You Tube Post: BPD Symptom 5; The Bad One (suicide)

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Brain Busted

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Traitor!

I was shaving my head the other night (you know, to get that cool bald look), when a thought struck me.

Beneath this enormous dome of a head was a brain that plays tricks on me.

My brain sometimes changes the words I write around so when I glance away from them for a second and look back, it seems they’ve been edited and changed. This can be very scary at first (I went to the ER the first time) but I’ve gotten used to it to the point I just get frustrated. And also because the magically edited version is better than I what I THOUGHT I wrote.

My brain will also make the familiar seem unfamiliar every now and then. I’ll be driving down the same road I’ve drive hundreds of times and all of the sudden I wonder: where am I? Everything kind of seems new and like I don’t know where I am. But after about 10 seconds I’ll round the curve and re-orient myself and all’s right with the world again.

I’m beginning to hate my brain.

The worst thing the brain does is take away my ability to think rationally. I mean, with all my various conditions, I have enough problems – disassociating, anxiety attacks, remembering familiar names, etc. But this is a whole new realm of shit.

I just came through one of these phases recently. I dissed my therapist, planned my suicide (to the point where I was discussing arrangements with my spouse), pushed friends away that wanted to help and turned in incomprehensible work at, well, work. I was a smoldering hot mess.

“You’re not thinking rationally,” a friend of mine pleaded over the phone.

“Yes, I am,” I yelled back. “Everything I’m saying is well thought out and rational!”

Except it wasn’t. Calculating the net value of my suicide minus funeral expenses and cash outs of my retirement account really isn’t rational thinking – at least not at this point of my life.

I overthink everything.

I blame you, brain.

And then, like it has before, this horribly oppressive cloud of gloom, paranoia, and frenetic panic lifted like the morning fog leaving me with the classic Borderline response: oh no, what the Hell have I done?

Thankfully the damage wasn’t irreparable.

And people around me are getting used to this, which I hate. Not them, the fact that they expect me to go off the rails every few months or so.

But here’s the key thing – I’m becoming afraid of that skull full of mush under this big bald head.

Why the Hell do I have such a big head? Maybe there’s a sci-fi creature living in there pushing buttons and pulling levers? Maybe this creature slipped into my large noggin at birth and controls my every mood?

Ok, that sounds implausible but doctors still don’t know how SSRIs really work so in psychiatry, pretty much everything is fairy dust and best guesses. Why can’t I have an alien in my head?

It could at least, be removed.

But in the meantime, I face the dismal fact that at some point in the future, my brain will betray me again. I don’t know where or when or how – but it will happen.

My moods used to be a roller coaster. It sucked but episodes were more predictable – they followed a pattern.

Now it’s more like I’m in a Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde type of situation.

And I’m worried.

Posted in anxiety, bipolar, Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, depression, fear, getting old, mental health, middle age, mood swings, paranoia, self care | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Podcast 10

A Difficult MInd – NYC Redux, Suicide, Hurt Feet and Border Rant

In which Keith has a bad day where he overmedicates but feels the need to continue a podcast where he talks about New York, suicide and punishing children. No, this not about Sid Vicious but I went by the Chelsea Hotel.

Anyway, take it for what it’s worth – it’s freeform, no break stream of conscientiousness. Alyssa will be back for next week to keep me on the straight and narrow. Well, as much as possible.

Alyssa’s Organization: Inside our Minds

Keith’s links:

Blog: But I Don’t Want to Shower Facebook: But I Don’t Want to Shower You Tube: A Difficult Mind: The Trials of Borderline Life

This was not an easy podcast but one that I needed to do. I hope you listen to it. 25 minutes in one take.

 

 

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Podcast 7: Inside our Minds



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Alyssa Cypher and I discuss her Pittsburgh based group ‘Inside our Minds:’ how and why it was formed and what it has accomplished. We also discuss the mental health model and the Mad Pride’ movement as well as the stigma kids face in school for being ‘different’ in the rush for safety after shooting incidents such as the one in Santa Fe, Texas

Inside Our Minds works to elevate the voices of people with lived experience of mental illness and madness in Pittsburgh. Through our community programming, we want to build a community where open conversations about mental illness and madness can take place.

Stories discussed:

Texas Tribune: After Santa Fe shooting, Gov. Greg Abbott sees a West Texas mental health program as a statewide model

Yahoo/Reuters: Accused Texas high school gunman described as bullied loner in a trench coat

Posted in Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, Mad Pride, mental health, Podcast, self care, stigma | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t question the happy mood

And the rollercoaster goes up sometimes.
It didn’t start out that way. I woke at 4:20 a.m. (yeah, yeah, I know, 420) and felt like it was time to get up. Then I looked at the clock and, miraculously went back to sleep. When the alarm went off at 5:10, it was a titanic struggle to get out of bed.
And then it happened. The lows come without warning and so do the highs. Little by little, not only did I wake up, I started electric sliding down the hallway to brush my teeth. There was music in my head – the upbeat kind – and I couldn’t stop moving.
You know when this happens; don’t question it – just go with the flow.
In the car, instead of the classical music I usually get use to face the day, I listened to the curated parade of garage band music on satellite radio and I drove like I was auditioning for the pace car duties at the Indy 500. And yes, I sang in the car.
At work, I bounded up the stairs (by this time I was suspecting some unearthly entity switched my body with someone else’s), turned on the computer and put some of my favorite mambo music on mix because there was no one in the office yet.
There was no one to see me cha-cha across the office. And that is probably a good thing.
I know this isn’t mania – and that’s a good thing. I have no desire to jump back in my car and drive to Florida on a whim – although the idea sounds pretty intriguing.
It’s just Monday morning. And for whatever reason, I’m higher than a kite. And I fear someone will walk in my office and catch me salsa dancing around the copier.
But – damn it – these times are so rare that I have to make the most of them. Whether you have bipolar or Borderline Personality Disorder like I do, or any mental condition that has its unknowable highs and lows (and the lows almost always outnumber the highs; at least for me), when the highs come I’ve learned to appreciate it.
With my BPD, I never know how long it will last. I never know when the music will stop. After all, it takes one word, one look, one perceived slight and the downward slide is rocket fast.
So if the mood hits you without warning, I advise you to milk it as long as you can. Let that rare smile break the lines on your face, don’t worry about tomorrow and experience a joy you normally deny yourself.
And above all, I hope you dance . . . like no one’s watching.
Posted in Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, Distractions, feeling good, Happiness, over-analyze | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Podcast 5: Manning up or man down?

It’s Mental Health Awareness Month and I talk about a ‘Men’s Health’ magazine story about how the strong and silent shtick is killing men. Also, you may be able to go to your shrink and ask for some Molly (ecstasy) for PTSD. That and the usual musical interludes.

Podcast 5 link here

 

Posted in Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, ImNotAshamed, men, mental health, Mental Health Month, my father, Podcast, self care, stigma, suicide prevention awareness | Leave a comment

On ‘manning up’ and emotions

I think the thing my father hated most about me was that I started expressing my feelings at a very young age.

And to him, they were all the wrong feelings. They were the feelings of a kid raised on the gentle fun of Captain Kangaroo, of getting up early and watching the sun rise from my bedroom window and experiencing a kind of religious epiphany. They were the feelings of sadness for caught fish who had to die, deer my father killed and hung up outside in the cold, for aquarium fish I could never quite keep alive and for a beloved cat killed on the road by a car who just made it to the porch where I stood before dying.

downloadI cried. My God how I cried. My sister too. My mother came home in the car and though the house was on fire. When my father buried the cat in the backyard, I felt the sting of tears on my face as I watched from my bedroom window.

Just thinking about it now, 45 years later, I can still see our kitty, taking one last breath in my arms on the porch. And I want to bawl all over again.

When my father went hunting and killed animals it excited him. There was never a second of concern for the animal that died. It was a sport and one he enjoyed more than anything including spending time with his snowflake son.

But the one thing absolutely, positively guaranteed to unglue my father was the sight of me in tears.

Part of how he would yell at me I have blocked out of my mind. The things he would say that would cut right to the bone of my personhood. These words, piled on top of each other time and time again, made me believe that I did not have the guts or the will to be a man – that the real world would chew me up and spit me out – that I was ungrateful for what he had done for us and that I was soft and an embarrassment to him and his hunting friends.

Walking off the parade field at Ft. Jackson having completed Army basic training in December 1987 should have put most of that deeply-felt invective to rest; but it didn’t. I proved I could do something real men do – to me, but not to my father, who had died four years earlier.

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UK

Even though the official cause of death of my 51-year-old father was non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, I am convinced that whatever demons he kept inside killed him earlier. Real men don’t go to doctors and complain about lumps on their necks and when they finally do, they do as they are told and believe the doctor when he says the tumor is nothing more than fatty tissue because my father was fat.

I’m writing today because it’s National Mental Health Awareness Month but also because the statistics for the strong and silent men are not good according to this article in Men’s Health: Not Talking About Mental Health is Literally Killing Men

From the article:

“What’s real is the fact that 9 percent of men experience depression on a daily basis. That’s more than 6 million men. Even if we understand what depression feels like, we rarely admit that’s the culprit. We lie and say we’re tired or just cranky. More than 3 million men struggle with anxiety daily. Of the 3.5 million people diagnosed as schizophrenic by the age of 30, more than 90 percent are men. An estimated 10 million men in the U.S. will suffer from an eating disorder in their lifetime. . . (W)e retreat from friends and instead drown sorrows in numbing substances. One out of every five men will develop an alcohol dependency during his life.

Male suicide is rising at such an alarming rate that it’s been classified as a “silent epidemic.” It’s the seventh leading cause of death for males. That’s a staggering statistic. Drill down into the numbers and suicide is the second most common cause of death for every age group for men 10 through 39.”

My father had his good moments, his happy moments, but for too much of his time on earth he lived with a smoldering rage that he could not talk about. He was a pressure cooker always ready to go off on me, my sister, even my mother, on the slightest sign of disobedience or respect.

I have a host of mental conditions, of course. They tend to make me far more emotional, at least outwardly, than most men. I have been made to feel uncomfortable around other men for broaching certain subject that contain, well, ‘feelings.’ I don’t even bother anymore. I find it much easier to speak with women and the vast majority of my friends are women because, in general, they’re more in touch with their emotions, generally more intelligent, and talk about far more interesting subjects that sports, money or guns.

When I see fraternity brothers led in front of the docket, accused of rape or allowing pledges to die over drinking games, or see videos of typical bro’s engaging in racist and sexist talk, I thank the Gods that I wasn’t put together like that.

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Canada

Because I will live longer.

And because I want to be a decent man but a decent human being as well.

I can only speak for American men but it will be a monumental, if not hopeless task, to undue centuries of social conditioning that create the man who will not ask for help.

You know, I can’t blame them for keeping quiet. I felt the social pressure among my peers to can the feels stuff before some of the guys questioned your sexual orientation – out loud – in the locker room.

And too often this is what happens when a man confides in another man. From the commenting section of the Men’s Health article:

“I opened up to a person I thought was a good friend. Not only did he tell other people he kept egging me on to what I told him. I couldn’t go a day with that constant reminder. I drive (sic) me to wanting to commit suicide. So you men should open up? I’ll keep it to myself I know what really happens to you when you open up to someone. Thanks but not (sic) thanks.”

All it takes is one person to fuck you up for life. The writer will never say anything again and I don’t blame him a bit.

But people ask – what about The Rock? What about the Cavs’ Kevin Love? Many men will respond that they are wealthy and famous and can get away with such admissions without many repercussions. In the real world, admitting weakness could cost you your job, your friends, maybe even your girlfriend if she buys into the strong and silent archetype.

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UK

In my own way, with this blog, Facebook page, podcast and You Tube channel, I am trying. But the only feedback I get is overwhelmingly from women; say by a 20-1 ratio.

The job may be impossible. Right now a Canadian professor named Jordan Peterson is gaining a huge audience of mostly young men by telling them that the strong and silent archetype is ordained by nature. This is akin to cheering your own death warrant.

But too many men would rather die than talk.

Posted in Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, children, fear, men, mental health, Mental Health Month, my father, parenting, shame, stigma | Tagged , , | Leave a comment