Wednesday, March 25, 2015

On the Outside Looking In: BPD, Loneliness and Perception

 Psst…hey you! Yeah, you – the one sitting at the corner table with the book, trying to look like you’re reading while the rest of the people in the room are happily chatting. I see you glancing around when you think no one is looking.


 Who am I? I’m the one sitting at another corner table with a book, trying to look like I’m reading while the rest of the people in the room are happily chatting. I’m the one feeling like they’re on the outside of their life looking in; the slightly lonely one trying to hide in the crowd.

 I’m not always like this, ya know. Some days are better and I actually feel like I belong! I tell myself that the loneliness was a fluke – nothin’ but a pothole on the road of life. But then the wind shifts and BAM! I’m right back on the side of the road feeling stranded and left behind, my front wheel flattened from another damn pothole.

 I gotta be honest with you, I always thought it was the others who didn’t “get” me. This was the feeling of yet another group of friends closing ranks and pushing the obvious outsider farther out. This was me destined to be separate, always guarded and lonely.

 So I’d do the preemptive strike thing and move myself to the corner table. At least from there, my physical local would match that of my emotions. At least from there, I’d be right and I really would be an outsider.

 Then, one day it happened, like a lightening strike out of a clear blue sky! I was arguing with Hubby, trying to explain to him what it felt like to be left behind by friends who’d moved on while I was changing my metaphorical tire.

Me: “You don’t understand what it’s like to feel like you’re on the outside looking in.”

Hubby: “Just keep being yourself and people will eventually accept you.”

Me: “People DO accept me! It’s not THEM, it’s ME! It’s my glitched-out brain and the stupid BPD that make me feel this way. It’s just the fucking way I’m made.”

 Evidently my subconscious had picked something up over the years and chose that moment to whack me upside the head with a little self awareness.

BPD Fairy: Sometimes symbolism speaks louder than words.
BPD Fairy
Sometimes symbolism speaks louder
than words.

 Did that lightning strike change the way I felt? Yes. No. Maybe.

 The reality is, I can’t change the way I’m made. It is what it is. I can, however, change the way I understand it and react to it. I can embrace the knowing that this isn’t everyone else’s reality, only my perception of it.

Is she ripping the heart apart or giving it her all to hold it together? It's depends on your perception.
Is she ripping the heart apart
or giving it her all to hold it together?
It’s depends on your perception.

 I may still feel like I’m an outsider, but I can relax and smile at the fact that friends and loved ones aren’t the culprits, my screwy brain is. Then I can put my book away, pick up my stuff, and find a seat at one of the tables.

 There are still times (MANY times!) I’m overwhelmed. (Let’s face it, this whole learning and growing thing is a process, right?) My perception of reality can be the occasional bitch.

 I recognize when I’m feeling lost and alone and remind myself that it’s just the way my stupid brain works. I give myself some time and space to recharge, then I do my best to let go of the pain, dust myself off, and move on down the road.

 One thing I’ve found that gives me some comfort during a flat tire, is even when I’m down, I’m still not alone. There are so many others on the outside that may be looking in through different windows, but they’re still on my side of the glass.

 I don’t know how else to put it, except to say, there truly is comfort in being alone together.

 So for now, I’ll nod my head in your direction…maybe even wave. I’ll sit here with this book I’m not really reading and watch the rest of the people in the room happily chat. And I’ll look your way to remind myself that I’m not alone in my glitched-out state.

 Then, when I’m ready, I’ll grab my stuff and move back in for another go. You’re more than welcome to sit with me when you’re ready. I’ll save you a seat.

For more discussion about BPD:

Make BPD Stigma Free! shares amazing articles from across the interwebz. Excellent way to find new blogs and voices!


  1. Love the fairy piece, she's amazing. As are you. <3

    I've gotten to the point where when I feel like that – the outsider – I'll ask someone I trust what they see. Sometimes getting a different perspective from someone who knows and loves me is what I need to kind of re-center myself. I also try to hear my therapist's voice asking me what Wise Mind would do and that sometimes helps. But it's definitely a struggle, some days more so than others.

    We're not alone. <3

    1. Thank you sweetie!
      I had to look up Wise Mind and I love the concept! So far I've only come across one person who teaches DBT here and he happens to be The Girl's Psychology Prof. (Not exactly where I'd be comfy going right now. LOL!)
      I swear, if I got off my butt and found someone to help guide my loop-de-loop thought process, this would all be a lot easier! For that, I kinda envy you. <3

    2. DBT is definitely good stuff, though I fought it tooth and nail the first 6 months. Now I'm able to use the skills they taught me with relative ease and it definitely helps.

      There are some websites that give the basic info and some of the skills stuff, but it's kind of a poor substitute for working with a trained therapist. It sucks that there aren't more therapists able to offer it in more places because it's incredibly helpful for those of us with BPD and for other folks who have different mental health issues.

    3. I've read a few things about radical acceptance. It makes perfect sense, since I've always had a love for Taoism. But…it's also easier to practice when the people around you understand and "work" with you. That's where I hit the snags. LOL!
      I won't say BPD is impossible to deal with without a Therapist, but you're so right – the journey is so much better when you have a trained guide.

  2. Here's how it feels to me:

    1. Both beautiful and heartbreaking! Also, so dead on some days.
      Actually, I think I've spent the last 6 months living in this place.
      Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. It's not just BPD. I've felt like this my whole life. Even when I KNOW that certain friends love and accept me I find myself pushing away and feeling like they aren't really there for me, when too often I'm the one creating the self-fulfilling prophecy by not letting them get close to me.

    1. Sometimes I think it starts out as being too open. That whole saying, "Once bitten, twice shy,"? Yeah…only the shyness gets a little twisted into distrust and fear. Adding a chronic health issue on top of it does nothing to make it easier either. It just gives you something new to beat yourself up over.