After a year of ups and downs and losing myself, I finally gave myself the opportunity to be myself again. It was not easy. In fact it was the single most challenging experience of my life. I was committed to being present, being determined and making it all work…but at the expense of who I was. This toxic and damaging time in my life was also the period in my life that I was going through a massive transformation of understanding who and what I am as I live with the constant reminder of the mental illness that alters my thoughts, drives my emotions and forces itself upon me when I least expect it.
For a year, I focused on helping someone very special to me. The loss that she experienced was life altering. The emergence of my own illness and its diagnosis challenging our relationship to its very core…and through the last year the walking on egg shells as I was pushed away, shut out or sent away multiple times only to be drawn back in when I was once again needed.
2 months ago, this constant up and down and push and pull was truly starting to wear on my own health both physical and mental. I was finding myself accepting the behaviour as normal and part of what I was thinking that I deserved as I was fearful of what life alone would actually be like.
I didn’t like who I had become trying to constantly apologize for a single moment in time. To relive the shame and guilt of that moment over and over each time things didn’t go this person’s way. I was beginning to travel down a path that not only left me fearing that the concessions I was making were not healthy…I was even more afraid that as I was losing myself to this new “normal” that was happening. What was once happiness became increasingly difficult to handle. I dreaded the text or phone call…but worse was afraid when it did not come.
The hard work that I had put into identifying and living my own life and accepting the diagnosis of BPD was being torn apart by accepting the fact that I was really only important, when I was needed, the rest of the time I was a burden or worse an after thought.
It started to really go South when I started to say no. Finding my voice and not just allowing myself to be the play thing for someone else’s distorted whim.
The more I said no, it seemed the more I was drawn back in to this world that I had been a part of. I longed for the happiness we once shared and somehow thought that if I just was present, we would get back to that happy place that we once shared.
Now today I stand alone. Ready to be healthy and find companionship based on honesty and openness.
I find it hard to talk about my illness with others in the early stages of meeting them as there is such a great stigma still attached to admitting that every moment is not good.
I try to practice the skills I learned and have renewed my focus on DBT but even now, I find it incredibly challenging to accept that as I dip my toe into the waters of dating again…that the people I meet are not at my beck and call, just as I should not be that way for them. I am craving happiness. I desire companionship. I need solace. But all the while, the doubts and fears come back to me. How fast do I allow a relationship to progress. How many of my actions are based on this perpetual need to not be alone, but at the same time long for being ok with myself in all that that means.
Life is not easy and we enter into the holiday season…it is going to get much harder.
Am I ready…I don’t know. I just know that I need to keep moving and living in the moment.