“Not again. Please don’t cancel again.” Sometimes I think it about my friends, hoping they don’t cancel on me, but, often I think it about myself. Please don’t cancel. Go. Go. You can do it.
No you can’t.
Scream (silent, of course).
It’s happened again today but I think I can start to unravel why and that’s helpful. So, ‘The Plan’ was to go to a social run with some friends. We’d go and see the Christmas lights switch on and it’d be a great opportunity for me to try a bit longer distance (I’ve limited myself to 5k since the marathon a month ago). I’ve been looking forward to this run. It was me getting back into it and getting out there. I’ve been really struggling recently, not just with running, with everything (everything is a LOT of stuff!), so being able to do this run tonight was a good thing. I planned my day so that I could go. I made arrangements with my husband. I bought a super easy dinner. It was 100% happening…until it wasn’t.
I should be heading out now but instead I’ve come to bed tired, ashamed and disappointed.
Nothing. Not really a thing at all, but that’s exactly how BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) works isn’t it? There doesn’t have to be something to get upset about for an emotional over reaction, the tiniest little flutter of the wind can do it and, this evening, picking my son up from a football match after school was said flutter. He was late. For 50 minutes I sat in that car getting stressed. I got angry. I was angry at school for not letting kids use their phones. I was angry at my son for not knowing the match details to tell me more specifically what was happening tonight. I was most angry at myself though. I was angry that I would just sit there rather than get out the car and ask someone. Just sat there being useless. I was stressing about my being later than I wanted to pick up my daughter from after school club. And I just sat there. Angry at myself. Feeling frustrated at myself.
Anyway there was no big disaster. The son arrived, I picked up the daughter and all was well…except me. I was not well. I was exhausted and I knew I couldn’t go to my run. I was so wiped out from managing the unjustified emotions that I couldn’t even have made it to the meet point never mind then going on to run more! I tossed and turned this thought around in my head: are you really tired? Is this an excuse? Might you feel better if you went? You’re being a ridiculous flake. Over and over and over again. However, in the end, I knew I couldn’t. It wasn’t a relief to cry off, quite the opposite. Not being able to do something I had planned and was looking forward to gave me a big dose of the poor me’s. I felt incredibly bad about letting my friends down again. Ugh! The frustration! Why couldn’t I just go?
Because I couldn’t.
I asked husband if he would be ok making the easy dinner (too much for me at that point) and off I sloped to bed to lick my wounds and recharge.
So here I am. You know I’ve actually been feeling great today? I achieved quite a bit and, at points, I thought to myself ‘how could I ever be ill? I feel fine!’ Yeah. Good one. I know that almost every other person on Earth would surely roll their eyes at what I’m saying here. Well we all get a bit stressed sometimes yada yada must be nice to be able to be so lazy… well it’s not actually and it’s not bloody lazy either. I do find it difficult talking about this stuff. I imagine being judged as lazy, weak, pathetic, and making excuses but, if I can explain, then maybe it might just go a teeny little way to stigma busting. See, tonight when my son was running late it was pretty normal to feel annoyed however I didn’t just feel annoyed. The level of emotion that I felt was way too high for the situation. I dunno I liken it to say finding out one of your best friends is in hospital and you’ve had to do a mad rush there – very stressful and tiring. That’s kind of the intensity I was at and that’s what BPD (or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder) is all about. It’s about feeling things too damn much. The feeling is exhausting. Managing the feeling just finishes me off. So a very simple thing has completely derailed my plans, has put extra pressure on my husband, has resulted in me letting down friends and that is the reality of this crap. You never know what and you never when. Boom! It happens. Life becomes second priority to managing the feeling and the tiredness. It feels like personal failure. It keeps me isolated. It makes me afraid.
Sometimes if I try and explain then others tell me that what I’m describing is normal, that they would be annoyed too. Yes, I don’t doubt that they would have been but what people miss is the sheer intensity of it, how it becomes all consuming, how the world has to be kept at a distance whilst I manage it.
I am not trying to one up you. It’s like telling someone with asthma that yes, you too, can get a little breathless sometimes. Someone with asthma is not trying to one up you by explaining their illness and neither am I. I am not invalidating what you feel, what you go through. I know that you know loss, pain and despair too. We all do. It’s just, for you, those large emotions accompany a significant event but, for me? No, there does not need to be anything. It happens all the time. It is draining and I hate it.
I am genuinely very sorry indeed that I could not make the run tonight, but also it’s ok. It’s ok to struggle. I’m learning about living with this ‘stuff’ all the time….zzzzz
And then I fell asleep.
I woke up 3 and a half hours later, disorientated. I went downstairs, had a glass of water, changed into pyjamas, took my bed meds and crawled back under the covers. Today I feel beaten up. Seriously! I told myself yesterday that I’d run 10K today to make up for bailing on my run. I really don’t think I’ll make it out for 10K. I’m absolutely knackered with a mood that’s through the floor accompanied with a small sense of panic that I’m not a runner anymore. I can’t run anymore. That’s probably rubbish but I’ll feel a lot better when I prove it wrong. I’ve put my run gear on and I will try to go for just a mile. Just.A.Mile. How hard can that be eh?
Oh well, nothing worthwhile was ever easy was it?
(And I’m still a runner aren’t I?)
PS The cartoon is from Hyperbole and a Half a blog by Allie Brosh which I love. I fully recommend all of her stuff but it was Adventures in Depression and Depression Part Two which hooked me in. In the darkest of days it was a brief relief to read and laugh about how utterly crap depression can be.