We’ve all panicked at one time or another. It’s a commonality we share with other humans, or even most sentient life. But BPD gives panic another edge: a ramping up of the noradrenaline, adrenaline, and catastrophic fear never usually available to the ‘normal’ folks. A real top-notch trip into psychosis – for me, anyway.
When I’d seen the doctor last week about the spurious and sinister lump I’d found, he referred me to the cancer clinic in a weeks time for a nailed-on diagnosis. I went home after the doctors and did all the things DBT has spent a year trying to teach me not to do: self-harming, catastrophising, riding the emotional waves up up up up up and away to where nothing mattered any more. I sat on the sofa waaaay gone. Any minute the neighbours would drill through my wall, the satellites above would beam my face around the world, and my door would come crashing in as the police came for me, finally, for that thing I’m not sure I ever did in the first place, and can’t remember anyhow.
It’s a weird feeling panicking about death when you’ve spent the past thirty years never thinking of it as anything other than a friend. I talked it over with my Clinical Psychologist and she thought I was experiencing a loss of control over my mortality for, maybe, the first time ever. A few packets of codeine and paracetamol when the time was right never felt wrong. Death was always a familiar entity, but I sat there wondering if I really knew him/it at all?
I thought about overdosing – at least I’d be unconscious – to stop feeling the panic. I even ragged a biro pen into my arm a few times – drawing blood and maybe giving myself a shit tattoo in the process – and punched myself until the pain brought some sense. I picked the phone up and rang the Psychiatric Team. They knew the answer: Diazepam. Sweet diazepam..
The CPN mediated with the doctor and a phonecall told me a prescription was waiting. Still shaking, I put on some shoes and walked to the bus stop with full-blown psychosis drawing strength at every inch of time and space and ethereal inner blindness. The cars slugged by like iron insects, evil noises oozed from the trails they left on the road and in the air, and the faces in them laughed and jeered because they knew everything. EVERYTHING.
I don’t remember the bus driver, or the journey, but I do remember sitting waiting for the tablets, and people staring at me while I sat talking and talking to myself on the chair near where they sold something called ‘Tiger Balm’. What the fuck would you use that for? Where did it go? Tigers…..
Outside I ripped open the box and swallowed a couple of tablets, waiting for Bigfoot to climb from the gardens in front and roar his disapproval at the whole fucking stupid mess. He didn’t show. Two old ladies watched me with disgust as I walked away through the small town, unshaven, dirty clothes, ill; someone this pretty part of the world could do without. Human, fucked up, deshevelled. Maybe dangerous too?
At home I relaxed into the benzodiazepine bliss and washed my bloodied arm. On Monday I’ll be in the Cancer Clinic in the heavy atmosphere with my lump, my BPD, waiting for that diagnosis and……for the panic.