…my alarm goes off. I pick up my phone and tap “snooze” for the who-knows-how-mantieth time. I lay back, hands over my face, and wrack my brain for some “acceptable” reason to just spend the day in bed. “Can my work wait?”. Alarm goes off again and I face the reality. Yes, today has to start.
One thing you need to know about me is this. I dream. I dream vividly. UNBELIEVABLY VIVIDLY!! Good dreams, they are amazing. It’s like I’m actually there. Camping in a mountain meadow. Surfing in Hawaii (this is obviously just a dream) or Mardi Gras. New Orleans for Mardi Gras is top of my bucket list… and I feel like I’ve been there, many times, though only in my dreams.
But on the flip-side my bad dreams are equally vivid. It too, is like I’m actually there. Frantically fighting my way through never-ending crowds of emotionless people. Running for my life through dark rooms from who-knows-what? So many of my greatest fears I live out in my sleep. They are terrible. They are horrible. And they are frequent… Far too frequent. I wake up tired. Exhausted. Emotionally hurting. It’s a very hard thing sometimes, going to bed knowing what’s coming… I try desperately to think happy thoughts while laying in bed waiting to fall asleep. But it doesn’t matter. It never matters.
I turn off my alarm, and I make my way to the bathroom. Groggily jolt my system as I turn on the “why-do-you-have-to-be-so-bright” lights. Twist the tap on the sink, wash whats left of my nights sleep out of my eyes before leaning on the counter and look in the mirror. “What the hell is wrong with me?” I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s been there… gazing in the mirror and questioning what makes us tick, I’m sure we all have. But usually it’s just a fleeting question. Maybe the result of drinking too much the night before. Or spending more than your budget allows. I don’t think it’s very often an actual, literal question that you want answered. But for me it is. Everyday. I want answers. I want reasons. Why can’t I feel some things that others do? Why do I hurt so often? Why, when I don’t hurt, does it make me feel so uncomfortable that I make sure to do something to feel that hurt? What. The hell. Is wrong with me??!?
When I got diagnosed BPD, there was a sense of relief. Actually, even when I was in the emergency room and the resident Psych stated the possibility of bi-polar, which wasn’t the case, I felt relief. It was an answer, even if only partial, to my morning ritual question. What is wrong with me? Well, I have BPD. Right? Yes, I do… but that doesn’t have to mean there’s something wrong with me… does it?!? Does it make things harder? I believe so, but honestly I don’t know any different, so that’s a mere assumption. But now I’ve got that starting point. That bench-mark. “I have BPD. This is an area it effects me, now do something about it.”
BPD is a maladaptive behaviour disorder. (i nodded in agreement that I knew what maladaptive was too, but I had to look it up after) Maladaptive behaviours are basically, to my understanding, learned behaviours that inhibit your ability to adjust to situations. It’s a ‘learned behaviour’ disorder. I have spent 20+ years of my life learning habits to avoid emotional discomfort. Like a defence mechanism. Some mental illnesses are neurological, and can be treated and controlled with medication. BPD can have some of it’s ‘symptoms’ controlled by meds… anxiety, depression, sleep deprivation… but the meat and potatoes of BPD is learned behaviour. Which pretty much means that all the habit’s that I have learned over the last 20+ years, I now have to ‘unlearn’, and teach myself new and healthy habits in their place. I once heard you have to do something 28 times for it to become habit…I’d say I’ve got my work cut out for me.
Right now it’s hard. The honeymoon is over, you could say. When I got my diagnosis, started my meds, and began my counselling, every week you could see progress. The meds were helping my moods. My anxiety and depression I noticed were not spiking as much. I was taking a lot out of the therapy sessions. But now the reality is sinking in. This is my life. It’s work. And it’s long term. To beat this whole BPD thing, I’m in it for the long haul. I’m not going to lie, it’s discouraging . But bottom line is progress is there.
We were told to expect 5-10 years of counselling… and I’m “in it to win it”. Right now, when I wake up in the morning feeling like my sleep has literally physically beaten me to the bones, it’s hard to feel positive. It’s hard to see the progress. It’s hard to want to face the day. But I have a wife and two kids that remind me every day why I want to beat this. Why I want to overcome it. Why I’m not going to give in.
What the hell is wrong with me? Nothing. I have Borderline Personality Disorder. It does not have me.