There is living with BPD but dissociating, then finding yourself living with BPD and suddenly aware. You’d think awareness is a good thing, but right now, awareness is frightening.
I’m a few weeks into DBT, and although I’m assured this will help me, the space I’m in right now is confronting, terrifying as I see me in all my imperfections. Because I am no longer “splitting”. I now have to face me. I have become my own greatest fear. Doc tells me this will pass, but right now I am incapable of anything. The realisation of how “wrong” I have been has dashed my confidence, and I’m a puddle of fear on the floor.
Being aware may be part of the passage to recovery, but right now, being aware is agony. Awful, dreadful, screaming suffering. I just don’t want to BE. Existence is pure hell. The recognition of utter wrongness is at times more than I can bear. People ask if I’m suicidal – not precisely – but I know I don’t want to be here – I know I don’t want to exist. Why the hell should I? What purpose do I have? What do I give to the community? Nothing. I am just me. I am not a contributor to society – I am alone. Shut behind these trellis gates, locking myself away because I know I am too much to handle and I know that out there in the big evil world the slightest thing will trigger me into despair.
Thoughts of self-harm consume me. I haven’t cut since I was 12 – I do other forms of self-harm sure but, these last few weeks all I can think of is the blessed release of razor blade through flesh. It has become my greatest fantasy. And I know that is wrong. I know that is warped. But I can’t stop it.
I live alone in a small community. I have socially isolated myself because of my “difference” and the pain I perceive my existence causes others. I want to be around people, yet they trigger me, I lose control, my reactions are adverse, I’m the crazy, weird chic that lives down the road. The one who can’t make up her mind who she is. Quiet, shy and conservative; outrageously out there in brightly coloured clothes, blue wig or multicoloured hair. Am I the unwashed dag in torn jeans and work boots with wild hair or the perfectly coiffed pin-striped suited lady in stilettos, or the vamp like man-eater who turns up on your doorstep in an overcoat, quickly discarded to reveal nothing but stockings and stilettos underneath. My way of saying I’m interested in you.
Who am I? I am BPD. I am everything you want me to be, yet everything you hate. I am your every requirement in those moments you require me, yet with the slightest trigger, I can become your worst nightmare.
I’m the hot chick you talk to; the one who says yes when you ask her on a date. The one who at the end of the evening, collapses like wanton putty at your first kiss. Drowning in you, consumed by you, the one who turns from lady to wild thing in the bedroom, who is insatiable in her desire, a force of unquenchable passion. From first touch I am yours, and you are mine; you kiss me, you commit. You make love to me, I am yours for eternity, and I cannot bear to be separated from you for a moment for you become my addiction, my sense, my reason, my life. With you, I am suddenly alive, and wanted, and loved and valued. The wildness, the passion at first you embrace; but what is fun for you is more for me, and I cannot do without you. If you forget to sign off on a text with a kiss, I believe you don’t love me. If you miss an emoticon or use an emoticon of neutrality, then I feel you are using me or that you hate me. If you forget to call or are late, I will tear shreds off of you for being such an uncaring, disrespectful a*hole. I will devalue you as a person for you have made me feel worse than nothing and when worse than nothing then I cannot handle myself, consumed with self-loathing, I cannot bear to live.
I am so angry and in so much pain; a psychological pain so intense my only relief is to hurt myself. My options are to destroy myself or harm you, hit you, claw at you, tear you and I cannot for I love you. The last thing I want to do is hurt you and the pain, the pain is so great to bear and my lack of self-control so much that I turn upon myself; I will cut, I will burn, I will slam myself into walls, self-medicate with whatever concoction comes to hand. And I hide it from you. For I know it is wrong but I cannot stop. It is my moment. One brief short moment of control for the physical pain is oh so much of a relief; so much less than the pain of your rejection be it real or perceived.
I know my behaviour is insane. I feel crazy during every moment of every day; the smallest thing triggers me I am an emotional game of ping pong played at Olympic speed. And being me is exhausting and debilitating, and I just want it all to stop.
I wake up every goddamn day wishing I hadn’t and wanting to die. But I force myself to get up and go out. Everywhere I go, every time I talk to people they just talk about cancer and dying. Either them and/or their partners/spouses and I sit there, trying to hold back the tears because they are good people. People who deserve to live and they are fighting for their lives, and all I want to do is die, and I am swallowed up, consumed by guilt because I don’t want to live and all these good people do. It’s horrible. I don’t understand. It’s awful. Life is a nightmare. Living is awful, and yet people keep wanting to do it.
Then the conversation turns to those that they have lost – every single person has a cancer story. And I see smiles. People are smiling – their loved one or themselves have made it. Then someone will say yeah, but it always comes back. Now they only have 5 or 10 or 20 years but it will never go away, and I think of my FP and his fight and his insistence that he is gonna live. That he is gonna make another 30 years coz he ain’t gonna own it. He ain’t gonna own the C word and he ain’t gonna give in and die. And I know he isn’t going to make it. And I remember him holding me and telling me to hang in there and do what I have to do to get better and live because he is doing that too and that if we can both make 12 months then maybe … maybe we can have that chance. Perhaps we can have that time. And I see his hope and see his fight, and I know it is in vain, and every time I go out, it is rubbed into me that he won’t make it despite what he says and so I don’t want to make it either.
And I feel guilty, and I feel ashamed that I don’t have it left in me to fight for my own life.
It reinforces how wrong I am. How warped, how twisted how worthless, weak and stupid I am.
Then the conversation turns to politics, and that’s ok. I hear I listen, I understand, and I agree, but I am not yet confident enough to speak.
Then it turns to women’s’ rights and how we have progressed and how there is no sympathy for abused women nowadays coz hey they apparently know it is safe and easy to escape and I cringe and I growl and I find myself twisting into a ball and groaning because all these smart, educated women around me have no idea what it really is like and how hard it really is to escape an abusive situation coz they have never lived it. And I want to tell them reality I want to scream at them and I can’t. I’m impotent and afraid, and they talk about how only the weakest succumb to this … just the weak who can’t walk away and they have no idea … none at all.
And I can’t speak, and I know I can’t change their minds … for they are so obviously better than me, so perfect, priding themselves on “seeing”, being “aware”, being able to step in and give a sister a chance. They boast of how they do so because they are strong, women are strong, women can handle it. And yet I didn’t, and I can’t, and I am lost and alone in the crowd and afraid once again wanting to curl in a ball on the floor. Frozen. Twisting on the spot, groaning wishing so much that I could speak – I almost do – then a man comes along and the conversation breaks … how? What can be said? The moment has gone.