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I am missing a diagnosis. I used to ignore this bit, I’ve never given it a lot of importance, but now I feel this lack. It’s not because I need to know what’s wrong with me, it’s because I need to know what to do and what to expect to get out of it.

I’m not sure if I fit into a specific diagnosis, most of the times it feels like no description fits me like a glove, while I pick single pieces from here and there forming an unknown melting pot.

But not knowing, or not naming it, prevents me from researching, from finding additional work for me to do in order to overcome it all. It prevents me from recognising my resources. It prevents me from having expectations regarding my possible recovery.

Of course, my tendency towards hypochondria leads me to believe I fit diagnoses which aren’t really my case. This is why I have started reading a lot of blogs of people who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder. I don’t have BPD, I would have been diagnosed by now if I did and I would feel much worse, I suspect. I wouldn’t have been able to do without medicines, I probably would have attempted suicide, I would have self harmed. Still, I read about it, because there’s always something to learn.

One of these things is how, when you have a specific condition, your doctor tells you what to expect, whether or not you are going to fully recover and how long it’s going to take. When recovery is possible, they talk about a few years. Of course, recovery is much like skating: you can’t tell how long it’s going to take for you to learn, because each and every one of us moves at their own pace. Some are gifted and spring forward, others need to strive a little more.

Still, I feel like I don’t have this at all. I feel alone even in my own condition. If you know you have a specific condition, you automatically enter a set: of all people, of all patients, of all of those who struggle with mental illnesses, you fall into the set of [enter your condition here]. There are others like you, others who have walked the same way before you, others you can compare yourself to, others you can learn from and can help you leading the way. Others who write their story on the Internet, others who found self-help groups, others who put their voices out there to inspire and guide anyone who still feels lost.

I don’t have that. I don’t know who I can look up to. I feel like I am the only one with my mix of ingredients and like I am the only one who can figure out how to get out of it. With one major exception: if no one has walked this road before, no one will ever tell me how long I’ll have to walk before I arrive, or if. The if is one of my biggest fears right now. People can recover from BPD, people can recover from OCD, from Depression, from Panic Attacks… can I recover from whatever-the-hell-it-is-I-have?

Sometimes, having a less debilitating condition is not always luck. Because it’s like having a rare disease. Cancer is hell, but it’s cancer, everyone knows cancer, there are statistics, cures, factsheets; that doesn’t mean it’s better than other diseases, because it’s not, but there is a specific course to follow. You do your radio therapy, you do chemo, you do this and that. If you’re lucky, it works just fine. You go through your own slice of hell and come out alive. Just like my father did. Twice.

If you have Tinnitus, it’s different. Your life is by no means at stake, it’s not even remotely life threatening, but at the same time, chances are you won’t be able to do absolutely anything about it. Because nobody know enough about it to cure it. And you start feeling like your life is a nightmare.

This is the way I feel. Absurdly, if I just had Depression I would have probably been cured long ago. My ex-husband had a major depressive episode, and in 6 months he was back on his feet just like nothing ever happened.

I’ve been in therapy for more than three years now. I feel the difference, I do, but it’s not enough. It’s so not enough, I can’t help but wonder how long is it still going to take. I may have started very slow, I admit that. I was completely unable to see my inner self, anything that was wrong could come out solely as anger, anxiety and control issues. The problem is, I’ve learned to uncover everything, I see the issues, I see my weaknesses, I recognise separate feelings… but it feels like I’ve been left here bare naked just looking at myself. Now is the time when I’m supposed to start working on my issues, and it feels like I’m not doing this at all.

The fact that I had to wait for 6 months to start group sessions hasn’t helped. I keep feeling on pause. Waiting for something to come, while my life is wasted away.

It also feels like everyday some new issue arises. There must be some eternal well throwing up shit inside myself, and every time I dig deeper I find larger shit fields. I wonder if I actually invent them, if I have my little illegal shit plantation with irrigation systems, red light lamps and all. First came insecurity, then mommy issues, then guilt for my divorce, then love addiction. They may all stem from the same fountain, but I’m no closer to finding a solution, now that they have been uncovered.

I read. That’s my personal, self-managed therapy. And oh, the pages I have read! It seems that experts are only ever interested in teaching. You can find hundreds of pages describing conditions, and not a single one offering solutions. I read the most exhilarating today. Well, no exhilarating is unfair, it’s good advice, it’s just so useless for me. They connect love addiction to low self-esteem (okay) and basically tell you that in order to defy the addiction you have to believe in yourself. Now, there may be some people out there who have never actually thought about this before and needed someone to tell them, but it feels like someone telling me that water is wet. Mmm, gee, I hadn’t thought of that, now that you tell me I’ll start believing in myself!!

And it goes on saying how you can start believing in yourself and building your confidence by doing things, by seeing how you can do things that matter to you and feel stronger seing results. And this feels like having my leg pulled.

This may be my very personal problem, but I don’t have issues with what I do. I have issues with what I am.

I’m good at my job, when my mind isn’t preoccupied with all this mental nonsense, I’m a good skater, I’m a good photographer, I’m a good singer,  I bake wonderful cakes, I have a gift for languages, I park my car like a pro even though I’m a woman, I’m a half genius for anything practical and problem solving. But that is just what I do, it’s not what I am. What I am, what I feel, that’s wrong, that’s what’s missing, that’s what makes me feel inadequate.

I’ve been bombarded with this idea that anything good would come from an education, that my practical, intelligent mind is all I’ve ever grown and nurtured. I felt I could be appreciated only if I did good and that’s what I’ve always tried to do. Even now, after… all, I still want people to appreciate me for what I do. Because I try to compensate what I am now with what I do.

Reading about women with love addiction… it feels like I’ll never get out of it. It makes me angry that once again I have to thank my parents for this wonderful gift, it makes me angry to see how long it’s going to take to get better and that most of the times what happens is that women get out of relationships only to become addicted to the groups themselves.

And yet, I know this profile doesn’t fit me either. It’s always like I only reflect the image of the initial phases, I never get to the bone. Which is good, I suppose, because I’ve never been in a co-dependent relationship, I never let anyone mistreat me or hurt me physically, I realised years ago how love didn’t have to hurt. All in all, I chose my partners wisely. I may have stuck with some people longer than I should have, but never really to a fault. I still maintain my boyfriends were all decent or good.

That in itself would be praised as a very good starting point. I know, I see it that way too. Fact is, I want more.

I suspect, that the status in which I am in is the aim of several people with much greater issues than mine. Which I still don’t know if it’s possible to consider a good thing. I’m afraid it works like a diet. It’s easy to shed pounds when you start a diet, when your weight is so excessive that just a minor reduction in food intake brings along very visible results. Then you get to the point when you’re not so excessively fat anymore, but you’re not slender either and pounds just won’t leave you anymore.

I also always tend to succumb to exhaustion when I’m really close to the destination. I’m no good with last efforts. I hope this is it.

I’d like to begin by apologising to anyone who is religious, it doesn’t matter what kind of religion. God here is intended as any kind of supreme being, regardless of the religious institutions attached to it. I totally understand this is outrageous to them.

Believing in God is not easy. But mostly, believing in God is not mandatory. Or it shouldn’t be.

I keep reading “stuff” on the internet, articles, blogs, self-help pages and more often than not, I come across sentences of various styles that could be grouped as “with the help of God you’ll make it”.

I’m not saying that this is the only alternative given, of course not, but for instance the fact that this is the foundation of each and every 12-step-programme is nothing less than scary.

I believe in science (and I would like to add, hence I don’t believe in God) and I believe psychology is a science and I believe psychotherapy can heal most of the psychological discomforts human kind can experience.

I strongly refuse to believe that I have to believe in God to stop drinking/using drugs/gambling/insert-your-addiction-here.

But this is only tangent to the point.

What makes me furious is that it looks like praying to God will bring forth any necessary change to heal. I’m looking for answers, or better, I am looking for manuals. I need to find strategies to get better, to heal, to cope, to change radically and what I keep finding are just statements that changes are necessary. Very rarely can people tell you how. Whenever you attempt to get to the how, there it comes: grace.

The hell with you: I’m never going to wake up one day enlightened and happy just because I said my prayers the night before. I’m going to have to work towards it. More than that, I want to believe that I can be a part of it, that there is something that I can actively do, that I am the one deciding where I’m headed instead of praying and well, really just hoping, that things will come on their own.

That of course is the definition of faith itself. You have to believe in God. And I may venture into saying that yes, those who believe in God can actually benefit from that faith in their everyday struggles. But please, do not tell me that those who don’t have one and only chance: convert.

You can’t force people to believe in God in order to get better, first of all because faith is not really something you can command, either you already had it or you don’t; of course some might find their faith while healing, but it’s not a certainty. But mostly, you can’t force faith on people because saying that you can heal with God’s help implies that you can’t do it on your own. Don’t get me wrong, relying on other people is essential, but God is not people. This feels like an ultimatum.

We are social animals, that is widely known, but we are not religious animals. Religion is a choice, people who are not religious are not ill, while those who tend to isolation also tend to suffer from this condition. So yes, everyone needs help to get better, I for first rely on a therapist, group sessions and friends and benefit immensely from it all. But I refuse to believe that I have to surrender to God in order to heal.

I imagine now how myriads of religious people would be nodding their heads and think “God helps those who help themselves”. Now that’s convenient. Those who help themselves, help themselves with or without God.

I understand how sometimes healing may look like a miracle. If nothing else, because being better often looks impossible when you’re still neck-deep in shit. I also understand how sometimes you fully realise you have improved almost suddenly, and can’t really tell what it is that happened or what strategies you used to get there. So telling other people “how” is almost impossible.

Still this doesn’t mean that God did the trick, or that your prayers did.

November 22nd to me is one of those dates in life you remember.

13 years ago, I had just arrived in my current city to start college, for the first time finally away from my hometown, on my own, out of the suffocating grip of my parents.

On November 22nd I bought my first snowboard. It was a statement. It meant I want to dedicate my life to this, something I believed in, in memory of all those who died in the Kaprun fire.

There are a few of those dates in my general year. May 6th, April 21, Friday the 17th. Milestones. And year after year I go back to those original days and take stock of my life, of the additional years to my age. What has happened in the time lapse, what is different, what is better, what is worse, how far I’ve come.

November 22nd 2013 is the day I give up. Today of all days I realised how useless everything is, how I dispise my life, and every pointless thing in it. It’s the day I realise “normal” does not apply to me and my past, and that my opposite to “normal” is not “above average” but “insufficient”. Today is the day that I realise “normal” is something I will never have and I decide that 32 years of insufficient life are enough. I am done. And since I’ve been trying like hell to turn this around with absolutely no avail, I give up trying. Today is the day I hope tomorrow will never come, for here I am stuck in my insufficient life, unable to change it and I don’t want to be stuck here for the following 32 years. No thanks.

Today is the day I get angry at the world, today is the day I stop being kind and civil, for no good thing has ever come from that. Today is the day I realise how useless and doomed is everything I do. Skating is useless, working is useless, living is useless.

You are put on this chessboard by the selfishness of other players and are forced to the battlefield with the insufficient weapons you are supplied. You are supposed to strive for survival. Then one day you stop, you see that you are only ever fighting with no result if not that of avoiding being killed. So you start wondering why. Why is it important to preserve life? What is it exactly that makes it precious? 

And the answer doesn’t come. You just can’t see it. 

And that is the exact moment you start hating. You hate all the people in the people who know the answer: they tell you that life is beautiful. They tell you they love life. So you see the difference. Because you don’t. Some people are lucky enough to believe this from the start. Some people maybe are gifted with an enlightment along the way. I’m beginning to believe that this is truly genetics. The same genetical predisposition for certain illnesses exists for happiness too. I don’t have that gene. 

Some people are not cut out for a certain job, or a certain sport, I’m not cut out for this particular emotion. It doesn’t matter how hard you try, it’s not bad luck, it’s not meant to be. 

I think I understand addiction now. You don’t solve a problem with drugs, you make it worse. Or, you consciously decide to numb yourself day after day because you lack even the basic enthusiasm to take your own life. You feel forced to live, so you live the as little as possible. People who kill temselves have lost hope. Those who have never had it don’t even bother.

We drag on.

We are dragons.

Dragons don’t exist.

Had you asked me yesterday my opinion about this statement, I would have sighed and nearly burst into tears. I would have automatically added a “good” in the middle of the sentence: everything good ends. I would have thought about my relationship with Andrew ending, about my skating career ending, about my youth leaving me day after day. Cosmic pessimism, there must be a gene for that.

Today, unannounced, a new thought crossed my mind.

I’ve been thinking about Christmas. It’s that time of year: the cold, the early sunset, the decorations, people doing countdowns to December 25th. I’m no Christmas enthusiast, I’ve never been one – did you guess? This family time thing is most definitely not my thing. Plus, this is going to be the first Christmas I’ll have to spend alone, i.e. without my former husband. This is the first Christmas I spend alone, knowing how not being alone feels like.

I have been avoiding the thought so far. Like, really avoiding. It was there, lurking, but I effectively swept it away everytime. Until today, the “solution” came to me even before I properly handled the problem. This is a first.

Everything ends: Christmas is just one day. 24 hours. Of which I am going to sleep at least 8.

I’ve been facing days, weeks and months of dread on end, I have survived each and every single one of them. 16 hours are nothing. I will just have to patiently wait until the day is over. Hour after hour, sip of wine after another. And then I’ll be free again for the next 364 days.

It’s not a dreamlike situation, but neither is my life, nor my family. It’s just the best I can do. I’m not religious, I basically hate the crap out of our “national” religious institutions and I am not going to feel “better”. Everyone should be “better” on Christmas. I won’t be. Or rather, I will once again be selfishly better, I’ll most definitely try my best to do what’s best for myself. So the Ghosts of Christmas will come haunting me? Let them, I’m open to a change of mind, but I’m afraid they’ll pat me on a shoulder and tell me to hold on, too.

Because in the end it’s not Christmas per se. The point is finding a trick to talk myself out of stress, out of dread, out of a morbid countdown where D-Day is like a death sentence. It’s like a drug induced coma: it’s induced, which means it’s not as bad as a clinical coma, but it helps healing and bearing the process. It’s anesthesia.

It will not solve the problem, it only helps coping. Will the problem ever be solved? I don’t know, I would tend to say I will think about it when other pressing problems finally fade away. After all, tomorrow is another day. Another merely 24-hour-long day.