Thursday, January 19, 2012

Be Mindful of Emotional Triggers… or Else

When you have Borderline Personality Disorder it is very important to learn your triggers. Once you recognize them it makes it easier for you avoid situations where you are emotionally triggered, or for you to remove yourself from a situation once you recognize you will become emotionally triggered.

It is VERY important NOT to IGNORE your triggers.

For instance, last night was my Roommates birthday celebration. We were gathering at a local restaurant/bar. Her guest list was approximately 20 people, the majority of which I knew. Unfortunately two of them were Kit and Twiggy. We didn’t speak, didn’t acknowledge each other but knowing they were there made me very uncomfortable in a way that is difficult to describe. I kept wanting to stare at them, like some foreign yet familiar anomaly under my microscope. They register as people that I am familiar with, my emotions are completely detached, yet I know I can’t talk to them and that my presence is also awkward for them. It was extremely uncomfortable knowing there were people that I had to avoid speaking to, or maneuver near. And ultimately they make me think about Friend, and how I lost both of them because of him.

It brought up a lot of issues for me. I make extremely poor choices about who I allow close to me, who I choose to be with over others, who I choose to prioritize. The consequences of these choices becomes overwhelming when they begin to flood through me. A buddy of mine was trying to talk to me in the bar. It was crowded. I couldn’t concentrate.  I knew I was very distracted. My throat began to constrict. Tears were coming to my eyes. I realized I was on the verge of a panic attack. I excused myself to go sit outside. I should have left then. I told my Roommate I would be there so I was trying to stay for her.
It came time to finally be seated. Kit and Twiggy chose seats directly in my line of sight. I couldn’t help but see them.  I couldn’t help thinking about Friend. And how much grief living here has caused me. Not just because of that one situation, but of all the relationships, all of the loss, all of the detachments, abuse, and poor choices. Throughout dinner I would have moments of laughter which were nice. But from the moment I entered the doors I felt myself begin to float away. I would laugh at something, or respond to a comment in a manner that was too over the top, too abrasive, or too jovial… and immediately after I would lose a few moments of my time. I’d realize I’d just been staring at a random fork on the table for a couple minutes. As the night went on my stress escalated. Though I kept a smile on my face. Eventually when the time was appropriate and people began to leave I excused myself and went home.
Driving home I was numb. I don’t remember the drive. I got in and had a complete breakdown. Hyperventilating, sobbing, shaking. My world began to break down in a way it hadn’t for a long while. I have not been so close to thoughts of suicide or self-harm in a very long time. They’ve been slowly creeping back over the last month or two, but last night I finally lost hope.
I didn’t act on these thoughts. I took a couple Trazadone and forced myself to sleep. I don’t know where I’ll go from here. The thin walls containing my sanity are beginning to crumble. I work hard to hold myself together. To heal and become a stronger person. The foundation that those walls are built on haven’t been set in stone though. They’re more like a collection of planks bolted together in sand that has the ability to shift with the incoming tides. I forgot to look towards the sea and notice that the waves were crashing in to sweep me away.
I know better than to ignore my triggers. I try so hard to appear normal, happy, and functional though. I try so hard to be the kind of person that other people want to have around. It’s too much for me some days. Lately those days are becoming greater in number. I ignored my triggers, I stayed when I shouldn’t have gone in the first place, and now I’m mired in an emotional agony on the verge of tears and heartbreak all over again. Every wound opened anew as if it happened just yesterday.
I thought these feelings were in the past. I thought I had worked through them and allowed them to be released. In many ways I have, but when I ignore what is in my best interest and refuse to be mindful of the things that are important for my emotional stability, I am clearly very susceptible to pain my past carries into my present.
I want to run. I want to spend money. I want to exhaust my vacation days and go home to see my sister. I want to quit my job and leave this life behind. I want to start over somewhere else that doesn’t have this hurt and hopelessness. I want to rip open my arms and watch my pain slip away.
I’ll probably just go to sleep. I’ll plaster a pretty pink smile on my lips that won’t reach my eyes, and steel myself to make it through the day. I’ll do the same tomorrow. And the next, until this pain passes back into the past where it belongs.  
Be mindful of yourself. Be aware of your triggers. The downward spiral set in motion when you aren’t has the potential to be devastating.

14 comments:

  1. Oh Haven, I am so sorry to read this. Hope really that you'll feel better soon.
    Bionda

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    1. Thanks Bionda. There are often little set backs on the road to healing. I'll be ok.

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  2. "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts, his act being seven ages." It's one of the first things we learn, but it's so hard to accept that other people may be acting too. We feel like we're the only ones who have to put on that happy face and be the person we think other people need. I feel that way. But, obviously I'm not the only one. Just know that you're not alone in this and take those deep breaths. It's lame advice, I know. I hope you feel better soon though. It's not fun to break down.

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    1. Thank you. I wish none of us had to feel this way.

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  3. oh babe. That really sucks, I'm sorry you've had a hard time of it. I know that stifling feeling that just explodes out of you eventually. It's very true about being wary of triggers, and to not ignore them. I hope you can get through this, you will, i know you will, and don't be afraid to tell your friends that there are some situations you'd rather avoid. They'll understand. :)

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    1. ::nods:: It's funny, I know Roommate would understand. I just, can't get past this need to be the kind of person I think other people expect me to be. Which is completely irrational, because especially Roommate, doesn't expect me to be anyone other than me. ::sigh:: Everyone slips sometimes. I'm sure I'll get through this. It's minor compared to some of the upsets I've survived yanno.

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  4. I'm sorry you had to go through that and are hurting now. I felt like I was there at that party with you. I can totally relate to this "floating away" feeling. you are numb and disconnected, you are just moving through the actions but no one is home. I feel this way every time i go home to see my parents and family. I can't get out of this obligation without a major war so I go and try to make it through, but it's hard and i pay for it months after as i slowly recover and get it all back together again.

    Every day I work so hard to "have it all together" and act like everything is fine and i smile and laugh and try my best to be social. I get in those rough places that take every ounce of my being to make it through before i can escape and fall apart. I usually think i pull it off quite well, I've been doing it my whole life, but lately I think I'm slipping and it has really been bothering me. In 2 separate occasions 2 close, yet not so close, friends have mentioned that i seem "off" or distant and ask if I'm ok. Of course I always smile and reassure them I am fine... but maybe I've lost my touch, or maybe BPD is slowly taking another part of me? Scary.

    Take care of yourself, remember your coping skills and try to be kind to yourself. From what I've read, you're one strong chick, you can make it through!

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    1. " I feel this way every time i go home to see my parents and family. I can't get out of this obligation without a major war so I go and try to make it through, but it's hard and i pay for it months after as i slowly recover and get it all back together again."

      Yep. I feelt this way when I go home to see my parents and family as well.

      Everything you say is exactly true for me as well. I internalize EVERYTHING, I hide EVERYTHING, but after a while it begins to feel like who I am is buried beneath all of the clutter that I allow to pile up. It's no wonder people begin to notice that something seems a little different. There has to be a healthier outlet.

      Thank you. I'm sure I'll be fine. It just takes a little time.

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  5. Even in your pain Haven, you use your struggles to help us. That is beautiful and the advice is something we all need to be reminded of. I hate that you had to experience that, but if it helped you to remember to show deference to your limitations, to avoid this horrible feeling in the future with regards to your past, then something good can come out of it. I am really really sorry though. Maybe talk to therapist and figure out some reasons for the depression worsening the last month? Let us know please how you are doing tomorrow.

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    1. I'm the most pessimistic optimist I know. I always try to find some bright side even as I'm overwhelmed by the clouds. I did talk to Therapist about it =) That always helps. As does being able to release those feelings here and knowing that others can maybe get some use from my struggles as well.

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  6. Thank you for sharing this. I really wish we could sit down and have a face to face because when I read your words it feels like we're kindred.

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    1. ::smiles:: It's funny. No one hates that I feel this way more than I do. It actually embarasses me (which is why I hide it outwardly) that I feel this way at all because it often feels like I'm the only one that ever experiences this and everyone else around me is walking around in their happy little spot of sunshine. Even if we can't sit and talk it makes me feel better knowing that there's someone else out there that actually gets it. And who knows where, there may be a coffee shop in our future =)

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  7. Haven. I'm sorry. I hope you feel better soon. A lot of times, you talking about yourself keeps me going. You are incredibly strong. (-People tell me that all the time and I don't believe them. You don't have to believe me either)

    I'm the most pessimistic optimist I know. I always try to find some bright side even as I'm overwhelmed by the clouds.

    This is the way I feel. xoxoxox

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  8. Dear Haven,

    I read this and I was able to come out of my emotional tail spin a little, even if it didnt last and I went back to tailspinning after a few minutes.

    My emotional triggers are when I sense that my boyfriend has one foot out the door of our relationship. It makes me feel so abandoned and then like I dont exist.

    How do I avoid that trigger? Never be in a relationship?

    I am in such agony knowing our relationship is on life support, I hold on for dear life terrified of trying to carry on through life alone, without a partner who loves me.


    Thank you for creating this blog. You are helping so many of us, tremendously. I feel less alone when I visit this place.

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Leave me a comment! It makes me feel good and less paranoid about talking to myself =)

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