My Friends are Disorders.

In my previous post, I made a full, public confession that we’ve hit rock bottom. As David says, “We’re properly on our arses”. Since the first lockdown we’ve been surviving on Universal Credit. We are fortunate that the Community Larder drop off the just after the best before date produce from the local supermarkets every week and we choose ten tins from the weekly list from Tins for Hard Times. We spend our monthly food budget on feeding Bonnie, Frankie and Millie. It’s as bad as I’ve ever known it.

Publishing a post for the online world to see turned out to be quite cathartic and freeing. A number of people told me that I’d helped them to reflect on their own struggles from a more positive viewpoint and I just love helping others. I was on a real high and we all know that what goes up must come down. I stayed down for three days when my friends turned up, completely unexpected, unwelcome and took up immediate residence in my mind. Each of my friends is persistent, pervasive and punitive and in the medical profession my friends are known as disorders. Allow me to introduce you to my friends.

In my previous series of blogs I wrote about the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder that I share with David. You can find out what I have to say here.

Borderline personality disorder comes with my two lifelong companions Alice Anxiety and Doris Depression. This pair of bitches are inseparable, and their mission is to destroy my mind and override my every thought and feeling with negativity. 

Alice Anxiety likes to make me anxious about all sorts of situations and issues, rather than one specific event. As soon as one anxious thought is sorted, it’s replaced my others around a different issue, often completely unrelated. She can make me anxious about anything, everything and nothing all at once.

Doris Depression is a bitter, miserable and soul-destroying bitch and she likes me to me to be miserable, demotivated and loves to put me on a downer. She makes me really unhappy and feel hopeless, helpless and pointless. Doris likes to convince me to stay in bed all day. She takes away my appetite and makes sure I never sleep for more than two hours at a time. Told you she’s a bitch.

Being inseparable, it’s easy to assume that they are besties. Hell no! They are sworn enemies on a mission to take control of my mind and my life. I think they must do their best work overnight, because I’ll wake up one morning and they hit me like a sledgehammer before I’ve had the chance to open my eyes.

Alice likes to keep my focus on the worst-case scenario and for every one of my thoughts, she asks me “What if?” She reminds me of everything I need to do that day, everything that I haven’t done but should have done. She makes me panic about my ability to do anything. She likes to keep me on high-alert and keep me awake and night.

Every time Alice pauses for breath, Doris takes over. Her approach is very different, but she causes just as much damage. Her goal is total paralysis, determined to put me on the floor and pin me down for as long as she can. Doris is consistent in her message. “No point in getting up, stay in bed, you’re a complete failure and you have no worth, no value and your pointless and you should just stay here out of sight.”

Alice perpetually asks me “What if?” while Doris counteracts her words with “You’re such a failure, there’s no point in even trying to do anything because you’ll just fuck it up like you always do”

Alice Anxiety is well known to the medical profession as:

Generalised Anxiety Disorder. (GAD)

Under the generalised anxiety disorder umbrella I have even more friends who only turn up when Alice and Doris have completed their takeover bid. They appear when I’m at my weakest and most vulnerable. Sometimes they will only hang around for a couple of hours, but if I don’t fight back, they’ve been known to control me for a couple of years. 

They really outstay their welcome and it feels impossible to shut up them up. They love this and invite their team of four to join in with the victory parade. First up is their team leader:

Sophie Social Anxiety Disorder.

She creates an overwhelming and irrational fear of social situations. It’s a fear that does not go away and affects everyday activities, self-confidence, relationships and work. Her campaign begins before the event and she carries on during and after the event.

She winds me up about anything that involves communicating with others, including meeting strangers, starting conversations, speaking on the phone, working or shopping. 

She warns me not to attend any social activities because “What if?” She makes me worry about embarrassing myself by blushing, sweating, appearing incompetent and making an absolute twat of myself. Obviously at the same time, Doris likes to remind that there’s no point in going anywhere because everybody hates me, I’ll ruin it for everyone else and it’s best that I stay in bed.

Poppy Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

She likes me to relive traumatic events through nightmares and flashbacks. She makes me feel isolated, lonely, ratty and guilty. Poppy keeps me awake at night and by day she constantly interrupts my thoughts and distracts me until I lose all concentration. She keeps my mind so occupied that I’m not really aware of what’s going on around me and my short-term memory is shot to pieces. Waiting in the wings for the moment when Poppy has done her worst is:

Penny Panic Disorder.

She’s responsible for another anxiety disorder that comes with regular attacks of extreme panic or fear out of nowhere and for no apparent reason.

When I have panic attacks it’s really frightening and distressing. My heart races, I get short of breath, dizzy and spend a lot of time on the toilet. I tremble all over and freezing cold shivers despite the hot flushes and excessive sweating. It’s like being confronted by a hungry lion. I absolute hate it and it scares the shit out of me, so much so, I’m ever fearful that I will go into one in front of other people. It can last for minutes or hours.

Combine the whole lot and allow me to introduce the most destructive member of my generalised anxiety disorder team: 

Annie Agoraphobia.

Annie is a step up from Penny Panic Disorder and likes to remind me of all the situations where I’ve had previous panic attacks. She thrives on creating an intense fear of situations that I can’t escape from and makes me petrified of being on my own with nobody to catch me when I fall. Understandably I avoid any and all of these situations. 

In fact, Annie’s been staying for a while now and I haven’t left the house for nearly a year. In that time, I’ve had no face-to-face contact with anyone but David and the lovely lady from the Community Larder, and the only telephone call has been with my son. 

So, if I’m on the missing list for a couple of days and don’t reply or I postpone Zoom meetings, you’ll know that I’ve got my friends staying and I’m under the control of a whole team of bitches. There’s really nothing to worry about, this is my normal and part of being wonky. It just happens every so often when life gets tough and events are out of my control. It is what it is, it’s not easy, but I’m doing the best I can despite what my disordered friends keep telling me.

You think it was tough writing about that? Nah, this is the squirmy, awkward and cringey bit. Since my previous blog and my public declaration of poverty, some very kind and lovely people have been in touch with us and generously offered their help. Our instinctive reaction is to say “Don’t be silly. That’s very kind of you but we’re fine.”  But we’re not fine, we are on our arses and we don’t think you’re silly. We just don’t have the luxury of pride at the moment.

For those of you who have offered your help, you can buy us as many coffees as you like! Please click on the link below.

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/WhatCanBe

I always like to end on a positive and the good news is that when I keep these bitches under manners, my sense of humour, positivity and compassion are also persistent, pervasive and permanent.

Best wishes

Keef x

3 thoughts on “My Friends are Disorders.

  1. What is amazing Kelly is how you manage to explain these subjects with humour but with so much clarity and no long winded waffle that appears in so many articles on mental health issues and that both confuses and bores the pant off people who would like to understand the topic because they have friends who suffer. Until I read this I never associated “idealization” and other relationship matters as being part of behaviour issues as I know it in friends and just put it down as a harmless trait that may bruise a bit for a while and not associated with other anxieties, indeed a positive diversion from them in their lives. In one short read I learned more than ever before.

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    1. I think there’s too much emphasis on the past and the cause of mental illness. I don’t think the what and the why really matter, it’s more important to focus on managing today’s harmful thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Only then can we move on and leave the past where it belongs. Why shouldn’t we add a little humour? We all worry too much about offending others that the message gets lost in translation. I get bored too quickly to do that!

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      1. I have always found it hard to know how to react. A friend a few years ago started to self harm and, whether by the medications or his mind, both inside and outside hospital was imagining that everyone was spying on him. When I disagreed he said I was an imposter but I didn’t know if I should go along with it. He sadly fell and died from a wall into an underground car park Ealing hospital. The hospital never told visitors how to act to help.

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