I am NOT a ‘Social Problem’

In a world that favours the strong, the rich, the physically and mentally abled… I am NOT a social problem to be judged, quick-fixed and labelled. 

I am the product of the failings of society.
The family court failed me.
Social care failed me.
The school where I spent 6 hours a day failed me.
My parents both failed me.
My parents were both failed by their parents.
My mother was abandoned by her mother, when she was a baby.
My father was abandoned by his father, when he was a small child.

I am not a problem of society.
There is a problem with society.

Recognition is the first step to healing.

A young child of a bitter divorce. 6 years old, my mother left.
I was subjected to parental alienation techniques by my father and step-mother onto my mother. Subsequently, I had minimal contact with my mother.
I was used as a weapon by my father to hurt my mother.
Emotional neglect and abuse.

A teenager, 15 years old. Abandoned and then stonewalled and blamed by my father for years.
Emotional neglect and abuse.

Trauma is the precursor to Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD), and to Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
It is thought that there is a possible genetic or hereditary link with BPD. Studies are ongoing for C-PTSD.

Childhood emotional neglect and abuse are known to cause both C-PTSD and BPD.

C-PTSD is often misdiagnosed as Depression or Personality Disorders such as BPD.

C- PTSD may serve as a sub-type of BPD in which deep-seated developmental trauma makes a person susceptible to a range of symptoms and impairments that results in co-occurring mental health diagnoses.

C-PTSD

C-PTSD is the diagnosis for the long-term effects of severe, prolonged or repeated trauma, particularly due to child abuse, domestic violence, torture and/or exploitation.
Complex trauma generally refers to traumatic stressors that are interpersonal, that is, they are premeditated, planned, and caused by others, such as violating and/or exploitation.
The effects of which affect emotional regulation, identity and personality.
C-PTSD is a serious mental health condition which needs treatment.

Symptoms of C-PTSD can be:

*Anxiety.

*Attachment Disorder.

*Avoidance of places, people, emotions that connect to trauma.

*Blanking or losing memories.

*Cutting off / Isolation.

*Destructive or risky behaviour

*Dissociation.

*Emotional flashbacks.

*Emotional instability.

*Explosive or Inhibited anger.

*Feelings of shame and guilt.

*Feeling worthless.

*Hyper-vigilance.

*Isolation.

*Over-sensitivity.

*Persistent Sadness.

*Relationship difficulties.

*Self-Abandonment.

*Sleep disturbances. Insomnia.

*Social Anxiety.

*Suicidal thoughts and idealisations.

*Unregulated fight/flight responses.

*Untrusting.

BPD

BPD is the diagnosis for the long-term effects of traumatic childhood experiences. Such as sexual or physical abuse, childhood neglect, chronic fear or distress, loss of a parent, separation of parents and family instability.
The effects of which affect emotional regulation, identity, relationships and personality.
BPD is a serious mental health condition which needs treatment.

Symptoms of BPD can be:

*Anxiety.

*Attachment Disorder.

*Black & White / All-or-nothing thinking.

*Cutting off / Isolation.

*Chronic feelings of emptiness.

*Destructive or risky behaviour.

*Dissociation.

*Disturbed patterns of thinking or perception; ‘cognitive distortions’ or ‘perceptual distortions’.

*Emotional instability.

*Explosive or Inhibited anger.

*Feeling of panic or terror.

*Feelings of shame and guilt.

*Hyper-vigilance.

*Hyper-sexuality.

*Impulsive behaviour.

*Intense but unstable relationships with others.

*Intense fear of abandonment.

*Mood swings.

*Over-sensitivity.

*Perceived threat of abandonment.

*Persistent Sadness.

*Suicidal thoughts and idealisations.

*Unregulated fight/flight responses.

*Unstable sense of self.

*Untrusting.

Recurrent Depressive Order

Recurrent Depressive Order is the diagnosis for reoccurring depressive episodes. Traumatic conditions such as the loss or death of a loved one, chronic disease, personal failures and financial difficulties can trigger a recurrent episode of depression.
Recurrent depressive disorder is different to other types of depression due to periods of normal moods between depressive ones.

Symptoms of Recurrent Depressive Disorder can be:

*Anxiety.

*Chronic Fatigue.

*Dissociation.

*Disturbed appetite, increased or decreased.

*Feelings of anxiety.

*Feelings of despair.

*Feelings of hopelessness.

*General lack of interest towards life.

*Inability to make decisions.

*Incessant crying.

*Irritability.

*Lack of attention and concentration.

*Paranoid.

*Self-Harm.

*Sleep disturbances.

*Suicidal thoughts and idealisations.

What symptoms do I have?

Anxiety

Anxiety for me feels like a hyper-stressed, on the lookout, hyper-vigalance type feeling. Like I’m super aware of what’s going on, but at the same time, not. I am trying to process too much information at once. This can lead to confusion, increased heart rate, sweaty palms and shaking, especially my legs. I can start to feel emotional, and want to cry.
When I feel the anxiety taking over I have all those symptoms, and I start to stutter and really shake. I feel like I can’t get air into my lungs, I start to panic. Meltdown is on the horizon if I am out of my comfort zone when I feel like this. A meltdown is always triggered, and happens rarely these days.
I have some degree of anxiety that never leaves me. The level of my anxiety varies, depending on how I feel and outside influences on my mood.
Since my head injury, I often feel anxious in busy areas such as shopping centres, schools, parks etc. That is partly due to the hyperacousis and tinnitus.

Avoidance of places, people and emotions connected to trauma

Yes, I do this.

Blanking or Losing memories

I have only a few memories of my childhood. Mostly painful ones.
My late teens and early twenties were spent mostly drunk or high through substance abuse, so I have little memories from that period.

Obsessive Compulsive

I bit my nails since I was a child. I used to bite my nails and the skin around my nails so low and so obsessively that they would always be red-raw sore. I didn’t even know that I was doing it sometimes. I stopped biting my nails for a few short periods but more recently, the longest I have ever stopped has been since the beginning of last year, and they’re still growing.
I get obsessed with things yes, a little bit like ‘a dog with a bone’. It can send me into overdrive. I don’t always realise that I am obsessing with something.

Isolation

If I am feeling particularly emotional, I tend to isolate myself. I will either read, or throw myself into a project. Occasionally I will have a Netflix binge.
I am quite an introvert, preferring a smaller circle. I can get overwhelmed and exhausted by spending a lot of time with people, due to the heightened emotions. I don’t find it easy to relax. Isolation provides 100% relaxation.
At times I isolate myself to re-energize and re-centre.
Extreme isolation occurs from the anxieties and depression.

Destructive or risky behaviour 

I have misused alcohol and other drugs as coping mechanisms.
I have self-harmed for a few short periods by scratching my nails down my arms until they bruised and left temporary scarring. In my teens I have bitten my arms. The physical pain eases the emotional pain. I am not a ‘self harmer’ though.
I have taken a paracetamol overdose when I was 17/18 years old, drunk.
I have taken Ibuprofen tablets, I stopped at 10. I was around 28 years old, drunk.
I have thrown myself down the stairs when I was 31 years old, drunk.
Alcohol is clearly not a good substance for a depressed person to take.

Dissociation

Loss of attention and concentration.
Over-sleeping.
Zoning / Spacing out.
Throwing myself into a project / task.
Feeling disconnected from my emotions.
Identity changing / shifting.

Emotional Flashbacks

In certain situations, primary relationships, I can become overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy. Anxiety ensues.
In relationships, personal and professional I can feel overwhelmed with a feeling of invalidation when I feel like I am not being heard, not being listened to. Especially with authority figures. Anxiety ensues.
I can become overwhelmed by fear, alienation, despair, depression and/or grief. This makes me feel vulnerable and helpless. Or victimised.

Emotional instability

I sometimes experience triggered, intense emotions that can last hours or days.
I sometimes do not have the ‘correct’ or expected reaction to situations.
Outside influences do sometimes have an effect my emotions. I cannot always simply ‘brush it off’ or ‘not worry about it’.

Explosive or Inhibited anger

As I grew up in my father’s house I kept a lot of anger inside. Only after I left his house and moved to my mother’s house did the anger start to erupt. During my teens and early twenties I had quite a few episodes of explosive anger and smashed up a few things, trashed my bedroom etc. Not so much explosive anger since. There have been a few instances, smashing my phone against my bedroom wall in March 2015, smashing up a guitar in the summer of 2016…

Before the head injury I did have periods of irritability. I’ve always had periods of irritability. I also have periods of not feeling angry or irritable at all…

Fragile self-esteem

Most of the time I have a fragile sense of self-esteem. Self-esteem raises, and then gets knocked back down.
Lovers help to raise it, and then they usually help to knock it back down.
Friends help raise it with their compliments and care. But it always returns to ‘fragile’ again. A feeling of being uncertain about myself. I struggle with it.

Hyper-vigilance

I cannot tolerate feeling uncertain about something. It makes me feel vulnerable.
I have need to know and understand what is going on around me.
I am super sensitive to people’s words and actions.
Over scrutiny/analysing behaviour of situations.
I can overreact in emotional situations. Read too much into situations.

Hyper-sexuality 

I have periods of very high sex drive.
During my teens I had lots of unsafe sex, after the nights of partying.
I have been unfaithful to most of my partners or used sex as a revenge act.
I have used sex as an outlet for other emotions or to dull other emotions.

Impulsive behaviour

Reckless behaviour with alcohol, drugs, sex.
Suicide attempts.
I sometimes have an inability to regulate impulsiveness under extreme stress or threat.

Intense fear of abandonment

Once in a romantic relationship, I become a people pleaser. If the other person lets me down, it’s like a switch has been switched within me. I feel unsafe, insecure. I can become paranoid, withdrawn and jealous. Usually, the partner doesn’t know how to deal with me and my emotions, and I become more withdrawn, and irritated by them. I can start to swing between loving them and hating them.

Mood swings

My moods can be unstable, changing rapidly if triggered.
I can be completely overwhelmed one hour or day and then be fine the next. This will always be triggered. Depression and anxieties can come on quickly and last a few hours or days.
I can feel highly energetic and/or highly creative one day / week, and the next feel absolutely depleted.

Paranoia

I can get very paranoid. It is stress related, triggered.

Relationship difficulties

In romantic relationships:
Difficulties trusting.
Miscommunication.
Misunderstanding.
Disappointments.
Pulling-Pushing.
Infidelities.
Confidence and self-esteem issues.

Self-Abandonment

Unstable sense of self leads to professional and personal sabotage. Giving up.
Impulsiveness.
Losing jobs.
Losing opportunities.
Self destructing activities.

Sleep disturbances. Insomnia

I’m often waking through the night. I have nightmares, usually during stressful periods. I have insomnia from time to time.

Social Anxiety

Sometimes, the thought of social interaction leaves me with an impending sense of dread. Can lead to Agoraphobia.
Anxiety.
Avoidance.
Distancing myself from people. In contrast, people pleasing.

Suicidal thoughts and idealisations

This is always triggered, usually by depression.

Unregulated fight/flight responses

Unregulated during stressful times.
Aggressive responses to, or an urge to withdraw from perceived threats. Obsessive compulsive activities in response to perceived threats.
Numbing / Zoning out.

Unstable sense of self

I am constantly re-evaluating myself and my life and either making or proposing changes. I might change my image or hair, or attempt to reinvent myself somehow.
I might take up new challenges or start new projects only to not see them through, lose interest or come up with something new.
Outside influences often influence my self-image, thus I have varying degrees of self-esteem.
I grew up with lots of external negative messages being projected onto myself and now have an ‘inner voice’ that replays those negative messages. I don’t feel like I am ‘good enough’, this leads me to sabotage my professional and personal relationships and goals.

Untrusting

With lovers, always waiting for them to disappoint or hurt me.
With authorities.

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1 in 8 Teenagers are depressed.

1 in 4 Adults will be diagnosed with a mental health disorder / condition.

Can you imagine what the statistics would be if everyone was completely open and honest about their own mental health?

Makes you think…