Borderline Personality Disorder and Me: Addicted to Self-harming
So it has nearly been a year since I tried to end my life. On a whole I would say I have done okay, trying to put myself back together. I have nearly completed my industrial placement, when I am not going to see specialists in hospitals and not too poorly to work. But recently I have been on a downward spiral being rejected from psycho dynamics for Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) against the recommendation of my psychiatrist.
The reasons for rejection still do not make sense to me. They thought my long-standing problems – not being able to sustain friendships, relationships and being emotionally unstable. The reasons for rejection are ironic, as everyone with Borderline Personality Disorder has these behavioural tendencies.
Although, now the mental health team do not think I am an immediate threat to myself. I got offered Complex Needs but I have tried this before and it did not work for me. I did not find playing interactive games and discussing other people’s very different mental health issues beneficial. I lack empathy but also felt like I was taking on other people’s burdens rather than tackling my own problems head on. I suppose entering one-to-one DBT therapy was the tiny bit of hope I had left. The hope one day I could accept myself, be loved and be happy.
Which leads to me onto this post, another post I never thought I would share. However, after 10 years of self-harming, I think it is time to be honest about a snippet of my mental illness. I know some people will criticise sharing my experience as attention-seeking. If you are one of these people, I suggest you do not read on as this post is not designed for you. I want to share part of my story, to let someone else who may be in a similar situation, maybe even undiagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, know they are not alone.
Borderline Personality Disorder is a mental illness where emotions are not regulated properly. Symptoms include: extreme mood swings, self-harming, fear of abandonment, anger, loss of identity, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.
So the big conundrum is, I am actually addicted to feelings, self-harming gives me. I love the control, and I find the the physical pain more pleasurable than having sex. It all started when I was 16 years old and I was anxious about taking my GCSES. I was never considered “academic” and I was by far the worse artist in my family. I also just starting to become interested in boys but was not the prettiest girl, not to mention the problems at home.
My dad doesn’t have mental health problems, but I grew up watching him pick his skin, and wonder if it was a social habit I picked up to be acceptable. Especially, because one of my brothers with Borderline Personality Disorder frequently harmed himself.
Fast forward again to now. If I’m anxious, sad, or tired I will turn to self-harming. The problem with this is it has become a longstanding habit, and if I get to comfortable around someone I cannot control myself and the urge takes over, like some sort of bewitched demon.
My self-harming tendencies have different severities from skin picking holes in my scalp and body until it bleeds, pulling out my hair, not taking all my medication for physical illnesses, consuming to much alcohol and cutting with knifes into my thighs. It can occur any place and at anytime. I have little hair now, so for many years I have worn hair extensions to try and cover the bald patches.
Naturally, I try not to get to close to people. How do you explain to someone who doesn’t have mental health problems, – You get pleasure from hurting yourself? It is catch 22. If I try and be honest about Borderline Personality Disorder early into meeting someone, it can scare them. However, if I do not mention it… they do not understand why my moods are changing so often and can start to dislike and abandon me like a bag of dog poop. Triggering negative thoughts about myself again.
I find it difficult to get out of bed and buy clothes now, because I self loathe and most the time I wear baggy clothes to hide all the scars. It is true I prefer to cause myself pain than for other people to put me through pain.I want to make it clear I do not feel suicidal when I self-harm, which I recognise is confusing to some. I feel resentful people don’t understand me but I also recognise it is acceptable because to be real with you, I don’t understand myself.
Why am I laughing one minute and then need to cut into my leg the next? This is the emotional rollercoaster of Borderline Personality Disorder. It is frustrating because sometimes there doesn’t even need to be a reason, the impulse just comes. That’s why I know if I ever tried to take my life again, it would not be a planned event, it would be triggered and impulsive. I have to work everyday to cut these triggers out of my life, which normally is people. I know it can become lonely, but at the same time I know being lonely keeps me safe.
I do understand that I need healthier ways to manage to my emotions and spending 24.7 on my own is not a long-term solution. I have found some comfort in in art and reading, but it never quite meets the mark of self-harming and finding the motivation to do these things are difficult. When I have enough money I think I need to see someone privately to work through these issues.
My dad always makes the joke that one day I will dig into my scalp so hard he will see my brain. I think it’s his way of dealing with it and up until now I’ve never wanted to stop, because it gives me comfort that I cannot find from someone else.
I do get cautious though on nights out, when girls go in the bathroom together or if I need to change in front of someone. I was recently in hospital for food poisoning and the doctors demanded to examine me. They believed I had schizophrenia when they saw the scars, but I am fortunate due to fatty areas I can heal quite fast. I openly admit I hear voices but this is only people I know and when I haven’t slept for days or end and start to hallucinate.
It is not the voices that tell me to hurt myself, which why I don’t think I would ever die from my injuries. It is something I choose to do as a coping mechanism. I know it’s not right but until I can find the exit out of this dark place, it is all I have for now.
I hope this post has provided you with a short-insight into the mind of someone who self-harms. Do you self-harm or know one who does and has mechanisms to over come it ? If so i would love to hear your experiences below.
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