To Jump or Not to Jump? That’s Not Really the Question.

Have spent the last week shifting along the mental spectrum, a visit to every shade within its confines. No preference, and no discernible pattern. One day no meds needed, the next day 50 valium didn’t make a dent. I just don’t get it.  And in the end, now, I just feel numb.

My attention for the last 24 hours has been occupied almost exclusively by Sister Suicide. We’ve been fairly quiet, often just sitting and experiencing the torment, because what else is there to do really? The torment – if I go into the ER they will ask what is

manifesting. I can only equate it with some kind of evil pneumatic catsuit enhanced especially by Pinhead from “Hell Raiser”, with the pressure – pain, psychic AND physical pain – lodging into my very organs for hours. Every bone would hurt and bones don’t even have nerves. My fingers especially. Every breath felt like there was a truck behind it, like my lungs and everything in between might wind up in my lap. Every so often I would shut my eyes and hold my face in my hands to keep from crying – I suppose we all need to once in a while but I had one last week in bed – my husband was awake but didn’t bother to acknowledge my existence – and every time I opened my eyes I flinched, sure that some 300 pound gladiator in chain mail and a demented welded animal helmet would be there swinging a mace at my skull.

Following that we would count our meds. I have switched out my bottle of tricyclics for trazadone – the tricyclic helps me sleep but its also toxic as fuck, trazadone can knock me out too, though it isn’t as reliable – I hope the withdrawal isn’t too bad. so that I have 300 pills within a few months and if I want to be a pacifist about it I can get a luxury suite an the Omni Hotel on the water in town & enjoy a weekend before shutting down my CNS. But that’s the only option there, so that isn’t an immediate fix.

There are the train tracks, the regular rail would do fine but we just moved here and I’ve never taken the train, am not familiar with this set of tracks. On the south shore, where we lived before, the Amtrak Acela passed so close to our house we could hear it. It always made me shudder. But last summer I would walk over at night 10 minutes or so before one was due to fly through and I would stand barefoot in the dark and wait for it. The air would move, individual particles moving about bare skin in July and a low rumble under bare feet on the warm concrete and then the sound, alive and violent, and I would stand as close to the tracks as I dared when it finally swept past, it  all took place in a heartbeat, but there was some comfort in knowing it was there, schedule published online, and, while gruesome, it would be a quick, painless death. But I don’t want to drag a hapless engineer into my own demise. I’ve been on a couple of trains that have hit people. The drivers were always traumatized. I was traumatized. Anyway, a drive in the rain wasn’t necessarily a bad idea – but a drive to the southern suburbs of Boston for an unscenic contemplation of the tracks – no thanks.

So next we think of bridges. Wikipedia has a spectacular, easily searchable listing of every viable bridge in the world. Well, probably not ALL of them. There’s the “Suicide Bridge” page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_bridge The Golden Gate wins that contest, no surprise there. Then there’s the the List of Tallest Bridges in the U.S. By Height – because success rates drop with the height, or lack thereof, of the bridge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_bridges_in_the_United_States_by_height. Sadly, none of the bridges are in my area. The Tobin in Boston has a marginal success rate, otherwise there are some bridges out in Western Mass along the Turnpike but I would rather bank of a sure thing. I think I would need a passport to get onto the Niagara Falls bridge – 20-25 souls a year there.

The latter part of the work day I was preoccupied and M and I didn’t speak the entire ride home from the city. I took a shower. When I was small my father was a violent alcoholic, but once he sobered up – after my own personal Apocalypse and a lenient sentence from a liberal Massachusetts judge – he would have dark periods and just take me in the car and he would drive from wherever we were living – Jamaica Plain, Sharon, Millis, Taunton – and head to the end of the Cape and back. As if that was what he needed to do rather than get violent. I don’t know if he invented the solution or if it was recommended as a form of therapy in the early 1980’s but it seemed to work for him, and for my part I have ALWAYS loved long car rides with the stereo as loud as I can bear (and somehow, to this day, I tend to choose music from that era. Journey, Toto, Fleetwood Mac, The Stones). So I thought I’ll take a shower and go from there. I stood in the hot water and actively wished for the Cenobite-inspired pneumatic suit to not be waterproof, I thought Well, you could drive down to Cape Cod like Dad used to. Bring that new bottle of Limoncello with you. Cross the Sagamore. Drive as far down as you want. Get a room if you feel like it. Drive back towards the Sag if you feel like it. Down the Limoncello if you feel like it, somewhere in the close vicinity of the bridge but not so close as to attract attention. Walk up and jump off the bridge if you feel like it. Or drive home if you feel like it. Or go to an ER if you feel like it. But I cannot stand Cape Cod.  A fox even leapt off of the Sag’s sister bridge – the Bourne in Falmouth – in 1985.  Dying there would suck. And then there are the barriers. Back to that whole blue-state thing again.

I got out of  the shower. I shower least of anyone in my family. Thankfully my body chemistry is such that I can pull it off for a few days. I love the shower part – I just hate the towel, & the whole process with the coconut deodorant and the q-tips and even the shimmery coconut body butter that at this moment I am happy enough to be breathing in – then having to select something to wear and blow dry my hair. I f’n hate it. But the routine, tonight, well, my bones still hurt but the coconut is nice and it talked me off the bridge. I still had to sit on the edge of my bed for a while and consider whether to check in. The Cenobites were gone. They’re probably just waiting in the closet. My room is warm. It has giant gilded frames of my favorite paintings – well, limited edition prints – and on my antique sewing table-turned-night table I have some gorgeous pottery vases, nothing to put flowers in, more like sculptures really. I stared at them for a long time, then I picked up a green one, shaped like a pear but with a nickle-sized opening at the top. Pear colored too, patterned with what can only be described as a Japanese kimono inspired by geodes, expertly glazed. I held it, studied it.  I realized Sister Suicide had left. Writing this out, it sounds like some exercise out of DBT hell (I know it works for lots of Borderlines, but it was agonizing for me). It occurs to me I purchased these vases as a gift to myself AFTER a DBT session in Northampton at the wonderful Pinch Gallery (http://www.pinchgallery.com/). Ironic? Maybe. I wonder if the vase is clean enough to drink limoncello out of…

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Comments

  1. So very sorry to hear what you are going through at the moment. I really appreciated the descriptiveness of this piece and yet also in that I saw and felt the sadness.
    You are in my heart and prayers.
    Kind Regards and Cyber hugs
    Kevin

  2. I get it. If you have a good option, you should go. I feel like being in the hospital a week or even a few days helps a lot. Even just breaking routine. But mainly to keep you safe. Think about it, ok? There’s a lot of people who need you here and the impulses of BPD are scary. Not now, but later. (Im great at giving advice, terrible about following it) 🙂 it wont be this way forever. It just feels like it right now!!
    Mandi

    • Thanks Mandi! Yeah, I kind of have a reserved bed at the women’s PTSD unit at McLean, but you know how these impulses are. I tend to check in when I have either started to do it or feel like I’m going to. But once in the cycle, once it’s broken through the barriers, its virtually impossible to penetrate. I haven’t checked in bc I have the 5 kids, husband can’t take time off of work & both my teens work too, so it would royally screw up everybody’s life having to take care of the 3 babies. Plus I work & I am the only paralegal in our practice, so without me no cases get done & clients are forced to stand still. And that would hurt my boss & might lose me my job. When I told my husband I felt like I needed to check in & that since triggers are different this time I thought it would be for a few weeks in the unit & then the residential program for 3-6 weeks & his response was “Is that covered by our insurance?” You see the level of support. I wish HE would check in somewhere.

      Yeah, same here – good at talking people off cliffs, just not myself. Blech. Thanks for your thoughts, as always, Hugs.

      • Ughhh…. all around… those are the kinds of situations that got me here. It was too much and I broke. Big time. I didn’t even remember my kids were there so couldn’t be left alone w them. Sometimes I’m still like that. Job was out, along with literally everything else! I had an extremely hard time w meds too. Right now im on limictal (sp) which has a really slow increase so long time to notice any relief. But I think its starting to work. An old school med. Oh, and clonapin for anxiety. Which THANK GOD didnt work opposite like everything else!!! Im sorry it sucks. Its got to get better soon!!

      • I have no idea why I am surprised that people have the same experiences, so sorry your spiral was as nauseating & blocked out (I have vague memories of entire blocks of months) as mine. Lamictal never worked for me, I tried twice, but yeah, I know they do it slow bc of the blood levels, I had been on so much that the docs just raised it 25mg every week, so maxed out fairly quickly – maybe a slower regimen would have been more effective – DELIGHTED its starting to hint at something for you. YUP – I am shocked when I hear people hate the benzodiazepines, don’t work or just write off the entire class of pharma. I take clon at wake up & bedtime & have valium throughout the day, Since no other med works, that’s practically all I take, & they have NEVER failed me. EVER. AMEN to Clonazepam and her friends!

        Big hugs!

      • I’m still surprised. It’s crazy how similar our experiences are. When I read another BPD bloggers story there was no denying that’s what I had. There were so similarities it was eerie!

        I go up on the lamictal 25mg every 3 weeks or so. they said that there was some kind of rash thing that can happen. I was pretty sure I would get it. I got every other side affect to EVERY OTHER medication that was tried. Which is not like me at all. I’ve never had problems with medications.

        I honestly don’t know how you do it. I worry that you’ll get to a point where I got, and literally NOT be able to do it anymore. You won’t have a choice and no one else will have a choice. Although maybe that would be a good thing, take it out of your hands. 1 year ago I was working full time doing publicity all over the world, so all hours of the day and night. I had young adults (like 16-23) over 5-6 days a week. I was helping one get into college, pass college. I was doing resumes, submitting job applications, taking care of the kids cus Mark was working. There was other stuff too, it just kept piling on. More and more… Then in one week 2 things happened. North Sudan started a civil war. My biggest client is, I mean WAS John Dau and there were all these people counting on me to get word out. But I couldn’t get through to anyone. I kept failing and failing while more and more people were dying. The ruler of Darfur asked ME for help. And I couldn’t do a damn thing despite trying my hardest!!! Then one of the young adults who I was supposed to start helping to get his GED shot himself through the heart and died. He was just maybe 5 houses down. I think I could have stopped it if I would have just taken the time to talk to him. I could tell that something was wrong but I was “busy”. So now I’ll never know! 2 days later I woke up and everything was over. I couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t remember. I just wanted to die. I just kept thinking “You’re worth NOTHING, everything you do someone else could do better”.

        Anyway, I think that’s why it seems to be that so many with BPD can fake it for so long, pretend that everything is fine and even convince THEMSELVES that everything is fine. Then eventually, they explode. And nothing is fine. Until I started a blog and read other people’s stories, I was still convinced that this was just me. That if I wanted to get better I just would. But now I know! On one hand, I’m not alone. I know that it’s not all in my head. On the other hand, how much does it SUCK to know that we have this condition that is SO difficult to treat and that we aren’t ever going to be who we thought we were?

        Anyways.. sorry, that was a bit longer than I was planning for. 🙂

        Mandi

    • Never too long. I never had the kind of life-or-death responsibilities you had, but was a high functioning professional earning lots of money, always being “the best” at what I did. And always piling more on, trauma then pregnancy with trauma and I decide to move from Mass to Dallas, buy the giant house & when I get there my job is no longer available. Move back to Mass but to the mountains and decide to switch careers and have another baby. Try to kill myself. Decide to have another baby and take a job in NYC WHILE I’m in an institution (cells & laptops allowed at this particular ward). SO I think its the piling on that might be the common denominator. Now whenever I feel pressure to add ANYTHING I totally decompensate & go to bed. Have been doing it much more lately 😦

      Yeah, well, your triggers were pretty major! I’m surprised you didn’t get diagnosed with more – you must have had Major Depression for a while, right?

      Your husband is supportive, I assume? Amen. Mine is not always emotionally available, but when I break down he picks everything up & makes superhuman efforts, so I guess that’s something.

      I was diagnosed with this in 2010 but it was determined that I gave myself this – as some kind of deliberate identity shift when I went from trauma-land to the suburbs, squalor & abuse to the Brady Bunch, & I just decided to be a different person. They think that was where the BPD began, & having had a few years to think on it I can see that I had all of the symptoms from then on, easily. But then I reflect & wonder how common personality disorders or ID disorders might really be. There are a few that are defined, there’s the falling-apart ones like ours, but I wonder if 50% of the population doesn’t have something or other. I guess the differences would just be that we don’t function when under our spells & that there is very little that can be done about BPD.

      My Major Depression started in 2006 after something similar to your suicide trigger. I forgave myself and dropped it off my shoulders only last year – so 5 years. It was conscious, but as a result of the weight it bore, & I had to do it. So I hope you can shed that at some point. Except with these piece of shit bullies who force teenagers to swallow a bullet or hang themselves, I don’t think, with suicide, that that type of thing can be stopped necessarily – just, as you said, put off (ie hospitalization). But for me I know if I do it, it won’t have been anyone’s fault & there will be nothing anyone could have done about it. It’s just how some of us are wired. You can’t beat yourself up over that. (sad heart)

      Hugs.

      • You know whats interesting… do you notice that most people with BPD have been at least at one point pretty high functioning and successful? Kind of like how OCD can be a great thing for some? My doctor said that people with BPD generally have higher IQ’s. I think he might be right. I don’t think of myself as a rocket scientist or anything… but I know I’m not stupid. I think that may be part of the manipulation piece as well. That takes skill even though most of the time we’re not trying! I have always prided myself on being able to talk myself in or out of just about anything. Which I guess is manipulation? I never really thought of it as that because I wasn’t harming anyone else. It was usually to help someone else. Or in school, myself. 🙂 And now usually myself. To get out of stuff.

        11-12 yrs ago I was diagnosed with OCD and general anxiety. I was put on celexa, it worked and I felt SOOOO much better. I think it was so much better that I had no clue what being TRULY well even meant. I had some bouts where I would feel para suicidal. I didn’t want to die, but I wanted to do the most dangerous and crazy stuff. I was always able to get back out after a week or less though.

        Last June I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, OCD, Anxiety, PTSD…. and BPD but I didn’t find that out until 8mo or so later. It wasn’t in my paper work, but I didn’t request files. I found out I had BPD characteristics in November at a different hospital, even a different state. Then in December it was decided that I had full BPD while again in the hospital. I figured it out during a group therapy session. The social worker knew me and knew that I had to figure it out on my own or I would never accept it. At that point I didn’t even know the statistics and all that. I just knew that I HATED half of the symptoms. Which was why I refused to believe that I could have it. No b/w thinking, no anger, no feelings of emptiness and no frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. The last one was the hardest because it seemed, still seems so stinking PATHETIC to me. But I DO IT! Talk about becoming what you hate. I didn’t used to have intense anger, because I didn’t know what anger WAS. But now that I do… unfortunately that’s one of my biggest problems. B/W thinking… I saw grey areas. Then the social worker asked me “If black is your lowest point, what is white?” “Being the best. Perfect.” She says “Is being perfect attainable?” And at THAT moment she didn’t have to say a WORD. I knew! FLIPPING A. I could honestly not believe it.

        I still have a hard time believing that I can’t just change it all. Think differently. That I didn’t cause it. I feel like I did, I added everything on. I started acting out like a teenager and didn’t pay attention. Maybe if I had, I wouldn’t have COMPLETELY dropped like I did. Who knows!

        My husband is awesome. He started ordering books on BPD in November because he, and everyone else, already knew. I kept telling him “Order all the books you want. Try and diagnose me. I know I don’t have it.” Basically, F you! He was medically retired from the USMC with full benefits. He was working part time with the Boys and Girls Club, but had to quit. It was already hard on his body anyway. You would NEVER know by looking at him, but his body is pretty fragile. Both hips have been replaced, shoulders worked on. More surgeries than I can honestly count or even remember. His bones and joints are constantly deteriorating. He’s really athletic so he always pushed it and paid the price later. So it was probably good that he quit. Just not financially since I haven’t worked since then either! He tries to understand. But no one can understand us. Not even ourselves. Mark and I have key words and stuff like that, he knows to watch me when we’re out somewhere. If I can’t handle it he’ll get me out. I’ll tell him what I’m thinking even when it doesn’t make sense because at least then he’ll understand my reasoning.

        I totally agree that there is at LEAST 50% of the population with at least some of these or other mental illness symptoms. I think like OCD, it’s just a matter of if it’s controlling you. With BPD, its WAY beyond controlling you. I think its the combination. That’s what blows me away. Such a bizarre set of symptoms to be grouped together. When I cut for the first time, I thought “what the hell, I feel like a goth teenager and probably look like one too!” I had NO idea why I would do that or why I felt so much BETTER after I did. When I read other BPD’s stories… seeing all these successful, seemingly normal people… doing the SAME THINGS. CRAZY!

        You’re right… When I’m set on suicide there is nothing that anyone can say that will change my mind. I am completely convinced. Well, I’ll take that back because NOW even when I’m completely convinced I have to do everything in my power to hold back and feel guilty either way. If I die, my parents will make everyone’s lives hell. They will try to get custody of my kids. They will go after my therapist and probably put him out of business. (unfortunately my mother has connections). The whole POINT of dying would be because of the benefits for my family. But my parent’s have now ruled that out for now. Although there have been a few times where I’ve been able to rationalize even that because I needed out! But then, as you know… a few days go by, more or less… and everything is different.

        BPD is beyond frustrating!

        Mandi

      • WOW! It’s 4 am, I was in bed for 3 hours trying to sleep so I gave up and poured a bowl of cereal & logged on, so now I’m done with the cereal & then going back to bed (cereal is better than ambien!) – gotta be up in less than 4 hours to go deal with my daughters prom dress, a bunch of other local crap & then drive into town (Boston) for my annual (you know what those entail. Joy. Total, I’m so tired I can’t even think of the word…), hopefully I can drive in without an accident! I will write more on this tomorrow, but yeah, agree with everything you wrote and while I hate to see other people suffering the way I do, there’s some small comfort in knowing that other women (75% of BPD I think) DO understand.

        I don’t know if you saw one of my earlier posts (Suicidal Ideation, Remember When?) about my 1st suicide attempt but I just woke up feeling detached, instant sensory overload from spouse & baby & decided to go hang myself in the garage on the other side of the property. If you read it you’ll see how it turned out – I was very serious about it but tied the knot wrong in the freezing cold & I went back inside to warm up & look up cinching noose technique on youtube. But once I was warm I called my psych & called around to see which decent hospitals had beds. I was admitted to the ward at 4 am, exhausted (in ER almost 24 hours), & the team came to see me at 10. I was exhausted & still very detached but lucid & articulate. They asked me a series of q’s – I had only had enough depression to warrant 10mg prozac & enough divorce-related anxiety to need .5mg clonazepam to that point – I had no idea that I had anything, I thought all of the shit that I went through was just that – experience – that it made me empathetic, insightful & more interesting than most of my peers. But the attending accurately, then & there, diagnosed me with Complex PTSD, Anxiety Disorder and Major Depression. My case was so screwy – the intense traumas – they couldn’t believe I could be a highly functioning person PERIOD. So I ended up being asked to be a Harvard Medical School case study, interviewed in the classroom by the Chair of HMS’ Psychiatry Chairman (Dr. Greenberg?) & then given the full battery of tests over 10 days. I scored 78 on anxiety, 97 on depression & they came & gave me the results but said someone I hadn’t yet met would need to give me the results of the Identity testing. I sat & waited alone in an office at Beth Israel for 15 minutes wondering what the hell this was all about & then a nice man came in & spoke kindly to me but said my results demonstrated that I have some identity issues, based on some conflicting responses. I told him I was a student of the language & that I had realized while I was formulating my responses that they were different, but that I was reading into every word, because the question may be the same but the context can change depending on its formulation. He said ‘fair enough’. Then he said, well, we have consulted everything we have over the past 10 days & it is pretty clear that you have Borderline Personality Disorder. Suicidal with kids? Fine, whatever. Borderline? I accepted what he said – I accepted every diagnosis – bc I knew I was so sick that the social worker was having trouble finding me outpatient care – too risky. But he gave me some handouts & I realized I had all of the characteristics since I was younger than 10. So, it’s funny we have a common collection of illnesses. My sister!!!

        Incidentally I have also, having tried every med & therapy, been diagnosed with Treatment Resistant Depression &, most recently, ADD (which apparently really smart folks can have – the kind who cram for tests or cram a weeks worth of work into the wee hours of the weekends – I telecommute now after either quitting or being fired from 5 or 6 jobs – in fact, well, you’ll see it if you read the post I mentioned, it was one of my first.) So you never know what kind of new crap is on the horizon. I have so many accurate diagnoses I actually just have to laugh now. It’s almost too absurd.

        But will address details of your message tomorrow afternoon, it is a great post on its own, never mind a ‘comment’!

        Hugs, hope your mind is more peaceful tonight that mine. OK, let’s see if I can get that 3 hours of sleep in. Shit, I have discovered Adderall off 1 day & then on 1 day is the only way for it to work without making me want to jump off a bridge (I believe my very 1st post was directed to Adderall directly – as in Adderall, what the fuck is your problem? Oh lord, I still think of it that way, now I think of it that was the post title. Ha!). But I have hypertension so my primary wants to check my BP while I’m on it. But I took it today & no sleep will render me an absolute MESS tomorrow once the adderall wears off. Dilemma…eh, I can deal with one more night, I have plenty of valium & clon…

        With love,
        jill

  3. Dorothy says:

    I’m glad you wrote this out instead of taking a room at a hotel. I teeter back and forth between these feelings but not to this extreme. Mine tend to eat away at my brain tormenting me but I can’t leave my house to carry out any plans. It’s like being in a jail. I know you’ve been on practically every pill there is too, none of the atypical antipsychs worked? I hope things are better today.
    Hugs Dot

  4. Thanks hon, yeah, better today 🙂 But nap definitely in store once the babies go down (at this rate I’ll have them napping until they’re 12). Adderall is the only drug I have tried since 2005 that has worked, but it causes psychosis & rage 50% of the time once it wears off, so while I don’t otherwise ascribe to the fallacy that Adderall is like cocaine (having used it extensively in college), there is definitely a come-down that is not the same in nature – it’s much more dangerous. FML.

    Sorry you get trapped in your head AND your house! Self-imposed exile, or Dad? I grew a sack Sunday & took the 4 girls to Crane up in Ipswich & it was the best day & I took no adderall or valium. There is no rhyme or reason to my moods, but getting out for good reasons can help. Even if I JUST am realizing that!!!

    Well, I’ll invite for a walk around the Pond & for a slice at the Same Old Place (pizza chef from when we were little went to a shop in Somerville about 20 years ago, so as you may know the pizza is not as good, but hey, it’s still the Same Old Place! Maybe you’ll be able to escape for an hour or so! We can feed the ducks! Oh but those evil geese that monopolize the whole process & you want to throw rocks at them. Maybe not the duck feeding part.

    Thanks for your comments. Big hugs!

  5. i’ve missed your extremely descriptive heart-string yanking poetic pieces. you have such a great way with words – and such a great way of conveying the confusion and sadness that sits in us.

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