“It Isn’t Real”

Sitting on the beach this afternoon, it suddenly hit me.

The theme of my life seems to be “it isn’t real”. Another piece of my puzzle put into place.

It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who experiences the sense of being unreal. Like a ghost wandering through this world, while everything goes on around us as normal. It’s part and parcel of our Borderline world. Knowing this makes it a little easier to understand and deal with. But it’s certainly something I could do without.

A few weeks ago my therapist went on leave, and it caused havoc in my head. Especially when in our last session she wouldn’t tell me where she was going, which is obviously a necessary boundary. Yet I couldn’t help feeling how I was feeling in that moment. The tone in her voice suggested to me that I had just put her in a tough spot. But that’s when I feel I knew, just knew that she was going to be in the city I’m currently living in. I was convinced. At the time (and during the course of the week) I didn’t care whether what I was convinced of was actually real or not. Was it a case of projection, transference? Possibly. Instinct, or just my own fears? Because I know I tend to confuse the two sometimes. When she got back, and in our next session, I didn’t tell her the biggest reason for my desperate emails. Why didn’t I tell her? I don’t know. Maybe because I was afraid she would tell me she really had been close by. Maybe because I didn’t want to put her in an awkward position again. Maybe I was afraid of counter transference. Maybe it’s a little bit of all those things. I can’t explain it. I just felt her presence close by, yet at the same time distant from her emotionally, if that makes sense? Constantly wondering, what if she is here? It felt like the biggest rejection when she wouldn’t tell me. The first email I sent her while she was on leave (I know, I’m terrible), I had written these words:

“Now I’m also wondering whether you’re even real.”

Little did I know back then just how profound that statement actually is with regards to my view of the world and the people who occupy it. Or at least, my life and those in it.

Which is why I think when I can’t see my therapist, or hear her voice (though the note she wrote me helps a lot), I wonder whether she exists at all. It seems to happen with people I look up to, people I love or really like. As though I’ll wake up one day and realize they were just a figment of my overactive imagination.

“It wasn’t real.”
“It isn’t real.”

Both past and present.

Words from special relationships that cut deep, and left a permanent scar on my heart. I suspect hearing these words have served to perpetuate my fears of rejection and abandonment, as well as lead me to question everything even more.

Is it real?

Lovers and “family” that were real. But not.

My uncle that recently took his life. It doesn’t yet feel real. But apparently it is. Maybe if I were going to the funeral today, it would hit me.

Something that may or may not have happened. Something that may have only been a dream unlike any dream I’ve ever had before, or since. But a dream nonetheless?

The world and events. Is this really happening?

Me. The shadow. Do I exist?

Still, I wonder… Maybe it wasn’t or isn’t real after all.

But it was, and is, real for me.

I apologize for the somewhat (at times) cryptic (and all over the place) post. I’m still sorting through everything in my head. Still battling to open up and truly face things. It’s a scary place… The internet, this world, my mind.

One thing I know is real right now though… I feel utterly and completely alone.

From The Deep: Why Can’t The Past Just Stay In The Past?

It’s been one of those days.

Where old hurts that I hadn’t even remembered in years came flooding back. Where people I had forgotten about, reappeared in my mind. Trying to push it aside. Trying to forget again. This pain is too much. I don’t want to feel it. Yet I do feel it. And I can do nothing about it, because once again for reasons beyond my understanding, I am unable to shed a tear. Oh, I know other ways to try stop the pain. But it doesn’t always help either. Or am I just doing it wrong? A rhetorical question, I guess.

Along with these memories, came this song. A song I never would have discovered or even liked, but which quickly became very special to me. Both a source of comfort at times, and of utter devastation at others. I was sent this song by one of those forgotten people. I hadn’t realized I had kept it all these years. I don’t want it anymore. I don’t want to remember it. The events that led to me receiving this song. The reason for it. The meaning behind the lyrics. What happened after. Yet it feels like a part of me and I can’t seem to let it go yet. Why do we hold onto things? Why can’t we just leave the past where it belongs?

From The Deep lyrics:

Your dreams
Your prayer
I can’t believe
Can’t be just pain
Your days your ways
In all these tears
In all these screams

From the deep my call
There is one reason for your life
One more reason for your life

Here I am
Please don’t cry
Till the end to say goodbye
Here I am
And here my prayer
I’m still here and in your days

From the deep my call
There is one reason for your life
One more reason for your life

This is the life
Too short to die
To hard to stay
We’ll meet again
These words for you to say goodbye

Perfect day for the rain
Hear my song to say goodbye
Till the end of this life
When the light goes away
Hear my song and hear my cry
It’s not the end of your life.

Here I am please don’t cry
Till the end to say goodbye
Here I am and hear my prayer
I’m still here and in your days

The Many Faces Of Emptiness

One of the criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder according to the DSM-IV is:

“chronic feelings of emptiness”

“Yes, I get that. But how does it feel?” A friend asked me the other day.

Good question. How does it feel? Can it even be felt? Doesn’t the very definition suggest “blankness”?

Yet, it can most certainly be “felt” in a sense.

Most people will experience a feeling of emptiness during their lives. But for those of us who experience it almost daily, it’s difficult to explain. It comes in many forms. It’s like asking someone who has had a heart attack how it felt. Sure, they can describe it and we “get it”, but in a limited way, and only as far as our imaginations allow. As we all know, imagination isn’t the most accurate of things.

I’ve always loved this Egyptian proverb, which I believe can also be used in this instance:

What reveals itself to me ceases to be mysterious for me alone: if I unveil it to anyone else, he hears mere words which betray the living sense: Profanation, but never revelation.

The Mirriam Webster dictionary defines “empty” and “emptiness” as follows:

“Containing nothing”, “empty space”
“Having no real purpose or value”
“The quality or state of being empty”

A few synonyms: black hole, blankness, vacancy, void, hollowness, nothingness, depletion, desolateness.

Dictionary definitions aside, here is how I personally experience this emptiness:

I can sense all the emotions inside myself, but am unable to reach them. To fully connect with them. To experience and “feel” them. As though there’s a layer of glass between the feeling and my conscious awareness (if I can call it that – my vocabulary is somewhat limited) , as this photo suggests:

journeyhealingbpd

It can also feel as though I have nothing inside of me. Just a large black hole. Nothing to give. Nothing can enter either. Like a glass of water that got knocked over, spilling the liquid everywhere, then picked up and placed back on the counter, devoid of it’s contents.

Possibly the best way I have ever been able to describe it, is through a bit of writing I did a few years back while experiencing this emptiness:

Shadow

I see her in my dreams…

She is but a lifeless form, a shadow, wandering aimlessly through this world.

No longer do her eyes behold the wonders of the world, the beauty of a sunrise. No longer does the cool breeze tickle her skin, nor the raindrops sting her face. The sounds filling the air are no longer music to her ears.

Never seeing, never tasting, never feeling…

Never having existed at all.

Not everyone experiences things the exact same way. How do you experience the state of emptiness?