Of Tambourines and Heart Shards

So, people are doing that end of the year thing. You know, the year (or, decade, for that matter) in review, reflection, 2019 wrapped or unwrapped, etc. thing.

Can I be bothered to do one? Does it really matter if I do do one? Does anyone really care to read about my 2019? No joke, it has been the best of times and it has been the worst of times.

In typical BPD fashion, it’s been an ‘I hate you, don’t leave me!’ year all the way around. I have made beautiful connections of love and friendship this year. And, I have also made frustrating enemies/opponents that I really didn’t need (yeah, I know, that sounds overly dramatic, but it’s unfortunately true). I have loved intensely and been loved fiercely, and I have been caused great pain, and I have caused great pain to others (sometimes to the same people who I love intensely…welcome to my mutha-fucking world). I have laughed more and uncontrollably wept more this year than in all the previous years of my ridiculously too-long life put together. All the extremes. All the stratospheric highs and the indescribably horrific lows.

2019 began with me making the decision to become active on Twitter (as opposed to just having an account that sits there collecting virtual dust, as it had done for a decade), and use it as a tool for promoting my music. I didn’t realise what a life altering thing – and the far-reaching repercussions – this decision would make.

All in all, yes, my music is the better for it. But, my mental health isn’t. And, in me exposing more people to the disaster that is me, I have left damage and wreckage in my wake. Yeah, I’m the curse that keeps on cursing.

The fact is, all we borderlines do is fuck up other people’s lives. It’s not that we have a disorder: we are a disorder. If you have the great misfortune to find yourself in our path, beware the inescapable tornado of desire and destruction. To know and love someone with BPD is to, one way or another, end up wrecked. No, we aren’t all bunny boilers or stalkers or disgruntled postal workers with AK47s.  But, we are, all of us, obsessive and a complex of intensity and complication.

I would like to think that I will not see 2021. I would like to hope that my sorrowful and excruciatingly painful existence, along with the sorrow and pain that I cause (of course), will come to an end in this coming year. But, when has hope done anything but disappoint me?

I am so tired.

You may wonder what the title of this post is about. If you know, then you know. If you don’t know, I can’t explain it to you… so, don’t worry about it. Or, if you’re really curious, you can Google what the ancient Greeks used ‘tambourine’ as a metaphor for, and you can listen to this song.

All this being said, at least I’m not a narcissist – you know, at least I know I’m despicable and hurtful. And, I’m not even the worst borderline I know. And, I have people in my life that are nevertheless grateful that I am in their lives. But, that may be because I am so exceedingly good at playing the tambourine. 😉

 

Where’d You Go and Why?

Once you know you have BPD and understand certain triggers and symptoms, it makes you really question certain scenarios and how to react/respond.

Say someone (a potential friend, partner, lover, etc.) initiates contact with you and, at first, seems quite keen to have a relationship (whatever the kind) with you. There are plans to meet. Plans to hang out. Plans to participate together in whatever it is you’re both into. Plans to, generally, get this party started. And then… silence. Your last message gets ignored and unresponded to. What’s happened?

The natural reaction for someone with BPD is to panic. Like, ‘FUCKING HELL, you showed interest in me and got me to like you, now you’re gone.’ And, the tendency is, then, to bombard the person with messages, almost begging them to still be interested in you. You go from being the pursued to being the pursuer. You look sad and pathetic.

But, once you are diagnosed, you find out that you are predisposed to this reaction. So, you do your best to hold back from chasing and harassing. You try to convince yourself that they are most likely busy, and it’s not that they don’t like you anymore. But, there is real, physical pain in holding yourself back. For me, it’s a choking feeling that is added to the sinking feeling of, ‘WHY make me open my heart to you if you were going to abandon me?’ There is a pervasive, anxious feeling of wanting a plain answer for their disappearance. ‘Just tell me what’s up, don’t leave me hanging!’

And, the great majority of the time, it really is THEM and not YOU. Most likely, they had time on their hands, saw you available to chat (online) and dived in, not knowing you’d get more serious about things. You were something to do on the way to something else. And, that doesn’t bother ‘normal’ people so much. Then again, they could still be genuinely interested but something could have happened in their life that is stopping them from being in contact. Life throws shit at all sorts of people, not only those of us with BPD (it’s just that the shit we get thrown hurts us more). Still, if something is going on and they’re too busy now to meet or hang out anymore, it would be polite if they let you know. And, it would help things if, in fact, they are no longer interested in you at all to tell you that, as well. I’d rather just know. Just tell me instead of leaving me up in the air.

I find myself in this situation now. It sucks. Not knowing whether they’re busy or they’ve just ‘moved on’ without telling me.

I want to ask. I want to be able to move on. I want to learn from the situation (don’t let another person in so quickly; they’re keenness might not be as sincere as it seems).

All relationships are complicated for the BPD sufferer. We feel too much. We feel ‘too far’. And, it applies to every relationship or potential relationship.

I’ve written this blog post instead of writing to them. I wonder if they choose not to contact me again if I can resist the urge to contact them. I also worry that if they are only busy, they may read this and, instead of shooting me a quick message to ease my mind, they’ll just think I’m a weirdo.

I AM a weirdo. But, still… how irrational is it to feel this way, really? Those ‘normal’ lot are the truly strange ones. I envy them, though. This stuff doesn’t bother them. They’re immune. It just rolls off. While, here I am, wondering why I’m here again. 😢 #lifesucks #peoplesuck #bpdsucks

The Strength of Shadows 

I haven’t written a blog post in a while. I haven’t been doing well, and I haven’t been posting all over about it. No anguished Facebook statuses expounding on my less than coping condition…with the exception of last Thursday, when I admitted that I had to take a double dose of duloxetine in order to make it through the day.

In one sense, I am better than ever. Musically, things are happening for me, things that should’ve happened years ago. And, I am grateful for finally being in (somewhat of a) demand and appreciated for this music that IS me. I have a diary full of gigs, and I’ve been asked to play and sing on two different artist’s albums (one of which is a national artist). 

This keeps me busy. This also keeps me tired. Tired, on top of the chronic fatigue and pervasive everyday weariness I experience. Am I glad about my musical opportunities and successes? For certain I am! Does it change my brain chemistry and my worn out body? Certainly not.

It’s hard. My musical partner doesn’t know how I struggle. I hide it from him (thus the afore mentioned double dose so I wouldn’t fall apart in him during rehearsal).

My kids are an added stressor and cause of anxiety. One is facing her own set of health issues (‘gee, thanks, mum, for the lousy genetics’)…and, I feel guilty and frustrated because of that. Fucking bad genes! 

I have to force myself out of bed. I want to hide. Escape. The music is worth it, and I feel free and as close to ‘good’ as I get when I’m doing it. But, the anxiety and exhaustion persists. It waits until I step off the stage and then jumps on me with a vengeance. 

Sometimes, I am the shadow. Without substance. Waiting, longing even, to fade out of existence. Other times, I am all too real, heavy, and the shadow over me makes me heavier yet. 

But, dayum, do I sound awesome!

Thoughts Spilling Out of a Brain Left Ajar EPISODE 3

So, I went to see the psychiatrist today… watch how the day went. It was rather surprising. Also, you get to see my cat, Rincewind, acting cute in this vlog post; it’s worth watching just for that.

Life As I Know It | an animation

This goes out to the precious extraordinary carers of those of us with bpd.  What makes these people so unique (and rare) is their ability to accept us as we are (when that is so hard to do) and not do the typical abandonment of us when we are difficult. This love and support makes all the difference to a sufferer. Specifically and personally, this is dedicated to my carer and husband, Jamie, with my unspeakable thanks.

For Better & Worse (NOT About Marriage)

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This is one of my favourite photos from the recent photoshoot that was done for the new band I’m in with fellow singer/songwriter Steve Cartwright, called ‘The Way Out‘. We travelled out to Charnwood Water and, there, this dreamy, romantic visual of me serenading the ducks was captured.  It’s like something out of faery…and, there I am in the midst of it… The Songmistress, after all. This image fills me with a sense of otherwordliness… and, of melancholy…of longing.

Things are better in so many ways.  I’m making more music now than ever, and it’s being recognised and appreciated, at least to a degree.  No, it’s not nearly as much as I’d like it to be or even NEED it to be in order to contribute to the paying of my own bills and support of my family.  But, whilst still firmly in the Land of Obscurity, there is now a map for people to follow and find me.

Things are worse, however.  I am exhausted.  I wonder how long I can push myself to perform like this, when my body and mind are as weak as they are.  People who would have assumed that I would ‘perk up’ if I was given a few more gigs, were sadly mistaken. My health issues haven’t magically gone away with this limited success.  If anything, I have to fight all the harder…and, sometimes, I am failing miserably in trying to cope.

I’m scared.  Scared that this little taste is all I’ll get before life kicks me in the teeth again with my deteriorating health and leave me unable to even do this little bit of what I’m doing to get my music out there.

To be honest, this would be my ideal:  once every couple of months, have a large, paid gig where I get to perform all my own songs to an appreciative, adoring audience.  The rest of the time being able to rest, write a bit, while having enough fans to support this down time by buying my albums and singles. Go to the ocassional folk club and acoustic open mic, just to stay sharp for those bigger gigs and to socialise with other musician friends.

Sounds lovely.  WAKE UP!  It’s a dream, and the reality is I’m old and sick and tired, and in order to get seen (and, subsequently, heard) I have to go hither and yon and play covers in pubs late at night in order to get paid, because I just can’t seem to reach that fanbase to sell my music.  I know they’re out there…but it’s reaching them. I can’t seem to reach them online.

Oh, what am I sitting here writing this for? I should be in bed resting..or rehearsing.  I feel the weight of futility here.  I’m talking to a wall again.  Oh, to travel to that place, that place of faery, where I AM The Songmistress, and to never more return from there.