So...That was then...This is now...
Posted by AEJ1967
25th Jan 2014

I started writing about my mental health struggles in 2010, when I was still reeling from finding out that my 'emotional issues' had a name and could be understood by someone outside my head. This was a relief because I had always been dismissed as 'oversensitive', 'overdramatic' and 'overstimulated'.

Since then, I have been getting used to the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), with a lovely side order of Clinical Depression and Anxiety. I had reached the age of 42 and survived numerous periods of instability, about one every five years or so. They usually followed a pattern of: arrive in new area, start new job/course, make lots of friends and relationships which went too deep too quickly, then relationships would break down, followed by my quitting my job and home and moving on, usually via a stint somewhere abroad where I could 'lose myself'. By 2010 I was running on less than empty and finally ground to a juddering halt.

I am forever grateful to the CPN (still together after all these years!) who saw through my 'apparent competence' and 'high functioning' to hear that I needed help. I had developed patterns of self harm early in my life, but had hidden this along with my frequent suicidal thoughts and urges to 'just disappear'. At the time I felt that I was inside my own head, screaming and no one was listening. I was holding down a responsible job and was working with a significant number of cases who were locked in similar patterns of self destructive behaviour to myself.

No one knew, or guessed about the crumbling facade behind the mask.My professionalism and training were dams holding back the torrents of emotional distress tumbling around inside me. It was a relief, when the CPN asked me direct questions about my coping strategies.

My greatest fear was losing my job, which at that time was my only means of self validation. So, admitting that I had made detailed plans to end my life, was the last thing I wanted to do. She persisted and I admitted the truth, with a sense of relief I realised that her reaction wasn't shock or judgement. It felt good to let the mask down. From that point I have moved through Voluntary Redundancy in 2012 and am coming to the end of over a year of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT).

I have realised that I may be the product of my past, but I don't have to be its prisoner. I have chosen life and I have learned new skills to manage my emotional and psychological pain, skills which will not mean self destruction. The solutions to my pain, don't have to be so final, I am learning to accept each moment as it is, as well as how I am in each moment, but I know too, that I have the skills to change what I can change.

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