I need to explain my current situation.
I am living with my Mum & my Step-Dad. They have been happily married for over 8 years. We live in a tiny ‘city’ in Alaska, away from everything. There is one shop, a post office, and a library which opens for two hours a night. I have my own room, a TV a DVD player, satellite internet and access to food 24/7.
There are no expectations made of me. My Mum cooks dinner every night, and makes offers throughout the day about food. She reminds me to take my tablets, eat and drink. I have a bathroom connected to mine with the option for a shower or a bath.
Right now, I am able to have no worries. I have enough money in the bank to survive the first few months of being back home in the UK in December, and the my credit card companies are accepting a very small payment each month whilst I get back on my feet. There is no one who is expecting contact from me. (Or, maybe there is, but I’m not aware of it). I do not have to talk to anyone. My Mum has mastered the art of wordless communication and although sometimes I know she doesn’t particularly agree with being hummed at as a response, she’s accepted it.
If I sleep until 4pm, or stay up until 4am. If I stay in bed all day, or go out the entire day – it doesn’t matter. If I don’t get dressed all day, or if I have three baths, or if I want to sit on the couch all day and watch TV it doesn’t matter. Right now, I am as catered for as I have ever been.
This is the best possible situation for someone like me. Right now, understanding my BPD has been made incredibly simple. In the first few weeks, I couldn’t stop thinking. I was having dreams of things about home, Australia, and all kinds of ‘issues’ that have, and will be recurring nightmares for me. These have reduced massively, and although I still have the most ridiculous dreams they are not relative to situations I have been in and take blame for, and they do not make me feel toxic, disgusting or unwanted.
I have had confrontations with my Mum, and I have done my best to explain to her when, and what makes me feel isolated from her. We have had amazing discussions about how BPD affects me and my life, and after an incident recently, my Step-Dad responded by letter with the most sincere words. These are things I have been desperate for from people I am close to for the longest time. Right now I am safe. I am loved, I am cared for, I am calm and relaxed. There are no pressures.
It seems to me like this is a sanctuary, and right now I am refusing the look too much further forward out of a fear that this will be my last chance to feel anything close to normal.
I love every one of my friends back home, and I care about them, and think about them on a regular basis but right now I’ve placed myself in a bubble – and I’m here on the inside, me, Mum, Craig, and the two dogs. Everyone else is out there. I know, that eventually this bubble is going to pop and I want to be as prepared as possible for the Fallout of it.
Since being diagnosed with BPD I’ve read pages and pages, and blog posts, and studies and personal accounts, questions and answers about people who have BPD, have recovered from BPD, have loved people with BPD. After years of feeling confused and alone regarding my initial diagnosis (depression) I have the answer. It’s like there’s been a huge metal door in front of me, and now I have the keys to open it and start walking to the ‘other side’. There are people like me, in this huge world which has been just now opened up and they understand. They speak to me in a language I understand and are helping me to work out what I have and what I want to do now that I know.
I’ve learnt, and accepted that I am a compassionate person. I’ve learnt that I’m not compassionate toward those I have perceived as ‘bad people’. I have been made aware of the way that people with BPD put others into categories, and agree that this is something I do. I categorise people in the very first moments of meeting them, whether they are people I have just met, or people I have known all my life. It’s not difficult for anyone to move from one category to the other. These categories are usually very black and white with no grey area. There is no grey area. I either agree or disagree and that is one of the lessons that I have begun to learn whilst I’m here.
My Step-Dad and I have incredibly different ideas politically, and at first this was incredibly difficult for me to accept. Before I visited over a year ago, I was sure that he was the type of person who would hate me and everything I stand for. I could not have been more wrong. My mother explained something to me which I struggled to understand at first. The concept of ‘agreeing to disagree’. I’ve heard people talk about it for years, and only recently was I able to actually understand the concept. I love my Step-Dad. I am incredibly lucky that my Mum married someone who accepted her for everything she was, and in turned agreed to accept me for everything I am. He is a very hard-working man, who has given me the opportunity to come here, and relax. He understands that I was struggling, and will continue to struggle. He & my Mum, together, tried hard to find a way that I could come and stay with them on a more permanent basis. He was prepared to take me on, and allow me to live with him for however long it might take until I felt able to live on my own terms again.
Unfortunately, US immigration laws mean I am unable to stay here for longer than 90 days at a time, so I am making the most of the time that I have.
This is an opportunity I will not have again, but I feel that it will be pivotal in my approach toward ‘wellness’. As soon as I arrive home I will be bombarded with uncertainties and feelings that I don’t know how I will react to, and I must admit I am a little scared of how things will turn out. I’m ready now, more than I have ever been, to learn, and to accept and to start moving forward.
There are parts of me that I want to change. I refuse to go through life not knowing who I am. I refuse to make excuses for my behaviour. I refuse to let this rule my life. I am determined to be independent, responsible and confident.
It is not going to happen overnight.
I want to be ready to tackle my uncertainties, and I want to learn which behaviours are damaging and which support healthy relationships. I want to be able to question my impulses and readily welcome support in fighting them when they are inappropriate. I’m ready to place boundaries upon myself, and develop a new set of rules and limits.
I know it’s going to be hard, and that as soon as I arrive home things are going to be different. I am going to be living with people whose lives do NOT revolve around me, with two incredible friends who have offered a roof over my head and my first challenge is going to be working out how to live with them without feeling that I owe my life to them, but equally accepting that I need to respect their space, way of living, personal space and feelings. I need to learn how to accept that I can be wrong in what I believe they feel, and accept that although I may struggle to accept that ‘there is nothing wrong’, I need to accept that it is what they want me to believe. (This feels like the hardest part, to be honest.) I know I want to be useful, and I want to be every part the best housemate I can be whilst I’m there – but I know that there will be day when I cannot. I want only to make promises I know I can keep, and be positive for as much of the time as I can. I want us all to feel comfortable and able to live with each other.
The fact that this is just one area of what my life will be frightens me, because the weight of just this feels hard enough. I don’t know how other people with BPD manage to live with someone else, never mind someone else who is allowing you to live in their home with them.
I have already considered how difficult it will be to live in the middle of the city, and equally how perfect the location will be for me. I’m going to have to learn to be strict with myself, whilst simultaneously being kind to myself.
I’m going to have to stop before I overwhelm myself.
The point of this post was supposed to be to explain how I’m managing, right here and now with no symptoms of BPD. I feel like a fraud, when I read posts and comments because right now I quite literally do not have a care in the world.
When I get back home, however – I know I’m going to stumble on many things. I am scared, and I am worried, and although I know it will take time, I also feel positive about it. I’m a fighter, and I am going to get better – no matter how much time it takes.