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Sunday, 15 March 2015

Illustrating the 'highs' and 'lows'

**Please note that this post mentions eating disorders, suicidal and self-harm thoughts**

Here are some of my pictures. I have many, many notebooks full of creative things, but here are some pictures I made around the same period a few years ago. At that time, I wasn't diagnosed with bpd, but my emotions were a volatile ocean of highs and lows that came and went in rapid cycles. 

I was showing a lot of signs of bpd, but it took me more than several years of distress to be diagnosed with bpd. When I made these pictures I was quite overwhelmed with something getting towards anorexia, which I was having a lot of treatment for. I no longer have a huge eating disorder problem, the therapy I had mostly closed that avenue of self-harm for me, it I am very relieved to say. 


This picture (i) illustrates the 'high' I get 'in' with bpd. My emotion of joy/love/exhilaration/elation makes me feel like I am going to explode. Sometimes I feel like the emotion of joy/love/exhilaration is going to kill me, it is so strong. I also feel like I about to burst with ideas that are bubbling in my head, as if they are fizzing beneath a shaken-up bottle with the cork about to burst.


I made this picture (ii) when I was 'in a high'. When I feel high I feel like my dreams are beaming out of me, I feel like the embodiment of passion, hope, self-belief, confidence, happiness, excitement. The feeling seems to be a brilliant one, like the suns rays are inside my heart. But actually, like the suns rays, it can burn and leave you feeling very sore, because there is usually a crash that inevitably comes after such a high.

I would say that the main emotion I feel when I am 'in a high' is love. This is very difficult to explain and difficult for me in my life, although it is also a lovely thing. I feel like I have so much love that I am going to be killed by the pressure of it inside me. The love/joy/exhilaration is not really pleasurable because the emotions feel so strong that they hurt. I feel like no one has any idea of the extent of my emotion of love, exhilaration, joy, happiness and this can make me simultaneously extremely sad. 


It is not uncommon for me to feel the joy/love/exhilaration that I described above simultaneously with really dark, scary, suicidal thoughts. I don't even know myself how that can be possible, but it feels something like this illustration above; the dark swirl of being sucked into terror and a pit of sadness, yet whilst being acutely aware at the same time of beautiful love and joy. This mix of extreme emotions is not only confusing for myself and my own identity, but also for others close to me...confusing in so many ways. 




When I feel I am 'in' the opposite of a 'high' (v, vi, vii)  I would not call it a low. It is lower than that; I feel as though I am alone under the sea bed, beneath thick black sand with a stormy ocean swirling over. Often, I feel a 'swirl' in the middle of my body. Often it becomes visceral, physical pain to me and I have to clutch my stomach. Like my insides are screaming out and sucking me down, down, down, eating me up, drowning me, strangling me. It's during these times that I might have suicidal thoughts and thoughts about self-harm and eating disorders. It is doubly upsetting to be feeling this way, because of the abundance of love/joy I know I have in my life. 


There are many severe repurcussions of feeling these ways in such rapid cycles, it is like a 'split' way of being. I used to visualise that I was being 'possessed' or 'overcome' by a monster when I felt the sadness, but I need to accept that these emotions are parts of me, no matter how much I wish I didn't have the capability to feel such dark thoughts, especially because I feel guilty for feeling these emotions.


Hope these pictures have illustrated some aspects of bpd for you. But please be aware that all people are different and, of course a lot of people with bpd have similar experiences, but all will experience our emotions and lives differently.