Why spoons? I’m very well-known for being all mouth amongst the people who know me personally, but why spoons? You may not have heard of The Spoon Theory, a brilliantly written piece by Christine Miserandino after she had compared time spent living with lupus to only having 12 spoons to spend on activities in her everyday life – I only heard the term of ‘having no spoons’ from a friend who had once cared for someone with bipolar disorder. But it is a simple and eloquent way of showing people with normal, healthy lives just how the physically and mentally disabled struggle with the simplest tasks.
My name is Claire. I recently turned 25 years old, and I have been struggling with mental health issues since I was very young. I was officially diagnosed with depression and anxiety after a period of self-harm and suicidal thoughts at age 13 – spent 18 months in counselling and seemed to recover enough to carry on living a normal-ish teenage life. I lost my father at age 15, and that began a chain of events that lead to more self-harm, suicide attempts and misery like no other I had ever felt. Over the years, I bounced from medications, to therapies, to lovers, looking for some sort of peace in my messed up, broken mind.
I lost my mother in 2013. The day she died, I truly felt my heart-break. If losing my dad was the window being smashed, then losing my mom was the demolition of the whole building. I couldn’t cope feeling like I’d been left all alone in the world. More demons came to the surface, from my past, through my nightmares and constant invasive thoughts – I felt like I couldn’t escape and sought self-destruction at times through episodes of dissociation that I couldn’t control, and would be left with explosive consequences when I came down.
After one such event, I was finally diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in August 2014. It was both a relief and devastating to get such a diagnosis. The funny thing about it though? I had once written in another blog how I felt I may be borderline. Dated 29th August 2012;
“Quite a while ago, I read up about something called borderline personality disorder. I thought the signs and symptoms were very similar to my behaviour and how I felt a lot of the time. However, I shook it off, told myself I was reading too much into it and that I just had depression and occasional anxiety.
At the weekend, I had a conversation with my friend Andrea about what I have been going through, to which she told me about her diagnosis with BPD. Reading through the symptoms once again, I find myself relating to them more and more. I asked if it’s possible that I could have that along with my depression, to which she replied it was possible, but I needed to go through quite a few detailed assessments with a psychiatrist to see if that’s the case.
I’m not saying I have it for sure, because I don’t believe everything I read on the internet – but there’s too many symptoms there that I know I have for me to just ignore it and blame it on coincidence.”
Both my mother and my boyfriend at the time said that I was reading too much into things. Doctors and therapists have said the same. But I knew something was wrong in my head – I just knew it. To get the diagnosis, it felt like someone had opened the curtains in the wreckage of the house to finally let some light in on the ruins.
It has been tough to live with. It’s a label I don’t want, but I have it and that’s that. I know it doesn’t change who I am, but… well, people will judge.
But, there are other things about me that are much more interesting. I’m getting married in November to my wonderful Other Half who has been by my side through the toughest times of my life and has stayed with me. I have a dog named Lady, and two cats named Munch (who is 17!) and Pip (Munch’s 15-year-old daughter). I’ll soon be volunteering for an organisation well-known to the mental health community. I play video games – currently addicted to Final Fantasy 14. There are loads of things to learn about me! More than my illnesses, anyway.
I have a lot to say. I always have. And despite sometimes lacking in spoons, you’ll have a hard time shutting me up. Hopefully this blog will give you an insight into my head, as well as the lives of people with mental health issues and other things in our world.
Featured image courtesy of Borderline Scorpion