…brains are stupid

…and they really are. 

I can feel the pressure. It’s pressing on my lungs. Holding them. Pressing them. And the beat of my heart in my ears, as if I’m being held underwater. The sensations are getting stronger and stronger as I make my way down the field to my truck. The last twenty feet I actually run as I feel the dizziness and nausea hitting me. I get to the back of my truck just in time to unload a little projectile tension. (As a side note, I do not handle puking well at all) As I stand up the dizziness hits full force. My ears are ringing. The light is all of a sudden blinding, just as though I’ve just emerged from a dark room into midday sunlight. I’m sweating. My palms are clammy. I open the door to my truck and I do the only thing I know how to do at times like this. I medicate. And I cry. Standing beside my truck, keeled over the drivers seat I cry. My head spins. My thoughts splatter my coherence like bugs on a windshield. I wait. I know it’s coming, it always does. That calmness. It starts in my chest…my breathing requires less effort. My heart stops pounding, and I actually break free from its throbbing echo in my ears. My mind becomes quiet. I know where I am. I recalibrate my senses. I hear the kids laughing. I feel the warmth of the sun and the cool breeze on my back. I made it. I always do, but every time I wonder if it’s the last. It sucks.

This was Saturday… My daughters soccer tournament. I love watching my kids play sports. I love seeing them active and enjoying the social competition. Seeing her running and laughing is pure joy. I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything. They make my heart happy. That’s why I find “the brain” so incredibly frustrating. I’m sitting here on a beautiful day out in an open field watching my kid play soccer along with some of my closest friends and fellow parents. The kids are having a blast and there’s no bugs at all (a rarity here in Saskatchewan) . This is a happy place. This is almost literally a happy place that I escape to in my mind at times when things get too difficult. But it happens. That little though creeps it’s way through the cracks and and starts multiplying.

  
First it’s just a random thought. Nothing serious at all. A little criticism over something that happened earlier in the week. Easy to brush off and enjoy the game. But then it comes back, but this time it’s brought some reinforcements to help back the story. It’s not quite so easy to brush off. I get back to giving my attention to the game, but that thought is now seeded and taken root in the back of my mind.it sits there and laughs knowing that it’s in the drivers seat. And one by one it allows more and more thoughts of doubt in until that’s all I see. It’s all I can think of. It’s literally established itself and has stolen 90% of my attention. I can’t handle this. I begin to panic, and as I panic things get worse and worse. I know I have to leave. I love my daughter, but all of a sudden she’s not even in my train of thought. I leave Vince with another parent and quickly make my exit to the comfort of my truck.

This is a sad reality that has become common and anticipated in my life. It’s hard because it is almost constantly on your mind. I’m always wondering when things are going to rear up. Where I’ll be. How I’ll go about handling the situation. Exit or escape routs. I find that it’s unavoidable, but it is manageable, at times, especially with meds. I hate the groggy medicated feeling, but I’ll take that over the smothiering feeling of anxiety and panic.

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…who am I?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking the last couple weeks about “who am I?” I know for anyone who’s done counselling (yes, I realize I start a lot of points by saying that…but it’s true) “who am I?” Is kind of the meat and potatoes of it all. If you can figure out who you are, and how you work, all the worlds problems will be solved, the Stars will align, and you along with everything that is crashing violently through that mind of yours will make sense. You’ll be fixed… Or something like that. But it all starts with “who am I?”

I love passionately. I believe this is the greatest gift that I have to give. The problem is, I hate just as passionately. And the funny thing with “love” and “hate” is that they are opposite intense emotions that I have never quite figured out how to express properly and separately. Far too often I mix up emotions of love with emotions of hate, and leave a trail of hurt behind me. You hear the expression of “Borderlines”, “I hate you…please don’t leave me.” The first time I read that I kind of laughed. “That sounds stupid…” I thought. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it’s me. I love and I love and I love, then I get scared. Whether something happens, something gets missed, something gets forgotten, I have a dream… Whatever the case may be, I get scared. “Fear of Abandonment”, is what I’ve been told. I feel there’s going to be a Frey in the relationship, and in my mind it’s going to be major. Severing, even. I’m going to get hurt… And I’m going to get hurt bad. So what do I do? Obviously, I beat you to the punch. I throw a jab, a low blow. A cheap shot. And I make sure it hurts. I avoid getting hurt myself by hurting you first. You. The person I legitimately love with all of me. I. Hurt. You. 

I am a father of three. Tiegan, my daughter is nine… She’s a princess and the most beautiful soul I’ve ever held in my heart. Vincent is five. He’s my man. The lil’dude. Full of questions. And he loves his daddy. I am his hero… A title that I have not learned, have not lived up to, but most importantly… I haven’t given up on. And Dayton. Dayton was our second child, our first son born six years ago this past April. He was born with an intestinal condition called gastroschisesis, and he was unable to win the battle. We got to spend an amazing twenty six days with him. He was loved by many in that short time. I love my kids. Obviously, every dad does. But I have to fight with myself every day to reassure myself that I’m a competent dad. What do my kids have as a role model? I’m unstable. I’ve spent time in a mental hospital. I spend days in therapy… I have five hours of therapy tomorrow alone. I’ve made late night hospital visits to get sewn back up. I’ve had episodes. I’ve had tantrums. I’ve been saved from suicide cut down from the roof of my garage on the verge of blacking out. My kids don’t know details, of course… But nothing makes you feel like a piece of shit faster than hearing that your daughter is having to explain to kids at school not only why her daddy has scars on his arms, but why he cuts HIMSELF on top of it. My heart breaks. I cry. I hurt. I feel completely unworthy and inadequate.

I’m a husband. I’ve put my wife through hell. She’s had to make the adjustments. Always her. She makes the calls. Makes the arrangements, juggles the schedules all while doing everything that she can to keep me happy. She’s my queen, and she’s far more private than I am, so I’ll respect that by simply saying that she’s truly amazing. I could never give her the credit she deserves…so maybe it’s best that I don’t even try.

I’ve got Borderline Personality Disorder. I try not to let mental illness define me, but in so many ways it does. For years I was totally unaware of there being anything. I knew I had depression and anxiety, but so did everyone else. I always thought it was normal. I just couldn’t figure out how everyone was able to live as though nothing was wrong. But now, having a label, there’s so much that makes sense. I can see behavioural patterns. I can see stages in my life that were effected by how I reacted or responded. How I desperately want the people I love to be happy, while having a complete absence of care for those I hate. My emotions are still erratic. I’m medicated to help with the control of this. Right now I am unable to control myself without the use of meds, so I think I’m where I need to be. I’ve got a psychiatrist, a psych nurse, a talk therapist, a couples counsellor, and an anxiety counsellor that make up a team I work with regularly. I’m early on…first year of expected five to ten years…but it’s going well. I feel I’m in the right place. It’s hard. In so many ways it sucks. But it’ll be worth it.

  
I have dreams. This is likely the hardest part of my life. And by probably, I mean most definitely. I have nightmares. I dream vivently. I dream violently. It’s bad enough that I beat myself all day about being inadequate or unwanted, but then I’m scared to go to sleep at night because I know they’re coming. And there’s nothing I can do. And I’ll dream the same dream over and over and over. Mast of them involve my family being taken from me, or me from them. But a lot are more just personal torture. Most nights I’m awake four or five times a night, meaning I have the same dream likely the same amount of times.

I got told that when blogging, anything over 800 words people lose interest and stop reading. I know I’m way past that, so if you’re still reading, thank you, and I’m sorry. I’m hoping that I can help some of you understand a little bit more what it is that we go through on a daily basis. I’m not looking for sympathy, but would appreciate your thoughts and prayers. Please share this post…I’d love to share my words with as many as possible.

Thanks agan,

Dave

…roadblocks

This last month or so has been really tough sledding for me. It’s been so incredibly frustrating and morally deflating. Therapy is in full swing… Right now I’m doing between 4 and 6 hours a week, which is mentally overwhelming on it’s own. I think things are going good… I’m in an anxiety group right now that is really making me see that hey, I’m not the only nut-job out there. There’s been some milestones as well, which although rewarding are also very difficult. I’m two months free of cutting, and now six months since my last suicide attempt. It’s reassuring to know that I’ve been able to hold off on my urges/desires. I’ve learned methods to cope. To redirect the negative thinking. But it’s frustrating because those thoughts are still there. And not only are they there, they weigh heavier on me now than they ever have. I have nightmares. Vivid and violent nightmares. Every. Single. Night. I blame myself for everything. Literally everything. My self worth is at an all time low. But what do you do to fix that? I mean, how do you learn to love and accept the person that you hate and dispise the most. I pray for that person to die. To just vanish. But I know that’s not going to happen. But the reality of learning to accept and live with that person is so far in the distance it’s really not even a reality at all. 

Stigma. Stigma is a bitch, really. I wish that more of it was true, really. Like attention seeking. I know full well there’s people that think I just want attention. That I’m just trying to avoid having to take responsibilities and shift the focus to poor me. To those that think that, you don’t know how much I wish that was true. 6 hours of therapy a week is not fun. Only being able to work 75% time is not comforting. Knowing that your nine year old daughter is having to explain cuts on her daddy’s arms does not make me feel good about myself. The fact that I literally got cut down from the ceiling of my garage in an attempt to end it all is not something I celebrate. I wish I just wanted attention, because then at least it would be an option to just make this all end. I could just accept enough is enough… I’ve hurt far to many people, it’s time to grow up and accept responsibility. Just be a man, say your sorry, and move on. I wish that was case. But it’s not.

The amount of people I’ve hurt in my wake over the years is excruciating for me to think about. Directly or indirectly I’ve hurt every single person of importance in my life. I’ve burned bridges, some very intentionally, but others not at all. I’ve lost friendships, and I’ve damaged the hearts of those that mean the most to me. I try to find reason. I try to justify actions. But the reality is I hold myself 100% responsible for everything. And the reality is that I can’t forgive myself for my actions. I just swallow it. Grit my teeth and bear it. Why? Because it’s the only option? Of course it’s not the only option. I could just accept that mistakes were made. Learn from them and move on. But I just can’t do it. I can’t find it in me to forgive myself. All I know is directing anger and hate inward, I can bear it, I can handle it. I don’t expect anyone to understand me. I don’t understand myself. Hate me all you want, and know I feel the same. If you think I’m attention seeking, so be it. Just know that I’m trying, and failing, but still trying. And the only thing I have to say for myself is… I’m sorry.

…he’s my son

Spring has arrived to welcoming arms here in Saskatchewan. The snow has gone, the temperatures have risen, and the leaves are finally showing up again. We’ve had a few showers (and an extremely unwelcome 12″ April snowfall) and things are clean, and fresh, and green. Spring really is a beautiful season…full of re growth and new life. I love it!

Spring is also an extremely difficult time of year for me. A mixed bag of unforgettable timeless memories, gut-wrenching pain, and sorrows that have left scars that will never heal. This year is no different, only it’s much heavier. The last year has brought on all new challenges that have just added to the heaviness of the memories that were already there. I’m now in month eight of counselling, for one, and we have literally had to learn a new way of life in so many ways. This afternoon was fairly typical. I started getting anxious and worked up a bit. I went upstairs to my room and flopped down on the pile of my daughters bedding piled on my bed. I was on my iPad and listening to music when I heard my son walk in. Vince is 5, and I’m so proud to say is a little daddy’s boy. We have lots of “man-time”…we go for coffee, work on my truck…he even helped pick out my new truck!! I love my boy to no end. He’s my man, my lil’dude. But when I’m needing MY time and space, even he knows I need it and both the kids are very good at just leaving me be. So when Vince walked in, my first reaction was annoyed and upset. I turned to say something, but I realized that he wasn’t even there to ask me anything. Not to bother me, but just to be close to me. He didn’t even look at me, just curled up on the floor beside me with his iPad. 

I rolled over and kept reading when I heard it… And when I heard it it tore right into my chest through my ribs, grabbed my heart and ripped it out holding it in front of me… A heart full of sadness. A heart full of pain. I heart full of rejection. Of anger. Of fear. Of an answered questions. Of unanswered prayers. Of Hate. But also a heart full of pride. Of excitement . Abundant affection. Of peace. Of hope. Of love. He was watching the video Sherry and I had made for our son Dayton’s funeral six years ago. Both our kids love watching it. Tiegan was three when Dayton passed, and Vince came the following year… So that video and pictures are all they really know of their brother. And it made me think of Mother’s Day, and that Mother’s Day we spent in the RUH NICU six years ago. It was perfect. It sits extremely high on my “best days ever” list. My daughter got brought in wearing a beautiful new dress, just for Mother’s Day. She got to spend some rare personal time with her brother. And we got to spend some rare time with our, at the time, completed family. The joy on my wife’s face to this day and forever etched into my memory. Knowing that this would be the only Mothers Day she’d ever share with both her children, but full of pride and joy for the moment. Her strength is undeniable. Her poise is amazing. And her character I view with such pride.

In that moment I couldn’t help but pull my son up into bed with me. I pulled him in, like a little owl under my wing. “Do you want me to start it over?” He asked. “I sure do, buddy.” 

“I sure love Dayton…and I miss him a lot. Do you, dad?”

“Everyday… everyday.”

 
Click here for link to Dayton’s video.

DISCLAIMER!! “I am Grateful…”

This post comes with a disclaimer… “I am grateful”! I know that I often times find myself hung-up on the negatives of mental illness. How I have BPD and no one gets it. Poor me. Feel sorry for me. Leave me alone. But that’s not how it really is. Not at all. I’ve tried to stay grounded. Stay even keeled. Not let the “no one gets it” take over. My blog is about living with mental illness, specifically Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s meant to be a aid and a benefit to those on both sides of the illness… That being the sufferer and those living with (and very realy suffering with) that person.

The reality is, as a ‘supporter’ you don’t understand. You can’t understand. And that’s not a bad thing. The important thing is you don’t give up. You learn. My wife hates me talking about her in my blogs (she’s the most beautiful, amazing and modest woman I know) but there’s lots that I’ve learned from her. I keep telling her she should blog on living with me… Maybe she’ll agree to a guest blog. But the reality is that she is the most crucial cog in my support wheel. First off, she’s the one that’s there through thick and thin. When I’m freaking out punching holes in the wall, she’s there for me to hold when I’ve calmed down. When I’m down and depressed and dreaming of exiting my body and this world, she’s there… Bringing me a hot tea or coffee, not saying anything because she knows I don’t want to talk, but the fact that she’s there…just breathing beside me makes me feel loved. And at those times that’s what I dearly need. She’s never, ever not been there when I’ve wanted to talk, and she’s never ever complained about having to ‘deal with me’. I have counselling 10 days a month, and she does everything she can to come with me. She keeps me calm and relaxed on the way into the city. I know I take it for granted. And I also know that when she’s not there I freak out on the way in. I think the worst of everything, and it takes everything to ride that elevator. By the time I get to my appointment I’m mentally and emotionally exhausted. My wife truly is my barometer. She knows me so well that she sees my anxiety coming on before I do. By simply putting her hand on my arm or my leg she helps me become aware so I can work on coping before things escalate. Does Sherry understand? No. But she gets it. She gets that she doesn’t understand. She gets that she’ll never understand. But she also gets that that doesn’t mean that she can’t be the most crucial support in my life. She’s willing to go above and beyond to learn about BPD and living with BPD. Not so that she can understand what’s going on in my head, but so she can understand how I might react, and how she can most effectively be there for me. 

She loves me. She shows me that love everyday. She’s sacrificed for me. I am unbelievably blessed for all the people in my life supporting and encouraging me. I have friends willing to drop everything at 11:00 at night to drive into the city for a drink just because I need to get out and talk to get my mind out of my mental hell. We have friends and family that support both Sherry and I in countless ways, from watching our kids, covering our work, meeting for coffee or supper, or just the daily “how’s it going?” texts. We are blessed. We are fortunate. And we are grateful!! Beyond words!!

Again, I know I focus on the “you don’t understand” element more than I maybe should. Just please know it’s not meant to be a defensive “you just don’t get it!!” If that’s how it comes across, I’m truly sorry. It’s meant to be a “I know you can’t understand what’s going on in my head, but here’s the best I can explain it so you might get it.” Speaking from experience with my wife, ‘getting it’ allows you to be a much more effective supporter. I have great counsellors. I have a great psych nurse. I have a great psychiatrist. But it’s my wife who’s making the difference. She’s there everyday of the month doing that thing she does to keep me grounded. She’s the one I can’t do this without.

 

I AM… a tangled mess;

“It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.”

-C.S.Lewis

Living with Borderline Personality Disorder is the human equivalent to a box full of Christmas lights. There’s so much beauty and brightness and colour in that box, if you’re willing to untangle the strings. How many times has Christmas come around… you go to the closet on a mission. This year you are going to have the best decorated house on the block. You pull the big bin of lights off the shelf, and remove the lid. And every time the same thing happens. You find an end to a string of lights, you begin pulling it out of the box, and suddenly you have the mess of who-knows-how-many strings of lights tangled and hanging from that single strand in your hand. Annoyance. Frustration. And usually anger to a boiling point where the lid is put back on and the bin is heaved back up on the shelf.

That annoyance. That anger. That frustration. That is life with BPD. We try countless times to remove the lights from the box in a tidy and untangled manor, but the reality is our lives…our minds are a tangled mess. We can’t make sense of it all. We try. We make progress. and then there’s another tangle. Always more tangles. And no matter how many lights we remove and untangle, when we look in the bin it’s always full. Always tangled. Always overwhelming. This is what I like to call the journey of therapy. It’s hugely beneficial. HUGELY!! But it’s one of those things that just when you start feeling like you’re getting it…like you’re understanding a bit of whats going on, a relapse happens. No matter how far you’ve come you look in the box and see a mess of lights and wires. It’s overwhelming. The weight of the world gets dropped squarely on your shoulders. You retreat. You recluse. You shut down.

It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.” I hate this quote and love it at the same time. I hate it, because it’s a difficult concept to accept. I like to think that my problems are “out of my control”. I like to feel that I’m the victim to the wrath of mental illness. I like to believe I’m helpless and hopeless. But why? Because it’s easy. It’s not an easy life… not by any means. But it’s easier to just live with it. Live in misery. Live tormented. Or maybe not even live at all… maybe taking the route of ending everything is appealing. The fact of the matter is that any of these is easier than the gruelling challenge of actually dealing with your illness. Of taking the steps of getting help. Of changing that course and shifting that weight around. But as much as I hate that quote, I love and take comfort in it as well. “It’s not the load that breaks us down.” It’s not the illness. It’s not the anxiety. It’s not the depression. It’s not the anger. It’s not the self-hate. “It’s the way you carry it.” That you can change. That you can adjust. That you can alter.

BPD is maladaptive, or learned behaviours. We have the power and the ability to relearn, to alter the way we carry the stresses and the effects of our illness. We can keep carrying it the way we have been, letting it beat and bury us into the ground. Or we can chose a different course of action. Adjust the load. Sometimes it helps, other times it’ll make it worse. But the key is that “I” have the ability. The power. The authority to change the course of my life. I can either throw those strings of lights back into the bin on the shelf, or I can slowly, painstakingly, ad seemingly impossibly sort through the chaos and the mess in hopes that the end result will be a continuous strand. That is the question. That is the challenge. That is Borderline Personality Disorder.

that unexpected curve…ABANDONMENT!!

i love the mountains. Everything about them. The shear magnitude of the towering peaks. The smell of air so fresh you cane help but close your eyes and breath it all in. The wildlife. It’s all… perfection! My dream is to live in the mountains. My Shangri-La . But for now I’ll just have to settle for getaway camping trips… a very acceptable compromise. But last time we went camping was a little different. There was a bit of an unexpected curve… and that curve would not leave us alone.

Being “flat-landers”, it’s always exciting entering the mountains. From the time we leave Calgary we are watching this mountain peaks get bigger and bigger as we get closer and closer. For the kids that one hour drive seems endless. But ten we get there. We are swallowed up by nature at it’s purest. Faces are pressed against the windows trying to take in all the mountains have to offer. Once in Banff we go to the campground to set up camp. We pull up to the registration window and pay for our site. Just as we’re about to pull away, the curve is throw,,,

“I almost forgot to tell you, there’s a bear in the area, so keep your site clean and your food locked up.”

Then come the questions. Is the bear in OUR campsite? What do bears eat? Do bears eat people? Can I sleep in the truck? and on and on. You don’t want to scare them, so you make sure all of your answers reinstate comfort and safety. We get the campsite all set up and head in for an early night after a long day of driving. So we all crawl into bed. We do a little visiting… ok, truth is we spent about an hour just to convince our kids to stop talking, and the only way to do that was to tell them the bear would hear. So there we were. Four of us all cozied up in the tent. Beautiful silence. The smell of fresh air. My happy place. And that’s when it happens. You hear a noise. Was it a branch snapping? What snapped the branch? Is that breathing I hear? I think I can hear its claws scratching a tree. I’m going to die!!

After finally convincing myself that those noises were nothing more than the trees blowing in the wind. It seems so simple when you look at it in daylight. The darkness truly hides a lot.

The fear of that bear, however, is a very accurate analogy of my fear of abandonment. And I mean very accurate. My wife, like the mountains, is magnificent. She is my happy place. I love living with her. But one day I got thrown a curve. My mind gave me a word of caution. Not “There’s a bear in the area”, but rather “She’s going to leave you”. I fight it every day. I come to the ‘camp ground’ and the park ranger that is my mind warns me of my possible abandonment. I try desperately not to worry and stress over it, but like snapping branches and noises in the woods, fear takes the drivers seat. It’s unbelievable the panic and the fear that blankets you in these times. I can’t even function…literally. I crash. I recluse. I think too much. I panic. I think of ways to avoid the inevitable truth. But until you have proof that the bear is gone, the bear will continue to haunt and torment you

what if the bride is bitchy?

“Don’t beat the bride…”

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am a “man of faith“, a Christian. I’m not an in-your-face Christian. I’ve made the choice to Not have my blog be “religious” blog. I’ll never PUSH any beliefs on anyone. But I’m also not going to deny my beliefs. Hopefully we can all get along.

For those that don’t know, the “church” is often referred to as “the bride of Christ“. I’ve heard the reference made many times of “don’t beat the bride” when it comes to any criticism of the church. You wouldn’t go point out all a brides flaws to the new groom, is usually the argument. But what if the bride’s bitchy? What if the bride’s actions are causing hurt in my life? Or in someone I care about’s life? Then what? Smile and stay silent? That’s what the church promotes. “Pray“, “Forgive“, and “Reconsile” are words the church likes to use. Those words though, for anyone who’s been hurt by the church like I’m sure many of you have, are painful. They’re like sandpaper. They’ve become meaningless…fake. Just words church people use to make problems go away. It feels like, “OK, repeat after me… Person 1: I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I want to reconsile. Person 2: I accept your apology. I forgive you. I want to reconcile.” Perfect, problem solved. Let’s move on.

The thing is, for me, that’s a bunch of bullshit. I get the “Christian” concept of forgiveness. I believe in forgiveness. But if you hurt me, I’m not going to just “ok, let’s reconcile and be friends“. Hell. No. I can without hesitation tell you, as a Christian, my greatest hurts have come from the church, or fellow Christians. You can read my “I’m just a Coward with an Illness” post to see where some of that hurt comes from.

A lot has happened in my life over the last year. There were events that happened over the spring and summer that led to triggering my anxiety/depression beyond where I could control it any more. Let me make very clear…I’m not blaming ANY of my actions on my “illness“. All of my actions were choices that I made. Although they lead to things unravelling, they weren’t caused by my BPD. It frustrates me because there’s some, including leaders from our old church, that blame my actions on my illness. That I just manipulated, lied and controlled situations. A pastor even came into my home and told my wife that she should “consider herself fortunate that Satan saw her ‘worthy’ enough to use her husband to ‘attack the church’.” I’m sorry, but WTF?!?! Even if that’s what you think or believe, who tells someone that to their face. I’ve been blamed and held at fault by our church leadership. When my wife defended me to her church friends she was told she couldn’t prove anything. We’ve left that church, and in many ways I have been completely turned off of ‘organized religion’.

So when is it that “don’t beat the bride” becomes “buddy, your girl’s bitchy“? I don’t know. Maybe the right thing to do is just forgive and forget. Maybe I’m in the wrong for not being able to do it. But for me there’s been so much hurt caused in my life, and in the lives of those I love most, that I’m unwilling to forgive. Maybe someday, but right now I’m angry. I’m hurt. There’s zero trust there any more. Me forgiving would simply be an empty procedure. It would mean nothing. Do I still have faith in God? Yes, very much so. But I am far more sceptical and cautious for sure. Do I believe God can heal me from mental illness? I believe he can, but I’m always reminded of the quote…

“In times of storm, Pray… But row away from the rocks.”

BPD is part of my life. I believe everything happens for a reason. My focus is to do all I can to get a handle on things, and be as much of an encouragement and provide support to others who maybe are having a tougher go at things than me.

Labels…

Labels…oh how we’ve grown to rely heavily on them. We quite literally no longer base our decisions and choices on product quality, but base it 100% on the labels. I’m totally guilty of this. I love fashion. It’s a weakness of mine for sure. And I love brand name clothing. I’ll go to Value Village and go through the racks of clothes looking at tags. “Robert Graham”, “Barney’s NY” “Bugatchi”, “Armani”, “Versace”, “Robert Sherman”… the list goes on and on. One of my proudest shopping moments was the day I hit up both VV thrift stores in Saskatoon and cashed in on over $5000.00 retail worth of brand “label” clothing for $150.00. And some still had tags! I was on ‘cloud 9’. Did it all fit? Heck no… but for $30 a shirt I can get them tailored downtown, and I’m still ahead $4500.00. I win. My wife laughs at me. “No one but you is going to know or care what kind of shirt you have on…” To that I say “B.S. I’m going to know, and that matters. People who know clothes are going to know, and there opinion matters. And to those that don’t… they’ll just know I have a damn nice shirt on, and that matters.” But does it? Does it even a little?

I never paid much attention to ‘status labels’ before. Even as a kid there was the awareness that so-and-so lived in a shabby house and wore hand-me-downs two sizes to small. But did it matter? Not at all. But wait… did it matter? Come to think of it, he was the first one to not ‘make the cut’ for birthday parties, because you knew you weren’t going to get the coolest gift. As you got older, you wanted less and less to be associated with him. But why? Because he didn’t have a ‘designer label’ tattooed to the back of his neck? Because he never acquired enough ‘return-value’ to be worth your investment? I can honestly say that I’m fairly non-biased when it comes to human-labeling. I know I do it to an extent, but I think I let ‘labels’ play a very small role in how I see people. I would say I quite simply played little attention to the labels that were out there. That is, until I got my label sewn on me. When you are all of a sudden extremely aware and self conscious of your own label, you tend to start seeing those that everyone else is wearing as well. You feel for them, because you now know that there are labels you choose, or earn for yourself… but there are others that are simply stamped on you. You’re stuck with them. Good Luck my friend.

I find I am once again label shopping, but in a whole new way. I’m sitting in the familiar retail change room… but I’m not able to go choose the clothes myself. They are being brought over, one item at a time, and draped over the door to try on. Many of them don’t fit at all. Some are a style I like, but the wrong colour. Some too big, some too small. But when I walk out the door, they’re all waiting for me, in a bag, charged to my account. “I didn’t pick these… most of these don’t even fit!” I walk toward the store again, receipt in hand. But when I hold it out I see in big bold letters. FINAL SALE – NO RETURNS/NO REFUNDS. How is this fair? It’s like they said to themselves “Oh, Dave likes clothes” and then gave me anything and everything that fit the category of”clothing”.  It’s an outrage. Well, yes, in a retail world it is unfair. It is an outrage. But when it comes to society and ‘social labelling’, it’s par for the course. You have some say in your labels. You earn many of your labels. But many of them are just ‘thrown over the door’ to you. They may sort of fit, but not really. Some you can’t even get into. Some you have no idea where they came from. It’s like they just heard you suffer a mental illness, so you must be completely off your rocker and unstable. It’s, an outrage.

I remember the first time I felt the sting of a label being sewn on. First off, it was from someone I wasn’t even aware knew what my diagnosis was, but they were informing that “because of my illness…”. Because of my illness, nothing. I’m making a effort to not use my having BPD as an excuse for anything, so don’t you go and do it. Dump on me all you want in your mind, whatever makes you feel better. But don’t come out and use ‘labels’ of my “illness” as a way to give you peace of mind.

We all have wardrobes full of clothing of all kinds of labels. Some we’ve hand-picked and tailored, some have just been thrown over the change room door. It’s not at all fair. But we’ve all got to live with it. Wear the clothes you like. Wear them often. And those other ones… stuff them in the back somewhere and hope they don’t get dragged out.



Still, soft voices…

The engine shuts off. You look in the mirror to see your faint reflection looking back at you through the soft glow of light rising up from the dashboard. You see those eyes. Dark. Empty. Emotionless.

You sit. You stare. A still, soft voice rises up from your heart. It enters your mind begging you to just start your truck and go home. you stop for a moment to acknowledge it. It brings with it photos in the form of memories trying to sway your decision and alter your outcome. It pleads, it begs. But it gets ushered out of your mind by the demons, leaving broken and rejected in the form of a tear.

The faint lights go dark. The music goes quiet. You, for the first time absorb in just how dark it really is. No moon. No stars. Complete silence. Your thoughts can speak clearly now… clearer than they ever have before. You reach through the darkness and feel around the back seat. That soft voice is trying again, and actually has you hoping you feel emptiness, but it’s silenced as your hand feels the harsh weave of the rope. You stop, momentarily, and take in a deep breath. Letting that final breath of reason out, you scoop up the rope and open the door and in one motion hop out of the truck before reason knocks at the door again. Your feet crunch down into the frozen slush of the March night. The cold, crisp air enters your lungs with a sweet sting, and exits with the warmth of fire. That soft voices teared trail freezes quickly to your face, being wiped away quickly as you begin this final trek.

Your feet crunch loudly through the snow and ice. It’s as if everything else stops and stands silent. The night is literally dead of all sound. Of all movement. Of all light. “How fitting” you can’t help thinking to yourself. You walk that path quickly. Partially the cold, partially the fear, and mainly to avoid the return of reason. The soft light begins to break through the trees ahead. You stop momentarily. Close your eyes and take a deep breath of that now comforting cold air. You open your eyes, put the rope in the other hand, and start walking up the slope to the road. You look up at that last light as you walk under it’s glow. You are half mesmerized by it’s rhythmic um that breaks the cold silence. The light flickers and goes out momentarily. Silence. Darkness. Then with a flicker it returns to light my final walk. You reach the centre of the bridge and look down at the jagged frozen river below. You can here the broken ice shifting against itself, a welcoming chorus of monsters waiting to witness this final act. You drape the noosed rope around your head and shoulder like a dark sash. Beginning to wrap the other end of the rope around the rail of the bridge the unthinkable happens. The silence is disrupted. The darkness is pierced. You turn to see headlights approaching the bridge. You pick up the coiled rope from the ground, holding the rope in your now-trembling hands you send out a prayer. You don’t even name a recipient…just the words “please-please-please don’t stop. I beg you”.

You lean over the rail of the bridge and just stair into the river below. You hear the engine slowing as it approaches the bridge. As it comes closer you hear the brakes squeal softly. Your head drops as the car comes to a stop behind you. “You alright?” a woman’s voice calls out from the car. “I‘m good.” you quickly reply. “Are you sure?” she responds. “It’s cold…let me give you a ride.” Your head drops in annoyance, but that soft voice begins rising in you – “listen to her“. You unclench your fingers and open your hands, the rope dropping down into jagged audience below. You wipe away what you’re unable to distinguish wether are tears of relief or tears of failure, and turn around to see the humblest of ladies in the car.. and baby seat in back. “Let me give you a ride.” she again offers.

You convince her you’re ok to drive yourself home and return to your truck. You make your way up the approach and turn onto the highway. You look in the rear view to see those headlights follow you from just of the bridge. Just like she insisted. As you drive home those feelings of hate and failure are slowly being pushed aside…pushed away. A small army of still, soft voices is raising up from with in, and pouring out of your eyes and down your face. Memories of those that will be WAITING FOR YOU at home clog your throat like a lump and you weep. As you approach home, the headlights of the angel behind you turn off on another road. You smile. You say another prayer. “Thank you…” and you feel that relief. But there’s that thought. That demon that will not let you be. And your shoulders once again drop. Your heart once again hurts. And the truth is revealed.

Until next time…” you think out loud…

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