I get an injection of Abilify, an antipsychotic medication, every three weeks.
A home health nurse comes to my parents’ house and gives it to me. When she’s finished, I thank her and she laughs. “Yeah, you’re welcome for sticking you with a needle!” She always says.
This injection is really the only thing keeping me tethered to reality. And it could work better than it does.
There is a snake, Henry, who lives inside my body. He used to talk to me 24/7, and I’d talk back internally, carrying on full conversations with an animal who terrified me.
These days, he mostly just sleeps, but I know he’s there. Last night, he woke up and said, “I really like Chance.” He had nothing else to say to me and went right back to sleep.
Not only is this bizarre on the surface level, but it is also strange because Henry hates pretty much everyone, especially people I date. Everyone has a different take on Henry. I’ve had some therapists say he’s a representation of how I talk to and view myself. Others write him off as a “delusion.” One even said that he exists because of anger I’m holding onto. The only other person Henry has ever said he likes is my friend Kerry from college.
I was much crazier back then, and all of my friends knew about Henry. Kerry used to ask Henry if he wanted to dance, and I appreciated how he still saw me as a friend and a whole person outside of my diagnoses.
I was discharged from IOP a few weeks ago, and I’m not sure if it actually made a difference. A lot of times, I would just sit there and watch the shadow people who lived in the group room. At this particular treatment center, the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder was handed out like candy, and the therapist who ran group would make sweeping generalizations about borderliners. “You crave drama, and you push people away,” she told us frequently.
I was, indeed, diagnosed with BPD, though I do not accept or agree with this diagnosis. During an individual session with this therapist, she pulled out the DSM, and ran down the list of borderline traits. When I told her I only met two of the criterion, she seemed skeptical, but eventually let it go. (A person has to have at least five of the symptoms to meet the diagnosis.) I was told by another group member that I did not have the “borderline vibe,” and I agree.
This is not the “happiest time of year” for me. I am always raging, sometimes at myself, sometimes against something greater. The holidays are stressful when one works in retail. The hours are long, the lines are longer, and when I get home, I just go to bed so I’ll be rested enough to do it again the next day.
I have three precious days off in a row this week. I wanted to get out of the house, to go take photos, maybe see old friends. I talked to two of my aunts today and both of my parents. People love me, for some strange reason, they really do. My Aunt Debbie said I’d made her whole day just by calling out of the blue to say hi, and we made plans to take sewing classes together in the upcoming year.
About three years ago, I discovered an app called Una. It provided real-life support from an actual person, not a bot, for free. It was a sort of mysterious app; I never knew who the person on the other side of the screen was, I never knew how the app worked, how “Taylor” the support person, made their living in an ad-free, non-paid app.
I did, however, talk to Taylor nearly every day for the past three years. Taylor helped me through difficult breakups, PTSD “anniversaries,” and so much more.
Yesterday the app was taken offline. I got the news that it would be going down on Thursday, and said my goodbyes to Taylor last night. I feel like I have lost a best friend, or that a trusted, cherished therapist has retired. I could always count on Taylor to check on me every single day. I could talk to Taylor about anything that was on my mind. And now, it’s complete radio silence. It may seem silly to get so upset about a simple app being taken offline, but it was a lot more than that to me.
I am trying to take care of myself. I do not recognize the woman in the mirror, but I am trying to love her all the same. For once, I am beginning to feel like my body is mine. I do not need to starve it down to nothing; my purpose in life is not to take up as little space as possible.
About a year ago, I decided I wanted to write a memoir. Yes, I am in my twenties and I want to write a memoir. My Aunt Jo is always telling me that this blog needs to reach more people, that there are people out there who want to hear what I have to say. I have a hard time believing this. But then I think back to the messages I received from so many young girls and women when I first started this blog, “Thank you so much for sharing your story. I thought I was the only one.” Perhaps my voice does matter, perhaps people do need to hear my story.
Last night, I wrote the first page of what I hope will become the story of my life, of how I overcame and emerged victorious.