Gymnasts can’t do those amazing things they do on the bars without chalk on their hands. Their hands will slip. They will lose their grip. They may even fall to the ground and do themselves an injury. Gymnasts are not weak people for needing chalky hands. They are just sensible, trying to avoid doing themselves an injury.
People like me, with BPD, or perhaps just me, writing as a person with Borderline Personality Disorder, (I can’t speak for all of you) are frightfully bad at retaining our emotional grip on the bars of life.
Our grip can be lost before we’ve even realised, and before we know it, we are falling, plummeting, sinking, drowning. Our emotions are encroaching, exploding, peaking- we find ourselves weeping. Our sanity, we are not managing to be keeping.
[Sorry, couldn’t help but rhyme there!]
That is what happened yesterday. I was working the bars (living) with no chalk on my hands and no emotional grip. I hate posts like I published last night…angry negative ones. My blog has absolutely changed as my depressed mood has become more and more entrenched and stuck fast. The content is vastly different to what I was writing.
But I have to write as I see things at that precise second, otherwise what is the point of mental health blogging? If you don’t write and share when you’re feeling crap, you’re not being authentic about how crap chronic mental ill health can be.
I can’t be honest about mental health and my life, if I filter out the bad bits.
The bad bits are what mental ill health is!
I write about my symptoms, but not in a textbook way; I write instead in a ‘this is true for me and it is happening right now’ way. That is why I love the immediacy of blogging.
I don’t pre-write posts to be shared at some later date. I write every post in one go and publish immediately, because if I don’t I’ll lose my immediacy and rawness and reality. If I get interrupted and cannot finish a post in one sitting I get frustrated. That moment I was trying to capture has been lost, just like a landscape painter has to capture a scene despite the clouds, objects and colours shifting and evolving before their eyes but then it starts raining and your painting is ruined.
My emotions evolve continually. There are few times when my emotions just pause and I stop emoting. I am always emoting, just like in Manchester it is notoriously always raining.
In my emotional world it is constantly raining. Maybe that is what causes the chalk to wash free from my hands.
Maybe that is why I fail to keep my grip.
If the chalk is always being washed away by the rain, then what hope do I have of holding onto what or who I want to hold onto?
Therapy is supposed to make my hands chalkier. It is meant to make me more emotionally robust and resilient. I have gone backwards in that regard. My hands have just got wetter and it has rained and continued to rain more and more emotionally heavily.
I may as well just bloody move to Manchester the way my life is going lately!
The chalk concept is on my mind because I was painting furniture for my mother-in-law this morning. It was chalky furniture paint in pastel colours. There is nothing pastel about me, nor chalky, but what I was thinking about was how that chalk paint is a water-based paint. It contains BOTH dusty chalk, and the soppy moisture of H2O. How on earth do they sit together?…. the water which is watery? and the chalk which is chalky? and how does this metaphor fit with my musings on mood and BPD?
Well, I guess without the water, chalk paint wouldn’t stick to anything. It would just be akin to brushing pastal dust over your furniture. It absolutely needs the water to bind the solution together. And without chalk, the watery paint would be sloppy and slippery and wouldn’t give any coloured coverage. Both by themselves would be useful. So you therefore need both water and chalk to create an effective furniture painting solution.
You need enough chalk (grounding) to keep your grip, and you need enough water (emotion) to make sure you create the effect you want.
Emotion is energy in motion.
Water moves things.
Tides of water shift according to the gravitational pull of the moon.
Emotion moves me. Emotion helps me create changes that I wish to see in the world. Emotion generates momentum, transformation, and allows a challenging of the status quo.
Chalk grounds me. Without chalk (grounding) I am just emotion. I am just movement, and I am not always moving in the directions I want to go. I need to keep my grip.
Yesterday I lost it.
Today I am finding it.
I am here quietly, mixing my chalk (grounding) and my water (emotion) into better life paint. One that allows me to make pretty pictures instead of the ugly ones I painted yesterday.
I need to be watery and chalky. My problems arise when the chalk dissolves away and all I’m left with is water.
Water needs chalk. Without it, it is just water, and you get wet.
Yesterday I got drenched.
Thankfully today I am drier.
Metaphor exhausted. That’s me. Done.