[This post talks a bit about my experience of being suicidal.]
Normally I know exactly how I feel and can pinpoint why. However, at the moment I am struggling to figure out what I feel and understand what's causing my confusion. I've tried talking to people about it (my partner, some friends & my therapist), but my feelings have been difficult to articulate.
Firstly, my life has come to a turning point after many years of not knowing how things would turn out. I have an amazing partner, a dog, a home, a job I love and my book is out in October. As I mentioned in previous posts, I spent a long time plagued with suicidal thoughts and thoughts of self-harm. I didn't know how life was going to pan out for me and I often feared the worst.
After everything I've been through with my mental health problems, sometimes the very fact of being alive feels overwhelming. Living with a mental health condition can be traumatic in and of itself (and that's before I've even mentioned past trauma or the potential for traumatisation within the current mental health care system). At the moment, whenever I reflect on my position in life today I'm liable to feel overwhelmed and tearful. The feelings relating to my survival-- the joy and relief-- are so intense that they feel chaotic. I'm still figuring out what to do with these huge feelings, especially because they are mixed with pride which makes it all the more unsettling.
Secondly, I have finally reached the stage where I talk-- to varying extents-- about my BPD in every area of my life: blog, family, friends and career. The last frontier for me was disclosing within my job as a teacher and I have finally crossed into that unknown territory. I was in the right place and made the right decision; the small handful of conversations I have had have been affirming and freeing. These conversations have made me feel like a whole person in the workplace, instead of the fragment I have always presented at work.
Although showing this key part of my identity with select colleagues has been joyful and liberating, it has also made me feel very vulnerable. I have been confused about how to manage these mixed feelings of happiness and vulnerability. Disclosing so fully at work is new to me, so it's an odd feeling and I am self-conscious. Sometimes I'm at work and I think to myself: 'Rosie, I can't believe you did that and you are still safe here'. I remember the psychiatrist who diagnosed me and told me she wouldn't put BPD down in my medical notes and how terrified that made me.
To be honest, it all feels a bit wild to be myself so openly today. The book, the blog, disclosing to my work. It's like I've jumped on the back of an untamed horse and I have no idea where it's going to take me. I just have to hold on tight, I guess. With this wind rushing through my hair, I have to admit though that it does feel pretty amazing.
As you will know if you have been reading my blog for a while now, a key theme in my life has been silence. This is the case for many people with BPD I think: 'be quiet', 'don't cry', 'don't tell anyone your diagnosis', 'let's not put your diagnosis in your notes', 'stop talking about your problems'. I chose not to accept silence as my life's theme because deep down I knew that if I did, I couldn't survive. Expression has been my lifeblood. As I wrote in my poem, 'I am the bird with the broken beak, shut me up but I will find a way to speak'.
My therapist asked me last week what would have happened to me if I hadn't expressed myself. Her question made me cry, but answering it was easy. I will let you fill in the blanks.
My book is coming out in October and inside is everything I have ever wanted to say over the last seven years about my life with BPD. I really hope it helps some of you. For now though, I need to rest because there is so much going on in my mind to process, even though it's all positive.