Found Guilty

Does anyone else have a really difficult time getting back into the groove of “normal” life after tragedies happen? Tragedies, even those that don’t even have anything to do with me, make me buckle at the knees. I feel tremendous guilt over being happy, and the things I love doing and playing with (skin care, jewelry, artwork, etc.) seem so stupid and petty. How do I talk about coffee scented soap and dangly earrings when there is so much suffering going on?!? And we’ve had so many terrible tragedies in the world, and in our nation, one after the next after the next.

It’s unreal how much pain one person can inflict, and upon so many. And how awful people can be to each other. I’m as guilty of looking down on my neighbor as anyone I’d criticize. I don’t leave the house, for fear of running into people I know. I just don’t have the energy, even on a good day. Granted, I have some mental health challenges, but still… Should it be SO hard to go to the grocery store?

I just wish I knew the answer. How to fix things, how to make everything better. For me and for everyone. I can’t get through an evening without getting irritated at the people I love. So how can I hope for the world to be kinder?

What I do know, amidst a sea of things I don’t understand, is that I have to seek solace. I desperately need comfort. I am weak. Strong in some things, yes, but not in all. What comforts me may not comfort others. That is ok. Different things work for different people, and different things work better at some times than during others.

I need my soaps, my books, my church magazines and talks. I need to send out pretty earrings to people I know will treasure them. I need to lie on the couch while my husband paints my toenails. I need to watch silly Chihuahua videos with my daughter.

I need to figure out how to ‘live happy’, without always feeling like my joy, rare though it be, must be justified. I still haven’t figured out the trick yet, though. But there’s got to be a book for that, right??

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When It’s Good

Sometimes reading my blog is startling. I am happy now. At this moment, all is well, as Byron Katie so beautifully says. I honestly cannot remember the deep sadness I felt over the last couple months, or the despair felt by the one in me who wrote the previous entries.

She is many animals at once.

Pills. Desperation. Fear. It’s all such a blur, as if I’m trying to recall a movie I watched ages ago. I can remember the basic plot, but none of the details.

I read my blog, and recall, though my recollection is hazy. Ooo. Yes, that did happen. Eesh. I did feel that way. Oh, that poor girl who is me. Was me? Is me.

I remember, and shudder. Right now, I focus on the positive, on the present, and do my best to practice mindfulness when anxiety creeps in.

I relish the goodness of now, and try not to let my fear of future darkness creep in. I want to enjoy this time, to nestle deep into its simplicity and peace.

Two amazing things have happened recently. We took a family vacation to Virginia Beach, and I attended a Byron Katie workshop. VA was divine. Warm, humid, GREEN!! The beach was sublime, and our lovely motel was just across the street from the sea. DREAMY. Refreshing. I was afraid to return to Wyoming, so scared that depression would overtake me when I got home.

Our flight home, however, was horrendous. Delays, reroutes, missed flights, NEWARK. Total disaster. I had a meltdown, but managed not to swear at anyone, which is seriously (and sadly) an incredible step forward. My husband was the calm to my storm, and my rock solid hero. The miserable return trip made me SO glad to be home. Blessing in disguise, that.

A weekend later, I had the gift of sitting in the audience at a Byron Katie event. I teared up when she came out on the stage, and just loved watching and hearing her “do The Work” with hurting people. It felt amazing to sit with a group of 600 good people who NEEDED that workshop as much as I did. I felt so very among friends.

So, it’s been a good, good few weeks. I feel loved. Loving. And all is well, all is well, and all manner of things shall be well.

Don’t forget.

Apparently It’s BPD

Despite reading and studying mental illness for all of my adult life, I’d either skimmed over the topic of Borderline Personality Disorder, or I’d simply never heard of it. I suspect I skimmed it, because when I first heard the diagnosis, I instantly thought, oh shit, I have split personalities??? That’s not right!!!

Well, of course I now know what BPD is, and I also know that, had I ever read anything about the illness other than its name, I’d have realized immediately that this is me.

I could’ve written the book on this illness. I AM the book on this illness. How could it have taken this long?? How many counselors and doctors have I seen in the last 25 years?!?! And no one ever mentioned anything other than depression and bipolar ii (which I now know I do not have).

And with BPD, there is hope of learning coping skills and of improving. Somehow. It will take time. But at the moment, fresh into this diagnosis, eating up books on Dialectical Behavior Therapy and mindfulness, I’m still feeling frustrated, in and out of dark clouds of depression and anger. I am so lost in this time and place of transition, and have little sense of purpose, and no idea what my future holds. I have no job. I live in a tiny, isolated, insular community, to which I do not belong. I feel alienated from my husband because of my illness and because of my lack of income. I feel burdensome. Alone. Pathetic. Defeated. Confused. And I have utterly no one to confide in but this blog, lest I cause anyone any MORE burden. Other than raising my children, my life has been an absolute and utter waste. Cumbersome.

I’m not suicidal. I was, a few weeks ago. But not now. I’m just so intensely alone. And I don’t know what to do. I have a tiny, partially reconstituted faith in God. I pray a little, which for me is a huge change. But I could never, ever pray away the sadness. It just doesn’t work, and I’ve tried much harder in times when my faith was much stronger.

I do feel myself drifting into dark waters again, but I think that a long as I avoid alcohol and benzos, I’ll move through this relatively unscathed. But it’s a short walk to the pharmacy, I have one refill left, and sometimes my resolve is next to nil. With this diagnosis, I’ve learned benzodiazepines can lead to suicide in a person with BPD. Which explains a lot. No more little blue pills for me, unless I’m making a conscious decision to end it, which I vow not to do.

It’s exhausting.

I just want to be normal. Well, I lie. I just want to be happy. Big difference.

Until We Are Fine

Last week, I was taking too many pills. Not purposefully, but also not by accident.
This week, I’m more solid, starting somewhat anew. Still tired and afraid, but possessing a bit of momentum. Not quite hope, but an expectancy.

I’m trying to move ahead, and have several supportive friends and family members who have helped me unburden. There are moments I feel adrift, propelled by the winds of pointlessness. Then I remember others, and decide to finish buttering the bread, get the dish from the sink to the dishwasher. I decide to answer a ringing telephone. Pretend. 

It will get better, at some point. It already has. But I’m still tired and can’t sleep, still sweaty but freezing. This isn’t going where I meant it to go. 

We have to ask for help. If we don’t ask, no one knows. They just think we’re mean or shy or FINE. But we are not fine, are we?

We are not fine. 

But…

Eat the bread. Drink the tea. Hug the child. Pet the dog. Write the poem. 

Until we are fine, or a facet thereof.

Maybe It Doesn’t Help

Asking for help doesn’t seem to be as effective as I advertise it to be. “Ask for help! Don’t go through it alone!” It seems that asking for help just makes people think you are crazy. And makes them think a) they are saviors to your cause, making it about them rather than about the hurting person, or b) they get angry because you’ve lost your marbles and the inconvenience of it pisses them off.

Either way, not what I was expecting. And I won’t ask for help again.

Drown My Sorrow

I could die in this closet tonight and no one would know until tomorrow around noon. Look right through me.

I won’t do it. It’s too mundane and makes too much sense right now. And I know that what makes sense now is crazy. So I won’t follow the crazy. But I am staying in my closet for now.

I’m in the hangers. I have too much. Stuff. Shame. Fear. Anger. Grief. Resentment. Fraudulence. I am never who I pretend to be.

But I do not know who I am, so the pretending is easy. Pens and poems and sadness do not a human make.

Right? Or am I wrong?