People with BPD are like people with 3rd degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement. –Marsha Linehan
This is my favorite BPD quote from Marsha Linehan because it expresses so poignantly how I often feel. Everyone likes to show their best side, their highlight reel, and their successes, including myself. I try to share selectively on my blog because I want to promote positivity and growth. But the other side of that is my set-backs. It’s difficult for me to share that side because I don’t like to seem weak. I despise weakness in myself, which is partly why I’m so adamant about my exercise regimen.
For the majority of the past 6 months in therapy, I’ve told myself how great I’m doing, how strong I am, and how God is doing wonderful things in my life, which is all true. But my black and white thinking doesn’t consider the other side of the equation-I will have some bad days, sometimes my emotions will have the upper hand and I will feel out of control. This protuberant concept of my success means that when I falter, I swing to the complete other side of the spectrum.
But I’ll honest, this past week has been difficult for me. In addition to missing out on therapy for 3 weeks (because of the holiday and I forgot to go to my appointment), my boyfriend is out of town for another 2 months. I feel like my family is collapsing around me and all I can do is watch. Someone very close to me is sick with cancer. When my support system is weakened, I feel like I have nothing left to stand on and I will sink into oblivion.
I’ve been fighting the urge to quit my job which was exacerbated by some minor conflicts with some coworkers that most people would forget about in less than a few minutes. But I can’t seem to forget. Being around groups of people causes great anxiety to me oftentimes. I’m worried I’m messing up, they don’t like me, or think I’m not good at my job. Every small interaction has potential to be devastating to my self-worth. It scares me that I’ve had over 10 jobs in the last 5 years. I want to know I can support myself and maintain a long-term job. But I’m doubting my ability to.
In addition to the workplace, attempting to have a social life, for me, is like trying to grasp a knife that doesn’t have a handle, I will get cut no matter what. I attempt to create a protective bubble around myself to keep strangers out because I don’t trust them. I’m scared that they are already judging me by how I look or stand or breath. I worry they will exploit my weaknesses. I dislike them already because I can’t feel safe around them. I know in my head that people don’t intentionally hurt me, but after a while it feels like a real possibility that everyone’s out to get me. It concerns me how much control others have over my life.
But the downside of my bubble is I’m alone with my thoughts and start to drown in my own sadness and frustration. If I can act pleasant for long enough, I can participate in a human interaction so that my thoughts don’t overtake me yet. I can delay the process and almost forget for a few moments. But as soon as my façade falls away, the waves come crashing on top of me.
One of the most frustrating aspects of my emotional instability is attempting to explain it to people who care about me. When they realize I’m deeply troubled and ask me, “what’s wrong,” I feel like an idiot because I wish I could tell them what happened. If I can’t identify exactly what’s going on, I don’t feel like I have a real reason to be upset. But sometimes I’ll just be wandering through the grocery store and all of a sudden, my mind is swarmed with thoughts of worthlessness, loneliness, and fear.
Sometimes, I re-read my old blog posts and ask myself, “What was I thinking? Why did I sound so self-assured and positive?” I know in my head what’s true, but often times, I live life through my emotions which have their own stories. I need to take my own advice sometimes. I keep trying to turn back to God’s Word and filling my mind with truth. Whether I feel it or not, God is always on my side. Through the darkest valley, my protector and savior walks besides me. And I’m finding the more I turn to the ultimate source of love and comfort, Him and His peace becomes more tangible to me.
“Come close to God, and God will come close to you.”