Things are going wrong too many times
June 7, 2010 3:54 PM   Subscribe

I feel like I have no control over anything in my life and just drift around feeling helpless and miserable. What to do?

- I have bipolar disorder and recently have been in such a low slump that I have trouble performing basic tasks. My psychiatrist is little help as she just tells me I need to go on holiday. I have paranoid delusions and frequent suicidal feelings. I feel like things can't get better often. It's exhausting and hard to know how to actually do anything.
- I am having trouble with my SO of some years as he is finding my self-destruction frustrating. When I came over upset, reallly really upset, he got angry with me, telling me that not putting enough effort into my life meant it was my doing that I felt like this, and he was finding it hard to give a shit. I realise it may have been said in anger, but I'm really uncomfortable with it, and as much as I realise that I'm hard to be boyfriend to, it makes me wonder how to rebuild that trust; it's crossed a line for me. From his point of view, I'm 'failing at basic tasks' and it's making me feel more stressed. i'm worried our relationship can't be fixed; I'm worried that I am with someone who doesn't respond to my own needs and feelings but is all too aware of my failings - when he told me that, it cemented the way I feel, that I'm feeling as bad as I do because I'm inherently a bit of a crap person.
- i have problems with money. I feel like i;m addicted to spending money, and what I don;t want to admit to anyone is that it's recently bled over into shoplifting. This makes me feel obviously quite guilty and scared. I don't know why ut happens - that or the spending - and I can't seem to rationalise myself out of it
- Recently I've been feeling miserable because I'll be sharing with roommates for the foreseeable future. I've been doing this for ten years and I feel I have no autonomy over my space - I have to fit around others and in theory could be asked to leave at any time. I can;t afford to live alone, buying costs 15 times my salary and twice my salary for a deposit, and although my SO and I talked about moving in together at some point it's not a concrete plan, and I can't do anything to make it so.
- I'm failing at work because I feel distracted and crap. I know I'm slacking off etc. but can;t seem to get motivated. I'm scared to take time off sick because I don't want anyone to think I can;t handle things. I've been seen crying at work, I've arranged to work away from the office because I kept running to the toilets to burst into tears and couldn't work out why. I feel like I'm always having to put a front on because I need to to get things done and keep it together.
- i haven't spoken to my family in two months because I don't want them to worry about me.
- I used to be extremely good at writing, photography and other things but the constant battering to my mental health has made it all disappear. I feel like I'm suffocating under my own expectation. I feel like ever feeling I was talented was a horrible self-delusion.
- I sleep poorly, and I have a persistent and apparently undiagnoseable medical problem/infection which makes me feel irrationally miserable.
- After a couple of years of not doing so, I recently self-harmed. Already I have been trying to eat food which is off in the hope that it makes me sick or gives me an upset stomach, and last week I didn't wash for four days because it genuinely didn't seem worth doing.
- I feel paranoid all the time that everyone is talking about me, and doesn't like me or thinks I'm rubbish or incompetent. Every time there;s a meeting at work or I hear people talking at home I think it's about me. I keep hiding my feelings about things, because i don't want to push away or frighten people off me, and a lot of the time it feels like they just don't really matter to people other than the concern afforded by courtesy. I don't want to take holiday or time off work as I'll be in my flat all the time and I don't want to have to explain to people.

I',m afraid this does sound emo written down. Truth is, I feel like I'm heading for a breakdown and I'm scared. I know that for whatever reason I won't act on any suicidal thoughts I'm having, don;t worry. The feeling I'm really having right now is that I want to pack a bag and go somewhere and never come back. I feel like I just don't want to be myself anymore. I feel like I'm pushing away all the people who care about me and all the positive things in my life and perhaps this time it won't come back. feel like I need to wipe the slate clean and start again - if I had a valid passport I'd be booking tickets to somewhere nobody would look right now. I keep trying to be practical and knuckle down and make to-do lists but the truth is I don't feel I can do much more than be passive right now. I don;t want to go to a hospital, maybe that makes me a coward for not wanting to face up to things, but the truth is I feel like I've tried for a decade and now I don't know where to go from here.

I don't know how to make these feelings go away. I;m sorry if this is whingefilter, but I'd really appreciate some advice. Waiting lists for therapy are long and often during office hours. I;m at a point where I can't feel motivated to even start. I know my life could be a whole lot worse but not being able to pinpoint A Thing To Change doesn't make it easier.

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posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
You need to check yourself into an inpatient program. Self-harming/suicide isn't so great.
posted by TheBones at 3:58 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Print that out and give it to your doctor. If your doctor can't or won't help you, get a new doctor.
What you are going through is treatable with the right medical care. Good luck.
posted by rocket88 at 4:00 PM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]

These feelings are far too much for one person to shoulder on their own. Get help.

Whether it be family, friends or a doctor, you need to talk to someone.

I know for me, when I say "I don't want to bother" my friends or family, what I really mean is "I don't want them to see me like this". No one wants the people they love to be burdened by them.

But put it this way, if one of your good friends or a family member was feeling like you do, wouldn't you want to know, so you could help them?

Don't be afraid of getting help. It's the only way.
posted by sarastro at 4:05 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Start small, and start by acknowledging the things you DO manage, and make an effort to not beat yourself up over the stuff you're not handling as well. Each and every day is made up of a multitude of little tasks - your falling down on some of those tasks doesn't mean you're hopeless, that life is hopeless, or that you can not do those tasks. You can.

Take time to write every day - dump everything out of your head, ramble at length, put it on a page and then be done with it. Throw it away, even. And in a separate effort, focus on something positive in your life, in some small aspect. "I really like the weather today" or "hey, the comfortable jeans don't need washing! Yay for not having to do laundry" or anything at all. Even one small thing.

Pinpointing A Thing To Change is a good plan, actually - the trick is to find A Thing. A single thing. And work on that - you're overwhelmed and seeing forests rather than trees (and all the trees you can spot are huge and it doesn't look like you can climb them). Find one thing that you can start working on, and start there. For instance, impose a spending limit on yourself - physically impose it. Lock up your cards, delete your credit card info from amazon, take out x number of dollars and tell yourself that that's it - that's the money you're allowed to work with.

Asking for help from other people is hard. Be sure to print this out and bring it with you to therapy - I'm sure it took you time and effort to articulate all this, and there's no need to try to duplicate that effort later.
posted by lriG rorriM at 4:17 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I would do three things if I were in your position:

1. I would start, tonight, to focus on improving my sleep. Sleep routines, old coping mechanisms, changing the location or side, quiet music, going to bed earlier, whatever -- just getting enough sleep ASAP. Not having enough sleep makes even a well-adjusted person go out of their mind.

2. I would tell your boyfriend ASAP that "Hey, okay, forget about our fight. I recognize that you expect me to take care of my own problems, and I respect that. So I'm going to do that. But since I can't rely on you to support me, you have to at least try not to sabotage me. So if I find i need something from you, I'm going to ask for it point-blank, and you either need to give it to me or tell me that you can't so I can go get it from someone else. Can you work that way? If not, tell me know so I can skip the part where I ask you for things." Then stick with that plan.

3. See a doctor ASAP, and bring a printing out your question with you.
posted by davejay at 4:35 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

er, tell me NOW
posted by davejay at 4:36 PM on June 7, 2010

My psychiatrist is little help as she just tells me I need to go on holiday

You need a new psychiatrist. Telling someone with BPD that a vacation will make it all better is tantamount to malpractice, as far as I'm concerned.

You're at the low end of your pendulum swing. I know it doesn't sound plausible right now, but things will get better -- most of your concerns and worries right now are the result of being at the most depressive end of your spectrum. This is temporary. I promise. Set aside your fears about your creative output, your family, your housing, your money. For now that stuff is just out of range. None of it needs to be dealt with today.

Ride it out for now. Wait until you start swinging the other direction. When it does, in this order: find a better psychiatrist; with them sort out your meds which are obviously not properly matched to your needs at the moment; work things out with your SO (who is clearly trying to help but equally clearly doesn't really understand what you're going through); finally deal with your housing and creative prospects and all the rest.

I know even looking at that list seems overwhelming right now, so don't look at it right now. One of the slight mercies of BPD is that you're not stuck at one pole forever, so just set it aside for the moment. Give yourself permission to not worry about it until you can cope. Wait until you are able to deal with these things, then deal with them. For now, no manifestos, no dramatic gestures, no big deals. Just get through the day. That's all you need to do today.

And when you are able to cope, it won't feel like you need to go through that checklist. But do it anyway, so you don't wind up back here again.

I'm not BPD but two of my close friends are. If you want to talk in more detail please memail me.
posted by ook at 5:23 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think you should cut your SO some slack. You can't expect him to solve problems you can't solve yourself. Your doctor isn't giving you appropriate care (unless you have completely misconstrued her holiday statement) so you need to escalate your care.
posted by saucysault at 6:43 PM on June 7, 2010

It sounds like things are getting pretty dire. Your psychiatrists remark about "needing a holiday" sounds rather unsympathetic and glib, but it may be true that you need to take some time away from work to get more intensive care and reduce your stress. Taking a vacation or getting yourserlf commited aren't your only options. Day programs can offer psych services to people who aren't in need of hospitalization but do need more help than their ordinary therapeutic relationships. I'd start by expressing your sense of desperation to your psychiatrist as frankly as you can and asking her to help you think through your treatment options. If that doesn't yield any good leads, look into whatever mental health resources yor community has. Is there a teaching hospital in the area? The psych department may be able to offer you care or provide you with a referral. Whatever you do, pursue more care because it sounds like what you are getting isn't enough. Don't give up until you get what you need.
posted by reren at 7:19 PM on June 7, 2010

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