My husband is a wise man, wise beyond his thirty three years. We will be celebrating our tenth anniversary this August; these past ten years have been the best years of my life so far. I have been saying for years that he is a God bound in mortal form, and I worship him as one. I know nobody is perfect, but he is perfect for me. He has seen every side of me, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and he still accepts me and loves me for who I am, flaws and all. He treats me like a queen, a Goddess. He is my everything. He’s not only my best friend, he is my favourite person.
Favourite person. It’s a real term, regarding borderline personality disorder. Many people familiar with BPD are also familiar with the term, but for the most part the general population isn’t. Most people equate a favourite person to being a best friend, but it’s so much more than that. A favourite person is someone who you are emotionally invested in, so to speak. You put them up on a pedestal, above everyone else. They can make or break your day. Depending on whether they make or break your day is the difference between idealization and devaluation, or splitting. Splitting is another BPD term, it’s a coping defense mechanism. It’s the inability to hold opposing thoughts, beliefs, and feelings. Everything is black and white, good and bad. Think the Sith in “Star Wars”, all or nothing. You’re either with me or against me.
Back to those terms, “favourite person” and “splitting” for a moment. My husband is my favourite person, and when I split on him, it isn’t pretty. It’s not a love/hate thing, I have never felt hate towards him. When I experience splitting, it’s more like splitting with myself instead of my husband. For me, splitting is when I go from being on top of the world and in love to crashing down into suicidal thoughts and fearing my husband will abandon me. It’s loving myself and accepting myself for who I am to self loathing and disgust in who I’ve become, and shame because my husband deserves better. I love him so much, I can’t fathom losing him. It doesn’t take much to trigger splitting for me, it could be body language, tone of voice, choice of words, a look. It’s like a switch flips inside of me, and I internalize it all. My husband could be stressed or having a bad day, and I will take it personally. I don’t want to, but I do. I understand and know that the world does not revolve around me, but if something could possibly jeopardize my relationship with my husband it involves me. I want to be the perfect wife for my husband. I never want to disappoint him. I know it’s not realistic, more idealistic I’d say. When I do fail and I disappoint him, it hits me hard, so hard I start to tell myself why I don’t deserve him and I don’t deserve to live. I punish myself severely for my mistakes, inside my head. I’ll call myself terrible names and say awful things about myself, and sometimes it gets so bad I dissociate and go on auto pilot which usually leads to me finding the sharpest knife in the knife block and hiding in my room, cutting my arms. Every insult is a slice. Every thought, a cut with blood bubbling out. That was my answer to everything, cutting. I’d cut when I was numb, just to feel something. I’d cut when I was sad, upset, stressed, angry, because it was as if my emotions and thoughts flowed out of me in the blood. I learned quickly that cutting is not the answer to my problems, though it took me years to learn that cutting is also a symptom of my BPD. When I get the urge to cut, little alarm bells go off in my brain. “Warning. Code red.” “This isn’t really you, this is your borderline messing with you.” A few months ago, I relapsed. I was just over two years clean from cutting, damn it. I don’t even remember the reason why I did it, but it happened and I can’t take it back. I can only keep moving forward. I did learn something from my relapse, and that is that when I experience splitting, I tend to lean on old habits and reach for a knife. I don’t know the exact correlation between splitting and self injury but it is there, for me, anyways. Most times, I am able to talk myself down from cutting. The urge is there, but I don’t act on it. I don’t know how to talk myself down from splitting. My husband can, and does it every time. He uses logic and rational thoughts, and facts. Also patience, my goodness is he ever patient with me. I don’t know how he does it, but he tames the borderline beast within me. It hurts me to be separated from him, even when he goes to work each day. I miss him as soon as he walks out of the house. When we do have to be separated for longer than a work day, I feel like a part of me is missing. This is what having a favourite person feels like to me. I do everything in my power to make him happy, and I feel like my world is collapsing on me when I can’t make him happy. It hurts me when he hurts. I feel his pain and anguish, his depression and anxiety as if it were my own.
My hubby influences my whole day, and it starts when we wake up. I never know which part of me will wake up in the morning. Will I wake up manic, bright eyed and bushy tailed? Will I wake up depressed and fight with myself to get out of bed so I can go and wake up my kids to start their day? Will I wake up crippled in pain from my fibromyalgia and be bed/couch ridden? Will I wake up tired and exhausted from insomnia and staying up late the night before? I never know. My hubby? He’s pretty consistent with his wake up routine, and that helps me immensely with my own routine. I love the time we have together before work, we snuggle and talk about the day ahead of us. He’s a positive influence, he makes me feel confident and sexy and capable of taking on anything life throws at me.
I love our talks. We talk about anything and everything in between, and we can talk for hours. One major subject of ours is my mental health, and my illnesses. My symptoms, my triggers, how my moods are during the day, my medications and their side effect. We talk daily about my mental health, if a day goes by where we don’t discuss it I would be surprised. He’s my biggest support, he is my rock. He helps keep me stable. When I’m unstable, he is right there to help me level out. Recently we were talking about a situation that causes me immense anxiety, and I said “I will hope for the best and expect the worst.” I say this to myself often, it helps me with social events and situations. We agreed that the saying means well but could be worded in a better light, and he replied, “Hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.” This makes much more sense to me, and better explains my
perspective on what life throws at me. I’ve been trying new things for my routine, and one of them is positive affirmations. When I feel overwhelmed and my emotions are too strong, I say positive affirmations and it helps me calm down. “This too shall pass” is one of my mantras, I have it tattooed on my left forearm so I don’t forget it. No matter how bad I feel, or how much I hurt, or how awful a situation is, it won’t last forever. This too shall pass. Hang in there. It works for me, and has saved my life more than a few times. I need other affirmations though, ones that will help me more with my anxiety. “Hope for the best, and prepare for the worst” works for me. I tend to let my anxieties get the best of me, I fall into a downward spiral of catastrophizing and then depression and self doubt sink in and weigh me down. Reminding myself to think positively and rationally without judgement or assumptions is tiring, so if I have a few catch phrases to help me out, so be it.
I really do hope for the best and prepare for the worst when it comes to life. Every day I wake up and try my hardest to be a better wife, mother, and person than I was yesterday. Every day when my husband and children leave for work and school, I worry about them. I hope they have awesome days but there is a part of me that always worries that something catastrophic will happen to them and it will shatter our happy home, our family. My daughter will go for a bike ride and I’ll have intrusive thoughts of her being hit by a car. My son will go for a walk and this time the intrusive thoughts are he will be attacked by a bear. My husband will go to work and I’ll panic that he will get in an accident and I’ll never see him again. Especially if we’ve had a disagreement, I hate parting on negative terms. It’s extremely rare for us but it’s happened, and the rest of the day I am beside myself with grief and worry. I have to stop myself daily and remind myself that my family members are capable and safe in what they are doing. I say to my children before they leave the house, “Have fun and be safe.” I hope it reminds them to be aware of their surroundings and to use street smarts. I know I can’t have my family with me all the hours in a day and I know I can’t always be there to protect them, and I trust them to do the right things and stay safe. I know I can’t just erase my anxieties, if it were that easy nobody would suffer from anxiety. I get anxiety from day to day activities, like running errands and shopping. Anxiety prevents me from taking my infant son for daily walks, it stops me from going to weddings, socials, baby showers, you name it. Doctors appointments give me anxiety attacks, especially when it’s regarding my mental health. For years I have studied and learned how to manage my mania and depression, but I never studied and learned how to manage my anxiety. Three years ago I was diagnosed with PTSD and social anxiety disorder, and I have been learning ever since. I bought a few books about the conditions and while I have an arsenal of therapy skills and tricks to help me combat my illnesses, it doesn’t prevent the intrusive thoughts and panic attacks.
He’ll be home soon, I’m so excited. My husband makes me feel like a giddy high school girl, every text and phone call gives me butterflies. I’m blushing just thinking about him. I can’t wait for him to come home from work. I love untying his work boots and taking them off his feet, pulling off his socks and putting on his house crocs. I love to hear about his day, and what he did. I love hearing his voice as he speaks, watching his facial expressions and getting lost in his eyes. I don’t hope for the best and prepare for the worst with him, for there is no “worst” with him. Yes we have our ups and downs just like any other couple, but we ride them out together. It’s me and him vs. whatever life sends our way, not me vs. him. Every disagreement, every argument we’ve ever had, gets resolved and we grow closer together. I look forward to the rest of my life, which says a lot to me because at one point in my life I didn’t expect to live past twenty three years old. I honestly thought I would cut my life short by suicide, and to be honest I’m so glad I never did. I survived two attempts, and I’m proud of that. I am grateful that I survived, and continue to live. Each day is a fresh start, a blessing. I get to wake up next to the love of my life each morning, and at the end of the day I get to snuggle up to him and fall asleep. Every day I will hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.