Tag Archives: reality

Saturday (illustrated version)

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Barefoot in Kings Cross.

 

Today was a flat-out day trying to navigate the labyrinth that is Sydney Metro Transport.

It didn’t help that a few of the rail lines were down and had to be supported by buses (every friggin’ week they are working on a line) which made everything take that much longer. Extremely frustrating and this only escalated when I was walking along Kings Cross and tripped and broke my shoe – I was convinced I wouldn’t get out of there without contracting some strand of hepatitis from standing on something sharp.

I was down that way looking at a studio which allows pets. I am trying to find something that:

A: I can afford

B: Allows dogs

[CUE CANNED LAUGHTER].

The trip home was barefoot until I could find a shop that had both my size (I have long feet) and style and I am actually pretty happy with my new shoes so, that was a boon.

The disgusting old junkie who inherited a house only to lose every possession in it and let it fall into ruin around him.

It took the entire day to navigate the rail/bus/rail/bus/rail/bus fiasco and when I got home my new short-term roomie suggested that we go and get some drugs to alleviate the heat (it was bloody hot here today huh?) and the pending boredom and I didn’t take much convincing. I went with the temp roomie (A) to collect our goodies and got a first-hand look at what someone who has done drugs for 50 years looks and lives like when we arrived. I was completely freaked out by this guy and the worse part? He wasn’t the dealer, his niece was so, he was begging me for a bit of what A and I bought …. And he talked non-stop about how great is life was before he discovered drugs; how successful he used to be when he was young … it was entirely depressing and my opinion of how it would have been awesome to meet William Burroughs before he died was irrevocably altered.

The Park

Back home, I decided to go and see the neighbours who have been looking after my dog to try and beg their forgiveness that my hospital stay exceeded the promised 3 days. So, I went back to where I used to live.

And then things got a bit messy and weird.

When I got there, I was wired and feeling anxious about facing these poor people who have been so lovely to me and my dog. I was really stressed in hospital about them having to continue to take care of her and so I decided to smoke at the park for half an hour before facing them.

Then I sent the Pup a text — yes, I know, I know — I actually wanted to talk to him quickly about something non-personal for 10 minutes and tried to explain that I just wanted to see him quickly if he was free but it wasn’t urgent. We texted a few times and he kept asking what it was about and I said I didn’t want to get into it on the phone and then he just. stopped responding even though he had just said he would be back nearby in 20 minutes.

When he stopped texting, I decided to just call him and he didn’t answer. This triggered me completely of course. Knowing him, he was completely paranoid about the possibilities of what I wanted to talk about, put 2 and 2 together and came up with 22,349 and freaked out but I was upset that he just ignored me, he has never done that before and we had been still friendly texting for the past 2 weeks every 4-5 days. So he is officially an asshat.

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I finally left the park and walked up to see my ex-neighbours, well, I knocked on the door, and they weren’t home. This wouldn’t normally be a crisis but my dog was locked inside and she had realised it was me knocking …. I felt like such a terrible person. Triggered a little bit more and feeling like a really crappy person who has abandoned the most loyal friend she has in the world and who is so unlovable that the (kinda) ex who was so very into her not one month ago cannot even be bothered to answer a call from her anymore he is so NOT into her now because she is disgusting and pathetic and just plain sad really.

I eventually ended up being in the park for around 4 hours all up. On a Saturday night. High as a kite, triggered and no idea where to go as my temporary roomie was out of it and a little scary for being so.

Luckily my lovely B took a call from me and talked it all through with me, or rather allowed me to rant at him while he listened patiently and reassured me that the pup is bat-shit crazy and not acting like a decent person and it wasn’t me being the human/ex repellent that I felt like I was/am. I’m pretty sure I was repeating myself over and over and I know for a fact that I was already repeating stuff B had heard before. I kinda love B.

Sam

Eventually, I got off the phone, deleted the Pup’s number and grabbed a train back to the connecting bus to A’s place (I don’t really want to call it a flat/unit/apartment as it is the most filthy thing I have ever seen). I was too late for a connecting bus and grabbed a cab instead. The cab driver asked how my day had been and I told him it had been a bit weird. He asked me why and I gave him a very brief outline and he acted really interested and asked questions and we got talking.

When we pulled up to A’s place, he asked if I was up for taking a drive and I said “sure”.

We drove around for about 2 hours, he asked me about what type of men I like, what I like about relationships, if I believed in love etc .. not the most original questions ever thrown at me or any other woman on the planet ….. it was odd but, he was nice enough overall and, to be honest, I was high enough and pissed off enough by the Pup to want to see exactly where this next young ‘un (a bit older than the Pup but not by much) was going to take things, or try to.

He actually drove to all of these dark little alcoves and parks, the kind of locations that are earmarked as ideal locations for making slasher films … but, he was perfectly polite the whole time. I asked if we could stop so I could smoke and he drove for a few minutes before pulling over and I was dumbstruck to see that he had driven to the park I had spent the 4 hours in …. Full fucking circle. I swear that park will haunt my Sydney life – it was where I originally met the Pup if you recall and it is now where the Pup refused a call from me for the first time. I am considering setting fire to it but, some basic Googling internet research has revealed that apparently, it is “illegal” to set fire to public parks, or, pretty much anything. Who knew?

Anyway … I eventually told the cab driver – Sam —  that I am working in the morning and I need to get home (I’m not). Along the way, he is trying, just a little, to see if I was open for something to go down between us. He was trying to be a bit sexy and definitely not pulling it off, he was so cheesy that it was almost laughable and I am sure he would have found it so as well if he was privy to the shit-storm that has been brewing in my life this year when it comes to men.

I got out of the cab, we exchanged “lovely to meet you” (s) and that, was that.

The home invasion

Around 4am, there was a bang on the door here. My temp roomie was in bed and I was attempting to sleep because I had not had any sleep for 47 hours at that point. Temp roomie (A) got up and answered and this HUGE young pup (not mine) barreled in and started demanding cigarettes and being generally obstreperous – he was actually really scary, very drunk and obviously pissed at A about something.

The young guy was around 6’4 to A’s 5’10 and they are both built like bouncers – given that this is the tiniest flat in the western hemisphere and every square inch is covered with dirty plates, ashtrays, bric-a-brac and furniture and I was lying on a sofa bed that takes up 60% of the room when open, this little confrontation was enclosed, loud and pretty damn scary.

The bouncer/pup had a serious bone to pick and was screaming and yelling at the top of his lungs. He had with him a tiny little blonde of around 19 who was wearing, well, nothing really and he kept turning around and slapping her on the arse and asking Artie if he ever “gets quality ass like that”. She, for her part, stole cigarettes off the table and tried to yell over the top of the bouncer pup that “let’s gooooooo” … “I wanna goooo” and smiling whenever the bouncer pup referred to her arse.

It was like a cross between The Godfather and Jersey Shore.

This all dragged out for a good 20 minutes, which is a damn long time when you are lying in a sofa bed holding your breath, waiting for an explosion and trying not to make any sudden movements to trigger said explosion.

It ended with the bouncer pup putting an axe to A’s throat and threatening to come back if A’s ‘crime’ against him was ever repeated. Obviously this is the short version but the point is that however terrifying, no blood was spilled (although both A and I possibly peed a little).

It was just an odd day.

And after paying A’s rent for a week and supplying cigarettes and stuff, I have dipped into what little money I have and really need to stay here for the week rather than fork out for other short-term accommodation.

But I seriously need outta here.

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It’s happening again …

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Things got all explodey with the pup last night. 

Yes I am completely aware that there were red flags.

Yes, I completely get that I should have cut him off totally and had nothing more to do with him or his premature exclamations of adoration.

No, I didn’t do that.

Yes, I am a fucking idiot.

Last night ended with me wandering around at 2am in King’s Cross having no idea where I was, no idea how to get home, no money whatsoever and blind drunk.

The pup turned up completely drunk and somewhat delusional early in the evening. He was extremely paranoid and kept accusing, or rather half-accusing me of these weird things — like being in touch with some woman who calls him because she only ever called after he had been hanging out with me … when I assured him that I was doing no such thing, he accused me of reverse psychology … because, yeah, that’s what that means dude.

I did ask him to leave at one point but he was apologetic and asked me to please sit and talk/hang out with him and (very fucking stupidly) let myself be talked into this.

He was incredibly vile all evening, I can’t put it any other way … he accused me of things, told me I had no idea who he was or what he had been through and then suggested that I was in love with him, which was not a good idea. Now, I have not said or done anything to indicate any such thing — but all the accusations were groundless and there was no reasoning with him. And, yes, I was entirely stupid to even try. But I was drunk, and I was getting hurt and offended and he was triggering the fuck out of me which wasn’t hard as I had been triggered all weekend. But really? He is all over me for 2 months proclaiming how into me he is and somehow this means that I am in love with him?

The next part however, I cannot blame anybody but myself for and I am shaking my head at myself even as I write it: At some point, the pup decided that he wanted to go into the city and get some drugs .. he asked me to go along for the ride and I agreed. halfway there, I realised that I had left my wallet behind but as he was paying for cabs both way, I wasn’t too concerned.

During the taxi ride, he got verbally abusive and almost physically violent with the cab driver over .. well .. nothing really, he was just out of control. When we arrived at wherever-the-hell we were, I was completely freaked out due to the taxi incident and I walked off .. he ran after me, and pointed out that I had nowhere to go and no money to go there with and promised he would behave. So, I went with him to the pub where the deal was taking place and he bought me a drink and went to meet the girl he was meeting.

Being very drunk already, I jumped in on a table where 3 guys were drinking and as they were Canadians, we played with an iPad somebody had showing each other where we all from .. and then I realised that the pup had been gone for some time …

I asked the Canadian guys where the hell I was and how the hell I could get home and one of them was good enough to get me down to the train station to get a train for the 1st leg of the journey. At some point, between trains, I must have looked so lost as a young guy came over and helped me to figure out what my next train/s were and I managed to get home … without buying a ticket at any stage — thank you Sydney rail for leaving the ticket gates wide open after 11pm!

At some point on one of the train trips, the pup and I spoke one the phone and he told me he was already home — I don’t recall much else of the conversation but one of us hung up on the other one … twas all very dramatic. Then, I get a text from my roomie saying that the pup had turned up at the house and stomped about like he owned the place demanding to know where I was and that the roomie had been forced to tell him to fuck off. Wonderful.

I got home, went to bed and woke up to a missed call and a text from the pup asking if I was OK. I responded that I was a very fucking long way from OK and to please never contact me again.

He wrote back that he was sorry about last night and that he was so wasted and didn’t mean anything he said (no mention of leaving me in King’s Cross). Then he called a few times. I didn’t respond to the text and didn’t answer the calls.

Yes, it is my fault that I get involved with psychotic men.

Yes, I should most certainly have known better, I mean, I did know better, I KNEW this boy was about to snap, crackle and pop but … I just had to have one last dip into the cookie jar.

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Wrecked …

I haven’t cried since Monday during my psych visit.

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I am pretty sure that’s a record for the last 6 months or so. In fact, I had crying on my to-do list because it had become central to my day and I figured it was better to get it out-of-the-way sooner rather than later so I could get on with everything else that needed to be done.

I also actually stopped and looked at some boots while out shopping for food and while that may sound innocuous, I have lived in Sydney for around 7 months without buying a thing so, all things considered, it’s a small step for mankind and all.

Oh. I also stole an electric blanket (this is a confessional post after all). I score up into the stratosphere with risky behaviour – tick all boxes except sex … although, even that isn’t true – when the ex and I first met in person (after a few months as online-only), we met for sex. No coffee, no polite conversation, just hard sex – my idea, my choice .. so, I guess that was risky.

I am still drinking far, FAR too much than I should be .. I mean, it’s out of control.

I have never had a drinking issue until this past year-or-so. I always looked down upon alcohol as a last resort. I have used and abused many, many drugs in my time and truth-be-told, I would rather be using and abusing drugs right now but .. new city= no contacts = take what I can get. I don’t think substance abuse is going away anytime soon for me .. I NEED to change my reality every single day and unlike the effect of mood stabilisers, antipsychotics or (Yoda forbid), SSRI’s, I am not hankering to feel ‘normal’; I need to feel detached. Being normal is like a proxy death sentence to me, it’s like I get put on mute and I become this semi-functioning member of a society that I know for a fact is corrupt, egocentric and destructive.

 


Fugue state

drunken

 


And on and on and on …

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Crazy week (‘scuse the pun)

I have been struggling with my only friend (my email pal) rejecting me because I have decided to accept the diagnosis I have been given of BPD. She asked me how much I trusted the person who diagnosed me, which, I guess, is a fair question.

Fact is, I was diagnosed over 10 weeks by 3 separate people, 1 of whom is the registrar of mental health services in a major hospital here in Sydney so, I am inclined to accept the diagnosis. (plus, to be perfectly honest, it explains so much about my crazy, out-of-control life).

My drinking has hit crisis proportions. I left work last night for an hour so I could get to the bottle shop. I wish I could get something more useful/productive/stronger but, I am a stranger here and drug dealers don’t exactly hang out on street corners (contrary to popular stereotypes). At this point, it is medicinal; I couldn’t function without it. ‘Tis a worry, but one for another day.

The worst part is that my very best friend, my darling little dog has come down ill.

She came up lame suddenly a couple of days ago and she spent the night at the vet, but after x-rays, ultra-sounds and blood/urine analysis, they came up empty. So, this morning, I collected her and we went to the specialist and they have made a preliminary diagnosis of an embolism. She has all-but lost the use of her hind legs, she cannot really walk. They are hopeful that she will recover in the next 6-8 weeks but unless I can cough up 3-4k to have MRI’s done, the diagnosis is speculative. Even if I have the diagnostic tests done, all it can do is confirm or deny the embolism … because if it isn’t that, then it is  tumour and she will have to be euthanized. I have to wait 6 weeks to see if she begins to be able to walk again; if she regains her desire to walk again.

I not only feel completely ashamed that I cannot afford to spend 4k on the tests, I am reeling from the 1k I have already had to spend … and I hate myself for that. But, if I lose her, I lose everything.

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Because I needed to take her to the vet yesterday, I missed my 1st DBT group session, I called but I am unsure if my case worker believed me … she seemed to, but I cannot help but here the “uh-huh’s’ that she spilled down the phone as inauthentic and somewhat patronising … I am trying not to project on her, but … social workers … they seem to fit a type.

I am completely out of cash for the next week, so, today is my last day of drinking and I am making the most of it. My baby girl is lying at the foot of my bed and, I guess the fact that she is back home with me is something to be glad about.

A million emotions in one day and the growing sense that I do not live in Sydney, I live in Gotham City … it never has or ever will be real … and I am not sure there is an exit.


A knife in my brain

Just when I have a day or so of relative normality (ie: work), things come crashing down.

The ‘reality’ of being in a strange city/state, of being abandoned, of having nobody to turn to, of having left every physical thing important to me 40000kms away is just too much to bear.

A bottle of vodka, a revelation, an exorcism and a realisation.

Today means everything, but I know it will be forgotten tomorrow … I learn each lesson over and over again, like a stupid child who can’t recall her ABC’S …

 


Really?

I have been doing a lot of thinking about PD’s, the effects of PD’s and what it actually feels like to have a ( seemingly) limitless emotional spectrum.

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My psych told me in our original chat that for someone like me, a break up, or other traumatic event, is more significant because, unlike most people, the emotional pain truly is unbearable; akin to life or death – and I have to agree. But, nobody seems to be able to tell me why.

I know that there are well researched and documented theories about failed/faulty primary (parental) bonding and the consequences of that, but, after reading through much of this, I am still no better informed as to ‘why’ I cannot deal with extreme emotions and/or ‘why’ I have them in the first place.

To be honest, I am not sure that there is an explanation that accounts for the fact that I cannot see the world as whole place within which I should find purpose and meaning. Nor can explanations account for why I would rather end it all than face living with the emptiness I feel or the pain that comes from losing somebody I love.

Everybody goes through loss. Most people feel acute pain with that loss. But not ‘everyone’ feels it to the extent that some of us do – and I want to know why.

I have been re-reading some literature by Slavok Zizek – a cultural theorist with a psychoanalytical bent. Zizek comes via way of Freud and Lacan and has much to say about psychoanalysis and the contemporary, often popular landscape that we inhabit.

I don’t really want to get into the background of this stuff too much; it’s not necessary or relevant to my little diatribe here. But, I think that Zizek (and therefore Lacan) is onto something with his delimitations and descriptions of the human psyche, and this is where he comes both useful and interesting.

Lacan (20th Century psychoanalyst/theorist who came after Freud and re-worked some of Freud’s ideas) suggested that our psychological landscape is made up of 3 divisions: The Imaginary, The Symbolic and The Real.

I’m going to keep discussion/s of what these are (or are not) to a minimum because the purpose of this post is not to discuss these, but to highlight some of the idea/s about them that pertains to PD’s. And, in particular, BPD. So, I will be very brief with my descriptions and then, I will tell you all how I think some of the ideas raised seem to me to have relevance for BPD.  My definitions below are lacking (bit of a psychoanalytical joke there … geddit?) but hopefully will give a reference point to anybody who is unfamiliar with the terms.

Lacan’s divisions of the psyche:

The Imaginary:

When a child realises that it is separate to its mother (previous to this, the child knows the world only through its own self/perception – there is no recognition that there is an external world), there is a sense of fragmentation – the child must re-orientate its sense of self to accommodate being both itself and part of a larger world, This is a traumatic experience and one that is never fully resolved.

The Symbolic:

The world of language. When we ‘enter’ the world of words and signs, we do not ‘simply’ learn to communicate with neutral signs that adequately convey what we think/mean. Language is a shared system that was created, it is not natural.

Entering the symbolic teaches us how to relate to each other, how our social and cultural world functions, how it describes itself and how we are expected to know, understand and describe it as well.

However, language is system for communication, it is the process whereby we enter into community.  It does not and cannot come from within (express our thoughts/ideas) fully because it is a system that comes from outside ourselves.

Further, language does not neutrally ‘describe’ our internal experiences, thoughts or feelings, it helps create them because we take abstract ‘sensations’ and turn them into language that can be used to communicate with others – language actually ‘creates’ us, and our experience of the world because we are bound within a finite set of signs (words, phrases) within which to express or know it. Language creates the rules, social order and  understanding of what ‘the world’ is – and once we enter the symbolic, we cannot un-enter, we are enmeshed within.

The Real:

The Real is where we were before language, it is the state whereby we know nothing but need – when we are babies (before we enter the Imaginary or the Symbolic). The Real is both pleasure and pain based in need – the child yearns for the mother’s breast to quell the need for hunger, it does so without thought to what its needs ‘mean’ or what the mother’s own needs may be, the baby is complete in its desire, without thought or regard for others (it has not learned to consider itself as part of a wider community or others with need, but rather its entire existence is based only around the sensation of the self).

Most importantly (for me), The Real is pre-language – The Real is known/experienced without the filter of language to construct it, The Real is where things that defy language reside – and these are traumatic or pleasurable in the extreme.

For example, natural disasters, high school shootings, 9/11. When these occur, we can see that there is no language to adequately describe or convey what we experience or feel upon hearing about or witnessing these events – they demonstrate cracks in the symbolic order – a trauma that we cannot describe – and we are reminded of The Real, reminded that language (and therefore our entire existence, and how we make sense of ‘the world’) is not ‘true’, but rather a system overlays The Real.

OK.

What has all this to do with BPD/PD’s?

Well, traditionally/ideally/whatever, an infant is ushered from The Real into the Symbolic (although there remains the problematic Imaginary by a primary and ever-present caregiver who is able to allow the infant to experience the shift/trauma in a relatively safe and consistent environment. The infant adapts to the loss of self (The Real) and adapts to the dominant, symbolic order of society.

 

For those of us with primary caregivers who were abusive, absent or neglectful … well, this doesn’t happen, or, it happens in a dysfunctional way. We are never fully enculturated into the Symbolic order and hence, never truly leave the Real and/or are trapped more fundamentally in the Imaginary.

I think that those who have a PD don’t fully come through from The Real, through The Imaginary and into The Symbolic effectively – we are moored in The Real, and The Symbolic is never fully integrated or accepted. Over time, what others come to accept as ‘real’ or ‘true’ about ‘the world’ remains outside of our grasp. We can see, process and understand the socio-cultural norms – we can understand law, community, sexuality, but we were not completely immersed into them by a primary caregiver and so, they remain foreign, confusing and often absurd, left as outsiders looking in.

We ‘know’ the rules, legislations and expectations of our respective cultures, but we see them at a meta level – we see the structure and artifice that underpins them precisely because we have been left behind – we are like infants.

Being moored in the Real or the Imaginary keeps us forever on the axis of pleasure/pain – we only feel alive, real and whole when we are experiencing extreme emotions – to be anything else, to live in the Symbolic is tantamount to a death sentence because it feels fake, constructed an unreal in the very literal sense of that term.

I think this is why people with PD’s are so sexual – because sex is one of the few playing fields within which language is not the primary mode of communication. It is also a space/place where intense emotive responses are not only acceptable, but celebrated. It is home.

I also think that suicidal ideation is linked in here. The Real is about the absolute of pleasure/pain. We seek pleasure (sex) knowing it will bring pain, and we seek pain (cutting, slicing) knowing it will bring pleasure. The two are intertwined in some fundamental, albeit disturbing ways.

For me, sex allows the merging/enmeshment that I crave, for someone like my ex, it allows for pleasure and the expression of intensity without the necessity of relational tropes. We have different pathologies/PD’s, but our weapon of choice was/is sex. And this makes perfect sense really.

It also explains why I lack an adequate vocabulary about my ‘feelings’. If I am extremely upset, angry or otherwise emotionally engaged in a situation, I am all-but mute. I know that I feel ‘bad’ or ‘mad’ or ‘upset’ but quite often, I cannot find the words to express WHY I am feeling that way or what has caused it. So many lovers have expressed frustration at my inability to describe WHAT is wrong with me … because I cannot describe adequately what I am feeling, all I know is that I am feeling it.

Doesn’t this mirror the Real? A time where (as infants) we didn’t ‘know’ we were hungry or tired, we just knew that we felt ‘bad’. We hadn’t as-yet ‘learned’ what hungry or tired meant, we just knew it made us feel bad.

For me, I think of death as unemotively as I do life. Words such as personality disorder, depression, suicide … these are products of the Symbolic – I struggle with them because they have negative connotations – but perhaps the possibility that they are more neutral can be explained here.