Miracles and Cesspools

“Borderlines forget the existence of gray. Life is a beautiful miracle, or a cesspool of despair.” ~ Borderline, by Mishell Baker

The sun on your face is heart-feeding music to my eyes. I kiss your eyelids once, thrice… move back to my side of our bed and watch you watch me, remembering how your touch, the taste of you… fills my bones with fire and might. A smile awakens your lips, and you say, “I love you.”

Liar, liar, liar, I think. I want to rip out my eyes, leave my Self dark. Eyeless, I won’t have to watch me in your mirrors, see a pitiful thing that’s not worth loving. I’m sorry. So, so sorry.

stop it, you breather
of rot that chills brain and bone,
I loathe you; trust me
I am made of wild mushrooms,
high… bright, a lover of rot

(not so) wee notes…
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious (and complex) mental illness that steals emotional control. I have two friends who live with it. They are like night and day when it comes to their personalities… But their behavior (when stuck at either extreme of the disease) is very, very similar—self-destructive and malicious… or, all-giving and determined. Neither behavior lasts very long. And the in-between periods are filled with guilt and self-loathing. Many say that it is very hard to love someone who has been diagnosed with BPD. That hasn’t been true for me for quite some time. Listening to my friends, and spending a lot of time with one of them, I’ve realized that their emotional explosions are rarely personal. They can’t help how BPD attacks their bodies and minds. But we (their family, friends… society) can control how we react to their suffering. Remembering this bit—during the highs and the crashes—is the best way to truly show our friendship and our love for them. At least, that is what I think.

– On the technical side… I am really enjoying my exploration of books, prompts, and random bits of life through tanka-prose. I love the simplicity of the form… and the punch it can pack.

– Partly inspired by the quote at the beginning of the post. Linked to my Diversity Reading List for 2017, and to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (Tuesday Platform).

detail from the cover of Borderline, by Mishell Baker

45 thoughts on “Miracles and Cesspools

  1. That violent switch really packs a punch… Made my breath catch. I don’t have BPD, but I related to this on a different level, the self-loathing and guilt and then the guilt over the self-loathing…

  2. I think it is very brave to imaginatively inhabit a troubled mind. You remind us of that so many people are fighting silent battles.

    • I think that if we haven’t truly being there, we can’t truly “inhabit a troubled mind”. I think all we can do is look, listen… and hope that what our brain understands is accurate enough to create a shadow of what they really go through.

  3. Thank you, Magaly. I have read a little about the BPD, I forget what prompted me to read, someone was mentioned someplace in my reading. This type of disorder where one comes and goes makes life hard to live, both with ourselves and with other persons. In a way, the earlier stages of Alzheimer Disease affect many of those victims in a similar manner. Cognizant but unable to control either violent irritability or silliness, depending on someone’s flip of coin. Most people don’t know the early stages, not until loss of memory comes, which is also disrupting.

  4. Your understanding is such a gift to your friends. I have two close to me who suffer from mental illness and early on learned to stay steady and peaceful in all of their ups and downs, the better to support them. None of it is personal, though it may feel that way at times. Thanks for spreading this wise and compassionate message, Magaly.

  5. I know at least one person who suffer, and I have clearly seen the shifts.. so well described in the different part of your poem… Though I don’t know the details I can see those mood swings…

  6. It’s funny to read some of the comments, saying how hard that *twist* was to read – when the flow of the poem just feels so very natural and understandable (and beautiful) to me…

    Thank you for always trying and learning and listening.

  7. Yes… yes. I appreciate your detailed notes and experience, but also the poem stands up and uncovers a range, or opposition, of emotions and reactions observed with hindsight. Really easy to relate, I think.

  8. This is so great. I’m going to email you a story about last night. It perfectly aligns with this.

    The last two lines are my faves. But I was also swooning over the first stanza — those eyelid kisses. 🙂

  9. In all cases of mental illness, one will discover something is odd about the person only after the fact. In the meantime, one might get into entanglement when emotions rise without realizing what went wrong! Frightening!


    • I don’t know if I completely agree with that assessment, I think auditory schizophrenia, for instance, is pretty telling even if we don’t know the person has been diagnosed. One has to be truly dense not to see that something is odd about the individual.

      Things like BPD invite us to be more patient, open-minded, and willing to see things in different ways. Like Kerry said, we never know what battles people might be fighting.

      Yes, very frightening, indeed.

  10. It takes a special person to live with someone who has a mental disorder. It requires as you said compassion understanding and patience and enormous strength of character.Most human beings are not saints and do not have these attributes.I feel pity for the people who have to live with and care for them.Their suffering is also intense and it seems to me there is little recognition or understanding for their ongoing sacrifice.

  11. Thanks Magaly, you’re right, the tanka-prose form packs a wallop as you right it, time-releasing many depths … BPD sounds like the manic-depressive disorder where only extremes matter: godlike heights or despairing depths. The healthy middle of toxic, obnoxiously grey. I remember a pyschologist saying one that the problem with schizophrenia (where the extremes have absolute control over their victims) is that sufferers say, yeah, I could take that blue pill, bring me back from the roaring sea of voices, but I like the voices, that’s home. Alcoholics love their disease too much, to the exclusion eventually of their own lives. Demons are sacred when there’s a middle to succor them, but out on the wastes of the extremes its holy war and annihilation.

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