For Better or Worse

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Anniversary presents are nice, but it’s the every day giving that makes a marriage.

When you make those vows, you’re so hopeful that there will be more health than sickness and more richer than poorer. Life often has other, crueler, plans.

Often growing up means growing apart, too. Or, worse, you refuse to grow at all. Problems arise when one or both can’t accept the person as they really are and keep trying to make them into whatever fairytale vision they had for the other on that vow-day.

Marriage ain’t for everyone. For it to really work at all, through all the shit life throws, requires the one thing this world lacks so greatly: love. But, people’s idea of what that is is so far from what it really is that it’s no wonder problems abound as they do.

Convention sometimes must be thrown out the window. Accepting the reality of your partner and supporting them in whatever self-discoveries they make. Allowing exploration instead of fearing it.

Today is my 11th wedding anniversary. I’m ill and we have no money to celebrate. Yeah, that sucks, but if I had to choose between the big, yearly, token gifts and the every day gifts I receive from a man who I know loves me, I’d go with the latter every time.

He brings me coffee in bed every morning because he wants to soften the blow of another morning coming.

He makes me laugh and laughs at my jokes.

He still makes love to me. Not out of some obligation. But because he still really wants me.

He ignores people who say he’d be better off without me (including me when I’m the one who says it).

He supports and celebrates my music.

He takes care of me, even though it’s not easy being a caregiver to one so ill,  and does it without making me feel like the mistake/waste of space I so often feel I am.

Expensive gifts are nice…but they can’t replace these priceless ones.

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Watch “Is It Me You’re Looking For? (The answer-phone message for those of us whom phone calls make ill)” on YouTube

I’m not really sure if my inability to cope with phone calls is more to do with the avoidant personality disorder or with the social anxiety. Whichever or both, I don’t do phone calls. And so…this is my new answerphone/voicemail message.

When Your Brain is Your Worst Enemy

I hate my brainToday I had one of those BPD experiences where I freaked out because I thought someone was leaving my life. However, I actually handled it slightly better than usual, and fortunately what I feared – this time – wasn’t the case.

The problem is, we borderlines know what it’s like.  Too well.  Another friend. Gone.  Because they couldn’t handle us.  So, when we think we see it happening again…

AAAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH, NO!  STOP.  Not again. Not this one.  Please.  Ugh.

After I finally found out what exactly was going on, I felt silly for the paranoia and conclusion jumping.  But, seeing as I still grieve the loss of certain people in my life who decided they no longer wanted to be there… I still feel the paranoia was justified, if unwarranted.

I suppose it’s also the realisation of how much I am attached to this person, as well.  BPD all over the place.  I just don’t know how to be friends without a deep attachment, akin to falling in love, but that sounds way too freaky – there needs to be some other name for it.  Attachment isn’t right.  Falling isn’t right.  I don’t know what is right.  It’s almost like an infection – like you get infected with another person.  Eeewww, that sounds terrible.  So, we haven’t hit upon the right term yet. I’ll think of it. In time.  I’ll probably write a song about it.

As I say, I dodged the bullet this time. And, I’m grateful.  But, today has reminded me how not right in the head I am. And, yeah, that sucks.

Mixed Feelings (an ‘Inside Out’ film review from one of the 1 in 4)

I have just been to see the new Disney Pixar film ‘Inside Out’ with my husband and two youngest children. I sobbed uncontrollably through most of the movie.

The film is one massive trigger from start to finish; there should be a warning put on it for anyone who suffers from serious mental illness. In particular, for those with major clinical depression, borderline personality disorder and/or PTSD. I can’t personally speak for sufferers of bipolar disorder, but if I were you, I’d tread carefully, as well.

Where my mixed feelings come in is as a parent. This film vividly depicts how life damages us all, how our core memories affect us and the role of emotions in the brain. It can be helpful for teaching children these realities.

As a sufferer of major clinical depression and borderline personality disorder, I wish I hadn’t gone to see it. It has left me emotionally pummeled and feeling horrendous.

It’s heartbreaking (somehow more so with it being in cute animation) seeing how life fucks all of us up.

So, you’ve been warned. I wish someone had provided me this same kindness.

The problem is that the other three out of four, who will ride the surface and only see the token happy ending (like putting a tiny plaster on a gashed major artery), are going to be singing this films praises. And, I’m not sure that they shouldn’t be…I’d just love it if maybe they could look a bit deeper and learn something along with their children. I can but hope (ha, it is to laugh).

There’s a lot to be learned from it, real psychological insight. And, if that helps some other people get a clue about the delicate balance of the brain, excellent.

But, I seriously caution my fellow 1 in 4’s who are going through a hard time…and, for that matter, I’m concerned about those of you who might presently be in a good place: THIS FILM MAY SEND YOU PLUNGING INTO THE ABYSS.

I never do blog film reviews, but this is necessary. I don’t know how long it will take me to recover from seeing ‘Inside Out’.

I’m Not Complaining (a poem, of sorts)

I am a wreck, a ruin – a life-ravaged soul, aching, longing to be free.

I don’t mean to complain.  I’m not complaining.  I’m hurting, can’t you see?

Am I broken, or was I never meant to be here at all, that I cannot handle this life?

I know nothing any longer but the weariness and longing, the exhaustion too intense to fight.

And, the metre’s out of sync, and the sorrow’s out of bounds,

my fatigue is fatigued; waking leaves me drained – let me sleep away my time –

and there goes the rhyme, along with the metre –

again, I’m a failure…

but, I’m not complaining; that should be plain to all.

I’m hurting, longing, aching –

and, like this poorly written verse,

my end is not forthcoming.

©Autumn Dawn Leader 2015

Highs and Lows (and, How Time Can Make Things Worse Instead of Better)

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Mark and I arrived at the Festival excited and looking forward to performing. To abbreviate a long story, things didn’t go as planned. A rough crowd and a worse sound system ensured failure regardless of our talent and performance. Needless to say, it was a bummer. However, last night, when it happened, I handled it with objectivity and humour; instead of throwing a tantrum and dissolving into a torrent of tears and ragings against the bastard that is life, I was calm and positive. “Hey, it happens to the best. This wasn’t our night or our crowd. There will be other/better gigs.” I consoled my friend and music partner, even regaling him with one of my mother’s favourite gig horror stories. I wasn’t even faking it. I was disappointed, but I didn’t feel despairing.

But, that was last night. Time is supposed to help things. This is a myth. It rarely helps. It often makes worse.

When I woke up this morning, the despair sat waiting to pounce on me. I’ve been drowning in it since.

Last Sunday was such a massive high, and it’s difficult not to get hopeful from such experiences.

Life plays this cruel cat and mouse game. And, I’m sad and angry. And, so tired.

Tomorrow, I have a very overdue appointment with Mental Health. I wonder what new exercise in futility it will be. The Dr. I had previously seen is no longer there, then I missed an appointment back in May because I had forgotten the date and was too ill to get out of the house and deal with it. Now, there’s someone new to have to deal with. And, I have no hope to spare for the appointment. Perhaps, I’ll be pleasantly surprised, but it’s most likely going to be a waste of time.

Did I mention, I’m tired? When I say I’m tired, I mean that every aching bone in my body is crying out with weariness.

I am still very thankful for those rare good times, of course. And, a little good is better than no good at all. But, those times always make me want and expect more. I get hopeful. I start visualising success (which “they” say is the thing to do).  And, then, the kick in the teeth comes…and, it’s overwhelming, gut-aching sorrow.

And, yeah, maybe there will be some more good coming…there will be the last Sundays. But, then, there will be the last nights and the tomorrows, too. And, I’m just so fucking tired.

I’ll leave you with this… because it’s what I do, and this song seems fitting…and, who doesn’t love some Mumford & Sons? And, because, I’m still pathetic fool enough to hope.

Grab A Note and Hang On

What actually helps someone suffering from mental illness and chronic pain? Nothing goes so far as a combination of friendship and doing what you love.

Just doing what you love to do, whether with anyone else or not, is a therapy. But, add in doing it with people you like who also love doing what you do, and doing that thing together…well, magic can happen.

Magic happened this past Sunday, the 19th of July 2015.

In a life that is long and characterised by pain, it’s these moments that are the saving grace, and they deserve to be celebrated. They bring the closest thing to hope and happiness that we get. And, therefore, they are exceedingly precious.

I wish us all many more such moments.

Grab a note and hang on.