My Dark Paradise

nyctophilia (n.) love of darkness or night, finding relaxation or comfort in the darkness.

One of my kids favourite movies right now is A Knight’s Tale. It’s a story of William Thatcher, a squire who, after his masters passing, creates a new identity as “Sir Ulrich Von Liechtenstein”. He rises to all kinds of fame, but it’s all being done as a farce. He is unable to reveal who he really is to anybody at all. At the point in the movie where his true identity is revealed, there is a sense of relief of not having to fake it anymore, even though his punishment for his deception is death. Now I don’t want this to come across as over-dramatic. For me, darkness is like William Thatcher’s true identity being discovered. Days are exhausting. Especially when the involve social interaction. It’s not that the are always bad, but they are always exhausting. There’s either the anxiety over the days work, thinking about the next counselling session, or uncertainty over upcoming events. Being able to come home, find a dark and quiet space to just be alone with my thoughts is a relief. Of course my thoughts don’t often cooperate. Actually, they very rarely do. This is where the self hate, the guilt, the grief can really take their toll. They come in, they snowball, and they very quickly become toxic. But, It still is a relief from whatever’s been eating at me all day. It’s very much a place of comfort. It’s not a place of safety. It’s not a place of security. But it is a place of familiarity… it’s a dark paradise. Borderline Personality Disorder. Anxiety/Depression. Mental Health in general. You really do become a victim of your own mind. You are at the mercy of your thoughts that you seemingly have no control over. There’s very little it seems you can do but simply roll with the punches. Accept your disorder and start dealing with it. For me, I’m a cutter, but the adage that “my thoughts have hurt me more than blades ever could” holds very true. Thoughts are cruel. Thoughts are ruthless and invasive. And thoughts have absolutely no limitations.

IMG_0972-1 So what do we do? How do we escape our Dark Paradise? How do we leave the old self behind and move forward? That, my friends, is a question that I don’t have an answer to. It’s scary. The darkness and the night don’t raise fear in me… It’s the silence where there is nowhere to hide from my own screaming demons. It’s well known that darkness is the absence of light, so in order to rid yourself of darkness you have to bring in light. Light can come in countless ways, and it is said that “without darkness one cannot know light.” Finding light in the darkness is the key.

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“Faith is seeing light with your heart when all your eyes see is darkness.”

I’m not there yet. I’m so incredibly far. I battle my thoughts day in and day out. I am haunted at night with dreams. I dissociate in the day without even knowing. Last week at work I was gone for 3 hours… how does that even happen? I have a very difficult life. Every morning I wake up not knowing at all how the day’s going to unfold. Knowing full well that it could be great, but there’s a better chance that it’s going to be a rough ride. That’s just the reality. It makes things difficult, but I approach it as a challenge. I want to be able to one day look back at how I took a strangle hold on Mental Health, I controlled it. I won.

“When I look back on my life, I see pain, mistakes and a heart ache. When I look in the mirror, I see strength, learned lessons, and pride in myself.”

But until then I plug away. I don’t give up. There will be good days. There will be bad days. Just stay strong and don’t give in. Don’t give up.

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Be Courageous

Am I Courageous?

There are many adjectives that we, especially as males, strive to live up to. To uphold in our daily lives. To be seen as bearing. Integrity. Strength. Wisdom. Honour. Courage. I look at these, and most are fairly straight forward. Reasonably easy to measure, to an extent. Integrity… how well one can carry out their lives in a way that is honest and fair, without putting priority on himself. Strength… physical, pretty self explanatory, but mental/emotional…? I would say how one reacts to tension. To conflict. Hardship. “When the going get’s tough, the tough get going.” Wisdom… smarts, and how to use those smarts in an intelligent manner. Honour... much like Integrity, but outward. Integrity is how you live your life, honour is publicly carrying out that integrity even when you don’t want to. But Courage... I’ve always kind of gotten hung up on courage. The dictionary defines courage as:

the ability to do something that frightens one: “she called on all her courage to face the ordeal.” • strength in the face of pain or grief: “he fought his illness with great courage.”

It’s simple enough. It’s straight forward. But to me it’s always seemed so… storybook. When I think of courage I think of medieval warriors storming the castle, powerful knights slaying the dragon, David facing Goliath. But how does that fit with the life of a 34 year old carpenter with BPD? There’s no castles being stormed. No dragon’s to slay. No Goliath’s being taken down. Or is there? How, in a non storybook world can I live my life courageously?

Courage is asking for a time out, to shed a tear, to dust yourself off, and then getting back in the ring to fight like you’ve never fought before

My wife sent me this quote, and I absolutely love it. It puts a sense of reality on the idea of courageousness. Sometimes it’s hard to be courageous. Or let me rephrase that… Sometimes it’s hard to be courageous. I’ve faced a whole lot of challenges in my life. And I haven’t made it out of all of them unscathed. BPD… anxiety and depression, this is the most frustrating thing I’ve had to deal with. It doesn’t make sense. There’s no concrete answers. It’s working your ass off towards an unknown, in many ways. That’s hard to do. How do you stay motivated? How do you even set goals? How do you stick it out when after every step of progress it seems you are hammered with some overwhelming slump. The shut down. The recluse. So, how do you stay motivated? How do you stay the course? I’m not going to lie, therapy sucks. Medication sucks. Dissociating out of nowhere with no warning sucks. You feel defeated. You feel “what’s the point?” 

But this definition of courage is different.

Courage is asking for a time out, to shed a tear, to dust yourself off…”

The medieval warriors may have to retreat and regroup. The powerful knight may get knocked from his horse. David may miss with his stones and have to run off to collect more. The key is that these trials are not defeat. They’re not the way the story ends. They are mere setbacks. Take your time out. Shed your tears. I’ve shed many, and of every type imaginable… pain, fear, frustration, anger, anguish… you name it. It’s ok to cry, this coming from a 34 year old carpenter. Sometimes crying out is the only physical act you are capable of doing, and that’s ok. But it’s not the end. It’s not defeat. Dust yourself off… compose yourself. Wipe those tears and take a deep breath.

and then getting back in the ring to fight like you’ve never fought before”

And the best thing about courage, it’s not a one-trick-pony. It’s not a one-time-offer. It doesn’t expire. It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked of that horse. It doesn’t matter how many times you feel beaten down… the weight of the world feels like it’s driving you into the pavement. Those hardships ARE going to come. And trust me, they’re going to come often. You’re going to want to give up. That blade is going to come out. Life is not going to feel worth living. But call that time out. Shed those tears. Dust yourself off. Because you ARE Courageous, and you are NOT Defeated.