I Swear It’s Not Contagious

Now, while the days and months following my catastrophic episode are a bit more uplifting than that entire last post, I should advise that this is not a fairy tale. I don’t get the guy in the end and I’m not a war hero coming home from some epic, gladiatorial like battle. That does not make my story any less valid or important.

My second day in the unit is when everything begins to get much more clear. It was the first time I had been truly lucid in quite some time. I went to breakfast awkwardly, checked the group schedule awkwardly, and went to every group awkwardly (at first). Medication regimens were assigned and I was given a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder, a diagnosis that was hard for me to understand at first, and even harder for me to explain to other people. But the people in the unit with me didn’t need an explanation and I discovered how easy it was to fall in love in seven days. Of course, I don’t mean romantic love. But before that moment, there was always a part of me that no one could ever get close to. Not because they didn’t want to, not because they didn’t try. But because, unless you also suffer from one of these insidious comorbid illnesses, you honestly will never be able to understand entirely. So being surrounded by people who had been living their lives so similar to the way I had been living mine was refreshing. It was the first time in my life that I had ever truly been understood by another human being and we bonded. We bonded over silly bed noises and getting the last of the coffee. We bonded over emotions and life experiences. Some I still talk to and some I may never see again but I carry a piece of each of them in my heart every day.

When I first left, everything was being seen through a brand new pair of eyes. I finally understood myself and was willing to forgive my mistakes made while still asleep. I made the changes necessary to keep my happiness at a healthy level. Unfortunately, the illness, not unlike an auto-immune nightmare, begins to attack certain pieces of me until I barely know they exist anymore. In the unit, my bad days were guided to “okay” days with honest friends and sympathetic leaders. In the real world, its much harder to find that guidance when you’ve only just learned to look for it. Mood disorders come with such a stigma that it’s terrifying to ask for directions. In the months following my disaster, I feel like I’ve lost just as much as I did before, albeit for different reasons, each still hurting just as much. Each still giving my illness the validity it so desperately needs to carry on.

Every day is a struggle with the BPD. The poor impulse control makes it almost impossible for me not to turn just about anything into an addiction. The intense emotions expanding far beyond my own self; feeling euphoric when things are good with just a slight sense of dread that armageddon is just around the corner. The constant identity crises; who am I really? Where do I belong? And do I really belong there or have I simply created a false persona because I wanted to belong there? The severe fear of abandonment that only strengthens with each loss I experience. I spend so much time trying not to define myself by my illness that, at this point, I’m pretty sure the only person I’m still trying to convince is actually myself. I assume that as soon as someone discovers the littlest secret about my disorder, suddenly it means they know it all and I feel so uncomfortable that I become physically ill over it. My sick brain presents itself in every physical way it can and I can’t function some days.

So in light of recent events, I’ve decided to finally come out with it all. If I’m open about it then it’s not as likely to be used against me and maybe, when I’m in bed at night not sleeping, it won’t be because I’m terrified that someone knows something. Maybe I won’t have panic attacks at the thought that someone might have seen something I didn’t want them to see. Maybe I’ll help someone. Maybe it’ll be me.

If you were looking for a happy ending to this story, I’m sorry to disappoint you. But I did mention that this wasn’t a fairy tale. Maybe someday it could be. Maybe right now, there’s no happy ending because it isn’t over.


Suicide Is(n’t) Painless

It’s been a whole year and a few months since I’d even thought about this portion of my life I had promised I would be so dedicated to. To be honest, for a few minutes I couldn’t remember the site altogether. The last post would imply that things were not all sunshine and rainbows and the rest of the year really didn’t shape up to be any better.


Obviously, there was the breakup. Not only had I convinced myself I was going to marry this person, I was also in an awkward situation with my health. My lady doctor had discovered the presence of pre-cancerous cells in my cervix and it took a lot of testing and time to figure out if this was going to develop into a full blown cancer diagnosis. As one might imagine, I wasn’t feeling so chipper in the bedroom which lead to my apparent “unappreciation” for my someone special. And while most of that isn’t really relevant to the rest of the year, it meant that I began it with an extremely heightened sense of abandonment. This would become very prevalent later, I would discover.

After the breakup there was the hallmark birthday gone uncelebrated for someone that I would never have the opportunity to truly know and love but that’s another story for another topic. To put it simply, I was experiencing quite a bit of loss. But not enough. So come March, the universe decided to take my beloved job away too. I was blindsided and I lost my team, my friends, and my comfort in my field all at once. Somehow, however, I was still above the water and I began to tread, completely unaware of the fact that my legs would eventually become so exhausted that they would disappear entirely. After months of being blacklisted and ignored by potential employers, I found myself falling in with people that seemed to take everything away. Unemployed? Perfect! More time to party with the crew! Out of cash? No worries! We always have an excellent supply of booze and smokes to share. Sad? Come hang with us! We’ll relate to you so hard, you’ll have the opposite of an existential crisis. Not to mention the (eventually very empty) job offer in content writing and the promise that I would rise above and beyond in something that I thought I really loved.

For a few months, I felt okay. Things weren’t ideal but I was okay. I missed my job. I missed my friends but I loved my new ones. They were intriguing and talented, and each one somehow maintaining such uniqueness. I found instant connections with these people and they made me feel like I was something…just, something. I didn’t feel like a waste of space and they would make a point to be sure that I felt okay. I would have trusted them with my life. Until the day I needed to and everyone had gone.

That was the week I tried to kill myself. I’d wrapped myself up too deeply with some of the group and not enough with the others. Everything had gotten mixed up and I did what I do best; I pushed the Eject From Life buttons on those I felt I needed the most. This way, they could walk away and I could prove that I was right all along. Everyone leaves and no one wants to be around to see me through the hiccups. They wait for the crash and bail. They don’t even call for help anymore. In the days after my initial implosion, the realization that they really had walked away from me started to burrow its way through my chest. The emptiness sat on my lungs and I couldn’t breathe. I self-medicated so heavily that I don’t even remember the days or events leading up to my decision to say “fuck it”. I remember taking a metric fuck-ton of benzodiazepines (which are apparently really awful for people with a major depressive disorder; you’d think my psychiatrist would have caught that while prescribing my Xanax alongside my ANTI-DEPRESSANT) and soon after, not really giving a shit about anything else. I didn’t NEED to relate to those people anymore. And this way, no one could ever damn me for my mistakes. No one could define me by the things I can’t control. I would just slip away in the night and the world would go on, because that’s what it does.

At some point, I had a thought that made me feel guilty for what I had done. And while I laid on my bed, empty bottle in one hand and cell phone in the other, I decided that maybe I didn’t need this just yet. Maybe I really hadn’t done everything I could have to try and fix this mess that was my life. So a friend of mine drove really far to fetch me in all my pathetic glory and took me to a place where they asked me too many questions. Apparently, I didn’t give them the answers they needed because I vaguely recall being placed in an ambulance en route to an actual hospital. I remember feeling like I was having a panic attack, except more severe than I had ever experienced before in my life. That “brick on my chest” feeling was so much more intense than I had remembered. Turns out, this was a result of the medication I had taken shutting down my respiratory system.

They managed to detox the benzos and the first 24-48 hours after that are still pretty fuzzy. I remember them sedating me and me feeling like it was really weird that they could safely sedate someone who had just overdosed on sedatives. I remember thinking that was funny. And then immediately being terrified because I knew that the next however many days were going to consist of my having to bare my soul to myself and figure all of this out. I have never wanted to run so far from myself before in my life. I remember my chest hurting like it had never hurt before in my life. And I remember missing those people, the ones who turned away at the first sign of trouble, like I had never missed anyone before in my life and hating myself for missing them.

I still kind of hate myself for missing them.