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bpd2

I was told to write out what I would say to you if I could tell you how to make a relationship work with someone with BPD, someone like me.  For some of you it’s too late.  The damage is done.  I’ve hurt you irreparably, broken trust, and shattered security.  We’ve already reprogrammed our relationship to be what it can despite those things, and I deal with the wave of sadness that hits to think of all the things I lost by not being able to tell you what I needed, by not knowing myself.  Each and every one of you has asked me what I need from a partner, but even as much as I’ve grown in the last couple of years, I couldn’t put them into words until they were worded as advice for someone else.  If that isn’t just the portrait of BPD, I don’t know what is. My hope is that this can clarify some things, maybe starts some dialogues, and definitely give us some blueprints on how to move forward and forge stronger, healthier bonds.

Sometimes I need reassurance that I’m important, and I have said this over and over again.  I don’t need to be your top priority, but I do need to be one of them if you’re going to call me a partner.  Sometimes I need a little extra attention.  Nothing grandiose.  Just a reminder that I’m loved.  It’s never that I don’t believe I am, but it’s nice to hear, see, feel it from you.  I need random messages and occasional outpourings of emotion from you, not constantly, but I need it not to vanish for weeks at a time.

I need you to hear my words not my tone or body language.  I need you to believe my words not take them as passive aggression or sass.

I need to feel secure, and when i ask for clarification on what seemed like a small action to you, I need you to not take it as malice or suspicion.  I’m just trying to understand.  Sudden changes in tone, behaviour, or levels of interaction will be internalized if I can’t mention them to you and get them out of my head, which is running through every reason why it’s all a sign you’re about to leave me.  I’m not saying these changes aren’t natural or understood, especially when something is happening in your life.  I’m just saying I might ask.

I need you to talk to me.  I need you to let me talk.  This all boils down to communication.  I’m going to overthink things, and getting it out helps.  Weird things cut deep sometimes, and all I need is to mention it so it doesn’t fester.  I need to know we can have an open dialogue without you lashing out at me.  It helps me stay calm and rational.

I need you to know I worry about pushing you away.  I worry about being too complicated.  I worry about being misunderstood.  I worry.  Mostly I worry about whether or not you’re happy with me, whether you’re still happy with me, whether you stay because it’s become routine.

I need honesty, even when I might not like it, because I need to trust that you will tell me the bad things along with the good so I don’t constantly wonder what you’re thinking but not saying.

I need balance.  I need you to trust me to handle my issues on my own first before you swipe in to try and fix it, but I also need you to know that if I’m reaching out to you I’m at the end of my rope.  I don’t want to add to your stress, and I’m doing what I can and taking steps every day to do it better, but I can’t always do it alone.  It took me a long time to be able to ask for help, and if I do it means I trust you with my life and my heart.  Please understand this.

I need you to know my triggers.  I’ll never ask that you avoid them, because part of learning to cope with them is getting used to processing them, but I do need you to be a little sensitive to the aftercare if you’re going to trigger issues.  I need to know I’m safe having a reaction to things with you.

I need you to give me some control.  I need to feel competent.  I need to feel like you believe I’m competent.  I need you to not be condescending.  I’m an adult, and I’m fully aware of what’s happening and what I need.  When I feel like I’m being coddled, babied, or invalidated it triggers everything, and I forget I’m strong and stop trying.  I need to not stop trying.

I need you to be clear, patient, and observant at times.  Especially when it comes to your needs and issues.

I need you to trust me to adjust my behaviour when I am wrong.  I need you to trust me to understand when you need a little space, but I need you to eventually come back from that space. I need you to trust that nothing I do is malicious, and help me be a better partner.  Lastly, I need you to trust me to be doing everything I can to be a better version of me every day.  I’m not happy being this difficult to live with.  I’m not complacent in it.  I’m not making excuses.

This is not a list of things you have to learn to do for me.  This is a list of things we can learn to navigate together.

I don’t believe we are stuck.  I believe things can be improved even after years of unhealthy habits.  No, you can never really start over, and there will always be old wounds, but healing is a powerful thing, and all of my relationships are strong, or we wouldn’t be in them.

I’ve done a lot of my own reading and research, but maybe it’s more helpful from a voice that’s not mine…

Which is why I’m here.    I was asked whay advice I would give to a partner of someone with BPD.  This is what I said.

Aloha.

 

Go now, feel.

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butterfly-fae

The past few months have been rough, and I haven’t been alone in my struggles.  It seems like everyone around me has gone through family problems, major depression, personal crisis, medical or financial hardships, or some combination of those things since Beltane, enough that I had to stop and wonder if there was any significance to it. Today I started to get the whispers of an answer.

This Litha is particularly strong, as it coincides with the full moon.  This is the day of the Sun.  It’s the time for harvesting the herbs we’ll use for healing and rituals, making it an auspicious day for work yet to come.  That raw, masculine energy is high, and we are full of powerful potential.

At Ostara the world was bright, and we watched each other build cocoons with visions of being beautiful butterflies, looking forward to the day we would spread our wings and soar on the sunlight.  We waited patiently, and little by little we began to change.  This is where the transformation began, and we needed that time to be at full strength for what came next.

As I’ve written several times, transformation is painful.  In the second half of this process, our entire form changes, and the cocoon has to be broken.  Our safe little world has to be opened up to an exciting, but terrifying, sky.  It’s bloody.  It’s traumatic.  Everything about us must change.  The caterpillars we were, and the cocoon we used to shield ourselves during our transformation must be cast aside in order to become what we are meant to be.  Those cocoons may have felt safe, but they were dark and restricting.  We weren’t meant to live there.

These battles we’ve been fighting for months are necessary for the transformation we’re each undertaking.  They’re making us stronger, moving us towards who we really are instead of the mere possibilities we have been, but only if we’re willing to let go of the caterpillars and the temporary shells they built around us.

So, back to Litha and the sun we meet as we emerge.  Sun means fire, and the fires of Litha burn hot, hotter this year than I have ever felt.  For many of us that fire has raged internally.  It purifies and transforms us, but it can be destructive if we fear it instead of dancing with it.  I’m  feeling change I set in motion years ago, and I have felt it in every cell in my body for the past three months.  It has tested my faith in myself.  It has tested my relationships.  It has tested my ability to function at mundane tasks while every part of me feels torn apart, but in the end I…in the end we all…will emerge from the darkness that has surrounded us.  I feel it happening a little more every day.  I see it happening around me.  It may not be over for some, but it will get better.  I know we will all pull through this and fly together in the sunlight.

 

Aloha

Go now,be who you were meant to be

Coping-With-Anxiety-and-Depression-722x406

 

This past weekend was a hard lesson for me in healing.   I let anxiety win, and it was……quite the spectacle.  What happened behind the scenes was even worse.  I convinced myself I was a fraud.  I convinced myself I was worthless.  I convinced myself there never had been hope for me.  I looked back at the work I’ve done over the past two years and felt like I’d been lying to myself.  Then I removed myself from the situation and remembered what it felt like standing on that stage by myself without anyone there to help me.  The power I felt in telling a part of my story.  The shift I felt inside me when I stopped fearing the unforeseeable and took hold of what’s mine.  My life.  That was not a lie.  That could not have been false.

I’ve written a lot about healing and the way my life has changed since my experience with Good Girl.  What I have not written about is the backsliding.  What I haven’t written about is the doubt and the fear that the healing was some delusional fantasy that anything has changed.  What I haven’t written about are the mistakes we make, because after decades of making the same ones over and over again, these are new, terrifying mistakes.  It’s so easy to wonder if the change was worth it, because the demons we’re accustomed too are much easier to quell than new ones that might try to manifest in our lives.  The answer is yes, it’s worth it.  All of it, and the mistakes don’t unravel a single bit of it.

We’re told healing is hard.  We’re told it’s a process.  We’re told it’s painful.  We’re never told how much maintenance it requires and how much of an adjustment it is to our daily lives.  We have this idea that healing makes everything better, filling our lives with sunshine and rainbows and cute little kittens.  What we don’t realize is that healing is NOT a panacea.  It doesn’t make anything go away, it just gives us the resources to deal with it and to navigate new challenges that arise in a healthy manner.  It doesn’t change learned behaviours.  It doesn’t erase anxiety, depression, PTSD, or physical illness.  It merely gives us better moves with which to fight and an understanding of how to fix what we break.  Healing is not curing.  Healing is taking something we once let run our lives into the ground and use it instead to fuel us to keep thriving.

The reality is that while healing is an internal process it requires external maintenance in ways we never experience when the stakes are low.  My lesson wasn’t just painful for me; I hurt someone I love.  It’s up to me to face that, do what I can to repair it, and do the internal work to ensure it doesn’t happen again.  In the past it either wouldn’t have been healthy enough to matter or I would have just logged it with the other good things I let myself ruin.  In the past few months it’s become more apparent where the healing could not help me because the problems I have are biological, so I’ve had to bite the bullet and admit there are things I can’t fix without medical help…then actually seek it.  These things are no longer buried under me.  They’re out in the open, they’re manageable, and they’re in the way of the life I want to live. Lastly, I have recognized things in my life that I was once passionate about but no longer serve that quick fix need in my life.  There’s been a twinge of nostalgic panic as I begin to let those things go to focus on what’s really important in my life, but I’m decluttering and setting new goals.

You see, healing is a battle cry that screams “you no longer have power over me”.  You won’t win the battle just because you’ve healed, but it will give you a fighting chance.

 

2014. The year that changed everything.  It all sounds very serious, doesn’t it.  Well, it is.  I know, I know, every year is about change, but 2014 brought transformative change.

With Brighid came the catalyst for the biggest career change I have ever made, and the biggest risk.  The training alone was a challenge, but I rose to it, and on Ostara I earned my wings and held a star I’d been reaching for for 6 years.

WIth the change in jobs came a huge change for our household.  I was based 3,000 miles away on the opposite coast, and the adjustment in all my relationships was a blow that some of them wouldn’t survive.  Routines were uprooted, and we had to find complex solutions to even more complex problems.  I suddenly felt very alone, and Hubby felt abandoned.  As he strove for stability and reached for his other partners, I felt more and more isolated from my family, which strained an already stressful period as I adjusted to a new job that is very much a lifestyle.

By summer there were storms raging.  Hubby and A split, I had completely pulled out of our D/s dynamic, and there were talks of separation. Things were seriously strained, compounded by the re-emergence of The Vanishing Act.  My emotions were shot, and I withdrew.  When my birthday rolled through in August I was sure I was bound to be moving on alone.  Hubby seemed unwilling to see anything from my perspective and immersed in a new relationship, The Vanishing Act had done what he does best, and I felt suffocated by the weight of everything falling apart at once.

For the first time in a long time I felt helpless, hopeless, and ready to go.  There’s a soul-shaking moment that passes when you no longer feel a desperate need to end your life, but have accepted it as the next step.  It’s not a rash decision you can recover from just as quickly, it’s a concession that the darkness has won, and this is just what happens when you lose.  I was gone.  My spirit was dead for a long time, and I had no one to blame for it but myself.

Enter Autumn and a big push from the universe to be in charge of my life.  I embarked on a last-ditch effort to save myself, and I began living my own life.  Hubby pushed against it, but what resulted was both of us giving the ultimate ultimatum.  Love me for who I am, or let me go live my life.

The season also brought a whole crew of new people to my life.  Friends, love interests, and everyone in between.  2014 has brought me more new connections and strengthened connections with people I already had than I could have asked for.  These wonderful souls are the reason I’m here in as close to one piece as I am.  They are my tribe, my Ohana, and I would be incomplete without them.

As I pulled out of the fall with hope and optimism, 2014 gave me one last reminder that there is still a lot of work to do. A few lives connected to mine were suddenly torn apart.  We had medical scares and heartbreaking developments.  In addition, several of my partners also had some deep rivers to cross.  Once again I felt out of my depth and drowning, but the tools I had acquired and the people who had gathered around me throughout the year had given me the strength and will to keep moving forward.

Things are still rocky.  Things are still changing.  2014 was a year of questions without answer and answers spawning new questions.  I still feel terribly ill-equipped to handle the war that fights, not in violent flashes like they do in the movies, but quietly under the surface of the mundane as war is apt to do.  I don’t have all the information.  I don’t have all the tools.  I don’t have all the magic words.  What I do have is Ohana.  What I do have is people who love me and believe in me, who have y back no matter what happens.    What I have, as i mentioned at Yule, is hope.

This year I have learned to adapt.  I have learned to be away but still present.  I have learned to be alone but not lost.  I have learned to love and not question.  At midnight tonight I won’t be with any of my loves.  I won’t have a single person to kiss, but I shall be kissing each and every one of them in my heart.

2015…a year started with hope in my heart.

Aloha.

Go now, kiss somebody at midnight, even if it’s just in your heart.

I know this is a couple of weeks late, but life has a way of getting chaotic around Lammas every year.

As with any harvest festival, at Lughnasad we tend to focus on celebration and gratitude for bounty.  Indeed, we should be extremely grateful for the boons bestowed upon us and celebrate the rewards of hard work.  There is, however, a much more important side to this harvest.  This is where we begin to tear up the plants that are no longer producing fruit in order to plant late summer crops.  This is where we sort the unusable from the produce worth keeping.  This is where we make decisions about what we can store and what needs to be thrown away.

We tend to be a modern culture of acquisition and fear of loss, which leads to hoarding, surplus, and waste.  We do it with physical possessions, people, and emotions that no longer have a place in our lives.  It’s hard to let go for fear of starving, but holding on to everything indiscriminately means risking the whole lot being spoiled or there not being enough room for what’s good and healthy.  This can be a painful process.  The wrong choice can be devastating, but even the right call can be tough at first.

This year has been one of, quite frankly, too many goodbyes.  What started as a fruitful year all too quickly fell fallow and began to rot, and the only way to survive has been to make some terrifying sacrifices.  I pared down my commitments, simplified a lot of my personal life, and cut ties with people who were detrimental to my growth.  There have been deaths that touched me personally and a second chance that blossomed into a beautiful friendship only to be pulled from the ground like a weed and left for dead.

All of these things have weighed me down when there are so many things for which I should be grateful.  All of these things have cast a shadow on a season that should be full of light, music, and celebration.  There is too much rain, too little sunshine, and no way to know what will survive enough to see me through the dark season.  I imagine this is how Lugh felt throwing a funereal feast for his mother who became an agricultural goddess.  Imagine mourning the loss of a parent while exalting her gift to the Mother Earth and her people.

As anyone who suffers from depression knows, there’s a constant dichotomy at play.  We must try to keep pushing forward,  We must try to keep finding joy in the every day.  We must feel our sorrows, move on from them, and keep looking for sunshine.  On Lughnasad I am reminded that this is only the first harvest.  There is more to come.  There is more to eschew, but there is also more to grow and store in my heart and spirit.  Not everything is lost.  Not everything has dies.  Not everything is gone, and that which is probably needs to be.  These fields will not be fallow forever unless I stop cultivating.

Go now, cultivate and know the sun is shining, even if you can’t see it.

Aloha

 

Mental illness is no joke, nor is it something we can ignore.  You can find all manner of statistics on the percentage of children, adolescents, and adults will some form of mental or emotional disorder, but it continues to be almost taboo to discuss in polite company.  On any given commute train I can hear all the details of someone’s physical struggles, and it’s a story of strength and challenges overcome, but most stories about mental illness or emotional struggles end in “well, what can you do?  She’s crazy!”  This social attitude has lead to two things.

First, it has given the world the idea that it’s acceptable to ignore, or even mock, the issues of mental illness.  To those who live with it, depression is not just an unwillingness to be happy or overcome life’s obstacles, but a crushing inability to even fathom doing so.  We have very few resources for people who struggle with these issues, and the ones that do exist are costly and unstable at best.  In the end, many are labelled as “helpless” or “chronic” and left with the options to either heavily medicate to an almost nonfunctional level or to wing it with little to no support.  Either way, it generally leads to a very isolated life.

Secondly, it has opened the door for a lifetime of excuses and scapegoating, usually because the first condition exists.  Mental illness is not an insurmountable obstacle.  It just takes work, time, and a lot of inner fortification.  For years I have had people tell me, “you don’t know what it’s like”, which is always true.  No, I don’t know what anyone else’s personal struggles are like, but they have no idea what mine are like either, and I refuse to get into a “woe is me” pity war.  Everyone has mountains to climb.  Those with additional imbalances and emotional scars may have extra obstacles in the path, but nothing makes the climb impossible but death.

The harsh reality of mental and emotional illness is that it doesn’t stop life from coming at you.  You don’t get a reprieve from adulthood because of a rough childhood.  You don’t get a pass on responsibility because someone else may have dropped the ball on you at some point in your life.  There are no mental wheelchairs or emotional hearing aids, but there is no excuse for refusing to try and live life, especially if you’ve made the choice to have children, go to school, or start a career path.  It took me years to learn this lesson, and a few more to learn that no one was going to be able to help me when I really needed it if I wasn’t willing to at least try to help myself first.

There is a happy medium here between being labelled a nut job, told it’s all in your head, and deciding there’s no way you can ever be functional.  It’s called life, and we all have to live it to our best abilities no matter what tools we’re given.  I will always give support to someone having a bad day, but never sympathy for someone using these struggles for anything but an opportunity to grow as a person.  I don’t believe coddling helps anyone, nor will I sit by and listen to someone blame bad choices on something that possibly can’t be controlled but can be mitigated.  The words “I’ve got this issue, so you should have expected my bad behaviour,” is a cop out and an insult to everyone who has overcome tragedy, loss, or illness in his or her life.

We owe it to ourselves and others who are fighting along side us to do everything we can to get through this life together.  Everyone has the opportunity to make excuses.  Those who choose not to are the ones who will get the support they need when the time comes.

 

good-bad-angel

 

2013 is my sophomore year doing NaNoWriMo, and I am loving the experience.  Last year was fun, but I was too nice to my story.  My characters had a lot of great sex, but their life didn’t have a lot of anything else happening.  I will probably use those scenes for other things, or maybe I’ll scrape the whole thing into something useful, but the end result was not a  usable novel, which was fine with me, since my goal for the first year was to finish the word count goal.

This year I was in love with my story before I even started writing it.  The concept came to me in September, and it took a lot of effort on my part not to start it early.  Less than a week in I was already wondering what my characters were doing when I wasn’t with them.  They had really started to develop personalities and lives independent of the novel.

Today we’re halfway through NaNoWriMo, and though I had prewritten blogs ready to post I am borrowing the words in this post from the 6,000 words over  target I currently have written to tell you about something amazing that happened this afternoon.

All week I have had a hard time having an emotional response to anything that has been going on in my life.  We’ve had a lot of ups and downs that made it hard to fathom adding the responsibilities of NaNoWriMo to the load, but I dedicated myself with the intention of using it to distract myself a little bit.  My first week of writing was exactly the opposite.  I poured a lot of my emotional overflow into my story.  This past Monday it all just stopped.  I listened to music.  I read.  I wrote.  I did everything I could to try to illicit any and all kinds of emotions, but I couldn’t.

This is an extremely dangerous phase of depression for me.  When I’m hopeless or sad I can at least care enough to try to pull through it, but when there’s nothing to feel I’m prone to making bad decisions.  What’s kept me from doing so?  My characters are making bad decisions for me.

Today I put one of my characters in the hospital, and while I haven’t been able to dig up a single give-a-shit for real life at the moment, the idea of my protagonist being in peril, whether or not I have previous knowledge or control over his future, had me blubbering like an idiot.

I am anxious to finish this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge and share my final result with the world.  I have found a love for these characters that I hope shines through in their stories and interactions.

Current Word Count: 31,659 and counting.

Pardon the break from useful content and indulge me in a need for companionship.  Friends, it has been the better part of a week since I’ve gotten so much as a hug, and I am simply not put together this way.  The caveat of being open and wearing my heart on my sleeve is that I get lonely.  Yes, it is possible for someone polyamorous to be lonely, and tonight I have gone through all the stages of loneliness, from angry to sad to numb to “let’s make a terrible decision we’ll regret later”.

Hubby is currently away on a trip with A that started while I was away for work, which means I haven’t seen him since Monday, and even that was a fly-by event.  He also forgot his phone at home, and while he has been calling to check in from A’s phone I can’t just text or call him with an issue.  Besides, the man’s on vacation.

With the weekend to myself I made plans.  Oh, the plans I made.  One by one each and every single plan I set in motion for this weekend has backfired or jumped ship, even the highly anticipated time I had planned with my new beau, so it’s been am emotional rollercoaster through a Blue Moon.

Now here I am, unable to sleep, unable to call, and unable to find any rhyme or reason to my emotions.  I am not someone given to fits of depression and loneliness, but it has been an unusually rough week healthwise, which always plays with my stability.  What to I do, friends, aside from sit on the internet at 2am desperately searching for someone else who might be up?  Frankly, that’s it.  I suck it up like a big girl and hope for a better day tomorrow.  I resist a million puling posts about being lonely and pent-up and hope I don’t say anything I might later regret.  I wait for Hubby to return on Monday and hope there’s a hug for me in there somewhere.  I refuse to let myself go back to a place where bad decisions are made by emotions and my only means of outlet is destruction, distraction, and pushing everyone I love away from me.  After all, how does that help my case of loneliness?  It doesn’t, that’s how.

Go now.  Why aren’t you in bed?

Namaste.

I used to get depressed a lot.  It’s a fact that there are different types of depression.  I get both physiological depression caused by chemical and hormonal imbalances and your every day, run of the mill, emotional depression.  I get panic attacks, I get crying fits, I have temper issues, and I get withdrawn.  I have been on medication for it, but the result is never good.  I end up a doped up Pollyanna with those thoughts of suicide the commercials warn us about, so when I try to kill myself at least I’m bubbly and smiling when I do.  I have stopped trying new drugs.  It’s really not worth the risk to me.  Instead, I have learned to control my temper and stop throwing things at Hubby, have my emotional release at the appropriate time in the privacy of my own home instead of the supermarket, and try not to take out my depression on those around me.  I do not perpetuate the “Misery loves company” motto, and I certainly don’t need to own any more black clothing than I already do.

In all seriousness, I have worked really hard to harness these episodes and let them pass.  I learned a long time ago that suppressing them makes them worse and sometimes permanent.  This is, however, in no way a cure.  It’s a coping mechanism at best.  Meditation and some heavy soul-searching can only take me so far.  There are times I just have to let myself be depressed and get past it.  I also have no control over the timing of these events.  They do not always hit me when it’s convenient or helpful to a current situation.

Let’s take a look at this recent down-swing I’m in.  Hubby’s last girlfriend and I had a few issues and emotional clashes.  Since I couldn’t express a lot of my frustration to her directly, he ended up taking a brunt of the backlash.  It wasn’t fair to him, and I handled it poorly.  As a result, he’s a little gun-shy.  My current depression hit the day before he was set to go on a first date with a new interest.  He’s really optimistic, not only about the two of them but about the two of us really getting along well.  I’m happy for him.  I’m optimistic.  He doesn’t believe me though, because the two nights he’s gone to see her I’ve been bawling when he left.    He tried to stay home the first night, because I was bawling so hard I couldn’t breathe.  I finally convinced him to go, but he’s still not convinced I’m comfortable with this situation.

Once I’m out of this funk I’m going to have some serious damage control to take care of.  We’ll get through it, and I really do wish him the best.  *sniffle*

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