Category Archives: BPD

“BE HERE” & Life At Le Pin Pastèque

BE HERE  (& Life At Le Pin Pastèque)

by mATT cARLSON

May 19th, 2014. Approximately day 3,328 at Le Pin Pastèque (the watermelon pine tree) in the south of France.

It was a blustery day: the wind rattled so much that even the screws safely secured in wooden posts trembled. Branches bended & leaves sang. Squirrels and birds huddled safely in their nests; cats in their country hotels slept, dogs too on their masters or mistresses beds. Outside hanging on the home made wall of a wooden veranda – a small square mirror. It had been rescued from the trash. Tiny red tiles framed it – though a few were missing. It went “bang, bang” and then “scrape, scrape” :  a  dance of wind & an old mirror.

A large grey  barrel sat on the dirt nearby pushed up against the wall beneath the mirror. “Gloup, gloup, gloup,” went drops of rain into the barrel. The wind had freed the drops from their pine needle prison on the plastic roof. There were always a lot of pine needles on that roof.

The barrel didn’t mind more drops joining the party, it just sat there full of water. As a matter of fact, the barrel didn’t think at all: it was only a container – left there in that exact spot to collect rain water. But it was steadfast sitting and a comforting sight. The ensemble : an outside bathroom of sorts. There was an old iron brasserie stem too (next to the barrel) used as a small table, though the marble had been broken long ago, with enough room to put a glass and a few tooth brushes. Tooth brushes that were now laying in the dirt.

With the television off, I could attend my ears to those sounds around me. An instant ago, they had been mere background noises, but now I could hear them. Joining the mirror dance, the thin door of the laundry room banged too as the machine inside shook my clothes angrily in its ever revolving mouth of plastic and steel. Outside: waves of air rolling, twisting & crashing into inanimate objects. A dog barked in the distance. Someone whistled.

Each time a new noise sounded, Foebbe and Fender (2 white Jack Russel’s) jumped down from the couch and ran to the glass front door. They jumped onto it excitedly with their front paws or in realizing an absence of anything worth discovering, would return to lie down, each in separate corners. “Of course”.

I took a deep breath. Aside from the dogs, I was alone. Of course Truc (Thing) the cat was there and the fish in the pond, but for all practical purposes, I was alone. And I desperately wanted to bring myself back to me! Back to my own thoughts – not those that were once again clamoring at my brain’s doorstep. Those were NOT my thoughts.

It was as if I wanted to read a book, but instead of the first page of a book I’d chosen, there were 1st pages of other books opening at the same time in my mind. Books from other people. “Read this one!” They yelled simultaneously, or almost. Similar to one door opening and suddenly shifting into perspective:  another door! Way the fuck too many doors- or books! I took a deep breath and with impatience yelled at the dogs to go and lie down again.

“Breath in deeply,” I told myself. “Count to four.” Wait four seconds. “Exhale,” and I did while still counting “1, 2, 3, 4″… There was no need to be anywhere. I mean, I didn’t have any obligations outside of the house, the animals, taking care of the home front kind of stuff. O had left a couple of months earlier and I had had little news.

Today I would just try and exist. To breath. To listen to the wind. I would not even try to focus on that first page of any book. I would not sing. I would not write. I would not try to figure anything out.  I would just sit here with Foebbe and Fender. Together we would listen to the wind.

“Be here,” I said .

mATT cARLSON

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The House That’ JACK’ Built by Matt Carlson

I’m looking again at this picture of a wooden house, the one you see there with the trees and the garden. That wooden structure is actually sitting on what was once a very big cement terrace. I built it myself with my two little hands; it’s insulated, has a see-through roof (though now that’s covered with a special material to keep the warm air in); it has two rooms (a living area and a half office/half entry way. It has a glass door (recuperated from Gréasque) has a front door and one window (from the ex brother in law) and a large bay window (from the ex mother-in-law). It is attached to the original stone house. which is about the same size. It’s sitting in the middle of a forest.

I began building this structure when O. (now my ex-compagnon) was hospitalized for BPD (Borderline Personality Order). I actually built it for him : an act of love. I went and chose the wood, paid for it and hauled it back to what we later called, ‘Le Pin Pastèque’. I emptied the truck and stacked all the wood, put a tarp over it when it rained, bricks too, (on the tarp) when the wind was strong; I bought too the necessary tools and materials in order to build ‘our future cube” : nails, screws, a hand drill, an electric saw, a ladder, a measuring device, big plastic plaques and systems of attaching them for the roof, etc, etc. The list is so long… and I don’t remember the names in English right now… But you get the picture.

At the same time, that O. was in the hospital (and he was in very bad shape): he’d been trying to hurt himself by mutilation, strange epileptic type episodes, stating that he wanted to end his life – he said that he almost drove the car into a ravine. So I had him hospitalized.There was no other choice and he accepted it. My Mental Health Worker experience from 20 years earlier came to life in an instant –  though this was not in an enclosed facility with a close knit team…I was on my own & at that same time, I too, was going a little bit crazy. My Father ( a recovering alcoholic) had just recently passed away and then suddenly O. took a turn for the worse.

We had  been together for five years, initially I hadn’t known that he was suffering from BPD – didn’t really understand what that meant either at that time. I did understand that there was something wrong with him; I remember our first disagreement: he just sat on the couch across the room with this strange blank look on his face. As if, he had become a zombie in the twink of an eye….My days were quickly filled with visiting O. at the hospital, dealing with the administrative problems that went along with that, and taking care of my own health issues. Working on the house gave me a focus – thinking that it would help make things better somehow. Knowing that while you battled with your mind in a crazy house, a physical nest of love and support would soon be opening it’s doors to you? It was not to be so…

O’s Mother and brother showed absolutely no assistance, or moral support whatsoever. Not even one phone call to inquire how I was doing. This was not very surprising, though the initial reaction was to ‘O’s’ being hospitalized. There had always been a strange love/hate relationship going on between O and his family, that I didn’t understand. I continually encouraged him to work through it, to stay in contact with them on some level, even though he stated his hate for them.

O. had specifically asked me to call his Mom  and tell her not to visit for a while, including the brother in that scenario – that he needed time to think, to not be in contact with them. But upon calling her and relating O’s wishes, she hung up on me! Then proceeded to tell O’s brother that I wanted to “control her son” and the situation. I know this because the brother wrote to me an email relaying this information and telling me to ‘stop telling everybody what to do’. I was amazed as it was so far from the truth. Of course, I quickly defended myself by clarifying what had been actually said and by whom – in a very neutral tone yet feeling obliged to make him aware of the inappropriate reaction from his Mother….but to no avail. I wouldn’t understand until several years later the strange reaction from Gigi (the Mother)…. that she was also suffering from BPD! I was surrounded by a family with BPD and didn’t know it!!

Then, suddenly (shortly after O’s being hospitalized) I received a direct message by a young man (via email- oh the joys of Internet, right?) that O was having an affair with someone! And that ‘someone’ was telling me what a terrible person I was (this time O was fabricating stories about me)….Of course,  I told the guy off and NOT gently either. I was furious and went to see O at the hospital, only to find the same person physically present – though he quickly leaves upon my arrival)…Visions of kicking his ass briefly flashed in my head… O tries to explain at first that it’s his ‘barber’. Instantly, I tell him about the message I’d received earlier and it is CONFIRMED with apologies (“I’m a worthless human being – I don’t deserve you” etc) and that the barber and the email sender are the same person – AND that he lives in the same village (Fuveau) AND that the guy is in love with O!…. Of course, O tells me he had only gone a few times over this guys house to get a hair cut and drink coffee. Uh huh, right….I don’t kick anybody’s ass, but driving home I am wondering how the hell to get out of this sticky situation, or to fix it somehow. And wouldn’t I have noticed those hair cuts??

Of course, infidelity had been a serious problem with O from the beginning – that and his drinking. Only my music was saving me, therapy through songs, and the building process of the house, but I was being pulled down by outside forces way beyond my control…. The good news was that a new treatment had been found for me – the famous cocktail of three HIV drugs was actually working. Physically, I was slowly becoming stronger for the first time in 19 years. Why was I staying with this guy? What was wrong with ME?

Goodbye’s And Maintaining Balance by Matthew Carlson

The year is almost finished…and tomorrow I will finish final round number four of moving! There must be some record out there that I’m breaking…so you’re probably thinking “that’s nothing”. But moving is one of the most stressful things that we do in our lifetimes and it’s also usually linked to another stress filled life event like a new job, going away to school….etc.

In my case, separating from a ten year old live in relationship with my boyfriend. That in itself could be devastating if you are not wanting the change, or having difficulty in accepting the end of a relationship. Personally, it was an easy choice for me as I was living with an alcoholic and someone with Borderline Personality Disorder…If you don’t know what that is, hmm well,  it’s complicated to explain but the person in question has a problem in terms of emotional development,  meaning : they are not capable of correctly judging situations and people because there is something in their cortex which does not dampen emotional flow. So everything is exaggerated; either black or white – there are no grey areas and absolutely no room for compromise…on anything. Basically, if you live with someone who is Borderline, then you will have constant arguements where you will be wondering what brought on the dispute…Over six million women in the United States alone suffer from BPD…

So to make a long story short, my HELL began with my breakup. You see, people with BPD don’tdeal with breakups well AT ALL!  (Abandonment issues…) And so as it goes, though before I was adored (hard to see it but…) and now I Am Satan reincarnated in his view…If it was just that, it would be okay, but the person with BPD is also a liar and a manipulator so he or she is going to create new alliances and enemies for you! In this case for me! Arggghhh, right? Yep….

So getting on to the maintaining balance part of this blog post…how to do it? And maybe you’re wondering how to GET balance first off cause that’s not easy either if you’re totally being rocked in your boat! Well, the first thing is that you must have THE INTENTION of having balance in your life. And before we go any further we have to be on the same page about : what is balance??

Balance for me (feel free to leave me comments on what you think)  is: 1. Sleeping well, 2. Eating balanced meals 3. Feeling good about your day to day activities ie work, school… 4. Having a happy social life/friends  and 5. Sports and or feel good physical activities 6. Some kind of intellectual or spiritual modus operandi that helps you function in your day to day life; a kind of colored lens if you will that helps you understand your environment or see it…7. an on going goal or objective, long or short term..something that you can build on, work towards and share with others…8. Intentions of progressing and or evolving in some way every day.

So that’s my list which is capable of changing (mobility of mind!) I did not put on my list LOVE. I do think love is important, but do not consider it an essential to have and/or maintain balance. Love can be fantastic and terrible too, so many adjectives can be used to describe it, but again we don’t need it to have or maintain balance. Often it can be the unbalancing factor in our lives….especially if we choose a partner that does not correspond to who we are, or what we want out of life.

My own choice of being with someone ill was my choice alone. I alone am responsable for it. That too is important in order to move on, be responsable for your stuff. Otherwise you cannot find balance. Maintaining it comes later.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a good ‘whatever you decide’….

Matt Carlson

Paris Times (N°10) The Borderline Nest by Matthew Carlson

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Jie Jie (rymes with fly) Solla Bina and her “paralyzed” son “O”, were doing nothing in particular that day at Terre de Poux (the Land of Head Lice), the village she called home. They had eaten their BIO (health food lunch) of egg plant and tomatoes farcies (stuffed tomatoes) and fresh bread without glutten. She had made the bread herself and was pleased too of the current state of her affairs.

Her son had moved back home to Terre de Poux and that was a good thing. Now she had both of her grown sons with her and even her grand sons all living in the same place. With her eldest son and his (ughh!) English wife Deena (she looked like a blond Sarah Palin and wasn’t much brighter) Famous for her comment of : “I can see Russia from my back yard!” wouldn’t have made Deena laugh. She was an English woman who had a complex about being English, and had moved to France to be different in the eyes of all who knew her. Jie Jie detested her but had daily contact with her;  it couldn’t be helped. Her son needed pussy and he got it from her. Too bad kids were the final outcome, she could have really done without being called Grandma.

Though Jie Jie didn’t realize it she suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. She like her son, whom she had passed it on to thanks to her constant non validation of his emotional and early psychosexual development, were now using their twisted vision of the world to thwart “O”‘s ex.

They had no empathy towards anyone, had no idea what that meant. It was all about filling that forever empty void inside themselves. The word “integrity” had no meaning either as integrity was a by product of healthy emotional and psychosexual development. Since neither had ever experienced that development, the word integrity meant nothing.

They were very much alike in their respective personalites and in their profound dislike of one another, there was still some kind of connection and a great deal of complicity as they shared a similar vision of the world. Years ago, Jie Jie had tried to will away the newly attached fetus from her insides to no avail. The damn thing had to be born…It had happened so soon after the early (happy loss) of a second son, but when she fell pregnant again there was nothing else to do. She gave in to having O; she had had no choice.

Adding to the complexity of the situation  was in her own unresolved past childhood where her Mother hardly raised her, had never truly loved her. Lacking any mothering tendencies, her own Mother, a bitchy self loathing bitter woman,  had always managed (with very little money) ways of keeping young Jie Jie in all girl schools away from home. Her Father was an alcoholic, a depressed man, capable of violence without any apparent cause. He would at times just stare at her like some kind of strange household object that someone had dropped off by mistake.

Jie Jie felt abandoned her entire life and needed incessant validation from anyone who could give it to her. The constant invalidating of her own emotions, forced her to alter those emotions, forced her brain to take charge of them. She became an experienced manipulator, a kind of copycat of anything that might bring her more self esteem. A mask of what she was not. Inside it was like a devouring monster, constantly needing to be fed. No matter the consequences for others’, as long as she got what she wanted. But her appetite was never ending. It grew as she got older.

O was in his forties, a good twenty years younger than Jie Jie. The difference from her was that he knew he suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. At least three psychiatrists had diagnosed him. He had,  like so many other people with BPD followed therapy, but in his need to conquer and manipulate his therapists, well, it never worked out. In the beginnig it would usually be “Wow, such a terrific therapist” but when (or IF that happened – not all therapists understood the manipulative power of people with BPD) it would become the devaluating of him of that therapist: “She’s so stupid and never says much… or if she does it’s just like two words. I’m smarter than she is…”

O was at THE major crossroads in his life. But unfortunately didn’t really completely get that. Even now as he suffered due to terrible back surgery following the diagnosis of The Horse Tail’s Syndrome. All of his nerves from the belt below were being pressed upon by discs in his back that had slide down. They pushed onto this zone where so many internal messages are sent. For months, he felt little downstairs and had learned what it was like to wear diapers as an adult. Hard on’s were something of the past.

The usual stress and unbearable panic related to his recent break up with Gelledge, had already and for years been going directly to his back. Think a thought, get some stress, it would sink down there to his back. Nothing would come out of his mouth, he could’n’t get the damn words out. Those months of talking about non-violent communication and even doing work shops, had been no good to him. He could imitate the information like a parrot (his Mother was exactly the same) but could in no way apply it. Tools of emotional stability were necessary, tools that are developed through healthy emotional development, cognitive differentiation. You cannot build something on air.

O had assumed that changing jobs from being a graphic designer to a hynotherapist was the answer to his inner demons. It had helped him in many ways, but like his Mother he had no self love. You couldn’t find, learn to give and recieve love through a hypnotic tape. He didn’t know what love was. And he hated his Mother for that on some level, though he couldn’t remember all of the emotional stunting that she had done to him.

The constant lying and manipulation had started so young, too the regular trips to the public restrooms where he got off on old men sucking him off. It was a sexual release but also an emotional one. A narcissistic one. A kind of emotion validating of his immense and ever growing narcissisme. No one else mattered as long as his beast inside could be fed too.

The sequestering of his and Gelledge’s two black & brown York Shire’s Fing and Fong had seemed right somehow. After all, Gelledge had brought them over to the front gates of  Tete de Poux at his Mother’s, given to O, the day before his accident. Returning after the hospital, though O had hardly seen them much for months, but was elated to see them. They were a bit reticent however, their first person or caretaker was Gelledge, not O. The transition was not a smooth one.

O had once again manipulated slowly so as things were not obvious. But from day one, he had decided (with lots of perverted discussions with his Mother and brother) that he would somehow take everything away from Gelledge. The dogs, the house, everything that mattered to Gelledge. O’s jealousy too had finally begun expressing itself. Gelledge had everything that he did not, was everything that he was not.

Gelledge had left for the summer to work in Italy. It was for this reason he had left the dogs with O. But then Gelledge had stolen money from O! Well, it wasn’t really a theft mind you, he had only transferred money from one account to another in order to pay bills. Bills that were in O’s name – though shared all of their bills together. And true part of the money really did belong to Gelledge as he had been paying too for that Life Insurance Policy where he was the beneficiary. But still, it felt like a robbery to O! Being Borderline, nothing could be in the middle – it had to be black or white! He lamented loudly and regularly to anyone who would listen to his story, to his lies. He had to somehow destroy Gelledge. After all he had abandonned O; he knew too much about how he fonctioned inside; was too much in his head; somehow he had to kill the thing that walked around now in his head.

Lying there on the bed, he heard a rucous and something fall. Jumping up and there was Gelledge running off with Fing and Fong in his arms! His Mother was sprawled out on the wooden porch.

She screamed for her other son Eddie who’s house was on the hill above her own, “Eddie! He’s stolen my dogs!”

O ran pretty fast for someone who was supposed to be paralysed. His canes, throwing them aside with intense anger. “You bastard” he screamed in French. “You stole my money, now you’re stealing my dogs!”

Gelledge sped quickly through the immense field before him, Fing and Fong in his arms. They were actually quite heavy. When O had stopped pursuing them, he knew it was not over. He placed Fing and fong on the ground hoping that the five month forced seperation of his beloved dogs had not broken their connection together and that they would run like the wind and follow him.

“Come on you guys, let’s go!” They understood instantly and ran as fast as Jack Russel’s; they got it that their Gelledge had come to rescue them! They ran and they ran as fast as they could. their persuers not far behind. His car wisely parked on the department road on the bottom of the vast field, so when they reached the edge, Gelledge picked them up in his arms and looked off to the right. Eddie’s old white van was bearing down towards them loudly. The pedal pushed to the floorboards. The two brothers intently watching Gelledge’s movement as he got to the edge of the field and began crossing the road. They breaked suddenly only feet away and O jumped out like a mad man yelling at the top of his voice. There were no signs of any disability as he ran towards Gelledge and the dogs. Gelledge was prepared with his key and in a flash had opened the car door and thrown them inside to safety. He too jumped in & slammed the door closed while locking it. O furiously arriving  just as the door slammed in his face.

O screamed and kicked the door and the window non-stop as Gelledge calmly and with purpose started the car. Gelledge thought the window would break as the force of O’s uncontrollable feet and hands crashed repeatedly against the side of the car. It was crazy – like a scene out of a movie. How could this be O?

“Fuck you Oliver”,  said Gelledge with force. He never once saw the madman’s face, never even bothered to look. It wasn’t about him anyway. Pulling the car out quickly he breathed a sigh of release. The van did not follow them. He looked at the dogs and gave them a reassuring hand. Would they try and locate him through twitter or google? In any case he had already shut off location services. He had come to rescue his dogs from the Borderline Nest at the Tete de Poux,  where they had been kept against their will. Kept away from seeing him. They hadn’t understood as to why they had been kept at Jie Jie’s with O.

Why had Gelledge been gone for so long? The dogs had had no clue. But now, it didn’t matter they were safe once again and in Gelledge’s arms…Lots of kisses and play time to be had together. It was as it should be.