Yesterday morning Angie woke me up at 6:45 to take her outside to potty. My first thought as we walked back into the building was, “Crap, I have to work on my thesis”…two second pause…”Wait a second….”…realization…”IT’S FINISHED!!” It was a great feeling. The newest Angie update is that she got a hold of one of my favorite pairs of yoga pants while I took a nap on Saturday and it now looks like this:
As for the update on Angie and my friend, they are both doing much better. My friend woke up with a fever of 103 on Monday and I made him drink tons of coconut water, seltzer water, regular water, and ginger ale and got some Dayquil for him. I decided to give the meds an hour to kick in and then check his fever. If it hadn’t gone down, I would have taken him to the ER but thankfully with all of the cold towels, coconut water, and rest, his fever was gone a few hours later. However, I started coughing pretty badly yesterday and have had a sore throat and body pains, which isn’t surprising but it is unfortunate as I have the Women and Happiness conference I’m attending in NYC on Friday. Coconut water, emergen-c, and lots of tea for me!
A few weeks ago I wrote about how I started to read the book The Buddha and The Borderline, by Kiera Van Gelder. At that point I was only halfway through it and finished the book early last week but just haven’t had the time to write about it. Now that the thesis is turned in, I do have a few thoughts on it that I’d like to share.
My initial thoughts are that this book is INCREDIBLY useful for anyone who has recently been diagnosed with BPD as well as for loved ones of those suffering from BPD. The author writes very honestly and viscerally, and although I could empathize with her pain because I too suffer from BPD, I believe those without it can get a very good insight into what life is like for someone with this personality disorder. However, I was cautioned and would also suggest caution for those who are easily triggered. I personally am VERY easily triggered but more so by discussions of eating disorder things like weight, numbers, and sizes. This book does contain some explicit detailing of self harm, so if that is something that triggers you, read with caution or skip a few pages. If any book triggers you, STOP READING IT. If any blog triggers you, STOP READING IT. I try my best to not write about triggering things or use triggering language, but there’s always the chance I will unintentionally upset someone. What matters the most is YOUR health and not supporting a writer, artist, or blogger because they are popular or you think you should. I am planning a post that will discuss this in detail but I wanted to mention it now.
Kiera Van Gelder makes several very important points in her book, including:
- The fact that there is A LOT of stigma about BPD not only in the “real” world, but within the mental health field as well
- There are a growing number of resources for those with BPD but there is still a lack of places/resources geared specifically towards BPD
- Wondering whether anyone completely recovers from BPD
- The incredible amount of difficulty and pain that this disorder can cause for those suffering from it and those who have a loved one suffering from it
- The fact that it is VERY hard to “come out” as having Borderline Personality Disorder, the “leprosy” of the psychiatric world
This book made me feel a lot of different things. It made me feel hopeful, understood, validated, unique, feared, and misunderstood.
Hopeful because there are others who are brave and share their stories
Understood because at least fellow Borderlines understand what it’s like
Validated because this is a REAL thing. It wasn’t a choice or me being difficult
Unique because BPD does give me a different lens through which I can view the world
Feared because some Borderlines who have a lot of trouble regulating their emotions are called “monsters” and “manipulators.” Not to toot my own horn, but it’s a risk to publicly declare you have a personality disorder.
Misunderstood because so many people think it’s a matter of just being “too sensitive” and “not trying hard enough” to have thicker skin
So how do I relate to Kiera’s story and what can I take away from it?
One of the main issues I identified with is the desire to belong to some type of community. I’ve always had trouble fitting in ever since I was a little kid. The people I enjoyed talking to were my parents’ friends, not children my own age. Even in elementary school I made friends with the older kids and that’s how it has always been. I’ve never related much to people my own age. With that being said, I also am coming to recognize my intensity and seriousness and how that won’t attract all people. A lot of people are really scared of intensity and especially when it comes to emotions. Talking about things like depression and suicide are generally really uncomfortable for most people, but they aren’t for me. I’m learning that this is OK. It doesn’t make me better or worse than anyone else, but it just means that I fit into a certain tribe of people and I can’t expect that everyone will be drawn to my rawness.
As I near the end of college and begin my journey into the “real world,” I will have to find the community or communities that best suit me. This might mean changing my expectations or plans that I’ve had for years. I struggle with change and am generally very rigid when it comes to my thinking. The fact is, life changes and sometimes I have to change with it. It doesn’t mean giving up who I am or trying to conform, but trying to go against what is may do more harm than good.
I want to be open to possibilities this year and take more risks, give things a chance. I always feel like I’m in such a rush to get the most out of life, but how much will I miss and how much will I suffer if I don’t stop to enjoy the moment or at least notice it? As both this book and my therapist remind me, life takes place in the present. The past and future do not exist. When I am anywhere but here, I miss out on life.
Reading this book made me feel really connected to a BPD community that I’m a part of but don’t really know. I have a few friends who have been diagnosed with BPD, but none that live very close to me. For now, this is the closest thing I have to a community who understands me but there still remains the dialectic of being Borderline but also not just being a Borderline.
Life will go on and have many surprises for me and I will try my best to find the communities that feed my hungry soul. Next week I am going to try and find a meditation center to deepen my practice and I’m excited to create a life that matches who I am, even if who I am is still a work in progress, always changing and ever becoming.