April 27, 2010

Turning Point

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:34 am by eddejae

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anais Nin

The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep. ~Robert Frost

Come to the edge, He said. They said: we are afraid. Come to the edge, He said. They came. He pushed them, and they flew. ~Guillaume Apollinaire

So much has happened over the last few days, I hardly know where to begin.

I’m not sure I know how to adequately express what a roller coaster I’ve been on. I have run the gamut of emotions from ecstatic joy to intense fear. I am exhausted yet I sit here in front of my computer at almost 1AM knowing that if I don’t write about all of this I will regret it. I can’t let it build up like I’ve done so many times before.

As I stated in my last post, I am in love. Now, I have this hunch that for most people, this is a perfectly natural thing bringing nothing but unadulterated joy. Unfortunately, dealing with BPD makes love and relationships much more complicated and emotionally stressful than they need to be. It seems that even the most positive emotion gets muddied by insecurity, fear, pain, jealousy, and even desperation. It is difficult to feel happiness in its purity when bits of memories, past experiences, and the things you are most scared of threaten to drag you back down into misery.

But I’m not going to let that happen, no matter how hard it is or how scared I am.

I must live.

I must love.

Or there will be nothing else left but to die.

I need to give a little bit of background. My now-boyfriend, who I will call… Todd. Yes, Todd. Good name. Anyways… “Todd” has been in my life for six years. He is my best friend and always will be. He knows me better than anyone on the face of the planet, especially myself. We’ve been through so much together. We have dated on and off for the last several years, but it seemed I always ruined it. We could never figure out why I was always pushing him away and then clinging to him for dear life; breaking up and getting back together; the fights; the jealousy; the hurt feelings and broken hearts… I never meant to hurt him. I always loved him with all of my heart, and neither of us could understand why I would say and do things that hurt him, that hurt the relationship, and that hurt myself… especially myself.

We parted ways back in August, which was right before I experienced the hypomanic episode followed by the suicidal crash that sent me to the hospital three times. We had stopped talking, and he didn’t find out about what I had been going through until just a few months ago. He and my mother (who had always been like his second mom) started talking and she was able to fill him in on what had happened. Once he found out I was diagnosed with BPD, he went and bought every book he could find on it. I knew he was communicating with my mother but wasn’t ready to start talking to him yet. I still felt in a fragile state and I didn’t want to mess anything up. I missed him, I knew I loved him and wanted to be with him and was pretty sure he felt the same, but I wanted to wait until I was “ready” for a relationship (because I knew that is what it would become as it is hard to be “just friends” with someone you have such strong feelings for). So I’ve just been going along, hearing about how he’s been doing from my mom (he’s in the Air Force and quite busy with work and training right now) and becoming nice and cozy in the fact that he would be around whenever I decided to come out of my cocoon.

Well, that happened sooner than I thought. And I wasn’t even “ready” yet. We talked on the phone Thursday night for the first time in 9 long months. I broke down. I cried and told him everything I felt for him. How I didn’t ever want to be with anyone else; how sorry I was for hurting him; how badly I felt about my situation; how I was afraid of letting him down, of failing. He told me how much he loved me and missed me. I forgot what it felt like to be loved so unconditionally by someone who could name quite a few reasons for hating me if he wanted to. It was amazing…

And then…

I started to get scared. Scared of failing. Scared of hurting him again. Scared of loving. Scared of having him back in my life. Scared because I knew that talking to him inevitably meant loving him, which would lead to being with him, which would lead to… oh my gosh… living life?!?! I told him, “Give me a month. I”ll be ready to see you in a month.” Just another way to put off what I wanted the most and yet was desperately afraid of.

Loving him meant living my life as I always dreamed it could be.

Loving him meant opening myself up to him and to others.

Loving him meant letting myself be imperfect.

Loving him meant accepting myself as worthy of love, here and now.

Loving him meant not running anymore from the things that make life worth living

Loving him meant becoming alive again.

Loving him meant not WAITING until everything, including myself, was PERFECT.

And. I. Was. Terrified.

As I hung up the phone with Todd, I started to feel like I was sinking into an endless black pit of fear and pain. I had just experienced two hours of complete elation and hope, and suddenly I was falling, falling, falling…

Something became very clear to me.

At that very moment I was standing at a fork in the road. I had a decision to make. There were two paths I could take. Two options, each in complete opposition to each other. The fear of living pulled me one way, the yearning to be loved and to jump back into life again pulled the other. One way seemed less frightening and demanding. The other way appeared risky with the possibility of failure and further pain.

One was to end my life. I admit I seriously contemplated this. Being in love meant feeling. Living meant feeling. Feelings terrify me. As far as I’ve come in my recovery, they still tear me apart. No matter what they are, positive or negative. At times, I would rather die or spend the rest of my life in a mental hospital than to feel. Than to live. Than to take that leap into the unknown.

The other, of course, was to throw myself into life and love. This meant feeling. This meant risking everything. This meant happiness and sadness, joy and pain, sorrow and elation. This meant opening myself up to healing. This meant going outside my comfort zone. This meant no more hiding.

I knew, in that all-important moment, that it was one or the other. I realized I couldn’t mull around in this in-between place anymore, in this limbo, in this stagnant place where I was not going backward, but I was not going full-speed ahead either – more like…drifting with the current. I realized it was driving me insane, that I have been retreating more and more into my own head and withdrawing from life and from other people again. Afraid to live. Wanting to stay safe inside my little shell. I knew I couldn’t do that anymore.

It was either end it all or bite the bullet and jump.

I grappled with this decision. I went back and forth. Between love and fear, hope and despair. In a moment of complete desperation and confusion, I wound up cutting myself pretty badly. I asked my mom to take me to the hospital. She said, “No. I will NOT let you do this to yourself again. I will NOT let you cop out. We are bandaging this up and you are going to be strong.” At first I fought it, I protested, I cried, I screamed – I threw a tantrum like a three year old. Don’t make me live! I’m scared! God, don’t make me do this!

After a long night of crying, and a visit to my therapist in the morning (which I only got through thanks to my the nifty little defense mechanism called disassociation)… I realized that I did NOT have two choices.

I had ONE choice.

Death was NOT an option for me. Or rather… I could not LET it be an option.

I could not let the monster win. I had to fight it.

ONE choice: To live.

ONE choice: To love.

ONE choice: To be with Todd and thereby letting my dreams come true.

ONE choice. To let myself be happy.

So here I go. Taking that leap, that plunge, that ultimate risk called life. It is scary. It is tumultuous. It is what I was born to experience, and experience it I must. Experience it I shall.

Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down. ~Ray Bradbury

All I have is here, today, now. No more living in the past, no more living for tomorrow. Loving Todd and jumping back into life in all its uncertainties and complexities means forcing myself to live in the present, to accept myself for who I am IN THIS MOMENT. This is the hardest thing in the world, but we LEARN how to by DOING it.

It is by jumping off that cliff that we learn how to spread our wings and fly…

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about getting out there and dancing in the rain.

My own experience has taught me this: if you wait for the perfect moment when all is safe and assured it may never arrive. Mountains will not be climbed, races won or lasting happiness achieved. ~Maurice Chevalier

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live. ~Leo F. Buscaglia

Life can be magnificent and overwhelming — that is the whole tragedy. Without beauty, love, or danger it would almost be easy to live. ~ Albert Camus

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6 Comments »

  1. ivypixi said,

    Congratulations and good luck. Congratulations for so many reasons, the relationship, the courage you have show, your brave decision. Keep living!

  2. Treyvone said,

    Its amazing how you feel what I feel. I, like you, met an amazing man and I fell in love with him overnight. I guess its part of this disorder to attach yourself to someone. A few months into the relationship I thought he had cheated on me and I went from complete love for him to utter resentment hate and ager. So I cheated to. Part of me, no all f me, wanted revenge but once I had opened my previously closed door of risky sexual encounter (or anonymous sex as I like to call it) I fell back into the trap of feeding my downs with that high of sex and drugs. I haven’t been diagnosed with BPD yet but the more I read up on it and speak to people like yourself about it the more I realise that I am BPD.
    Last week I tried to kill myself. No. Not kill myself release the pain is more of an adequate description of what I was doing. I cut two deep slits into my wrist and took some pills with wine. Strangely I have never felt more euphoric than dead. Sometimes when I’m numb I want to do it again. But I want to live. I want my ‘Todd” to love me. Like you though all those fears spring up into my head, fear of being less than perfect, not running away from issues and opening myself up to him completely. It is these fears that have strangled me for years. I don’t know how to separate myself from my fears or how to continue in the struggle to live fully.
    Thank you for putting my thoughts to words… You don’t know what it means to know that I am not alone in this struggle against myself.

  3. fiamarie said,

    You are so lucky my friend, and so is he…

  4. ~christy said,

    Edde, I’ve read this journal entry about 15 times now. I can relate to so much of it. Its me, but written so much more eloquently than I ever could have. I’m very much alone and in all my life have never met anyone “like” me. Its almost a joy to me to know that there are others out there somewhere who feel like I do, who experience the ups & downs like I do, who cling to the fear, who hurt like I do. You are an inspiration to me…you make me want to get better…your words go into my head and sit there and sing to me…I want to live! Thank you. Please keep writing.

  5. V said,

    I just stumbled across this post because I was looking for that Anais Nin quote….but I am SO glad I did. This entry is amazing. Simply amazing. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself, you have inspired me. ❤


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