I was talking to my Richmond Fellowship Tyneside support worker about the changes in my thought processes that she wasn’t aware of because we’ve only been working together for a short time and I realized that it might make an interesting blog post… As much as I hate the thought of people going through what I have, I hope that if there are people out there who have the same beliefs that I used to hold, then reading this might work as reassurance that you can get through it and come out the other side!
I will die young
This belief was such a huge role in my mental health deterioration that I had to discuss it in a Psychology session whilst an inpatient in a specialist psychiatric hospital. I had to put a lot of work into changing this belief and developing a replacement for it (in fact, I wrote all about my efforts here) because without that work, I was well on track to succeed at committing suicide. This belief spurred on my suicide attempts because it led to the thought process that eventually, one of them would work and I’d be free forever. Now that I’m happy and enjoying my life (for the most part!) I wish it could carry on for all eternity!
I deserved the abuse
This belief started literally immediately after the abuse did. Straight away I knew I’d brought this on myself. Though, I won’t lie; this was definitely an irrational thought because if I was confronted with it then I probably couldn’t provide much evidence to support it! I guess I just thought of myself as a generally bad person; and perhaps it being so irrational is what kept it so solid in my head. It meant that no matter what anyone said they couldn’t disprove my belief because there was nothing to really contradict! Eventually, I learnt that what was done to me says more about the person who did it than it does about me.
You can’t trust anyone
Having the person that I – and many others – respected, turn into someone completely different, was more than enough to undermine any trust I had in anyone else. I’d trusted this man with lots of deeply personal thoughts and feelings, so to have him then hurt me in such a horrid (big understatement) way felt like betrayal and an insult. How could I possibly trust another person when doing so, had led to me being hurt so badly? I finally learnt to let others in again when I realized that I couldn’t let that one relationship write the rule book on all future ones.
Rabbits are evil!
When I was little, I had two rabbits and after killing their young we gave them up. According to many Psychologists and Psychiatrists, this trauma influenced the fact I began hallucinating rabbits (which you can read more about here) that I was terrified of. This was to the point that when I first saw them in Summer 2012, I took an overdose that had me end up on life support in Intensive Care. But I realized that all I needed was some grounding techniques that – when I was hallucinating – would remind me that they were just that; hallucinations. And so, I got myself a bunny (who you can read all about here)!
I will never experience unconditional love
I used to think that going through something that was supposed to be an act of love but experiencing it as an act of hate, would put me off the idea of love forever. I thought that it’s impact on my thoughts and feelings around the subject would render me incapable of experiencing something that almost everyone strives to experience at least once in their life. I held this belief until the day I was proved wrong; my love for my Mum was tested through my mental ill health and it taught me just how much she means to me and how completely unconditional my love for her is. I went on to experience this again when I got my first cat; Dolly and then again with my bunny Pixie, and second cat; Emmy!
I’m scared of my abuser
I was once so terrified that seeing my abuser again would ruin me. I thought that the sight of his angular face would trigger so many horrific memories that I’d resort to committing suicide to be free of them. Through Psychology, though, I’ve learnt that believing this just gives him all the power over my life so my new attitude is the song lyrics from Demi Lovato’s Really Don’t Care: ‘Now if we meet out on the street I won’t be running scared, I’ll walk right up to you and put one finger in the air!’
Pain is the greatest feeling
I guess that this was my belief when I couldn’t ever experience happiness. Or anything else, really. For a long time, I was numb and empty. Of course, I now know that this is a ‘symptom’ of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) but back then, it felt as though I was broken. I was so scared that I’d be ‘stuck’ like that for the rest of my life – unable to feel anything other than the pain I inflicted on myself. Now that I’ve experienced positive emotions like happiness and pride, I finally get my greatest thrill from spending time with my Mum and pets and achieving things with I’m NOT Disordered.
The only way to find peace is if I die
This is one belief where, looking back, I can’t understand how I ever held it! I used to think that death was the answer to all of my problems; that dying would end all of the hardship and all of the struggles. I thought that if I died then the hallucinations would silence, the memories of abuse would disappear, and all of the numbness would end. Now I know that suicide doesn’t prevent things from getting worse, it stops them from getting better.
Perfection is needing stitches
This was something I realized that I used to believe when I was talking to my Richmond Fellowship support worker about the amount of time I’ve now gone without self-harming. I told her how I’m a perfectionist and control freak and have turned this around so that instead, keeping track of how long it’s been since I last self-harmed, helps motivate me to carry on because I’m so afraid of ruining my winning streak! Of course, there are other motivations; the point is, this one helps.
Hurting myself will show people how much I’m struggling
I once didn’t know how to put my thoughts and feelings into words – sometimes I still don’t know – and so it felt that the only way to make people understand just how bad things were, was to show them. I thought that the ultimate show of sadness was self-harm and so people would see my cuts and realize I needed help. I think that learning how to put things into words has mostly come from I’m NOT Disordered and my writing; it’s taught me the power of words and that sometimes, they can say more than any actions. Sometimes they can mean more.
No one can help me
This was my belief during my darkest of days. To feel completely hopeless and lost, without any sort of support system or help, can be so debilitating that it frequently led to suicide attempts. To be so confident that you’re beyond help and that no friend, family member, or professional could possibly make you feel any better, is one of the loneliest feelings in the world. What I didn’t realize though, was that the biggest reason why I believed this was purely because I wouldn’t give anyone the opportunity to help me. Now I’ve learnt that people deserve a chance; and whether they prove you right or wrong, that says more about them than it does you.
I hate the professionals
I used to resent the Police, Paramedics, Doctors, Nurses in Accident and Emergency, Psychiatrists, Psychologists… all of the people who would stop me from self-harming or throw a spanner in my suicide attempts. I hated them for keeping me alive because I felt as though they almost wanted me to suffer. When I learnt that those people could see the potential in me to recover from my mental ill health and that they really did have a ‘duty of care’ I found respect and admiration for them all.