Therapy last night was nice. I actually didn’t think I’d have much to talk about because I was feeling pretty good. Therapist told me she can always tell when things have been going well for me in my personal life because my energy is so much calmer and I look so centered.
I had a minor freak out the Saturday after my last therapy session. So, as you know, I’m a big geek. In honor of The Hobbit coming out I’m throwing a Lord of the Rings marathon party. We’re going to watch all 3 extended edition LOTR movies and I’m making food and serving Hobbit style, a.k.a, 1st Breakfast, 2nd Breakfast, Luncheon, Afternoon Tea, Dinner, and Supper. I love to host things like this.
Therapist noted that when I’m immersed in prepping and throwing things like this I’m at my happiest. Having people in my life is really important to me. And not even in a significant other, boyfriend/girlfriend, way. I actually seem to be fine not in a relationship. More than anything I just need good people. It’s when I’m on my own, without anyone around at all (or in less than healthy company), that’s when things can get really sketchy, real quick. But when the relationships I have in my life are mutually respectful and caring, it’s a whole different awesome ballgame. This is also the first time in my life I’ve had no real discernible bad people around. It makes a HUGE impact on my mental health.
So anyways. Part of my glow and calm has been that I’ve been really reconnecting with K and Twiggy. My Halloween Party was the first time we’ve hung out since we reconciled. I’m still nervous and a little unsure around them because I am afraid of messing up again. I’ve gone through so many internal changes and improvements since that time, and cognitively I know for a fact that nothing like that could ever possibly happen again. I’m much more aware of my impact on others and their boundaries < ----- series plug < ----- that I can honestly say I’m confident of…. But it takes me a long time to find my comfort, especially when I’m so aware of how I’ve failed in the past. So I still have some nerves around them even though I’m very, very happy that they are back in my life.
Back to the freak out. xRoommate, her BF, another friend of ours, and I geeked out about this party idea a few months back. Hence why I organized it. xRoommate texted me and told me that they would have to be a few hours late… for a totally legitimate reason … which I did recognized at the time. However it didn’t stop the instantaneous panic. xRoommate is my emotional rock. Even in uncertain scenarios I feel like I’m much more capable of handling it when she’s around. I’m not codependent or enmeshed with her, but I trust her and there’s a healthy comfort in that trust.
Therapist described it like this. With small children when they’re just 2 or 3 years old, it’s like being excited about the world, but needing that physical protection that their mother should provide. Obviously I don’t think of xRoommate as a mother but the trust in our relationship does provide that kind of emotional protection. So the thought of venturing forward without that buffer, when I’m still feeling a little shaky in my newly forming relationships, is a little like being pushed out into the world without a map and having your mom tell you she’ll meet you there. I was panicky for a bit. I told her I was thrown by this. But I didn’t say anything else after that. She was genuinely sorry that she couldn’t make it on time, but she was still going to be there. I recognize that. It wasn’t about me, just about her having an obligation that she needed to take care of. So what did I do?
I slept on it. I checked myself. I stopped from expressing my reactive thoughts and behavior. I still felt them (though not nearly as bad as the panic attacks of my past would have been), but they were controllable. And once I woke up in the morning it was okay. Do I still wish she would be there the whole time? Sure, she’s my friend and her company is awesome. But it’s still going to be a lot of fun regardless and I can’t actually think of a way that the world will melt down before The Fellowship ends. So when I talked to her later I was able to honestly say that it was fine. Shit happens, things come up. It won’t be a big deal.
Therapist was very happy with the way I handled it. And with the progressively more proportionate responses I experience.
She had a professor that once told them, when you have Borderline Personality Disorder, the thing you really need to learn to do… is learn to sit on yourself. Learn to take stock of how we’re feeling BEFORE reacting and wait…. Allow the time for emotions to settle down and see that the world isn’t going to end.
Sounds easy right? Please, we know better than that.
I’ve definitely learned the benefit of being able to do that though. It took A LONG time but I’m not melting down or having full blown panic attacks because stupid things throw me for a loop now. I don’t think I need to tell you how nice that is.
We talked about Boundaries as well. Therapist is really glad I’m researching this to share. Amusingly she told me that boundaries are a really difficult concept even for people without BPD. Most people have a pretty self-centered concept of boundaries and can’t recognize the boundaries of others. It can take family, friends, marriages years and years of living closely before appropriate boundaries are discovered, if they’re discovered at all. So it’s not just us. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t still work hard to make them better.
My own boundaries have been getting stronger. They’re not great yet, but definitely developing. I let people like Friend and Boring-Ex smoosh all over my boundaries. I let myself get entangled in their needs and boundaries without having a solid sense of my own. Evil-Ex and The One just trampled all over my needs all together. I was so afraid of losing them. I was in love with them (at least Evil-Ex and The One). I mean, I thought I was in love with them.
The thing is, with any of them, I don’t think I was really honestly in love with them. I was in love with the idea… the idea of the person I thought they were, the idea of the person I thought they could be, the idea of the person I wanted them to be. But that wasn’t actually who they were. I had such a hard time reconciling the person I thought they could be, that person I KNEW THEY COULD BE (but weren’t), and the person they actually were. My logical, rational mind, and my emotional mind are two very separate entities that don’t know how to interact very well.
With BPD it’s difficult to see the in betweens. We see the good, or we see the bad, but we rarely see them both at the same time. There’s no continuum. So I would be horrifically devastated by the bad, but then when things took a turn for the good I would latch onto it and not want to let go. Things would get so bad though because I wasn’t self-aware enough to respect my own boundaries enough to step back. I wasn’t aware of it, and that’s what was so dangerous. I didn’t realize I was lacking these things. These things that had been a problem for me almost my entire life.
It’s never too late though. I’m learning now, and I gotta say, my world has been really pretty great lately. Small things are a problem now and again, and I have a high stress job so there’s some stuff there… but that’s all normal levels of life stuff. For the first time I can honestly remember it sort of feels nice to be me.