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|What to do when the winds start blowing|
|Written by Annabeth|
|31 December 2009|
It all starts with... well, anything. Maybe you seemed distracted when I was talking to you, maybe you forgot a detail about something I never told you was important (or never thought was important until this moment). Maybe I had a hard day at work and now I feel like everyone's watching for a reason to get mad at me. Maybe (like today) I have a cold and am feeling unattractive and grumpy, and am secretly convinced you're staring at me thinking how ugly and mean I am. And yeah, maybe this all sounds like a list of reasons to eat some chocolate and watch a movie, but to me they're reasons why I get so upset and wind up crying or yelling or just clamming up and refusing to talk to you. Because me, I'm always in my head. I feel 50 emotions for every one of yours, and they're all a hundred time stronger. Someone says they like my shirt, I'm on cloud 9 for hours. Someone says I look tired, I'm depressed and crying. You forget one little detail, like the name of a close friend's production company I reference a couple weeks ago, and I think you never listen and don't really care about what I say or think.
Yeah, it's a little crazy... ok, a LOT crazy. But it's my every day life.
I can usually handle big problems fine. When my grandmother got into a car accident, remember? Yes, I cried about it and called and visited. But I wasn't the huge emotional wreck I turned into when you said you thought a band I liked sounded "like everyone other band out there." Little things get to me. Big things are, well, big. I'm just one person, I can't control anyone's life. I can't even control mine. Every day I deal with a constant battle against all these gnawing, nagging little thoughts and fears in my head telling me that you don't care about me, don't really listen, telling me that I'm not interesting, that no one really likes me, that no matter what I do I won't be able to find a job or get rid of the bad habits that I know are hurting me.
Everyone has insecurities. Everyone worries things won't work out. Everyone has down times. I know this. I see it every day. I listen to other people's problems and empathise with them. Usually because I can guarantee that anything they've thought or felt I've dealt with at least once that day. Right now I'm writing this article in an attempt to explain how my brain works, and I'm also avoiding sleep because at this point I'll feel guilty for coming to bed so late. Not that you'll be mad or dissapointed or even notice (you sleep like a log), but my paranoid brain has managed to convince me that if you find out that it's almost 8 in the morning and I haven't slept yet, well, you'll be mad at me. I know it's not true, but it's what my brain says. And it says it pretty loud. So what will I do? Probably finish this and then go fall asleep on the couch and claim I passed out hours ago while reading. Just because it's so much easier than dissapointing you, even tho you won't be dissapointed.
When we met I was getting over a very bad lung infection. I was so worried about losing your interest I wound up telling you it was asthma. I even faked a few asthma attacks to convince you. You got me an inhaler. I've never felt so low and cheap, but I couldn't come out and tell you because I thought you'd hate me for it. Instead, you figure it out and confronted me about it. Gently. You were understanding and caring and even knew what I was talking about. Which made me feel even worse, for deceiving you. And even tho I know, I KNOW, that you'll never intentionally hurt me in any way, I'm still always on the lookout for some sign that you don't like me. And I find them. They're not real, but to me they're neon signs. It's why I got so mad at you at the restaurant yesterday. You didn't see it, but I wanted to rip your head off right there. Why? Because you poked fun at me for not remembering your middle name.
This is how it went down in my head: I mentioned something about a friend of mine. I'd only said something about it once a couple of months ago. Naturally you didn't remember what I was talking about. I got a little snippy because I was hungry and tired, and you challenged me to recall what your middle name is. I couldn't remember. My mind was an absolute blank. I've only heard it twice, it wasn't my fault I didn't remember. But immediately I started freaking out. If I couldn't remember your middle name, then I was a bad girlfriend. And if I was a bad girlfriend, then you must know it. Then the only reason why you were still dating me was for some ulterior reason. In the space of a second I thought up 15 different reasons for you to deceive me, ranging from pity to keeping me around for sex. And I was CONVINCED they were true. For all of about 5 or 10 seconds. Then I would've probably had a fantasy about flinging my salad plate against the wall and storming out, and then been fine.
You made a joke. Something like "Ah ha! See? I don't remember something you said forever ago, but you can't even remember my middle name!" Now, normally I would've laughed and made a joke back and been fine. This time, however, my brain was racing with thoughts of how horrible you were for lying to me about all these thought-up terrible abuses you were fictionally piling up on me. So instead I decided to take it out on you and spent the rest of the dinner slowly but surely poking fun at you in mean ugly little ways and trying my best to get you to the point where you felt as badly as I did. That was the only way I could think of to get you to understand what was going on in my mind. It didn't work, it all slid off you. I felt even worse. So after we got back I sat as far away from you as I could, didn't talk to you much, pretended to not hear you, any way to bring you down without actually having to fight you. Why? Because I knew somehow I was wrong, I just didn't know how. And it infuriated me. I didn't sleep next to you last night, either. As a punishment to you and to me. Because I couldn't stop these rolling waves of anger in my head.
Granted, this could've gone a lot worse. Even as early as the beginning of this year I would've probably picked a fight right there in the middle of the restaurant. I would've gotten our friends involved. I would've made people pick sides, and cried my way into their sympathies so that SOMEONE would understand what I was feeling. Just so I wouldn't have to admit that I was wrong, and being irrational, and being (yes, that hated word) manipulated. The really crazy part is that in my head, it plays out with you finally coming to me and apologizing for this horrible horrible slight of making a joke. And I would've forgiven you, and we could love each other again. Until the next time my insecurities and self hatred and pent up rage found something else to focus on.
I've come a long way. I know I have. I also know I have a long way to go. What I should be doing right now is sleeping in our bed next to you. What I should've done is tell you what I was doing, and why, and try to find a way to prevent it next time. I will probably not show you this for a very long time. It's far too embarassing, both because of my behavior, and because I failed. I failed to prod you into feeling my hatred and fear, and I failed to fight against my brain and resist the urge to hurt out of feeling hurt. I really really hate failure. To me, it just proves all my doubts right. But I can say that what I'm going to do now is finish this, check my e-mail, then go to bed. And when I wake up I'm going to try to tell you about everything I just wrote. Because deep down, past all the ugly confused emotions swirling inside me, I just really want to feel normal. I'd like to be able to decide to be in a good mood some day, and have it last. So, here goes: One small step for a girl, one giant leap for BPD.
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