Trigger Warning: Mentions of mental illness, suicidal ideation, panic and a suicide attempt.
One of the trademarks of a mental illness is that no two illnesses are the same. A person’s symptoms and their perception of those symptoms change and shift, especially to themselves.
Despite these personal deviations, psychiatrists and mental health personnel can and do handle this on a daily basis. Trusting these professionals can be difficult for the mentally ill. Already feeling stigmatized by the media, society, and even friends and family; trusting someone trying to break into your mind and consciousness is like the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Personally, my mental illness is slippery.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) weave in and out of my day, whispering in my ear seductively telling me to do things that I clearly should not do.
I could be sitting on the couch watching tv one minute and the next I’m standing in front of the knife rack reaching for something to hurt myself with.
I’m constantly fighting my mind.
If I’m not desperately pleading with myself not to harm myself, then I’m trying to convince myself that the world isn’t ending. I almost always have this sense of impending doom. These feelings often lead to panic attacks and behaviors (rocking, hand-wringing, pacing, etc.) that seem out of place to others.
Because of severe depression (MDD), I have lost the desire to do the things I once enjoyed. Among those things that I no longer enjoy are things like watching tv/movies, reading, or anything really. It’s nearly impossible for me to relax at any time during the day.
It’s absolute torture to always be on your guard and stressed.
I can never sit with my husband and watch tv or go to the movies. Hanging out with friends has become a chore that I avoided because I couldn’t handle the anxiety of social interaction.
BPD is a terrible illness in which I can’t regulate my emotions. I am constantly experiencing extreme emotions and extreme impulsivity. This means that when I feel anxious, I feel like the world is ending.
BPD sufferers also fear abandonment. I will go to any lengths to avoid this real or perceived abandonment, even putting up with abuse, just so that I am not alone. The ones closest to me suffer quite a lot with this mental illness because with BPD, I think in terms of black and white.
I’m not well enough to hold down a job, but there’s nothing to fill my time with either.
It’s almost impossible to just get out of bed in the mornings, and sometimes I can’t do that. Taking care of myself is often put on the back burner as I try to just function. I can easily go a week without a shower and a few days without brushing my teeth. When I fail at accomplishing normal everyday tasks, it brings me down and I feel even worse in a demoralizing cycle. I often wonder if the people who are in my life should be there because I’m the one not worthy of them.
Every single day I agonize over my husband and wonder whether he should have someone better someone who isn’t sick.
My guilt got so great one night recently, that I took a bottle of pills and for a few minutes I felt great.
It felt like I was standing on top of the world. I had finally been able to actively take my life, to take the first step in making things right for my husband. Then I told him what I did and his reaction brought everything crashing down. My euphoria disappeared as I witnessed my husband’s pain at my trying to kill myself.
I wouldn’t wish this scene on anyone.
It is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you are drowning in mental illness.
I have been battling this now for more than two years. In the face of all this turmoil, there is hope for mentally ill patients. With consistent psychotherapy and medication, most patients see improvements and some even see a complete recovery.
While I have not had consistent therapy and medication, I do have hope for the future and that my symptoms will eventually get better.