June 7, 2010

Something About the Sea

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:30 pm by eddejae

There’s something about the sea that lets me open up and sets my mind and heart free again to express everything inside…

I am sitting in the large living room window of my uncle’s beach house in Sea Ranch on the spectacularly beautiful California coast. The sun slipped below the horizon half of an hour ago, yet the waves – only a hop, skip, and a jump away from the house – are still clearly visible as they push and pull against the shore. A curious little fox just peered through the glass sliding door, probably hoping I had left him another orange to much on, but finding no such tasty morsel prepared this fine evening, scampered away to search for meatier prey. It has been a while since I have really sat down and written. I’ve made a blog post here and there, but since my engagement I have been quite preoccupied with wedding plans and more overwhelmed than I’d like to admit about this impending life transition.

And what a transition it is. From single to engaged. From engaged to married. It all happened so fast my head is still spinning. Don’t get me wrong… it is wonderful. Exciting. Even fairytale-like you could say. But… overwhelming. So… So… Overwhelming. To the point where I feel like I’m just an auto-pilot most of the time. Floating through a dream. That I’m going to wake up and realize that none of this is real and that I’m still in the hospital. Sometimes I’m afraid that my emotions haven’t quite caught up with me yet, and that when they do, I’m going to crash and burn. But then, I realize that my emotions catch up with me every day, that I have my “break-downs” every day… That hardly a day goes by where I don’t cry for some reason or another, that hardly a week goes by where I don’t feel like I’m going to snap… I’m still me. I still have BPD. I’m still fighting depression. I’m still on medication. I still have demons. I’m still living one day at a time.

But…I have a very real life I must live. I have dreams to chase. A wonderful man to marry. A home to build. A world of my own to create. I must move forward. And I am. And I will. Doesn’t mean I’m cured. Doesn’t mean I don’t struggle every single day. Doesn’t mean I still don’t have my insecurities, my fears, my nightmares, my urges. But I have to be bigger than this monster that tries to convince me to give up. To run away. That says “All of this is just too much for you. Getting married? You’re not ready. Run. Run while you can! Or better yet. End it. End it while you can. You don’t have to do all this. Avoid the hassle, the pain, the risk… The risk you may fail. The risk you may lose everything in the end. End it. End it now….” The voices are real. The demons are real. The dreams are real. The depression is real. The BPD is real.

But I am real too. And I am stronger. My will is real. My spirit is real. My daydreams are real. My happiness is real. Todd is real. Love is real. Hope is real. Faith is real. Beauty is real.

I am real. I am strong. I am stronger than what seeks to destroy me. And I will win. Every time. Again and again and again and again and again… For the rest of my life.

I don’t know if this will ever leave me completely. I don’t know if the thoughts, the feelings, the fears, the insecurities, those things that torture me and haunt me will ever go away… I hope so. Maybe. Someday. But if not… It’s ok. I’m at peace with that. I accept it. Because I know I’m stronger.

Someone asked me today… “Are you sure you have BPD? Because you never complain.” I said, “Because I know… That this too shall pass.” Radical acceptance of what I cannot change, at least not right away… What I cannot change, but what I can conquer, moment by moment, day by day. I could complain. I do. Sometimes. What holds me back? Guilt. I don’t want to be a burden. There are a few people I feel comfortable letting go with. And that’s ok. I don’t need to try and be strong and positive all the time. I guess that’s part of leaning on other people and letting them be there for me. But for the most part… I want to focus on the positive and what I’m doing right, not what I hate about myself. But no one’s perfect, and we all need to vent once in a while. That’s what friends are for. I am grateful for my friends.

These days, I don’t really know what I’m feeling from one moment to the next. Thank goodness for Todd, who helps me to figure it out. I will begin to cry my eyes out, and I won’t even know why. It is so confusing and frustrating to not know why you are sobbing, why you feel you are falling into a dark pit and can’t get out. It seems if you could just comprehend the reason why you felt something, then you could solve the problem and all would be well. You feel that if you cannot even understand your own emotions, how in the world can you be expected to navigate your way through this crazy, confusing, terrifying world? The world becomes a monstrous place, a labyrinth of mysteries, gray-areas, and paradoxes where nothing is clear and everything is seen through a kaleidoscope of criss-crossed emotions.

At the same time… deep down… I know that everything is going to be ok. That I won’t run away. That I won’t die. I do not have a sense of impending doom, because I know that, when all is said and done, I will be getting married to Todd on July 3, we will go on our honeymoon, we will move into our new apartment, and we will begin a new life together as a married couple. He will continue to work at the air force base, and I will begin school to get a degree in music and theatre. No matter what happens with my mind and my emotions, those things will happen. And that brings me a measure of peace, of predictability, of stability, of structure. And I need that… desperately.

A plan.

A plan to keep me going, to keep me grounded when my mind is miles up in space or in the darkest recesses of the earth.

This too shall pass.

Moving forward is the most important thing.

One step at a time.

We rest here while we can, but we hear the ocean calling in our dreams,

And we know by the morning, the wind will fill our sails to test the seams,

The calm is on the water and part of us would linger by the shore,

For ships are safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.

~Michael Lille

May 24, 2010

Hoping for the Sea

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:03 am by eddejae

Dedicated to Fia…

Smile, though your heart is aching

Smile, even though it’s breaking

When there are clouds in the sky

You’ll get by…

If you smile

With your fear and sorrow

Smile and maybe tomorrow

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just…

Light up your face with gladness

Hide every trace of sadness

Although a tear may be ever so near

That’s the time you must keep on trying


Smile, what’s the use of crying

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just…


Smile, though your heart is aching

Smile, even though it’s breaking

When there are clouds in the sky

You’ll get by…


If you smile

Through your fear and sorrow

Smile and maybe tomorrow

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just smile…

That’s the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what’s the use of crying

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just smile…

March 6, 2010

Jude, the Sea, and Me

Posted in recovery tagged , , , , , , , , at 4:39 pm by eddejae

There are times when painful memories hit me at the oddest moments, triggering a whole gamut of unwanted emotions ranging from fear to hurt to anger. The smallest thing can bring it on – a song, a face, a street. Sometimes it seems to take me over entirely, and I “space out,” overwhelmed and almost reliving the memory with all its accompanying shame, fear, and hopelessness. These attacks have been less frequent lately, but they still happen now and then, and it forces me to practice using a healthier coping method than my habitual “pain-numbers” as bingeing, cutting, or disappearing for days at a time. I will admit, I did consider cutting because the memories I was having evoked a lot of self-hatred. However, instead of dwelling on that thought, I grabbed my ipod and listened to my favorite Beatles song, “Hey Jude” (specifically the version from the musical Across the Universe).

I listened to it over and over again until I felt better. I even went in my room and sang along. It helped lift me out of my gloom and put some spark back into my spirit. To me, the song expresses hope, joy, and fearlessness. It also made me think back to the time I spent last summer at Sea Ranch (a community on the west coast near Bodega Bay), when I first fell in love with that song. I was going through a difficult transition at that time, and that song brought me a lot of comfort.

I really miss that house by the ocean. It belonged to my uncle, but he wound up having to sell it. Every morning, I would walk out the back door, down a flight of wooden stairs, and be right at the water’s edge. It was spectacularly gorgeous. There is something about the combination of the salty air and the cold water that is not only physically refreshing, but mentally refreshing as well. I think so much more clearly when I’m at the ocean, and it’s easier for me to feel joy. Running barefoot along the sand, feeling the rush of movement as the waves gather and recede around my ankles, exploring the seaweed-adorned and barnacle-encrusted rocks, poking at starfish and sea anemone, hiking for miles along the shore… Nothing is more relaxing and soul-soothing in my book. I miss it…

Waves of music, waves of the sea, washing away my pain…