Mental Illness Amusement Park

Imagine this:

You’ve just waited in line for a couple of hours. With each couple of progressive steps toward the front of the line, your anxiety builds. You look at everyone else in line around you; their happy smiling faces. Aren’t they afraid? Your heart thumps in your chest, your palms get sweaty; symptoms no one else can see. Then the time comes. You approach the front of the line to the world’s most deadly roller coaster. You get in and strap up. The employee checks that your protection is secure, and off you go.

The car sits still, taunting you with nothing but the anticipation of what it will do to you. Your life is now in the hands of this “thing”. Within seconds the coaster is racing at such a high speed you can hardly pull your head off of the back of your seat. The intense and drastic highs and lows start to make you feel nauseous. No sooner does your stomach finish sinking, the coaster is flying back up, and just before you throw it up, it’s falling back down another hill.

As if this isn’t already bad enough, you feel your straps beginning to loosen. Frantically, you look down at your straps. What once were tightly, snugly, and securely fit, are now gradually departing from your body like ribbons blowing in the wind. You fight it. You try to hold on, strap back up, find alternate forms of safety, but you aren’t strong enough. There’s no way you can survive such a ride without anything to keep you contained in your seat. Panic sets in. The fight or flight sensation. That life or death state of mind.

But there’s nothing you can do. You surely can’t save yourself. You’re not equipped to, at least not against such a huge monster coaster that has a mind of its own. And as those last few seconds pass, those last few moments that you can feel the seat formed up against your seated body, all your fears, worries, and cares detach from you at the same pace and in the same manner as you detach from the ride. Just as you are no longer a part of the coaster, your emotions are no longer a part of you, simply because they do you no good anymore. You’re going to die. What’s the point in panicking and worrying at the same time?

In slow motion, because it’s all your mind can tolerate, your restraints have failed you and the coaster has released you. For awhile, as you are thrown to your death, it’s almost as if you’re floating. In a few moments you will be nothing anymore, but your mind and body have apparently already gotten the memo because you already feel like nothing.

This is what it’s like having BPD. The anxious wait in line is basically the default persona. There are periods of anxiety about what may be approaching, doubts of what lies ahead in the near future. A fluster of symptoms that no one can really see. The fear of the unexpected. The unpredictable.

The actual ride is when BPD hits. The episode. The intense emotions that you can’t keep up with. The torture. The sick games it plays with your mind and body.

The restraints are pretty much anything that helps you feel secure and safe. It could be a person. It could be a thing. But people let us down and even if they don’t do so intentionally, there are just times that we feel unprotected and unsafe and like we were just thrown to the wolves; or out of the safety of seat belts. We try to hold on. No, we cling as if our existence depended on it, because it feels like that to us. Until we realize we are no match for BPD, and we give in.

The moment of release is that phase in the cycle when we’re just numb. We’ve shut down. We can’t handle the intensity of the ride any longer and so we detach from it. We may have actually felt like we were going to die, and so we just let go because it just hurts too much. So we just turn everything off, emotionally give up, and become “nothing”. After all, every once in while we need a break from feeling ‘everything’.

I’m currently on my break.

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3 thoughts on “Mental Illness Amusement Park

  1. Mandi my dear,
    I am re-blogging this as my 101st post…
    as soon as I’m past the obsession with every single friggin’ letter of my 100th post.

    Your words bring to mind the look I so often saw on Liz’s face.
    It describes it perfectly.
    Those looks are far less frequent, far less intense, far less terrifying.
    Let me repeat that:
    Those looks are far less frequent, far less intense, far less terrifying.
    And I sense you have her strength and resolve.

    People living either directly or indirectly with BPD have to be able to relate to it.

    Passionate post from someone who’s “feeling nothing”.

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