Faulkner wrote about her ancestors She stood like a pillar of strength between her mother and daughter She stood strong as both of them held her arms that were their life jackets as they drowned in endless sorrows Tears silently fell from her face as her father laid in his closed home And the reverend went on about him being in a better place And her strength did not falter, She let her loved ones hold on tight while she tried to blink away tears , She swallowed her pain and absorbed the pain from those around her She wasn’t just strong for her mother and daughter, but she was a goddess of strength among the mere mortals around her that wept
I wrote this poem in January of 2020. Maybe I was mad at the patriarchy or just feeling weighed down by the expectations that society has on women. I know that for me, it has been a huge burden at times to constantly keep up an appearance that I am put together balanced woman even if I am falling apart.
I knew I wanted to write a post for Borderline Personality Awareness month, but I didn’t know it would be this post-about having suicidal ideation once again. It’s hard to write about this since I haven’t been here since last summer. Here is a place where I want to do everything or anything to stop the intense emotional turmoil and pain, I’m in. Here is a place where I write dark poetry about ways to end it all. I mean my poetry got so dark; Sylvia Plath would have been proud of me. Here is a place where I cry multiple times a day and any little thing is a trigger, and my coworkers start asking me if I’m okay. Here is a place where it feels like none of the healthy coping mechanisms (writing, music, keeping busy, talking to friends, mindfulness, long walks in nature, etc.) are working and I started to wonder what the point of it all is. What’s worse about this happening this time around was that there was no tragedy or life changing circumstance to trigger these feelings of wanting to die. If I had to pinpoint the trigger of this major depressive episode, it was as simple as upping the dosage of my mood stabilizer. Now, I was already in a low mood since last week because my quality of sleep had gone to shit lately so last week, I asked my medical provider to up the dosage on my mood stabilizer that I take at night to sleep. I was also working an extra shift at my second job, so I was more tired than usual.
On Monday night, I started on the new dosage and on Tuesday morning I woke in a state of extreme anger and agitation. I’ve been here many times before but this time it felt different. Everything and everyone annoyed me to the point that I wrote some really mean and cruel poetry and played my ANGRY AF playlist on repeat. This was the alternative to what I really wanted to do, which was to punch walls or smash something to bits and pieces. I also imploded on myself and went into self-hate mode where I hated my brain chemistry, my BPD, and well basically myself. Being in this negative mindset felt like several steps backwards based on all the progress I’ve made and that made me spiral even more. I cried at lunch that day. I went to my second job and felt fine after.
On Wednesday, I felt I was in a better mood and thought I was in control of my emotions. I even wrote a poem about how my therapist was so instrumental in helping me. Then the afternoon came, and I got a rejection email from a grant I applied for that really hit me straight in the gut. Once again, I was extremely angry and agitated. And I almost went into my “I’m going to be reactive AF” mode. However, I was able to stop myself. I headed to my second job and cried on and off the first two hours of work while I was stocking. Luckily, I reached out to my friend “K” through text and she was responsive. Also, I was closely working with my supervisor the latter part of the night so that kept my mind busy. I ended up going to sleep later than I’m used to and woke up on Thursday a complete and utter emotional mess. Because of the state I was in, I made the responsible decision not to drive that day, but I still went to work. For the first two hours at work, I cried, and I couldn’t do anything to stop it. My coworkers kept asking me if I was okay and I lied and said I had a raging headache. I’m not completely out to the whole office yet about my BPD or all my mental health issues. Maybe they bought the lie or maybe they didn’t. Throughout the morning, I tried my best to practice mindfulness to calm down and it helped a little. Then I had a second cup of coffee and that did the trick because I was finally able to be coherent enough to chat with a couple of my coworkers. I want to think that my “masking skills” from the past really helped in making my coworkers not suspect how much of an emotional mess I was. I reached out to my friend “K” once again and other friends and they were all responsive so that helped. And then lunchtime came, and the dark and intrusive thoughts came out in my poetry, and I cried a lot. I guess getting the worst of it out helped because my mood improved in the afternoon. I decided to clean up and organize my office. I made a list of tasks to occupy me at work for the next few days. I made a separate list of tasks I wanted to accomplish in my personal life. I also decided to do something kind for myself and signed up for swimming lessons since I never learned how to swim. I went to my second job and that also kept me busy which helped me tremendously. On Friday, I woke up in a much better mood and drove to work. I felt this huge sense of relief, but I finally felt like I was back to what is now my normal optimistic and confident self. This sent me into a bit of euphoria that got me side eye from one of my coworkers. Lol. Okay, I know it’s kind of ridiculous for a middle-aged woman to get excited at the supermarket over cuatro leches cake and a sour patch energy drink but damn after a 3-day suicidal ideation episode, it’s the little things that count. I took the terrible experience as another way to learn about myself and maybe try more preventive measures next time I switched meds or upped a dosage.
I learned that my mental health was declining when I started listening to the same angry or sad song over and over again. I don’t know how many times I listened to “That’s Hilarious” by Charlie Puth last week. I also learn that when I’m in the worst of it, I need to listen to the “Fuck Love “album by The Kid LAROI. Don’t ask me why, something in my brain finds his teenage angst and anger comforting. I also learned how I dissociate during these episodes. It was like a watching this train wreck of emotions take over my body and mind and not being able to do much about it. It was difficult and scary to experience. The best thing I did was keep going to work at both jobs no matter what. I feel like this kept me busy enough from spiraling even further. Also, planning something to look forward to like scheduling swimming lessons was extremely helpful. Reaching out to friends about how I was feeling bad and getting their love and encouragement helped me as well. And of course, understanding that the feelings of hopelessness and despair won’t last forever and honoring those feelings through journaling and writing poetry is important. For some reason, documenting what’s going on helps me process and get through an episode like this quicker. When I get into a major depressive episode that causes suicidal ideation, it gets scary and lonely. Having a diagnosis like borderline personality disorder makes me 1 in 10 people who could give in to that hopelessness and take action to take my own life. Even at my worst, there is a voice inside of me that is determined not to be that 1 in 10 because well, I’m too awesome to die. Also, if anything else, I don’t want to do that to my children and leave them with that trauma. I’m proud of how I handled this depressive episode. I listened to myself and used all the resources I had to get over it quicker. I remember that last year and the year before then, I had many of these episodes and would either try to drink it away or buy something from Amazon or do something self-destructive. I didn’t do that this time around. The fact that it’s been 10 months since this happened shows how much my mental health has improved. For anyone going through this, understand that you’re not alone and it’s okay to feel how you feel. The important thing is to keep going because even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time, there will always be something in life to look forward to or get excited about. It could be new food to taste or that new album from your favorite artist that’s about to come out, or even seeing a rainbow after it rains.
I wrote this in May of 2003 when one of my close friends had a miscarriage.
It’s so funny and ironic When something bad happens most people says things Like “it’s God’s way” or the famous “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” It makes you wonder if there are actual people out there who would say, “It’s okay to be mad at God’s way” or “It’s alright to be weak instead of strong” or that it’s perfectly fine to scream out loud “FUCK THE WORLD” If there is a least one person like this, I want them to become my new “best friend”