raw around the edges

skyclouds
But it seemed to me that this was the way we all lived: full to the brim with gratitude and joy one day, wrecked on the rocks the next. Finding the balance between the two was the art and the salvation.

Elizabeth Berg, The Year of Pleasures

Well. He is home. For now. But that doesn’t mean things are perfect. In spite of how comforting his presence is (albeit tenuous), I am struggling so hard just to get back to baseline of feeling “normal.” Which is funny because I have never been nor will I ever be, normal, by anyone’s standards. I take my pill religiously. I am not angry, I am mainly just depressed. I think about everything over and over again. How I feel about things. I check it like you do when you lose a tooth and your tongue runs over the empty spot, you know it’s gone but you’re still checking anyway. Still there.

I was ready to quit my job and do anything else. Take a huge pay cut. (That did not pan out.) Then I remember, insurance. Pills. Doctors. Oh. I am a slave to my job for these things. It is funny how you know inside you have so much to offer and yet you spend all day saying “how can I assist you?” and it really feels like your soul is actually dying.

I used to be obsessed with makeup videos and fashion blogs. I was always wondering what I could buy next. I have stopped that cold. I have no real desire to experience any superficiality. I have not painted my nails in a week (although I will probably never stop wearing full face makeup just because that is me). I have been coming back to my favorite books by my favorite author, Elizabeth Berg. (Durable Goods, Joy School and True to Form.) They are fast reads I suppose but being in that world, and being back in that world I remember being in so many times and for so long is just about the only thing I find real solace in. Absolutely, within the last few weeks, those are the moments when I find peace. In those books. She writes so well it hurts. It is just so true to the heart, it just pulls at me, all the way back to my own thirteen year old self.

But what else.

Then I thought well, I’ll save up a bunch of money, and take the road trip I’ve always wanted. All the way to California, via Route 66 as much as I could. From coast to coast. Dip my toes in the Pacific like I have always wanted to. I have thought about it many times but listening to Lana Del Rey always makes me want to just drive forever and ever. I guess I always pictured myself sharing that experience with someone else (special) but maybe it should just be me, some cheap motels, bags of Cheetos, truck stop food, lots of mix CDs and the open road for miles and endless miles. I would be like Kerouac. Maybe it would inspire me. I got bright little flips of excitement thinking about it. Then I talked myself out of it, at least for the immediate future. Money, time. Oh, those traps.

So the battle begins. I keep choosing safety, and “safety” seems to be keeping me pushed inwards, against myself. I really want to break free.

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unmoored

sunlight

I keep almost forgetting that I live alone again now. In the midst of a “manic Monday,” I quickly thought to myself how I couldn’t wait to wrap myself in the security of boyfriend’s perfect arms as the rain pours outside. Comfort. Security. How I miss it already.

I’m hardly eating. I’m hardly sleeping. It’s more than him just being gone. I’m being swallowed by something else, something bigger than he or I could ever be. It’s monstrous. But him not being there doesn’t help.

I am a child on the bicycle, training wheels suddenly removed. No warning.

Steady, steady.

I’ve been released.

I hope that before I know it, I can pedal smoothly all on my own.

I can’t remember ever feeling this depressed, this hopeless, this frustrated. It’s coupled with a maniacal attempt to DO EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE/BE AWESOME/BE CREATIVE/BE THE BEST AT EVERYTHING because in order to be satisfied I have to be creating beautiful art or poetry or something else profound.

Instead I stare at the blank walls of “our” apartment, thinking about what we wanted to hang there. The bed, empty on his side. Once so comfortable, only provides restless nights of kicking and turning, waking with a start to realize that he’s gone.

He’s really gone.

There are small signs that I need to awaken my spiritual self but I’ve been ignoring them. I don’t trust spirituality will save me. I don’t believe in the universe’s unconditional loving light and all of that patchouli nonsense anymore. If it were that easy, we’d all do it. Wouldn’t we? I should really listen more. And think before I speak. And fix the million other things that I do wrong, that make up the glorious blackened mass of mental/emotional defects that infiltrate my being like knife cuts. Oh, beautiful knife cuts.

Then I remembered the one spiritual book that shook me (shook a lot of people, I’m sure) – Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. And this:

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.

A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.

A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life…”

Hmmm.

call me a gypsy

USA Roadtrip 2 -1

I’m living out of a duffle bag and a laundry basket right now. All of my stuff is scattered.  I’m really no good at being nomadic. I never have been. I’ve always done better in my own space, knowing where everything is. Staying with my dear friend is awesome in a lot of ways. I know I’m not mentally healthy enough to be by myself, really. But I miss my –our–home. I’ve been going to the apartment once a day to feed the cats, grab stuff I need, etc…but it feels so strange. Without my boyfriend, without his stuff, it feels so hollow and empty. It’s truly the saddest feeling.

I have “my” room set up, and it’s nice enough. It feels like some kind of weird and unwelcome vacation. I do love having the company of my friend, but all I really want is my soulmate back. We spent the fourth together, in his hometown. Went to the lake and played in the water. We held each other. I cried. I cry a lot lately. He loves me and I can tell. We tell each other constantly. This is hard for him, too, I know. And I know that he doesn’t want to backslide into old habits. In the meantime my “coping method” is just moment to moment. I hold myself together, even though I feel completely unraveled.

I stopped by at our place on my way home for the cat chores. Then I went to my friend’s place and laid in the yellow bed for an hour after I talked to bf on the phone, just thinking, being, dealing.

I’m back on my meds. It’s going to take time to feel/notice the effects again. I never felt them in the first place. I guess that’s common with antidepressants? Other people noticed, apparently. Who knows. That’s why I stopped. Also, no word from any of the psychiatrists I was referred to. Sad and frustrating that when you really want help and are asking for it, it seems to be out of reach.

Everything that’s going on makes it nearly impossible to focus on things that I need to do–like coursework–and the things that I want to do, like painting. All I do is think, and wait patiently for something to change inside of me.

Have you ever lived out of a suitcase before? Or felt like you didn’t know where you belong? Comment and let me know. xx

coping with BPD in romantic relationships

lanawar

Romantic relationships have been a tremendous struggle for me my entire life. I was diagnosed with BPD (borderline personality disorder) at age 24, and that seemed to make sense for many of my failed relationships, especially the one I was in at the time. Emotional instability, chronic mood swings, fear of abandonment, impulsive tendencies – those traits all did their part to dismantle every attempt at a successful, long-term romantic relationship. With many mental illnesses, especially one as complicated as BPD, it’s hard to walk the line between “blaming” my actions on my illness and taking responsibility – especially when my impulses can be extremely hard to control. I’ve been in recovery for over three years now and it continues to be a battle. Though I am now in a loving, healthy, adult relationship for the first time ever, my BPD symptoms still come up quite often. Luckily, my partner is patient and understanding, which helps minimize my “outbursts” when they do occur.

Identity disturbance is listed as one of the 9 identifying traits when diagosing borderline personality disorder. That, above almost all else, is the most pronounced trait that I can identify within myself as a borderline.

“People with an identity disturbance may speak, think or act in ways which are contradictory to themselves. They may think the world of themselves one day and think nothing of themselves the next. Their actions or thoughts may seem self-serving one day and flip into self-effacing, or self-destructive patterns the next. They may excel in one activity and appear incompetent in another. They may have impressive energy and enthusiasm for a season and be lethargic and withdrawn in another…People who suffer from personality disorders are sometimes prone to think emotionally, rather than logically, and apply this kind of emotional shorthand or “splitting” to situations that ultimately hurt themselves and those around them. This can lead to extreme emotional highs and lows in response to the natural ebb and flow of life’s circumstances that can lead them to make unsubstantiated, grandiose claims of superiority one day and self-condemning statements of worthlessness the next.” (Source: outofthefog.net)

I really do feel like I have a war in my mind sometimes. I feel myself becoming purposely difficult, belligerent, even downright mean – and seem to have no control over what’s coming out of my mouth; I’m in my right mind. I feel like I’m always “testing” him and even though he always “passes,” I don’t want to put that stress on him. Being borderline is basically being the most difficult person to be with – I crave intimacy yet sometimes act in a way that pushes people away. No matter how loving, caring, supportive, and willing my romantic partner may be – BPD still continues to rear its ugly head. I’ve accepted that to some extent, I will always have to live with this inside of me. (Although many books and websites I’ve read say that the symptoms do lessen when the individual enters her thirties and forties.) It’s a part of who I am, and my partner has acknowledged this as well. I’m eternally grateful for his willingness and understanding, but in the end, I have to help myself.

savemyself

People don’t often realize that a seemingly “put-together” individual – with a job, a driver’s license, a 401k – can be “crazy.” The more intelligent and vibrant the individual, the more extreme the psychological effects of a mental disorder can be. I’ve been with my current beau for a little less than five months. While I’m trying desperately not to let often-crippling anxiety and BPD symptoms inform our relationship, I have to admit, I fear for its longevity. This is the love of my life. I don’t want my crazy to make it crumble.

Feel free to share your own experiences (if any) with BPD, mental illness, and how it has impacted your romantic relationships in the comments.