I have trouble managing my emotions (said every person diagnosed with BPD ever!)
Those of us labelled Emotionally Unstable/Borderline usually go one of two ways. There is the traditional ‘acting out’ (although let me assure you – there is nothing acting about it. These episodes are genuine distress. It is as much acting as someone having a cardiac arrest). There is also the less mainstream ‘quiet’. I’m a quiet.
Being of the quiet type means that I find it very very hard to even acknowledge my emotions, never mind let them out! I stuff them into a big box and continue on with my day. Lovely! It’s funny because people would probably describe me as quite an emotional person. I find that weird because I stifle my emotions and what the world sees are only ever little leaks out. Imagine what I’m keeping inside. (Don’t let them in, don’t let them see. Be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal, don’t feel. Don’t let them know – Let It Go, from Frozen. Pretty much sums up my position).
This really bites me in the arse sometimes, like last night. As I’ve been going through therapy I often get the sensation that I need to cry. I need to get all of this sadness out but it just won’t come. I can’t cry. The emotion bubbles up, it reaches my throat and then it get choked back down. Hello nausea!
Last night I was so so sad and, I really felt like using all my coping strategies was not the way forward. WHY CAN’T I JUST BE SAD?! Why do I have notice, label, assess, manage? I am sad. LET ME BE SAD. I didn’t feel I could cry in the way that I wanted at home. I feel could myself tumbling into a mix of depression and dissociation. No! No! I’m not letting that happen. I will be sad. This is where the crisis cafe came in.
Some of my therapy mates had already been so I had a report on what to expect. I messaged them and told them I was going to go. Michelle insisted on meeting me there. I told B I was going and tried not to worry him. It felt good. I was doing something rather than staying a prisoner to my emotions.
At the cafe I filled in a form and a lady spoke to me about why I was there. I told her about needing to cry. It kept starting but then stopping. It just wouldn’t come. I wasn’t trying to force it. I suppose it was like waves. She suggested a sad film and my brain jumped to Marley and Me. The lady and Michelle said that they didn’t find that film sad (weirdos!). “But the dog dies!” I said and boom! There we go. The floodgates opened and I properly cried. It was hard to be that vulnerable in front of a friend but worth doing. The lady left us to it.
I didn’t cry for very long but it was enough. I felt like I’d conquered something. Instead of bottling up I had faced the emotions. I had this sensation of clawing at my insides. Like the ‘bad’ me was trying to claw its way out of me through my mouth. Weird eh? Absolutely bonkers mate. I felt very nauseous but I left the cafe feeling a lot, lot better.
Today I feel battered. My body aches like I’ve been in a fight and I suppose I have but there weren’t any physical kicks or punches.It’s surprising how much a fight with myself can cause physical pain. My head throbs. It is very like being hungover. An emotional hangover? Oh FFS. Who needs that?! Today is about being gentle and building strength. I’m riddled with guilt at being so useless as a mum and wife. It’s nearly midday and I’m sat in my PJs. B looks so exhausted it frightens me. I’m hoping to try a gentle run later, to gently start clawing back to where I want to be.
Will I use the crisis cafe again? I’d love to be able to say no, there won’t be a need, but who knows what the future holds. If I need it then I’ll go because trying new things is how recovery works. There’s that quote about how madness is doing the same thing over and over yet expecting a different result and that sums it up really. The end. Or not.