I’ve had a bit of a jam packed weekend, full of massive highs, but also massive lows. On Saturday, my friend Claire (name changed) came over with her boyfriend Sam – as we were driving to Holland to a dog show. Claire has BPD, and has been under a Section 3 for the past six months, but this was lifted yesterday. She also has a heroin addiction but has a daily script of drugs to help her come off it. I love Claire to the moon and back, she is like a sister to me, but sometimes I feel very helpless, especially when she harms herself, or tries to end her life.
We left pretty late on Saturday morning, and made it to the ferry in Dover in good time. Claire seemed in good spirits, despite an appointment she had had the previous day not going so well, and despite having an awful day on Friday, I felt in good spirits too. I always try to be positive around people who I know may be feeling vulnerable so we don’t bounce off each other.
An awful situation arose while we were on the ferry. It was about a 2 hour journey and Claire disappeared to the toilet. Sam mentioned he was worried that she might have some drugs on her, as she was acting a little cagey when we went through security checks, and now had disappeared. I told him that I didn’t think she would, as we had spoken about it, and I had told her how disappointed I would be if she had lied to me, and let me down by bringing drugs with her, putting us all at risk (the penalty for taking Class A drugs over the border is really high, as you can imagine). Nevertheless, it got me thinking about it and made me suspicious of her, so much so that I went to find her. When I found her, in the duty free shop, I asked to see her arms, to see if I could see any track marks. (I know nothing about heroin so didn’t realise it could also be snorted!!). Needless to say, there were no marks, and she was offended, upset and angry that I didn’t trust her. She stormed off, and refused to speak to me.
I put my arms around her, and told her I was really sorry, but I just wanted to make sure she was safe, and had gone about it the wrong way. She still refused to acknowledge me, and when we got back to the seats where Sam was, she walked off again, with Sam trailing behind her, leaving me sitting there on my own. Recently, I have been low, but the urges I felt to cut right then were stronger than I have felt in a long while. I looked through my bag, but couldn’t find anything sharp. As bad as it makes me feel to admit this, if I had found something to use, I would have cut. How Jen or Kim would feel didn’t even come into my head. I understand, using the DBT skills I have learned so far, I should have taken a step back and given myself a minute to think, but I was purely acting in emotion mind, full of guilt, pain and anxiety. I was trying to do the right thing but it had come out all wrong, and rightly or wrongly I had upset a very dear friend.
I did find some valium in my bag but had the presence of mind to not take it, as I had three hours of driving ahead of me where I needed my wits about me as over in Europe you drive on the other side of the road to the UK, and although I am now used to it, it is very easy to let your mind slip and forget where you are. I curled up on the seat and wrapped my arms around myself. I think this must be a self-learned method of self soothing as it seems to relax me, and although the urges to harm were still there, they didn’t feel so strong.
After about 30 minutes, Claire and Sam returned, but Claire still didn’t acknowledge me. I sat next to her, put my arm round her, and begged her to talk to me, but she firstly ignored me, and then just told me ‘It’s not important’ when it clearly was. I decided to leave it, and went back to my own seat, brooding on how guilty and angry at myself I felt, for being so tactless and stupid.
After we got back in the car and on the way to our hotel for our night, Claire seemed to warm to me again. We spent a long while talking about how her meeting went, and how she feels about things. I felt so relieved that she felt she could open up to me after I had been, frankly, so judgmental and patronised her so badly. It is a very awkward situation because I do not know whether she did take heroin or not – and I guess I’ll never know. I just have to trust her.
We had a nice evening, and got to the show the next morning without much trouble. Claire’s dog won her section and so did Hogan – making him up to an INTERNATIONAL SHOW CHAMPION! I should have been a lot happier than I was, in fact, Claire commented that I looked miserable when I should have been on top of the world. I didn’t know why I didn’t feel happy, I just felt like I wanted to cry. Perhaps I felt relief that I had managed to gain his title, perhaps I was still upset over the previous day.
Another issue that had arisen that day is the way Hogan was behaving. A little background – when he was 11 months old, he was attacked by another dog, called Tetley. He was absolutely mauled, with over 50 staples over his whole body. As a result, he gets very nervous around other male dogs. Female dogs, puppies, castrated male dogs, people, children…. all no problem. But male dogs, especially ones that he doesn’t know, cause a really big problem. He is very growly, and if they get too close he will go for them. I KNOW it isn’t his natural temperament because before he was attacked he was 100% sound, with all dogs, plus when he is growly, he starts shaking with fear, rather than pure aggression.
Anyway, when we first got to the show, a big black newfoundland put his head right into Hogans face and Hogan went for him. He didn’t get him – I had him on a lead and saw it happen so very quickly had hold of his collar, but I still don’t like it. The second time it happened, he was sat in front of me, and a large bullmastiff walked past. Hogan flew over my leg and went for the dog. The dog didn’t even look at him as he was walking past, although luckily again he got to the end of the lead before he got to the dog. It makes me so upset that he is acting like this. I don’t want him to act like this, especially as we are planning to mate him in a few months. I am not worried about mating him as I know this isn’t a genetic trait – it is a learned behaviour and only in certain situations – but I need to find out how to address it as I want him to be his happy as he possibly can be.
I phoned Kim, as talking to her always makes me feel a lot better. I think she could tell by my voice that something wasn’t quite right. I should have been on top of the world but instead I just wanted to cry. I tried smiling to myself, to see if it would make me feel better, and funnily enough it did. A lot of people must have looked at me a little strangely – a girl walking around smiling to herself – but it must have triggered some hormones – as it really did make me feel a little better, and I decided that on my return to our seating I would keep smiling, to make sure Claire and Sam knew I was happy about winning with my dog.
We made our way home, and got to the ferry in good time. I talked to Jen through Facebook Messenger on the ferry and told her how I was feeling. She said I should be on top of the moon, and I KNOW I should have been, I just didn’t feel that way at all. I felt like the black cloud that has been following me around for the last few days refused to lift.
We finally got home at around 3am this morning, and I went to bed cuddling Hogan. So, a great weekend in some respects, and a pants one in others. I’m still not feeling great, but I’m feeling a lot happier about the win this weekend. When I put it on facebook, over 50 people liked and commented on it, and that makes me feel really validated, like people really do care about me. I am feeling a lot of love for the people in my life right now. When I get down I do wish I could go away somewhere to get away from people, so they don’t get hurt, and they don’t see me being weak. I want to be someone they can be proud of, but I do need to accept they will be proud of me regardless of whether I am well or not.
Doing our thing: