Just over 13 months ago I wrote this blog post in anticipation of our upcoming trip to Edinburgh. I never posted about it here again because it was, as expected, a truly terrible month, made immeasurably worse by three flights of stairs up to our flat which rendered me, in my awful physical condition, essentially a prisoner in a tower.
(Which is funny now. But WAS NOT AT THE TIME.)
I did nothing all month – I made a few attempts to go out by myself and found myself crying and stranded in public because of the pain. It was a miserable month and my sanity took quite a beating. I was supposed to be working on a show I love and meeting with friends. Instead, I was too unwell to even make it out of bed for more than an hour or two at a time, nevermind go outside.
I was convinced there was no point in returning to Edinburgh with this level of functionality but when it came down to it, I didn’t know what else to do with myself.
The options were to resign myself to the inevitable loneliness and misery of staying home alone or give myself the opportunity to spend time with my boyfriend and friends in a city I love.
I just needed to find better ways to cope. Probably.
This year I took on no responsibilities. I made no firm plans. I rested as much as I could. I said “no” to almost everything. I walked very little. All of these things make my heart hurt. They’re not fun to implement. Not walking in particular is heartbreaking for me. If I don’t walk anywhere I can’t enjoy the city, I can’t take photos and I can’t help to make my brain feel better with movement.
But this was all vital.
I was more stable than last year, though still quite deeply unhappy during a tough first couple of weeks. Adjusting to new places and situations is always hard and I had to recover from travelling up too. The change came, though, when I went for a massage from someone who is used to treating people like me.
The day after it my muscles felt actively good being used – it’s been many, meany years since I’ve experienced that sensation. It was incredible. Though I did have to be super careful to not overdo it and ruin everything!
I could feel the effects wearing off slowly and with each new day I felt my muscles worsening bit by bit (which is no surprise). Even so, I could push myself a little more than I’d been able beforehand. I could push further without entirely breaking and that’s a wonderful gift.
For what it’s worth you can find her here: www.jillmclagganmassage.com She’s an actual wizard and I’d trust her with my over-sensitive, broken body any day. So far she’s the only one who has that trust.
So thanks to her magic our final week and a half there was just totally lovely for me.
I spent time with friends (whaaaat?!) and I made new ones.
I don’t do either of those things any more. I just don’t. I’m too full of pain and anxiety caused/exacerbated by the pain and exhaustion to engage with other people. It’s just too much to commit to. I never know when I’m going to hit a wall and just have to leave, too.
With the BPD I also never know who to be with people – I spend a long time observing to learn how I should behave to get these people to accept me. It’s not intentional, it’s just the only way I know how to be.
Occasionally I meet people who I feel like I can be “myself” with – without even having to think about who that is; it surprises me that that person seems to exist within me. I don’t know who it is or how, actively, to be them but I know that when I’m around people who bring out that version of me it just feels right and it’s so much less draining. It’s such a bizarre thing to attempt to describe.
So while things were still fundamentally rubbish this year, I’ve found a way of being (with the help of ol’ wizard hands) up there. A way that means I can experience many more good moments and even whole days than I have otherwise done in several years now. A way that lets me grieve the pain and the many, many things I cannot do but go on to find enjoyment in other things at times.
That’s a huge improvement for me.
(Side note: not being on Tramadol any more really helped too, though on the worst pain days I still miss it…)