I insisted from the beginning that this blog would include those pieces of my life that are, well, less normal than other. Whatever that means. I started the blog in place of a journal that my therapist recommended. I guess the idea of possibly having someone else read (hear) me was appealing so I started the blog.
So far I have kept most entries pretty normal. Just the facts and some random stories from my life. It hasn't been purposeful. I just wasn't really in the mood to write anything more revealing. And, as you'll see, mood happens to be a huge factor in my life.
Early on I did reveal that I have Borderline Personality Disorder. I was diagnosed about a year ago and have been medicated since then. What that means is that I have a hard time regulating my emotions particularly the negative ones. I believe that I would have gone undiagnosed had I not gotten pregnant and quit working to stay home with Ephram. I entered into a period of depression like none I had ever known and could not find my way out of it. Add to that a relatively young marriage between two people who are not good at conflict and a perfect storm of sorts revealed the depths of my emotional state.
I always knew that I had trouble dealing with negative emotions. I knew that I experienced rejection in an intense way. I just attributed all that to certain people in my life. I felt that if I removed these people, or at least changed the nature of the relationship, I would remedy the problem. In part, I was right. Limiting close connections, and thus, opportunities for relational disappointments, I did experience a period of time in my life that was relatively stable for a few years. During this time I went to college and made the move from California to Texas, which was a good move for my family.
I did, however, find that I was extremely harsh with my kids. That bothered me but I justified my responses to them by telling myself that it was hard to be a single mom of two boys. I would insist that I needed to be tough on them because they didn't have a dad around to do that. I do remember once talking with a counselor about it and she told me the same things. She completely reinforced the excuses I was already making to myself. Deep down I knew there was more to it but hoped that feeling would go away.
Getting married was probably a catalyst for cracking the damn so to speak. James, my husband, is a great guy. He has loved me well over the last few years, in spite of myself. But, when things became hard between us, I was totally unprepared to find myself the same emotional wreck I was when I was 20. Like I said, I thought my emotional problems were the fault of others in my life. Having married someone who was completely different from men in my past, I never imagined he would incite the same behaviors from before. Only this time, it got worse. I was utterly hopeless that my life would ever change because I had made all of these external changes and not a single thing had changed internally. I was still a mess.
I would find myself locked in the bathroom weeping uncontrollably for long periods of time. I would not allow James to sleep when I felt we had something that needed to be resolved. The problem was, I needed to have this ambiguous feeling of resolution that never came. No matter what he did or said, it didn't feel resolved.
Then there was the boredom. Borderlines often experience an intense feeling of emptiness. It shows up without warning and so far, I have not found a cure for it other than going to sleep. Since I began taking the medication the feeling comes less often than it used to but it still comes. I have had to learn to communicate what's going on to James because I found that these were times when I was likely to pick a fight. Strangely, feeling like an emotional basket case is better than this emptiness. It's hard to describe but I once sat down and wrote out how I was feeling shortly after one of those moments. Here is what I wrote...
...I don't remember being told that some days, I would want to drive away. Not like for a drive or even a drink, but to get in the car (van, UGH!) and pull away from the house and just drive. And never look back. I remember thinking this clearly one night while I was making dinner. James had been gone for a few nights in a row and was on his way home. He tended to be in a good mood on the evenings he was headed home and liked to talk. Seemed like it always came when I was at the worst hour of my day. Around five o'clock, trying to make dinner, figure out which teen needed a ride where, and pacify a cranky toddler. And as much as I wanted to be the woman he dreamed of on those afternoons, I often couldn't.
Just as I got things settled enough to start prepping dinner, he called. I tried to be a good listener, tried to be interested but I couldn't even hear what he had to say. All I could think is, 'I just want to drive away. Why can't I just drive away?' So I said it. I said,"Do you ever just want to drive away?"
I could tell by the change in his voice that I'd hurt him. I hadn't meant to but I hadn't thought it out either.
"Like, what do you mean? Like go for a drive. Get out of the house? Do you need me to stay with the kids so you can do that when I get home?"
"No. I didn't mean that."
"Do you ever just want to drive away? Never look back, drive til you stop and start over somewhere all alone?"
"I don't think so." I could tell he was afraid to tell me that he never just wanted to leave for good. I could tell he was worried.
So was I...
It's lonely to feel that way. And lonely to figure out that what you're feeling is not normal to those around you. That afternoon I realized something was very wrong but, still, couldn't bring myself to be totally honest about it.
It was around this period of time that James finally called our therapist after a particularly bad night. I had started some self injury behaviors that really scared him. His phone call to her led to my being evaluated for medication. Taking it has been a relief on many levels. I am grateful for the scientists who study the human brain and could find that there were some chemicals that I was probably short on. We have experienced lots of change since the medication.
One change that has not been so welcome, though, has been the numbing of my emotions. I know that sounds crazy since that is exactly what needed to happen on many levels but I had come to know that heightened sense of emotionality as normal. I was passionate about my faith, my kids, issues that I felt strongly about. I had this intensity in everything I did that was often met with positive feedback. To have that side of me erased was hard. I realize that that same intensity is what was destroying my relationships and truly, my life. Nevertheless I missed it.
Missing it is what led to this blog. My therapist recommended that I begin to journal about how I felt, or, rather, didn't feel anymore. It was funny because before the meds, nobody ever had to suggest a thing like journaling. It was just something I did. My emotions poured freely out of me onto paper in the form of prose and poetry. However, once I began the meds, that intense need to emote was diminished so I never did. I would even complain that I couldn't write anymore. I wondered if that was true.
Back when I was teaching high school I had my students journal everyday. They would sometinmes say that they had nothing to write about and I would tell them, "just write." And they would. I decided to take my own advice and just write. I was going to journal whether I felt like it or not.
The blog decision came later but it makes perfect sense for a borderline like myself. Those with BPD often complain of not feeling heard or understood. So, writing a blog that could be ready by anyone who found it helped meet that need. I have a few friends who may read it from time to time as well, I don't know how often because I don't ask. Just believing that someone is reading it is enough.
So, if you hung in there for this ridiculously long post. Thank you. Thank you for reading and if anything I wrote is something you can relate to, great. I hope it helped.