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self harming by slapping self. Am I just totally nuts?

(21 Posts)
AnnCV Fri 17-May-13 10:27:24

During an abusive relationship which started a few years ago, I started to turn anger and feeling trapped on myself by slapping myself in the face and banging my head and hands into things.

I did it again yesterday and it made me feel so, so calm for 12 hours. I never feel calm. I would like to do it again but I have to build up a lot of anger and self hate first to make it 'work' (god that sounds crazy).

I have a horrible bruise and scratches on my face today and my head hurts where I banged it into the bannisters! Almost funny cos it's very stupid and pathetic in my eyes. It's like I beat myself up literally but I do it in a stupid way that leaves marks.

My history is long and bad but probably not as bad as it should be for the way I act out. Lots of anger and self hate all my life. Now in very stressful situation due to an unresolved and difficult divorce which has now lasted 4 years (and still no divorce, ex trying to cut my money although he is a very rich man, etc,so feel constantly afraid). However I blame myself for my divorce, I went mad (literally, just lost it) and was promiscuous without even bothering to conceal it, so it is no wonder he hates me. I am exactly teh kind of woman people on MN hate and I amliving out the kind of punishment they wish on 'other women'. nonetheless I am the proof that women in that sort of situation often are not enjoying themselves at all and are acting out something very self destructive. In my case I thought I was the worst mother in the world and swung between wild highs where I didn't give a shit what I did or with whom, and wanting to die because I was disgusting. Ex husband sees me as a sad and dangerous nutcase and we lost our friendship which had kept me going for many years.

I often cry over the loss of him (as a friend) and wish somehow I could have back that companionship we once had which I will probably not find again. He put up with me for such a long time, I don't think anyone else will.

My surface is cracking, I have a high pressure job and 2 (!) writing deadlines right now for huge projects. I feel increasingly that my madness shows, and people avoid and despise me. I'm isolated but also afraid to connect with others.

I guess my reason for writing this post is to see if others might have similar experiences of actually 'beating themselves up' and how they got through it.

Re medication etc and professional help, the local psych team don't like me much as I'm a difficult and chaotic patient but also look ok on surface, seem to manage etc. They diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder which may have some truth in it. Then immediately dischargedme to the care of my GP! I also told them I won't commit suicide as my kids need me and I love them. So there will not be help from that front and antidepressants make me more agitated. (Just saying as I know kind people here will advise me to get professional help, but I have really tried and am back on my own resources now).

With thanks for reading this.

Ilikethebreeze Fri 17-May-13 15:43:13

This is very sad.
I do not judge you.I dont think it is right to judge people.
The behaviour was bad.
But often people who do bad behaviour are doing it because of horrid things that may have hurt them in the past.
I try and do hate the sin, love the sinner.

It is a shame about your ExH, but totally understandable.

I dont have any experience of what you are doing to yourself.
There is a support thread on here for people with bpd.
If you cant find it, I will try and find it for you.

hope something of that helps.
Feel free to post again, or pm me.

Hoophopes Fri 17-May-13 17:32:22

Hi, have you thought about a private consultation to check diagnosis (is it bpd, did they do a proper SCID diagnostic test, or is it something else such as bipolar? Not saying you have either, just might be worth a 2nd opinion. Resources in NHS are very scare and sadly if you manage to work full time they seem to be even less on offer.

Showtime Sat 18-May-13 23:47:03

Just to remind you that there are plenty of choices of anti-depressant, and no doubt your GP can suggest something different.

Would you feel better if you were to apologise to your husband for your part of what happened in the past?
It would make more sense than punishing yourself, and might open the way to having a friendly relationship again in the future.

AnnCV Sun 19-May-13 01:46:32

Thanks all for replies. I'm still very depressed and feel very dead inside and yet in pain all the time. At the same time I can't really see how I have a right to feel like this if you know what I mean?

I think the NHS is finished with me. My lifestyle was too busy and i could not fit in with weekday appointments which were all they had to offer.

They gave me a test for BPD, I did it myself and came out with a high score on the emotional/relationship side of it, but I don't have addictions or a history of crime (well a bit of shoplifting :/) After that I could not attend 2 appointments due to childcare cancelling on me at short notice. That was it then, they discharged me.

Showtime- I apologised to him so many times. In some ways I can't understand his behaviour, I really thought he was a kind person deep down. But he has behaved really brutally and I have been genuinely very ill and was clearly high as a flipping kite during my mad period. I ended up in suicide rehab (as an alternative to mental hospital) 3 years ago and the therapists were shocked that he did not call, visit or bring my kids to see me and that I had to go home on my own. We had been separated about 6 months at that point. i think that he sees me as a crazy dangerous whore. I suffered from depression throughout our marriage but no mania until the last year. He says he has 'moved on' from his hatred of me but there is no friendship or collaboration. He is now trying to cut me off financially as well while keeping me trapped 1.5 hours from my job, so that he can have 50/50 custody mostly done by a nanny. The nanny apparently costs so much that he cannot afford to pay me maintenance.

He used the kids a lot against me in the early years of the split when they were too young to speak for themselves. Now they are vocal about how they love me and don't prefer him, he can't tell me I don't deserve them and they don't love me / don't like being with me as he used to.

I mostly admired and looked up to him during our marriage, I thought he was really a better person than me, calmer, more steady and deep down just nicer. Since the split and realising I just would not have treated a mentally ill ex the way he has treated me, i really don't know what to think and sometimes I wonder if I was living a lie all those years. Still I miss his friendship and just the days before my life exploded, when things were 'normal' (sort of).

Ah well i guess we must live and learn but I don't know what I am supposed to learn, what the truth really was.

Ilikethebreeze Sun 19-May-13 05:46:25

I am sorry to hear about your marriage.

I think, and I could be wrong, that you need to start to try and address the root causes of things going wrong in your life.
You say you have lots of anger and self hate in your life.
Do you know why?
I appreciate you may not want to say why on here.
But I think you need to work on them in rl.

TheThickPlottens Sun 19-May-13 10:51:14

There was a thread not so long ago on chat about people who hit themselves. There were a fair few of us.

If I get terribly angry and have to bottle it for the sake of the dcs, then I usually hit myself in my head. I cut it out for a while after the last thread but last week I ended up with a tender spot for days.

I didn't come from an abusive home or relationship. My mother did use physical punishment and favoured a "clip around the ear".

I also know about not having the time or resources to seek professional help. I'm afraid of letting everybody down if I take time off from my responsibilities to get this sorted. But I have days when I am fine so I don't think it's depression.

What do you want your future to be?

AnnCV Mon 20-May-13 15:49:06

I like, I'm hesitant to blame my mum for everything, she had her own problems.

But it was fairly typical and intense emotional abuse. Mostly verbal ('you have ruined my life, you are spoilt, ugly' etc; a lot of 'get out of my sight you horrible child; etc); mocking me for being 'fat' as a teenager while refusing me privacy to bathe etc; she would come in and laugh at my body and make comments on my development etc (ugh that's really vile in retrospect and almost sexually abusive). Nothing I did was good enough eg a B was a disaster; no warmth or affection of any kind; I hardly even remember her smiling at me. In fact I am trying to think of one hug or smile. I can't recall one. My father was nicer (when she was not around).

My father was a total enabler, she ruled the house, we all had to quake and placate when she was angry or being bossy (most of the time) and he would turn on us if we 'caused trouble' with her.

Pretty horrible history really isn't it. No hitting, no rape, but I did suffer very much. They are in denial about it all, especially my mum. I guess she has to be, would be too awful to recognise how deeply abusive she was and how damaged me and my sister are. The thing is that now mum and dad do try to help me and there are not many people who do. So I hesitate to blame. They were struggling quite clearly. But I would hate to be the mother she was. I think that's why for years after the kids were born I was in deep depression convinced I would damage my sons and that they were better off if I were dead etc.

As to future... ah. What a question. Just to feel worthy of living, would be a start. I really treasure my sons. They have stood between me and death always. (They of course have no idea I've been suicidal or that I stayed alive for them many years. I really would have opted out otherwise).

I would like to be able one day to feel I am a person who could be happy, who could deserve happiness.

Ilikethebreeze Mon 20-May-13 17:12:32

Have you seen or read the "stately" homes threads on here. They may be useful to you.
Also, I think you are a person who would benefit greatly from self esteem books and threads on that subject on here.

Your mum and dad are better behaved now.
And yes, no need to blame them or judge them.
But the fact does remain that they altered the course of your life a lot.
So their old behaviour has had a huge impact on your life.
It is ok to hate their old behaviour.

SirBoobAlot Mon 20-May-13 19:48:51

I have BPD, and your posts certainly read as very fitting of a Borderline. The self harm is a hard habbit to break, regardless of how you do it. I used to cut / burn, I know the calm you're talking about, but honestly it's so much better away from that.

Go back to your GP and ask to see the community mental health team. Things like CAT and DBT - and especially STEPPS, where accessible - can change things dramatically.

Hoophopes Mon 20-May-13 21:15:19

Some CMHT's do not work with people with diagnosed personality disorders but instead there are separate teams for people with PD's. however either way all work 9-5 hours. DBT can be great, usually a mix of group and individual sessions over a year, once mastered the long waiting lists. But that will be two half days a week, so a big commitment of time. Can you go to occupational health at work and request a fit note for paid time off work if you are worried about time and work. They will want to know the reason for it and check you are fit to work so can be a bit of a double edged sword. Help is also available privately and at a price outside office hours but costs money.

Hoophopes Mon 20-May-13 21:17:42

Oh if dh does not pay maintenance due to cost of nanny, can you go through legal proceedings to check whether he should pay and to enforce payments? You may have done so already or not found it helpful.

AnnCV Tue 21-May-13 19:44:40

HI SirBoob and Hopes. Yes I think I am definitely on BPD spectrum. I didn't think I was, because I don't have feelings of 'emptiness'- but I do dissociate/ have semi-psychotic episodes and a huge obsession with death and suicide, abusive relationships etc. Also urges to do stupid things, shoplift etc.

Am in a weird agoraphobic/half dead phase atm, feel like I died but kept on living, and the corpse hurts... I guess that is quite borderline too...I haven't been able to leave the house today, had just one thing to do, go out and post some parcels at post office; didn't manage it.

Am paging over the files of my books with nasty headache feeling useless. I guess I should be happy I even got half way with one book. But I don't know which way I am going with my writing and career and it's swamping me. I really wish today, that I were dead. I keep reading about people dying in accidents etc and feeling almost jealous (I know that is really sick. Sorry).

I'm very worried about occupational health and 'coming out' as having a bpd. The CMHT have discharged me anyway, so they won't see me again will they regardless of diagnosis?

x thanks for replies.

AnnCV Tue 21-May-13 19:56:42

Hoop yes I am in discussions with ex. he's in a difficult position as my boys, whom he claims are the most important thing in the world to him, love me and want him to treat me right (although they don't know the details they have of course noticed the disparity in our incomes and lifestyles and that I am the one going through difficulty while their dad seems absolutely fine.)

I don't think he wants to end up looking like a wanker in their eyes. So things may improve, who knows. At the moment the divorce process has stalled as I will not agree to a 'clean break' (impossible anyway as on my lecturer's salary which is often part time due to my serious MH issues, and could at any time end if I am unfit for work, I often find it hard afford my mortgage and the costs of running a family house in London. As it is the boys quite reasonably expect not to have to live at an entirely different standard of living when with me 50% of the time, in order that he can pay a nanny they can't stand 45k a year (including tax!) to be with them 11 hours a day!

SirBoobAlot Tue 21-May-13 20:00:43

You need to insist on seeing someone. You don't have to live like this.

Hoophopes Tue 21-May-13 21:07:28

The advantage of not being under a CMHT is if OH get involved you can say that no one is concerned about your mental health as you are not under any CMHT!! Plus taking any medication is seen as taking treatment and that is seen as a positive by any OH team. If you are well enough to work then you do not need to contact OH!!

AnnCV Wed 22-May-13 20:07:39

Hi all. Work are being extremely nice, I told my head of school in confidence about the BPD diagnosis and how worried I am as this is a permanent stigma and seemed to me like a way of saying 'madwoman diagnosis, can't help you' smile

They obviously want to keep me which is really nice. I am very dependent on others' valuations of me sadly (guess that's a sign of the 'empty' self etc).

Head of school even said the department might fund therapy for me as she can see it's really hard in my situation with more than full time job, writing books (supposedly), solo childcare and 90 minute commute, to fit in appointments at NHS stated times. Which was very kind. So Hoop I might go if it will mean I get some funding. (However last time I saw the OH when I had a diagnosis of bipolar type II he sneered at me that it was all because I was unfit and didn't take exercise- so helpful).

SirBoob and others with BPD, what is the specific type of therapy for BPD and what does it involve? I remember reading something about working with the 'core self' whatever that is...I don't think the OH guy knows anything at all about mental health issues judging by the last performance and I will probably need to inform him...

xx so many thanks for your replies.

Hoophopes Wed 22-May-13 20:24:14

The specific, gold standard therapy, is DBT for bpd. Wow about work funding it, hope it works out for you!

AnnCV Wed 22-May-13 20:37:26

I know Hoop it may not happen but how nice of them.

It's a feminist lawyer in charge of the school. I have been lucky as she knows what BPD means and sees the pressures that are on me with xH etc and single parenthood.

Does DBT stand for Depth Behaviour Therapy? Otherwise what is the 'd'?
thanks

Hoophopes Wed 22-May-13 20:47:49

Sorry it is dialectical behaviour therapy. On nhs it is usually run as a year long course, with school hols often!! as it has 4 units to cover, including mindfulness and interpersonal skills. If you do not have bpd then it probably not right for you. Worth looking up!! Done in a group with individual therapy applying the tools as well.

SirBoobAlot Thu 23-May-13 22:17:40

DBT and CAT are both recommended for BPD. STEPPS is a relatively new treatment, specifically designed for BPD, which I would highly - highly - recommend.

All these treatments are based around changing the thought processes, and 're-wiring' your brain. They are fucking hard work, but worth the perseverance.

Sounds like work have been brilliant.

And FWIW, the only time my diagnosis has caused problems has been when initially getting treatment for physical conditions. But I find a sharp "If you wish to contact my psych team, they will reassure you I'm perfectly capable of suffering from a physical malady as well as a mental health condition", said with a smile, tends to iron things out pretty swiftly wink

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