There seems to be two ways of coping with difficult life events. We either confront head on, or avoid them. For me, avoidance is a coping mechanism. It might not be a positive or helpful one, but it is a deliberate self-protecting strategy to control or escape calamitous consequences.
All human beings have moments of pain and suffering. The paradox of avoiding it, only serves to increase the distress and can interfere with the pleasure of being fully involved in all of life. It can also make whatever we avoid, more problematic. Often it feels like feeding the monster within.
It has been three days since my last MBT assessment. The message that comes through loud and clear, is the extreme avoidance tactics that I apply to almost every aspect of my life – past, present, and the future.
‘The Therapist that Bugged me’ specifically targeted the avoidance of the present by my persistently reverting to childhood. Of course, ordinarily, this is a positive process. However, as she rightly points out, if I cannot address the ‘here and now’ because childhood trauma overwhelms me – trauma that I am unable to talk about – then it appears to be chronic avoidance to the extreme.
To have someone threaten my emotional stability means I am bound to enter into a full-blown BPD Splitting episode. My sarcastic, maybe unkind comments about the Robotic-Therapist are my ‘splitting-black’. I imagine she might expect this response. I am also insightful enough to recognise this is another avoidance tactic. “If I don’t feel comfortable, how can I open up”
With fear and trepidation, I am on the threshold of revealing who and what I am. I am fearful of what people might think of such a sad and tragic existence. There is absolutely no pride of what/who I have become. My instinct to show the best of this past life is fighting against my pride and vulnerability. The humiliation is suffocating.
I live in a carefully constructed bubble – a life I could never have envisaged. The days roll into weeks and months and I have no awareness of where the years go. It gives a sense of chronic disassociation. Without doubt, 13 years ago, probably during my first mental breakdown, I have evidently made the decision to opt out of life. Despite living in London, I might as well be on a deserted island.
One of the first pieces of information I read on Borderline Personality Disorder, had a statement from someone living with a BPD, “I feel like a child trying to live in an adult world”. There was always considerable shame and bewilderment as to why I find life so difficult to live. Learning about BPD is helpful for understanding why, but it is not the entire picture.
I fight against temptation to give background information of the person I used to be, the jobs I had, the things I owned, even the friendships and relationships I once treasured.
About 18-months ago, I went to see my Psychiatrist, feeling rather distressed. I had suddenly come to the realisation that I did not want to get any better. Not if it meant having to opt into life again; meet new people, form relationships, find interests and hobbies that take me away from home for more than 2 hours, or retrain for future employment and have enough money to buy all the nice things that I miss. My mood might have seen improvements from medication, but my attitude to life needs to change.