Tuesday, December 20, 2016

My Friend

Working with the public has it's ups and downs. Of course you get the great patrons who can brighten your day just by walking in the door but you also get the other ones, who are mean or scary or sometimes just a little not there. Every staff member is different, we all have our own favorites and the ones who make us shudder. Personally, one of my favorites doesn't always talk much. He goes months sometimes without saying a word to anyone but when he does speak. I always listen. Or at least try to, he has a very heavy Spanish accent which makes me strain to understand him sometimes. I've heard he has a mental illness, schizophrenia. He is usually homeless but very kind and as God fearing as them come. He has never been mean that I know of, he is just a little different. I've listened to his stories about family, his childhood, analogies on his culture; he shares bits and pieces.

One thing I've noticed, and I don't know if he does it on purpose, if all of his stories have incredible meaning behind them.  Even his actions have such a deep level of thought. Maybe I over analyze, who knows, but one thing I am sure of is that after speaking with him I always feel very touched. This morning he didn't say much except as he put on his coveralls to go back outside he called it his armor. Then he left and came back in and told me he can punch and kick without hurting anyone. He kicked up and punched his own foot. "See?" he asked me.

Then this afternoon he told us a story. A story about when he was a young boy with no fear. His mother always told him to go to the restroom inside the house but one night, at 1 in the morning is went outside to the field to pee instead. He remembers in the wind, "whoooosssshhhh" he said but he wasn't afraid because it was December and it was not unusual for the wind to blow. He wasn't afraid. He looked down and saw his cat had followed him out to the field and was standing by his feet. Then he heard another sound like the wind was moaning. He still was not afraid, he was fearless. Then his cat looked up and suddenly, "MEOW!" and ran in to the house. He said he turned and looked. His eyes searched and searched in the dark, then he closed one eye, opened it and closed the other. He told me he does this to see if one eye is lying. He saw nothing but the cat did, so he ran back to the house. He said when people ask if he fears, he says yes but it's a good fear.

After he left I told the girls at the desk he was my favorite. Amy said "Yeah he is really nice but sometimes I can't understand what he is saying with his accent." I told her I was the same but I always try my hardest to listen because it's worth it. Sometimes the hardest things in life to do are the ones that have the most meaning behind them. Whether it's straining to hear the words of a man you hardly know or moving forward with your life when it seems impossible to keep going. Everything has its rewards, you just have to see them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A Day With BPD

It felt as if my heart were in a vice; with every breath my chest grew tighter and tighter. I was exhausted, both from lack of sleep and emotional strain. Too tired to attempt to hide the infinite sadness that I was feeling. Smiling felt so forced, so fake and I couldn't manage the effort to make it seem genuine. "Get over it," I thought to myself, "Just stop it. You're being dramatic. Just stop it." I tried convincing myself that it was all for attention, that if I really wanted it, I could stop this feeling and just get on with my day. My head ached with pressure as if I had been crying all night. It reminded me of when I was a child and I wouldn't get my way. I would cry and cry until it hurt too badly to cry anymore and I'd fall asleep, waking up to a feeling of regret and embarrassment.

My rational mind searched for reason, it raced with the events of yesterday that still lingered, making me relive each one over and over. The subtle infliction in someone's voice causing a dismal inferiority to set in, the feeling of judgement, the paranoia that my character was being sullied by a deceptive opportunist and then the terrible sadness when I tell myself these are the symptoms rearing their ugly heads. My inner self pleads with me, "No! You're right! You're feelings are valid!" I thought back, back to the times when I trusted myself, before the gaslighting and self doubt overcame me. I thought of the times I was right, when premonitions were forewarnings and my conviction never faltered because it had validity. I envisioned myself reaching into the darkness and grasping to what little bit of my truth was left, trying to keep it from dissolving any further.

Competing commentaries filled my inner dialogues, depleting what was left of me until my mind gave in and shut down. The infighting was too much, frailty overwhelmed me. In my defeat, I felt ashamed. Ashamed that I wasn't a stronger person, that over the years I had lost the willingness to fight for my well-being. In that moment, I no longer saw in myself someone worth championing for. The avocation no longer came so easily, or at all.

Hours later I finally start to feel back to normal. All those bad feeling begin to fade and by the next day it's like I'm reading words written by someone else. As I read them over and over a sense of remembrance, yes those were my words. Those were my feelings. The tightness, the sadness, all of it too familiar. I don't want to have those days but I do; they are a part of me that I can never release. No amount of medication or therapy will stop them from coming. I can only take solace in the fact that there is a tomorrow and maybe tomorrow will be better.