“I was totally fine”. My eyes were wet as I held back tears. I explained to my husband, “when I wear my running stuff I feel safe. It’s like my armour.” I had just returned from a 5.6km run (the .6 is very important – you know it fellow runner). A run alone in the dark. I ran because I wanted to. I ran because I could. It wasn’t part of any training plan. I just really wanted to run.
Safety first obviously so I had been wearing a ridiculous amount of reflective gear along with a light up flashing armband. Hello! Coming through! All I needed was a siren and I’m pretty sure I could have parted traffic. I didn’t wear headphones to allow me to focus fully on my surroundings. I could notice the sounds and the smells. Running in the dark smells differently to running in the daytime. It totally does! I swear!!! Anyway I arrived home, flopped on the sofa (no stretching – naughty!) and launched into that post-run yabbering away thing. You know where you discuss each step in great detail? …so then I saw this…then I was wondering that…and I felt like…etc etc. It was during this conversation that the husband asked me if I had been ok running alone in the dark. I already knew the answer to this as I’d been pondering it during the run; yes. Yes I felt fine. Not afraid.
I started to explain to him and found myself choking back tears. “When I wear my running stuff I feel safe. My running gear is like my armour”. I was feeling intense, yet different, emotions simultaneously. This is why Borderline Personality Disorder is also called Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD). Emotionally unstable? Yeah, just a bit!
Part of me was bursting with happiness and pride (remember extreme emotions so very happy = tears). I was just so pleased by Runner Kate’s achievements and, seeing as I am Runner Kate, I guess that meant my own achievements. Cool. Completely at the same time I felt so sad for Regular Kate. I could not have done that walk in the dark. I would have been too scared. Regular Kate feels so much fear and anxiety and it’s just so sad how limited she (me!) is by that. Extreme emotions so very sad = tears! So there I was trying to stifle tears of happiness and sadness all at the same time. A part Personality Disorder can result in the absence of sense of self. All a bit heavy I know, but I never promised it’ll all be giggles. So, we all do this – being different characters – to some extent. I’m guessing the you that goes on a big night out is different to the you that turns up at your child’s parents evening? Probably? So we all do that. The difference with me is that my personality is very context based. I know who I’m supposed to be based on where I am and who I’m with. Take away that context and at my core is nothing, I do not know how to exist, what the hell am I?!?! – that’s PD. Well, since DBT I have actually started building a sense of self and running is a huge part of that.
Don’t get me wrong I still feel fear when Lycra clad. The difference is that the fear doesn’t overwhelm me, it doesn’t stop me from functioning, I can work through it. That’s Runner Kate. I like her. Oh my god I like something about myself. That’s huge.
So, when I put my running stuff on, it brings out the good things that already exist within me, they just need a bit of help to show themselves. In my running gear I feel stronger, I feel powerful, I feel like the person I want to be. Undoubtedly my running kit is my armour. It is not a costume, I am not pretending to be someone I am not. The Lycra me is the real me. Now, I wonder if I can convince the husband that I need some more???
PS I ain’t going to lie; this is the second time I wrote this post. The first one completely disappeared and it was better than this version but suck it up people! WordPress crashes – yargh!!!