Belonging

I want to belong.  It has been my inherent wish my entire life.  As a kid I always wanted to belong to something, maybe to escape life, maybe to feel whatever is missing inside my soul but I always wanted to belong.  I never really did, or more aptly I never felt I did.

As I grew up I looked for belonging in the church, but was never quite Christian enough.  I thought I was an alcoholic but really, no, not really an alcoholic.  I am a feminist but really, not radical enough.  I am a mom, but meh, I really don’t act like other mom’s and sure don’t talk like them.  I belong with my husband and kids and this sense of belonging feeds my soul, but I guess we always search for more.

When I first joined the Ottawa comedy scene it felt like I found the place I really wanted to belong.  These people were as messed up as me, though they wore it differently.  Everyone has their own unique personality but there is a shared interest in something that I am passionate about.  Finally, I BELONG!  Hang on there people, do I really?  Or do I belong and not feel it or do I not belong or does it even effing matter.

Here people, is my current internal dilemma.  Every year Ottawa has a Roast and awards show.  It’s really about the roast, the winners are just cool cats, popular kids and such, but the roast, well it’s something else.  It’s drunken people insulting each other, sometimes in a smart way, sometimes not so smart and sometimes just a drunken hot mess on stage for five minutes.  It’s the highlight of the comedy season, anyone who is anyone is there.  (except those who aren’t)

I have gone before with some negative effects.  Other people can sit and hear negative things about themselves and brush it off, but because of my disorder, I can’t.  I internalize everything, get drunk, act like an idiot and feel horrible for three weeks.  It is made even worse if I roast someone else, because I am someone who wants to belong and be liked.  When I say something mean it just comes out awkward and then i feel just awful after, worrying if went too far and if they still like me, and on it goes.

So to most the answer is simple: don’t go.  This may seem easy, but to me it’s another sign I don’t belong.  It’s not like I’m someone anyone calls up and says “hey, let’s hang tonight” to start with, though I know I am fully welcome to hang when there, but to miss the main night that everyone talks about, it feels like I am missing out.  I am not “normal” enough to be able to handle it.  This makes me stand out even more and people don’t want me to come for all these reasons.  When I miss out I worry even more that no one likes me and that I don’t belong.

So in the end it’s lose/lose, but I have to break it down a bit more.  Those who don’t want me to come are not saying don’t come because they don’t want me there; they are worried about my ability to handle it and don’t want to be part of causing anxiety and pain.  Maybe people caring enough to worry about me going is belonging?  I’ll never know, and honestly still don’t know what I am going to do, though my husband and therapist have pretty much banned me from going, I still want to go.

I know i’ll do what’s right, and I know I may never feel I belong.  I know I’m funny, just as I know I’m good at things in life, my self esteem isn’t THAT low, but it makes me sad that I don’t belong.  In the end, if I have to drink the entire night to try to forget the pain the insults/jokes cause and drinking only causes me more trouble, it’s likely not a good idea.  I may never belong anywhere but maybe that’s okay.  Maybe understanding that my mental health is more important than anything is what I need to focus on.  I can’t worry if people like me or not; I mean I’m almost 40 and still worry about fitting in.  I have to let it go and accept I’m different and that doesn’t mean i don’t belong, it just means I can’t sit in a room where people are throwing insults at each other and especially when it’s at me.  When I get in my negative place it hurts more than you can imagine and doing things that make the pain worse will never make sense.

We’ll see what happens, but I am caught between wanting to belong and wanting to be well and i may not be able to do both.  I may just have to sit home, watch tv with husband and let him make mad passionate love to me while everyone else gets drunk and stoned.   I’m Jenn and I don’t belong, and that’s okay.

Thanks for listening.

jenn

Don’t Forget the Milk

On the way home from my comedy gig tonight my husband texted “don’t forget to pick up milk”.  This was as profound a statement as he could make at that moment and he doesn’t even know it.  His intent was very clear:  we need milk.

Let’s backtrack to a few hours early.  Today ended up being a bit triggering in unexpected ways.  I started out great, good attitude, love my job, blogged, did lots of work, managed projects and people, carved some wood, had a great day and then BAM!  A phone call kind of kicked me in the gut; I won’t go into details but it was about one of my children and it was something hard we have to deal with as parents with special needs children.

I said I’d address it when I get home.  I spent a wee bit of time on the ole facebook on my breaks on a page for the Ottawa Comedy Roast.  I was escaping in gentle banter and was feeling like “one of the gang” online.  I even made a silly comment about an old friend, someone who I think the world of even to this day.  This comment was taken a bit badly, it’s okay it’s a roast,  but it triggered a long list of feelings, al negative, and I was reminded yet again, that I am not normal and have BPD, and cannot engage in simple roasting type material.

I lashed out a bit, then more so lashed in big time.  I was so upset that I might have upset this one person that I felt truly ashamed to be me.  I assumed everyone hated me and that I deserved to die.  I still went did comedy, cried before, killed, then cried after.  Then the husband texted me about the milk and I smiled.

This, THIS is my life.  Pain goes on around the borderline but no matter how much pain I am in, at the end of the day we still need milk.  We still need food on the table and we still need to take care of our kids; and trust me they need some extra special care. 

I know that no matter how bad things get in my head that there are some truths:

  1. I will always get up, dress up and show up no matter how bad I feel.  I may be in the bathroom crying, but I get stuff done.  I am a good manager and I know my job.
  2. I will always be there for my children.  Hell, they may even be the reason I don’t crash my car on the side of the highway after a crying jag.  I love them.  I LOVE them and am a good mom.
  3. I have the most amazing husband, I really do.  All this pain is over a male friend who no longer wishes to be part of my life and insanity.  My husband is annoyed but works through it with me and is here, always.  He needs his time so tomorrow he plays ukulele with other nerdy type players but he’s always a rock to me and the kids.
  4. I was reluctant to put this, but I am a good person.  I am.  I may fall off the beaten path and lash a small amount but I am a good person.

I did get the milk and the cashier, seeing my tears, asks if everything is alright.  I tell them no, it’s shitty, but I got the milk so it’s going to be okay.

Thanks for listening,

jenn

Great Blogging!

In a moment of gratitude, I wanted to provide suggestions for other blogs I enjoy, and for different reasons.  Many are trying just to get through their everyday and others are going above and beyond and working to help end the stigma associated with mental health.  Their writings inspire me and some days help me when I’m down.   

Grief Happens:  I enjoy this blog because it’s a mom working on everyday issues and some extra issues as well.  Personally I enjoy the way she writes, but also because I can relate in somedays to her stories.  While I did not have my children by birth I am still a mom and being a mom with mental health issues can be ever so challenging. 

Follow it here:  http://griefhappens.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/how-to-get-out-of-a-funk-a-few-tips-from-a-serious-attempter/

I love Ms. Judy, not just because she did a feature on me and my show (though I will still take her adoration) but she is a down to earth gal and talks about being a daughter of someone who suffers from mental health issues.  I relate to this on many levels but it is so important for stigmas to be broken about us moms who suffer from mental health issues.  We are still good moms but we sometimes need more supports and in my case, a husband that is 100% supportive.

Follow Judy Here:  http://judyonthego.com/

Amy Griffin:  This blog features mental health from a counsellor’s perspective.  I like the idea of someone learning and treating people like me.  I would personally have eaten her alive, us borderlines are tricky little patients able to convince everyone the world is fine (I ended up with a therapist who had worked with women in prison, most of the borderlines so she is amazing at calling me on my bull), but I enjoy her  musings and am glad for people like her entering this often thankless profession!

Follow the counselor here:  http://amyegriffin.com/

Overall Mental Health Blog:  This blog is a lovely blog focused on information about mental health NOT just about what affects her but for mental health issues everywhere.  Beautifully written and a must follow!

Follow it here:  http://blogformentalhealth.wordpress.com/about/  about all mental health not just hers

Sobriety and Youth:  I struggled with this one, not because of the blog or the person, they are both awesome, but because this blog makes me both happy and sad.  It shows me how much today youth has in front of them for mental health and addictions programs, even though there is much more work to be done.  In the next ten years things will even get better for my children and this young woman is on the frontier of the change.  I admire her dedication and work to this cause and personally one of her tweets really helped me out.  I get a bit sad thinking back to when I was a young woman over 20 years ago and was medicated and given no supports mental health or otherwise.  I still made it and hope that this blog helps many young women struggling out there today.

Follow her at:  http://thatsoberchick.wordpress.com/

So if you read me, you may enjoy these other blogs.  Don’t tell them I sent you haha, just go read and support other people trying to make a difference, one post at  a time.

Thanks for listening,

jenn

 

Have you ever wanted to go back to school?  I have not; I hated school, but I have always wanted to go back to the psychward for a weekend, just for some rest and relaxation and low expectations!   I’m kidding as I’d rather not revisit that time/s in my life but I do want to revisit the teachings I received.

When I was in the psychward and during the eight week post day treatment program I was learning mindfulness.  I don’t like mindfulness, my mind always has at least 20 tabs open and my brain is fighting between positive thoughts, negative thoughts and thoughts on actual productivity  such as “this report needs to get done NOW, no one cares if I like myself of not during the process!”

During my treatment though I worked hard and found that painting was something that worked for me.  I should say I am a HORRIBLE painter.  No skills, no vision for how colours mix, but I do enjoy painting.  I would focus on the colour, the brushstroke and the mellow music.  If I smoked pot I was one toke away from euphoria (alas I stick mostly with prescribed substances) and being a hippy.  (I don’t know why I think painting makes me a hippy, but it’s a stereotype I have had my entire life).

As time has gone by I have done less and less painting.  I am busy; a mom, a wife, a job, comedian and the odd movie keeps me going.  I still have bad days but just find I didn’t want to paint anymore.  Today mindfulness came back by accident.  I was walking by a group in our building that was doing wood carving.  As a Director sometimes I sit down with the staff and clients and “shoot the shit” and be present to answer questions and such.   Today I picked up a chisel and started carving.  I carved and carved and trust me, focusing is essential in wood carving, even more so than painting!  You can lose focus on painting and make a mess, but lose focus while carving and OUCH!!  So I sat there for half an hour carving and the time went by faster than sex with my husband!  I enjoyed the carving, the pounding, the chiseling; I enjoyed BEING IN THE MOMENT!

I am thankful to work in a place where every now and again I can stop and gain some culture and new skills.  I am thankful that I took the time to get away from my head and growing negative thoughts and just pounded on some wood.   I am thankful that “pounded on some wood” is NOT a euphemism for once.

So friends, take the time to do things you enjoy, even if you are busy.  My job and life can be stressful and while a borderline can feed off of this chaos, sometimes a good grounding must take place.  I should add that it appears I suck at wood carving too, but this will not deter me from continuing!  If I stopped at everything I sucked at I wouldn’t have gotten better and be where I am today!

Thanks for listening,

jenn

How to Get Out of a Funk — A Few Tips from a Serious Attempter

i am so going to try this next time, you had me at “let the little ones go”. 🙂

Grief Happens

1 — Send the husband and children off to school and work.  This is crucial.  I can not stress enough the importance of not having to attend to little people and/or big ones.  They must go.

2 — Eat something for breakfast.  Put something in your system.  This morning I had a Clifbar, an apple and coffee with milk, coconut oil, and coconut sugar.  Yes, I have food issues.  Don’t knock the coconut oil in coffee until you try it.  This is even better if you have an immersion blender.  Heaven in a glass, or in my case, a large recycled peanut butter jar.  Yep, cheers to embracing your quirks!

3 — Retreat back to bed and sip your coffee leisurely.  You will likely beat yourself up for such behavior, but stop that right now.  Life can wait.  I pampered myself further this morning by turning on my…

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Feelings

Feelings

Though they are felt intensely for people with Borderline Personality Disorder, they do leave eventually. It’s just about waiting for the storm to pass.

What is it really like?

Yesterday I wrote a blog about BPD in the middle of a BDP spin.  Uplifting isn’t it?  When I read it back it seems like a different person; a really negative life sucks kind of gal.  That’s not me though, not at all.

Some ask what is being a borderline like?  Why do I make such bad choices?  Why do I contact and text people I know are going to trigger me?  Why do I sabotage and hurt myself?

I wrote this analogy ages ago, and feel it is relevant; so if you want to know more about the feelings and choices of a borderline, then read away.  If you don’t care to know, then I’m not sure why you are reading up to this point anyway.

What is it like being a borderline?

There are many common elements which make it a diagnosable disorder; the main one is fear of abandonment.  Borderlines also have multiple addictions to cope from unrelenting pain.

One element of being a borderline is how we feel things.  Imagine you felt a drop of rain on your head.  It’s there, you feel it, but one drop doesn’t make a huge difference to you.  Now imagine a large hail ball falling right on your noggin?  Hurts doesn’t it?  Now imagine the rain is falling hard; it’s a hard time, you are getting wet and it is annoying but you move quickly and get through it.  Now it is a full on hail storm and you can’t move because you can’t see in front of you, all you feel are hail balls hitting you hard from seemingly every angle.  Substitute feelings for rain and hail and you have a borderline.  One feeling may be a raindrop to you, but hail for a borderline.  These hailstorms leave me incapacitated, so many feelings whirling around inside with no place to go.

One last challenge is the impulses to get rid of the hailstorm.  The inclination is to run, to hide from the hail.  To use an umbrella, a garbage can lid, anything to save yourself.  With pain it is the same, i personally use food, have drank and at during times where the conflict feels like losing someone i love, excessive contact and even posting on facebook.  Alas any action during the hailstorm can cause more hail to come down, or can cause movement towards more pain.  The only true way to get through a real hailstorm is to let the hail hit you.  It is to sit and feel every emotion coming at you, feelings or worthlessness, feelings or pain, feelings and voices calling us names, we have to sit through it.  We have to say to ourselves “i am feeling this pain.  It feels horrible and I want to die, but I know it will pass by.  The only answer is to sit through the pain…while others may know the saying “don’t just sit there do something”, for borderlines the saying should be “don’t do anything just sit there”

As we continue dealing with our hailstorms we learn how to sit through them with less and less damage. Positive self messages on a daily basis and healthy choices can slowly lead to less hailstorms and happier living.

Keep healthy and know you are not alone.