*TW* Like Ripping Off a Bandage

I just want start this off with a disclaimer here because I am well aware that how BPD manifests for any borderliner could be very different than how it manifests for me. As a rule Borderliners tend to be very high functioning for day-to-day activities however we aren’t always able to maintain that functionality for extended periods of time. It’s our personal lives behind closed doors that are a chaotic mess. And it is only a matter of time before one spills into the other and we are not so functioning anymore. This might not be how another person struggles with BPD, is this is how I struggle with BPD.

For me, I sometimes have to work to get to functioning. It’s not easy, and it can take me weeks or months to finally get to a baseline of just doing the best that I can. Which is a minimal level.

This usually involves a lot of meds having to be administered in order to get myself functioning. If I’m lucky it will involve therapy of some kind at the same time as taking the meds but until recently it was either one or the other. There was no balance. There was no equilibrium. I either could take the meds and just do my best not to fall backwards. There was no support, not the way I needed it. Or I had the support and the meds weren’t really doing it for me.

Doing the meds cocktail, for anyone struggling with mental health issues, or mental health disorders, knows that it can be an exhausting, tiring, and frustrating journey. And it is a journey. It can take months and years; dozens of medicines and dosages, mixing anti-psychotic with anti-depressant, uppers with downers, meds to get you to sleep, meds to keep you asleep, meds to allow you to think, meds that stop you from thinking. Finally finding the mix that works is daunting. It took me three decades and finally a diagnosis of BPD to get the mix that is currently working for me. Although because I’m still struggling, I am still developing the right mix for me. It’s a work in progress.

So I have to choose therapy or meds, if I’m lucky, I’ll get at least one. And it will help me. Because I usually end up back at the bottom of life, I also feel abandoned, rejected, alone, and angry.

Except the anger would be directed at myself. I was a failure for not being able to magically fix myself when I was broken. I was to blame for not having the support I needed. I was to blame that the drugs didn’t work. I was to blame that therapy didn’t work. I was to blame for everything in my life going so wrong that I would end up feeling suicidal. And suicidal was where I stayed until I either tried, or I was able to find my way out.

Having BPD is tough. Every day feels like a battle. Every interaction feels like a wound that starts out bandaged but within moments can be ripped off by either telling me I’m too sensitive, that I need to get over it, that I am being difficult, that I am causing trouble by not letting anything go, that I am making matters worse for myself, or if I feel abandoned or rejected, and just that fast the bandage would be ripped off and my wounds would be exposed, and I would be open to pain and hurt and suffering. Again.

I want to be able to keep the bandage on long enough so that I can heal. I want to be healed enough that it won’t feel like I’m exposed and vulnerable. I want to feel like I can take what someone says or does to me that doesn’t send me spiralling out of control into bad and dark places.

I am fighting to keep my bandage on right now because I’m terrified of having my wounds exposed.

Dear life, please give me time to heal.

Trying to Understand Myself

I am trying to work towards a better day for myself. It’s on a daily basis that I work for this because to be able to just wake up and face the world, or meet the world, is not something that I can just wake up to. It has to be worked for.

Today for example I am aiming to try and be out for as long as possible, to be out of the house, functioning, and just not cocooned on my couch where everything would surely get worse.

Except I am sitting here, unable to be productive, and thinking of turning to destructive behaviours. I’m not sure why. I feel very restless and very chaotic in my mind. I feel like I won’t be able to accomplish anything.

*TW* So all that I can think of right now is walking over to the store, and knowing they have Easter candy on sale, getting me a bagful of goodies and going home and stuffing myself until I feel sick.

I’m not hungry. But I am frustrated and feeling restless so I know that my thinking of food is all emotion mind. I can’t even really afford to buy anything since I’m broke but I’m moving money around in my head and finding ways that I can get what I want.

I wish I knew why I was falling to this…

Abandoned

The biggest issue I struggle with having BPD is abandonment. Whether real or perceived, if I feel abandoned then I feel hopeless and alone and that no one will ever be there for me again, today and forever. 

The perceived one is hard because I can’t always tell if people really are abandoning me or if that’s just what I think they are doing. But when they are not there, when they know that things aren’t well, and they are not there, for whatever reason, then as far as I’m concerned you have just abandoned me. 

I understand, mostly in retrospect, that that was just what I perceived, because delayed responses or no contact doesn’t mean someone is saying I’m avoiding talking to her. It could be she seems okay so I don’t need to reach out, or maybe there’s other stuff going on. All I know is I am here alone, and for the immediate vicinity of myself, I am going to remain alone. Translated to, I have been abandoned. 

I wish I had the strength to know the difference because the real abandonment, when I reach out and no one is there, or when they know they should stay, or text, or call, and don’t, abandoned. 

I wish I had the strength to reach out more than I do but I’m not chancing that you won’t be there and then I’ll be abandoned again. 

This week of all weeks I needed, I need, people to be there for me. This week I need my so-called loved ones to step up and go above and beyond, and so far I am still alone. 

They want to know why I don’t reach out. Because I’m not strong enough to be left alone. 

PhD in Invalidation

So my DBT therapist, who from here on out I will be calling Grace, because I’m getting tired of referring to her in such a disconnected way, and I, we seem to be at an impasse.

I am the great invalidator. That’s right. If you were wondering who might be the great one, the greatest one, of all invalidators. Well, ladies and gentlemen, you have found the great one. Because I am the great invalidator.

For every single thing Grace gave me as a positive, that I had achieved, that I had realized, that I had processed, right there in that individual session, manages to invalidate every single one.

Every. Single. One.

I frankly am shocked that Grace did not sigh at me with great exasperation because she would have had every right to. I’m actually shocked, and impressed, that she kept her patience and remained calm while she tried repeatedly to get me to accept one thing she was offering. And what did I do? I crapped on and kicked back every positive thing she showed me. I invalidated all of it.

And the worst part, I didn’t have to consciously do it one time. It came totally natural. This is our impasse because there are things that should be acknowledged of what I’m learning and applying and how difficult it is, and I wasn’t able to accept it.

I barely had to think about it, and had she not pointed it out to me, I wouldn’t have even realized I was doing it so much. I give her credit for her patience because if the positions were reversed I would have gotten upset and frustrated. Why can’t this woman accept a personal achievement, or a realization that wasn’t easy for her, or to take at the very least, a compliment? But she kept professional. Kudos Grace 😉 because I was pretty sure you wanted to punch me.

The thing that is really the take away her though is that I wasn’t able to accept it. And it wasn’t even necessarily her words, some of it was my own realizations and my own achievements of skills I was applying. I invalidated every single one without missing a beat.

That actually saddens me. I don’t want to invalidate myself. I don’t want my achievements that are weeks and months in the making to be brushed aside so easily. This work is hard. Very hard. To get through DBT, and applying the skills is a lot of hard work and requires regular, maybe daily in some cases, commitment. I don’t want what I achieve to be lost, and for it to be me that put it there.

This is a work in progress obviously, and I hope that I can build the mindfulness around the invalidating I do, and bring it down a level because man was it bad. PhD level. (Grace’s words, for the record)

Finian’s Rainbow

I recently watched the movie Finian’s Rainbow with Fred Astaire and Petula Clark. And I was excited that I was going to be watching it because I hadn’t seen it in forever and I remembered the lovely lullabies of Petula Clark sung in the meadows of Rainbow Valley. Oops spoiler alert

As I watched the movie and the songs came back to me, some of the scenes didn’t because it had been so long since I’d last watched it but the longer I watched it, it was weird I started to find myself kind of bored. It has been a couple decades since I last watched the movie so I wasn’t totally surprised that the slower scenes were becoming kind of blah and only the singing and dancing scenes were holding my attention. I guess the movie wasn’t as colourful as I’d remembered. 

And then it hit me. It felt weird watching the movie. But not because as it turns out, I don’t really like the movie. It felt weird because something was missing, someone was missing. My mom. 

It was my mom who had introduced me to the movie way back when I was a kid. She loved those old MGM, Rodgers and Hammerstein productions. The musical westerns like Paint Your Wagon, the Doris Day musicals, the Debbie Reynolds musicals, I guess you could safely say she loved pretty much most of them. 

There are few musicals I don’t remember my mom not liking. Most of them my brother and I would find something else to do while she watched them. But there were a few that when she watched I joined her. And I liked them. She tried to get me into watching more but apparently I had a limit and it did not include Showboat. Although a good rendition or clip of That Old Man River gets me every time. 

Finian’s Rainbow was one that I had liked. Back then at least. A few of the songs were catchy and the dancing was so uproarious and happy. And Tommy O’Toole was in the movie and I had loved him in Disneys The Happiest Millionaire. In fact that’s how my mom got me to watch this one. “Oh but the butler, John, from The Happiest Millionaire is in it. And you love that movie. And he’s just as funny in this one…”. Turns out he was a highlight. 

But I remember too that sometimes, in the worst renditions you can imagine, my mom and I would sing a bit when we watched the movie. I don’t know why this one since there were other musicals I watched and liked. Somehow Finian’s Rainbow had a special honour and those few songs I remember my mom would sing. Badly. And when I learned the words I would sing too. Also badly. 

It’s possible the Irish heritage of the main characters attracted our Irish heritage or they were just songs she especially liked more than any others. Who knows. 

All I know is watching it the other day I got to the part of the first song we would badly sing and her voice wasn’t there. I could hear it in my head, clear as day, and as off-key as ever. Because she not only was tone deaf but she’d often forget the words and mumble until the chorus when it would come out fuller volume. 

This time it was just my voice. And the song, a ballad, suddenly felt sadder than ever and I realized I didn’t like singing this song alone. I didn’t like just hearing my voice. I wanted to hear both of us jumble the words and sing off-key. 

It made me sad to know I would be singing solo now. And for the rest of my life. It was also bad timing to choose this week to watch it, all things considered. But I didn’t realize the day and I didn’t realize I would be solo. 

I’ll probably never watch Finian’s Rainbow again. It was meant to be a duet. 

Afraid

 

…going through some of my self-help books has led me to feel jumbled in my thoughts and emotions. A combination of the last few months, the last few days, and the last few hours, I feel sick to my stomach. I feel like I need a rest. I need a break. A break from work, life, my thoughts, my emotions, my worries, my fears, from everything.

I feel like crying. I feel torn. I want to run. I want to scream. It feels like life is passing me by. I feel over cluttered with emotional and mental baggage and objects. I feel like I could explode. I worry that my stress will make me sick and if I were to get sick what would that teach me? If everything happens for a reason, then what will be my moment and will I see it? so many bad things happen to everyone, why wouldn’t I be one of them? how can I let go when it is only a matter of time before I am cut down by something bad? Pain is inevitable right?

If I die having let my dreams pass me by, will it really matter?

If I die having been known what will it matter. I will still be dead.

Life feels so pointless. If I go my whole life and do nothing more, will it really matter?

If I do what I believe is my dream and it turns out that I am wrong?

If I fail then I am right back where I started.

If I end up full circle will the fact that I tried really matter?

Honestly?

There’s no fulfillment in trying and failing.

There’s no peace in starting from the beginning again with nothing to show for it.

I believed that if you found your path, your destiny, that the universe conspired to help you.

When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

If it is true then I guess I don’t really want what I thought I did.

If what I thought was my dream, my calling, and I am wrong, then what is my destiny?

I’m crying and I’m not sure why.

I’m afraid.

I’m afraid of trying.

I’m afraid of failing.

I’m afraid of being wrong.

I’m afraid of not trying.

I’m afraid of moving forward.

I’m afraid of standing still.

I’m afraid of who I am.

I’m afraid of who I am not.

I’m afraid of not knowing.

I’m afraid of being lost.

I’m afraid of being found.

I’m afraid of being alone.

I’m afraid of being close to someone.

I’m afraid of the unknown.

I’m afraid of not being seen.

I’m afraid to raise my voice.

I’m afraid of being disappointed.

I’m afraid I will disappoint.

I’m afraid I will miss something.

I’m afraid I will do it wrong.

I’m afraid I will be left out.

I’m afraid that I will be forgotten.

I’m afraid that I will be too late.

I’m afraid that it is already too late.

I’m afraid to keep it.

I’m afraid to let it go.

I’m afraid that all I know to be wrong about me will actually be true.

I’m afraid that I will deserve what I get.

I’m afraid that everything I get will be bad.

I’m afraid that I will be a statistic.

I’m afraid that I will be one of the people it happens to.

I’m afraid that “it” will be only pain and fear.

I’m afraid that any happiness will not last.

I’m afraid that any achievement will be false.

I’m afraid that any good fortune will be lost.

I’m afraid that I will always have to fight.

I’m afraid that I will lose the fight.

I’m afraid that there will never be enough.

I’m afraid that I will never be enough.

I’m afraid that I will never be somebody.

I’m afraid that I will never matter.

I’m afraid that I will be invisible.

I’m afraid that no one will listen.

I’m afraid that no one will care.

I’m afraid that I will never realize my dreams.

I’m afraid that what I know is wrong.

I’m afraid that I will always be torn.

I’m afraid that I will always be broken.

I’m afraid that I will always take more.

I’m afraid that I will always be misunderstood.

I’m afraid that no one will want to be my friend.

I’m afraid that I will never be beautiful.

I’m afraid that I will never be adored.

I’m afraid that I will always be hated.

I’m afraid that this is it.

I’m afraid to admit that this isn’t enough.

I’m afraid to admit that I want more.

I’m afraid to admit that I feel ashamed for wanting more.

I’m afraid to admit that I want better.

I’m afraid that I will hurt everyone I love.

I’m afraid that my flaws outweigh my strengths.

I’m afraid I have no strength.

I’m afraid that I will never be the best.

I’m afraid that I will be alone.

I’m afraid that I will deserve it.

I am so very afraid.

I am so very tired.

 

 

*TW* Using Destructive Methods

…If I am a binger then anything that gives me fulfillment, a sense of peace or comfort, I will have to have. I buy and eat food to comfort me for any and every reason you can think of. There are some days when I plan to buy things in preparation for a binge. I may not actually even be feeling to binge but just knowing that the food is there if I need it makes me feel better.

You know I actually have anxiety about statutory holidays? Because most stat holidays the grocery stores are closed. And if I need to binge and I have nothing then I will feel panic. I worry that I will feel lost or that I won’t be able to handle it. So what I will do is the day before the holiday I’ll sometimes go to the store so I can stock up on binge foods. I try to talk myself out of the anxiety by telling myself there are other places I can go if I really need to and that if I can just make it to the next day when the store will be open then I can have any food I want. I can get the “extra treat” foods that are only for once and awhile, like cake. I actually justify those foods that I have earned the treat. That it will make up for not having what I needed when I needed it. and it actually helps the anxiety. I can tell you though, that not ONE time did I ever really fall apart. I stock up nonetheless. Day to day I regularly take stock of what I have at home if I do need to binge. I can go days without bingeing but then that one day I need it, it will mean everything to have the stuff there. I feel better knowing I have those binge foods nearby for when I need them. it’s frustrating as hell to live on the edge like this.

…I don’t know what a singular need for a treat means. To me all treat foods, almost any sweet, are part of my binge foods. They all take part in it. it’s either the tail-end of it, the middle of it, the trigger, or the precursor. There is no such thing as just wanting a chocolate bar and eating it. not all in the same moment. There are always reasons, excuses, catalysts, and triggers, always.

I never know where my mood will take me…What I want today, I may not want tomorrow. My moods and my feelings are constantly changing…I feel like a slave to my moods and emotions…And all that I don’t feel like or want to do gets lost.

…So much of how I behave and who I believe in is because of fear. What if I need it and it’s not there? What if I need them and they are not there? What if I am forced to do it alone? To decide alone? To think alone? To feel alone? And what if I make a mistake or fall apart?…Guess what is there? Every time, all the time, any reason, every reason, no reason, no questions asked, no judgement, no hesitation, no baggage of their own, food.

I know that food has never offered advice or sympathy but it does distract me.

Food has never given me support that tells me I’ve made the right decision or that things will work out, that everything will be okay but it has blocked me from remembering that I was looking for support.
Food has never empathized with me but it has made me feel so full that I don’t care.
Food has never sympathized with me but it has never made me feel alone or stupid.
Food has never encouraged me but it has successfully suppressed the intentions and wants I was aiming for in the first place.

Even though it has never helped figure out what to do, or listened, or told me everything would be okay, but it has always, without fail, always been there.

Food has single-handedly done more for me than any one person in my life… Everyone has their own problems, everyone has stress and people have their own lives to lead. How fair is it of me to expect people to understand my own problems and how important they are to me? How fair is it of me to ask of themselves when they may have nothing to give? How fair is it of me to expect them to drop their own lives, if only for a moment, to help me deal with mine?

As I write I think and my mind is whirring away. Do I behave this way because of this reason? Do I believe this because of this conditioning? Does one thing exacerbate the other? Is this worse because of this? How do I know what to fix?

You know of all the books I own, a good amount of them are self-help books. Thankfully the self-help don’t outnumber the regular non-fiction and fiction but when I look at them all and think of how much money I have spent and how little time I spent on them it saddens and baffles me.

A handful of them have truly helped me, even if only to help me move past a moment or belief, and those I have really come to treasure.

I bought them all with good intentions and high hopes and less than half of them made any impact at all. I try to rationalize that there could be a nugget in any or all of them that could help; two-, three-, or four-hundred page books for a single nugget. And of course there may be no nugget at all. Most of them failed to deliver it…. Thankfully I have learned a bit in how to not shop for a book and what not to buy. So I have at least succeeding in avoiding the pitfall now, most of the time anyway… Sometimes to figure out what you do need and want you have to first figure out what you don’t need or want.

I worry that I spend so much time in preparation that my life will be over and I will have missed the chance to enjoy it.

I spend all this time preparing, expecting, and researching, that when the moment to enjoy comes along I either miss it or watch it go by worried that it will trigger a new want or feeling that I won’t be prepared or researched for.

I buy the self-help books with the intent of reading them, using them, working with them, and learning from them but I know what emotions and wants that can be triggered by them too. So I wait until I have the time and space to accommodate the new emotion or want.

I may need that time and space to process the emotion.

And if it sparks a new emotion that I don’t know how to deal with then I’ll need more help, another book, and I’ll need time to go get it.

If it triggers a new need or awakens a dormant one then I’ll need to be prepared to have that need met too.

And what if I don’t have the time and space? What if I can’t deal with the emotion? Or what if the need can’t be met?

So I eat and do nothing.