There is a room, hidden away in my mind, where the darkest version of myself has been locked away. “The other Shelby” is what I like to call her now. Now that I am on medication, most of the time she’s quiet, and calm, and has no vendetta against me. But then a cycle begins and anxiety hits. She paces in my mind, revving up, thinking of all the things she wants to do when she comes alive. She sees that I am getting weaker, more vulnerable, for the anxiety is breaking me down. She has a smirk on her face. As the mania kicks in, she knows it’s time. She begins to tap on the glass ever so gently, her window into my life. As she taps, my skin begins to crawl. She’s whispering in my ears, “just let me take over, I can handle this”. Now I have chest pains, it’s getting harder to breath, I know I can break down at any second. She’s banging on the glass. She’s angry. I’m scratching myself. I’m punching walls. I’m talking to myself in the mirror, trying to regain reality, trying to be strong. But I can’t.
I am now locked in the room.
As I watch my life unravel from the inside out, I begin to feel nothing. A sense of ease washes over me. She is now in control. She is the sociopath.
From infancy on, my life has not been easy. Yes, I realize no ones’ life has been easy, but people often say mine could be a book, or a movie. I was predisposed to this lovely life of mental illness.
You see, there is Axis I mental illness, and Axis II. Axis I are mental illnesses that are genetic such as bipolar, depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Axis II are personality disorders that were created from traumatic events in your childhood, when your brain was still developing. As it just so happens, my biological fathers side happens to be filled with things such as narcissism, bipolar, schizophrenia. Although I have never met anyone from that side because I was never going to “good enough”, (and yes, this has been said, but we will get into that later) I was still stuck with those traits.
I was never an easy child. I, especially, was not a normal kid. My teacher once described me as defiant, funny, stubborn, smart, abrasive, sentimental, narcissistic and beautiful. A joy or a curse. If I wasn’t on your side I would make your life hell. I was the master of passive aggression. This was all a defense mechanism I had created to avoid the pain that I faced at such a young age. In my mind, it was easier to turn everything off, and let someone else live the life.
At 21, I was diagnosed with borderline personality which leads to sociopathic tendencies. As fucked up as it sounds, this was a sense of relief, because I felt like I was living in fear of myself. I felt constantly confused of my true reality and why I had this other voice in my head. Certainly this isn’t just bipolar.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD), also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder, is a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by unstable relationships with other people, unstable sense of self, and unstable emotions. There is often an extreme fear of abandonment, frequent dangerous behavior, a feeling of emptiness, and self harm.
The other Shelby that I created in my head is an example of splitting.
Splitting is a term that describes difficulty with the ability to hold opposing thoughts, feelings, or beliefs about oneself or others. In other words, positive and negative attributes of a person or event are not joined together into a cohesive set of beliefs. It’s both a distorted way of thinking and a coping mechanism used to keep yourself from feeling hurt or rejected.
My life is black and white. I either hate you or I love you.
I wish I could tell you knowing this, being aware of what’s going on, makes it easier. It doesn’t. If anything, it makes it more frustrating, and emotional, knowing you still can’t stop it. I am still scared shitless that she could still take over at any moment. I have done some very bad things with little to no control, causing black outs. I have become powerless to someone that I created. That is crazy.
From the summer of 2015 to the beginning of 2016 is somewhat a blur. I can honestly say this was one of the hardest times in my life, yet things were honestly great. There was no trigger, no life event that caused this madness, simply just my mind unraveling. Every day was a battle between wanting to live, die, or hurt someone else. The amounts of times I called my mom crying were becoming endless. I was afraid to even walk outside, go to work, anything that could possibly trigger her to come out.
Every day she would whisper things. “You deserve to die.” “You are a burden.” “You will never be loved.” “Manipulate someone.” “Hurt someone, make them feel the pain you feel. It will be fun.”
At one point, my mom even took me to a hypnotherapist. And yes, that “sink through the floor” stuff from Get Out, is real. They had me go into a house with my biggest fears, and each level I would sink, deeper and deeper, to the thing I was most scared of. It was her, smirk across her face, eyes blazing. I got triggered into an episode from it and had to quit the therapy half way, just to regroup.
It was becoming too much to take. And the sad part? I was on my meds. How could this be happening when I am on my meds!? What would happen if I wasn’t!? What are the things I could be capable of doing!?
My reality was now stuck between a monster and a dark room.