He vowed to love her. For better or worse. For rich or poor. To love her to the best of his ability for not only the rest of her life, but for the remainder of his as well. He promised to cherish her. But the reality, he is a promise broken.
One of the only ways I can explain what is inside of me is to say that it is an abyss. A swirling mass of emotions that sometimes rages. Sometimes calms. Sometimes swirls along at the bottom of my consciousness. And then soars to the very top of me. Covering every inch. Sometimes I stare down into the abyss. Standing at the very edge with my tiptoes on the ledge. And I look down into the emptiness and nothingness that is at the core of me. Sometimes it takes everything I have to not just jump in and finally allow the darkness to take me. Because it beckons me. Calls my name. Now the little girl that I used to chase around the house to hear her laughter. The little girl that I have shared every secret with, every smile, every tear, every hope and dream with, is staring into that same abyss within herself. And I do not know if I can stop her from creeping to the edge.
I don’t think she even truly understands what is happening. This is a new feeling for her. I know the abyss well. And while she has not had an easy life by a long shot, she has never faced the strength of that pull into darkness. To just succumb to the emptiness. She does not know what awaits at the bottom. I made my own promise to her long ago. I promised to always protect her. But now, I do not know if I can keep that promise. It is out of my hands. And I do not want to become yet another promise broken.
Last night I went over to spend time with my sister and niece and nephew. It was supposed to be an escape for both of us. An escape for me from the health issues that I have been struggling with lately. And a chance for her to get some help with the kids so she could get a couple moments to breathe. It turned into a nightmare.
My sister and her mom got into a screaming match. They are both wrought with emotion and strung as tight as can be. My aunt (that’s what I call my sister’s mom) is scared out of her mind that my sister will return to my brother in law. She is scared that my sister is breaking down into nothing, and that there is nothing we can do. My sister, on the other hand, is shattered. On the brink of a complete nervous breakdown. Unaware of the true extent of her brokenness. And so both of them just exploded against each other. Taking all of those other emotions out on each other. My sister was drunk and continued to drink. My aunt left the house for hours. I tried to talk to my sister, as I took care of the kids, but she could hear nothing that I said. She is so consumed with wanting her “family” back that she cannot see anything else. It is almost as though she has not examined her face enough to see the bruises that still circle her eyes. The marks on her neck that are only just now beginning to fade. I want to scream at her, “Look in the mirror! Look a little closer! A little longer! Truly see what he did to you!” But it would be no use. She is beyond words at this point. She would not hear me even if she was looking into my eyes as I spoke. She is in denial. I know this. But she is also about to jump into the abyss. With pure abandon. With both feet. And she doesn’t even know it.
It breaks my heart. It has broken me. And my niece and nephew, I want to protect them as well. The first time I held my nephew in my arms, I whispered into his ear that I would protect and take care of him to the best of my ability for the rest of my life. And I did the same with my niece. But from this, I don’t know how to save them. Any of them. “Well baby, mommy is going crazy and no longer knows what way is up. Yes, mommy is crying all the time because she’s sad. Yes, mommy’s face is black and blue, but there is no bandaid that can fix it. No baby, daddy is not going to come home soon.” I do not want to be a promise broken. But I have no idea how to destroy the abyss. It lives within me. I don’t want it to live within them as well. I promised.
I just logged into my facebook and the first two posts I see are from two different friends regarding them missing two different people that they lost in their lives. I take death hard. I don’t know if it is because of the BPD or that I’m just super sensitive, or what it is really. Just. When people around me are sad and broken, it’s like I soak it up like a sponge and feel all of those same emotions with them. I hurt for them. And I feel all of those emotions intensified within me. Even if the person that they are mourning for was not a part of my life, I still feel that loss as if it were my own. I know that sounds selfish, as if I am trying to seek attention or want people to feel pity for me, but I promise that’s not it at all. It’s just, I am so sensitive to those around me that I feed off their emotions. I don’t even know if it’s that I can read people well. That doesn’t quite explain it sufficiently. It’s like, I can feel them. Even if they didn’t say a word, my body and emotions inside of me would alter to whatever it is that is gripping them. I can feel what they feel. I can feel it almost more than they can. I hurt with them. And for them because I never want to see the people in my life that I care about feel emotions like I do. Maybe it is the BPD. I don’t know. But it sucks. I begin to think about everyone that I have lost. Those I still have yet to lose one day. Those that I am terrified of losing. Feeling that loss as if it were real. As if I could reach out and touch it and it becomes my own. I don’t really know how else to put it. Seeing someone that I care about hurt, I think it hurts me more than my own sadness. Because there is no outlet or reason for the pain. It isn’t mine. But at the same time, it is. And yet I have no explanation for it or way to ease it because it did not stem from me. If this is the disorder then it is one aspect that I cannot wrap my head around. It is something that I cannot change because I have no idea where I would even start.
Pinky Swear (Photo credit: The Kozy Shack)
I have recently found myself reflecting a lot on the last year. In all honesty, it has been the most challenging path I have yet had to venture down. This time last year, I was deep in the throes of an emotional abyss. I was struggling to find an identity. To find a purpose for my life. I was lost in a world in which not many people can find you. I did not even know if I wanted to be found. I was crying out for help that did not come at the time. From there it only got worse. My ex leaving me in the manner that she did, shattered any grasp I had on my life. I was broken. A shell of myself. And I continued to spiral down. I was beyond lost. And I am too stubborn, or proud, to truly ask for help. I have an innate belief that I can heal myself. That I can maintain control over the demons inside of me. I lie to myself. And, by many accounts, I failed. I never wanted to see tomorrow. I never thought that it would get better. I gave up on everything in this life that I had ever believed in. Including myself. And I found out the true extent of my disorder. And the deep places that it can take me if I allow it. The scars on my arms are fading. But the memory remains as clear as ever. I remember. Everything.
To this day, it terrifies me to think of the depths of my emotions. And where they can lead me. But I am still here. I am a different person then I was 7 months ago. To say that my life has changed over the course of the last year would be an understatement. I have grown. I have learned. I have begun to build a foundation on the solid rock bottom that I never thought I would escape. I still struggle. I still fight my impulsive true nature. I cry. I battle against myself. I battle with myself. I know the darkness that can consume me. And I understand that the darkness is still inside of me. But I am here. And I know that there are several reasons for that. It cannot be attributed to just one thing. And one of those factors was this place. This blog.
Whoever may be reading this, I want to take a moment to thank you. Yeah, you. I probably don’t know you. I may never know your name or meet you in person. But you’ve read my blog regardless. And because of that I feel the faintest connection with you. In this place I have found solace, and I needed that more than I ever knew. Maybe no one is really reading this, but I will put my faith in the belief that someone is. That even just one person out there cares. And whoever you may be, you played a part in saving me. Just by existing. And for that, I will always be grateful.
I am not “cured”. I never will be. I will still stumble. I will lose battles within myself. But I will continue to fight. So thank you for providing me with one more reason to. Truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Never give up on me. And I promise to never give up on you. I’ll even pinkie promise if you want.
Sometimes I get so frustrated. It’s like I take two steps forward, only to take those same steps back. As good as I think I’m doing, there’s always a day that messes up the flow. Today, the anxiety has been relentless. I feel like I can’t breathe. And at the same time, I feel like I’m gonna just crawl out of my skin. It’s so hard to explain that feeling. Whenever it comes over me, I find myself tightening my fists, tightening every part of my body that I can. Just to try to get that extreme feeling out. I don’t know. Perhaps no one can understand what I’m talking about. But when it comes over me, I hate it. There is nothing pleasant about it. I want to cry. I want to scream. I want to curl into a ball and stay that way. I want to punch a hole in the wall. I want to slice open my arm, just to feel the pain. I want to do all of those things, all at the same time. And the worst part about these days, there’s nothing that caused it. Most of the time, my mood is directly related to the environment that I’m in. There is cause and effect. And I know exactly where my emotions are coming from and I either ride them out or try to rationalize to myself so I can maintain control of myself. But then there are days like today where it just seems to come out of nowhere. There was nothing to cause this. But yet here I am. And these are the moments where I feel the most alone. Because I try to keep so much inside. I don’t want people to know just how close I am to the edge. I keep retracing the scars on my arm over and over and over. Thoughts race. I remember. I remember that moment. I am faltering. The abyss is staring back at me. Please don’t let me jump.
I don’t usually talk about my medications. To anyone really. Except the people absolutely closest to me. Because, while I have become pretty good at taking my meds, I do sometimes falter and I need someone keeping me on track. But even my best friends only know that I take “meds”. They don’t know their specific names or what they are for. I just refer to them as “meds” in the most generic sense. But today, well today I feel like talking about them.
People have tried to get me on one medication or another since I was 18. I can’t even remember what they had me on back then because I would only take the pills for a couple days and then stop. I didn’t think I needed to be on medication. I had the notion that I could handle things on my own and didn’t need to be medicated. Then three years ago everything in my world changed. It started with OCD. I became terrified of germs. And it kind of just grew over time. I had to carry hand sanitizer everywhere I went. My hands were raw from me using it so much. And then I couldn’t touch anything for fear of what germs may be there. I would have to sanitize my entire workspace every morning. I didn’t want to go out anywhere because I was scared of the germs that I might pick up. I didn’t want to eat at any restaurants because I was scared I would get food poisoning. The fear consumed me. And I couldn’t control it on my own. It just kept getting worse. And people would of course notice it. And sometimes they made it worse too. Someone would say, “So you’re scared of this, but why aren’t you worried about xxxx?”. And then all of a sudden, I’d be scared of xxxx too. I couldn’t function. So I knew I needed something to help because it was getting out of my control. And that’s where I believe my journey truly started.
I’ve been on medications solidly for the last three years. Not the same ones or the same doses. But the entire time I’ve been on something. It started with Paxil. That stuff was just absolutely no good for me. I became extremely depressed after a couple weeks on it. To the point where I couldn’t even get out of bed to go to work. And that’s not me. I’ve always had pride in myself that I could get up in the morning and be responsible and go to work. It’s a small feat, I know. And most people don’t think it’s an accomplishment to just get out of bed in the morning. But for me, it was everything. It meant that, for that day, I beat the depression and emotional angst that was begging me to just curl in a ball and stay in bed all day. But on that medication, I was completely defeated. I had no drive or motivation for anything. So after only two weeks on they immediately took me off it. Then came Effexor. Which I was on for two years. And it helped with the anxiety. I could function again in that basic sense. But I was still constantly in emotional upheaval. I realize now that the OCD was a manifestation of me needing to be able to control something in my life. Because I have never been able to control my emotions or impulses. And the OCD was my way of dealing with that. But I always just thought my emotions were normal. I had never known any different. But my doctor noticed. And she wanted to get me more help then she could provide. Enter my psychiatrist. I have seen countless psychiatrists and therapists in my life. But the difference was that this time, I listened. He immediately put me on Seroquel and changed my Effexor prescription to Pristiq. So I’ve been on that combination for the last year. At first it was rough. I was not really myself at the beginning of taking Seroquel. I literally didn’t care about anyone or anything. I feel sorry for what I put my friends and loved ones through during that time. But I also couldn’t help it. It was my brain adjusting to new meds.
But I rode it out. And here I am. We just recently upped my dosage of Seroquel and I am really happy we did that. For the first time in a really long time I feel…..good. And it’s a constant feeling. Situations happen where I know how I want to react or how I would have reacted in the past, but I have much better control over my emotions. It is not such a rollercoaster in my life at the moment. I am much closer to being the even keeled person that I want to be. Yes, sometimes I can be a “zombie” from my medication. My girlfriend hates it. She says that for those moments she loses me. But for me, it feels amazing just to be able to handle my emotions. I’m not at such extremes all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I still definitely have my moments. It’s not like the meds take everything away and make me all better. They just allow me to be able to deal with things better then I could without them. They don’t necessarily make me happy, they just dull the pain of all the negative emotions for the most part. And with the absence of such constant extreme emotions, I find peace. I am able to breathe. It’s nice to be able to breathe.
I am accomplished on paper. I know this. I have a steady job that I have held for four years. While I struggle with money due to impulsive tendencies to spend, I live a comfortable life. I also own my own home at a pretty young age; which is pretty legit considering the times and what the majority of America is struggling with. I also have a core group of people around me that I know will be there if I need them. They have already proven their loyalty to me time and time again. So if you were to look at my life from the outside, it appears pretty good. Regardless of the BPD, I have made a pretty secure life for myself. I am responsible and self-sufficient, which are characteristics that even those without a mental disorder struggle with. As my psychiatrist terms it, I am “high functioning”. However, this is all because I internalize everything. All the hatred, all the anger, all the emptiness…..it houses itself inside me. And I fight daily to ensure that I do not take that anger out on the people in my life. Instead of hating the world, I hate myself. While I am accomplished, I will never believe that I am worthy. I will never think that I am enough. And even with all the evidence to the contrary, I truly believe the people in my life would be better off without me. I know that I am wrong in this assumption. But it is still something innate in me. I battle thoughts of suicide almost daily. And the scars on my arms are proof of that battle. At my recent therapist appointment I showed her the scars on my arm from my recent suicide attempt and her initial reaction was “Oh my god”. She then said, “You really did mean it didn’t you?” Yes. Yes I did.
But I am still here. And there are a handful of reasons that I can attribute that to. One of them, probably the main reason, is my godson. He is the most amazing thing in my life. And my love for him, I can’t put into words. Part of that is because I want to be for him everything that my godmother was not. I never want him to know these inner demons that I battle. And I want to provide him with the stability that I was never given. The other part of it is because I know that he saved me. From the moment I first held him, on the first day of his life, my world was changed. Shortly after his birth I went on the medication that is responsible for helping to control my emotions (an antipsychotic). And I remain on the medication because of him. His smile heals me. And his existence makes me want to continue to be here. To see him grow up. To be a part of the structure in his life. I know, this is a lot to attribute to a two year old who only recently was able to say my name. But it is the truth. From the first time his eyes opened, he has known who I was. And his love for me is the purest form of love. Because he does not know how to “fake” it. I know that he counts on me and loves me just because I exist. And for him I continue to try. I may mess up. I may lose control temporarily. I may have to battle harder than others because I try harder than most to ensure that the majority of the people in my life do not know I struggle with something as serious as BPD. Which means I battle internally with the emotions that most allow to take them over so that they can allow others to help them. I do a lot on my own. I falter. I cry to myself and “wait out” my surges of emotions on my own. It is harder for me at times. But for his smile, it’s worth it. It is all worth it. He will never know the extent to which he has saved me. And I never want him to know. But I know. I will always know. And that is enough.