There can be months when all I can muster is to write two blog entries. Lately, I’ve been putting all of my steam into this blog. It seems a healthy outlet, right? Better than self-harming. It gives me a place to channel my emotions. If it benefits anyone one the side, all the more better. That’s why this interior dialogue is public. For you all. Y’all.
I am emotive. I have tons of emotions. That only means that I am human. The fact that, at least in the past, I have experienced stronger than normal emotions and have acted out on them. That has gotten me the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. You cannot call people “Borderlines” because we are not our diagnosis. It’s an illness or a disorder that happens to be a part of our mental make-up but it does not define us. I don’t think this was ever an official diagnosis of mine, but I had enough symptoms to be sent to Dialectic Behaviour Therapy, and that form of therapy was helpful. Much more helpful than Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.
Now that I’m doing much better, I do not think that diagnosis applies to me. I also, unofficially, had PTSD for several years but those symptoms are no longer there. No more flashbacks, nightmares, sleeping with the lights on, afraid to step out of my home. Well, sometimes, but maybe that’s more of a neurosis or a part of me being holed-in by confining myself to my apartment. There are days that I just don’t make it outside.
The only official diagnosis I’ve ever gotten is major depressive disorder. I think that’s enough. It was enough to warrant about 30 ECTs and several suicide attempts. Now I’m still dealing with suicidal ideation that creeps back a few times a month, but those periods are becoming less intense. No, they’re not. But maybe I have more control than I used to think I had before. The pain isn’t there any more. It’s the memory of the pain that is there. There is hurt, which is a part of my past and my story, but it’s not actively, acutely painful like it used to be. It used to hurt more than a physical wound ever could, and that’s why I needed to end the pain. Through therapy and many supportive people, I have learned and increased my coping skills. I suppose I’m now more skillful in navigating the emotional world of the mind than some other adults. Some people just never learn. I just happened to have a life experience which required the necessity to overcome and digest and to live with a traumatic past.
Diagnoses aside, the bigger question presents itself: Who am I? I think that this has been a huge dilemma for me. When I was in that relationship for 12 years I wasn’t allowed to be myself. I had to suppress that innate part of me. But now that I am free of an abusive relationship, I am also, finally, free to be myself. However, I don’t quite know who that person is. Does work define me? Do my relationships and the people I surround myself with define me? Do my actions? Do my words count? And every breath that I take? What defines us is different for every person.
I know I’m not doing the job that I am going to be doing 10 years from now. I know that I have many more people to meet in my lifetime. I know that I am not satisfied with the way my life is right now and that things have to change. I could be listening to classical music, reading a nice book, sitting out in the jacuzzi, strolling on the sidewalk. I have the potential for a peaceful life right now. I have no real obligations other than work (and staying alive). I could potentially be happy. That “potential” right now feels like a bug squished under my finger, like the repulsion of having killed an insect. It feels so far away and I see it as the bane of my existence. If only I “could”. I “should” be happy. I could be content. I could feel at peace. Yet I don’t. Not always. Not yet.
This blog has become my obsession as of late. I must have some form of anxiety, which creeps up as I’m sitting idle on my couch, wondering what in the world to do with myself. I don’t want to read a book, I don’t want to exercise, I don’t want to do anything but write, and there’s only so much eating I can do to distract myself. Sometimes (okay, often) when I start a project, I delve my entire being, all of me, all of my energy, unto that project until I’m satisfied with it. Two years ago when I learned to knit (I have since forgotten) I must have knitted 100 ruffle scarves. That number seriously might be an understatement. It wasn’t about the product, it was the process which was my therapy. I gave all of my scarves away, all of the unused yarn I had stored up, even my knitting needles, when I moved. If I paint, it’s all about the painting until it’s done. If I write poetry, the entire focus of my every day is on writing that poem, and the next, and the next. Sometimes the words just flow and I can’t stop them, and I have to quickly grab a pen before I lose them in the next moment. Are you getting the idea of how my mind works?
These phases don’t last very long. Maybe a year. Then my energy wanes and I begin to focus on the next project. Baking was one of them too. Oh, did I used to bake! Up a storm! And for that too, I’ve since given away to Goodwill a lot of my bake ware. I don’t even have flour or baking soda in the cupboard. But I hope this blog isn’t just a phase. It’s proof that I am living and it’s my affirmation to myself that I can be who I want to be, particularly on this blog. I don’t care who reads it or what they think (okay, I care a little). I know there will be a time in my life when I have other things to focus on. Perhaps a family, a more demanding career, heck, even a boyfriend (that’s a long way down the road). But for right now, this needs to be my focus. I feel it in my bones that I am doing the right thing for me by “putting myself out there” for anyone to bear witness to my journey.
And then there’s my therapist. He is the grounding part of my life. He helps me to regulate my anxieties, mediate and negotiate with them. I wish I were seeing him today. I cannot wait until I see him tomorrow. I have to wait. I can’t make time move faster. I don’t have that sort of control. I just have to exercise patience. He helps me to figure out this uphill battle toward success (whatever that will become) and in making my life a life worth living. I’m not there yet but I hope to be, in time.