Remembering

Cuddle

I remember those nights

When your skin touched mine

And there was only the thinnest whisper of a breeze

Separating our souls

I see now

How the demons of darkness

Were summonded up

By the love and longing

We felt in those intimate moments

Of connection and tenderness

And of the life that was trying to blossom

Out of the wasteland of past pain

Two souls we were

Both haunted in different ways

By our past

And we struggled so hard

Not to shatter those tenuous threads

That were forming between us

But which tore apart

Leaving us bleeding

From old injuries

Where they attached to original wounds

Separation was the cut

The made me bleed

The blood that gave birth to

A child

Who hungered and ached

So restlessly for a love once given

Then stolen

Leaving us lost in torment

So now forgiveness arises

Out of this wreckage

As I see the futility of it all

Paying homage to the restless desire that sought for healing

Of a wound that lay for so long

Buried deep inside

Now summoned up for understanding

Sadly our demons

Ended up

Tearing us apart

But now my demons have shown me

What way lies healing

Fearful and hurting : understanding underlying feelings that lead to BPD reactions.

The radio programme that I linked to on Borderline Personality Disorder yesterday was very interesting to me.  BPD may be one of the most highly stigmatised and most misunderstood of psychological diagnoses out there, with sufferers treated so poorly and often re abandoned because the intense and extreme symptoms they present with such as phyical self harm and intense emotional reactions that can ‘appear’ to be out of proportion and be feared by others and sufferers are then judged.  The person interviewed on yesterday’s programme spoke of how often she spent 6 to 12 hours in the emergency department being eyeballed by nurses and denied treatment or aid to attend to her cuts because others injuries were not self inflicted but the result of “real trauma” as opposed to self inflicted harm, if only they knew how alone the person was feeling inside and were responded to with empathy would sufferers really be forced to suffer even more?

The intense traumas BPD sufferers endured from the past are often hidden, they lead to a brain that the specialist in programme yesterday spoke of as an out of control car.  If the breaks failed on your car, would you be blamed for crashing it?  This a good analogy for BPD.  The brain difficulties are the result of trauma, hyper-reactivity, hyper vigilance and attention to cues which may be benign but are perceived as a threat to sufferers due to them triggering memories or flashbacks of past traumas, lack of love and attention or abadonment experiences or abuse.  That said reactions to triggers can be worked with once the sufferer becomes more aware.

The other very interesting issue discussed was the difficulty BPD sufferers have in understanding, regulating and expressing emotions and most especially those of hurt, frustration and fear.  I have never been formally diagnosed with BPD but I feel I do have a form of it, my therapist prefers not to use labels and often tells me we are all on the borderline spectrum somewhere.   I know how I have struggled to express my own emotions in a family where emotions were often ignored or acted out in extreme ways. My mother would suddenly go psychotic with rage in some circumstances and there were certain looks that struck the terror of annilation into us and made us hypervigilant to threat. It did’nt happen all the time, and was unpredictable.  My father would just laugh the whole thing off or ignore her as well as the impact it was having on us.  When my older sister tried to take her life after her husband left her, my father was in the garden for hours while her body was just laying there, Mum discovered her when she came home from work.

Learning to work with our emotions to understand when and why they are being triggered,  learning not to over react when we are feeling hurt or scared or triggered are essential skills for those suffering from BPD.   It is hard for us to say “when you looked at me like that I felt ashamed, as though you were judging me and as if I had done something wrong.”

I am sure most readers with BPD know all about Dialectic Behavioural Therapy, there is also something to be said for acknowledging the depth of multiple or major traumas that led us to react in such a way.

People with BPD experience intense emotions which appear out of proportion to others who do not know their history.  Abandonment fear is a major underlying scar that leads us to react in certain ways to percieved abandonment and we are adept at scanning the person’s face and body for non verbal cues that we may be ‘in danger’.  And while we can be hypersenstive to our own feelings and have empathy for others, we may also lack insight into others due to the fact our attention is so deeply engaged on our own suffering and wounds from the past.  We may be reacting to one cue from a person that we the globalise into making that person all bad and then sidelining them from our lives. Healing for us involves working with and when our black and white splits are triggered, developing better inter personal boundaries and a greater awareness of other’s defensive or hostile reactions to us when we are deep pain ourselves.  It is healing work that cannot be done quickly and we need help with it most importantly from those who understand our reactions make sense  in the light of our past trauma.   Trust may be a big issue for many with BPD because we were failed in significant ways growing up.  We may have witnessed or endured traumas or losses others have not which lie unspoken and compound deep within.  Unpacking all of this takes time and insight, work with professional or group or caring others who are willing to extend themselves into our reality. But it also involves taking responsiblity for the way we are reacting in the here and now to real traumas from the past.

Gathering

Gathering 2

Here now

On a warm summer night

Watching in the distance

A bright sliver of moon

Smiling with a sideways grin

I think that just maybe new life is calling

And I sense also

A gathering of souls

Just all so alike

Who have known such a dark night

And voyaged such a long way

In silent suffering

In my minds eye

I see a thousand hands reaching towards

A new way of life

I feel that the despair we all navigated

Was nothing but the voice of awakening

Calling us away from death and sleep

And asking us all to acknowledge

A suffering

That we bore for generations past

Who could not cry those silent tears

Bequeathed to us by fate

And so now

Let us become

A participant in this new gathering

Let the dark that gave birth to us

Help us fight and speak for the light

And allow ourselves no longer to remain

Prisoners

Of the collective dark night

This is a new place

Key.jpg

This place I find myself now

Is a new place

I have never been here before

If I thought in those other darker times

That there was no one there

Well maybe I was wrong

Maybe just maybe what I was experiencing

Wasnt about the reality of today

But about the ghosts of yesterday

Superimposed upon the present

Visions and hidden memories

Of realities now long past

Haunting an unreal present

When I think of that abyss that stretched before me in later years

A vast yawning emptiness

I feared to cross or drown in

I see that it was just the past come calling to me

From a long way beyond

Lapping its awareness around my fraying edges

Now that I find myself in this place

Which is not a space

I have ever been before

I am surprised

When I look out and see

Solid land

Stretching before me

With many sets of hands reaching toward me

And I know that tomorrow

I will decide to go foward from this place

In a new way

Someone changed by what I have discovered

For on this day

When I finally found myself

In a place I had never been before

 I sense how much I was

Shedding shackles of yesterday

And now I know

There is a new way of living calling to me

That depends on me

Trusting

And believing

That this new place

Has brand new possibilities for me

Essential listening for sufferers of Borderline Personality Disorder

A great programe on Borderline Personality Disorder aired this evening on Radio National’s programme All In The Mind.   I am providing the link here for sufferers.  A lot of you it you probably already know but the mental health care professional interviewed explains aspects of BPD very clearly and breaks down some of the blaming, shaming and stigma associated with the condition.  Well worth a listen.

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/allinthemind/borderline-personality-disorder-stigma-to-strength/9442968

Acknowledging Darkness

I had a WordPress free morning today.  I struggled a lot yesterday and awareness came to me when realised a Mars square to the planet of the psychic Underworld Neptune was becoming exact here in Australia at around 5 pm.  I noticed the inner swirling and pressure began to abate then,  I got a text from a friend who had fallen down a flight of stairs and then logging on to WP about an hour ago came across several posts on suicide.  One blogger tried to take her life yesterday, another blogger was sharing her own thoughts on that subject, while others who followed the suicidal blogger were out there trying to support and get her help any way they could.  Thank God.  But what became clear to me as I read all of this was how interconnected we all were and how powerfully that Mars square to Neptune had manifested over the past week!

I am no stranger to suicide.  As some of my followers know my older sister tried to take her life in 1982, when she was 38 on the back of severe trauma and emotional abandonment.   My other sister tried to take her life in 2013 after being emotionally unrelated to in the depths of a major depressive episode with supposedly ‘manic’ elements.  I saw what led to both attempts and I myself have often felt like taking my own life, when the despair of living and compound losses seemed too great to bear.

Painful feelings we carry can either be turned within to suicidality or turned without to homicide.  We have just seen another mass shooting in America and to date I believe the figures for deaths from mass school shootings is now 150,000.   The perpetrator in this case took his own feelings of powerlessness (Neptune) and acted them out on others.   Some people take the feelings of complete hopelessness and powerlessness and act them out on themselves.

Feeling are problematic in our culture for a lot of reasons.   A lot of it goes back to how we have developed in the so called rational enlightenment : Descartes maximum “I think therefore I am” only tells half of the story and this from a man who undertook live vivisection on un-anesthetized animals and felt nothing as they screamed or contorted.   The image in the movie The Shape of Water where a primal sea creature is tortured with a cattle prod would be another powerful metaphor of how we treat all that is most tender and animal and vulnerable within us.   Deeper causes are complex but what we most need to do now is find solutions.  We must help young dispossessed people to deal with and relate to their feelings in healthier ways.   We need to help them to be connected.  There needs to be more awareness directed towards those who are isolated and so become prey to killing inner voices.   Lessons on expressing and valuing emotions should be part of every school curiculum before lessons on maths and science which are of little practical use.

There is so much more to say on this subject and due to my blog free morning where I chose to get out in the peace of nature with my dog and then interact with my sister who is also living alone now it is getting later and I need to limit my online time, but I will only say this.   If you are struggling with suicidal feelings or feeling helpless in the aftermath of these events please REACH OUT.  Speak to someone or call any of the crisis lines.  Here in Australia the Lifeline number is 131114.   I have called Lifeline so many times and the level of help and attunement has varied but being able to connect with another person is so vital if we are feeling so alone and in deep despair.   And please, please remember that you are a valuable human being no matter how you suffer.   You matter to the world, you really really do.