Bathroom Graffiti


Written by Nicole Dean

I love bathroom graffiti.  People seem to be more contemplative and honest while they are ‘doing their business.’  Why is it we feel so comfortable, compelled even, to share our secrets, our pearls of wisdom on the insides of bathroom walls?

Forget that for now.  The real question is how could I have ‘tagged’ myself in this photo which my best friend posted on Facebook a couple weeks ago and not seen what was coming?  The truth is I knew it was coming and I just wouldn’t accept it.  It was different this time.  But, this is a lie I tell myself.  And, it’s a sneaky lie.  It’s gotten me a few times.

There is a person in my life who I have been unwilling to recognize (consistently) is dangerous for me.  He was brought up almost every session with my FT (former therapist); countless times the police had been called to the apartment we (formerly) shared, several times he or I have ended up in the hospital.  We are each other’s worst trigger.  All the proof is there.  We have concrete evidence.

I know how the story plays out.  Yet, I just can’t let my dream of this person go.  This is a story I keep coming back to, trying my hardest to rewrite the ending.   How much proof do I need that no matter how hard either of us tries it just doesn’t end well?  Does one of us need to die before we can let go of each other?

Some things you can fix.  Some things you can’t.  This is a perfect example of using wise mind and radical acceptance.  This is a great example of why it can be so hard.  I love X.  I don’t want to admit that we are unhealthy for each other.  If our worlds are black and white….I will focus on the white Light when it comes to X.  How easily I forget the dark.  No matter how dark.

I met X a month before beginning DBT.  I fell in love with him immediately.  We inspired each other and we accepted each other with all of our flaws.  It moved fast.  Circumstances as they were – he needed a place to live, I needed a place to live, we found an apartment and moved in together a month into dating.   We knew it was quick but neither of us cared about Time.  I had never had a sense of time.  I had always acted spontaneously.  Plus, this was Love.  And, it was love.  I still believe that today.  I also know now, that love does not conquer all.

I warned him that I was entering the year long DBT program and that things were going to change.  I could feel the change that was coming; I wanted it for a long time.  I knew (at 30 yrs old and 15 yrs in the mental health system) more than he knew (at 24 yrs old and no experience with therapy) about the enormous commitment that I had made. I warned him that it would be different and that I would “grow up” and I was scared because all of a sudden my age and my experience came into light.  But, neither of us knew what DBT would do to me, and in turn to our relationship and him.

As my behaviors changed from applying the skills, I fell apart and pieced myself together and fell apart and came together again, each time building a little stronger foundation of Self.  The beginning of DBT was rough for me and X was wonderful.  He would just hold me and say nothing as I raged, or cried.  He held me and he didn’t judge me.  I thought he got it. I didn’t know why but he just got me.  I thought he was wise beyond his years.  I feel indebted to him for that.  He was there for me in a way that I will never be for him (this is probably why I keep trying to rewrite the story – I wish I could return the favour).

Things eventually began to stabilize for me and I began to develop a sense of self and healthy boundaries.  Certain behaviors we once shared were no longer acceptable for me.  Our home dynamic changed.  I had to create boundaries around drinking ie. no alcohol.  And, also for my own health, around his use of pot (he knew he was self medicating for anger issues), as I no longer wanted to be around these temptations.  All of these new “rules” (that’s how I saw it at the time) weren’t fair for me to put on him.  But, slowly I began to see that they weren’t rules.  They were the path to my new life.  I was going nowhere with the old one.  I wanted a life without the drama.  I wanted to grow up.

It was about 4 months into my DBT that he began to fall apart and I became the one taking care of him.  And, we both started to realize our relationship was unhealthy.  But, we were best friends, the very best of friends and we were all each other had (in our sick sense).

He finally got an evaluation at CAMH and he was diagnosed with BPD as well.  Now we know why he “got it”.

When we are “good” together, we are a match made in heaven.  We go to restaurants and people interrupt us at dinner to give us advice on “love”, because they can just “see it”.  That has never happened to me with any man I’ve been with before.

But, there is now history and that history is dark.  The things that I am most afraid of are the things that he needs to work on.  I’m too honest.  He can’t tell the truth.  And, that’s just one example of the black and white opposites.  We have the same fears.  But, we handle them in different ways and the ways that we handle them – those have become the triggers to the potential danger that we can be to one another.  We love each other so much and at this point we just want to be friends.  But, we can’t.  We are like Syd n’ Nancy minus the heroin.

We thought with therapy we could graduate to friends after a short break but that just proved to be untrue.  He graduates his 20 week program tomorrow.  And, while we are both improved and beautiful people, no matter what skills we use, we always end up pushing each other’s buttons.  And, it always ends up dangerous.

Love plays no part in this.  I wish love could conquer all.  I wish SKILLZ could conquer all.  We both have the best intentions.  “The road to hell was paved with good intentions.”

It is so hard to let go when love is involved. It is also the strongest act of love to let go. We both need to let go. I am fighting to find the center, where love and letting go coexist without canceling out all the beauty that was. That is the gray I’m searching for at the moment. And, searching for the middle is still incredibly painful and unnatural to me sometimes.

Maybe it’s better that we (only) always see each other in everything beautiful when we are apart?

For me and X, that is sensible love. If there is no gray for us, I would rather remember the white, the light, the Love.

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2 Responses

  1. This is an incredibly tragic story. I also have a very close friend with BPD, and when we get each other we SO GET IT, but when either one of us is upset, all hell breaks loose.

    You are in my thoughts, and I am glad DBT is working so well for you.

    You should come visit me at It’s Time To Get Over How Fragile You Are sometime!

  2. Thanks Annie.
    I’ll swing by and check out your site 🙂
    Blessing to you.
    Nicole

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