Welcome to the first day of Shattering Stigmas! From now until October 22 I’ll be highlighting voices from the book community on mental health. I’m co-hosting this event with Taylor from Stay on the Page, Shannon from It Starts at Midnight, and Amber from YA Indulgences so make sure to check their blogs out each day to see different content.
Content Warnings: minor self-harm, mention of blood, mention of disordered eating
7:30am – My partner wakes me up to say goodbye as he heads off to work. As much as I’m not a morning person, I really do love when he does this. I quickly go back to sleep.
8:00am – Alarm goes off. Ignore and go back to sleep.
8:15am – Second alarm goes off. Ignore and go back to sleep.
9:00am – Third alarm goes off. Ignore but stay awake and attempt to gauge mood. I’m really tired, but that’s nothing new. Mood is pretty neutral.
9:55am – Actually get up. Make coffee and open laptop.
10:00am – Start work. 4 out of 5 of my work days are spent at home. This is an ideal situation for me, because I find it really difficult to get up early and make myself presentable. I’m so grateful to have a full-time job where I can work from home, because otherwise I’m not sure whether I’d be able to work at all. This isn’t unusual – this study suggests that nearly half of people with BPD are unemployed. Our moods can be so changeable (I can feel extremely depressed one minute, and then literally five minutes later feel on top of the world) and normal workplace support isn’t really up to the challenge.
10:30am – Take morning meds. In the morning I take an antidepressant, a beta blocker (this suppresses the physical symptoms of anxiety such as rapid heart rate) and my birth control. I’ve gotten into a really good habit of remembering to take my meds, which is helpful. If I miss just one day, my moods get extremely volatile.
11:00am – Realise that I haven’t eaten anything yet, so make breakfast – probably cereal. I’ve had an eating disorder in the past, so I’m always on the lookout for any disordered behaviour around food. This is one of my co-morbidities – basically one of my other mental health conditions. BPD often comes with other mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Today I genuinely just forgot to eat breakfast, so that’s fine.
1:00pm – Work is going well! I’m writing blog posts for my company’s blog, which I really enjoy. Time is flying by, which is great. I find it almost physically painful when I’m bored at work. I eat a quick lunch.
3:00pm – Go to the doctor’s office. I’ve recently moved house, so I need to get set up with a new doctor. I’m really nervous, because there can be a lot of stigma attached to BPD. We’re often accused of being manipulative and dangerous. Some doctors actually refuse to see patients with my diagnosis.
3:05pm – I’m feeling very anxious as I wait for the doctor to see me. Despite my medication, my heart is pounding and the worry is rising in my throat. I realise that I’ve been picking at my nails (a type of self-harm that soothes me when I’m feeling bad) and have made myself bleed. But I can’t feel the pain at all. The world around me feels very hazy, almost as if I’m looking at it through a smeared camera lens. I’m probably dissociating. This is a common part of BPD, and one that I’ve experienced quite a few times. I basically detach my mind from my body when I’m stressed as a way of coping. I immediately text my partner, who goes through a couple of grounding exercises with me to help me feel better. This includes having a drink of water and focusing on the sensation, as well as pinpointing different objects in the room. This helps a bit.
3:10pm – The doctor calls me in. Luckily, she is extremely kind, and helps me get set up with the local mental health services. I feel relieved, and a bit silly. The extreme reaction of five minutes ago feels very out of proportion to the situation, now. I’m no longer dissociating, which is good. It’s pretty dangerous for me to dissociate when I’m out and about, because I sometimes can’t figure out where I am.
4:00pm – Head to pharmacist to pick up my prescriptions. I only have to pay for three this time, which is pretty good. However, I soon realise that the doctor only gave me enough meds for 28 days. I make a mental note to see if I have to make another appointment in a month. I hope not – it’s a real pain to head to the doctor every month. However, sometimes doctors do this to make sure that I’m not hoarding medication.
5:00pm – Back home now. Back to work.
6:00pm – My partner comes home from work. He immediately asks how I’m feeling. I had honestly forgotten about the dissociation, and had to think really hard to figure out what he was talking about! This is normal for me. I feel so many strong emotions, so I think one of my coping mechanisms is just to forget about them.
6:30pm – Finish work.
7:00pm – Help my partner with dinner. We’re working really hard together to try and make our relationship more equal in terms of doing chores. When I’m feeling horrendous it is very difficult for me to have the energy or the motivation to do anything, let alone household chores. Because I’m doing relatively well at the moment, we’re trying to increase my household responsibilities. This makes me feel a lot better about myself. I make a mental note to discuss that with my therapist.
8:00pm – Tidy up the flat and help partner with the dishes.
9:00pm – Watch something silly with my partner. I love snuggling up with him with a cup of tea. We’re currently re-watching old episodes of Buzzfeed Unsolved, so I’m feeling very happy and content. I’d love to crystalise this moment and be able to jump in and out of it whenever I wanted!
10:00pm – Take evening meds. This is when I take my antipsychotic/mood stabiliser, which is probably my most essential medication. I really can’t miss a dose, otherwise I’d feel the consequences of it in the morning. This is sometimes frustrating, because I can’t make spontaneous evening plans, such as staying over at a friend’s house. I can’t take it in the morning, either, because it would make me very sleepy.
11:00pm – Bedtime and cuddles with my partner.
This is a relatively good day for me! If you’d like to read more about my BPD, I have a series on my blog called Mental Health Monday which explores my diagnosis and many other aspects of my mental health. I can also be found at What The Log on Twitter and Instagram, where I talk about books!
If you’d like to know more about BPD as a mental health condition, I’d recommend going to the NHS or Mind websites. And if you’re in need of help, here is a list of helplines that might be of assistance.
Want to win two mental health related books? Enter through the Rafflecopter form and good luck!
- Shattering Stigmas: Hindsight is 20/20: How I Missed All the Signs by J.L. Tate
- Shattering Stigmas: Author Interview with Candace Ganger
- Shattering Stigmas: The War Within by Tamara Basic
- A Personal Essay by Dana from Devour Books with Dana
- Review: By Any Means Necessary by Candice Montgomery
- Author Interview with Ronni Davis
- Up All Night for Suicide Prevention by Lindsey Turnbull
- On Perfectionism as a Debut Author by Zack Smedley
- Jamie at Books and Ladders’ Review of Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes
- Handholds for in the Dark by Heidi
- Autism and How It Intersects My Chronic Depression and Anxiety Disorder by Mina from Bookish Enby
- Ted Revolutionizes the Toaster by Anonymous
- How My Mental Illness Effects Me as a Reader and a Blogger by Amber from The Book Bratz
- Accepting Help by Shon from Books and Bugs