As a child, my parents would take us frequently to the ocean.  It is a place of some of my fondest memories.  My mother seemed to be at peace there.  Whatever turbulence she encountered in her daily life would fade with the warmth of the sun, the sound of the seagulls, the view of the majestic body of water in front of her.  She was still.  She was quiet.  She was calm.  My father was a very good swimmer and would hurl himself into the ocean, swimming  farther and farther, unable to be seen… Mom was afraid, but would take baby steps into the water and frolic, laughing, enjoying, living… But she never did swim.  Occasionally Daddy would throw me unexpectedly into the ocean, to try and teach me to swim on my own, Mommy would scream that I was going to drown and sure enough I’d sink, rescued by Daddy.  I’d come out crying, terrified of the water that had suffocated me, engulfed me… I never did learn how to swim… As an adult I still feel most at peace by the ocean, perhaps it reminds me of happier times, of a time when my mother could escape and be happy for awhile.  However, I still cannot swim, not through water, and not through the emotions that threaten to drown me at any given moment, and Daddy cannot rescue me anymore.  Throughout the day, humans experience a range of emotions, most are equipped to ride these waves; as someone who suffers with BPD, I am not, I have no life preserver in this deep, dark sea.  The emotions are intense. Unable to ward them off, I usually do things to escalate them even further in hopes of escaping them, only prolonging the feelings and eventually succumbing to them.  Our feelings are real, we do not exaggerate them or dramatize them, we simply cannot save ourselves from them.  No one taught us how.  Many times as an adult I have asked people to teach me to swim at the beach.  They would look at me oddly and say you can’t learn in this huge ocean, you have to start small, and today that is what I am doing… starting small, crawling in the sand, to the shore, putting my feet in the water, walking to where it feels comfortable, dipping in and out, and occasionally, when a strong wave approaches, I don’t run, instead I stand there, let it overtake me, even make me fall under, but I always rise out of it, proud that I have survived…


2 Responses

  1. Excellent article I never knew about bpd ? But this post/article is inspiring me to educate myself about the illness more and more

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