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The Worst Thing

What’s the worst thing you can say to someone who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?
Nothing at all.
Let me clarify: Say you’ve been having an argument. You think it would be best to just go to sleep and leave things to cool off until morning. So you roll over in bed, turn your back to me, and say nothing. 
Or you’re texting, and things have become heated. You leave the last text from me just hanging there because you’re tired of the discussion and you don’t think there’s anything left to say.
Terrible move. 
Nothing is the worst thing you can “say” to me, as someone who suffers from BPD.
You see, when you have BPD, you don’t just “let things go” in a disagreement. You don’t just “get over it” when things go wrong. Seemingly insignificant things can start a spiral of self-loathing and despair that is impossible to overcome without excruciating amounts of effort. While you may think that just saying nothing is better than saying something “wrong”, it is actually the worst thing you can do. 
Without closure, the mind of a person with BPD goes into overdrive. First, there’s the anger. We have all kinds of things we NEED to say, to get them out of our heads so they stop circling endlessly in there. But you’ve made it clear that you’re done, so we can’t. We’re stuck obsessing over them for the next 24 hours or more.
Then there’s the self-recrimination. You hate us. Obviously, you simply can’t stand us anymore. We’re worthless. Not worth the time of day. Let’s face it, we’re sh*t. 
After that comes the bitterness and fatigue. We become so exhausted from the inner monologue that we shut down and spiral into depression. Nobody cares. What’s the use in trying anyway?
I understand that sometimes you walk away because you just can’t handle the drama anymore. Sometimes you have to walk away so that you don’t lose what little temper you have left. But maybe reading this will help you understand the effect it has on me. Walking away, turning away, not returning a text, giving me no closure, is saying, to my mind, I don’t care about you. I don’t care what you have to say. You’re not worth my time anymore. This relationship/friendship is over.
So the next time you’re finding yourself tempted to just let the sun go down on your anger, reconsider. Let us have closure. Please. It means the world to us. 

Untitled

alone

in  a crowd

craving

something

I will never have

pinned

bug-like

to the canvas

where

I scrabble

and scrape

moving

without ever

going

anywhere.

The Normal Suit

Get out of bed
reach for the suit
step in and zip it up

enclose the heart
so no one sees
and all day keep it shut

make smallish talk
throughout the day
pretend that all is good

do not let on
smile prettily
just like a nice girl should

oh Normal Suit!
my Normal Suit!
how you protect me well!

without you here
to have and wear
t’would be a living hell

for time’s a crook
and life’s a bitch
without you all would see

that I’m a fake
and nothing’s real
as it’s supposed to be

for ugly is 
the face of truth
and hideous the teller

and so I’ll stuff
my truest self
into my heart’s deep cellar

oh Normal Suit!
my Normal Suit!
you’re never, ever tearing

and when I die
you can be sure
that you’ll be what I’m wearing.

Risky

She lived
tempest-like
with clouds in her eyes
and rain at her heels
when she passed through
the debris of his heart
littered 
the ground
but 
(he said)
things seemed greener
sky scrubbed clean and blue
air fresh and sweet
and so he 
found himself
caught up in her turbulence
wound round and round
her center
dizzy
from the heady
winds she blew
but
(he thought)
perhaps 
he was not
so unlike her
after all
it takes a special kind of
crazy
to chase a storm.

Knowing

Sometimes she knew
with absolute certainty
that her life
was going to end
in chaos and destruction
and in those moments
she felt 
a certain 
calm
resignation
to the inevitable
an unshakeable
apprehension
that
she had lived her life
true
to the imbalances
of her mind
and the instability
of her soul
and whoever held on
through the tempest
did so
freely
and being fully cognizant
of the hazards
involved
and with that
in mind
she opened her mouth
and drank deeply
from the
dark streams
that overflowed
her heart.

Newsworthy

The world’s
gone crazy
it seems
and all you hear
is how bad 
it is
wars and
pestilence
and planet earth
trembling
in anguish
reporters
eager
to tell the
worst
of what
is coming
but the news
crews
were not at
my house
when my 
five year old
did a
somersault
for the
first time
and smiled
eyes dancing
turning
his beaming
face
up 
to me.

The Dog

Sometimes it’s hard to explain just what having mental illness means. Sometimes there just aren’t the right words.
Sometimes it’s hard to know just where the illness ends and the real person begins. I have been diagnosed as Bipolar I, and as having Borderline Personality Disorder. These terms do not define me, but they do explain me.
I am not my illness, but I am responsible for keeping tabs on it, for self-monitoring, and for being aware of its place in my life.
I think of it as a dog. A feral, mastiff-type animal with a strong body and an even stronger will. If I don’t keep it in line each day, it will easily overpower me. I medicate it. And I learn how to dominate it, to keep it submissive. 
But it doesn’t like it. 
It longs to take advantage.
Sometimes I get weary of controlling it and it leaps at the opportunity to run rampant. I lose focus. I crave excitement. I act foolishly. The dog grabs me by the scruff of my neck and shakes me until my teeth rattle. 
On some level, I enjoy it. I get a thrill from being between the monster’s jaws, not knowing where it will take me or where I will wind up. 
All too soon, however, the highs end. Reality hits. And I’ve done it again. I’ve hurt those around me, those I care about, those I love dearly. They are dealing with the fallout, wondering if they can ever trust me again, wondering if I even care at all. 
I do care. 
I want to be trusted.
Medication will be adjusted. Therapies tried. The dog will be fitted for a new collar, though it will whine and scratch and struggle to get loose. 
I will never be free of the dog. It is a part of me, and I a part of it, just as my heart and lungs are a part of me. Hopefully, those who love me can see that, and can extend grace for the times that are overwhelming. If not, perhaps they are not the people who need to be in my life at all. 

Remembrance

There are
bruises you can’t 
remember getting
and pains
whose origins
you can’t recall
there are
rough patches
that used to be
smooth
and when 
did that happen?
blemishes
where once
purity reigned
not to mention
aches in the heart
from longings
long forgotten
but sometimes
the voice in your heart
whispers 
of those ages-dormant
yearnings
and that spark
that is buried
blows up 
full
and ready to devour
and then you feel
alive again
and ravenous
for life.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow, tomorrow,
that wonderful word!
it’s marvelous, mystical,
not the least bit absurd
to think that the things
I ignore every day
will all get resolved
in some later way
for no matter how big
insurmountable seems
it’s never so bad
in those future dreams
tomorrow, tomorrow,
you’ll always be there
unwavering and constant,
and able to bear
the brunt of indolence
and all good intentions
the I’ll-get-to-it-laters
and procrastinations
tomorrow, tomorrow,
I’ll get to it when
tomorrow arrives
and not worry til then.

The End

Oh if I were
A tiny bird
I would not think
It all absurd
To flit and fly
From stem to sky
And worry not
and never cry

And if I were
A senseless thing
I’d never think
What days might bring
I’d rest beneath
A shady leaf
and never know
the hand of grief

To be so small
Inconsequential
Would be, to me,
Most providential
For I would stay
Out of the fray
And never care
From day to day

The goings-on
Of higher planes
Would never cause
Me any pain
I’d turn my back
And have no lack
In sunshine
Or in rain

Yet woe is me
Human I be
And as such
Cannot be so free
I seek and strive
To feel alive
And find that I
Can’t be so blithe

Yet some day now
Both large and small
Will find their end
Is all in all
the scythe will come
we’ll be undone
and fall to earth
as one 
by one

So life as dust
we’ll leave behind
we’ll shake it off
and never mind
then souls 
as winge’d things 
will soar
away from pain
forevermore.

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