Trauma and Memory Loss

Hey everyone! So I haven’t written a blog post in a while. Why? Well, my brain malfunctions on a daily basis, I’m on my knees crawling through a psychology degree and trying to work enough hours to pay my bills all at the same time. It’s a struggle. But I want to be posting weekly again, so that’s what I’m going to do.

Trauma is something I’ve only recently been learning more about. It’s something that has become a huge part of my life. I guess it always was but I just didn’t realise it. I lived in a house with an abusive man for 20 years. When me and my mom and brother finally left 2 years ago, that’s when my journey began to start unpacking my entire life up to this point. The last day I saw him, he didn’t say a word to me and little did I know that that would be the last time I’d see him for 2 and a half years (at this point). The day we left was the first day of the rest of my life but it was a damn struggle, here’s why…

When you finally leave an abusive and traumatic environment, you have NO idea of the impact it’s been having on you day in and day out. Little things I wouldn’t even notice because it was so mundane to me, so normal. I still find myself sneaking around terrified of making too much noise, terrified to even put the kettle on or be in the shower too long. I find myself speaking in a hushed voice all the time, stressing if I’ve left a dirty dish on the side for longer than 5 minutes and always on edge when someone’s about to come home. But the thing is, I have no reason to feel this way anymore. I’m away from him. I’m safe. Physically, you can disconnect but mentally? That takes work, a LOT of it.

Over the past 2 years I’ve been working my ass off trying to become more self aware. I’ve been trying to dilute my entire life story up to this point just trying to gage some kind of understanding of who I am, why I am the way I am, what I want from life and how I’m going to get there (anyone with BPD knows that’s a struggle). Doing this took me to some of my lowest lows because gradually, more and more memories are resurfacing. Things I had completely forgotten about. Nights he’d come home and lash out, drunkenly spewing hatred at me and blaming me for all of his problems. Nights I’d lock myself in my room and hide in the corner, hands over my ears just trying to drown out the shouting. I lived on eggshells for 20 years and no amount of words can describe just how much of a hell hole it was.

Memories resurfacing is difficult. It’s exhausting. It’s down right cruel in some ways. You sort of come to terms with the idea of not remembering huge chunks of your life because in a way, it’s easier to be like that. But the brain doesn’t care about what’s easy, it cares about what’s real. So when you’re having flashbacks of these events at 3 in the morning, hyperventilating and praying it’s going to stop at some point soon, it’s difficult to believe that that is in any way beneficial to you.

However, it is. I promise you it is. I’m still at the very beginning stages of my journey. Today I went to see my psychiatrist and I’ve been referred for trauma counselling. I’m excited and scared. I’ve been working on my own mental health everyday for 2 years now, identifying my triggers and just trying to understand who I am. It’s a scary concept having to relive all of your darkest deepest memories. The memories that had you hurting yourself at age 12 and planning your suicide at age 13. But it’s so necessary. You have to unpack it, organise it, deal with it, and put it away again. Easier said than done I know but I’m slowly starting to accept that as that’s what this is going to have to be. I’m terrified, but I’m ready.

I’m ready to start living life. I’m tired of spending every single day in so much emotional pain that life doesn’t seem worth it. I’m tired of wasting days and days on end stuck in my own little bubble. This world, although it has its faults, is such a beautiful and amazing place to be. There’s so much to discover and learn. So many things to smile about. I hope I find my reason to smile soon.

I’m going to round off here. I appreciate this is a short blog post, but I’m still getting back into the swing of things. I need some time to improve my writing skills and well, tbh, my brain isn’t coming up with many thoughts right now but I’m okay. I will be okay, and so will you.

Go outside today; even just for a minute. Smell the fresh air, hear the birds sing, feel the breeze on your skin. Appreciate the simplistic beauty of everything around you. It doesn’t need to try to be as amazing as it is, and neither do you.

Speak soon, BorderlineAntoinette

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The Beauty of Social Media

I first made a private twitter account intended for ranting and raving when I was 13 years old. This also happened to be around the time my depression, anxiety and eating disorder began to infiltrate my world and turn everything and everyone I once knew and loved into strangers in the night; cold, distant memories. I had no one to talk to. Looking back, I probably could have reached out but I was too scared to. I didn’t know I was “sick”. I don’t think anyone does until those around you start noticing and pointing things out. I remember my friend noting that she hadn’t seen me laugh in weeks and that I looked pale, tired, lost. I was.

I used twitter as a way to let it all out and find others who felt the same as I did and trust me, there was no shortage. It seemed I had stumbled into a whole other world filled with pre teens and mid teens venting their deepest darkest secrets to complete strangers on the internet. Our parents tell us all our lives to be careful who we speak to, stranger danger and all that. But what happens when those strangers become your best friends? What happens when the very people your parents want to protect you from are your only source of comfort and understanding?

This was the case for me. I had never been close to my dad for reasons I will probably delve into one day, but today’s not that day. My mom on the other hand was just that, a mom. She cared for me, loved me, provided for me, worried about me, all the things moms are good at. However despite all this, I never felt I could talk to her about my deteriorating mental health. At first I simply didn’t want to but years down the line when I did, I realised there were much deeper issues there as to why I felt I couldn’t. Again, we’ll save that for another day.

Looking back at 13 year old me fills me with so much pain and sadness it’s almost unbearable. Partially because I didn’t know it was possible for someone so young to be in so much emotional distress every waking minute but also because that was the beginning of it all. There had been signs and symptoms for years leading up to this but age 13 was when everything really came crashing down. It was the beginning of a very long, hard journey with mental illness that I still very much deal with today, age 22. I was suicidal, self harming daily, not eating, purging and just numb. Numb numb numb. Every single day was just another blank canvas but I’d ran out of paint. There was nothing I wanted to say, do, feel, see, be. I felt as though the entire world was black and white and I was a ghost floating through just praying I weren’t noticed.

The friends I’ve made on twitter through the years have supported me through so much. Being able to hop on my phone at any point during school, college, work, or at home and type out exactly how I felt at that moment and have others relate and talk back to me made the world of a difference. I’ve spent years feeling so lonely. Having twitter had genuinely been the only thing that has kept me alive for this long. I’m unbelievably grateful for the mental health community and I see so much beauty in it. We are all strangers in real life but through the simplicity of a social media app, we’ve become an army. A family. People who understand each other’s struggle and don’t judge or criticise when someone feels they’re unable to work, when they claim benefits, when they relapse, when they end up in hospital, when they go MIA again. We don’t judge because we understand. And to those “normies” who call it attention seeking when I tweet that I’m suicidal, fuck you.

Because you don’t know how it feels to be so utterly alone that the only solitude you can find is on an app. I know it probably sounds silly to some people. But we have to do what we have to do to survive in this world, and life with a mental illness makes that survival 100x more difficult.

The reason I’m writing about this today is because I realised how much time I spend on twitter and how I’ve made some absolutely amazing friends from all around the world on there. People I talk to every day and have no idea what I’d do without them. In my real life, I don’t have many friends. So these messages back and forth between myself and others who have been there too make the days just that little bit brighter. If you’re one of those people, thank you and I love you.

Anyway, this was more of a random chat than anything else. I’m still getting used to this blogging thing. I will be blogging once a week from now on, and starting a YouTube channel soon. I hope whoever’s reading this knows they are not alone. We all walk this earth together and face challenges each day. You’re beautiful and so worthy of an equally beautiful life. No matter what happens, don’t forget to come up to breathe.

Speak soon,

borderlineantoinette

The Unforgivable, Unfillable Void

Hello! This is my first blog post. I considered writing a sort of ‘get to know me’ post but figured I would get straight down to the point of me creating this blog, my mental health and the daily struggle my illnesses cause me.

I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in May of this year. I have to say that it came as no surprise to me. I see so many people receive the diagnose and say “I had no idea! What even is that?” Well, for me it was different. As I have friends with BPD, I had familiarised myself with it a couple years prior to my own diagnosis. Whilst researching, something struck a chord with me and I was baffled by how strongly I related to each symptom of the disorder. I watched numerous documentaries on it (not that there are many out there) and it all seemed to fit into place. Now I am not a self diagnose-er and never have been, but I do believe we know our own minds better than anyone else ever can. So when I spoke to my psychiatrist, I brought up my concerns and by the next appointment after an assessment, BOOM. You have Borderline Personality Disorder.

Instead of talking about every symptom of BPD and how they affect my every day life, I’m just going to focus on the now, the present. What is the most prominent horror in my spaghetti brain right now? The void. The unforgivable, unfillable void. I’m sure if you have BPD or other mental illnesses you know what I’m talking about. That chronic sense of emptiness, that longing for a home you’ve never known, that deep bellowing pain that resonates as a numb echo as you auto pilot through each day. Right now, as I write this, I’m sat on my bed in silence, facing a blank wall wondering how anyone can possibly spend 90-100 years of life never filling that void. I suppose this is why the suicide rate of those with BPD is so high. Never mind the never ending mood swings, emotions amplified by 100 and the trauma that usually comes with it, hands held swinging side by side. How can anyone be expected to live an entire life time never really feeling fulfilled? I don’t have an answer to this right now and I worry I never will.

At the young age of 22, I feel as though I’ve lived a thousand lifetimes. Maybe mental illness from a young age ages you. I know that my somewhat troubled childhood and torturous mind have aged me way beyond my years. Physically and mentally, I’m tired. I feel like I should be baking cookies for my grandkids who are popping round any minute. Alas, they are not, I’m 22 years old with the back pain and life experience of a 87 year old woman. I’m not sure people who are blessed enough to live a life without severe mental illness understand how much it stunts you in life. There are so many opportunities and chances I’ve had or could’ve had but didn’t due to my debilitating conditions. I suppose it all comes back down to that chronic emptiness, presenting questions such as what is the point? Why try when it’s not going to change what’s going on inside? Why bother doing anything when staring at the wall for 4 hours brings as much excitement as jumping off the tallest building in the world?

I’m surprised I could come up with this many actual human words today considering my totally alienated state but I’m glad I did. Hopefully my next post will be a lot longer and a lot more in depth but hey, you get what you’re given.

I hope any and everybody who reads this knows just how important you are, just how wonderful you are, and that no matter how hostile your inner dialogue gets, don’t forget to come up for breath.

Speak soon,

borderlineantoinette