Saturday, 2 August 2014

Be Mindful

It's strange to think it's August already. My New Years Resolution this year was to get out of the house, in public, once each month. Not counting appointments and the hospital admission, I've achieved that a grand total of four times. The last time I went out was when we went to the cheese factory on May 16th. It just seems I've lost all motivation to re-immerse myself in the world.

The mental health nurse had even more printouts for me this week, all of them about Mindfulness and BPD. She asked what I'd thought of the handouts she have me last time, and I told her no one had mentioned BPD to me before, and she just said "oh, shit" a couple of times. She said that doctors tend to hesitate on actually talking to people about it, which makes no sense in my mind. I was just like, are you fucking kidding me? I thought that crap only happened back in the 60s, à la Girl, Interrupted. It certainly doesn't give me any more trust in a system that's screwed me over countless times.

Anyway, one of them had a mindfulness exercise about mindfully eating an orange. I've taken a photo of it if you want to have a look, but basically is describes the process of eating an orange, and doing nothing else. The senses, actions, thoughts. It's interesting to read over. I am mindful while eating most of the time, I guess, although it's more an ED thing than anything else. I don't know how to apply it in other areas. I can't do the breathing exercises because of my lungs, it just distresses me more, which sucks.

How to eat an orange, mindfully
I feel a little lost with the whole mindfulness thing though, and admittedly a bit stupid. I don't know. I guess I don't feel like I'm ever present enough to think to practice it.
For any of you out there that do, when do you practice mindfulness? Any hints would be greatly appreciated.

Then she started talking about DBT. It's a two year course. She gave me a URL to an online self-help DBT course to have a look at and get an idea of what it's about, and said we could do it one-on-one since I don't function in a group setting. But I really don't feel ready to start something like this, and I don't understand why everyone's suddenly pushing it. I didn't ask for help with this and I don't feel ready for it. Too many of the behaviors etc. are linked with trauma stuff and I can't deal with that right now.

Frankly I'm just tired of hearing about it all. BPD had never been mentioned to me until two week ago. Now it's all they're focusing on, and I don't want to talk about it anymore. Before that they were fine focusing on the depression. The BPD's been lurking for a long time, it's nothing new, and I can deal with the behavior stuff at the moment, I have been anyway. It doesn't effect me as much as the depression does.

But now she says we need to be doing something like DBT. "Otherwise, what do we do? Just sit here and twiddle our thumbs?". So I shouldn't even bother coming in. I was apprehensive enough about starting to see the mental health nurse, but after my GP said it would just be to have someone to talk to, that didn't sound so bad. But that's not how it's working at at all and it's not okay and it's making me panic. If I felt ready to do more than just trying to talk I would, but I can't.

She said it's up to me whether or not I want to do DBT, but what other choices do I have?
I just wanted new meds and someone to talk to.
I can't have antidepressants. My GP suddenly doesn't want to change them, when even 6 months ago she was still trying new meds. I can't just go see a psych. Every psych I've ever seen has done more harm than good. I really don't feel ready/able to do DBT. I can't even have someone just to talk to about why everything's so shit.

Then I start to wonder, why even bother? Why get help to make daily life less unbearable when, at the end of the day, all I want is to disappear?

Towards the end of the appointment she asked if I thought I needed to be in hospital. Naturally I got defensive and said no.
"If I saw someone as sad as you, I'd be thinking they needed to be in hospital. But you've been through all of that before - does it help?"
No. There is nothing more useless than inpatient. She asked if I could try going into A&E when I feel like cutting, and I just said hell no, that the private A&E don't deal with psych emergencies and I would die before seeing the Horrible Psychiatrist in public again. She asked if I thought the cutting was dangerous enough for me to be in hospital, but I highly doubt it. No one's mentioned it as being particularly dangerous and I stay away from risky places, and my calves are plenty meaty, obviously (ugh).

On Tuesday I was a full half an hour late to the dietician's appointment. Mum phoned ahead and thankfully she'd had a few cancellations so it didn't really matter. I was still crying in the waiting room. Usually I can hold it back until I'm at least in a less public place, but not this week.

She saw my crying and said she was proud of me for still coming in, but it's not really an option to not. I don't have much routine in my day-to-day life. Appointments are really all I have left, and the dietician's are the only ones on a routine basis. Everything else is sporadic. If I didn't go to see her every Tuesday morning, life would descend into chaos.

My weight is creeping down so unbelievably slowly it makes me want to cry. Food lately has mostly been fruit, soup, yogurt and liquids, with occasional things like crackers or rice with soy sauce. I still just feel too sick and low and exhausted to put much effort in, or to move much at all really. My GP was sick on Friday so the nurse just took my stitches out, but I couldn't get my lungs checked or anything. I have another appointment Thursday. I know I should probably see someone earlier but I really don't want to see a different GP, and it's not that bad (famous last words, anyone?).

Sorry for being so negative all the time guys. I'm just miserable and so tired of everything. Living shouldn't be this fucking painful. 



  1. I'm sorry you're having such a rough time; you're right though- living shouldn't be painful. <3

    The mindfulness orange is interesting. I do it with some foods. This usually happens on a good day without me being aware of it. Just focusing on the scent, texture... I hadn't realised it was 'something'.

    You've still been out four times this year, that's still a massive achievement for someone who can't leave the house, sweet.

    I hope you and your GP are both better soon and that that appointment goes well xx

  2. DBT and Mindfulness never worked for me. I just sat there thinking, "what a load of bullshit," and that doesn't make for a good therapy session. I know that many people are helped, but I was not one of them. Living in the now? No thank you, I'd rather live in my own world in my own head, thank you very much.

  3. Hey sweetheart,

    As you know
    I did a mindfulness course recently
    I found it quite good
    It helped me to stay in the here and now
    And helped my anxiety and sleep too
    We did that thing with the orange
    Except it was with a raisin
    The guy who ran our course was really good
    Although I have to admit
    I rarely do the meditation now that the course is over
    You could try he breathing
    And maybe get a CD with a guided meditation on it
    They can be really good

    I hate to read that your weight is going down Bells
    You really can't afford to lose any more
    I have faith in you
    And I believe in you
    I truly do
    And I know that you will be ok
    I just know it

    Take care dear friend x

  4. I read that orange thing and thought "Okay, it's an orange, I really don't care where it came from and the sticky juice running down my hand is annoyingly gross and oh great, there are more seeds in it than actual fruit and I have to pick them all out and pick off the white part bit by bit..." maybe that's why I don't like eating oranges? On the mindfulness, I'm very mindful when preparing food, when cooking, but the actual act of eating..I haven't been so mindful. Perhaps it was because for the last three weeks I've been eating out of necessity rather than "Oh I'm hungry let's actually make something delicious." The most "mindful" was when I went out with my friends to a fancy restaurant and ate so slow and small because I didn't want to look like an American pig, it was more self conscious than anything.

    Also, I met a girl from the Melbourne area, she was really nice. There were actually quite a lot of people from Australia there, I thought it was interesting. I'm sorry everyone is throwing all of these options at you when none of them sound like great ideas. I feel like the DBT is the least terrifying, but then again I don't know every detail about it. Keep in touch hon, I hope things look up.

  5. I got a huge box of beads from my therapist when she taught me about mindfulness, and they really help. She outlined the process as, You can either string them randomly and get something chaotic, or you can take your time, making a plan as you go along, very deliberately choosing colors that go nicely together before you string.

    As she did this, she started stringing all red toned beads, and in the middle of the string, one which was an oranger tone than the rest. She said that a gut-reaction on my behalf was like that bead... you can't ignore it, and to correct it, you have to undo all of the work ahead of it, so constantly being mindful of why I'm doing or saying things keeps me from having to "go back", apologize, or rush to make up because I've been procrastinating.

    Then she gave me the box. It's really helped, whenever I feel a little frayed, I string beads, and think about nothing but them. It's amazing how often a mind not consumed with worrying over the problem can present a solution when you tune back in. :)

    You enjoy sewing, cross-stitching, and cooking, right? Any of those can be focusing points, things which you already do mindfully, but come naturally. For instance, I like to play with the herb drawer when I'm feeling out of control, smelling and tasting combinations of herbs and spices and seeing if I can make something edible, going on my senses.
    (This is probably why I make so much soup, so I'm not out much more than broth and vegetables, if it goes horribly wrong. :P)

    You've done really well this year, Bella, and I believe in you! The year isn't over yet, not even remotely! Perhaps you should MINDFULLY plan your next outing, eh?? :D

  6. I know you share a lot with us here on this blog, but none of us can really know how it feels to be you and be in your mind. And while I can certainly understand your hesitations about taking on a new therapy and not feeling ready, please don't forget that the people you are working with ARE trying to make your life less painful. I know the new diagnosis (or suggestion of a diagnosis?) is scary and a lot to take on, but it could also be the key to helping you feel so much better. Antidepressants change your chemicals and help to a certain degree, but you of all people know they aren't a cure-all. Mindfulness work and some new kind of therapeutic regimen could be something that help you cope in a healthy way with the negative feelings you have and may help you accomplish your goals of getting out in public more and living a more full life.

    I know it can be so insanely difficult to "look on the bright side" when everything feel so shitty all the time, but I encourage you to try that. There IS always hope. People who have been in extremely dark places always say that... and it's true. You haven't given up thus far, and I am confident that you and your team of support will be able to find workable, sustainable solutions for you. I want you to be happy and healthy and not feel so bad all the time. Life shouldn't be excruciating. Sure, there are ups and downs, but you should be able to handle both and maintain stability. I'm so sorry that it's not easy for you.

    Let me know if I can help in any way. A friend of mine has BPD and has been dealing with some major swings lately. She finally decided to go back to intensive outpatient therapy sessions to sort of refresh with the coping mechanisms she had been using. It's been a while since she was in therapy and she realized she needed more help than her family or friends could provide.

    I hope that you find the bravery to take a chance on a new course of action... with the mindfulness work or the new therapy. You have nothing to lose, it seems, but everything to gain.

    Did I come across harshly? I surely hope not... this all comes from a place of deep concern.

    Lots of love, Bella.

  7. Alsoooooo one of my favorite things is to make mid-year resolutions! I sort of look at how well I did with the things I set out to do in January and then adapt my expectations to how it's been going and what new things I might want to try. There is still more than 1/3 of the year to go...

  8. Aww, I'm sorry you're having a rough time. It's really interesting that we have to think about eating an orange. I mean, who thinks about eating an orange?? And yet somehow that task often seems insurmountable. Keep your goal! You may not feel like going out today or tomorrow, but that doesn't mean you won't feel like going out at all this month, and if sometime later you gather the strength and courage then it's never a waste.
    Are you going to do DBT?

  9. Sorry you're going through such a rough time. I've been there and understand that awfully low feeling and the craving to just give up and avoid anyone and everything.
    I'm glad you still make it to your appointments tho, that's very important : )
    Even if you're feeling miserable, I love reading your posts, it's real life, it's YOUR feelings and YOU matter, and that's what makes your posts interesting to me.
    Hope you start feeling a little better love<3

  10. Hey Bella, wow it must be a lot to cope with all at one, learning that you have BPD. Unfortunately it's true that clinicians seem to have this really unfair bias towards this particular disorder, even in my classes the lecturer is always like "Oh those people with BPD, they're trouble, you dont want to treat them" etc etc, which in my opinion is just disgusting. Although, considering you need any 5 pf the 9 symptoms of BPD, there are 256 possible combinations so really any two people with the disorder could be very different, it doesn't define you, that's for sure!
    I can understand you don't feel ready for DBT yet, and I've had a fair bit of experience with psychologists being more harm than good myself, but maybe you could try seeing one in order to get ready to go to DBT by next year or something? It's too bad they don't really offer any ACT programs for BPD instead...
    As for crying in public, you're not alone, I cry at uni... all the time :/
    Anyway lovely, you can only do your best, I hope you have a good week and keep fighting xxx

  11. Ugh I hate that they are rushing this. It takes me a long time to get comfortable and really trust a therapist, before I can even think about taking more risks and pushing myself. She should know better. HUGS. What type of stew did u make? I loves recipes. Mine are usually squash based. Oh and I'm reading the book version of A long way Down and it's waaaay better. Haven't finished it though so "sunshine and farts" is still a very real possibility. LOVE YOU.

  12. 4 times >>> no times! :) I'm proud of you for making it out those 4 times. Plus, the year isn't over yet. you can definitely make it 5 (or even 6)!
    What an interesting way to think about eating! I kind of want to try it, but I'm always concerned with getting too neurotic about things. I might end up "deciding" that smelling the orange is enough and I don't need to eat it. My only attempt at mindfulness has been in terms of not eating for the wrong reasons - i.e. trying to tell whether I'm eating because I'm hungry or because I'm upset, but I'm not really successful enough at it. ADHD brain won't let me focus enough on one thing so mindfulness tends to fly right out the door.

    I had DBT when things were really bad a few years ago. I was 90 lbs and really self-harming, and honestly it did help with the self-harm. I still pinch, and hit myself, and dig my fingernails into my sides but it's very very rare now. So it might be useful, but only if you're ready. You know that if anyone forces you into something you're not ready for it won't do you any good and will feel like a waste of time.

    I think of you very often Bells and hope you get a little sunshine soon! Love love love!