Thursday, December 30, 2010

Passing the 30's

Due my condition, I always thought I was going to kill myself before I reached my 30 birthday. My 20's were a succesion of one crisis after the other one. But my 29's were the worst. I lost my job, a relationship and my condition was out of control. But looking back at all that destruction, I can see the magic of reinvention. I was able to survive. In two more days I will be 32 years old. I'm capable of keeping a job. I'm going back to school for a short EMT course. I have a roof over my head, friends that loved me thru thick and thin and I'm full of hope. Hope that if I continue with my meds and therapy I will win the battle against bipolar disorder and borderline personality. The future looks better because I'm in control of myself. After DBT I have more awareness of my mood changes and I can plan ahead to avoid the deep sides of my condition. I still have my dark moments, sometimes my mood swings take away the light of life but I'm still here, fighting. I never thought I was going to see my 30's. I'm glad I did because the 30's brought a nephew that is a boy that is a smile in my life. They brought a relationship that seems strong and growing. My choices are endless and that is my point, for years I felt being bipolar was a death sentence, that I wasn't going to have a healthy life but I was wrong. Is possible. I don't think about when I'm going to die anymore. Only God knows when is my last day but I'm sure when it comes I will be able to say I did my best and I had a healthy life full of love and redemption.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jose Feliciano - Feliz Navidad

That time of the year is back again. The Holidays can be daunting when the serotonin is low in our brains. Usually I enjoy the Holidays. Not that I decorate and sing Christmas carols but I try to be as up beat as I can be. I remember my first Christmas in the United States. I was driving and I heard the song, Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano. I started sobbing because I remembered how I used to sing that in my bad English, when I still believed in Santa and the Three Kings. Right there, in a car cold as a freezer I decided I would have a good Christmas day. I went to the supermarket and bought "pernil" pork, rice, green pigeons peas and even a box with flan mix. The rice came out sticky as glue, I burned some sides of the pork and the flan was a disaster. But I had a good time. I even turned on a small Christmas tree I had in a corner. So my point is, sometimes even with mental illness, is possible to make the best you can and enjoy the little things. Some of us do not have that Hallmark families but we still have reasons to be grateful and celebrate whatever triumphs we had this year. I had been out of the hospital for two years. I'm still in therapy and I have my ups and downs but sure I keep fighting. I have been in a love relationship for about seven months and things are going pretty well. My dog and cat are okay. I have a roof over my head and a fridge with food in it. I'm blessed. I have a mental health diagnosis but I don't let my diagnosis rule who I'm. Is true is not easy to deal with it, but that just mean I have to push harder. Some days it sucks and is so hard to do even the simple things....those days I tell myself, I just have to get dress and show up. Life is what you do with whatever is given to you. I was given this illness and at the end I just hope I did the best I could and was able to show is possible.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Struggling is part of this game

Borderline personality patients struggle big time with intense and instable relationships. I’m struggling with a recent breakup. Even when I have my dark moments I can pat myself in the back because, yes, I’m depressed but I’m still fighting. For me the key point to keep myself afloat in this storm is to do what makes me feel a little better. Right now is hard to keep up with all the house cleaning, laundry. Is extremely overwhelming. So my little goal each week is to make the laundry and make the dishes. All the vacuuming and general cleaning can wait. If I see the whole picture I will feel overwhelmed, so I tell myself, today you will do the dishes, just that simple thing. When I finish the dishes I feel my goal for the day was attained. This past weekend my goal was to cut the grass, task that I really hate to do but I don’t want my neighbors complaining. I mowed the lawn and slept the rest of the day. Yes, I overslept but I accomplished the lawn. Eventually I will get more done.
Let’s think for a minute than instead of a mental health condition you were blind. There are certain things a blind person will have difficulty doing and nobody will pester them asking them to see. So the same with our mental illness, we certainly have days in which the chemistry of our brain plus life situations can put us very down and we have to realize that those days we will do less. That doesn’t mean we are losing the battle it means we need to slow down. I know for the people around us is very difficult sometimes to accept that we have a disability because isn’t that obvious, like being blind or deaf. I will never get tired of saying this is a disease like any other. We have to educate. We, don’t process emotional distress like healthy people do. We are not like other people, we are not less but we are not like other people, we are different. Frequently I tell myself why I cannot have more control over my emotions and I’m extremely hard on myself. But something I have to realize is, I have a mental health condition that isn’t going to disappear. I have the hope it will improve eventually with therapy, medications and self improvement but is there and sometimes it will affect me. Most of the days just getting dressed is a huge accomplishment nor to say I keep coming to work everyday. And isn’t because I’m strong is more because I don’t have a choice. I have a house, a car, insurance. I have nobody to back me up so I have to make sure I keep my job. In the past I had a very demanding job, now I don’t and instead of looking at it as I downgraded I see it like a good thing. I’m able to leave my work at the office. I don’t work weekends so I have the space just to lay in bed. I give myself the space to stay were I feel safe: my bed, my books, my magic comforter. I really will not know what to do without the public library books. When I cannot handle anything I just grab a book and that soothes me. Yes, is an escape but if is between reading Harry Potter and harming myself, reading is better. Is funny how excited I get when I’m at the library picking the books I will read. All those books and I can read them all. I’m reading everything I can because that gives me a break from all the pain I feel right now. I don’t pretend to keep running away but right now is the only relief I have. And this path is about that, about staying in the present, making sure I do what is necessary right now, and just that.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What Borderline Personality Disorder feels like...(TRIGGER)

This video is a great explanation on how we feel. This is not an easy disorder, sometimes it can be, as the video tells, a living hell.

Friday, July 10, 2009

"I want to die"-What to do to help somebody that is thinking about suicide

The murder-suicide of Steve McNair, 36, and Sahel Kazemi, 20 raised the topic of this post. Police indicates Kazemi shot McNair. Other news reports point that Kazemi told some friends her life was a mess and she was going to end it all. I had been in that same position, in which my emotional pain is so high, so excruciating that I just want an exit. I never thought about harming other people but I can identify myself in the position of complete hopelessness and death like the only solution. In those moments we (as individuals with mental health issues) are not thinking clearly, is like having a broken leg, you cannot expect us to walk normally. Therefore, in those moments we have a broken emotional state. So then comes the questions what you can do to help this person.
First of all, you have to take the commentary seriously. Never pass over it thinking the person is not capable of killing themselves, because you really don’t know. You have to contact a professional. Don’t try to fix it by your own. Probably you don’t have the tools to deal with this, so please don’t try to save anybody. If you have to contact this person therapist or ask for an involuntary hospitalization , do it. If you want to be supportive drive them to the therapy sessions, help them to find a therapist if they don’t have one. Remind them about taking their pills, help them around the house. I think, and this is very personal, a 302 is a good tool in the case they are a danger to themselves or other. But always rely in the help of a therapist.
One of the things that never helped me is the commentary of well-intention friends telling me “but you have so much, you are young and beautiful, why you want to kill yourself” People, this commentary just killed me, because it highlighted my inability to feel better at that point and then I felt worst. You can be a successful, a smart person but when the chemistry of your brain goes nuts nothing matters.
The Alliance of Support to Persons with Depression and Bipolar Disorder indicate if somebody talks about suicide advises:

• Keep yourself calm and take the commentary seriously.
• Call the therapist, doctor, police or 911
• Listen to the person, always mantain visual contact.
• Recognize the person feelings. Don’t criticize or argue.
• Emphasize that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporal problem. Assure them there is help available.
• Don’t promise confidentiality because probably you will need to talk with the doctor/police/therapist.
• Don’t leave the person alone until they are with competent professionals.

Other websites of how to help a person that is thinking about suicide:
Emergency/Suicide Hotlines
1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Monday, July 6, 2009

Suffocation and sucking it up

Some studies regarding borderline personality indicate that patients with this disorder have deep fears of abandonment. So when we finally find somebody that can gives us love or attention we do whatever is necessary so they don’t abandon us. With the result we suffocate and smother people…and people obviously run away. I wish I had a good advice not to do this but sadly I don’t. Sometimes I think for my own sake I should just focus into my writing, poetry, reading, going out with the couple of friends I have and simply quitting hoping for a partner. And I have to clarify I never look for nobody. I just find them in my course. I find them and then I think they are worth the try but when things get rough they just walk away. This reaction is normal, not everybody has the tools to deal with us. But is kind of hard to realize probably we will never find somebody able to see and deal with our mental illness. Right now I see the journey as a lonely path, nobody is holding my hand and I feel nobody will, even if I tried to the best of my capabilities to overcome the traits of my illness. The only people that probably will stick is your family, the people you grew up with and love you unconditionally and I don’t have that so I have to suck it up and keep going…and God knows how painful is.