The last note saved in my phone contains dosages of over the counter drugs. It was a note I started last Thursday, finished on Friday, and was supposed to serve as instructions for how to kill myself. When I picked up the drugs Friday morning, I remember noticing how expensive they were. I chuckled to myself, realizing that it doesn’t really matter how much money is left in my account if I’m dead. I hate myself for not just killing myself. My BPD brain wants to know why I’m prolonging the suffering of everyone around me. The faster I die, the faster everyone can heal and move on.
I feel exceptionally weak for writing this. I felt guilty Friday afternoon for reaching out to my therapist and telling her how much I was struggling. I feel guilty for wasting the time and resources of everyone around me. The main problem- I won’t take myself seriously until I’m finally dead. In my mind, my suicide attempt last September is shameful. Not because I tried to take my own life, but because I’m weak for not succeeding. I should’ve tried harder. Convincing those around me that I need serious mental help, while invalidating myself is dizzying and illogical. And yet, here were are. I will not be satisfied with my suicidal ideation until I am dead. I feel like a ticking time bomb- it’s inevitable.
Friday, May 17th was my last day in my second trip to Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). When you graduate from IOP, you’re asked to say a few words to the group about your experience. I had all these things ready to say about my experience, but when it was my term, I couldn’t get a single word out. In that moment, I was more thankful to be alive than I had ever been. I sobbed uncontrollably, jumped when someone put their hand on my back to comfort me, and hugged my therapist at the end. It was a beautiful mess.
In the course of four weeks, the time between May 17th and June 14th, how did I go from being ridiculously thankful to be alive, to ready to give it all up? Borderline Personality Disorder often co-occurs with other mental illnesses or with substance abuse. When I was first diagnosed with BPD in October, it was my sole diagnosis. This is largely because in order to experience many (not all) mental illnesses, you actually have to feel. An anxiety disorder requires you to feel anxious, a depressive disorder requires you to feel depressed. I felt nothing.
Since October, I’ve worked really hard to try to feel again. I’m sure someone is thinking that ignorance is bliss, but let me remind y’all that when you stop feeling all of the difficult emotions, you also stop feeling happiness, joy, and love. It’s like being a lifeless vessel floating through life. You’re watching everything happen to you as you try to calculate the correct amount of emotion to emulate to make everyone around you think that you are human.
Working on feeling again is a slow process, and ironically, has resulted with diagnoses of anxiety and depression. It’s not surprising, considering turning on your emotions does not just mean happiness. My anxiety has steadily increased over the last six months, and I’ve never felt so depressed in my life as I did last Friday. I found myself finding excuses to visit other colleagues and step outside of my office because sitting in front of my computer screen felt physically painful. It’s not that I wanted to die, it’s that I would do anything to no longer feel like this. The pain was unbearable.
I suppose when you write a blog, you’re expected to be able to share helpful tips and tricks to help others in your shoes. Tonight, I don’t have any tips or tricks. What I do have is my story, and so I guess what I can contribute to this world is understanding. Thank god not everyone has to feel like I do regularly, but I’ll pour my heart out to help y’all somewhat understand.
BPD is funny because while I’m relatively depressed tonight, I could wake up tomorrow morning and be ready to conquer the world. One day I can’t get up in time to shower. Other days, I’m ready to sign up for the LSAT and go to law school. I just never know. I don’t necessarily hope that I’ll conquer the world tomorrow, I just hope that I’ll be able to appreciate the joy and validate the pain.
Below is a video of Neil Hilborn reading his poem “The Future”. Considering I often use humor to hide my pain, I really appreciated this piece. Y’all might too.