself today”

I am working on this in therapy. Thank God I have an appointment tomorrow. Definitely will be the topic of choice. How do I find “somewhere I belong?”

 

 

My Worse Nightmare

miranda-wipperfurth-383666I have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. I did not get a proper diagnosis until I hospitalized myself at the age of 41. I was diagnosed with Bipolar, Borderline Personality Disorder, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, PTSD and Intermittent Explosive Disorder.  I also suffer from Chronic Pain due to Mixed Connective Tissue Disease.

Having children I was always afraid that I would “rub off” on them. I stayed up late at night worrying whether or not they would suffer from mental or chronic illnesses. Unfortunately my oldest found out years ago that he also has arthritis due to a connective tissue disease. It devastated me knowing he was in pain because of my genes but that isn’t what this blog is about. It is about my biggest nightmare. The one in that my children would suffer from mental illness.

Today my oldest told me he was diagnosed with Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Anxiety, possible PTSD and possible BPD. I sat and talked to him calmly but inside my heart was shattering as he talked about some of his symptoms. This is my baby. Sure he is a 21 year old grown man, but he will always be my baby. Knowing he is in pain and suffering because he has my blood. Knowing he will have these illnesses the rest of his life. It kills me inside. I understand it is good that he has been diagnosed now. Now he understands why he feels a certain way. I went my entire life not understanding why nothing, or no one could make me happy. Not knowing why I would obsess with someone for months than suddenly hate them (reason for my 3 divorces). Not knowing why I would get so angry I would hurt myself and not be able to control it. He knows. WE know and he’s not alone. I do understand and because of that understanding I am also afraid for him.

My daughter has also shown some signs of depression and anxiety in the past. She doesn’t live close to me anymore so I’m not sure how much it is affecting her in her daily life. She does work and seems happy in her relationship. You just cannot tell what someone feels on the inside without them expressing it to you. I pray she stays strong.

Recently my 7 year old son has been exhibiting signs of anxiety. He has been chewing his nails and clothing, not sleeping at night because of frequent waking, sleepwalking, and he has also expressed to me fears of abandonment. That of course brought my diagnosis of, and my oldest son’s possible of BPD or EUPD (another name for Borderline Personality Disorder, Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder). The majority of people with BPD have immense fears of abandonment.  Could he be exhibiting signs of BPD so young? I cannot bear to think he has to spend his life battling this shit too. I will be having him checked out and discussing my concerns with a therapist ASAP. His anxiety needs controlled. No one deserves to feel the crushing pain and fear that comes with it.

So, my nightmare has come true. All my children have suffered because of my genetics. What can I do but be there for them? I can let it break me down or make me stronger. I choose stronger. I have to be stronger for them. Besides, no one understands more than I do how it feels to suffer daily from mental illness. I just pray, wish, and hope they can find the joy in living that I am still searching for today.

My Journey with PTSD

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Can I just scream now? I was almost done with this article and somehow I managed to delete the entire thing. Breathe in. Breathe out.

It has been a rough few months. I got a new therapist, who is great by the way, and I started my PTSD therapy. For those new here my trauma is caused by sexual, emotional and physical abuse, along with several deaths in my family that occurred very close together.

The therapy consisted of writing a narrative with my therapist. This took several sessions (I go once a week) of therapy, then the actual writing the narrative down. So many feelings were stirred up inside me, like the trauma was happening to me all over again. Then I had to read the narrative out loud to her. I made it through, but she noticed one thing. I read about the abuse in a very robotic manner. Like I was just reading words, displaced from the trauma. The deaths however, I became very emotional. The wounds all felt very fresh and I had trouble making it through.  She said the next week I would read it to my boyfriend. This made me anxious as hell.

Reading the narrative to my boyfriend should have been easy. He already knew of the trauma.  While I was reading  to him something else happened. I barely made it through the abuse part and the death part was “easier”.  My therapist questioned me, “why do you think it was hard to read to him?”  I explained that it was embarrassing to me. I blamed myself for these things happening to me.  If these things happened to my daughter or my granddaughter would I blame them? Hell no, they would be the victim and I would blame the abuser. So why is it so hard as a victim to feel like the victim?

The next week was very difficult for me, even more than normal. I did not want to be touched by my boyfriend at all. I felt undeserving and unclean. My therapist called it flash flooding instead of flash backs. Instead of specific instances coming back to me I was having a flood of feelings and they were all negative.

She had a very interesting explanation though. She said that trauma is like getting glass stuck in your hand. Instead of taking the glass out you let the skin grow over it. Yes it still hurts when you touch it but you can’t see it anymore. When you expose and talk about the trauma you open the old wound up and the glass is still there. The goal is to take the glass out and let the wound heal up like it should have in the first place.

I still have a long way to go. I let that skin grow so thick over the glass for so many years. It is stuck in there deep. I am still trying to pull the glass out so I can heal. I can’t imagine a day when I can talk about everything without becoming emotional and having flashbacks. I hope that time is soon.

Pills, Pills, Pills: An Endless Cycle

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I have always been on medications, lots of medications. Most of them were because I have Lupus, but the last year my mental health declined so most of the medications I am on are for it. A pill for depression, two mood stabilizers and two anxiety meds….yet I am no better off than I was a year ago.

Talking to my therapist a few days ago I brought this fact up. She wants to talk to my doctor about a new medication routine. Hopefully she has better luck than I did. When I mentioned my weight gain I was told “Your BMI is good and this is the best thing out there so I don’t want to change it.” When I told him the anxiety meds made me dizzy he said, “sit down.” Seriously, he said that.

Some of it is my fault, I admit. I didn’t tell him over the teleprompter (I hate that thing) that the meds just weren’t making any kind of difference in my overall mood. I am still depressed, I am still anxious, I am still a moody mess. I did tell my therapist though. I am better face to face.

So now I wait to see if they give me new medicines. I get to go through the new side effects while withdrawing from the old meds. Then what? Pray that they do their job. That the pills miraculously make my mental illness disappear? Yes I know that won’t happen but maybe they can come up with something that will help along with my weekly counseling. I just wish the doctors didn’t rely so heavily on pills, pills, pills.

 

Motivation with Depression

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Again, there has been a huge gap since last time I wrote anything. One of the symptoms of Depression is lack of motivation or desire to do things you enjoy.  I enjoy writing. So why am I not on here every day? It is not like I have anything better to do…..I just don’t “feel” like it.

Honestly I have been more depressed than average for the last month or more. I am just starting to feel a little better the last couple of days. Thank you Bipolar.  In fact the only reason I am writing now is my boyfriend is watching something stupid on television so I decided to come in the bedroom and drag out my computer.

So I did something stupid recently. Well let me back up. I changed a medicine and increased the dose within a few months which caused me a lot of weight gain. My psychologist said my BMI was normal and refused to change the fattening medicine because it is the “newest and best pill” out there for Bipolar.  Well I decided to quit taking it myself.

I know, very unwise but a bad habit people with Bipolar do. I wasn’t doing it because I felt better, but because I felt more depressed from gaining weight. After being off of the medicine for only 2 days I was a weeping mess. Needless to say my boyfriend was very much insistent on me restarting the pill and I did. So now I am just on a very low calorie diet hoping to lose weight that way. Seriously, who wants to go into the summer chubby?

I also got a new therapist. The Borderline Personality part of me began to freak out. Abandonment issues, trying to trust someone new. It was a bad situation but only in my head. She is great. She is very knowledgeable of all my conditions and is seeing me weekly. She has done more good in 2 sessions than my other one did in months.

Did you know that people with PTSD actually have changes in their brain that can be healed with therapy and support of loved ones? I didn’t have a clue. At least there is some hope in that case.  She is going to teach me some coping skills and than “write a narrative” of my trauma. That part scares me because I will be reliving everything that has happened to me in the past. She assures me that we won’t do that until my coping skills are mastered.

Well now you know what I have been up to the last month or so. Not a very educational or emotional post but maybe, just maybe this small post will motivate me to open this computer more often and get some work done.

The Disability Gods

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So most of you know that due to my physical and mental health that I have applied for disability. I applied in November, got denied in February. From friends and the lawyer I have now hired, I know this is very common. What I do not understand is that according to my lawyer I am a “sure win”, yet I have to wait a year for an appeal hearing?

What am I suppose to do for a year?

You hear about women who apply and are approved because of bad knees who are swinging around a pole in the strip bar. You hear about the men with bad backs that are approved yet are working “under the table” as roofers. So many people misuse the system that people who really need  help cannot get it.

My best friend since childhood has been fighting the system for over a year. She’s had multiple strokes, and several physical and mental problems. Luckily the job she had at the time of onset allowed for a temporary disability. Problem is, that runs out soon and she is stuck without any money, homeless, etc. Yet Social Security drags the process on and on, even though all her doctors say she is permanently disabled. Doctors don’t just throw that around, they don’t want brought into the courts. So she waits…..

My biggest problem is I moved from Florida to Tennessee. It really shouldn’t matter to Social Security, but straightening the doctor thing up has been hell. I have been here for seven months yet I still do not have all my doctor records from Florida. I have been lucky to find a mental health facility and a family doctor, but I have not been able to find a rheumatologist. Having Lupus and several autoimmune diseases that is one doctor I desperately need. Not only do I need one for treatment, but you have to have those documents for the disability board you know.

Speaking of doctors………I mentioned above that I found a great mental health facility. I have. They have wonderful counselors, but the doctor is this guy I see on a computer screen every few months who does not know me from the person that was in right before me. He is the god of medicine. He asks things like…Is it working? No? Let us increase the doses so the side effects you already have can get a little worse. Yes, I digress. It does deal with disability though. I have a packet for each doctor to fill out asking all these personal questions and domains to rate me in. A little hard to do if the doctor does not even know your name without looking at the screen in front of him.

So, what do I do for a year? Get records and beg doctors to fill out paperwork that they honestly do not have the time to screw with. My family doctor said I am permanently disabled. Why can’t that be enough? God I wish I could just walk into a school and start teaching again, or even be a maid. I want to work. I am bored out of my ever loving mind and I am getting fat. Yay for meds and sitting on your ass. Yet I know if I step into a classroom I will have a mental breakdown. Not being able to drive due to anxiety and medicines does not help either. So I will wait, stress, and then wait some more while the disability gods dangle my life in their hands.

 

 

Happy Anniversary to Me

i-nqqbmn7-xlToday makes one year since I admitted myself into the psychiatric ward of a hospital. It seems so long ago, but at the same time just like it was yesterday. So many things have changed in the past year, but I still have so much more to accomplish.

When I left the hospital I had been diagnosed with several things including Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD, Bipolar 1, Panic and Anxiety Disorders.  I was given medication in the hospital and immediately upon leaving found outpatient help. My medications  were adjusted  during outpatient and are still being adjusted now.

Leaving the hospital was difficult, even though I was missing my then 5 year old like crazy. In the hospital I didn’t have to face the real world. I had someone to listen to me that didn’t judge, I was fed 3 meals a day and had no worries until night. Night time in a mental hospital is scary and loud. You don’t sleep much.

Then they released me. I was still adjusting to the medicines and the diagnosis’s. I knew I was depressed but the labels were getting to me. I jumped right back into working as a teacher, even though my therapist said it was a toxic job for me. I wasn’t going to leave in the middle of the year. I went back home to a husband who I didn’t love, to an unhealthy life. There were times I just wanted to go back to the hospital. Sometimes I still do.

My weight started dropping pound by pound. The above picture was before the hospital, not even 2 months later I was 30 pounds lighter and very anorexic. Not eating became a way to self harm. I was having so many issues adjusting to real life. Around 4 to 5 months later I separated from my husband. I knew this was a step I had to take. For him and myself. I was a horrible wife. The Borderline made it impossible to have a real relationship. At least I knew why I had so many problems now.

Separating wasn’t enough. I needed to be far, far away. I started talking to the man I am with now and we decided I should move out of state with him. Risky behavior I know for someone with Bipolar and Borderline, but I have known him my entire life and knew I would be safe. I also left teaching and I am working on getting disability for my mental and the physical illnesses I have.

So I made three huge steps even though they were all very stressful for me. I lived through the separation, retiring, and moving states away. I have now gained my weight back. Honestly I wish that would have stayed away. What woman doesn’t like to be called thin?

Even with all these changes I struggle every day. My anxiety has become worse; I haven’t driven since August. My rapid cycling from the Bipolar is finally becoming controlled thanks to medication changes. Yet the PTSD and Borderline cause me issues daily.  I want to be left alone more than I want to socialize. Some days, most days, I am basically just a bitch to the people I care about. I push and push and push. It is so hard to let people into my world.

I still see a counselor and psychiatrist. I’m working on communication right now. Yeah, not doing so hot on that. So much easier to just write things down than to sit and talk to someone. Besides, you can’t tell if I am crying through a blog.

So Happy Anniversary to Me. I have made it 1 year without having to be hospitalized and more importantly……I am alive.