This is a post with an incredibly narrowed viewpoint. It involves very few other people, just myself, so please, if you’re going to comment, bear in mind this post is sensitive. I wrote it because I don’t know how to ask friends for help, and am convinced I’m destroying them if I do. I also have no idea how to let emotion as deep as that which I still feel over dad’s death out in a controlled way, even after all the counselling and help I’ve had to do that.
I am aware, too, that it might be tough reading if you know me, but though I’m sorry for that, I didn’t write this to be read, I wrote it to help me let out some of my mass of swirling, complex, sometimes philosophical and almost-always overbearing, demanding thoughts gathering to get my attention like a small crowd of children wanting sweets.
But, apology over. I’ve been struggling, unknowingly, with depression again since about a year after dad’s death, and I’m trying to work out what might be going on and why my usual strategies aren’t working this time.
Recently I’ve been wondering whether perfectionism is at the root of all my non-BPD issues – and perhaps exacerbating my BPD issues too. Or maybe – and this feels more likely given timings and, well, just gut instinct – it’s my dad’s death which has exacerbated my perfectionism. I feel as though, like a gear stuck in neutral, I’m not sure which way to turn. The way I see myself is damaged and I can’t work out why, or how to repair it.
It’s so damaged (or so I think) that I don’t know how to engage with people without constantly analysing who I’m being, whether I’m boring them, or being hypervigilant and on edge, ready to spot danger. And this means that I do come across sometimes as boring, (my voice becomes more monotonous as I like myself less, and I’m too self-conscious to be anything but quiet and self-contained.) It means that I don’t know who I am, and that ‘danger’ of being hurt is ever-present, really, because I’m watching for it so I see it everywhere. It’s a huge, self-fulfilling prophecy and I’m stuck in the wheel.
I’m not sure how to just hang out with people – especially in the evenings when fun is expected – and chat to them. I get bored and criticise myself for not being able to make our time together less boring. And if I’m bored much of the time, I then want to see people less and less. It’s not them, it’s me, I tell myself – it’s me because I can’t be light-hearted or fun or interesting when I feel self-conscious. I can when I don’t, but these times are few and far between, and only with a very small number of friends, family, or strangers. These are people I feel safe enough around to be able to burst into tears if I suddenly remember something about that time when dad was in the hospice coming to terms with the end of his life, or trying to decide whether or not to have ‘terminal sedation’. I’m sure all my friends would say that it would be fine if I started crying around them, but until it has happened, I’m closed off from them. The more I close off, the more I get scared of what will happen if I am a downer around my friends, or what they will feel if I do suddenly start crying in a restaurant.
I wonder if the self protection is due to there being a (or a few) deep wound(s) in my heart – that as a result I’m scared to let anyone get close. It is true that I’ve never really let anyone outside family and very close friends see the real me. If I do, it’s great for the first few months or so, then I somehow become convinced that they’re bored in my company or that I’m dragging their mood down, so I isolate myself from them, wondering why they don’t get in contact. (of course, it’s because they’re down, or made bored by me, clearly, but really it’s because I have pushed them away.) I am convinced that I damage people around me and I don’t want to let them in because of this.
I could do with a few of my friends turning up at my door unannounced, as a surprise and taking me out somewhere, so I know that they know that I may cry but that they think it’s okay if I do. This hasn’t happened – I think I’ve out up too many barriers for people to intrude now, but the longing for friendship and closeness is still there.
So, is it that I believe I should be perfect, consistently don’t meet my exacting standards, and have a very idealistic outlook? Possibly… And if it is, how, exactly, do I become perfectionism’s enemy; its arch-nemesis? (which I can’t say without then quoting the nerds in Buffy…you know what I mean…) Or perhaps, actually, this is more about keeping myself ‘safe’ – I think my wounds from dad’s death go so deep that I’m shutting myself off from any other wounding. Perhaps both.
I’ll write more soon – this is plenty for now. Rich food for thought.