I’m grabbing some introvert time while I can. 

The Americans call this interruption to the usual routine a vacation. The French call it le vacance. The Brits call it a holiday. SummerSHINES calls it “fucking beautiful”.

I am enjoying myself so thoroughly so far that I feel like crying. That sounds like an odd paradox doesn’t it, but emotional BPD me often gets two simultaneously intense feelings occur which directly oppose each other.

When I am happy, I am not just a little bit happy. I am on top of the world and a little bit higher happy. My happiness is all encompassing, as is my sadness, my fear, my anger, my frustration, my irritation, my regret, my guilt, my shame, my dissapointment, my surprise, my pain and my sorrow.

Happiness is a double edged sword. Happiness in essence is the temporary alleviation and relief from suffering. Happiness is pleasure that is unsullied by the grimy discolouring taint of negative feeling. Happiness is fullness, satisfaction, and an overflowing fountain of joyous appreciation for all that life has to offer.

Happiness, summerSHINES style, is felt with every fibre of my being. Happiness is a feeling of being taken over by an entirely different personality or persona. 

The sad thing is, most people, when they think of their natural state of being believe that happiness is their natural state and unhappiness is an unwanted intrusion that shrouds the real them in a sticky shit-like substance. By contrast I feel like my natural state of being is to suffer and experience pain and anxious discomfort, so therefore happiness involves a removal of my very essence. 

Happiness turns my world upside down, rather than returning me to my equilibrium. Discomfort is typical and happiness is a typical.

…So happiness makes me tearful. Happiness is an upheaval. Happiness is a disruption and explosion of my usual status quo that I’ve accommodated to from bitter life experience- hence the mixed emotions it creates when I feel this weird thing called “happy”.

As I explained, I never just feel a bit happy.  I never have a “slightly good day”. Remember I have a lifelong disorder of emotional dysregulation. In non psychology speak, I helter skelter in mood chaotically and extremely, just as someone with Bipolar disorder would, but my particular swings switch from one extreme to the other instantly, rapidly and almost constantly. I cycle more impressively than the most impressive unicyclist in a travelling circus. Tipping forwards, backwards, sideways and back right around again.

BPD is a disorder of imbalance. I am the cream, the jelly, the fruit, AND the sherry in the trifle all at one time! and there is no separation of the different layers. I am all me, all mixed up- tart, sweet, sour and sometimes salty.

But right now. I am misunderstood happy. I am totally happy and it feels like a forever kind of happiness. 

I will always be here, in Toulouse, avec ma famille. Won’t I? The sun will always shine. Won’t it? I will always feel warm and not requiring any shelter. Won’t I? I will never go home, will I? If I stay here will I be happy forever? Please let the answers to all these questions be a big fat YES. Please.

Happiness may not be my typical scent, but it suits me. Just like in Manchester airport yesterday when I spritzed onto my skin an unusual scent that I don’t normally wear, on this holiday I am spraying myself with good feelings and good vibrations. It smells good.

I love my children. They are thoroughly lovely children. I am proud of them and who they are becoming a little more everyday as they mature. My husband too. I am blessed. They love me and I love them. I need them and they need me. I hug them and breathe in their beautifulness. They hug me back even tighter and we don’t let go because we know me being in this world is difficult. 

My girls know mummy wanted to die. I said it on TV only last week. My girls also know mummy stayed because she couldn’t bear to be without them because she loves them more than anything. Does knowing your mum had suicidal thoughts and once tried to die make them appreciate me more? I don’t know. What I do know is love is strong-stronger than pain. Stronger than suffering. Strong enough to perform miracles. Strong enough to transform whatever life throws at you. Whatever trauma you’ve had in life, we can be loved better. It does happen. Love makes trauma healing bearable. Love alchemises hate and undoes damage….albeit very very slowly.

I need to be loved lots, and I have lots to love to give back. At the end of the day, giving and receiving love is what we call living. Except this life lesson is only learned if you are fortunate enough to have loving parents. Without learning how to love from our parents when we are young, it can take a long time into adulthood before the ‘never loved’ ones fully catch up with the ‘always loved’.

I am catching up. I’m 35 now. I’m learning to love and best loved. My husband is the first person ever to love me. Through his love I learned to love my children and accept their love.

In therapy I learned what it feels like to have someone care for your wellbeing, and want to behave in healthy non-abusive ways to demonstrate their sincere care for you.

This week’s holiday is a chance for me to love and be loved; to feel the sunshine warm my skin and warm up my heart. I want my muscles to untighten and my bones to rest. I want my skin to gently tan as evidence of the restorative work the sunshine has done to boost me this week.

I want to be happy, and for feeling happy to turn into something less strange than I currently experience happiness to be.

I want happy to be my normal. I want love to feel normal. I want to feel happy to be alive and suicidal ideation to shrink away like an unwanted buzzing wasp in the midday heat that is after my ice cold drink.

This is what I want. I want to be happy, without wanting to cry about it. If that transition happens gradually throughout this week, I’ll know this holiday has been the tonic I need.



9 thoughts on “HAPPY TONIC

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