Life has been living up to this Mike Tyson quote lately, and in a way, I’m not overly surprised. Getting married about 10 months ago was a huge change for me, and not one that I felt entirely ready for. I don’t regret it… but I knew it’d be tough. Really tough. And maybe I’ve self-sabotaged a bit because of that knowledge, unconsciously waiting for it to get difficult until – SHOCK – it did.
These days, I manage my BPD (or I keep it in “remission,” rather) by keeping my environment and body as stable as I can. I actively avoid negativity/triggering things whenever possible, and I’m now that shockingly lame person who eats loads of fruit and veg, takes supplements for brain health, gets to bed early, and works out most days of the week. Until early this month, that is, when all hell broke loose, for reasons that are too long to go into here.
Anyway, self-care took a nosedive, depression came roaring back into my life, and severe anxiety started to creep into my every waking minute, which is weird, because I’ve always been a depressive (as in past-focused) rather than an anxious (as in future-focused) person.
Now my husband and I are embroiled in a horrendous standoff—the kind I’ve had with almost every single person who has ever been close to me at some point. The kind that goes “You just don’t care about me, you wish I was dead, and if you did care, you would do _____(fill in the blank with some unknown and impossibly intuitive action).” Why? Because I have BPD, and it’s what we do, isn’t it? Ruin our interpersonal relationships, in the same way, with the same weapons, over and over and over.
So I’m writing this from the heart of damage-control mode, and not really sure what we’re going to do. See a therapist? Did we really only make it less than a year without needing marriage counselling? I feel like such a fucking failure. I hate relapsing at the best of times but this feels like the biggest setback in a long time, like I haven’t made any progress at all, even though my husband tries to remind me that I have.
The BPDfamily.com website has actually been quite helpful to me today. I haven’t felt emotionally okay enough to show it to my husband or look at it WITH him, but I’m trying to see things from his perspective, trying to use it to get outside of my own head and corrosive thinking. And one post from a member there made stop in my tracks, so I’d like to share it here, verbatim:
20 Common Negative Assumptions in BPD thinking:
1. I will always be alone
2. There is no one who really cares about me, who will be available to help me, and whom I can fall back on.
3. If others really get to know me, they will find me rejectable and will not be able to love me; and they will leave me.
4. I can’t manage by myself, I need someone I can fall back on.
5. I have to adapt my needs to other people’s wishes, otherwise they will leave me or attack me.
6. I have no control of myself.
7. I can’t discipline myself.
8. I don’t really know what I want.
9. I need to have complete control of my feelings otherwise things go completely wrong.
10. I am an evil person and I need to be punished for it.
11. If someone fails to keep a promise, that person can no longer be trusted.
12. I will never get what I want.
13. If I trust someone, I run a great risk of getting hurt or disappointed.
14. My feelings and opinions are unfounded.
15. If you comply with someone’s request, you run the risk of losing yourself.
16. If you refuse someone’s request, you run the risk of losing that person.
17. Other people are evil and abuse you.
18. I’m powerless and vulnerable and I can’t protect myself.
19. If other people really get to know me they will find me rejectable.
20. Other people are not willing or helpful.
I’ve no idea where this was originally taken from (as I say, a user just posted it on the message boards at BPDfamily.com), but it served to remind me of what I already know deep down. These are NOT MY THOUGHTS. This is BPD. Plain and (not that) simple. How is that someone can list 20 (TWENTY) statements that perfectly capture my thinking, word for word, when I’m most upset? Answer: because I’m clearly experiencing such a classic, textbook case of this mental disorder that I—along with all other borderlines—can agree with these highly personal statements. It’s a bizarre and very uncomfortable feeling to think that a thought that carries so much emotional weight is, at its core, really just a trick of the brain—a twisted mental process that I’ve internalized until it feels like it’s “the truth” or “the real me.” But it’s not the real me. Just my old frenemy, come to fuck up my life for a while, once again.
Hoping to see you all on the other side of this soon.
Yours in solidarity,