Saturday, December 22, 2012

Transference

The partial hospital program that I'm in has a 6 week limit, no one can stay any longer than 6 weeks.  I'm having some dysregulation about this right now.  In the past 11ish years, I've probably had about 15 different therapists, a few I liked, only a couple I really connected with.  My current social worker in the partial hospital program is awesome.  I feel super comfortable talking to her, and she really seems to understand me.  Even though every time I have an appointment with her I go in thinking that I have nothing to talk about, I'm always able to talk, cry, get some good work done, and learn something about myself and my illness. She knows me well and knows what I need.

Now, I'm freaking out.  I only have about 3 weeks left in the program, and then I have to say goodbye to her.  I feel like I've really gotten attached to her, and really look forward to our sessions.  And, I'm starting to get really upset about the fact that in a few weeks I can't see her anymore.  So, now I've decided to just stop talking to her, to protect myself from the upcoming pain of having to leave.  I feel like it's so unfair!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Getting frustrated

Today was rough.  I started out with a pretty significantly depressed mood and large amount of anxiety.  Then, at partial hospital, we had an activity where everyone in the group had to give each person 3 compliments.  I can't stand compliments.  I can't stand attention.  I wanted to melt into the floor.

Then I had a half hour session with my social worker that ended up being an hour.  I really like her, she seems to be the only person who can get things out of me.  She told me she's concerned because it seems that just like last time, I'm actually getting worse in the program, not better.  I told her that I think the reason for this is that I had really awful, hurtful, nasty stuff buried deep, deep inside, and being at the program chips away at my mask little by little.  That in fact, I probably have to actually get a lot worse before I can possibly get better.  She agreed, and decided we should probably delay my discharge date, instead of moving it up like they were originally planning.

My trouble is that the partial hospital program is mostly all groups, and I don't know how to talk in groups.  I don't know when to interject, and I don't know what to say.  Now, I am able to add support and encouragement and advice to my peers when they are sharing, but I don't seem to be capable of sharing anything about myself and my struggles.  I have no idea where to begin, since my problems have really been lifelong.  I generally just like to hide in a corner and try to disappear.  I don't know how I can possibly get better when I want help, but hate attention and just want to be hidden and ignored.

I'm started to really really feel helpless.  Again, I feel like my problems are deep inside me, and actually are who I am....how can I get better when these issues have been ongoing for like past 20ish years and define most of who I am??

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A much needed, long delayed update

So much has happened....and yet I'm kind of still in the same place I was.

November 19 I ended up back in the hospital with active suicidal thoughts and a complete loss of impulse control, I couldn't stop self harming and kept wanting to push it further and further.  I was admitted to a unit with a very low functioning population.  I was there for 2 full weeks, making it a total of 4 weeks in the hospital out of 6 weeks (2 in, 2 out, 2 in again).  For the first week, there was not another patient I could even have a real conversation with.  While I found this a little upsetting and frustrating, I was kind of forced to be with myself and focus on myself.

Because I self harmed in the hospital, they made me wear hospital only gowns, eat only finger foods (no plasticware), no pens or pencils, no jewelry.  It was pretty embarrassing.  But, the thing that disturbed and unsettled me was that when I was first going to the hospital, I was in a deep, dark, terrible, horrible, miserable depression.  When I got to the unit I just became completely numb and slept for a few days.  A week in, I felt good.  Even for days after discharge I felt good.  This confused the crap out of me because I knew there was no way that I could actually be feeling good so quickly.  I figured that everything must have just been pushed down and hidden well under the surface waiting to explode when I got stressed.

After discharge, I went back to the partial hospital program, and all the intense therapy and treatment is starting to unleash some of those things that are buried deep, and creating some serious emotional dysregulation.  Now I'm beginning to feel like it's going to be impossible to actually face and handle all of my buried emotional trauma.  It's soooo deep seated and been part of me for so so long, it all seems insurmountable.  The new DSM 5 will describe personality disorders as adaptive failures.  That feels pretty negative and final to me.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

In the hospital...

Sneaking this message on my snuck in cell phone during visiting hours. I'm back in the hospital. Don't know for how long. Hopefully I'll be back to blogging when I get home. Take care all!!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Self Loathing

I apologize in advance to anyone who might actually read this, for this is likely to be a very negative and miserable blog post.

I've been thinking a lot about my self esteem, or lack thereof, or more accurately my complete and utter self loathing.  I hate everything about myself.  I hate the way I look, I hate the way I act, I hate the way I feel, I hate the way I think, I hate the way I behave, I hate the way I talk.  Seriously, I hate EVERYTHING about myself.

So...how am I supposed to "recover?"  How does one find the motivation to get better when they don't care about themselves at all?

Well...why did I go to the hospital when I felt that I was going to kill myself?  Why didn't I just attempt?  Because of my wife.  Because of my baby brother (who's really not a baby anymore but will always be a baby to me).  I don't value myself at all, but I value my loved ones above all else.  In fact, to me, I always come last, even after complete strangers or people I don't even like.  So, I feel it's better for me to suffer in complete and total misery than to hurt them by offing myself.  But, then part of my brain tells me that they'd really be better off without me, and I start to consider and believe that more and more, and BAM, I end up in the hospital.

Anyway, back to my original thought.  Is it possible to ever get better when you hate yourself and feel completely worthless?  Probably not.  So I think this is probably going to have to be my first major struggle.  So, of course, this became the topic of conversation in my last group of the day today at partial hospital.  Then, I expressed my views of myself and how I truly and honestly am worthless and should always come last, and the facilitator focused on that for like the entire session.  Then, the other members of the group kept addressing me and talking to me and telling me how much they appreciate and value me.  These people just fucking met me!  I wanted to die.  I wanted to melt into a puddle.  I wanted to run out of the room and never go back.  But...I stayed, extremely uncomfortably, but I stayed.  That has to mean something, right??

Sorry, now I'm really just ranting....maybe I'll form an actual thought here somewhere...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Feeling like a total failure

Since leaving the hospital, I've been semi-overwhelmed with the feeling that I'm completely weak and powerless, that I shouldn't have needed to be hospitalized, shouldn't need a medical leave of absence from work, and I should just be strong and working and taking care of things.  My wife and I were in the process of buying our first home before I went in, and now since I'm not working that's all going down the drain, and we're stuck in the less than stellar apartment we're currently renting.  I feel like I'm letting everyone down: my wife, my family, the realtor, and sellers, the attorneys, my bosses and coworkers.

Saturday is my best friend's birthday party, an annual crazy drunken bash that's the most fun we have all year, which we've really been looking forward to.  Now, my wife thinks I shouldn't go, that I won't be able to handle it, that I shouldn't drink on my meds, that I'll be miserable if I can't drink while everyone else is, and I'm likely to have a panic/anxiety attack.  Is she right?  Maybe.  But I feel like such a loser because of it.  What kind of pathetic idiot loser can't go to a simple birthday party??

And, now I feel like everyone is going to be treating me like a pathetic, fragile, little baby bird.  I overheard my mother telling my father the other day "DON'T UPSET HER!"  I feel like most people don't understand mental illness, and while they are trying to protect me and care about me, and maybe I do need a little more tender touch, I still want to be treated like a fairly normal person!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Distress (In)tolerance

I haven't ever had any actual DBT, but my wife did bring me a DBT skills workbook of which I read and worked through a few chapters while I was in the hospital.  I know that I NEED DBT, and I'm hoping that's where I'll end up after I finish this partial hospital program.  Anywho, the first couple of chapters in the book were on Distress Tolerance, where they give you a bunch of suggestions on how to relax and be present in the moment and tolerate distressing situations when you'd normally get ├╝ber stressed out.  Then you make your silly little emergency distress tolerance plan with nice ideas like deep breathing, bubble baths, burning scented candles, guided imagery....etc.

Then you get home from the hospital and encounter a distressing situation and freak out like the BPD you are.  Or, at least, that's what I do.  My lovely wife and I were going through boxes of old pictures today, and I picked a few that I wanted to scan and send to an old friend (aww, how sweet).  Well, my beautiful, expensive printer/copier/scanner decided to be a huge douche and not work right.  I tried to take a few deep breaths and troubleshoot the printer as well as I could, but my distress level rapidly, rapidly escalated.  Then, I realized that my cute little emergency distress tolerance plan is bullshit and all I want to do is SI and scream and cry and throw a tantrum and hate the world.

Looking back, I think I've always had a very low level of distress tolerance.  I would always get angry, stomping around, slamming doors, crying and screaming.  I am completely unable to tolerate when things aren't right to me (wow, I sound like such a brat!).  Things that annoy me or frustrate me quickly become unbearable.  Freshman year of college I went completely Office Space on my printer that would never work properly, ending up beating the crap out of it in my dorm room and then laying crumpled on the floor hysterical crying.  This is not normal.

I hate when things (or people) don't work the way they should or do things the way they should.  It drives me completely and totally insane.  And, I hate myself, so generally I take this out on myself, by cutting or berating myself, etc. and then completely crumble, freak out, and cry like it's the end of the world.  So...maybe those silly little emergency distress tolerance plans aren't actually so "silly."  Maybe I should add blogging to mine...

Emptiness

I know that it's common for Borderlines to have feelings of emptiness.  There it is in criterion number 7: Chronic Feelings of Emptiness (http://bpdresourcecenter.org/DSM-IV.html).  I used to always believe that the empty/void/numb/hollow feeling was better than the unbearable depression.  Now, I'm not so sure.

I've noticed that I cried a whole lot more in the hospital than I do at home, both before and after my hospitalization.  Like, A LOT.  I remember before my hospitalization thinking how weird it was that I was sooooo depressed and such an emotional person (hello borderline) and still wasn't really crying.  In the hospital I would have hysterical, uncontrollable crying fits.  Maybe because I somehow knew it was safe there.  Maybe because I wanted attention from the staff.  I don't really think that's the reason though, because yesterday I really really wanted to cry, and found that I couldn't even do it.  Then, I just felt hollow.

It's like my brain is trying to protect me from the overwhelming emotions I have.  When I mentioned feeling hollow at the hospital, one of the doctors said it's because my thoughts/feelings/emotions are all so negative, my mind decides it would rather feel nothing than experience all the pain and negativity.  But, I think somehow all that crying was both cathartic for me and helped me understand and experience the emotions/thoughts/feelings that either I'm ignoring or my mind is subconsciously blocking me from.

Anyone have any thoughts or opinions on this topic?  I'd love to hear them!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Partial Hospital Program: Day 1 (or really day 0.5?)

Well, since I've left inpatient I've definitely had more anxiety than EVER before.  Full body shaking.  Heart pounding.  Feel like I'm going to throw up.  Racing thoughts.  Dizzy.  It kind of really sucks!!  So, when I woke up today remembering that I had to go to my first day of partial hospital I was a complete nervous wreck.  But, I drove there, made it through registration (which for some reason seemed almost impossible in my head) and intake just fine all by myself, and I definitely viewed that as a small victory.  I let myself be proud, I did it and it was hard, but guess what?  I survived.  (Note to self, remember that you can do things, and survive, and succeed, even when the anxiety makes you feel like you can't breathe/move/think).

Before I went inpatient I was feeling completely and utterly hopeless.  Now, I'm trying to feel hopeful, trying to celebrate small victories and visualize my potential.  I think that's really why I started this blog, to motivate myself, to give me extra reason to keep going.  I'm trying to convince myself that I actually can succeed and beat this.  Maybe....

Anyway, back to today.  Since everything involving intake was running late, I only went to 2 groups.  Intake went well, the social worker and the NP I was assigned to were really nice and understanding and easy to talk to.  The psychiatrist in charge of the program came over and introduced himself to me, and was super nice (more on him later). 

The first group was a "relaxation" group where some lady played soothing music and read guided imagery meditation things and sprayed lavender around the room.  Most people found it helpful, and I probably might have at other times, but my anxiety was way too high I just couldn't relax, and actually found myself getting annoyed.  Then she yelled at me that I'm only anxious because I think I'm anxious.  I don't like that lady too much.

Lunch was fine, talked to some of the other patients a little, they all seem nice, but didn't have a chance to get to know them really.  I'm the "new girl" so they all already know each other pretty well.  There's one other patient who reminds me a lot of myself.  Hopefully I'll get to know her better.

The final group was psychotherapy group with the psychiatrist.  He's really awesome, down to earth, curses in conversation (for some reason that always makes me feel more comfortable), and really seems to know the other patients well and how to get them to open up and process.  After my frustrating experience with the first group, this group made me more hopeful that this really is the right program for me right now.

Okay, I'm sorry, this was really long, it was just a big day for me, and I had a lot to get out!

The beginning of the end? The beginning of the beginning?

Yesterday I was released from my first (and hopefully my last!) inpatient psych hospitalization.  While I had mixed feelings about going to the hospital, and mixed feelings the entire time I was there about whether or not it was the right place for me, and some major issues with the care I received, I can ultimately say that I walked out of the hospital in much better shape than I walked in in.  Am I better?  HELL NO!  I still have a LONG LONG way to go, but I have a much better outlook on my treatment now.  I have to be in control.  The attitude cannot be "I'm here, now fix me!" it has to be "I'm here, show me how to fix myself."  As my psychologist in the hospital said, I'm driving the car, they are just giving me the directions.  I went to the hospital because I was thinking nonstop about self-harm and suicide, felt completely out of control and on edge 24/7, was having multiple panic attacks every day, and I could barely function for a minute, let alone "one day at a time."  Now, I've made a promise to myself not to self-harm, and I remind myself (constantly, because I keep forgetting), that I control my emotions, they don't control me; that I'm in charge of my life, and that I have to take it each day, each hour, each minute, each second at a time, live in the present, and keep fighting.  Today I start a partial hospital program.  I am scared OUT OF MY MIND, but hopeful.  Hopeful for my future self, my future family, my future life....