Grief; the one and perhaps only word that can conjure more emotions than the word love. It is near impossible to describe. It’s like a tsunami of emotions that suddenly overwhelm you to a point you didn’t know you could reach. Your mind is caught in the eye of the storm, spinning out of control. It’s a physical pain that encompasses your whole being, tightening every muscle in your body while sucking the air out of your lungs; even breathing becomes painful. The tears stream down your face uncontrollably and your heart physically hurts. Grief involves a major loss of something we are attached to. It is not limited to death. There is often grief involved with the loss of a relationship, a home, job, or a friendship.
I started out wanting to write a letter to my inner child; a letter to the frightened and traumatized little girl I was. I planned to write it in a tone that I would speak to a young child when it suddenly dawned on me that my inner child is more like an inner mini-adult. My trauma started as an infant, and I truly feel I have never fully felt that sense of innocence that is the marvel of childhood. I have watched my best friend’s son grow from an infant to now, being 12, and the wonder, innocence, and excitement in his very being as he discovered the world. It was not only a delight to see but an awakening of sorts for me. Through his eyes, the sights, scents, and sounds were all so innocent and full of awe and adventure. How refreshing it was to see the discovery of life with a fresh, unbiased view. For me, the sights were a bit darker, the scents not so fresh, and the sounds a lot more frightening.
Although Borderline Personality Disorder is becoming one of the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses; it continues to be one of the least understood. Perhaps its diagnostic frequency is due to the wide range of symptoms it presents. Some people exhibit a trait or two off the list of BPD criteria, however, I have all but one. The symptoms and behaviors are not once and a while, but every minute of my day that I am awake. So, in an effort to enlighten as many people as possible, I am sharing some of my experiences related to the recognized symptoms of BPD.
My background may be different than tens of thousands of people across Canada, but somehow, regardless of our stories, we have all ended up in the same place; government forced poverty. When COVID hit, the Canadian government decided that $2000 monthly was what the average Canadian needed to survive. As lock downs arrived and prices soared, money was sent coast to coast to millions of people to help them through the pandemic. I am glad the government was able to step up and help so many, however, I am wondering why thousands and thousands of people with physical disabilities and mental illnesses have continually been cast aside, and treated like we’re as disposable as the trash. If the average person requires $2000 monthly, then why do we not qualify as average citizens? How is anyone expected to live in this country on $1169 monthly? Who decided that $497 a month is supposed to cover ones rent? You cannot rent a room in a house full of strangers for less than $700-$800 monthly.
As most of you know, I suffer with BPD, severe depression and suicidal ideation, among other diagnoses.
The Canadian winter hits me hard. The lack of sunshine for so many days, sometimes weeks in a row, and the bloody freezing temperatures, adds to depression. I have tried a SAD lamp, I have raised my Vitamin D, but nothing works, and the deeper we go into winter, seems to be the deeper I sink. I feel constantly anxious, unmotivated, and emotional. My fear of failure intensifies to the point of being terrified to try anything new.
We all need human contact. Human beings are social creatures by nature and although isolation is a comfort for many, human communication is vital to survival. Isolation, in many cases leads to a deep sense of loneliness which is such an overwhelming feeling. You feel like you have no one and nothing and will do almost anything not to have to feel it. It is like you are drowning in a lake with people in sight but no one close enough to throw you a line…that is the worst kind of loneliness. Feeling like this is not only emotionally devastating but research is showing that loneliness and social isolation can impact a person’s health, causing problems ranging from high blood pressure and obesity to heart disease and stroke, much the same as anxiety and depression. Some researchers have indicated the increased rate of illness as high as 30%.
SUICIDE…Catch your attention yet? It’s a shame if it didn’t because the actions most certainly will.
The rate of suicide is on the rise worldwide in all age categories. It affects all ethnicities, cultures and religions.
It is bias free.
It is a last resort, a desperate attempt to quell the never ending and relentless pain that monopolizes your mind. It has become the only feasible way to rid yourself of the burdensome weight that has dragged you to this level of despair.
That is how I feel anyway, the countless number of times I have and do fall into the darkness, and because I can empathize, take a minute to read this letter to you.