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.

Feeling Fragile

I’ve been with my mom for three weeks now, a week and a half since my  dad passed. All the other relatives have returned home, but I’m still needed here to support her and tidy up all the loose ends. Yesterday, we chose a burial plot for his cremains. We also went to visitation for a good friend of his who passed a week after he did.

All of life seems to be about death right now. Maybe that’s why I broke down last night and cried for my dad to come back and tell me it is all OK. I opened his bedroom door, hoping to see his ghost, but didn’t. I lay in bed, hoping his image would appear at the door with a twinkle in his eyes and a loving smile, but nothing was to be seen. I, his 50 year old daughter, cried and cried for the father I had lost.

It was his time to go, but I NEED to know that he was OK with it and how his life had played out. I had hope to have that conversation with him during his last days, but, although he was not in pain, breathing was so difficult as his lungs filled, he couldn’t talk because of the effort. At one point, when palliative care was decided (hospice), he asked me if it was the right choice. All I could answer was that we wanted him to be comfortable. I knew, and I think he did too, that nothing more could be done to try and heal him. His heart was failing as the valves leaked and constricted. He could no longer endure or survive surgery. How do you tell someone that the doctors can’t fix you anymore?

So after months of feeling better than I have in years, I feel like I’m about to crumble into a childlike heap of tears and emotions of loss and abandonment. But I can’t. I am needed as a pillar for my 88 year old mom.

Is this, then, my test of recovery? Will I hold strong now, only to fall apart once I am home and she is safe here? I hope not. I don’t want to fall back into that pit. I want to live and flourish in life. I have new friends who support me in ways I never experienced. I know I have to feel the pain, the loss, and know that it doesn’t have to consume me. I can feel it and be OK. I can, I can. I guess that needs to be my new mantra.

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.

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)

Rodger Waters: The Wall

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Rodger Waters (previously of Pink Floyd) and his epic piece The Wall that was originally produced and performed 33 years ago. Well, my husband, son and I are going to see him in Chicago in June. I just got done watching an interview with him on 60 Minutes and it reminded me of how powerful The Wall is. A childhood without a father, walls between relationships, desperateness. It will be a great show – and emotionally overwhelming. I know parts will hit very close to sensitive nerves.I may just wish to become … comfortably numb.

Cover of "Pink Floyd The Wall"

Roger Waters To Appear On 60 Minutes This Sunday (wncx.cbslocal.com) Cover of Pink Floyd The Wall

The last few days have been especially emotional for me as I deal with impending separation/loss of friends and family due to our move. Every bit of sadness seems to send me over the edge. Every disagreement spurs a rage in defense of a possible loss. Abandonment seems to surround me.  I’m afraid  to speak out. When I do, if there is disagreement, it rapidly escalates (by me). Last night, my husband went to help chaperone a party the neighbor boys were having for our son, knowing that if I did and anything needed an intervention I would over react. He did need to address a situation with a boy, and was able to do it. When he told me how it had evolved today, I realized how much I would have over reacted and probably ended the night for our son, instead of just the situation. Once I start going, I don’t seem to be able to rein it back in until the damage has been done. And I seem to have to shame others in it as well. That’s really shitty.

A metaphorical visualization of the word Anger.

A metaphorical visualization of the word Anger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomorrow is the last day I will be seeing my psychologist before I move next month. She’s going into private practice (part time.) My anxiety is increasing as the move gets closer. I think that’s why the sad emotions are getting so out of whack. I don’t seem to be getting quite as angry, so that’s good.

I’ve been frustrated with my mom because she’s obviously having some difficulty with us moving, but trying to hide it. I’ve invited her over for coffee Tuesday morning. I’m going to attempt to (as another blogger said) use sand paper to pop a pimple. Hopefully, if it’s just the two of us, I can help her to actually open up and maybe cry with me about it. My mom has never been one to show her sadness. Maybe showing it together will bring us closer. I know I’m taking a BIG chance here, but I can’t leave without taking this chance. I don’t think it will hurt, and it might just help us both.