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On BPD and “Brain Mess”

TW: This post discusses self-harm.

I think I’m (kind of) ready to come back to social media after a harrowing 2 weeks of depression/BPD.

Whenever I have a bad episode, I try to make a list of everything that’s stressing me out and what I can do about it. A few days ago while making that list, I noticed a pattern. There’s “real life stress” and what I call “brain mess”. Brain mess is the toxic self-perception that comes with my disorder. I’m not good enough; I don’t do enough; I’m not smart enough; no one in my life actually “likes” me, they just tolerate me for the sake of being polite.

Brain mess has some quips about the real world, too. Society and money aren’t real; I’m powerless to change the world in a monumental way; evil will always win; who cares because pretty soon the world is going to end in nuclear disaster anyway.

There’s also the self-harm aspect of my disorder. I’ve always been very open and honest about self-harm because I think it’s the best way to be. A lot of people see cutting as an “emo” teenage angst thing, something you’ll grow out of. For me, it’s anything but. I’m 22 years old, and I get urges to hurt myself regularly. Why? Most days, even I couldn’t give you a reason.

With BPD, sometimes the urge is so strong that you damage yourself before you even realise you’ve done it. Let me give you an example. I have long fingernails. When I get an urge to cut, sometimes I scratch myself instead. I’ve left a scar from doing that, as recent as six months ago.

I tell people that I’ve been clean from cutting for 3 years, since 20 February 2013. Since then, I haven’t cut with an actual blade. But I have self-harmed with my own fingernails. This may sound stupid to an outsider, someone who doesn’t have to hear the things my brain tells me on a daily basis. (It sounds stupid even to me.) But I think one of the worst things is knowing that you don’t even need a tool to hurt yourself; your brain can make use of your own body parts to inflict harm, without you even realising until it’s done.

But these urges, thoughts, pseudo self-harm, this “brain mess” — it’s fucking debilitating. It prevents me from getting my work done, getting out of bed, eating properly, taking care of myself. You get the idea.

My main focus over the next few weeks, apart from organising some big life changes for our little family, is to recognise my “brain mess” and shut it up. It’s way easier said than done, and it won’t ever be permanent, but I can make it manageable somehow. I have to; how else am I ever going to be the person I want to be?

And if you bothered to read this whole post, thank you. Because, even as I’m writing it, I think it sounds dumb, that no one cares, that maybe I’m being a little self-righteous. But that in itself is brain mess. I don’t care if anyone reads or cares about this. This is just a way for me to get that mess out of my head so it can’t attack me from the inside anymore. And I’ve shared it because I know there are people who can relate.

If you’re reading this and you feel the same way or if you’re suffering from BPD/depression, just know that I’m always here if you ever need someone to talk to who understands. There’s solidarity in numbers. We got this. 🙂

Photo credit: Taken by me in Throop, Bournemouth.

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