How do I get my hope back?
June 23, 2014 2:34 AM   Subscribe

My question is this: how do I get my hope back, and how do I reject my apparent acceptance of my current state? (Way too many details inside. Huge wall of text. Apologies in advance.)

Several years ago, after an extended period of aggressively attempting to treat bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, disordered eating, low self-esteem, anxiety and obsessive compulsive tendencies, and PTSD using medication, individual and group therapy, and committed self-regulation, everything eventually stopped working and my life went back to hell. In the past, low points like the one I'm in now eventually led to a recommitment to a new approach, and I expected the same thing to happen again because it always did within a year or two. A new therapist, a new drug, a new methodology, something. Hope is what motivated me. I just knew that I could find the treatment recipe that would eventually lead to contentment and/or comfort, if not happiness. My hope is now gone. I think that I have just accepted that I am, and will always be, utterly miserable. I have been in and out of treatment since I was 14 years old, and I am 38 years old now. I am single, have no support network because I don't want to inflict borderline personality disorder on innocent people, and my family stays out of it because they're just tired and sad.

In the past, even during my lowest points, I cared about something. I would knit, paint, recycle, clean my house, play with my parents' dog, get my car washed, go to the grocery store, shower, get my hair cut, go to doctor's appointments, maybe put on some make-up, take my medication. I was miserable and sad and hated myself, but I would still do at least some of the most basic things in an attempt to fake it till I made it. Not all the time, and not perfectly, but there was always something I was functional at. I am now the epitome of dysfunction. I don't shower, wash my clothes, or clean my house. I don't even brush my hair. I haven't been to the grocery store or prepared a meal at home in years. I go to McDonald's or similar once a day, get a single meal, and that's what I eat. I started smoking again after having quit for 10 years. I gave my cat away. I sometimes go weeks or months without taking my thyroid medication (I have no thyroid), and I stopped doing my cancer treatment. I've given up on my psych meds because they stopped working. I quit therapy. I have had a mysterious, extremely painful rash on both of my feet for several years, along with loss of nerve sensation, and didn't pursue it further when my referral couldn't really explain what it was. I can now barely walk because I can't feel most of my feet except for the painful parts. I don't go the dentist or eye doctor. I haven't even bothered to redeem gift cards from my birthday last year, and for my birthday this year I asked people to just donate to charity. I rarely go to my parents' house. I don't buy people presents for important occasions or attend most family functions. I'm an extremely intermittent bill payer. I hate everything about myself and my life, but I just can't be arsed to fix it. I'm numb and overwhelmed.

I think the reason things are different this time has something to do with how well things were going the last time I tried treatment. I was put on a mood stabilizer that wasn't lithium for the first time since I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and it worked amazingly well for about 18 months. It was like fucking magic. I went back to school, got excellent grades, and kept up with my interests and hobbies. I still had no friends, but whatever, I was doing DBT and figured I would make friends eventually. But, slowly, the medications I was taking stopped working and my father wanted to stop paying for one of my anti-depressants because it was extremely expensive, so I had to switch to something less effective. I told everyone on my treatment team that shit was falling apart, but nothing we tried was working. We tried upping dosages, changing medications entirely, adding lithium back on.. Nope. And every time I would go to see my therapist, she would act like she'd just met me. She could never remember what we were working on or doing, and her documentation was so shitty she almost got me kicked off of disability. So, an inexorable downward slide. One day I just decided to skip a day of classes to relax and have a brain vacation, and I never went back. Something in me just snapped. I was just incredibly disappointed in myself, my treatment team, everything. More than I have ever been in my entire life, about anything.

Fast forward a few months to the suicide attempt. It was ridiculous. A cop took me to Psych ER after my cousin called the police. My cousin and mother were with me. At like 3 am a psychiatrist interviewed me and suggested I try ECT. I agreed to consider it and they let me go home. It was something of a wake-up call, though, so I talked ECT over with my family. They told me that under no circumstances would they support ECT. They would not drive me to or from appointments, assist with aftercare, or even speak to me if I elected to take this course of action. I literally tried everyone in my small family. Neither one of my aunts, my cousin, my mother and father, no one would support me in even exploring this, much less actually doing it. After those conversations I tried calling around to find a new psychiatrist and therapist. No dice there, either. The earliest appointment I could get with anyone was at least 4 months out from that day. And that was it. That's when I gave up.

My psychiatrist was worried enough after the suicide attempt that she set me up with a social worker, but the social worker was less than useless. After being on a waiting list for three years, she came to my house a few times, then missed several appointments without explanation, then dropped me after I missed an appointment because I don't check my mailbox. She followed through on nothing we talked about. She told me that she would find me a new therapist, a new psychiatrist that was much closer than my current one, try to get me a prescription for an emotional support animal, take me to doctor appointments.. she did none of those things. As far as I can tell, she never even made a single phone call. Just one more disappointment in an endless string of treatment failures.

I really do want to get that hope back so that I can find the inner strength and motivation to pick up the fucking phone, make some appointments, and actually GO TO THEM. I have literally never been in this position before, where I'm finding it difficult to care about how little I care about myself or my future. And no one else cares, so it's all up to me. When my treatment was working, I envisioned maybe having a dog, a little job that wouldn't be too stressful, my own home, possibly even a boyfriend or a close friend. None of that seems possible now because the best treatment available (epileptic mood stabilizers/lithium + DBT/CBT) doesn't actually WORK for me.

And so, I am seriously asking: How do I get my hope back? Is it even worth it? Honestly, should I just continue to approach this as if I have an incurable, terminal disease? (I am not talking about suicide here; something more akin to just accepting this suffering until I die of natural causes.) Is there some new treatment I don't know about or an old one I haven't yet tried? How do people find the strength to keep fighting with this horrible, broken mental health system?
posted by xyzzy to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe you could participate in a clinical trial for something like TMS (as I understand it, a treatment that operates on the same theory as ECT but using magnetism) or for some other novel treatment that your family wouldn't object to? Others might have a better understanding than me of how to find and get into a clinical trial...
posted by XMLicious at 3:32 AM on June 23, 2014

I've been thinking about you all morning.

How do you get hope back? This well written cogent post, written today, is a sign of hope - because it is actual evidence that you want to change. The hope is there even at those times when you can't perceive it.
posted by Mistress at 4:02 AM on June 23, 2014 [35 favorites]

What stands out most to me in your post is your medical (not psychological or psychiatric) history. You are physically suffering, a lot. I think the highest priority is the thyroid medication and your feet, then dentist and eye doctor. Then, diet and exercise.

I've suffered a lot psychologically too, and I know that sometimes it can be confusing to realize that physical pain can be a huge problem independent of that. Do whatever you can to take care of the thyroid issue and the foot issue. Ignore the question of whether you'll get better psychologically or whether there is hope or whatever in the meantime.

Hope springs eternal -- this is a cliche for a reason. When it is time for you to have hope again, you will. In the meantime, keep your body as healthy and strong as you can. You'll be there for it when it's ready.
posted by 3491again at 4:36 AM on June 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm at a point right now where I have little to no hope of things working out, even if our circumstances are different. I feel like I've been pulverized by a blender, and it just keeps going on and I'm stuck.

I keep pushing forward anyway, even when it feels like a suicidal mission. I know chances of success are nil but if I stop, I don't know if I can start again. And if. I stop there is no chance for even a moment of pure luck to make a difference. I don't try to remember my motivations anymore, because it just makes me question why do I keep trying when I make no gains. Instead I do it because of momentum. Just because. Because I give myself no other option. I shower because that is something I do, not because I enjoy it or I like being clean or because of any feelings I have.

Rarely does a question hit such a nerve with me. I know the despair I feel in every word you've written. I'm not going to tell you it gets better because I have no evidence in my own life it does.
posted by Aranquis at 4:52 AM on June 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

After decades of feeling existential despair twice a day, and two years of psychotherapy, my psychoanalyst asked, "have you checked with your MD about hypoglycemia? You might want to look into that." I did. Turns out I'm hypoglycemic, and need to eat a bit of food at least every two or three hours. Ever since that discovery, I have been not a little overwhelmed (and, yes, silly-feeling) at how my depths of existential despair and unhappiness lifted, "merely" because I was keeping my blood sugar stable. This is not to minimize other shit that contributed to my depression, btw. But it did make a noticeable, reliable difference.

So. Here are things you can hold out hope for:
- Eating will make you feel better. You may weep through bites (ask me how I know), but you will feel better an hour or so later. Eat three times a day, maybe four (a snack between lunch and dinner if you tend to eat late).
- Take your thyroid meds. You probably know this, but being low on thyroid is practically a prescription for depression. Not to minimize other stuff, but it does contribute.
- Get your feet checked out, although I wonder if they'll get better once you start eating. Skin tends to do weird stuff when it's not getting all the nutrients it wants. And are you drinking water? Drink only water for a while. That helps. Even fruit juices tend to make blood sugar spike.

I'm betting that just eating and thyroid meds will get you to a baseline, in a few months, where you'll be able to see the light of hope, and all the rest will seem more doable.

You don't have to reject your acceptance of your current state, btw. I'm 38 too, been through a hell of a ride in life, and only just now am starting to have this thing called a "support network" that's like learning a foreign language because I never really had one before. Like you, I went through periods where it seemed like I only crossed people who fucked up other people's lives (and it was not just me – we're talking people in positions of power who fucked up other people's, plural, lives, mine included, the big difference being the others had support networks and I didn't until recently). Those periods end. Especially if you can just manage to get through the fallout. You don't have to get through it perfectly. You just need to, y'know, get through it. Things can only get better if you stay alive to see them. There are bad unpredictable things, and then there are good – good can and probably will happen too.

There are no guarantees, this is true. But I can say, everyone I've known who's been suicidal (some of my friends have attempted suicide, thankfully all survived), in deep despair, and hopeless, has eventually found a measure of hope and happiness. "A measure": don't hold yourself to popular standards. Happiness is waaaaay overrated and over-emphasized. Contentment, knowing you've taken care of yourself, is where it's really at.
posted by fraula at 4:57 AM on June 23, 2014 [11 favorites]

I think you should find a way to do the ECT. Your family's reaction seems like it comes out of ignorance, and the old misconceptions of what ECT is. Maybe you can get them to read some of the current research. If not, try to find another way. I think from your description, that it could really help you. Don't give up. I know how it feels, it's hard to make myself shower, my house it filthy. Sometimes you just have to trick yourself into doing things. And once you do something, you will feel a tiny bit better. Make lists. Maybe you can only do one thing a day, but doing that one thing will be an accomplishment. Take a shower today. Tomorrow call a doctor about your feet.... One day at a time may be a cliche, but it works.
posted by catatethebird at 5:14 AM on June 23, 2014 [10 favorites]

I'm so sorry that you're feeling so terrible. You were dealt a shitty hand in life and the only thing to do is to keep trying.

I know it's exhausting, and disappointing, but you have to keep fighting for your quality of life.

One of the most important things to do is to form a relationship with your doctors. You need consistant psychiatric, psychological and medical care. I know you've been disappointed in the past, but find the strenghth to get back up and try again.

As for ECT, your family needs to be better educated. I had a friend go through it last year as a last resort for her horrible depression. It wasn't easy, there were weird side-effects, and she was rather out of it for a few months there, but MAN has her life improved. It wasn't instantaneous, but she's off of her anti-depressants, pregnant and feeling nearly normal.

Part of your problem isn't your lack of hope, it's your shitty brain telling you lies. So, if your family doesn't support ECT, then figure out what you can arrange through public services, or, perhaps you should go into an in-patient facillity for your course of treatment.

I wouldn't draw another breath without exploring the possibilities of ECT. Seriously, it may not be a miracle cure, but it can signficantly impact your life for the better.

I'm thinking of you.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:35 AM on June 23, 2014 [3 favorites]

I, too, have been thinking of you all morning, but as I'm relatively new to the community, I went back through your posts and answers and comments and found someone with broad interests, great advice, deep insight, and a curiosity for life. If it was there before, it's still in there. You just have to get to it. Maybe go back and look at some of the the things you've written to reacquaint yourself with your past self. I know I'm sometimes astounded to read something I wrote a few years ago. But really, you're pretty awesome and you have evidence of that all over this site.

I have many of the same diagnoses as you, but not the borderline personality disorder. My bipolar is the refractory kind and lithium makes me ill at subclinical doses. My treatment choices become smaller every time I have a manic episode, and fortunately my depressions have gone away by themselves with time. No one has treated them medically for fear of bringing on more mania and no one, to my memory, has suggested ECT. That's not to say it's not the way to go for you, but I know you've been having problems getting reliable mental health care teams who know you and what you're like and what's best for you, and I just think you should get at least a second and third opinion when considering this option. I know that means more appointments and more forms and more rehashing of the same old story and, hell, even more leaving the house, but it's a really big thing that might not even work and it's always freaked me out, ever since being on a ward with several post ECT patients. But that's just my ECT bias and I think you need to figure it out for yourself. If I were to do it, I'd do it as an inpatient.

I'll be thinking of you. I hope you figure yourself out soon. You've gotten great advice above. You'll probably get more below. Take it all in and do it at your own pace, don't pressure yourself, don't try to fix everything at once. Be well.
posted by danabanana at 6:13 AM on June 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

I, like you, have no thyroid. I would definitely get back on your thyroid medication, because without it, a whole lot can be messed up, including your moods and thinking. I would start there, and then check all other medical routes, because it sounds like there's a lot going on with you physically that could also be taking a toll on you psychologically.
posted by xingcat at 6:16 AM on June 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

I also think you should start with healing your body. You need to eat and take your thyroid medication, because your body needs those things to function. Your brain is a part of your body, and it's basic physical needs come before any higher functions.

When I was in a situation a bit like this, what got me out was better nutrition, sleep, and taking medication on schedule. How I did this was something you could think of as "Being A Robot." Someone bought me a bunch of easy food (think powdered meal replacement, liquid meals, or frozen microwave food) and I set an alarm that would go off at intervals telling me Now Eat, Now Medications, Now Sleep, Now Wake Up, and I followed those instructions like a robot. I did not care about my self or my future, I was just following instructions. But doing that allowed my body to heal and repair, and my brain improved too, and over time I realized I was starting to feel better about my life.

Is there literally nobody who can set up these basic things for you? Like, buy you meal replacements, portion out medications, and set alarms? Maybe wash some laundry while they're at it? If not, and I recommend this hesitantly and mean it as kindly as possible, I wonder if a short inpatient stay might help, just to get better nutrition and medication for awhile, and give you the space to be away from your usual situation.

But basically, I guess what I'm trying to say is, in my experience there is a certain extent to which things come in the opposite order: you don't have to care or hope, you just have to do the things. The better feelings come a little later.

And I also think you absolutely can do them, and that you can have a much better life than you have described in this post. I am quite sure that can happen.
posted by epanalepsis at 6:38 AM on June 23, 2014 [6 favorites]

I'm so glad that you are finding the strength to write this letter. It is hard to reach out when in such pain. Please do not hurt yourself.

You have a history of accomplishments and I gather you put a lot of pressure on yourself to meet some very high expectations from yourself and those around you. Sometimes, though, we think others are expecting much more from us that they really are. In any case, we cannot ever meet other people's expectations, and we don't have to really do *anything* to be valuable and at peace. You don't have to want to eat well and go to school if you don't want to, it's fine. Take a step back and realize that you are perfect just the way you are. I think you will feel better knowing that you are carrying a lot on your shoulders that you just don't need to be carrying.
posted by waving at 7:12 AM on June 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, sweetie. I am so sorry you're going through this. While your situation does seem very complex and thorny and painful, there was one BLINDINGLY hopeful thing that immediately jumped out to me: you're thyroid-less and not properly medicated. My boyfriend has been thyroid-less and improperly medicated for years, and it has had a huuuuuuuuuuuuge negative impact on every aspect of his life. A doctor-friend calls it "being in suspended animation", and I love that analogy... you feel like you're trapped in a thick, sticky tar-pit of despair... EVERYTHING seems like an enormous effort, everything is bleak and awful, even your thinking is disjointed and foggy. It sucks so, SO bad.

Before you fix anything else - before you CAN even fix anything else! - you must get your thyroid meds adjusted to an appropriate level (if necessary), and you must take them consistently for a few months. It's one LITTLE goal that I can almost guarantee will have a HUGE positive impact on your life. Being properly medicated vs. NOT being properly medicated is like the difference between day and night.

Achievement in one arena begets achievement in other arenas - once you have tangible proof that, "Huh, I did something and it WORKED!", you want to do MORE things and have THEM work, too. You haven't had that in a long, long time, sadly (thanks to crappy luck in the health department and shockingly poor support from both family and professionals). However, this is ONE THING you yourself can do that WILL have strongly positive results. This can be a victory for you, and it can get the ball rolling towards other victories, too.

If you need any help locating/contacting an endocrinologist in your area, MeMail me - I'd be happy to help. I believe you can find your way through this.
posted by julthumbscrew at 7:16 AM on June 23, 2014 [5 favorites]

Was the social worker through a private agency, or a county/state/govt agency? If government, can you talk to the agency and see if they can switch your case to a different (competent) social worker? If private, maybe call the local county mental health agency and see if you qualify for services? (I would assume you would, but it'll likely depend on whether you have Medicaid or Medicare.)

You do seem like someone for whom case-management/social-work services would be beneficial. If you have Medicare, I wonder about talking to your psychiatrist about home health services and home social services -- occupational therapists who specialize in mental health might be a good resource for helping you coordinate medical and psychiatric treatment as well as getting back on track with basic things like showering, taking medication, laundry, etc. If you don't want to go through your doctor first and you have the energy to do so, you could probably even google "home health care" and "occupational therapy mental health" in your area and see what they have to say.
posted by jaguar at 7:19 AM on June 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

I, too, urge you to consider ECT. I have a close friend who's gone through a pretty extensive course lately, and really does feel/appear to be helped a lot by it.

Also, one way I recover hope is to get One thing done. It's kind of like one day at a time, but with momentum. One helpful appointment kept can help the hope resurface.
posted by ldthomps at 9:20 AM on June 23, 2014

Where do you live?
posted by three_red_balloons at 9:50 AM on June 23, 2014

Response by poster: Where do you live?

Central New York. I'm still reading everything people write, just don't plan to threadsit unless I am asked a specific question like this.
posted by xyzzy at 10:11 AM on June 23, 2014

Hey, xyzzy. I've been watching this thread all morning while I'm working, and I just want to send some good wishes your way. I don't have any concrete advice for you, but I can say that I've enjoyed your writings on this site (your sensitive and thoughtful answer in this thread about the third grade girl who wanted to be homeschooled was a fantastic comment, and could really help the author or others who find themselves in that situation with their child).

You can write, and you have important advice to give to people, and people (like me!) really appreciate reading what you have to say. Don't go away, please.
posted by math at 11:51 AM on June 23, 2014 [5 favorites]

Are there partial hospitalization programs in your area? If nothing else, this would at least give structure to your day, get you around other people, and possibly give you more options for medical backup. I know when I've been between jobs or out sick for more than even a few days, I start to feel isolated and useless (I live alone too). It sounds like your family is able to offer some support--maybe they could even look into a residential program just to get you out of your rut and back working on new groundwork.

I hate to be a one-note Sally, but I'm wondering if--in addition to psychological evaluation and treatment, you'd also consider a full medical workup (as easy as starting with basic blood panels at your GP--or any GP). You absolutely need to get back on the thyroid medication, which you know already, but I'm wondering if your misery is being compounded by vitamin/mineral/iron deficiencies, particularly on the fast-food-and-cigarettes diet. If you are, your multivitamin won't cut it, and only a doctor will know for sure. Get B12 checked especially--the foot sensation issue caught my eye for that. Are you overweight with no thyroid and the diet change? Then you may also benefit from a sleep study as well if the weight gain has unmasked obstructive sleep apnea. (Disclaimer: I am skinny and have a sleep breathing disorder, so maybe ask your doctor to look into it anyway, either way.)
posted by blue suede stockings at 12:35 PM on June 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

ECT is something to investigate further: think of it as pressing the brain's reset switch.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:27 PM on June 23, 2014

hi I've been thinking about you this morning as well. I'm having a hard time answering your question, to be honest.

I've written this a number of ways, but at some point I've just got to hit the submit button.

I have BPD too. I've been in recovery for 5-6 years. (I was diagnosed at 28.)

My life is much better now but not perfect and sometimes old habits show up.

Is there some new treatment I don't know about or an old one I haven't yet tried?

So far all I've heard for BPD is: Therapy and DBT.

It sounds like things were going well and then something snapped and you spiralled down. I think this is a common BPD trait - sabotaging your own success right when you're about to achieve true individuated independence. Fear of being alone? Like, if I'm a grown up now, I will be responsible for myself, so I'll be abandoned? But it's not true. My boyfriend told me (when we were first dating) that I always seemed to try to stir up a calm moment. After a great weekend, I would try to make it negative. It is a control issue. If you destroy the positive, you feel like hey maybe it's negative but at least I'm still in control. The positive is more unknown. When you venture into the positive, you have to have a very stable sense of self in order to navigate it. It can be daunting to let the positive momentum build. It is easier to react to negative.

It could be that every time you start up again, you make great progress until you hit a wall or a deep fear or buried intense pain, and then stop. Maybe you prefer the devil you know to the devil you don't? I remember that the 1st year of therapy was learning emotional awareness and different coping methods. My therapist told me that I had all I needed to identify & cope with emotions and asked if I wanted to go further. Going further meant unearthing an ungodly amount of shit and bad feelings. It was hard but very worth it.

Also having moved out of the chaotic period of my life... I told my therapist "Stable relationships are boring" and she burst out laughing. So maybe things got good and you got bored? I had to train myself to accept a new baseline of stability and learn healthy ways to stimulate myself and keep life interesting.

I can't speak to the other issues (bipolar, thyroid) but for BPD finding the right therapist is crucial. There are so many ways you could be unintentionally undermining your own recovery and your therapist has to be 1 step ahead of you, someone you can't fake your way out of. If the therapist is just a little bit naive then you will dance circles around them. This is not your fault, you don't have a clear 'self' to relate back to the therapist. To others it appears manipulative but it is just a symptom of your own confusion, and many therapists will miss this key point. A therapist has to be smart, skilled, grounded & compassionate in order to rehabilitate BPD. It is ok to ask them during the initial interview: have you successfully rehabilitated people suffering from BPD? What is the most difficult case you have successfully worked with?

When you find someone you like, stick with them even when it gets hard. Because it can get painful before it gets better. I think BPD has a lot of buried pain in there and it hurts to re-feel it and there is so much temptation to run away from it.

I don't know what your therapy has been like, but I did spend a number of years lying to myself & my therapist because when she asked me how I felt, I honestly did. not. know. So I just made up an answer that sounded good. And the scary part... I didn't even know I was doing it. I thought I was being honest. When she challenged me, I got angry. It took a long time to make a connection to who I really was, and to have the courage to be honest with myself & with others. It scares me how much I was out of touch with myself. I was an alien to myself and I didn't even know it.

That's why finding the right therapist is absolutely crucial.

should I just continue to approach this as if I have an incurable, terminal disease?

I think it's a lifelong quirk that needs to be managed.

I found it helpful to accept that I have additional challenges that the average person doesn't face. I wish life had dealt me different cards but I have to play the hand I've got. If I was born with multiple sclerosis, I would have to manage the limitations of that disorder, and it's the same for BPD.

It sounds like you are in reaction mode, where its just emotion and chaos. Management mode or recovery just feels like life as usual and the BPD is mostly gone. Then when you have an upset it is very clear that you've switched to BPD mode, in which case you pull out the training and bring yourself back to regular functioning. The difference between these two modes becomes very clear as time goes on. Eventually the BPD upsets are fewer and less drastic, and you can see it coming. Some days I tell my boyfriend that I am feeling grumpy and raw, or that I'm feeling insecure & need reassurance. When I can catch it before it triggers, then it doesn't control me or mess up my relationships. If I don't tell him and just act out my feelings, I create big problems for myself, and pain for him :(

But you need to have some positives in your life to build on. So:

I still had no friends, but whatever, I was doing DBT and figured I would make friends eventually.

Maybe friends will be more crucial than you realize. When I was first in recovery, I only had one friend and all we did was go see dumb comedy movies together every other week and we never talked about anything personal but that friendship was my leg up into regular life.

I don't want to inflict borderline personality disorder on innocent people

I sometimes think this way. But I'm not sure it helps. Everyone feels insecure and alone sometimes. Everyone gets hurt & upset sometimes, and it's just learning how to cope with the feelings and being willing to look at things a little differently.

Furthermore who isn't messed up to some degree? Being born means you develop weird associations and if you get to know anyone intimately you will see that they too have weird emotional patterns. You are no different in that regard, just the emotions are way more intense.

You inflict BPD only if you act out your feelings on others. That is the only time you may be a 'burden' to others. That's where the impulsivity just ruins things. The feelings are so strong and you just want to blaaaaaa them out and it takes strength to hold them & communicate them effectively.

Trust me when I say, people don't see you how you see yourself. You see all bad things but there is a light shining there. BPD is not all of you, it is just a part of you. My boyfriend sees me as an amazing person even when I feel like a turd. Sometimes how you feel about something is not the way it is.

And no one else cares, so it's all up to me.

This could be your release. It is easy to live when there is external structure like family and school telling you how to be. Then all you have to do is execute the script. When you are on your own, you have to dig deep and muster the strength to be who you are. But it is in this place where you will find your Self. That Self you were looking for all along. It is up to you and you can do it. You will be very proud of yourself too.

There are times when I wanted to die. The feelings were so bad, and the patterns were so deep. Who would miss me? What do I add to the world? Then one day I said to my self No. This is not how my story ends. These problems are not so bad that they will cost me my life.

And trust me, people do care. It sounds like your family loves you very much, even if they are tired from the emotionality. They want to see you succeed.

I was miserable and sad and hated myself, but I would still do at least some of the most basic things in an attempt to fake it till I made it.

I am going to drastically say that maybe this was part of the problem. Faking it (ie forcing yourself) perpetuates the "false self" that keeps BPD going. If I could override what I was feeling and do something, that's functioning, that's good, right? With BPD you've got to acknowledge what you're really feeling and work with that, not override it and force yourself into 'apparent competency.' I'm pretty sure I wasted a lot of time in therapy thinking I was functional when I was really just doing busywork for myself. My feelings hadn't changed one bit. I had just found a seemingly healthy mode of avoidance.

So it is like you are hitting rock bottom here. When all your ways of distracting yourself are taken away, what is left? You can build from here. This is where the good stuff starts. I think you are on the brink of busting past your own illusions, not in the bottom of a deep pit. Here is where you can start connecting to your true self.

How do I get my hope back? Is it even worth it?

It is worth it.

Not that you will always be happy or life will suddenly be roses. It will just be... life. Happy. Sad. Boring. Whatever. You will be in the same physical place you started in, but your internal state will be completely different, and so the outside will appear totally different. You will have those "holy shit this used to destroy me for days and now I just find it funny" moments. You will respond, not react. You won't create the problems.

Tell yourself: I look forward to looking back on this.

In my darkest times, I kept going because I know that I loved the people around me and I wanted to bring myself up to their level, to be a good friend or girlfriend for them, to engage in healthy ways that add to their lives. I wanted to be a cause of happiness for them and I had to learn how to do it.

In my dark dark times... I went to bed wishing I would never wake up but knew I couldn't kill myself because that wouldn't solve the problem. I went to a funeral once of a guy who killed himself and everyone was grief stricken and everyone, myself included, said "why did he do it?"

BPD is a disorder of trying to cope higher then where you are actually feeling. You're constantly overwhelmed because you're being asked to function at an adult level with emotional explosions of a much much younger person. I never would have chosen this challenge, but then again someone with a physical impairment never chose it either. 1% of the population has it, so yay us....

There are many more things I'd like to say about recovering from BPD and finding your sense of self, but I've already written a wall of text here and I don't know if more words would be helpful right now. You just sound so down. I want to write that there is hope. BPD is not a terminal sentence. It is a label for a cluster of emotional symptoms & coping mechanisms. You're in a down place right now but that can change. This down place is actually a turning point from which you can begin building a true sense of self.
posted by serenity soonish at 3:03 PM on June 23, 2014 [21 favorites]

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