Feeling Tender (as in raw)

Wyoming landscape

Wyoming landscape (Photo credit: theclyde)

I’m half way through a two thousand + mile driving trip with my son. I’ve been away from home for over two weeks (and all the “missing stuff” that goes with being away that goes with that) because I flew back to my mom’s to help my son drive her car back to our place. She had just sold it to him. While there, we found she’d broken her ankle. I stayed longer to get her through surgery and into rehab. When we left to start our drive home, it was emotional for me, but I held it in because emotional is hard for her. And I’m an emotional person. My dad passed away two months ago, she’s 88 and in a hospital bed, and I don’t know when the next time I will see her will be. Then my son and I headed out. We get along great until we argue. During the first thousand miles, we did ok. But last night, we clashed. It wasn’t even the clashing that hurt, but he the tends to emulate (he doesn’t think so, so it may be subconscious ) the way my husband talks to me when I get angry. Coming from a 17 year old, it sounded condescending to me. And that’s what hurt my emotional self. For those of you who may not know much about BPD, we are extremely sensitive when it comes to emotions – like having an emotional skin that is sun third degree burned.The slightest touch to our emotions can be excruciatingly painful. Over sensitive to the Nth degree. For me, it’s not all the time, but when I’m in a phase/ mode of vulnerability or have been triggered. That was me last night, but I pushed some of it down, not wanting to break down in front of my son, letting him see how upset I was. In our hotel bathroom, I wanted to scream, punch the wall, cut – but I didn’t. I didn’t though. I just acknowledged it. In bed, I turned away from his bed and silently cried while thinking over our words to each other. That was when I realized he was talking like my husband and how THAT hurt to hear. Maybe I’m also upset about how my husband talks when I’m this way, and can’t quite face that either? I don’t know. I take things the wrong way a lot. I’ve been like that my whole life! I’m over sensitive to negativity, fear, emotions and loss. And it’s getting closer to my going back to work/new job start date. It all piles on. I miss my dad. I miss my mom and am fearful of her age and losing her too.  Feeling short of breath and there’s a sinking pit in my gut. There’s more to that list, but this post is already a lot longer than I planned since I’m writing it on my phone.

I am enjoying seeing the differing landscapes as we drive the long interstate (I-80) through Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming – and states still ahead. These areas always make me think if the pioneers and how they might have felt traveling through this terrain when there were no trails or roads. I admire them beyond measure.

Visuals

I want to write a post, but my mind is a blank. I’ve been working in my garden a lot, which is very therapeutic for the mind! I think I finally have it all planted and now the tending is to help everything grow. It’s somewhat of a zen garden. There are a few herbs and a cherry tomato plant. Other than that, there are roses (although I’m having trouble getting them to bloom), many different perennials for sun and shade, a slope of succulents, a fig tree, peach tree, Rose of Sharon, tons of rosemary … and a small zen fountain. So rather than write, I’ve decided to share some pictures. Mentally, I’m very good today and grateful for the friends I have and the support and love they have for me (and I for them.)

zen fountain in my garden

zen fountain in my garden

another angle

 

 

 

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Fear and Loathing

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The river of life

I’m not at home right now. I had to return to my parents’. My dad is failing – as in death. I fear his death. His body has gone through hell over the years and it is a miracle that he is still alive. I loath this whole situation. My mom needs me, though, and I am and will be here for her. I love them both very much. This is a difficult part of life. A part I’ve never dealt well with. Mortality. There’s no coming back once the line has been crossed. I’m glad I never crossed it during any of my struggles.

This situation has caused me to reflect on all of my suicidal ideation episodes. I feel horrible about the emotional pain I have put others through over the years. I feel very calm about where we are at with my dad. He seems to be at peace and all that is left is tiredness. The hourglass has almost emptied. I’m confused by my calmness. All of my BPD seems absent. Am I in shock? I just don’t know.

Home again, home again. Home again, now!

I had a wonderful two week (almost) visit back to Wisconsin to be with my parents for Christmas. I was also able to see and catch up with a lot of friends and previous colleagues. Seeing my elderly father settling into a daily routine, in his independent living apartment community, and stick to it despite having company, gave me a good feeling. He and my mother are comfortable there and have made a lot of friends. My dad gets out of the apartment for a coffee hour and lunch every day – which means that he is seeing and interacting with people other than my mother. When they were still in their house, he would often go for a week or more seeing only her (or me when I went over.) That was stressful for both of them! We all know what it’s like when you spend too much time with only one other person. Even the best relationships can get ouchy! Although my mom has been able to come and visit me here in California, and will again, I doubt my dad will be able to due to physical limitations. That was why it was so important for me to go see them over Christmas.

my son, dad, mom and me

Peter, Dad, Mom and me

Dad, Mom and me

Dad, Mom and me

father and daughter

father and daughter

I also was able to have Christmas with my sisters-in-law and their families. A long tradition on Christmas day, of rotating homes, will no longer include our house unless they all decide to come out here one Christmas! It was a long day starting with picking my son up at the airport after his overnight flight from San Francisco. Then it was back to Grandma and Grandpa’s for a belated Christmas Eve time (when my family usually does Christmas) before we headed down to the in-laws.

My niece and her husband

My niece and her husband

Anxiety always plagues me over the holidays. I know that the get togethers are all about family, but the eating disorder part of my history and mentalness always kicks in and can’t quite do the food thing very well. I don’t purge, but I do over eat and eat to cope with anxiety, little depressions and any little thing I harbor. I’ve never felt able to talk to others very much about my food issues. And there are so many issues that touch upon it!

Peter and his second cousin  (I think that's what his cousin's son would be?!)

Peter and his second cousin (I think that’s what his cousin’s son would be)

drummer boys!

drummer boys!

Spending all that time away from home also drastically impacted my ability to get any exercise or spend time meditating. The weather didn’t make me feel like walking (cold, snow, gray, wind – all the reasons I moved away from Wisconsin winters!) as well as being in my parents small apartment. LOTS of just sitting occurred. I can feel in throughout my body – like a slug. I desperately tried to meditate every day. I think I was successful only once. Every other time, either the phone would ring, someone would walk in or, if I tried before bed, I would fall asleep.

But I am home now. It was a wonderful visit, but it was time to come home. Seven hours of flight time (2 legs) and a mad dash through the Houston airport have gotten me : home again, home again. Home again, now!

Time to go meditate then go for a much needed walk!

I just realized …

I just realized I haven’t written in about a week. I have been busy reading other blogs, playing with my puppy (3 months old), making new friends here through swimming class. TODAY, my outlook is good. I’ve had periods of sadness, anger, anxiety … the gamut that usually torment me … but not for sustained periods. The blogs of others, especially  Jaen Wirefly’s (You Know You’re Borderline When …) posts on mindfulness and Gypsy’s (Through my eyes: Adventures in Boreline Land) reminder to think positively. Others have shared progress going on in their lives (Mandi) and just shared some humorous anecdotes about their family and children (John the Aussie). There are others and you’ve all kept me moving forward!

My husband now is employed, almost full time, although still no benefits, so that takes some of the worry off. He is not pressuring me to go back to work yet. I want to, but don’t feel the time is right just now. Making friends and building that support network, here in a new environment, is what I need to do first. The people in our community are very friendly and welcoming. I’m putting forth the effort to make friends, which I never really did before. I’m struggling with parenting a 16 year old boy – who is a great kid, but is still a 16 year old boy with all that that entails. Thank God I’m not a single parent!

Having more than a day or two in a row without the yuk is kind of scary, but good. I’ve been having days with short periods of distress that I’ve been able to stay with and not succumb to. I appreciate the good days and know the bad days won’t last forever. But I know this “thing” won’t ever leave me for good also, and that’s somewhat distressing – but is what it is and not an excuse to check out. I do have a son to set an example for. 

Baggage Department?

Baggage Dept

Baggage Dept (Photo credit: Noël Zia Lee)

What baggage am I leaving here and what baggage am I taking with me? Physical and psychological?

Today is my last day in Wisconsin before moving 2000 miles and being on my own for the first time in my life. It may be a shortish time, or a long time, depending on how long it takes for our house here to sell so that my husband can join me. Most people learn to do the things I’ll be doing when they are in their early 20s. But I’ve never been alone. Partly because I’m a twin, and my BPD kept me attached to her as we grew up in terms of friends and identity. As she and I grew older, I was dating my later to become husband. All of my attachments for friends, identity and decisions then became focused around him. I always deferred to him. Political views, music, purchases, big things like that. On top of abandonment issues. So now, I have to be the one to step away (because I truly get too muddled when it comes to selling our house, and I want to get started on the new home environment), try to put on my big girl panties (YIKES!!! on so many levels) and jump out of the plane 2000 miles away where we don’t know anyone, I don’t have a job, etc.

Yesterday I said good-bye to my parents. I’ve tried to spend a lot of time with them over the past couple of weeks. I think that helped. My mom still can’t say the words “I love you” out loud, but I know she does. Very much. We spent the last few days teaching her how to use skype video calling. She’ll be a master of it!

Skype Technologies S.A. logo

 

I’m already feeling anxious this morning. Everything I want to take isn’t fitting into my suitcases and that means that there will be an argument with  my 16 year old as I tell him he has to use a different case to accommodate some of my things, even though it will just be a checked bag. But maybe it will be a moment that occasionally happens and he will say OK. It can happen. That would be nice.

Over the last few days I have had a few instances when I wanted to cut in reaction to emotions. Feeling invalidated. I know these are usually times when I am experiencing emotions overly strongly, but the thoughts of self harm are like lightning flashes – I WANT TO SLASH ACROSS MY STOMACH! – But I’m not acting on them, just hearing the words in my head as an emotional reaction. At my last meeting with my psychiatrist, I told him that I consciously packed my exacto knives to be moved with the majority of the house, not with the things I am taking now. I know it’s somewhat irrelevant because I can always go and buy another, but it was the stopping and thinking about it. The decision not to take them with me. If I decided to hurt myself, there’s ALWAYS something available. I can be very creative. But I do want to be healthy. I do want to be happy.

emotion icon

emotion icon (Photo credit: Łukasz Strachanowski)

When my psychol…

2000 Miles Apart : Oh Hai New Camra!

2000 Miles Apart : Oh Hai New Camra! (Photo credit: ericarhiannon)

When my psychologist identified, to me, that I have BPD, she said it was important that I get into a DBT program because it is the most successful in dealing with BPD. The only one in my area has a very good reputation, but couldn’t get me in for 4 months, and I will be moving 2000 miles away at that point. It’s been a challenge to find a program that can help me in the interim. I don’t know if I suffered childhood abuse. What I do know is this: my dad was not often around. My mom loves us very much, but has extreme difficulty in being a nurturing (in word and action) parent. Even now, if I tell her that I love her, she is most likely to say: likewise. It hurts, a lot. But I don’t blame her. It was the way she was raised, by a father who was conservative in action and word, and an immigrant mother who saw her way through life by hard work and sacrifice. My mother has never felt that HER mother accepted her as good enough. So it is understandable that my mother didn’t know how to be nurturing. I don’t blame her, but I desperately needed something that she was/is unable to provide.

I know that this is something I also struggle with in my relationship with my husband. He is not very publicly affectionate, or privately for that matter. Sometimes I desperately feel the need to be held and comforted. He does not understand this. His hug is one armed,even when I want the security of both arms wrapped around me. I know he loves me; he wouldn’t still be with me if he didn’t. But I need something that is outside of his nature to give. Is this what they mean when they say we marry our mother or father? All I can say is “SIGH!!!” Talk about a viscous cycle! But I am determined to find a way through recovery so that my husband and I can still find joy and happiness together. We do love each other. It’s all the other stuff that gets in the way.