Time Out: Good For The Soul

Waking up yesterday, I felt so much better than I had in weeks. I’m still a little low, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it has been. The best part is that I feel refreshed.

I took the week for myself. No social engagements (except for group), disconnected from social networks, and stayed off WhatsApp for a few days. I would get home from work (took Wednesday off), then the rest of the day I would spend reading, writing, watching my favourite TV shows, and just daydreaming (my meditation). I also spent about an hour with my other therapist… The beach and ocean.

Isolating myself for a while has paid off. These times aren’t about anyone else. It’s my “selfish time”. I do it because it’s what I need in order to recharge. To take care of myself and keep myself safe (and sane). Those people who say that I need to force myself to get out there and do things, don’t know anything about how my internal world functions. If I force myself, and follow that advice, it’s like adding fuel to the already blazing fire inside me. People drain me. Being out in the world with people all over the place, is exhausting. There’s just too much stimuli out there, and I think that feeds into my hyper-vigilance. So instead of adding even more stress to my body, I choose to stay in the comfort of my room (and one day, my own place). I don’t mind having a friend over for coffee during these times, but I won’t go to a coffee shop or any other public place.

When I can afford it, I’m going to invest in a tent. Whenever I feel like I need to get away and be alone, I’ll go camping. Spend time in nature, and enjoy the silence.

Obviously, I’m an introvert. Most of the introverts I know, can recharge after a day or two. But I take longer. It sometimes takes me a week or more. I accept this part of me now, whereas before I’d just beat myself up over it.

One of the OT’s shared this quote with me, and it’s one of my favourites.

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I Am Not

I am not my past. The past represents those things we have been through. It’s external. Yes, it may leave imprints. It may have changed me. But it’s not who I am deep down inside.

I am not my mental illness, anymore than someone with a physical illness is that illness. It’s the deepest parts of our soul that make us who we are.

I also have a dark side. We need both the shadow and the light. This shadow side doesn’t make me a bad person. It balances me.

I will always just be me. Whoever that may be. Day by day, I’m learning who “me” is.

Kindness & Gratitude #1

It’s so easy to get stuck in the darkness, and feel that we’ll never get out of that place. To feel like the whole world is against us. Which is why it’s so important to notice the kindness and compassion that exists, and focus on those things for which we are grateful. I’ve decided to start a series of posts to remind us that there is hope. I don’t know how often I’ll write a post for this series, but I’ll try to do one at least once a month.

A little while ago, Jasmine and I went for a walk through one of the many forests in the countryside. On our way back to the car, a guy came running after us. I froze, my heart pounding. Until I saw what was happening. My driver’s license had fallen off my key holder, and he had picked it up to give back to me. I was so relieved. And exceptionally grateful. I had my driver’s license stolen in a smash and grab last year, so I know how much of an inconvenience and hassle it is to get a new one. The kindness of a stranger.

After our walk, I drove Jasmine back to the clinic where she was staying. Sitting with her on the bench just before I left, so close. Not talking. Just feeling. I felt sad. She wasn’t feeling too great, and lay her head on my shoulder. It was a bittersweet moment. I realized that we might have lost some of the things we had being in an intimate relationship, but the connection and love is still there. It’s the simple things that are the most important. Not taking anything for granted.

I was sitting on the beach a few weeks ago, enjoying my alone time, and watching the sun set. These words came to me:

If you can look at a sunset and feel the beauty of it in your heart, there’s still life and hope inside you.

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Stranger In This World

This is something I wrote on the 15th March 2016, and stumbled upon today. It applies just as much now as it did back then.

Where do I belong?

Why do I have this constant yearning to be anywhere but here?

People call places home. I haven’t yet found my own. Does that place even exist? Or is there a deep internal resistance to anywhere I find myself? A subconscious element I don’t have access to?

Staring out the window. The moonlight casts slivers of light through the dark trees beyond. It looks different today. Is home perhaps somewhere out there?

And sometimes I wonder…
Do I even exist in this world?

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The Question Of Sexuality

I’ve received a few emails by some of my amazing followers (aka: my people), regarding my sexuality. So I thought I’d write a post for those who are curious.

I’ve never liked labels. I never identified myself as straight, lesbian, bisexual or any of those labels. Firstly, because I was confused about my sexuality, and secondly, because it filled me with shame and embarrassment.

I remember when I first started therapy. We got on the subject of sexuality, and I told my therapist that I don’t know what I am. What I identify as. I’ve read that those of us with BPD struggle with our sexuality. So that made perfect sense. It was the story of my life.

But over the past few years, I’ve started realizing that it doesn’t matter. Why should it matter who we love? After all, isn’t it the soul that attracts us the most? And if it’s purely physical, is it really love? To me, it isn’t about the outer shell, but rather what’s inside. It’s not about the body. It’s about connecting to the soul. It’s a deep soul connection.

I’m a human. Not a label. I’ve never been opposed to falling in love with a male. I actually used to wish I would. Just so I could conform to society’s norm. But fuck the norm. Why shouldn’t love be the norm, and not the form that love takes?

Over the years, I’ve only fallen in love with two women. My ‘first love’, which was never actually a relationship in the first place. And now, my current girlfriend. I’ve been attracted to guys, sure, but I never felt that connection with them. They always felt like brothers or just friends.

An example is my first ‘real’ boyfriend. I just wanted to be friends with him, but every time we’d go out he’d ask me to be his girlfriend. I would always turn him down, but he never got the picture. Until one day, I just gave in and said “okay”. I liked him. I sometimes thought I might be falling in love with him. But the truth was, I saw him more as a good friend, and sometimes even a brother. Which confused me a lot. Especially when it came to the physical intimacy.

In my early twenties, there was another guy I liked. I thought I was in love with him. We had only gone out once. I was friends with his sister, which is how we met. One night we all went out to a bar, and I went to go order drinks with my friend. When I got back to the group, I saw him making out with another girl. My heart broke. I downed my drink, and went back for another one. And another. But the next day, I was over it and realized I wasn’t actually in love with him. I was just lonely and desperate. I had just been trying to conform. To force myself to feel something for someone because he was a he and not because I liked him as a person. As a matter of fact, I didn’t really even like his personality. He was a complete moron.

Why should labels exist? The answer: They shouldn’t. It’s not an illness. We’re all human. Our sexual orientation doesn’t make us who we are.

With my current girlfriend, I wasn’t looking for a relationship. I was happy being single. Sure, I got lonely, but it didn’t make me want to get on the relationship bandwagon again. So I didn’t expect things to go the way they did, and to feel this way about her.

I used to wonder… Am I the way I am, because of the trauma I experienced? Or is it simply how I’ve always been? I can’t tell, because some things happened before I reached the age where children start becoming interested in boys or girls. I didn’t have a stable mother figure in my life, and I had bad experiences with men. But it’s not something that bothers me anymore. I don’t care either way, I just thought it was an interesting train of thought.

The way I see it, is that at the end of the day, love is love, no matter how you look at it. It’s two people who care deeply about one another. Who connect on an intimate level.

That’s all that matters.