Part 4: Breakthrough

 

In February, I started a fitness program that was meant to help me get in shape and to eat a more balanced and nutritious diet, to better myself. And for me it was a way to become more physically strong since emotionally I am not. I’ve never follow through on anything or finish anything.  I committed myself to seeing this one thing through. It was only two months. A whole workout and nutrition schedule was mapped out for me so all I had to do was commit. It was for bloodwise charity. The Program was called MyPeakChallenge. And really you could challenge yourself to anything, I tried to stay the course and finish the workout plan to it’s completion, but my other challenge kept getting in my way. I had a secret challenge and it was to write for one hour everyday for the next 60 days, I always loved writing and creating stories so I wanted to write a blog. In the beginning I wasn’t sure where I was going, but my writing has always been plagued with me trying to write what I believed people wanted to hear. What I thought would get their attention never what was in my heart – but there was a reason for that I’ll get to later. I would give up and become frustrated because my writing always felt force. When I stopped trying to write for other and tried to see what my heart wanted to say, well this blog is a result of that. It turned into more of an examination of myself than anything else. A chance to allow me to be vulnerable probably for the first time in my life.

Just like when you work out, you have to start building a strong core, start within. I never saw how deeply rooted my actual illness was ingrained inside of me, it had worked it’s way so deep, I was lost on how to begin. There is so much more to mental health than I was ever aware of before. I never seek the help I needed because I was never educated on mental health growing up. Just believed this was the way I was always meant to feel.

When your emotional mind is so extreme, intense and sensitive to stimuli as mine is, and you have no clue how to regulate your emotional life it can seem unbearable to live your life. You want to be in control so you don’t say: become filled with anger when people talk with their hands and constantly hit the table or the couch while talking, when they tap on the steering wheel, tap their foot against the table I’m sitting at (I will loose all attention to what they are saying and zero in on how I want to scream at them to STOP) they aren’t even hitting it that hard, but it fills me with ager. I get mad, lash out at them, overreact. They look at me confused as to why I’m reacting so extreme.
Or you become overly excited and ecstatic at the thought of a new friendship/relationship that you feel like your heart is going to burst from your chest and in that moment you’re completely consumed by this person, you feel invincible. But then a month later that feeling subsides and you are filled with that emptiness again, taking it out on you friend/romantic partner. You change from hot and cold constantly it’s a wonder you have a friend at all. But you can’t explain to them why because you don’t really know yourself.
I’ve always had a strong feeling of emptiness, a black hole inside me that can’t be filled. This is probably a result of my complete lack of an identity or a sense of self. Two words I can’t define because I don’t understand what they mean. I don’t even know what having a sense of self would even look like at this point. When looking at pictures of me from my Facebook page or old family photo albums (or even the photo’s I’ve posted on this blog)  I have no fucking clue who that girl is in those pictures. I pick up on what I believe people want her to be because it makes me feel normal and keeps them from questioning me.But I feel I have no substance within, nothing to offer up, I feel I live faceless existence. I hold my relationships with others as defining my character because I rely on them to show me who to be. I’m a chameleon who changes faces depending on who I am with.

But then, as fast as these relationships start, I do a 180 and I start hating them or resenting them, when the emptiness and black hole returns, OR they start having lives outside of our relationship, like they are abandoning me is some way. So I begin to hold on tighter, suffocating them but I hate them in that same moment. I don’t want them to leave me, I will hold on to bad relationship even if it’s toxic to me.
Some days I will have these ideas or theories that i hold so true and right, then I’ll wake up the next morning with a sunken heart not understand why I believed in this idea so intensely the day before, it was a stupid idea.

My anti-depressants taught me how to avoid, created coping strategies so I didn’t have to deal with the feelings swirling around inside. But it really just prolonged the inevitable.

When I was 18 I had my first boyfriend. I remember all the times sitting in his living room crying because I was so upset with him but couldn’t get the words out why. I didn’t know myself but knew i was so upset, I could feel it. In retrospect he didn’t do anything except be a 19 year old boy who liked to party and have fun with his friends. Every time he chose his friends over me I would feel a little bit more abandon.  And I could never get over the fact he had other girlfriends before me. Would react irrationally and cry and take it out on him.  Then the next day I would be so filled with guilt I’d want to spend every minute with him. I would feel completely guilty and ashamed for my behaviour the day before.
I’m actually surprised he stayed with me as long as he did, I was a mess back then. Eventually, he did break up with me, it had only been 5 months but I still felt like a rug had been ripped out from under me. Everything was all new to me and I just didn’t understand any of it. I remember crying, screaming, shouting at him not to leave me, he couldn’t do this, he just can’t break up with me. I won’t accept it. I tried everything in my power to stop it, even cutting and threatening suicide. But I couldn’t stop it and after that all I wanted to do was sleep, I’d take a hand full of T3’s and a half a bottle of rye pass out because it was the only time my emotions weren’t consuming me.
My family would tell me things like: “He just a boy, he’s not worth it, you deserve better.” But none of their words helped. I would think to myself this feeling will never end. I knew from their reactions I wasn’t feeling the right way, something was wrong with me. How can other people make it look so easy to move on? While I’m over here thinking I’ll never survive this. Why do I feel as if the world is going to end because one boy dumped me, my first boyfriend at that, I couldn’t see anything outside of how I was feeling in this moment. Looking back, it wasn’t the person I was missing – it could have been anyone and I would have reacted the same way. This goes for all my relationships, it could have been any person and I still would have reacted with the fear of abandon and fear of rejection that everyone who has borderline personality disorder struggle with. Every relationship after this first one, I would tell myself this one is going to be different, I was more mature, I had grown up since my last one but every time I’d start acting irrational, start down that same spiralling path, driven by my emotions and feelings I didn’t understand. I couldn’t stop it, because I couldn’t see what it was.

When my first relationship was ending, I had just started university and was the worst timing. I could hardly get myself out of bed every morning to go to class, most days i didn’t, when I was in class I couldn’t concentrate. I was in mental turmoil and didn’t care about school, didn’t even care about taking care of myself. I missed shifts at work, one day I called in sick for work lied to my parents and just rode the bus around the city all day. By Christmas I had dropped almost all my course and the ones I was still in I was barley getting a passing grades in.
I felt it but couldn’t understand why I felt it. no one else in my life was feeling break up this intensely and deeply. I am not normal?

My parents were concerned about me, I remember one night they sat me down in our living room to have a conversation about how I was behaving. My father told me when one chapter ends another will begin, I just need to let go of this one, they wanted to know why I was obsessing over this, to know why I couldn’t let it go. I know all they wanted to do was help but I just wanted the conversation to end.  Then there was the concern and confused looks from my sister-in-law and brother’s faces. They all said, did explained things to try and get me on track but all they did was make me feel more isolated and alone. I remember trying to explain it to all of them, but I could see by the react on their faces the way they tried to talk to me, they  didn’t undated any of it. All they did was invalidate my feelings even more, so from that day forward, I learned how to hide all of it from them. To avoid and push down what was really going on inside of me. Their looks and words just made me feel more alone in this world. (I know that wasn’t their plan, but you see the thing about people with BPD, they feel things so extreme so intensely, when you look at them with this confused, or tell them how they should be feeling it can have the opposite effect of what you initially wanted- can even lead them to hating you) Lucky for me the anti-depressants let me hide most of my unattractive emotions and made it easier for me to control them most days.
I swore I’d do anything to prevent them from ever seeing me like that again, so began my life of hiding.
I learned to avoid, push down whenever these emotions I didn’t understand came up again. And for the most part it worked, instead of facing whatever it was I would either push the feeling down, escape into one of my tv shows or imagine I lived a different life. At times this made me feel like I was going insane, I wanted to scream and yell at people for the smallest little things but i knew if I did this, I’d be exposed. They would look at me the way my family looked at me after my first break up. I never wanted people to look at me like that again.

My next relationship was with a guy who was emotionally unavailable and unstable in his own way, looking back at it now this was probably the worst thing for me, he basically reinforced everything  going around my head about rejection and abandonment He would alway keep me at arms length, in my mind I just thought this was better than being alone: a guy who wouldn’t date me, but would sleep with me, always giving me just enough to keep me hooked but it was as good as I was going to get. This went on for 2 years. I could see the concern on my friends and family’s faces, but I would work to try and convince them that I was okay, that everything was fine. This relationship was a roller coaster ride of intesene emotions and irrationality i would jumping between anger and hate to love and admiration. After this relationship ended, I was 22 and I didn’t have another relationship for years I was terrified how the next one would go and I couldn’t trust myself to act emotionally acceptable.

Then there were the friendship, they were unstable as well, a pattern I wasn’t aware of until about 3 months ago because they were never as intense as the romantic ones. I only have one friend in my life who’s been there for me since middle school and even with her we had our ups and downs over the years and aren’t nearly as close as we once were. I tend to change friends regularly, I usually have them for two-three years, but then they get boyfriends or a new friend or starting having interest that I don’t care about. One day I’ll act hostile, moody, start slowly pushing them away, stop taking interst in their lives, make comments that would hurt them. Then the next day I will feel such guilt and shame for treating them horrible so I become extra eager to be around them, making up for my previous behaviour. This behaviour would go back and forth until our friendship is so strained we barely talk anymore.

A friend mention to me one day, back when I was 22, that it sounded like I had an anxiety disorder which is a form of depression and you can get pills for. So I went to the doctor and got a prescription for zoloft and magically the tension inside of me quickly vanished. Finally something to make me normal.  I truly believed this was my problem all along I just had bad anxiety.
The one underlining thing these pills didn’t mask was my unstable relationships with almost everyone in my life. They did balanced my emotions just enough so I was able to get by, my anger, impulsive behaviours were more toned down.  It even controlled my mood swings to a point. But my sense of self, emptiness, fear of abandonment and rejections were still there. I had no idea I was doing these things though, it all just was normal behaviour to me. Then after 8 years on this medication I started to realize something wasn’t right: why can’t I get my life on track? I truly believed my issues were anxiety and maybe a little depression all these years, but I still felt things I couldn’t explain, reacted to people and situations impulsively, irrationally and stubbornly never knowing why. I cut people from my life for frivolous reasons. One minute I’d be so excited and happy for the future, the next despondent and empty like nothing was worth the effort. Every time my emotions became too intense  I’d retreat into my alter realities, dissociated even further from my life, I constructed entire worlds inside my mind to keep me calm until it was safe come out again, until my emotions had come down to a normal baseline.
Personality disorders are something I didn’t know existed up until a month ago and when reading the symptoms for Borderline personality disorder was the first time my action and behaviours finally made sense to me.  Like I light shining onto my soul, with the answers I had been seeking for years.  Then behaviours that had been so unconscious to me all these years started to appear.

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