A Compelling Letter from Death

blog pen and letter

 

I have travelled the world from coast to coast, over and over since the beginning of time. I have seen the blessings and the sufferings of all of mankind. I have seen the souls of men, women and children through war, disease and famine. I have no sense of discrimination or bias. I do not judge.  I know not of religion, race, age or culture. It does not matter the riches you may or may not have had, or the tragedies and traumas you may have had to endure. It does not matter how much time you may or may not have had, or what you have or have not done, as upon the time of my arrival you are all the same. You are all on an equal playing field and at some point you all will have to face me, our meeting is inevitable; it is fate.

I am death.

I have a thousand faces, disguised in forms you recognize and many you cannot imagine. I am called to collect the souls that are loved and the ones who are forgotten. I pick up the leftovers of the damage mankind has caused to itself with war after war, century after century. I’ve gathered those of the innocent and naïve and those of people so heinous there are no words. I have watched the greed of mankind lead to millions of souls being stolen from starvation and disease, all for profit. I have seen the damage humans are willing to do to each other over the smallest of things and I am there to pick up whatever is left. I have forever been left saddened over collecting the souls of those who have departed too early; those of the children who never had the chance to grow and develop and live a life. Those who were not given a chance and their imminent meeting with me came long before it was due.

I have seen the beauty as well. I have seen the kindness and generosity that is possible.  I have seen things at their purest forms. I have watched strangers help one another with no expectations and loved ones support each other during the most trying of times. I have watched love bring together people whose paths undoubtedly would never have crossed had it not been for this serendipitous connection. I have watched the weak fight and raise above their struggles and the strong reach a hand out to help. I have watched the rich share with the poor and the poor share with the poorer. I have observed altruism from humans extend to every living creature, from one corner of the world to the next, and watched the innocence of children spread joy and laughter across the seas.

I am coming for you when it is your time, but I implore you not to call me early. I beg you not to take matters into your own hands regardless of the darkness that you feel, or the loneliness that seeps deep into your soul. I ask you to think twice, three times, or a million times if needed, before snuffing out the flame that represents your life. I will do that for you in due time. I have seen lives turned around in a matter of moments or a perhaps years, but the one constant is that everything changes.  Nothing remains the same. The seas rise and lower, the mountains shift. Your situation will change, the circumstances will change, your emotions will change and you will change, and what may seem impossible to face now will eventually be a memory; a stepping stone in your climb up to the light. You may not see it now but your life is a onetime gift and I plead with you to hold on to it like the rare treasure it is. I come for too many souls who have had no choice, but you do.

So, do not seek me out, we will unite when the time is right.

 

What Depression Exhaustion Feels Like

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At some point, all people get tired. Sometimes it is a physically tired body that is run down and overworked and requires some rest to heal itself, other times it is an overwhelmed mind that needs some rest to clear out and organize thoughts. Often it’s a combination of both that drives us to exhaustion and forces us to slow it down a bit, and take some time to rest. There’s that tired where you can’t stop yawning, the one that nothing will cure but a good night’s sleep, and there’s a tired from actually sleeping too much, and then there is a tired that comes with depression and other mental illnesses. That feeling of being tired from dealing with a mental health issue is difficult to explain to someone who has never felt that.

 It is not something you can empathize or sympathize with, because in your mind there is no reason I should be so exhausted. After all, I am off work right now and have no set agenda, so much of my day is spent “resting”, therefore how could I be so tired. You might even be thinking that if I got off my ass and started doing more during the day or perhaps even did some exercise, that might alleviate the feeling of being so wiped out. Perhaps a routine during the day or a more regular sleep schedule would solve the problem, or maybe add a nap. You mean well with your suggestions and ideas and I appreciate the effort, but this kind of tired can’t be solved by any of the above.

This type of tired is like a constant state of exhaustion that riddles your body from head to toe. It is not a have a few cups of coffee and perk up kind of tired. It starts from the mental exhaustion that is from the daily wars that you fight inside your head from whatever mental health issue you are battling. It affects your emotions causing hypersensitivity to complete numbness and running the emotional gamut in between and having to constantly explain or justify it, believe it or not, is, in itself tiring. This type of tired makes you feel weak and vulnerable whether it is a reality or not. It makes every decision ten times harder to make and often means not being able to think clearly and focus or forgetting the simple things that before, you would have remembered.

For me, depression tired means my legs ache and every step feels like I am carrying a ball and chain, leaving me to wonder how I could possibly get from point A to point B. This fatigue creeps up my body sitting heavily in my stomach and tying it in knots before working its way up, making my neck and shoulders ache to the point of not wanting to lift my arms or hold my head up. The thoughts in my mind are rapid and unrelenting and my brain is tired from trying to slow them down, and in some way organize and process them. It means spontaneously bursting into tears for no apparent reason with no apparent trigger. It means feeling tired when I wake no matter what the quality and quantity of sleep is. It means having to summons strength from somewhere within my already drained body to get basic things done leaving me at a point of exhaustion that simply cannot be described.

My soul is tired.

I don’t expect to ever be my old self again but I would like to have some energy back. Depression has drained enough from me already.

 

 

 

 

BPD and My First 15 Minutes

Blog 15 minutes

 

The moment my eyes open each morning, the same thoughts run through my head.

Here we go again, another day of fighting non-stop battles in my mind, another day in which I begin the day as tired as I end it.

The variations of thoughts that can overwhelm my mind in an instant have started; the first domino pushed down as the rest clatter and fall one by one, each one affecting the next and the speed picks up as the pattern continues. The rapid and often uncontrollable intense mood swings are my BPD’s worst nemesis.

Well as much as I want to stay in bed all day, I know I won’t sleep and the lying around will lead to even more destructive thoughts. I wonder if she has text me.

I sit up and as my eyes slowly start to open, I grab for my phone, knowing that something as small as a text, or the lack thereof could set me on a BPD ride for the day. Keep in mind there is nothing wrong with the text, it is usually as simple as a “morning” or an “I hope you slept well”, both perfectly nice words to wake up in the morning to. If for some odd reason I have had a good night’s rest or don’t wake up feeling quite as emotionally drained it seems so easy to just respond with a “good morning” and continue on with the conversation. However if I am on the BPD edge, the thought process is quite different.

Oh look, she did text…a morning and that’s it? Omg maybe she is mad at me, or upset with something I said or did. Maybe she doesn’t want to talk to me anymore or know how I am doing, or maybe she doesn’t even love me or want to be with me anymore. I don’t blame her, I am impossible to be in a relationship with and maybe I really am not deserving of love and no one wants me. I hate being like this. I hate feeling out of control over these mood swings and I am never going to get better, no matter what pills or what therapy, I am just too damaged to be fixed.

At this point, the tears start as I have a morning pity party sitting on the edge of my bed. This sadness, and these tears often goes on for hours as my mind continues to emotionally attack itself, but every time, at some point, the sadness turns to anger.

Who cares if she only said morning, I don’t need to wake up to some generalized text anyway. I don’t need to wake up to any texts at all because I don’t need you or anyone. I have gotten this far on my own and I don’t need your help. Besides, it’s obvious you don’t care because if you did you would have said more than just “morning”. You are just like everyone else who loves me on the surface and abandons me, the past repeating itself over and over. Fuck this life and everyone in it anyway. I am alone, a complete failure and a waste of space. I shouldn’t even be alive.

I sit up in bed and return the text with a casual “morning”.

Umm it’s been five minutes and still no answer. Here we go again. Should I ask what I did wrong or just leave it alone? Why won’t she just answer, it only takes a few seconds. Maybe she doesn’t have time to talk to me or really doesn’t want to and is ignoring me.

 

My phone vibrates and I quickly reach for it to read the message…”how are you?”, and the way I respond may very well set the tone for the day.

Does she really want to know how I am or is she just asking to be polite? Should I keep it simple and just say that I am ok or do I be truthful and tell her that I have only been up for ten minutes and my emotions are already bouncing up and down? What if she doesn’t want to hear it for the hundredth time? I am sick of listening to myself so why would she want to know. God, I am so pathetic.

I decide to keep it simple and reply with an “I’m ok”, to which she replies “good”

Does she seriously think I am ok? Since when am I ok? I am a mess and always will be. Why does she think that today would be any different? What is wrong with me that I think like this and why can I not get this BPD under control? She is only asking how I am, a perfectly normal, nice question and yet my brain takes all these statements and twists them so fast I can hardly keep up. I just want to be normal, whatever that may be. Is it going to be another day of this hell? I am so tired already.

All these thoughts and emotions have occurred before I have even stood up from my bed. Up and down that many times within 15 minutes. Welcome to the beginning of my day and thanks for taking the ride with me.

 

 

 

 

 

Drowning In the Waters of Depression

 

 

drowning blog

 

I don’t know if it is the Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or the depression, or the two of them that work together to try and pull me into the water, after securing boulders to my feet. Regardless of the fight left in me, the weight of the rocks pull me slowly under the water, before sinking me to the cold, dark bottom. These are the times I find it hardest to keep going, to keep fighting. These are the times where I question the progress I have made in therapy and wonder why I don’t yet feel better, or if I ever will.  These are the times when the smallest of things irritates me, getting under my skin to the point of feeling angry. These are the times when I cry the most, feel the most frustrated and misunderstood. These are the times that I wonder if I should fight to cut those boulders off and float to the surface or allow the water to fill my lungs and put my mind and body to a final, peaceful rest. I have clawed my way to the surface more times than I can count and will continue to do so.

For me, these major depressive episodes can come on as quickly as the blink of an eye. They are often triggered by the simplest of things, and last anywhere from a few days to a few months. These are not BPD depression episodes which tend to bounce my emotions around more rapidly, like the lines on a heart monitor. These are feelings of hopelessness and despair compounded with an overwhelming sadness that leaves upon me, an invisible heaviness I can physically feel yet cannot accurately describe. This depression sucks the life out of me, emotionally and physically leaving a sense of tiredness that I can’t control. The simplest tasks like getting up and having a shower or doing the dishes can leave me feeling like I just ran a marathon. The exhaustion of doing something so menial leaves me wanting to crawl back into bed and sleep the day away, and the frustration of that, draws me further towards the bottom.

The depression eats away at my desires. It sucks the pleasure out of the few things that once brought me joy, and replaces them with a complete lack of motivation. It feels like there is just no reason and no ability to see more than an hour ahead. Anything further than that feels impossible, and pointless. The depression makes my mind foggy and takes away my clarity and focus. It makes something that comes naturally to me, like writing, become a daunting and overwhelming task, as if I have to dig for the words instead of them just flowing. This depth of depression takes away every last ounce of hope I have. It makes the sunshine less bright and the flowers lose their wonder.

This type of major depressive episode has an inner monologue that drowns out any voice of reason. It is louder than and stronger than the positivity in my mind, or the therapeutic techniques I have learned to put into practice. It feeds my inner critic with falsehoods so convincing, I have to stop myself from believing them, and remember that depression is a master liar. It amplifies every negative thought or action I have ever done in my life. It takes the words from voices of my past, reiterating that I am a failure, that I am worthless, that I am all those things they said and repeats them over and over like a skipping record. It slowly eats away at my hope replacing it with overwhelmingly realistic scenarios of negativity that are as easy to fall into as a pit of quicksand. It makes me question my existence, my purpose and if I will ever be able to do anything more than just survive.

However, despite the despair and fear, I remain to fight. Despite the feeling of being constantly weighed down, I continue to fight the war in my head and survive its battle scars. I realize this will not last forever. It will pass just as the other episodes have. I know that regardless of the depths of dark, cold water I am pulled into, that I will continue to fight to untie those knots and release those boulders so I can take another breath and perhaps each time, I will spend be able to spend a bit more time at the surface.

 

Is the New Method of Suicide Note Online?

 laptop writing

 

 

I have been passively suicidal for most of my life and actively suicidal three times. I know what it feels like to be carrying a burden so heavy your legs can no longer hold you up. I understand what it is like to see nothing but darkness and pain in your future and to have lost every last ounce of hope. I realize the amount of pain you have to be in to get here; to reach the point where death seems like your only option, the only way out. Without getting into the gritty details, let’s just say with my last attempt was meticulous and organized. To me, suicide is a very personal and private thing and I do not want to traumatize anyone more than they may already be. I wanted to make sure the authorities found me and not leave that scar upon my friends. I think most suicidal people would tell you they are not trying to hurt anyone, they just don’t know how else to end their pain. To them, this is the only way out.

That being said, I ponder the people who are determined to make their suicide public. What drives them to jump in front of a train packed with commuters at rush hour? Is there any maliciousness towards others? Why not wait for a cargo train or an empty one? Why affect the lives of others intentionally? Have you felt so invisible your entire life that you felt this method of suicide would draw some attention to you for the five minutes of “fame” you will get as they mention you once on the news or in the papers? Do you feel that because you are in so much pain, then others should be too? These are questions that remain unanswered because there is no one left to answer them.

Technology has done so much for our society and we have come so far in such a short time. The internet has provided endless amounts of information and resources. It has connected people across the world, whether it is family or new found friends. The advancements are rapidly changing and many things become fads until the next new thing is available. We were once excited about the fact we could make a video and put it on the internet for the world to watch at any time but now that is “old”, as the latest and greatest allows you to post live and to show the world a piece of your life at the very present moment. Sadly, there seems to be no limit to what people share, or what people are willing to watch, hence the alarming raise in the number of online live suicides. Again, what motivates someone to share both the preparations for and the last moments of your life with the entire world, and what kind of twisted individual do you have to be to sit and passively watch?

The examples were certainly not difficult to find.

A 12 year old girl, who had previously broadcast a few times that a family member had tried to rape her, hangs herself from a tree, live streaming the whole 40 minute video. Not only did people watch her live, but many of those people online actually encouraged her to kill herself.

Another girl who had spent her life being bounced around foster care hung herself from the shower door of her bathroom, while 1000 people watched her make her preparations, many ridiculed her. A friend saw it and alerted police but they did not arrive in time.

A 20 year old university student went on a message board and offered to kill himself online if he could get help setting up the live video stream. 200 viewers watched as he chased down pills with vodka, barricaded his dorm room door and then set fire to it while he waited to die lying under a blanket. No one online called 911.

Those who turn on their webcams during the darkest, most desperate moments of their lives must feel a need for someone to bear witness to them, or perhaps wish that somebody out of the thousands watching the suicide would care enough to intervene and alert the authorities. They feel like finally their name will be heard and remembered, however within minutes of the video being taken down, most of the viewers will have already forgotten their name.

The internet provides an outlet to suffer in public, to share pain and gain the attention desperately needed, however in these cases, perhaps the internet is just the new form of suicide note. Even though social media sites “prohibit” the promotion of suicide or self- injury and ask viewers to report to authorities immediately, there is no enforcement or regulation for these things. It is impossible for the sites to monitor everything which shifts the burden to the community to help stop bad things from happening. There are now groups of volunteers who monitor many of these live sites hoping to intervene before it’s too late, or perhaps before it is even started.

What I find deplorable are the ones that watch. Are people so disconnected and desensitized that they can sit in the comfort of their homes and not only watch, but encourage a child to kill themselves. Unfortunately it isn’t surprising that online viewer’s tap into these streams, it is almost human nature. There’s no such thing as an accident without a crowd gathering and standing on tiptoes in order to see the person lying on the ground, or people slowing down to stare at the car accident.. Violence and destruction are everywhere in society, from the news to the entertainment industry. Perhaps there is a fascination with other peoples pain because it’s only one gesture removed from our own, or maybe it is just bystander apathy, which basically is a social phenomenon where people are less likely to help someone in need if there are other people present. We are all relying on someone else to make the first move, to differentiate themselves from the crowd, when in fact we should all feel a moral responsibility to help someone at risk, whether you take it seriously or not. How is it going to sit in your mind years from now that someone who was seriously sick killed themselves while you egged them on?

I have been on both ends of suicidal situations and I know the anguish you can feel inside and the desperation to get any bit of attention, but posting a suicide attempt live is the ultimate cry for help, and I will never understand how anyone would take the time to not only watch someone make preparations but taunt and encourage them to carry through with that attempt, most often with fatal results. Think about it, someone’s life was in your hands and you made the conscious decision to do nothing but watch them die. It frightens me, the number of people who feel no moral obligations. We are all human.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We All Just Want To Be Healed

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We all just want to be healed. Regardless of what type of traumas we survived as children or adults, or which illnesses we have been diagnosed with, the end goal is the same. We want the pain and the burden of guilt and shame that we have carried for a lifetime to be eased. We yearn to somehow lessen the effects of our traumas that we drag along like a ball and chain, be it with medications, therapy or a combination of both. We’re looking for our piece of happiness and a sense of peace, but it seems that at some point in time, we all hit our “breaking” point and perhaps that is what starts us on our journey down the seemingly elusive path of healing.

The road to healing is unpaved, unstable and full of unseen hills and curves, yet we trod along, often taking one step forward and falling three steps back. We may see some progress and then suddenly become overwhelmed with emotions which send us spiraling down into the darkness of depression, yet somehow with the lure of being healed, we eventually manage to claw our way back up to continue our fight. This cycle of ups and downs may slow down our progress but as long as we advance in a forward motion, we will get there eventually…or at least that is what my therapist tells me.

As much as healing is the ultimate goal, I struggle with two major issues down my path, the first being, what exactly is healed? The concept is not only completely foreign to my mind but also seems completely unattainable. I can imagine it would be like the weight of the world being lifted off your shoulders, or like being able to have days where your mind does not perpetually attack you and send you into a state of emotional frenzy for minutes, hours or even days. I picture fewer tears, less ups and downs and less fear. I imagine rising in the morning and not having those instant few moments of wishing I hadn’t awoken. I picture a more emotionally stable life with healthier relationships and positive choices. Is that being healed or a fantasy I have created of what I wish things could be like?

What is often forgotten on the path of healing is that in order to get there, I have to give up my two best friends, in my case, depression and anxiety, both of which have lasted longer than any one person or thing in my life. Even though I despise the depths of the darkness I am pulled into, there is a sense of comfort there simply because of familiarity.  I have been wading in those waters for so long I no longer know the feeling of walking on dry land. I would have to walk away from the safety of my passive suicidal thoughts, the one thing I can control. I may not be my illnesses per say, but they have certainly been with me long enough to become a small part of my identity, regardless of the obvious negative aspect, and I am supposed to just lose pieces of me and trade them in for the unknown?

The same applies to my negative coping mechanisms. I have been in weekly trauma based therapy for over a year and have been taught many new, positive ways to handle different situations. I have learned different techniques to recognize where my emotions are coming from, that perhaps they are a trauma response from the past. I have been shown how to try to regulate the impulsivity associated with BPD. I have listened, learned, read books and done worksheets and yes, have even taken a few steps forward. However, learning and putting into practice are two different things. When I am of rational mind I am calm enough to remember these methods and perhaps even put them to practice, but when I am emotively driven, the new habits are kicked out the door by the old ones which have become instinctual. They may not be the healthiest ways to cope but for me, they are tried, tested and proven. They have helped to get me through the hardest of times from the earliest of ages. They have kept me safe and alive until this very day, and again I am expected to surrender them and replace them with methods that in my mind are yet untested and unproven.

The path to healing involves a whole lot of uncertainty and blind trust. It means being willing to lose those parts of you that have provided safety and comfort for all those years. It requires an open mind, an open heart and the aspiration to learn. Don’t get frustrated with not making instant or even quick progress, as it takes hours and hours of practice to replace a negative coping mechanism with a healthy one, which will take patience and dedication. All of these twists and turns on my path of healing have tested every emotion and reaction possible, they have pushed me back as I am struggling to step forward, yet I continue on. I am not yet at the point of replacing all of the old with new and have found that as long as I have the comfort and availability of the old tucked in the back of my head, then the new seems a little less frightening. It’s like wading into the deep waters but knowing there is a lifeboat within reach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accepting Grief for a Lost Inner Child

 

grief

 

Grief; the one and perhaps only word that could invoke more emotions than the word love is near impossible to describe. It’s like a tsunami of emotions that suddenly overwhelm you to a point you did not know you could reach, while your mind is caught in the eye of the storm, spinning out of control.  It is a physical pain that encompasses your whole being, tightening every muscle in your body while sucking the air out of your lungs; even breathing becomes painful. The tears stream down your face uncontrollably and if it is possible, your heart physically hurts. Grief involves a major loss of something we are attached to, and is not limited to what it is most associated with…death. There is often grief involved with the loss of a home, job or even a friendship.

There is no timetable that comes with grief; it is completely individualistic and situational. There is no right or wrong way to deal with it, there is only what is best for you. Sure, there are common stages that the majority of people will deal with when it comes to grief; the denial and anger, the bargaining, depression and eventual acceptance, but each person will experience them differently. These stages may sound familiar if you have suffered a deep loss, like a death, as you may have passed through them on your path to healing.

We learn how to mourn for other people, great losses and even material attachments, but have we ever been taught, as survivors, that it is ok to mourn all that we lost?  We lost our innocence and our ability to trust. We lost our voices out of fear and shame. We lost the developing identity that may have been, had we not been violated. We became empty shells with no functional ability to process the trauma occurring. We could not fight, nor flight and so we froze, and the survival portion of the brain took over, to save us from the trauma we could not handle. In essence we lost our childhoods, and we need to grieve such an immense loss in order to heal.

Grieving for an external loss seems to come more naturally than trying to grieve for oneself. Trying to understand the loss of your inner child not only involves having to acknowledge that you still have an inner child, but also accepting the fact that the “little you” was hurt and violated and bears no responsibility for the trauma endured, which is something many survivors struggle with for years. We became experts at denial the instant we were defiled and we continue along that path until we are emotionally strong enough to deal with the truth.

Anger is almost innate for most survivors. It starts with the abuse and sometimes lasts a lifetime. We are rarely presented with the opportunity to express the anger we are burdened with to the source that caused our pain, and despite carrying it around for so long, we are often incapable of outwardly expressing it appropriately. When anger becomes internalized, as a child we act out in a multitude of ways, and as we age these behaviors can lead to self-destructive habits such as addiction and self-harm as methods of coping. We may be able to get help dealing with and properly expressing our anger and recognizing its effects on our present day lives through therapy, or a workbook and although I believe it eases up in time, mine certainly has, but I think it is something we shall carry with us to some degree through the rest our lives.

Bargaining is the normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability in a desperate attempt to regain even just a small piece of the control we lost as children. For years, we play the “what if” game, wondering  if we had only done something differently or if we had spoken up,  would things have been different?  As children we can’t do much bargaining because we are unequipped to do anything other than go into survival mode. As we age, beliefs depending of course, we sometimes try bargaining with a “higher power” in an effort to trade or give up anything we can think of if the abuse stops. Sadly, however most survivors do not end up dealing with their trauma until adulthood and by then, bargaining seems futile.

Depression, I would say, affects nearly every single survivor at various degrees, during their lives, sometimes sporadically sometimes never ending. It may have started when we were young but was not recognized until we were teens or adults and therefore it is often not until we are in our twenties and thirties or later that we can even begin to truly process and try to heal from the trauma we suffered as children. With the grief of any major loss comes such a heavy sadness and emotional weight not only at the time of the event but often for years after. Depression is certainly not limited to grief but is a true indication that something deeper lays beneath the surface.

Acceptance for survivors is multi-faceted, non-linear, and for some may never happen. It is difficult to accept any loss, but to accept losing a childhood that can never be reclaimed is a long and arduous process. It becomes further complicated because often our abusers are family members or friends making it even more difficult to acknowledge such a betrayal as our truth. With proper support and perhaps therapy we can to try and learn to accept the traumas that have melded us into the people we are today.

So grieve. Grieve for your inner child and all the losses that you suffered, but show yourself the same support and caring that you would give to anyone else.