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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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.

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?

I Am Mother

What was your mother like? she asked, with pad and expensive pen in hand.

Like any mother, maybe. Locked in the bathroom, in the tub crying. Taking litte blue pills when she thought I wasn’t looking.

Dad would come home and always pick the bathroom lock. Try to soothe her in his rough around the edges ways, sit on the floor at the edge of the tub until he could get her to crawl out, off balance and dripping wet and cold from the hours-old water.

Mostly what he did helped, but her cry eyes would swell for days, and she always tried to line them with wax pencil, thinking it hid her secrets behind what she called a smoky eye. She seemed to think a melancholy look was beautiful.

I thought sometimes she faked the crying in the bathroom thing for attention. But Dad said no, that if she didn’t hide in the bath, she’d have walked out into our Wyoming desert with the coyotes, lain down in the sagebrush, and we’d have never found her again.

I wondered why she didn’t just leave us if she was so unhappy. Go to California or something, someplace with sun and not so much snow and coal. But I knew in my heart she was too faithful and loving and afraid to know what real leaving was.

Dying, she could do, if she’d have loved us just a little less. But she loved us more than the sun, more than the God she wrestled with, more than the stones and bones and Bibles she kept in her special drawer, and mostly she loved us more than herself.

And that was maybe what saved us all.

Simply Flawed

I don’t enjoy feeling like someone is angry at me, and not knowing what I did. No one enjoys it, I’m sure. It does seem like some people deal with it a bit better than others, though. Water off a duck’s back and such. Wish I could be that way. But instead, I’m a dweller. An over-analyzer. And possibly somewhat paranoid.

Character flaw. Just adding it to the list now. Some days I feel there are just far too many flaws than time to fix them.

I’m tired today, and so grateful it’s Friday. My job is a heavy backpack that I like to sling onto the floor with a clunk once Friday at five rolls around. Then comes the disappointment over those all too high Friday night expectations. I’m not 25 any more. Hell, I don’t know if I was ever 25. I’ve been a mom since 18. On once you’re a mom, there seems to be no age but your child’s.

I’m out of energy, out of motivation, and running out of hope in this dead end high desert disaster. The barrenness sometimes seeps right into me, gets me to the core, and I have to do what I can with books and home facials and online shopping to get to another day.

My life is measured by the delivery of Amazon boxes.

At least it’s something.