There have been a few times throughout the years where the privacy and anonymity of this blog has been compromised. Despite this, I’ve kept blogging and this blog is now in its seventh year. This time though….I don’t think I can any more. I was asked by the Head of OT at my university to come to a meeting today, and the Director of Fieldwork and someone from Counselling Services was also present. It was there I was informed that they had found and read this blog and now that they have, there is a duty of care to ensure I am medically fit to do fieldwork. Thus my next fieldwork placement is pending medical clearance from the doctor at the mental health clinic.
I feel so exposed. I have poured so much of me here that I have never shared in person. Yes, I’m the one who chose to blog publicly. It was never intended though for the eyes of those who know me personally, and I can say with certainty that I did not ever anticipate OT staff at my university would read it. I’m stunned and can’t quite believe this is actually happening. I’m horrified and mortified by how much my lecturers now know.
Over the years Behind the Facade has garnered a number of readers and followers and it’s been wonderful to connect with a whole community of mental health bloggers. Unfortunately a downside to the increased traffic is that you never know who may come across your blog, and who may choose to report you. First the hospital I was in a couple of years ago, and now the university. Who knows what’s next, and it’s just become too much of a risk. Though my archives have been made private for now, I may decide to make them public again in the future once I ensure I’ve eliminated all identifying information that could give me away.
So I guess it’s goodbye for now. Which is sad, as this blog has been an outlet for me in my worst times for the past few years. At the same time this blog has dropped in importance to me in relation to the other things I have in my life, and the mental health blogging community isn’t what it once was, so maybe now’s a time as good as ever.
Take care everyone and thank you for being a part of my journey xx
When you have BPD, the perpetual mood fluctuations and intensity of emotions can feel like you’re riding on a roller coaster blindfolded. One minute you’re on the rise, then next minute you come crashing down, and you never know which way you’re going to be pulled next. And it’s scary and dangerous, because when you’re in the trough, you come this close to acting on the impulse to do something reckless and self-destructive. Then in the next moment when you seem to be trekking uphill again, you’re momentarily glad you didn’t do anything drastic after all and wonder why you were wanting to do so in the first place. Except for the times when you do, because even when you know that the roller coaster will climb uphill at some point, you don’t think you could bear another steep decline and you’re desperate to get off. Then you feel yourself start to dip, and it all happens all over again. And it’s frustrating, because you want to go on the carousel or Ferris wheel instead, something a bit more smooth riding, or if you’re going to be on the roller coaster, at least be in control of the car. But you don’t know how, so instead, you’re stuck on a ride that’s a bit too fast for you, with massive mountains and twists and turns.
Last week my A, my community nurse, cancelled on me. “She does that a lot, doesn’t she?” a friend remarked when I told her. Well, now that you mention it… A phoned and rescheduled to see me at my next psychiatrist appointment which is next week. I’ve been really tempted to just cancel both altogether and be done with it. When I get cancelled on it just makes me feel like I’m not important and less of a priority compared to other clients, and I think “Fine, don’t bother then.” As for the psychiatrist appointment, last appointment when I met him for the first time, the appointment lasted literally 5 minutes, so I don’t even see the point in going. The round trip to get to the mental health centre takes about 5x that alone.
Part of me knows that it’s the BPD part of me that’s wanting to react in this way. That mentality of wanting to be the rejector as opposed to the one being rejected. “If you cancel on me, I’ll cancel on you!” and wanting to “test” her to see if she’ll follow up with me if I cancel altogether. Unfortunately or fortunately, my anxiety around making phone calls probably means that I won’t end up cancelling, and I’ve never been able to bring myself to simply not turn up to an appointment- that just seems rude. So more than likely I’ll just go and nod and say that everything’s fine. Guess I’ll see what happens.
Besides that, my mood’s been a bit up and down. One moment I’ll feel okay, and the next moment it’ll plummet. I had been feeling empty, and being stuck behind a computer doing an online unit and assignments has not been great for my mental health. I took a small OD a few days ago and downed 500mg of Seroquel. Which, considering some people are prescribed 500mg daily, shouldn’t be that much. Except that I don’t take Seroquel any more, and even when I did I was only on a very small dose, so 20 tablets was quite a bit for my body. I slept about 20 hours before awaking, and when I did I ended up vomiting and blacking out a couple of times and could feel I had tachycardia. It took another 8 hours before the drowsiness fully wore off. It was just self-harm, I knew I wouldn’t do any permanent damage from it. The last time I had taken an OD was about July/August last year and I guess a part of me is also afraid of getting better. I’m also hoping that now that I’ve got that out of my system, I’ll be able to get through my three fieldwork placements this year without getting unwell or any self-harm episodes. Considering my placements start next week and they’re three blocks of seven week full time pracs all in a row, I better get my shit together. This is my seventh year in an undergrad course in uni, which is long enough.
On Wednesday I attended a Youth Leadership in Mental Health Forum, in which I was one of the presenters. I spoke about using my lived experience of being hospitalised under the Mental Health Act for anorexia to advocate for eating disorder services and rights of consumers, and also being a student occupational therapist who has BPD. It’s always a bit of a rollercoaster of emotions when speaking about your own experiences. There’s the anxiety and lead up to the event, the initial high and sense of relief immediately afterwards, then the coming down and self-doubt about whether you actually did a good job or not. My emotions were complicated even further by the fact that eight other students from my OT course were in attendance, and now all eight know that I’ve been hospitalised involuntarily and have had anorexia and have BPD. Which I guess isn’t a huge deal given I am somewhat open about my mental health issues and most OT students are quite open minded. I got some nice feedback from a few of of the OT students, which was nice. Though it felt a bit awkward when I was sitting with them at lunch time and one person asked the group which speakers were their favourite. Me being sensitive and self-critical, when they mentioned other speakers who they enjoyed listening to, it made me think that compared to the other speakers I must be really substandard. Hmm.
One of the points I raised in my talk is the way that BPD has been taught in the OT course. BPD has tended to be painted in quite a negative light, without being very recovery focused. One of the OT students said that she also noticed this in class, and actually asked the tutor why it wasn’t more recovery focused. She said that the tutor told her it’s because “Most people with BPD don’t recover.” Umm, WHAT?!! Excuse me?! No, no, no, no, no! It was really quite upsetting to hear that my OT tutor has this belief and attitude, especially as I had raised the issue last year of the prognosis of those with BPD being portrayed as being very dire in class and with that had revealed to her that I myself have been diagnosed with BPD. It also made me very frustrated and angry. It’s so incorrect that people with BPD don’t recover. There is research that shows people with BPD can and do recover. One famous example is of course Marsha Linehan, the woman who created DBT. I’ve seen anecdotal evidence from people I know online who have recovered from BPD and I know even more who may still struggle with BPD, but are able to live a functional and meaningful life. It is so sad when I see mental health clinicians harbour this attitude and I just hope that those of us with BPD again and again prove them wrong.