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...a day in my life with intrusive thoughts
Today has been a hard day. Why? Put simply, I have had a lot of intrusive thoughts.
What is an intrusive thought?
For me, it is basically an unwanted image or thought that enters my head - there is no welcome mat for these, I don't think I 'trigger' them in any way, they just appear and upset me. It can be hard to shake them off, and they sometimes happen for an extended period of time, which is just downright annoying, let alone distressing.
The thoughts I have had today have paralysed me with fear and anxiety for every single split second they have entered my head.
It began when I woke up late this morning. I thought, 'I'm late, there is no point even getting out of bed, what would happen if I just lay here forever?'
I managed to get up and get dressed.
Swallowing down my daily dose of endless medications, I thought of how they could be doing unseen damage to my internal organs. I imagined my liver or my lungs slowly fading to grey, shrivelling up, becoming useless.
But I still got my shoes on and left the house.
On the motorway in the car to work, I kept seeing images flash through my mind of cars piling up, endless accidents and blood soaking in to the road.
But I got to work just fine, no incidents at all.
At work, someone made a flyaway comment, and I immediately thought, 'Do they like me? Are they trying to get rid of me? What if I lose my job?' I dismissed it quite quickly, but it still distracted me long enough to lose the thread of my conversation.
I missed a call from my partner. I imagined her dead or dying, trying to reach me, alone and in pain. I saw myself standing in a Coroner's office, too numb to cry, the particular contours of her face no longer lifting to show the play of emotions across her face. She wasn't dead or dying - she wanted to know what time I'd be home for dinner. But the sense of utter panic and loss was overwhelming for a moment, and I couldn't catch my breath.
I missed a call from my sister. My mind projected a memory of us as children, she had caught her hand in the video shop door, she was crying. And I couldn't make it all better. I began considering all the possible things that may be wrong, and like a lens shutter I saw my sister, my brothers, my nieces, my Mum, my Dad, my friends, all in pain, all asking for help I couldn't give.
She was fine, my sister, of course.
The point of this blog, really, is to try and say a little about what effort it is not to give in to these thoughts. Not to simply lay down, let them wash over me, and forget the world.
I feel, some days, like I am doing two jobs - the one I get paid for (which I love) and the other one, which is living with borderline personality disorder (which I don't love quite so much). It is exhausting some days, and today was one of them.
For everyone else out there living with intrusive thoughts, just know you are not alone. I get it. I hope you're doing OK.
Here's hoping tomorrow is a little kinder to us all.
Laura May is a writer and artist from Essex, UK. Laura was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in 2008, and tackles her experiences through poetry. Laura possesses a degree in English Literature from the University of Hull, and now works in marketing. Find out more about Laura May on her website here
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