Am I Selfish?

 

When I reflect back on negative comments friends and family have said to me over the years, that have really stuck with me and ring through my skull when I’m greeted with a situation said comments are relevant too; there’s one that really sticks.

‘You’re so selfish, you only ever think about yourself’

Whenever this is said to me, it’s like a deep scar has reopened and it takes me a long time to heal from it. I hate the fact that this is the perception people sometimes have off me. It’s not me.

peakdistrict

Peak District with crew! ❤

Granted – it’s not a line I often hear from close friends anymore; as they’ve grown to understand me. However, that doesn’t stop me from thinking that there are times they’re maybe thinking it. And there are definitely times they’re upset or angry with me for a perceived selfish act or statement I’ve made. And I definitely hear it from acquaintances and colleagues who don’t know me so well – or words to that affect.

You literally only have to Google ‘selfish BPD’ and you’ll find hundreds of hits. It’s a common occurrence among those suffering with BPD to be accused of being selfish.

You can be an inherently selfish person, but just because you have BPD this does not mean that you’re automatically selfish. Just as anyone (mental health issue or not) can be selfish, or judgmental, or happy, or caring…

‘Is borderline personality disorder a real diagnosis or is it just a way to let someone who’s selfish, impulsive and mean off the hook for their bad behavior?’

I find the very fact that this question is often asked, disturbing. Some medical professionals write off ever diagnosing BPD because they do not understand it, or feel they’re being manipulated.

I am not selfish. When you struggle through each very intense emotion, it’s difficult to even comprehend what the other mind is thinking and feeling. You do what you can in order to get through each day and avoid negative social situations, self-harm or hurt. It’s a survival tactic for us.

It’s only through friends and family being straight with me, and giving me their perspective on how they feel do I learn. Then next time I find myself in a similar situation, I’ve learnt how to take into account both (or more) peoples feelings. I guess it’s a little like raising a child and teaching them right from wrong.

“They (Borderlines) have the thinnest skin, the shortest fuses and take the hardest knocks. In psychiatrists’ offices, they have long been viewed as among the most challenging patients to treat.” Shari Roan

I’ll give you an example.

Recently, I found a WhatsApp group I was in difficult to cope with. I’m in a time of uncertainty due to job difficulties, and all manner of possible outcomes and issues were being thrown back and forth. My anxiety grew as more possible scenarios were suggested, that alone I would of never of thought off.

So how did I respond? I said ‘This group is irritating me’ and abruptly left.

I immediately removed myself from the problem, solving my own issue without taking into consideration how that would make my colleagues feel. It wasn’t until I noticed two of them weren’t speaking to me as normal that I grew concerned something wasn’t right; and questioned if it was anything to do with the group chat. I fired a question over to one of them asking if ‘I was the most hated person in work now’.

Although I may not agree with all the ins and outs of the conversation that occurred (which I won’t go into, as I do have a lot of love for my colleagues and all the support they’ve given me over the past year). I did take from it, that the way I dealt with the issue wasn’t right. She was straight with me, she explained that certain people were upset thinking I had an immediate issue with them and that my departing comment was rude.

It really was – and it really hurt for me to learn that one of my colleagues thought I had a direct issue with them and I’d made them feel shit. All I wanted to do was get away from the scenarios being chucked about, not any of the people.

I can be socially inept. I don’t like the fact that in this process of recovery I will unintentionally hurt people. But as I work through my recovery, the less mistakes I’ll make. I’ve always misjudged social situations, and blown things out of proportion in my own mind. But I hope that from the 1 example given you can see that my actions are never intended to be selfish.

Thank you all so much for your patience. 

heart


 

 

If you haven’t already, please vote for me in the UK Blog Awards 2016 by visiting this link: http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/ukba2016/my-entry/roksannroschana

Remember you can vote for me up to once a day and voting closes at 9pm this Monday (25th January)!

Thank you, thank you, thank you! #UKBA16

UK Blog Awards 2016

I’ve entered my blog into the UK Blog Awards 2016!

Voting opens Monday 4th January and closes Monday 25th January at 9pm.

I would be super grateful if all my followers could cast a vote for my blog when voting opens up. You can vote up to once a day – so please remember to also do this. It would mean the absolute world to me, if I could give this blog a larger platform to shout about mental health issues and the stigma we face.

Big Love!

I've just entered the UK Blog Awards #UKBA16

 

Vaginismus

Spanner in the works.

Today, I’m going to talk about a physical health condition (the cause however, often psychological).

Vaginismus – one of the most common sexual dysfunctions among women, yet vastly under documented.

This is the NHS’ summary of what Vaginismus is;

Vaginismus is the term used to describe recurrent or persistent involuntary tightening of muscles around the vagina whenever penetration is attempted.

It can disrupt or completely stop your sex life, and can lead to distress, a loss of confidence and relationship problems. It may even prevent you starting a family.

The condition can also make gynaecological and pelvic examinations difficult or impossible.

The symptoms can vary from one woman to the next. Some women are unable to insert anything into their vagina because it closes up completely, while others can insert a tampon but are unable to have penetrative sex, and other women are able to have sex but find it very painful.

Essentially, you’re being cockblocked by your own god damn vagina.

Why you ask, have I chosen to blog about vaginismus of all things this time round?

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And I got fuck all qualms admitting that publically.

I suffered with vaginismus approximately  4-5 years ago and felt completely alone with it, fortunately it’s no longer an issue for me. Since then however, I’ve had several women make contact with me asking for advice, because as said before it’s still vastly under documented despite being one of the most common sexual dysfunctions among women.

Some people may read this post and think ‘…there goes Roks over sharing again’. But you need to take a step back and realise the irony in that statement alone. Like many mental health conditions and less understood physical health conditions (such as ME), they’re often brushed under the carpet or greeted with stigma – it’s only by talking about these conditions will we ever make any progress in educating people on them.

Divorcing couples

Making your other half feel like absolute shit, for not being able to do the one thing humans were born to do – fuck, just makes you an asshole.

Talking from my own experience, and from the experience of the women who’ve approached me; men can be complete pigs about the whole thing. They immediately take the fact we’re not physically able to have sex with them as a personal insult and cannot comprehend that it’s not as simple as just ‘doing it’.

As a heterosexual person, I can only talk from the perspective of a female-male relationship. However, vaginismus can occur via any form of penetration, not just ye’ old penis. In some extreme circumstances, women cannot even insert a tampon.

When it comes to sex. Men and women are completely different, and it frustrates the fuck out of me that this is often forgotten (from both genders). For most men, all it takes is a little visual stimulation to get in the mood for sex. Female sexuality however, is usually a little more complex.

Men are more like an on/off switch, where as women are more like one of those fancy dimmer lights ya posh aunts got.

With all the above in mind, maybe you can see why vaginismus is just another far-out ingredient being thrown into an already complicated concoction.

And this is why you guys should try a little harder at not making a woman feel like crap for something that’s completely out of our control. Quite often we’re just as frustrated as you are, only we have the added worries of;

  • Shit, why is my vagina not working?
  • Shit, is there something wrong with me?
  • SHIT, I’M IN SO MUCH PAIN RIGHT NOW!

That last one is a biggie. The pain is excruciating – it’s almost like a tearing pain up through your vagina, I’d often find myself doubled over, crying. Your muscles tighten so it’s like the man is hitting a solid wall. Going to the toilet afterwards is the worst, it would feel like my downstairs was on fire and the only way I could counteract it even slightly was to hold a cold compress to my foof.

It’s not fun.

It took a while for me to pluck up the courage to go to my Dr and talk about my vagina, then have said Dr look up my vagina. Then began the frustrating process of trying to figure out what the fuck was up with my vagina.

As vaginismus is so massively under documented, many Dr’s will either of not have heard of it, or it will take them a while of trying all manner of different things before they reach the question of ‘maybe it’s vaginismus?’

Your brain essentially looses control off your nether regions – evil dictator cunt comes in, bangs his flag down and drives your brain out.

I guess in a lot of ways it’s similar to erectile dysfunction, but we all know about erectile dysfunction and generally if it does occurs, it occurs later on in a man’s life – and it isn’t painful.  Where as with vaginismus, you could be a 21-year-old woman in your ‘peak’ whose suddenly not able to have sex… and nobody knows why.

Vaginismus is treatable, however it’s not as simple as popping a pill and everything working its way back to normal. Often it requires a course of sex therapy, which may include counselling, brief dynamic psychoanalysis, or CBT as well as treatments such as vaginal trainers and relaxation techniques.

FOCKERSMUM

I likened my experience to meeting Focker’s Mum out of Meet the Fockers. My psychosexual therapist was an absolute babe, but my god is it awkward talking about something so personal to someone you don’t know who themselves is so open about sex. For them, to then hand you a vaginal trainer (with weekly exercises) – you’re essentially being told to go fuck yourself each week by the NHS.

I don’t want to go into detail about my ‘recovery’ – my main aim as always is to educate and inform.

And I guess ask people to be a little more caring when their partner is dealing with vaginismus (or in fact any sexual dysfunction). The cause is often psychological, and trying to get to the root of what the actual ‘issue’ is will never be a short process. But it will be worth it in the end!

Much Love – My Vagina.

Silver Linings.

Challenging, enlightening, turbulent, euphoria, knackering, hedonistic, abandonment, trust, tenacious, frustration, upset, anger, positive, negative.

And so much more.

The last 2 months have been particularly testing for me. Finding the time to sit and process what has been an absolute shit storm of highs and lows, has just left me feeling clouded.

I want to point out, that as depressing as this post may read – right now in this moment I am feeling genuinely quite positive and productive; as is normal for the small hours of the morning spent alone. I feel like I can sit and reflect, and turn most into a positive. I feel like I can achieve absolutely anything, it’s exhilarating.

Hello intense emotions!

You have very intense emotions that last from a few hours to a few days and can change quickly (for example, from feeling very happy and confident in the morning to feeling low and sad in the afternoon).

So, to summarise the past few months for you curious souls.

  • Promises made by the NHS mental health service were continually broken, and have 100% lent to more instability and frustration for me – ironic much?
  • After waiting patiently for 8 weeks for my referral to the Personality Network to go through, I chased them and was informed that actually my referral was not sent through for another 3 weeks after I’d been told. Delaying my life even further (or so it feels). This is the exact pinpoint on where everything began to spiral out of control.
  • As a result of the former, I was signed off sick for a fortnight.
  • Many a broken promise was made in this time by duty nurses and managers who had ‘my best interests’ at heart. They’d either not call me back, or tell me ‘I was clearly in crisis’ and that they’d call back in the morning… and didn’t.
  • Subjective self-harm (it’s not all slit wrists, and sinked ships). Still just as bleak.
  • Frustrations and set-backs with work, I’d spend days doing naff all – feeling totally unaccomplished.
  • Indifference to my (now ex) partner at times for fear of suffocating him.
  • Feelings of abandonment, from work, the break-up and friends leaving Nottingham later this month.
  • Fear of change.
  • Waxing all my money, far too quickly.
  • Crippling anxiety that made be nauseous.
  • Making such a nuisance of myself, the duty nurse agreed to see me; where it came to fruition that my other referral (support to keep me in work) had never even been made.
  • Doubling from 150mg Lamotragine a day, to 300mg.
  • Made high-priority and began to see an inclusion key worker, to discuss ways to keep me in work, and reasonable adjustments with my managers.
  • Friendships lost.
  • Feelings of the reasonable adjustments not being met as everyone is so snowed under with work.
  • Further frustrations with work on what feels like total disregard for my career development.
  • Personality Network referral FINALLY made, to only then learn that it takes approx. 2 months for an assessment, then approx. another 2 to begin the course – bringing me to almost a year since my diagnosis.
  • Feeling emotionally defeated.
  • An invitation to begin ‘Recovery College’ in the new year.
  • 4 sessions promised to me by a duty nurse to see me through till December, laced with begrudging feelzys.
  • Complete and utter mental breakdowns.

Quite literally, what the fuck is going on – especially you NHS.

Yes, that’s me, dressed as a chav (I killed it) with a total look of confusion.

I really cannot fathom how much the service has changed in the 14 years I’ve been in and out the system. The last time I was ‘in’ was 2011/2012, and the difference between then and now is astronomical; and at a time I need them most – typical!

I’ve gone out and smashed it every weekend, in an attempt to bury my negative emotions in true hedonistic fashion. A short-team solution to a long-term problem. It’s been fun, but it’s certainly taken a toll on my body and mind.

What positives can I take from this?

  • I’m still here, I’m still breathing and I’m still kicking ass and making jokes even when I’m at my lowest.
  • I’ve built a very close friendship with Rachel; we’ve partied hard, but she’s also picked my head out my hands, wiped the tears from my eyes and told me to ‘fuck the fucking fuckers’.
  • Although mine and Jamie’s relationship didn’t work out, he’s been there through it all this year. I know I’ve got a friend for life, who also delivers a bangin’ pep talk when necessary.
  • I’ve made progress in my work, my first Alumni Board meeting is this weekend. This felt like it was never going to happen 2 months ago.
  • Work as usual have been very supportive and accommodating to my needs. Frustrations and doubts will always be there – as well as the times where we all feel overworked (thus leading to me feeling forgotten and overlooked).
  • I’ve begun seeing my inclusion key worker, who offers support with work.
  • I’ve been invited to attend ‘Recovery College’ where they offer short courses on things such as ‘Managing Anxiety’, ‘Mindfulness’ etc.
  • I’ve had a KILLER month, partying hard and double-weekenders; I don’t know how I managed it.
  • I’ve lost weight.
  • I installed a car light, ALL BY MYSELF.
  • The call centre next door have left.

I guess what I’m trying to show in a nutshell, is even at our shittiest points – we can see the silver linings if we choose to search hard enough.

I’m by no means anywhere near the end, but I’m doing my absolute best to have a positive mental attitude and I invite you to join me.

Life's A Ride Guys

You think what!?

Believe it or not, Vice managed to write a reasonably decent article for once.
However, before opening this article I warn anyone with BPD (or any similar MH issue) to steer clear of reading the comments, for your own good. Also, if you’re feeling a little fragile at the moment; maybe hold of reading the rest of my blog post until you’re feeling a little stronger.

VICE – What Is It Like to Date When You Have Borderline Personality Disorder?

Steady now, don’t fall off your chair – we aren’t being called manipulative, or the most damaging people you’ll ever have the displeasure of meeting… for once.

successmeme

I realise this article isn’t 100% balanced, as someone so lovingly commented ‘Do a balancing piece: interview people who have unwittingly dated someone with borderline personality disorder. It is a potentially life-ruining experience.’

However, I don’t think it’s unbalanced for that reason, I think it’s unbalanced in that it doesn’t give much of a perspective for males with BPD. Maybe it would be interesting to hear the perspective from someone who has unwittingly dated someone with BPD; however to go on to say it is a potentially life-ruining experience is a damaging point of view for all those with BPD.

The person who commented even went on to say ‘BPD are some of the most damaging people walking the planet. Show some coverage of the people they damage.’

Wow. And this guy thinks we’re the ones with issues?
The likelihood is, this guy has had a difficult relationship in the past with someone with BPD; hence his warped opinion. But to suggest that ALL people with BPD are some of the most damaging people walking this planet is fucked up. I get that people will feel passionate about a certain issue, if it’s involved them directly. However surely this person is a hypocrite in themselves when they suggest a more balanced article, yet fail to have a more balanced opinion themselves.

Kind of reminds me of a conversation I had with someone a few weeks back who believes all women are manipulative, based on purely their own experiences. But that’s another story.

facepalm

Also, just to add if people are bad, it’s because they’re bad – although a mental health issue adds an extra ‘layer’ so to speak our mental health issue doesn’t define what sort of person we are.

Going back to men with BPD not being given a platform, I agree. In fact, I agree that men generally aren’t supported as well with any mental health issue, as opposed to females (Wow – leads back into that same conversation I had a few weeks back, yet again).

That falls into gender stereotypes though, traditionally women have been portrayed as helpless, emotional house wives; whilst men the burly, breadwinners. This of course isn’t strictly true – especially not now in the 21st century. However, smashing these stereotypes is so big it can’t be solved overnight. Both men and women can be emotional, and can need help; just as both men and women can be strong and independent.

#notacrazyfeminist

I believe in gender equality, this includes within mental health. However, feminism is necessary until gender equality is achieved, feminism also recognises that there are issues in the world where men are more stigmatised than women.

I’ve flown a little off the mark there, going back to the public’s general perception on those with BPD, and it’s not a good one.

Just to clarify, as with anything I say I’m talking generally – I’m talking about norms, that doesn’t mean that by you reading this I’m attacking you and telling you this is how you feel because you fit that party. Some people seem to struggle with this.

When reading articles about the general perception of those with BPD, along with comments as well as the issues those with BPD have come across themselves from friends, family members and even medical professionals you’d think we’re the spawn of Satan.

Common words used to describe us are; manipulative, sadistic, controlling, drama queens, abusive, angry, spontaneous, deceitful , narcissistic, emotional, spoilt, selfish, temperamental and the list goes on.

Doesn’t paint a particularly good image of us does it? Many medical professionals are reluctant to diagnose BPD because they either don’t understand it or don’t want to deal with it. You often find you’re diagnosed with depression and anxiety, meaning you’re on a course of SSRI’s and CBT which isn’t right for you and more damaging in the long-term.

It’s like giving a fucking cancer patient treatment for leprosy.

My friend Elspeth summed it up perfectly.

As a BPD sufferer you are regularly told you’re spoilt, selfish, angry, spontaneous, over emotional, too sensitive etc. This is because people take feelings at face value. Not all feelings are true; but because we believe them due to the disorder, then others believe them to be true. We need to learn to question the behaviour and feelings of others, not just assume truth in the facade. (Taken from http://elspethvanderhole.blogspot.co.uk/)

I get why it’s confusing to someone who doesn’t have BPD, or doesn’t know anything about it. I also get why people grow frustrated with us. I don’t begrudge them for sometimes needing some space from us, we can be exhausting. But being a cunt about it, and tarring us with all these derogatory terms is bullshit.

bpdthinking

As ‘bad’ as we’re deemed to be or to deal with, it’s much worse to be in our shoes.

The above shows you quite simply why we’re appear to be so extreme with our emotions, there is no in between, there’s no build up to either a negative or positive emotion, it’s one or the other. Imagine jumping every few hours from intense elation to suicidal thoughts.

I could go on and on here, and writing this blog has left me thinking about many other avenues I want to discuss. But for now thank you to all of my friends and family who are understanding, who don’t take every emotion I feel on face value and deem me an asshole. Who don’t instantly jump to pointing out my personality flaws when they’re frustrated with me.

It can be knackering and I thank you for your patience and friendship.

Between A Rock & A Hard Place

It’s been 4 weeks… 4 long weeks since my last blog post.
Attempting to keep my head above the water since narrowly avoiding being signed off sick has, unfortunately been a full-time occupation for me.

Roks-Ann Roschana Underwater

DDT Photography

Quite the fitting photo, eh? I realise this image is not the best example of my modelling ability, although this photo is fairly old now and I underestimated how much of a challenge it is to hold a pose underwater. I do however, feel like I connect with the emotion in this image right now.

I feel like I’m drowning, but quietly enough for no one to notice. 

Almost as if I’ve accepted my fate, that I’ll be locked into these damaging, dark emotions for the rest of my life.

You have very intense emotions that last from a few hours to a few days and can change quickly (for example, from feeling very happy and confident in the morning to feeling low and sad in the afternoon).

You don’t have a strong sense of who you are, and it can change depending on who you’re with.

You have suicidal thoughts or self-harming behaviour.

You feel empty and lonely a lot of the time.

The above are symptoms of BPD that I identify most with right now (see ‘About BPD’ for a list of more symptoms). With the exception of I don’t appear to be flitting between varying intense emotions, as I normally am. The past few weeks have just been one long very intense episode of negative feels that I can’t claw my way out of.

Part of the reason I haven’t blogged, is because I didn’t want to indulge these emotions more than they needed to be. As much as writing can be a relaxing form of therapy for me, it can sometimes leave me wallowing in negativity.

I feel like I’m just existing. Slowly decaying, until my time comes. I don’t find pleasure in much at all right now, everything is pointless.

vendingmachine

I spend my day in a new role I can’t get to grips with, leaving at 5pm feeling unaccomplished to go home and vegetate on the sofa (completing nothing I told myself I would on the train home). I then go to bed ridiculously late, as I struggle to find the motivation to get off the sofa; which in turn means I’m late for work – it’s a viscous circle.

I don’t even remember the last time I washed.

Writing this blog, I feel is about the first thing I’ve accomplished in weeks – and I’m hoping that admitting to myself (and the world) that right now I have a real problem will give me the kick up the ass that I need.

asskick

And if it doesn’t? At least just give me a sniff and remind me to wash if I stink or not. And for gods sake, don’t tell me to ‘cheer up love’.

Spoons.

So today I officially ran out of spoons.

Spoon Theory
Everyone has those days, where suddenly it dawns on them how much they have to do, and how little time they have to do it in. The difference between each of us though is how we deal with it.

This is not to say that mental health issues or not, we aren’t allowed a moment to have a meltdown every so often – that’s just called being human. But it’s when your spoons start to run out more frequently, and your ability to bounce back starts to become near on impossible, does it pose a real issue.

I am fucking sick of my spoons running out.

I bet a few of you are asking yourself, what the heck is she talking about? She’s 100% lost it, she sounds like a bloody Rowntree’s Random.

I assure you I’ve officially lost my casserole.

The Spoon Theory

The spoon theory is a model used by some disabled people and people with chronic illness to describe their everyday living experience when their disability or illness results in a reduced amount of energy available for productive tasks. Spoons are an intangible unit of measurement used to track how much energy a person has throughout a given day. Each activity “costs” a certain number of spoons, which might not be replaced until the next day. A person who runs out of spoons loses the ability to do anything other than rest. One of the tenets of the spoon theory is that disabled or ill people must plan their activities to ensure that every day is manageable, while healthy people have a “never-ending supply of spoons” and thus never need to worry about running out. Because healthy people do not feel the impact of spending spoons, they may not realize that chronically ill or disabled people’s considerations include mundane tasks such as bathing and getting dressed. Spoons are widely discussed within the autoimmune, disabled and other communities, but the concept of spoons is otherwise considered a neologism. (Extracted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spoon_theory)

Since discovering this theory a few days ago in a support group I’m a member of, I can’t stop thinking of each step in my day as a spoon.

It’s began to be adopted by those who suffer with mental health also, as the struggle is just as real. We may not be fatigued by a physical disability, but I can assure it’s exhausting by the constant effort to keep you head above the water.

For those who want a more in-depth example of the spoon theory, read this. It’s a short story explaining the theory, by Christine Miserandino who suffers with Lupus.

spoons
I don’t have enough spoons to function at the moment, I keep running out and breaking down. For example, yesterday I received an email from an external colleague letting me know that she would have to cancel a meeting, after an already challenging morning for me – most professionals would deal with this and move on to the next task. What did I do? I broke down in the middle of the office, whilst my line manager had to comfort me – it was embarrassing and mortifying for me.

You have very intense emotions that last from a few hours to a few days and can change quickly (for example, from feeling very happy and confident in the morning to feeling low and sad in the afternoon).

The above is one of the symptoms of BPD (see ‘About BPD’ for a list of more symptoms). At the moment, I’ve been stuck in a fairly long period (for me at least) of very intense negative emotions. I don’t ever really recall being completely happy, depression or anxiety has always been present – but to such an intense, unbearable degree? Not so much.

I’ve become stuck feeling low, frustrated, negative, stressed and suicidal for several weeks – the only sigh of relief I had from it all was at Secret Garden Party last weekend (and even then there was intense episodes of paranoia and anxiety) and episodes since have just left an even more bitter taste in my mouth.

When I get particularly stressed, as I am now – as I struggle to work out how the hell I’m going to manage my ever-increasing workload, with limited days in the office and next to no support from the NHS whilst I wait to begin my 15 month course of group therapy in a few months. I always end up feeling even more disconnected, unable to process the most simple tasks making my stress even worse as I fall behind. I’ve started having psychotic episodes (common misconception – this doesn’t always mean you’re seeing the devil), where I’m imagining things being said that have never happened; or seeing things, then double-taking and they’re not there. It’s so disconcerting and upsetting.

A suggestion has been passed by management that I sign off sick, as much as this may be appropriate I just can’t help thinking that taking a break, will only leave me to get more lost in my own thoughts and spiral further. What I really need? Support from the NHS, right fucking now. When I was told I didn’t think I could hold on another few months to begin group therapy, I asked to be referred to fit for work as I wanted to avoid being signed off and generally the turn-around on this is quick – because the government wants us in work and paying tax.

But I’m here a few weeks later still waiting for any sort of communication, getting worse and running out of all my spoons.

Please, if there is a big man in the sky – help me begin to turn next week around (after meeting with my line manager and psychiatrist). I wouldn’t wish being inside my head on anyone.

This smile is what I’m working towards.

sgp1

Childhood Trauma (Part 2)

It’s been 1 week since I made my last post, and I have to say I was overwhelmed by the amount of support I received; and how far my blog post reached despite only being my second – just over 200 unique visitors from across the globe! Humbled, and so excited! Thank you.

rok2

So, as I mentioned in the last post I wanted to discuss my feelings towards my bullies now, as some may of read it thinking I don’t go a day without thinking back to my school days. Not true.

To be honest, I rarely think about school, or my bullies. Unless something such as the Jorgie McMahon video pops up and triggers those memories, or say in therapy. What we experience in our younger years, cements us as a person today; whether we realise it or not. 

Sometimes I do think, what the bullies reckon to their actions now; or whether they even do? I know a few of my bullies, now have families. I bet they would be hurt too learn if their son or daughter was being bullied in school, and want to do everything in their power to stop it as a loving parent. But do they ever reflect on how they themselves acted in school? Do they ever wish they hadn’t treated me the way they did, now that they have a child? Or do they really just not give a fuck.

I could sit here and stir on these thoughts for days, when I pass people who bullied me in school; I generally feel nothing, and they generally don’t look me in the eye so I take that as they’re embarrassed of their actions but to proud too admit it. Do I want an apology? Probably not – despite it being good that they’ve realised what they did was wrong, and I’d accept their apology. What other conversation would there be to have? I’m not about to butter their conscience, for how they treated me in my younger years.

So, what are the common feelings and experiences of people with BPD?

If you have BPD you may have had a series of unstable and intense relationships, or felt the need to cling too long to damaging relationships. This may be because you feel insecure, alone or lack self-worth.

You may have a poor self image, feel that you don’t fit or belong, and find that your moods and feelings change rapidly. Therefore you may find social relationships difficult.

‘I have BPD and for me it feels like [I’m] a child being forced to live in an adult world. I feel too fragile and vulnerable for the world I live in’ (extracted from www.mind.org.uk)

I think the above points speak for themselves in relation to how I feel today, as a result of being bullied in school. (Though bullying is not the only factor, but I’ll talk about the others at a later date).

I didn’t hold a close relationship with them, apart from being their foe; but as a result of that I felt insecure, alone and lacked self-worth. And of course I have poor self image as a result of being bullied, and feel like I don’t fit or belong; but as I’ve grown older and my moods have grown more wild and unpredictable – one minute I can think I’m invincible, the next best thing since sliced bread and the next I may as well be pond life. I think I find this more exhausting than consistently thinking I was the latter in my early secondary years.

One of the symptoms of BPD is ‘you have emotions that are up and down, with feelings of emptiness and often anger’ – I think this resonates with me most, but once again without turning this post into a short novel; I will most definitely talk more about BPD in my next post including what the symptoms are.

feelings2

The next thing I wanted to discuss was how I felt Jorgie McMahon should of been dealt with, or in fact all bullies should be dealt with.

After the LiveLeak, Jorgie was targeted on social media, her phone number and address was leaked and her family approached. It got that bad after receiving thousands of death threats, she had to be kept in police custody. Don’t get me wrong, my first instinct is good – she deserved it. However, since when did two wrongs make a right? The people sending her death threats are, in my eyes, bullies also. I don’t disagree that she needed punishing for her actions, but this wasn’t the right way to go about it.

We have to ask ourselves, what made this person act in such a foul way? (And yes, I do ask this same question myself sometimes of my own bullies) What’s going on in their lives, that they feel they have to make somebody else suffer? What love and support are they being deprived off, to make them seek a reaction elsewhere? What figure of authority failed them? Whether it be a parent or teacher.

We’re all products of our own experiences.

As long as bad people exist, bad people will continue to be born into this world. And it’s only by stepping in, recognising that something isn’t right in this young person’s life and becoming a positive role model for them, someone to look up too and believe in. But also someone who will tell them when they’re wrong, will we start to stamp this recurring pattern out.

More needs to be done on educating young people on the consequences of their actions in later life, and this includes mentally. Crappy poster campaigns about ‘stop bullying’ do not work, you may as well stick something up about the art of watching paint dry.

  • Bring young, relatable ‘ex-bullies’ into schools who regret their actions to share their stories and how it affects them or their life now
  • Encourage positive role models for those who don’t have them, through figures of authority such as teachers
  • Discipline. If a bully gets off scot-free, then whats to say what they did isn’t right? When a school says zero tolerance they should mean it. Scrap detentions and exclusion. Have them complete some voluntary work with those less fortunate than them, or clean the school

Not everyone will agree with my opinion, and that’s okay. I think I’ve just scratched the surface, but I just feel there is so much that needs to be done. Especially in the age of social media, I cannot even comprehend how difficult it must be to be cyber-bullied on top of everything else, fortunately I more or less avoided this in secondary. You can say the internet isn’t real all you like, but the fact is it’s become a daily component of the millenia kids so it is real too them. Although the internet wasn’t always here for you and me, it was for them and that’s all they know.

Anyway, it’s 2 in the morning and I can feel myself coming apart. So, I’ll leave you with this – until next time.

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Childhood Trauma (Part 1)

I intended my next post to provide a little more information about BPD, however after watching a LiveLeak today and the long-buried feelings it unearthed inside of me I feel inclined to discuss.

To start with, I guess we should look at what causes BPD?

There’s no clear reason why some people develop BPD. More women are diagnosed with BPD than men, but it can affect people of all genders and backgrounds. However, most researchers think that BPD is caused by a combination of factors, such as:

  • difficult childhood and teenage experiences
  • genetic factors
  • your personality in general

Also, if you already experience some BPD symptoms, then going through a stressful time as an adult could make your symptoms worse. (extracted from www.mind.org.uk)

As with any mental health issue, opinions can differ on the causes, symptons etc from one medical professional to the next. However, this is the most formally recognised causes for BPD.

Unless you’ve been trapped on a desert island for the past day, you’ve probably read or heard about Jorgie McMahon.

If you feel able to stomach it, watch the video where she not only attacks two girls, but publically humiliates them also.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=515_1436807887

I cannot even describe the feelings that had been locked away deep within me, after watching this video. I felt sick to my core, I’d made the rookie mistake of watching this video during my lunch break at work as well. I had to leave the office and compose myself, as I just felt like I was going to vomit and cry at the same time.

I think what got me more, than the actual assault was the public humiliation factor. It’s never okay to assault someone, no matter what your age is – but for me the public humiliation brought a whole new level of perverseness to this particular incident.

Linking this back in with one of the causes for BPD, difficult childhood and teenage experiences I realised how experiences in my early secondary years had remained deeply ingrained on my life today. Only yesterday when speaking with a member of the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) did I challenge that counsellors always probed on ‘childhood trauma’ in my life and how I had always been very cool and distant about it. I felt like there was this obsession with trying to find out that an uncle had abused me, or my father beat my mother. It pissed me off.

Then I realised with the help yesterday, that when counsellors had previously been referring to childhood trauma, they meant teenage trauma also. (A great FYI, for anyone who doesn’t know this and is about to/or is going through the mental health care system at the moment). If only this had been made clearer to me earlier on in life, maybe I’d of had better results from counselling.

To cut a long story short – I was heavily bullied throughout my early secondary years. One incident (and probably the most serious) that I directly related this LiveLeak too, happened in Year 8. A girl (let’s call her Kathy) who had taken an instant disliking to me from the minute I started secondary, had made it her mission to make my school life a living hell. Up until this day, I’d been chastised at any possible moment by Kathy, and her friends; as well as assaulted. Kathy’s ‘social ranking’ within school meant a lot of the other kids jumped on board with this also – it was shit.

I’m sure many of you are familiar with a typical ‘school fight’ – you always knew when they were happening, as suddenly the entire playing field was more or less empty except for a crowd of a few hundred or so school kids heckling on a fight. Quite often it was me having the crap beaten out of me in the middle of this delightful and warm crowd of onlookers. A different girl had picked a fight with me, I felt like I was handling myself; until Kathy turned up, pulled the other girl of me and demanded that I kiss her hand. This was clearly her out to publically humiliate me, but in my bloodied confusion I did it – for some reason I thought she was here to help… then she punched me in the face.

She then locked my arms behind my back, and handed me around the crowd for each person to take a punch at me. Eventually they all went down on me, kicking and beating the living crap out of me, until I was knocked unconscious. When I came round, they were still booting me in my sides. So, I picked myself up and ran for nearest gate where I knew a security guard would be. I was there begging for him to help me, and he just looked straight through me as this crowd of kids laid themselves into me. I was knocked unconscious for a second time, and when I came round he was still stood there – watching, and doing nothing to attempt to stop them.

Thank fuck, the familiar green fences we see surrounding all schools in the UK had not been installed otherwise I don’t know what would of happened. I ran out of the school and jumped into the estate opposite, crying my eyes out, bloodied and struggling to make sense of what the fuck happened.

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How did it all end? I was put in isolation by my school for my ‘own protection’ cheating me out of an education I deserved, whilst the bullies got to sit through their classes. I’m pretty sure the security guard was never sacked, despite the promises of the headteacher to my parents and me. And the police were contacted, and the best they could do was issue the bullies with a caution… needless to say I had to put up with taunts for the next year or so – because who really pays attention to a police caution? My bullies couldn’t of given two shits!

This then links into an attribute of BPD, many BPD sufferers are inclined to view authority figures with intensified ambivalence, fear and rage as a result of being let down by authority figures in their childhood. A figure of authority could be a parent, teacher, older sibling etc. In my case it was the education system and the police/security.

I can think about these incidents in school now, and they rarely bother me. I could pass most of my bullies in the street without the blink of an eyelid. However, I would be lying if I didn’t say this hasn’t had a lasting affect on my life, however deeply rooted and it’s only rare cases like this LiveLeak where it suddenly becomes painful for me again.

There’s so much more I want to discuss on this topic, in particular what my feelings are towards the bullies now and how I think Jorgie McMahon should be dealt with – as I don’t agree with the tactics currently being used on social media. But I realise this is turning out to be quite the epic post, so for now I will end this post on a positive note with a track that’s been lifting my spirits a lot lately.

Misun – Eli Eli (Maduk Remix)

To be continued…

An Introduction.

Good morning starshine, the earth says hello!

My names Roksann, I’m 24 and I’ve been in and out of the mental health care system since I was 12 years old. I’m just as disconcerted by it all now, as I was 14 years ago.

So, a little background about myself?

I’ve suffered with depression (escalating into clinical depression and anxiety) since I was 12. One nutjob psychiatrist tried to tell me I showed the early signs of schizophrenia when I was 13 but fortunately my mother was there to protect me and bopped that one on the head – don’t believe everything medical ‘professionals’ tell you. That’s my first piece of advice to anyone new to the mental health care system reading this.

I’ve been too see so many counsellors, therapists, psychotherapists etc over the years through the NHS, college, charities etc I’ve lost count… and faith. None of them ever seemed too ‘do it for me’ bar a counselor I saw through a charity that I can no longer access and a woman that did EFT when I was at college many moons ago. I’ve been on Prozac in the past and all it did was send me west and kill my sex drive.

I gave up on getting help for a few years and just let it grow worse, until a significant event happened combined with no longer being able to cope alone. With the encouragement of my boyfriend, and the concern that my mental health was having a huge effect on my working life I went to see my GP. I was told I had anxiety and prescribed beta-blockers but I didn’t really see any benefits from taking them.

It’s at this point I chose to have myself referred to see a psychiatrist, on the back of speaking with a close friend around a year previous whose training to be a mental health nurse and suggested that I may have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). At the time, I thought nothing of it for several months; but when I finally came to doing some of my own research I was fairly convinced this is what I’d been dealing with for some time.

On seeing my psychiatrist he confirmed this – as well as telling me to stop taking the beta-blockers. I was also told much of the treatment I’d had over the years hadn’t helped, and only made my BPD worse… I’m still not sure how I feel about this. I’ve since been prescribed Lamotrigine, which is typically prescribed for those with bi-polar but there is some research to suggest it has benefits for those with BPD. I’m still not 100% decided on it, though it must be doing something as every time I’ve forgotten to take it for a few days (and subsequently cold turkeyed myself) I’ve had some quite significant breakdowns or outbursts.

I’m on the waiting list for distress management (similar to DBT), having just had my assessment today after waiting 2.5 months.  Since finding out I’ve got BPD and having to cope with next to no help, apart from the Lamotrigine; it has meant the past few months have been possibly the most trying for me. That combined with telling almost anyone you have BPD sends them into a frenzy, thinking you’re either about to chuck yourself of the top off a building, or push them.

Why?

So, I have been meaning to start a blog for some time now, having always expressed myself better in words. Where I’m able to sit alone, without any distractions and properly articulate myself onto paper without letting my emotions take over and devalue the points I’m trying to make.

1. I guess I needed a space, where I didn’t feel as judged as I do when I loose my shit on Facebook. Many interpret these outbursts, as attention seeking – which couldn’t be any further from the truth. For me those thoughts, are only more damaging for me in my recovery. I need somewhere to think out loud and set my thoughts out in front of me.

2. I also suppose I wanted to help my friends and family understand me. I don’t do a very good job of it, and I also appreciate how difficult it can be to work me out – when I’m going from 0-60 in what feels like 5 seconds flat. Those suffering with personality disorders have a proclivity for unstable interpersonal relationships. I’m not here for a ‘woe is me’ parade, as much as my disorder is part of me. It doesn’t define me, and I know there’s a lot I need to work on in both areas.

3. I want to help those who’re going through the same shit storm as me, especially those who’re new to the mental health care system. As previously mentioned, I’m still pretty disillusioned with it all; however I can’t imagine how difficult I’d find it if I was only entering it now. I don’t want someone to feel as alone, as I did and still do. It’s miserable, and sometimes it just takes knowing someone else feels the same as you to help you remember that you’re not alone.

4. It will not all be doom and gloom. I want this to be a place where I can share my successes (as well as those close too me), reflect on the positives in life and talk about what makes me happy. I want to document my modelling, my work life and my involvement with FEROX Clothing.