Walking Through Fire

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All my life, I’ve been an outsider. Maybe not on the surface, but I was an inside outsider. I never felt comfortable in my skin. I’ve always felt just a little off somehow. Even as a child of 4, I can remember feeling broken. It’s difficult to explain to someone who has never been there. I had what most would call a perfect childhood—2 loving, married parents. Upper middle class family in a nice neighborhood. My parents were always there, giving me all the love and support one girl could ever need. But, it never filled up what seemed like a black hole inside of me.

The first event I remember was when I was 4. We were on vacation at an amusement park and I wanted to ride a kiddie roller coaster ride for the 8th time. My parents just wanted to move on through the park, but I insisted. When I was given that final “no”, I snapped. I tore off my clothes. Right there. In front of everyone. It was the first real “meltdown” in what would become the normal of my life. I had no emotional regulations. I hated everyone one minute and desperately loved them the next. My emotions had more ups and downs than that stupid kiddie coaster. It was constant. It was exhausting. For 13 years, I plugged my way through school. I immersed myself in academics and books and hid my true self from others. To everyone around me, I was normal. Except I wasn’t and I knew it. I knew there was something fundamentally wrong with me.

Relationships with friends and boys were full of constant drama. I couldn’t keep friends. I had a few long-term boyfriends, but they were mostly clung to out of fear of being alone. I didn’t care about them, I just needed someone to help me. After high school, I was sexually assaulted in college. That was the absolute straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. I went downhill from there. I stayed in a mentally and emotionally abusive relationship(obsession, really) for far too long. I went crazy on drugs, alcohol, and sex when that ended. I was on a downward spiral with no escape. Till I saw one on my college adviser’s wall and hopped a plane for a study abroad in England.

It was just what I needed. I got myself together and in the process, got pregnant. My English boyfriend and I got married out of necessity and started a family. I thought having a baby might be the catalyst to bringing what was broken inside of me together, but it didn’t. Nothing did. Those years were full of screaming, crying, throwing of objects, etc. and that was me, not my two toddlers at home. My marriage stood no chance and neither did I. During our separation, I went to counseling for the first time in my life. I never even considered it before, as I was raised to be a strong woman and never ask for help. This is where I got my answer. Borderline Personality Disorder. This was 6 years ago, at age 37. I had walked around for 37 years thinking that I was just fundamentally broken.

As I read more on this disease, I finally understood myself. I understood I was not alone, but felt hopeless, since many of us cannot hold jobs, friendships, and marriages. I was destined to be alone. But, I was in for a surprise. The universe threw my high school freshman boyfriend into my orbit. I kept trying to convince him that I was too damaged to love. Too broken to put back together. But, he persisted. He read everything he could on my disease, bought books, joined online support forums. And in the process, he became the light on my darkness. My now husband walks through hell and back every week because of me and my BPD. I’ve learned through the years and DBT on how to try to control my emotions and quiet my meltdowns, but it’s always there bubbling under the surface.

I just need to thank him.

For taking care of me.

For loving me, no matter what.

For understanding me when no one else does.

For being the one that wipes the tears from my face.

For stepping away from me when he knows I need space.

For ducking when I throw things.

For putting his arms around me, even when I push him away.

For never giving up on me.

For seeing me as imperfect perfection.

For walking on eggshells and knowing my triggers.

For walking through fire and broken glass and never complaining.

For simply being my light through the broken cracks.

For pulling me back from the edge every day.

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Stranger at my Door

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Even when life is looking up, I still have a difficult time looking on the bright side. I could list 50 things going right, but I dwell on the 10 that are going wrong. That’s just me. That’s just my nature. No matter how hard I try to change, it feels like on a cellular level, that’s just who I am–just part of my DNA. I’m just never ENOUGH for anyone or anything. For myself.

I’m starting to compile my poetry for publication in a book. I’m over the moon excited about it, but as usual, my old friends, doubt and depression rear their ugly heads and I can’t seem to find a way to be happy about it. I have a job i like, but it’s still difficult for me to get out of bed most mornings and do my work. I have to force my feet onto the floor and force myself to sit down at my computer and do my daily duties. I’m still happily married and my husband is the greatest gift I’ve been given in my life, besides my sons. But, I always feel like I’m not good enough for him. Like he deserves so much better than this borderline, roller coaster, hurricane of a person that I am.

Stranger at My Door

by

Allison Cline-Saia

I wonder if I would recognize happiness if she showed up on my doorstep

Like an old friend in faded jeans and a t-shirt

Holding a plate of cookies and a bottle of wine.

I hear the doorbell ring and slowly move the curtain

Peering  through the glass pane

She’s standing there with a face almost familiar.

Like someone I may have known in another time, another place

An old acquaintance perhaps?

A faded memory runs across my mind like an old movie reel.

I think I know her from somewhere long ago

In days of sandboxes and water sprinklers,

A time before I walked into the darkness.

Maybe she won’t see me standing there,

If I don’t answer, she’ll give up and stop trying

She’ll leave me alone and let me be.

Anyone But Me

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“I wish I wasn’t like myself.”

My husband is accustomed to hearing my weird musings. He’s known me for 25 years and been married to me for 5. He just kind of looked at me and smiled. I elaborated a bit on what I meant by that. And that’s what I want to do here.

I like me. I like that I’m passionate and stubborn. I like that I’m a kickass writer and editor. I like that I have red hair and the personality to boot. I love fierce and fight fierce. I’m smart, funny, quirky. If I wasn’t me…I’d love to be friends with me. But, I don’t like how I am….who I am, yes….how I am…not so much.

As any of you know that follow my blog, I have Borderline Personality Disorder. I also suffer from Anxiety and Depression…it all kind of depends on the day. On bad days, both rear their ugly heads. That is what I was talking about. Those bad parts of how I am…they aren’t who I am…they are how I am, what I do.

I don’t like that the smallest thing will set me off…either on a murderous rampage or on a cry fest that last for hours. I don’t like how when I feel unappreciated by someone personally or professionally, I doubt everything about myself.

I don’t like that when I sit and think about my sons being away at college, every single doomsday scenario floods my mind—maybe they’ll get mugged, shot, hit by a car…you name it, I’ve thought it. These unrealistic feelings make me sick—literally.

I don’t like that I feel neglected by my husband if he’s working. I start to question where he is or what he does. I know he loves me and is committed to me, but doubt creeps in all the time. God, he has to love me…..he puts up with me! No one would put up with a BPD with Anxiety and Depression just for the fun of it!

I don’t like that no matter what good things happen in my life…and right now, it’s really good…..I look for the dark clouds. I can’t bask in the warmth of the light and the sun, because I’m always afraid of the dark storm clouds looming to the west, even though they may never rain on me.

I feel like I can never just enjoy life….I’m temporarily happy in the moment, but I’m still always waiting for the next shoe to drop. It’s really is exhausting. I want to stress that I am NOT suicidal. God knows, I have been in the past, but as I mature and progress, death has become one of my greatest anxieties. It’s kinda like Freddie Mercury said, “I don’t wanna die…I sometimes wish I’d never been born at all.” But, that’s only sometimes.

So, I keep on keeping on. I keep on trying to be a better version of myself. I try to change what I am, what I do, not who I am. I kinda like that girl. I just wish I wasn’t like myself sometimes.