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Living With BPD and PTSD - a Guest Post by Ana Hannah

My Guest Author Today is Ana Hannah (@merge_9) self-described as "Your friendly online drunk." Currently living in England.

You can follow her on Twitter: @Merge_9
Her stories are available on Amazon and on Wattpad

I met her via Twitter randomly and has become one of my favorite online friends. We have a great deal in common and I am so glad to have her writing this post today.

Living With Borderline Personality Disorder and PTSD 
A Guest Post by Ana Hannah

On bad days, like today, I struggle thinking of words to put down. I struggle to see the light. Or the purpose. In anything. Unfortunately, these bad days far outnumber the good ones. I have borderline personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Now, boiled down to basics, I tolerate my PTSD far better than my BPD. At least with PTSD you know what’s in store – nightmares, anxiety, panic attacks, triggers. Sure, some of those triggers bleed over into other areas of life. For example, I am not able to go outside. On the rare occasions that I do, I feel like there is a target on my back. This is due to a variety of reasons – I have been sexually assaulted as a child, and as an adult. I have lived through a war and in the wake of the terrorist attacks, I’ve grown to expect danger at every corner. I don’t go out without having several fool-proof scenarios in my head on what I would do if I encountered a hostage situation or if I’m affected by an attack.

This takes a toll, a huge toll on my emotional wellbeing. This, in turn, means I have no energy to spend on people. On one hand, I am fortunate enough to only have one friend. On the other hand, even that is too much. I find myself unable to stand their physical presence. I think that’s why I prefer online interaction. The arbitrary pressure of physical presence is eliminated. But here’s where my BPD comes into its own. I don’t know if you, the reader, know much about borderline personality disorder. It makes me needy. It makes me clingy. It makes me seek external validation for every single thing that I do. And if I don’t get that validation in the form I require, my mind instantly believes it is because I am not worthy of it. I form attachments incredibly easily and have very confusing relationships with almost everyone in my life. (Again, fortunately or not, I don’t have that many people in my life) And most people aren’t prepared for that. I am direct, but also too vague. I have been, and still in a way am very promiscuous. Why?

Because it’s the easiest way I’ve learned to get validation. 

This is also where my body issues come into play. In many ways, BPD mimics high-functioning autism. This can be very challenging for those around me. It makes me firmly believe that people dislike me and everything I say makes them roll their eyes. It makes me extremely irritable at times and interpret good intentions from friends as something insidious. Or worse, charity. I don’t know how to deal with this, or myself. I’ve attempted suicide 5 times, first time when I was 14. Once I almost succeeded and not a day goes by that I don’t wish it had worked. I don’t know why. I have a pretty decent life now, a husband who adores me, medications for my conditions (which don’t work, but hey). I still wish I were dead. I self-harm almost regularly. It’s my way of “bleeding out” the heat inside my body, that white-hot hornet nest inside my chest that sometimes gets disturbed into chaos. Most importantly, and this is where BPD wins every time, I reach out online but for whatever reason it hardly ever gets me anywhere – according to my mind, this is because people think I’m nothing more than an attention-seeker, that all I do is whine all the time and they don’t have the time for that. I believe my mind when it tells me this. It then reinforces the vicious circle. 

I have no way out. 

As a functioning alcoholic, I don’t even get the benefit of getting drunk and ignoring that voice in my head. I’ve built up an immunity. This is where weed comes in. I’m only just starting with that and, while I hate smoking it, it does magical things to both my BPD and PTSD. It truly is the magic cure.

Unfortunately for me, it’s illegal here. I’m getting to therapy – the mental health services said they have nothing left to offer me, so I need to go private. I can in no way afford this, not being well enough to work. So, I’m stuck here, in this dark pit. I claw at the walls of my cave, I bash my fists against the ice that covers this lake of darkness in which I’m trapped. I see the sun but can’t reach it and I’m running out of air. One of my favourite books is Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse. It tells a story of a man who, realizing his life holds no purpose, decides that on his 50th birthday, he would kill himself. Sort of a treat. Allowing himself the freedom to choose to exit the theatre of life. But something gets in the way of that plan and it transforms him. This is my secret hope. That I will come across something that would transform me. Now, I know, I shouldn’t wait for someone to help, I should do something myself. But here’s the crux of the matter – I want to die. I have even set myself that very same goal. I am exiting on my own terms. But waiting, that tiresome waiting, is filled with cruel voices of my own selves, who try to bring that fateful date closer still.

I don’t advocate this. This, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. This is the very bottom. And I have mainly…mainly made peace with it. I write all this so that you, the reader, should you ever find yourself sinking, can think back to this and take it as a cautionary tale. Don’t believe what your mind wants you to believe. Learn to recognize when people reach back to you and take their hand before it’s too late.

And those of you lucky enough not to struggle, I beg of you – when you see someone “complain”, stop and think before jumping to a conclusion that they are just seeking attention. You could be their only lifeline.

I wish this was a motivational post. But like I said, bad days outnumber the good ones.
And this is a bad day.

For more about BPD from the National Institute of Mental Health - please go here

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