Two months ago today I was in a severe car accident. It was just me. I was drunk. I don’t remember anything from the actual accident. Partly because of the drinking. But mostly because I sustained a severe concussion. I was in an out of consciousness. I flipped my car down a hill. I vaguely remember the firefighters there trying to get me out of the car. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital. Miraculously I didn’t break anything. Even luckier still, I didn’t get a citation for the accident or a DUI. I still don’t know how. But that’s the truth. They told me the only reason I survived was because I had been wearing my seatbelt.
During my stay in the ER they did a complete CT scan on me. Everything turned out normal, except for the fact that I had an abnormal amount of urine in my bladder. I have battled kidney stones and infections for years now, but after this, my doctor began to become concerned. So I was sent to a urologist and testing. They determined that there is an extreme amount of blood in my urine. Looking back over my records, there has always been blood in my urine. Every time it was chalked up to the fact that I had a kidney stone and pain when my urine was tested. But now, it was raising concern as it was a pattern that before had gone unnoticed.
I am still going through testing. My bladder is three times normal size. It is severely inflamed inside and bleeding. I am having constant bladder and kidney pain, which is abnormal. At first they dismissed the idea of cancer because they said I’m too young. But now, as all other possible causes are being ruled out, it is becoming more likely.
To say I am terrified would be an understatement. The irony of all of it is that for the past couple of years I have fought so hard to control the BPD. I have fought to keep myself alive. I have fought against the pull of the abyss. I have fought to create a better life for myself. I thought BPD would be my life’s greatest battle. But in this, I am powerless. I fought to keep myself alive against myself. But I may be facing down a battle that I have no control over. I might have to fight against unseen forces that I can’t quantify or explain. I am scared. I am lost. I am at a loss for words.
Last night I broke down. I have a phobia of throwing up or feeling nauseous (emetophobia) and it occasionally gets really severe. It affects what I eat, where I eat, and I have a fear of germs because I’m terrified of getting the stomach flu. Well, last night I surprised my girlfriend by making her dinner. When she was making herself some tea before we went up to bed she discovered that some of the cups that were in the cupboard weren’t clean. I immediately freaked out thinking that I hadn’t run the dishwasher like I thought I had and so I had accidentally put away dirty dishes. One of the dishes had contained raw chicken and so I began panicking that we would get salmonella poisoning. My girlfriend battles with emotional issues of her own and so she got upset with me for freaking out. Which is pretty much the worst reaction you could have to me. It only causes me to freak out more and get angry. I can usually contain my anger pretty well, I’ve become fairly good at it over time. And I know that when I have those surges of emotions they will fade after a while so I just keep it in because I know it’ll eventually go away. But sometimes I lose that battle. Sometimes I just let the emotions overtake me. And I don’t really know it’s happening until it’s over and I look back on it. But in that moment, those emotions are my reality. I can rationalize what I’m feeling. It feels right. We fought over really nothing. But at the moment, I couldn’t hold back my impulsive emotions. My girlfriend eventually left the room and went into the spare room. When someone does something like that, it causes me to panic. I think they’re gonna leave. That they’re never coming back. Doesn’t make sense, I know. Sometimes people just need a little space for a while. I can rationalize that in my brain. But in that moment, my impulses take over. I can’t control my actions. In other words, I freak out. To an extreme. I started yelling things that I knew I did not mean. But I couldn’t stop myself. I went back to my room and grabbed one of my pocket knives and practically had to talk myself out of cutting into my thigh. I guess it’s a triumph that I didn’t give in to my desire to cut. Yeah, that’s great and all. But it took every ounce of energy I had to fight it. I sat there bawling my eyes out and spun the knife in my hand. The coldness of the blade felt amazing against my skin. To be honest, I have been struggling with the desire to cut for the last couple weeks. I want it so bad. What’s wrong with me? I don’t know how I kept myself from doing it. That’s not a triumph to me. That’s not a success. And the worst part about the whole thing? Fifteen minutes later we had reasoned with ourselves and were fine. Just like I knew in the back of my mind we would be. After that initial surge of emotion, I knew everything would be ok. But I can only tell myself that now looking back on it.
But what that moment did is reaffirm to me that I’m still so broken inside. I can sit here and say “Oh the meds have done wonders. My therapy is really helping. I feel great.” But really, I don’t. I’m not okay. I can still find ways to sabotage the relationships in my life. I cause the pain that my rational brain prays that I don’t have. Everything is still just a complete mess inside. The meds just numb me so that I don’t feel it. But it’s still all there. Just lurking, waiting for the opportunity to come out. I am my own worst enemy. And it’s never going to go away. People have told me that I like to play the “victim”. Or that I use my BPD as an “excuse” for my behavior. But I don’t want to be a fucking victim. I don’t want this. And I don’t use my disorder as an excuse. It just us what it is. I try so hard to be normal, but I don’t even know what that means anymore. No one understands. No one. And I don’t know how to explain it any better than I already have. I never really thought about how numb I feel. I just think that being numb is so much better than feeling too much. Because, well, it is. This is better than what I was six months ago. But I’m not better. Not even a little bit. It’s just a lie to myself. Everything is still there inside. I’m still the same person I was six months ago. Broken as ever. Fuck.
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.
I have one more story to tell today. Now this story has absolutely nothing to do with BPD. But it is a story that gets to the very core of me nonetheless. It is the story of a different type of struggle that affects my life too. This is the story of Tom Bridegroom and his boyfriend of six years, Shane Bitney Crone. Tom tragically died in May 2011. As the couple was denied the right to legally marry, Shane was left absolutely powerless when Tom’s family took control of Tom’s funeral arrangements. Shane was not even allowed to attend the funeral as Tom’s family threatened that he would be harmed physically if he were to show up. I am sure that some of you have heard of this story, but some of you may not have. While I struggle with BPD, I also struggle for my own freedoms when it comes to who I love. Just as I do not like to be judged for my disorder, I also do not like to be judged based on who I choose to spend my life with or give my love to. I wish that people would get to know me for the person that I am, regardless of my sexual orientation. But alas, that is not the world that we live in. Shane and Tom’s story breaks me, I could not even imagine being in Shane’s shoes. He is a stronger individual than I could ever hope to be. But his story is one of hope. A hope for change. So that no one else will have to suffer through the nightmare that he was forced to live. Shane originally posted the following video as his own tribute to the love of his life. But it has grown to more than that. It has grown bigger than I am sure he ever thought imaginable. And it is all geared towards progressing the right for everyone to be able to marry who they love, regardless of gender. Because everyone deserves the right to be able to take care of the person they love. In sickness, in health, and, yes, even in death. And this story is something amazing that I want to share with anyone that might be listening. I have BPD. I fight my own inner demons regarding self-hatred. But I am also gay. And because of that, I fight hatred in real life. Hopefully this video and this story can help to change that.
This story is set to be made into a documentary entitled “Bridegroom: An American Love Story”. If you would like more information, please check out their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/bridegroommovie or http://www.facebook.com/equalloveequalrights.
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.