After ten years in and out of various therapies, I had two months of freedom. Two whole months. I had two months where the wicked monsters and demons of borderline personality disorder weren’t wittering in my ear, judging everything I did. It sounds silly, but I felt like I was part of the world. Like I was ‘in it’. I felt the ground beneath my feet, I felt the warmth, the cold. I didn’t react to it, I just felt it. I had an eerie sense of calm and quiet that allowed me to get on with my life for once.
It sounds great and I suppose it was. But two months in ten years feels a bit harsh. I couldn’t tell you what got me there. I keep thinking, if I could just remember the route I took I might find ‘it’ again. I might find wellness and I might stay there for a little while longer but it seems to have gone. And I just feel frustrated that I lost that path so quickly after finding it.
As a positive, one thing this experience has enabled me to see is there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. Sometimes the tunnel is so long and so dark we can’t see the light, but it is there. And that, I suppose, is hope. And I will hold onto that hope now whilst I navigate the twists and turns of this dark tunnel.
“‘I have to go back, haven’t I?’ said Harry. ‘It’s up to you’ replied Dumbledore. ‘I have a choice?’ ‘Oh, yes!'” – J K Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)
Today got me thinking about black and white thinking a lot. As one of the criteria for BPD, you’d think I’d have given it some consideration before given I carry that diagnosis. But I wiped it aside, presuming I didn’t do that or feel that as I do with most things. But then I was talking to my DBT therapist today about continuum’s and where people may stand in them. Specifically, she described one end of a continuum as people who trust completely and approach everyone with open doors. Then she spoke of the other side, where people become isolated and untrusting of everyone. I thought, yes, that makes sense. Then she added a bit, about the middle and said ‘it was probably the best place to be’. Where you trust people who earn your trust, and don’t the others. I guess you learn how to scale it for yourself and judge it. She said just because you’re in the middle, it doesn’t mean you can’t be betrayed. But even if you are, the affect of having trustworthy people around you may buffer the betrayal. This all kind of made sense to me.
I realised how rarely I thought of this middle ground. Hell, I’m not even sure I remembered it existed. I either love my job and it’s my world, or I hate it. I spend whole days participating in hobbies, or none. I exercise religiously and ‘excessively’ or I barely move. I do or I don’t. I can or I can’t. I’ve known I’ve acted this for a while, but I’ve never considered just how black and white it is. It’s never occurred to me that having a bad day at work doesn’t mean I should quit, up and go travelling or do something reckless and damaging. Things aren’t as black and white as that. Things aren’t just good and bad, there is a middle ground. I can see it now. It is possible to trust someone without trusting them with your life. To be a friend without being a best. This is strange territory for me, but I think it might be helpful that I have seen it.
‘I want you to listen to me very carefully, Harry. You’re not a bad person.[…] Besides, the world isn’t split into good people and death eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us.’ J. K. Rowling.