Soon to be 29 – Single/Depressed/Empty BPD Male

LOL 🙂 Imagine if you saw that entry on eharmony.com – you’d probably run for the hills. That brief line sums me up, however, pretty well as far as dating site tag lines go.

At 29, I’m not sure how to measure myself or my life. I’ve been putting on weight lately, stopped excercising, go through ups and downs, and continually battle my BPD and Diabetes constantly. I really wish things could have been different.

When I entered and exited college I sort of thought I had a plan for my ensuing years, but so far, the life I’ve led is nearly completely opposite those expectations.

I’m not living near home, I’m not married, I’m not really dating, I’m not climbing the corporate ladder, I’m not a home owner…. the list of what the average 29 year college graduate expects NOT to have goes on.

To be fair, the world is a rapidly changing place, and its not the 1960s anymore, when marriages occur earlier and families get started right away. Nowadays, some career oriented women and men are waiting to have kids, some as late as their early 40s, in order to better secure themselves in the world. Also, if I get to that age and am still single, it might be possible to date a woman in her mid 30’s who is ready for a family, but also looking for a man with security – financial, emotional, and otherwise.

This strategy makes sense, and is probably the way things are going. As a result, I don’t feel so bad being unmarried and childless at 29. In some ways, this is an advantage.

As I look around here in Central America, I see many young women, some just 18 or 19, already with a child. They work hard all day for meager pay, and have to drag a kid around with – but most of the time WITHOUT a Husband. Some marry early and start families right away, only to find that they are incompatible as a couple later on. The result is usually the grandparents end up babysitting their grandchildren while their children re-adjust and find themselves in a stable living situation again.

I think a lot of my angst has to do with what expectations I was raised with, and what reality is. I tend to live in two worlds: a fantasy land where all is perfect, and reality, where everything is almost never what it seems.

Living outside the USA has opened my eyes to a lot of struggles that you don’t see when you’re raised middleclass in a small town in the Northeast. It’s given me valuable perspective on different ways of living one’s life, even if it seems at times these ways go completely against the expectations I had when I was younger.

So Happy Birthday Male BPD ( almost an April Fool’s child, hehehe that makes a lot of sense 🙂 ) Here’s to another 29 that are eventually BPD free and happier.

Alcohol and Meds for Mental Illness generally don’t mix well

In my blog bio, I listed the various meds that I take to treat my mental illness: Effexor, Welbutrin, Zyprexa, and Klonopin. Speaking broadly, these meds stave off depression, balance my moods, and quiet my mind. The Klonopin helps settle me down and also allows me to get sleep at nights, even if I’ve spent the entire day in bed.

When my doctor first prescribed my mental meds, I was given the usual alcohol warning: “Please be very careful consuming alcohol in excess with these pyschiatric drugs…”

NOTICE: The following is my personal experience with alcohol and mental meds, please consult your medical provider in depth before you attempt to mix your medication with other substances.

I also have to factor in my Type 1 Diabetes with my alcohol consumption. Alcohol is said to lower blood sugar. When this occurs unchecked, diabetics can have what is called “hypoglycemia”, or a reaction caused by an overabundance of insulin in the body. The result is usually confusion, shakiness, and irritability. In more serious cases, loss of consciousness, seizures, and comas can occur. If you see a diabetic having an insulin reaction, ask them if they are OK, and then offer then something with sugar in it.

As a result, I usually elect to have licquor mixed with a fruit juice: for example Vodka and orange juice (a “screwdriver”) or Vodka and cranberry (known on the East US coast as a “Cape Codder”). The sugar in the juice counteracts the sugar lowering effects of alcohol and keeps me on an even keel.

Alcohol and my psychiatric meds are a different story. Factors such as “food in stomach”, “weight”, and “frequency of consumption” aside, I find that I am a “cheap drunk” as a result of taking mental medications. My tolerance for alcohol is much lower than others, unless I “build it up” by drinking very frequently over a few months.

Also, I’ve found that if I drink to excess, I tend to get very disoriented and clumsy faster, and tend to “pass out” easier. I get very sleepy and will get annoyed if I can’t find a place to rest after drinking a lot.

Hangovers the next day are horrible: I nearly always have a ripping headache, unabated thrist, and general fatigue. When I have strong hangovers I am basically out of action for the entire day, and sleep for hours on end. The loss of productivity from losing a day’s work stresses me out, since I must make up for this loss of time. Also, sleeping all day nursing a hang over messes up my already shakey sleep pattern.

Worst of all is the onset of a brief period of depression. Alcohol is a depressant – this everyone knows – but factor in psychiatric medication, diabetes, and the effects of BPD, and I get a wicked, hopeless feeling in the hours and day or two following high alcohol consumption. I feel absolutely lousy, hopeless, and useless. I have no desire to do anything.

Here’s what I’ve found over the past few years, when considering the big picture of having BPD, Diabetes, and a social scene full of alcohol consumption:

  • If you’re going to drink, have food in your stomach. This slows down the speed at which alcohol enters your blood stream. If you can’t eat, or haven’t eaten all day, be careful drinking, since the alcohol will take effect much faster.
  • If you’re going to drink, drink on weekends when work schedules are light and you can afford to spend a day in bed if you have a bad hangover. Increasingly, people like to go out during the week, especially on Thursdays. For me, this usually means a wasted Friday.
  • Don’t binge drink – or drink very quickly, even if all your friends are doing shots and being competitive. Remember that eveyone’s body tolerates alcohol differently. Therefore, a 220 LB football linebacker will handle shots of whiskey much better than a 110 LB female on medication. This is a fact of life, so don’t get down if you’re not able to keep up with a heavy drinker.
  • BIGGEST TIP: For every drink, shot, or glass of wine you have, drink at least two glasses of water. Period. When the liver processes alcohol, it requires water. When you are drinking in excess, this causes rapid dehydration. Drink water between your alcoholic beverages. This will cause you to need the bathroom more often, but atleast you know you will be getting some of the booze out of your system. Also, water mitigates hangovers the next day, since most hangovers are caused by dehydration.
  • Don’t mix up various alcoholic beverages, ie. beer, wine, licquor, over the course of an evening. The hops and barley in beer, the grapes from wine, or the sugar cane from rum all make the alcohol absorbtion process much more complicated. I nearly always have a bad headache the next day if I drink Vodka drinks and Beer the night before.
  • Finally, if you’ve never had alcohol before, drink very lightly and slowly around friends and family just in case you have a bad reaction. Clubs and college parties are the worst places to experiment with your alcohol tolerance, because those around you generally don’t know that you’re also taking psychiatric medication. Instead, if you’re going to experiment, do so around people you know that will take care of you if an emergency arises.

Be careful and don’t complicate your BPD with substance abuse. It’s much easier said than done, but if you’re going to drink, do so with utmost caution and preparation. You’ll be glad the next day when you’re not vomitting, passed out, dehydrated, or wickedly depressed from heavy drinking the night before.

Inescapable Emptiness

Part of having BPD is a raw, gutteral feeling of emptiness: not knowing who you are, not knowing what to do, and not knowing what the significance of your life is. This feeling is constant and at times makes me feel utterly hopeless. At its worst extremes it makes me feel unable to get out of bed and be productive.

The acuteness of my sense of emptiness is amplified by my BPD mood swings. When I feel good, I don’t feel empty. Feeling “good” or “normal”, however, comes at a price.

In High School, I was very detached from my peers. I was close enough to be liked by most, but never so close as to cause any negative impressions. I liked a couple girls, but never dated and never had sex – I never even kissed.

Instead, I got a fake sense of self through objective achievement and admiration from my High School’s teachers and principal. After a plain Freshman year, I gradually evolved to a point where nearly every teacher liked me and knew me. In order to further this sense of acceptence, I delved deeper into my studies and worked harder and harder everyday to earn both their admiration and high marks for my GPA.

Along the way, these same teachers nominated me for various achievement awards and prizes, all very nice gestures and noteworthy. Thus, my feelings of emptiness were evaded by the level of emotion I got from achieving something or capturing an honor. Each and every subsequent event brought me a new emotional high, so as I moved forward, I felt compelled to constantly out-do myself – even “over-achieve”.

As I wrote before, however, bridging feelings of admiration from authority figures in High School is not possible in College. I found out the hard way that in college, it is far better to have a constant feeling of self worth that comes from internal beliefs of value and happiness. External gratification from awards, compliments, and top academic marks certainly feel good, but for the most part, you’re on your own.

In College, you spend about half the time working and half the time socializing. If you had no social skills like me, due mostly to the fact that I was not social in High School, the 50% of the time spent NOT studying was time spent alone, tucked away in my dorm room, the top floor of the library, or hidden inside a music practice room. It was during these lonely times that I felt truly empty and lost.

Today, years after my college graduation and first job, these feelings linger, mostly due to the fact that BPD is still very much alive within me. I don’t have a solid inner core built on positive self esteem: instead, it is built on what people, experiences, or events on the outside have determined.

Accordingly, this is why people with BPD are sort of like hollow egg shells, defined entirely by their external environment, NOT by a pervasive and confident sense of self worth. Without this solid inner core, BPDs feel lost, powerless, and completely horrible; even to the point of self mutilation or suicide.

For me there are down moments when my mind speaks to me, saying things like:

  • What is the point of getting up everyday? Why should I even care?
  • What is my purpose? What should I do with myself?
  • How do I feel good – and when I don’t feel good, what do I rely on to improve my mood and measure of self worth?
  • Why live at all? Life is repetitive, boring, and in my case absent of love and intimacy – how can I experience these feelings and at the same time mitigate my BPD and inner critic?

Time and time again, my usual response to innate feelings of emptiness is to distract myself by watching TV, drinking alcohol, looking at pornography, or taking 4 hour naps in the middle of the day.

To me, it makes sense that if you hate the feeling of emptiness, you would naturally find ways to get rid of it, avoid it, eradicate it from your life.

Unfortunately, because of my BPD and depression, I lack the wherewithal and sense of self necessary to lift myself out of these mini emotional craters. In other words, I simply don’t have – or haven’t yet developed – the toolset required for living a life of inner solace, happiness, and fulfillment.

So, as I continue to plod along, bearing the burden of BPD, I constantly struggle with emptiness; because I have never found anything sizeable enough to fill an inner void of worthlessness, sadness, and doubt. I hope one day I will be able to find peace with myself, but for now, nothing fills me up or makes me feel truly whole.