“They don’t know what’s going on inside your head — the mind-numbing cocktail of anger and sadness and guilt”

I almost lost it today.

Stupidly, I decided not to take my medication this morning. I was in a rush to get to my ultrasound appointment, and planned to take it when I got home. A few hours don’t tend to make much difference usually. However, this time I couldn’t control certain emotions and fears, and I really didn’t like it. Although I undoubtedly have BPD, most of the time it’s controlled by medication; I still panic, but can rationalise it if somebody doesn’t contact me (usually) and I’m not so prone to running away from stressful situations. I’ve been proud of the progress I’ve made in keeping the irrational fear behind a wall in my head.

Today though… I don’t know if it’s the heat, or having to get up early, or just sheer chance, but I freaked out. I got ready fine, put my makeup on, straightened my hair, put a dress on – signs I’m doing okay – but as soon as I got in the taxi, anxiety started building.

Paranoia. Panic attack. Psychosis. I don’t know what you’d call it. I become convinced everyone is staring at me and judging me unkindly; the logical side of me knows it’s impossible for a whole room of people to all hate me on sight, but logic means little when everything seems to be exploding and falling apart.

In the hospital waiting room, I decided a well-to-do woman sitting opposite me was staring at my face. Perhaps my hair or piercings. Maybe my choice of clothing; it all runs together. I started to panic and babbled at my mother about how much I hate hospitals, about the shabby-looking equipment and sullen staff. Anything to distract myself from the posh woman’s supposed glare. Looking back, I don’t even know if she was really looking at me. I could have made the whole thing up.

The building panic wasn’t helped by an incredibly rude sonographer. As paranoid as I was feeling, even I can’t pretend that he didn’t say a single word to me; wouldn’t even make eye contact. How difficult is it to say hello? I lay on the narrow bed while he totally ignored me, and I strained to make out the images on the ultrasound. I think I could make out the tendon; although what’s normal isn’t exactly something I can recognise.

I don’t even know where the results are going. I did ask – since I’m under both the care of my GP and Dr. B for the same issue – but I can’t remember the answer for the life of me. My head was so muddled at this point that I just wanted to get out, have a cigarette and cry.

I couldn’t go home and calm down though. My mother came with me to the appointment so we could shop in Tesco afterwards; so I had at least two more hours of panic to deal with. She spends forever looking at packages and going back and forth, and it’s not rare for me to kick off in the shop, but I’ve been doing well at controlling the rage recently. I just grit my teeth and force myself to get on with it.

In Tesco, I did well until the morning rush started. Suddenly the whole place was filled with hassled parents and middle-aged men fighting over barbeques, shoving their trolleys into the backs of my legs and blocking whole aisles with armfuls of children; all running around and screaming.

I quickly lost my mother somewhere – again, a regular occurence – and became panicked about not being able to carry what I’d already bought. Worried I’d never find her. I decided to distract myself by looking at contract mobiles (I’m considering getting a HTC Desire), and soon started thinking about the huge elephant which constantly stomps around our house; my financial situation.

In short, although I’m 27 years old, my benefits still get paid into my mother’s bank account. Why? I can only believe she’s using it to control me. She’s never allowed me to take control of my own money, although I’ve begged her many times.

When I finally found her in the vegetable aisle, I asked her if she’s going to “sort my money out”. I’ve been asking for over a decade, and got the same answer as usual: “Soon. Just let me get some stuff sorted first”.

An hour’s worth of panic and worry flew up into my mouth, and I started stammering at her. My throat tightened up and started to hurt. I wanted to cry. Scream. Punch somebody. I had to walk away feigning interest in the make-up section before I sat myself down on the floor and refused to budge; it wouldn’t be the first time. I wanted to run away and hide from all the strangers staring at me and judging my faults.

I’ve had two panic attacks recently; I don’t like to think it could be the start of something.

Bizarrely, I was saved from full-blown meltdown by bumping into S outside Tesco. Leaving to get a taxi home coincided with his lunch break at the hospital, and I couldn’t have felt more relieved. I calmed down immediately.

He’s like my own personal diazepam.

42 Comments

  1. I’m sorry that you had such a trying day, but the upside is that no matter what you were feeling, you were able to control your reactions. It may not feel like much of a victory after all the grief you had to endure, but it really is. A big one! Take some pride in that, because you deserve it. I’m glad S arrived and set you to right with his anti-anxiety super powers. At least you got a happy ending. :-)

  2. I went through years of panic attacks, and I know how terrible it is when you feel everyone is staring and judging you, but then you also think you are making it up too. Like the line between reality and normal everyday fear is so smudged you are not sure which side you are on. I agree, it sounds like S is good for you. And that you need to sort things out with your mom, not easy stuff to do though. Good for you making it through and sharing it.

    • Thank you; your description is exactly how it felt. I don’t understand, I jut lost control. I used to blame it on chronic pain but eh… even that’s not much of a problem right now. It just happened out of nowhere, and I feel a bit uncomfortable about that.

      S is very, very good for me. Astonishingly good; he’s never once let me down or upset me. He’s never even raised his voice at me. It’s like he was made for me (soft, I know) and I’m convinced a large part of the positive steps I’ve made are down to his help.

    • Yup my best friend has one and I love it… I’m not interested in iPhones, I prefer being able to mess around with my technology and change the things I don’t like :D Android seems perfect for that, and I love the camera on the HTC. The Desire is so pretty; I’m such a techy nerd :D

      Haha, I appreciate the input! The more people who like the phone, the better for me!

      • Yes yes yes! iPhones have that habit of sucking you into their ecosystem. I didn’t know you were a geek though (I use it as a compliment, cuz I like geeks :D)! So cool. Everywhere I go I see people drooling after iPhones and for the life of me, I can’t understand why, when it’s just a shiny, pretty gadget which is good only for tech-zombies.
        Who am I kidding, most people Are tech-zombies :/

        • Geek is always a compliment! Although I do prefer ‘nerd’. I love technology; I taught myself to use a computer, and everything techy I know, I learned myself. I’m proud of that!

          I admit I have an iPod. Only because it’s the best MP3 player I could find; Apple products don’t do it for me at all. They’re pretty and shiny, but break easily and don’t let you fiddle around with the programmes or code.

          I’m also a science nerd, and a total grammar obsessive. It’s why S and I get on so well; he’s obsessed with electronics and how things work. It’s a perfect match :D

          • Wow. That’s amazing. I was taught how to use a computer in school, it seems ridiculous when I think of it now, that we had a textbook and how to click, drag or double-click :P
            But later, I tried to teach my grandfather how to use it and I realized how strange these concepts must be for someone who’s seeing them for the first time.

            iPods are okay, they’re the only Apple product I own. But it is frustrating when iPods rename the files so that you can’t read the filenames at all and have to use iTunes for everything. But over time, I’ve come to use my phone for music more (only because there was a point when my iPod broke and I was iPodless and also cuz carrying just one gadget is easier).
            To be honest, I haven’t fiddled around with my phone’s code or programs, but I like having that option :)

            Science nerd yay! Me too. I love scientific curiosity. I tend to look down upon people who don’t have scientific curiosity about stuff. Doesn’t have to be Everything you know, but Something?! If you’re not curious, or questioning, you’re like brain dead.

  3. It sucks when you feel you’re old enough to be a little independent. I’m 20 but my mom insists that I can’t go out by myself and must have a chaperone with me. But maybe you could think of it this way: your mom is concerned about your well-being, especially since you’ve got BPD. I don’t know–could be. I know my mom says she has to stick around for us kids because we “still need her.”

    “logic means little when everything seems to be exploding and falling apart” I know what you mean. I have a hard time explaining to my mom how exactly depression and anxiety affect me. She and my dad just don’t get it. They always say, “It’s all in your mind. Just push it away.” I bet you know how useless that advice is, right?

    Hope you feel better soon.

    • Chaperone? That must be incredibly stressful. I wasn’t allowed out alone until I was around thirteen, and I considered that to be harsh. My mother does insist on accompanying me to various appointments and shopping trips, which frustrates me; other people my age are married and have cars, jobs and children… I still go shopping with my mother once a week. It gets me down a lot, but it’s gone on too long to feel comfortable shaking up her routine.

      I suspect my dad doesn’t get depression. He’s an alcoholic, but he’s never been one for empathy. He and my mum split before I was born, and I think he’s ignored the majority of my emotional problems. My mother does try – she’s had depression herself- but rarely truly gets it. I suppose you can’t really understand it unless you’re living it.

      It is useless advice and I wish they were more understanding towards you. It can make so much difference. I hope you get something sorted eventually.

    • Thank you so much. I do feel much better today; took the meds yesterday evening and they seem to have levelled my moods again.

      I’m finding it really strange (but as I said in another comment, comforting) to realise other people can relate. It’s changing my outlook on myself; knowing I’m not the only one means someone else must have beaten it, so maybe I can too. We can but try.

  4. Love from a sister med-skipper — I do the same kind of thing — too much of a hurry, waiting for a ride, in and out of the shower before work and I never look back. And one day missing those meds puts me so far down my rational-irrational scale, I usually can’t even see I’m there. I don’t want to be a pushy bitch of a friend, but keep an eye on the meds — everything else will sort itself out!

    • Haha, be a pushy bitch friend all you like! I really love that you call me a friend; it’s a really nice thing to hear considering you’ve never met me. Usually I can manage two or three days without meds and cope fine, but eh… this time it just didn’t work. I won’t be missing them again. I don’t thinking missing the antidepressant is the problem, but the beta-blockers for panic attacks… I should have at least taken that.

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  6. I just found this your post by looking at comments made from other sites. Your decsription of the panic and irrational fears setting in gave me chills as it seemed I was reading my own journal. I quickly text my daughter who suffers from all these disorders as I do…as does her daughter as well…and I found your blog page. I couldn’t sign up fast enough. The gift you have of describing these complex emotions IS just that…A GIFT. And I’m thankful you are using your gift of putting words to these emotions by sharing. I too use writing to sort through lifes challenges that we face. I look forward to reading more of your work. So many of us DO understand………

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