As I write I am aware of the pain that has re-entered my life but it is with the knowledge that it is not as painful as it use to be. I did not manage to stop it in time and I can feel it filling up my body – but this time I do not envisage the butchers knife that I used to picture me using to cut out the pain or the real self-harm.
I now have valuable insight that I use as a life vest and as each wave comes upon me, I face it knowing that I will not be crushed with its watery claws and pounded into the ocean floor. Instead I dive through it knowing that when I finally come up for air, I will be welcomed by blue skies and calm seas.
My brain and my mind are at war with each other at times as i attempt to fit into this new world. I call it a new world because it looks and feels nothing like it did before my “crash”. For when that last ‘Jenga block’ piece got placed on top of the precarious but strong tower – the framework that I had constructed as my identity collapsed, I knew that I had to go back to go forward. Scars that i believed had healed, were actually scabs that were ready to come off.
Forty years since ‘ IT’ happened, I knew I had to talk about ‘IT’ afraid in the knowing that the flood-gates would open to lay bare the other ‘ITs’ that had occurred throughout my life. Complex Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder the psychiatrist said, and before he continued with his recipe of ME, I knew what he was going to use for icing on the cake – Borderline Personality Disorder. I knew because I was working in mental health as a Peer Support Worker and I spoke to so many people (particularly women) carrying this soul-destroying label who would explain their pain to me and tell me their ‘ITs’ .
I always believed myself to be a compassionate and empathetic person, and whilst that helped, what became apparent was that I was looking into so many mirrors. They sensed it too ( I call it a ‘ knowing’ ). But whilst the first two (CT and PTSD) could help explain the self-harm, the disocciation, the suicide ideation, the Dissociative Identity Disorder, why must I then be victimized by my emotions?
I detest the label and believe it to be a Human Rights Violation. You do not know ME! How dare you judge ME! Why must my pain and experience be held against me? The pain is real and it cannot be explained by science through the use of x-rays or ultra-sounds. I believe that the pain should be validated – just as Voices are.
There does not need to be any label at all, because we must look at Cause and Effect, and the Affect. Those carrying this label have one thing in particular in common – we think with our emotions. We are not black and white either because our emotions enable us to be filled with so much color. But I need to ask You – If we think with our emotions, can you not listen with your heart? There is a desperate need for a new language, so can it not be the answer to that question?
(Author: Helen Farrell)