I’m always losing people well it seems that way to me  .. I’ve been trying really hard to make relationships as I have a great difficulty with attachments, I become so distressed when people leave.

I’ve been trying to take a leap of faith trying to trust in people it’s like dipping your toe  in the cold sea or jumping from the top diving board, I try to believe you won’t go.

I’m afraid you will leave me and most often people do. Oh they say we will keep in touch meet up for a meal or coffee…but they don’t , they don’t and that hurts a gut wrenching hurt.
To me those people are dead gone, I obliterate them they’re gone it’s the only way I deal with that abandonment of empty promises or lies you don’t exist anymore . I may think of you from time to time but you hurt me and you don’t know, some do and feel guilt I see that and I feel empathy …
History repeats itself …I’m the child my mum sectioned dragged away again and again and then gone and that hurt made me bury those feelings deep inside and I learnt not to trust you, I learnt not to feel. When someone leaves I curl up in a fetal position I cry all snot and tears, I lose control of my body, I slump I dissociate, I go and hide in the metaphoric tree of my childhood where I felt safe or in the garage, I isolate .
That horrible feeling overwhelms me I feel like I’m drowning in the swimming pool where I took my leap of faith,  I’m abandoned once more and I hurt me, it’s how I cope it’s a never ending circle of hope then loss I’m trapped on the  merry go round I can’t get off I’m trapped.
Today I lost my Care Coordinator whom I cared for and trusted who understood me and took the time to get to know me. I lost them to another job and although I know God damn I know,  it’s what they need to do … I just want to scream and shout and hurt myself the horrible feeling is pulling me under and I try to accept this sadness of my childhood. I follow my plan the gym, the garden but it hurts oh how it hurts and nothing will stop it, NOTHING I’M DROWNING IN THE HORRIBLE FEELING.
I’ve cried, I’ve hidden, I’ve used grounding techniques and the insight I have of my insight is killing me … I know why, I just can’t stop the waves but I’m trying to surf… It’s just painful ..
I’ve recently come across these formulations called spiky diagrams, you can use them anytime you feel the horrible feeling … sometimes I find you don’t know why you feel that way it just creeps upon you. Here is a good description of what a formulation is.
Here is an example which I  find really useful of a spiky formulation, for me it helps explain what happens for me when I get triggered into the horrible feeling.
(Clarke and Wilson)
This is my formulation I just drew it I’m quite proud …
spiky formulation sue
It shows my past then the trigger,  and how I then get that horrible feeling, then it shows the patterns I have learnt to cope with that overwhelming pain. I don’t feel bad about these ways of coping, bad things happened to me as a child and these are ways I learned to manage.
However I now use other ways such as intense exercise trying not to isolate sitting with the pain and just howling and sobbing… The horrible feeling passes it may take time but it does …and sometimes I’m still not able  to escape my old patterns, but more often I now can do.
What I’d like to say to Health Care Professionals is that when you get  someone in crisis it’s the horrible feeling you need to help with. I call it a verbal hug a soothing of that pain and validation is key in helping. Just saying how hard it must be, how awful it is just letting someone know you get it. Trying to fix or problem solve won’t help right now don’t tell me to look at a safety plan or care plan just be with me for a while or it feels like I’m abandoned over again. We are hyper vigilant we know when you’re not sitting with us I hear a sigh …I know.
Today I am sad I’m coping best as I can I’ve written this post and I dedicate it to my care coordinator,  you’ve helped me so much I know you had to go but I so wish you had stayed.
I sit with the horrible feeling.
It will pass …
I miss you

If the boot was on the other foot…

On meeting my care coordinator today I noted she was well kempt although I often wonder where she gets her clothes from hmm Primark maybe, I don’t think they get paid very well. She also showed appropriate eye contact, although I try best as I can not to look at her. Her speech was a little forced but I put that down to the copious amounts of coffee she always goes on about that she drinks.

We were going to do my care plan which was mainly completed by herself, she had included such things when I’m feeling distressed to have a bath which would be difficult as I only have a shower and to go out walking after work. However this time of year it is dark and I am a little concerned for my safety.

We also looked at a safety plan which had numbers for me to call, at the minute I don’t have a mobile I sold mine so I could buy some more wine from when I’m feeling so overwhelmed, I guess I will just have to go to A&E and take my chances there although I don’t feel very welcome. Some of the doctors and nurses look a little scared of me but I just put that down to their paranoia which I think they should get some therapy to help with.

We talked about my family and how they could help but I’ve not seen them for years so I just put their phone numbers down anyway to please her. I’m quite good at that it helps our relationship I have to say though I’m always aware of my boundaries with her I don’t want to be telling her too much, I keep the names of my rabbits from her I think that’s really important

She got a little frustrated with me as I couldn’t think of steps to take when I felt suicidal I don’t think she was being very cooperative . I was trying my hardest and I tried to validate her feelings of frustration which helped a little and we managed to complete my care and safety plan.

She says that this plan will really help me with my recovery I think she is suffering with delusions and I am quite concerned for her I think to myself she needs some medication but I’m not sure she will comply with that. Oh well.

My care coordinator told me she couldn’t see me for a few weeks as she was in training and on holiday I don’t think she is engaging very well with me and wonder if she needs a short stay in hospital so people can make sure she complies with her duties as my care coordinator .

I’m going to to make sure that I write the notes up on my computer programme (lack of insight) just in case something happens to her before the end of the day after visiting me. I also decide to do a risk assessment with her not there as that’s the sort of thing she might do and I am pretty worried.

Well that’s another visit over with I will look to see if their are any improvements for next time but I’m not very hopeful I think I might tell her to get some therapy… not sure she’s ready for it though she probably needs stabilising…… Oh well
All of this is completely fabricated my care coordinators have all been really helpful, kind and included me in decision making … However I have read some funny stories on Twitter. I just hope it makes you laugh… If the boot was on the other foot….

Dignity and Self Harm #WMHD

Dignity and Self Harm Ten things I want you to know

Remember I am a person first of all with hopes and dreams and I’m just suffering right now and you may have seen me last week but my pain comes back to haunt me.

I’m not attention seeking or being manipulative when I self harm I’ve suffered in my past and I’m coming asking you for help I’m seeking attention yes because I’ve hurt myself and I need medical attention.

Please remember to dress my self harm even if I have overdosed often you forget because I’m not well enough to point it out.

If I have overdosed I would like a bed to lie in not forced to sit in a chair .

Please remember to validate my emotions I’m feeling so sad often ashamed and I often feel suicidal. Yes it is awful yes I’ve been trying so hard and I feel so vulnerable, just tell me you can see that.

Remember to use pain relief for people who need it don’t carry out procedures without it.

Please refer me to liaison psychiatry don’t just let me leave, people who self harm can go on to complete suicide they need help .

It would be amazing if all hospitals had people trained to help people who self harm 24/7 as liaison psychiatry doesn’t often operate those hours. Instead people are left to wait until morning tired and in crisis .

You don’t have to tell me if I leave you will call the police I’m not a criminal and I’m not that person who runs away we are all individuals .

Thank you to all the people who have shown me dignity on my journey over the years I haven’t seen you for a long time as I am well but if you do just please show me some dignity .

JUST SIT BY ME (stop chatting shit)

Oh I’m feeling so not quite here I’ve hit myself over the head with my mobile I’m not quite me . I had therapy earlier and we hit a place ..I don’t do endings and we talked about this ending in a years time and I crashed dissociated I went into the black hole where I see me alone as a child alone as a child I felt so alone I felt so lonely. Snap back you talk me round and I tell you about friends who have let me down and away I go again snot dribble dissociation .

I leave and I know I’m not good I do my stuff I’m the perfect mental ?.. I walk I distract I am mindful but I’m not coping I’m not coping.
I run I run and find myself outside dissociating and I go back to the old ways that don’t really help me. It doesn’t help me !!!

I call for help .. PLEASE HELP ME oh and you the man from the CMHT tell me you tell me I’ve been here before I can ring the helpline or Samaritans I can call my care coordinator next week and and and what you’re saying is just go away…  YOU JUST GO AWAY … oh and by the way I know you’re intelligent go away…. and what you forget to tell me what was really important … I know it’s awful it must be so painful…… you know you need to JUST SIT BY ME… JUST BE WITH ME ….

I’m sad right now therapy is hard but it’s helping … People need to know sometimes just being with someone is more important than just chatting shit

ICD 11 Stigma I’m not violent


Dear Peter,

I am writing as I have recently read the proposed category names and essential features of personality disorders in International Classification of Diseases (ICD)11. I came across this in The Mental Elf Blog .

I would like to share with you my concerns about this but first will tell you a bit about myself so you can understand where I am coming from.

I have a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder myself and currently work for Sheffield Health and Social Care Foundation Trust as a Peer Support Specialist. I train staff in BPD awareness and DBT skills which I taught myself. I also run groups with people with my diagnosis and their families and friends. I went to Texas self funded to learn more about the DBT group for families and attended a NEABPD course there.

I also am well known on Twitter and created a chat for people with BPD which has run for three years now. I speak to people on there such as Alys Cole King who I have co-written a chapter for a book for the Rcpsych soon to be published called women and mental health and our chapter is around self harm. I also chat to Geraldine Strathdee of occasion recently around a DHGovUk publication the easy read MH code of practise showing a man with personality disorder with fists raised …. which I guess is what brings me to why I am contacting you … oh and I got the booklet image changed thanks to some great support.

I have watched with interest the ideas coming forward for the new ICD11 PD for a while now and have come across a couple of your power points on the internet. I was also interested by the DSM V and their decision not to change onto the dimensional model.

I have to state here I dislike the name BPD and PD I call myself an emotionally sensitive person as I see emotional dysregulation as the core to all of the problems people need to work with who have the diagnosis of BPD.

My worry with the idea of everyone being called PD is going to increase the stigma for everyone. Not everyone is violent with a diagnosis of BPD I know I am not and I can guess people with avoidant PD are not at all. If I am to tell someone I have PD and they are associating it with people with a diagnosis of ASPD those who may be very violent then I am tarred with the same brush. Mud sticks and I am sure as time goes by there will be more and more articles in the press as Personality Disorder becomes as well known as schizophrenia.

When I was diagnosed five years ago I had not heard of it and my mother has schizophrenia so I know a bit about mental health, and oh you may remember me I was at a conference that you Anthony Bateman and Proff Tim Kendall were speaking. I took the microphone  and said the stigma comes from clinicians and I still believe that to be the case, although not all.

My point is if we are all given the same label and we are all so different in so many ways but we will be seen as the violent people in society and that is not the case and I know as I work with and am in contact with hundreds of people with BPD. I and they are not what you and WHO describe us as and we don’t fit neatly into the boxes you have created, those being mild , moderate and severe personality disorder.

I see lots of words to do with violence, violent episodes, hostile and confrontational behaviour, fits of temper, insubordination, conflict with peers, conflict with others, burning down someone’s house down in anger. This is not all of them and we are not all like that, this sounds like words from a forensic setting not the average person with BPD most are in the community.

I use words such as hyper vigilant, traumatised, creative, empathetic, emotionally sensitive that helps people with acceptance that shows empathy.

Could I ask were any people who use services involved in the writing up of these criteria, I ask as they seem to lack any empathy and don’t mention the dreadful trauma most people have suffered. It is stigmatising.

Imagine reading that about yourself when you are young and newly diagnosed what hope would that give you…? after all hope opportunity and control are the three requirements for recovery just what if like me you are not violent able to hold down a job but are very suicidal from time to time and self harm ? Which box am I fitting into …? In my opinion we don’t fit into these boxes we are all individuals.

I have shown the blog to people with a diagnosis of BPD and  most people say they fit into two categories and I was told I must be cured as I work. We just don’t fit.

As I mentioned earlier most people up to 70% have suffered some sort of trauma as children I think receiving this diagnosis will not give any compassion to these people who no fault of their own have been abused . They are in this set of criteria described as violent which is so stigmatising and not true in many cases. Why do you see violence as necessary? Surely this is just for the main part for those with Anti Social  Personality Disorder.

Also can I ask is the idea to ‘undiagnose’ those with a diagnosis that doesn’t fit into boxes meaning some severely traumatised people who manage life without being violent will receive no help? My fear once again it will be hard to now access treatment particularly for those who have been abused.

I would like it if the trauma could be acknowledged and there is less focus on violence as this will lead to increased stigma and acknowledgement that people do not fit neatly into the categories .

I have to also say I have gained a lot of support from my peers with BPD via the internet and have met in real life there is a thriving online community. I wonder how we will meet if we are all just named PD?

Overall I am not sure the people who use services have been thought about I am extremely concerned and I am not sure if there is anything that can be done or if you accept feedback.

I do not want to be Sue PD  mild, moderate or severe .

I hope to hear from you soon that would be kind.

Yours Sincerely

Sue Sibbald

Mindfulness, attachments and my tree

I realise it’s World Mental Health Awareness Week with mindfulness as its chosen theme. Personally I practise mindfulness it helps me I learnt acceptance and ways to still me and my mind and name and describe emotions I had no words for.

I know it’s not for everyone and that’s ok, when I went on my eight week course I thought I could be the best mindful person ever, I’m a tad competitive, until I finally realised that’s not quite the point….

My story is one of mindfulness and attachments something that plagues me every day in many ways.

My mum being schizophrenic was often not around in my childhood and I didn’t develop secure attachments . I break down cry overdose self harm when people leave I go back to that catastrophic childhood that sense of fear utter loss abandonment … but I’m getting better being more mindful of those feelings I can often now catch myself I can self sooth, whilst I’m crying inside.

So here’s a story I tell to people it’s about a tree a beautiful beech, 50ft and in the summer it had glimmering light green leaves that spoke softly in the breeze and I’d sit when I felt like my mind would explode with internal chatter and watch and listen and be with my mindfulness tree.
I’d sit for ages watching just seeing the light change the birds come and go and I’d hear the sounds soothing me I felt at peace.

Here’s the crunch …

One morning I heard a sound a mechanical noise a bit like zerr zerr zerr and I went to my window to see two men in my tree one with a chainsaw hmmm I thought they’re pruning it as it is such a big tree and I went back to working.

You guessed it …

Later I still heard the zerr zerr zerr noise so I went to the wall to ask the men and they told me the tree needed chopping down as it was diseased and may fall on my house.

Devastation, despair, I turned back up the path tears streaming my tree would be gone. I returned to the childhood place I wanted to self harm I wanted the pain to stop, but for a tree?
I think we all get attached to places objects things from childhood we keep them in boxes or have photos videos memories things from people who have left or died. We all get attached and we can all be mindful of those objects from time to time . Holding them looking at them maybe touching old clothes to bring back memories we get attached and it hurts but time helps soften the pain.

For me it can lead to a more self destructive place as that pain is too hard to bare but I’m getting there slowly I’m looking after me.

I will finish my story … I went to the men when I’d calmed down and asked them to cut me a piece of the tree and I carried it back to my house it was pretty heavy . I took my transitional object one which would help me get over the loss of my tree like a teddy bear for a child leaving parents for the first time.
I still have that piece of tree I’m going to varnish it this weekend and be mindful for a while.

I just want to say it’s also Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month and I hope this helps understanding around abandonment fears … Including trees .