One of the symptoms of BPD I struggle the most with is the disconnect from reality. It’s one of the reasons why I blog, along with keep diaries. I go through my day, like a lot of people, without really… realizing that I’m alive. I’m not entirely sure where the line is between “normal” and “BPD”, but for me, it’s the feeling of utter detachment from the world insofar as I have trouble associating myself with my own life. This is probably connected to my inability to own my own successes. I go through the day, but I’m not really here. That isn’t to say that I’m not elsewhere; there is no alternate reality in my head. I just don’t own the events of my life. The day I’m writing this, for example, I had an appointment with a professor, and then did some work on my graduate application, played with my cats, and then hung out with a friend and played Deadpool. All these things happened, I know this logically, but I also second guess myself. Did it happen? Am I making it up?
This happens a lot to me, wondering if I made things up. I’ve been doubted for a very long time about a very long list of things, so I feel it’s only natural to second guess myself on everything from the events of my day to the things that I feel. It’s the reason I once succumbed to self harm – a physical reminder of anything helps me. It’s also why I encourage my husband to send me letters, even though his actions show me every day that he loves me. I can’t hold those actions in my hand, and I can’t pull those moments out whenever I feel sad. I remember them, often in minute detail, but there’s a disconnect. I feel like I’m remembering a dream.
During my time with my doctor and with the support group, there was a huge focus on mindfulness exercises. Of course, the problem with mindfulness exercises is similar to the problem with memory medication: you tend to forget them. I go through my day, successful and physically present, but by the time I get home, none of it exists. By the time I am being fully mindful, all the important things have happened, and I begin to wonder if I’m deluding myself.
The thing that sparked this blog post was my nightly removal of my jewelery. I keep my wedding ring on all the time, but I take off the engagement ring and my grad ring before bed and showers and workouts. The rings are very important to my being able to associate myself with these moments in time, and I honestly wonder if that’s a thing “normal” people have to do. I know I’m married, and I remember when my husband proposed, but I also sometimes lose track of that sensation of memory.
This lack of sensation tends to make suicide a less scary thing for me. I sometimes lose all concept of the world I inhabit, and am unable to really consider the people whom my death would affect. I am, in essence, forgettable to myself, and so I suspect I am forgettable to others. Life goes on, or it doesn’t, but I feel I have very little stake in the matter. It’s an interesting place to be, because sometimes it makes me feel like I can do basically whatever, because what’s life for but to live, and then other times it makes me super apathetic, to the point where I could fritter away the days doing absolutely nothing if I let myself because what does it matter anyways?
Before I fall asleep, I do a meditation, of sorts. It starts by clenching each muscle group in turn – feet, calves, thighs, tush, etc., and holding it, and releasing it. It makes me aware of my body, and of my breathing. This knowledge of myself confuses me sometimes, but it’s really helpful for me to remember where I am, and what I am. It reminds me of all my reasons to continue on being me, and question what exactly that means. Being alive is a pretty interesting state of being.
The detachment from reality applies to relationships, too, because when I find myself questioning how memorable I am, my fear of abandonment rears its head. It’s a horrible feeling, being doubtful of my own value to my friends and loved ones. It also means I try really hard to get people to like me, and need constant reminders that they do. When it comes to friends, it means getting texts occasionally, and when it comes to my husband, it means getting letters. You can text someone all day despite utter irritation, but writing a letter is different. It’s intimate, and it takes time. I keep all the letters people send to me, and I reread them as reminders of my importance in the world. Sometimes I worry it makes me needy, but then again, maybe it just makes me human.