Imagine never being alone, and still being lonely. Its just as empty in my chest as it is full in my house. Always people coming and going. Talking, yelling, laughter. Noise, it has just become noise to me.
When I panic, it feels like my heart is stopping, or that my guts have been turned inside out, or that some sort of massive steam shovel or something has pulled out all my insides and rearranged them and dumped them into random places in my body. Sometimes I feel like the walls are falling in on me, and I can feel the space I am in (or at least my perception of it) going dark. Sometimes I start self-harming by punching myself or slapping myself or punching walls or hard objects or hitting my head against them. Sometimes I become dissociative and do not remember the incident. Sometimes none of these things happen and it manifests quite differently.
One of the most common things people with BPD have in common is abandonment/attachment issues. Mine run incredibly deep & I feel that I need to warn people about in advance so they can give emotional consent about whether or not they want to invest in a relationship with me. I feel the need to warn them that I’m incredibly sensitive, have a lot of unexplainable triggers that result in dissociation (a whole other article!), and that I have problems trusting that people aren’t going to randomly disappear. And while I own these feelings, actively work on them & and try my hardest not to bring them into my relationships (often going as far as to isolate myself for periods of time when I’m feeling them), they still come up. They still permeate every single aspect of my life. With such BIG emotions, I have to ask for a whole lot of patience & understanding in all types of relationships. People who are diagnosed with BPD often have the tendency to either dive in way too deep or constantly prevent themselves from dipping their toes in the water at all, all due to fears of abandonment. Some of us are trying our hardest every second of the day to figure out some sort of healthy balance for our interpersonal relationships to the point where it gets super confusing. Many of us are very, very tired a lot of the time because of this. Sometimes, I sit around and think about how fucking un-cute that must sound to all of my potential dates and I feel really fucking defeated & lonely.
I still don’t know how to talk about agoraphobia. I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain it to people since I was 16 years old, but I’ve been largely unsuccessful at putting it into words. I’ve mostly just stayed quiet about it and used vague “anxiety” euphemisms to describe why I can’t hang out / go to work / go to class / go grocery shopping / whatever, and have also spent a lot of time struggling to come up with “legitimate” ways to account for what I do with my time while NOT doing these things, especially since spending [lots of] time alone or in my “safe zones” is actually super positive for me. For almost 20 years, I’ve had no concept of how to talk about this enormous part of me that has both limited me in humongous ways and also shaped me into the wonderful weirdo that the people close to me know and love.
I was diagnosed with anxiety/panic disorder at the age of seventeen, though my anxiety has been around for far longer. I am now twenty two years old, a caregiver, a partner, and a writer. So it has been shown to me through my own approaches to my anxiety that I have got some hang on myself. I am no expert. I am my own person who has lived with this mental illness my whole life, so I can only speak for myself and my approaches to easing the ever looming anxiety monster and hope that these tips some how aide in the anxiety of another.
I build a bit of a wall around myself most of the time when I go out. I can’t be dealing with everyone’s energy and thoughts seeping into me when I’m trying to enjoy myself. Especially if they are people I’m not interested in sharing those things with. The couple in the abusive relationship across the room, the person at the table who’s having a difficult time, the guy bullshitting his way into a girl’s heart. You can also miss out on the good energy of a group of friends having fun or the atmosphere of a location full of love. That’s just what you have to sacrifice to stay safe. To stop from being overloaded, dissociated, and even eventually panicked.
Trigger warning for description of a suicide attempt, and discussion of sexual assault.
All my life, I’ve been told by those around me that I am highly intelligent, and could do just about anything I set my mind to. I got good grades in school, for the most part (though they dropped a fair bit close to graduating high school), and was known as a happy-go-lucky kid that always found the positive side of just about anything (or anyone).
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I am going to attempt to make this useful, even though a large part of the focus of this article is to release frustration. I also hope that this will be of some help to others of you who may be suffering, despite your best efforts to get help for yourself. I understand that not […]