Monthly Archives: June 2012

Expectations… are they always great?

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I continue to muse and resist the urge to respond impulsively… I continue to choose to put some space between my feelings and my actions. And unusually, I try to accept the safety of the space. Following the incident that I blogged about in my previous post- I have been considering ‘expectations’. Have I found myself in this situation because I did not live up to the expectations that the other person had of me? Most probably yes. Were those expectations fair? Justifiable? Realistic? Warranted? I’m not so sure. Regardless, I haven’t met their expectations- and that has hurt this other person and it hurts me. It hurts me that I can’t be what someone else wanted and/or needed me to be. It hurts me because it has hurt an-other- but I resist the urge to self-blame, I chose not to listen to the inner recriminations…

Another relationship that is also in the process of being re-framed, is my one with God. Bottom line, I have responded in a similar manner to my friend. God has not met my expectations and I’ve had a hissy-fit… After 20 years of trying to get Him to fit into my box- I’m finally realising that He won’t do that- my box just isn’t big enough for Him. How wonderful. Having been on the receiving end of someone trying to box me and showing displeasure at my behaviour… I can see more clearly that someone can’t be what they can’t be… they can’t do what they can’t do… I am made in God’s image- He is not made in mine.

Maybe my expectations need to change? I don’t have to lower them… but maybe I do need to consider for whose benefit I have them.

Thanks for listening.

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Two sides to every story?

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I’m confused. Slightly shell shocked… a little wrung out and deep breathing like it is going out of fashion and very unusually for me, bordering on lost for words! Not one of my better days- details aren’t important in this context… but some of the bigger issues are very  important.

I am always amazed that I have friends… not in a ‘poor-little-old-me-I’m- so-unlovable’ kind of way, but rather in, I can’t believe sometimes that relatively (!) normal people and I are able to communicate and relate to each other in a healthy way. Most days I do just take a moment to be so grateful that I have held on to many precious friendships, and that others have held on to me.

Like many of us, I don’t like conflict- and to be honest, I very rarely have conflicts with people. I realise this is unusual for people with BPD, but it is another example for me where I don’t think I quite fit into the classic mode. It’s not just that I people-please, I like people… on the whole I am able to communicate appropriately, and though at times I realise I am very high maintenance I hope that at moments, I can give into some of the relationships in my own unique way.

But today, I realised, with horror, that I had (from their perspective), really hurt someone special to me. Proper hurt… not we’ll get over it kind of hurt- but I hate you kind of hurt. I am struggling to not feel mortified by this revelation. I am battling to not drown in shame. But I’m also confused… I can honestly say with hand on heart- I don’t know what I’ve done. And that makes it worse. Am I so besotted with self- that I just cannot see the impact of my actions on those I love? Not only have I hurt someone, I don’t know how I’ve done it… shocking… but worse still have been the triggers that have been set off by the day’s events.

I have, over the years, lurched from one abusive relationships to another… like a moth to the flame I have attracted people that seek to control, manipulate and use me. Unfortunately, this is just what my close friends tell me!!! I just can’t see it. My friends comfort me with words of you haven’t done anything- it’s their problem etc… and I just can’t see it. I can only see that it is all my fault (inverted pride I know)… I am a horrible person… if I wasn’t like this, they wouldn’t need to be horrible etc… a familiar story that many of us either say or have heard…

I was musing this afternoon on the fact that others can sometimes see so much clearer than we can. We can say to our friend please stop drinking or whatever the self-destructive behaviour is- but we can’t always see for ourselves what others can see. And today is one of those days… I can’t see the control and manipulation on the part of the other… I wish I could but I can’t. One of my struggles for many years is accepting that others have hurt me… that I have in some cases been a  ‘victim’- boy, do I hate that word. Initially, I could only write V…… but then I thought some people might not have a clue as to what I am talking about! I have had therapists try and get me to admit that what others has done has been wrong- and I seriously, want to punch their lights out!  To admit that seems the ultimate in admitting  weakness and vulnerability… and I just can’t do it. Call it pride, call it fear, call it whatever you will- but self-blame is such a foundational stone for me, that I fear if that comes down, life itself will cease.

But I’m also confused as I know there are two sides to every story. This other person will have friends who are agreeing and supporting them… what a horrible person Hephzibah is… she deserves all this… One of the fundamental parts of DBT is the dialectical bit (funny enough!)- opposites existing together… more than one perspective… And that for me today leaves me shredded. I know that I often have a very black and white view on life, normally, I’m wrong- they’re right… and as I sit here, I can’t seem to manage the tension that my friends tell me I am being manipulated and the other person’s friends will be saying the ‘kind’ things to her…how do my friends know? How do this other person’s friends know? I don’t know…

I’m aware that in my posts, I often reach a conclusion or action plan at the end of each one. And I wonder whether I do that for myself or for my readers, but tonight, I don’t have that. Tonight, I have just have the almost overwhelming desire to ring this person up- apologise, grovel, repent, do whatever it takes for me to make their pain better- and thus relieve my own… but tonight I also chose not to do that. I chose to agree with the Joyce Meyer quote of yesterday- if I do what I always do, I will always get the same result as I usually do. Tonight, I accept that the impulse to please others, is immense. The impulse to denigrate self for the sake of another is powerful. Tonight, I chose to do nothing, until I know what to do.  Tonight, I admit, that this hurts. Tonight, I just don’t know.

Thanks for listening.

 

Emotions!

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Today is a teary day… don’t really know why… but it is. I’m crying and it is one of those days when I’m not sure if the tears will ever stop.

Last week in my DBT session we were looking at the function of emotions. The premise is: emotions show up for a reason. We experience emotions to either

a) communicate

b) motivate or

c) self-validate. This self-validation can either be justifiable or unjustifiable.

I’m not sure I entirely understand all of this, but I’m open to the ideas. One of my tasks this week is to try and ascertain the function of my emotions when they arise. To be honest, I am finding it difficult. Only last night as I was filling in my diary card I realised that this is not something that comes naturally to me- and every time I have experienced an emotion this week, it has taken all my effort to observe it and describe it! (Two of the mindfulness skills). I just haven’t remembered in the moment to try and work at the function!

But here I am, half hour to spare before meeting a friend for lunch- feeling upset- so is there anything in the function stuff?! I also have to confess at this point, one of the other mindfulness skills I am trying to work on is doing one thing at a time and today this is hard for me. As I write I have Loose Women on the tele in the background. I know I need to do one or other of the things- either write this blog or watch the programme. For some reason, I am finding it hard to turn the tele off! I am going to make a start and the volume has just been muted!

So here goes with this function stuff. I’m tearful. And I’m tearful because I feel sad and low- possibly didn’t get enough sleep either. I think possibly this sadness has an element of all three functions! I’m sad and the tears are communicating that sadness to myself and to my doctor who I’ve just seen this morning. I am always relieved when I cry- as many many times I feel like crying but no water comes out- which I find even more distressing. So today I am thankful for the tears. It is also communicating to me that I need to try and go to bed earlier and look after my sleep patterns.

Does this sadness motivate me in any way? That’s tricky. Normally when I feel this sad I hide away, veg in front of the tele and do as little as possible! But I read a quote today from Joyce Meyer that really challenged me: “Don’t keep doing the same things and expect a different result.” Wow, so simple but I experienced it as a really powerful truth… how I have been managing my sadness/depression whatever it is- hasn’t been working and if I want a different ‘result’ maybe I will have to change the way I’ve been doing things. So the sadness has motivated me to try different things. Firstly, I’m writing…secondly, I have tried to build a bird stand (this was a bit of a disaster as I couldn’t get the screws in, and my frustration then turned into a swearing and crying session, so maybe that bit of DIY wasn’t such a good idea, but at least it was different!!!!

Is my sadness justifiable or unjustifiable? Actually, I think in this moment it could possibly be justifiable. I am sad as I miss my dog very much. I am sad as my relationship with my doctor has changed and I miss the way it used to be. I am sad as I feel stuck as to how to move forward. So actually my sadness highlights that I need to self-soothe, show self-compassion and put things in place to help me through the day. This I will do.

I’m not sure if I did the exercise correctly (I know, there is no such thing as wrong or right!) but I’ve certainly looked at my tears in a different way. Thank you.

one of my fears

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Fear… just four letters: two consonants and two vowels. It would only get you 4 points on Countdown… but don’t let that deceive you or me- fear can drain the very life out of life. I find this difficult to admit- but I would never have really said that fear was one of my major struggles- (possible self-delusion I agree) but that was how, until very recently I saw things. I wasn’t an overly anxious type of girl- sometimes I could even be laid back about things… but more and more since ‘the crash’ I realise how much I fear and more importantly how much I let fear drive my behaviour.

This morning as I was driving into an Olympics rehearsal, I stumbled upon the realisation that one of my deepest inner fears is that I have nothing to say- nothing to offer the world- nothing inside that is worthy of giving away to others. And this is magnified as I have deep deep desire to impact others for good- to leave a mark on the world- to live a life that reaches beyond my years on earth- I really do. And this morning I got in touch with the very fear that cripples me and stops me from doing  just that.

The fear manifests itself in many disguises. Some are the slightly sociably acceptable – humility, self-deprecation and all that rubbish… but in actual fact, the truth is that this fear suffocates me. This fear of emptiness- nothing inside- an empty abyss inside that tries to convince me I am already dead.  It stops me from living. It stops me creating and at times it even threatens to stop me from existing.

I desire to write songs, write books, sing, perform, create… and the fear inside tells me I have nothing to say. So guess what I do- I say nothing… the songs never come, the story remains untold, the voice has gone mute and the creativity has dried up. I have spent 20 years helping release creativity in others- but have never given myself the chance to create. I research topics and find others that can say it better than me… others with more experience… others with better technical skills- you name it, I can find someone better than me… and the intimidation I feel paralyses me.

It is this fear that stops me telling the majority of friends and acquaintances about this blog. I am not afraid they will disagree or be shocked- that kind of thing doesn’t particularly bother me. I am afraid of being ignored. People not wanting to read it as I have nothing to say of any interest or import. This was all a revelation to me this morning…

so what do  I do about it? What impact does this revelation have on me? Well, firstly I’ve written this post! I am saying what is inside me. Some may find it interesting/ helpful- many won’t. But for the sake of those who will, I will write. But more importantly I will do it for myself. I am fully aware, that sometimes to release creativity we just have to start… the wells need unplugging… the fingers need to type. I will face the fear and act anyway. And you never know I might even tell some more friends about the blog!

Blessings.

Fragmented…

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Tonight I feel utterly fragmented… in another planet… different time zone… disconnected… and fearful because of all those things.

I live in England (which  American readers would already have realised as I persist in using ‘s’ instead of wordpress’s reprimand to use ‘z’!) I’m part of the Olympic Opening Ceremony (I will be completely unidentifiable- there are quite a lot of us!!!) This evening we rehearsed in the stadium- and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get myself there (physically I turned up, but that was the best I could do). I knew this evening had the potential to be tricky- I was very anxious before going. The trip involved going on the underground system, which I have only managed twice in 10 years… I was concerned about getting really hungry (no food allowed to be brought in)… I was tetchy.

However, I chose to attend. But however hard I tried, I couldn’t get my mind and body in the same place at the same time. This morning I had been reading and trying to practise some of the core mindfulness skills, observing, describing, participating… I was trying so hard to keep bringing myself back to reality, but it alluded me. I appreciate that this is early days of treatment for me- but I really needed the skills to work for me this evening and I’m not quite adept enough in them at the moment.

I think what I find tricky is that it makes me feel such a freak. As we were leaving, other performers were waxing lyrical about how brilliant/ awesome/ amazing it had been… I hadn’t experienced that, and I felt a freak. My mind wanders- ‘what is wrong with me?’ ‘what am I not getting that the others are?’ ‘why can’t I just be happy… more appreciative… more grateful’. I also find myself really fearful of managing to get through rehearsals to join in the performance and all my friends telling me it was amazing, and how much fun I looked like I was having, and what an amazing opportunity etc and I will just feel dead inside. Numb. Dead. Exhausted.

So where do I go from here? Tonight, I radically accept that ‘it is what it is’. I attended a rehearsal tonight. I feel discouraged, disillusioned and fearful. Those feelings feel real, but they are not facts. They will pass. I did amazingly well to get on the tube, be in such an open space with so many people. Tomorrow, I use wise mind to consider my options. Sleep well.

Know Thyself

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I’m trying to change. To change myself- how I behave, how I think and how I respond. Until this point, I have spent a lot of time and effort ‘pushing through’. Regardless of my feelings or physical pain I would grit my teeth and deliver what was required, never mind the personal cost. This attitude encompassed my work, my faith, my relationships, my own body… you name it: if I had to get through something, come hell or high water I was going to do it.

I’m trying to change.

At this moment I recognise that I do not feel well enough to work… I don’t feel able to have a lodger… these decisions have implications- I don’t have any answers… but I can’t do them at this point. I also know that I have a choice. 1) I can push through those feelings and go ahead back to work or 2) I can listen to myself and try and have the courage to follow that truth. Scary stuff… pushing through used to be the easiest way- I didn’t disappoint others, I was admired for being ‘strong’ but in reality with every push, part of me got a little weaker- with every grit of teeth, my sense of self diminished a little further- with every stubborn dogged determined effort to keep going, part of me disappeared a bit more.

I’m trying to change.

Disappointment

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I’m trying to become more and more aware of what triggers (if anything) the free-falling into despair for me. Part of DBT is the ability to observe, name and describe emotions- but more than that to be aware of those things that spark us into our life traps (in the schema way of thinking). Disappointment is one of those triggers for me… I think I’ve always been slightly aware of this, but in the past few weeks since being discharged from hospital, I have observed the acute onset of pain that descends upon me when I perceive or experience disappointment.

In some ways I can recognise that it was a major disappointment that sparked my initial crash in the summer of last year. I had travelled to Southern Africa and expected a longer-term opportunity to open up for me to stay there… it didn’t. I could accept that reality- however, I wasn’t prepared for the way it shook the very ground on which I was standing. It felt like every dream I’d ever had disintegrated… my future ceased to be… my meaning pointless. Hyperbole? Melodramatic? Actually, not to me… very real, overwhelming and crushing pain. I still remember it vividly.

Since leaving hospital I am riding on the wave of disappointment, moments of hope only to be pulled back under the water when the wave settles. I was looking into beginning a course of study- all the places were taken… again no big deal, possibly it isn’t the right timing- but in my mind the course represented a possible new beginning- something to focus on- a reason to get out of the house- new people to meet- possible new career move. And for some reason I find the disappointment of that not working out very hard to manage… to stay standing on the surfboard…

Today, I had  a meeting, where I was placing some hope into financial help that would enable me to stay off work for a while. The help looks unlikely to materialise- fair enough…. what is harder to stomach are the consequences… again the disappointment of a glimmer of light being snuffed out. Tough.

So why do I say all this? Because, I recognise in this moment that life has been in many ways one long disappointment and God seems to bearing the brunt of that for me at the moment. I feel physical pain when I consider my brother- and the way I perceive that God has not answered my prayers… I can’t bear the pain of disappointment at broken relationships and being surrounded by broken people where God seems to have remained silent. Were my expectations of God too high? I don’t think so… but I can’t square up the tension at this point in life… I just hope that I don’t stay under the water for too long. It hurts.