Open a Book


I grabbed the book and looked away. Then I opened a random page and touched my index finger to the paper. The phrase closest to my fingertip was “… are both enormously vulnerable.” An image popped into my mind and my shoulders slumped. “Oh no.”

At a certain point during my recovery journey, I shared a home with a friend of a friend for a few months. In between screaming meltdowns over say, my having one guest in a month, or threatening to call the police and tell them I was trespassing, there were moments of sudden sweetness. “Shall I make you some tea?” she once asked, seconds after a shocking threat.

Clearly this was behavior our mutual friend had never experienced. “Rowan” had told me about her own extreme childhood during our very brief honeymoon. It seemed to me that we were both enormously vulnerable. Except that while my childhood had contributed to my unusual physical illness, hers had left her with possibly, Borderline Personality Disorder.

I began to reconsider my experience with my mother. If Rowan was mentally ill, then that had to have been the case with my mother too. Borderline Personality is apparently difficult to diagnose and difficult to treat. Some therapists don’t recognise that their patients have it and treat them for something else; some therapists choose not to treat Borderlines. The more I read about it, the more I was convinced that BPD is in many ways, the mental equivalent of CFS.

Some months after getting away from Rowan, I was listening to a podcast interview of Judith Orloff, M.D., when I got chills. Dr. Orloff had created a number of emotional personality types and her definition of “empath” fit me well. She went on to explain that if you’re an empath and you get into an intimate relationship with a Borderline, “You will get sick.”

Gasp. What happens if that relationship is with a parent … ?

RELEVANT REALITYNIBS LINKS: Truth, Lies, War Patterns and Death, Am I Crazy? and, A Word About Trauma, Chronic Fatigue & Fibromyalgia.

WEGO PROMPT FOR THIS POST: Choose a book and open it to a random page and point to a phrase. Use that phrase to get you writing today. Free write for 15-20 without stopping.

This is post 18 of 30 in the series for WEGO Health’s Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge 2012

3 thoughts on “Open a Book

  1. I’ve just edited this post – after publication – which makes it officially the most difficult one I have written for the blog challenge. I’d almost forgotten about this experience and writing this, perhaps inevitably, brought some of my anger back. While my anger is justified, I don’t want to write this particular post from anger as I also feel compassion for the people involved. Sigh…

  2. It was interesting the way Nevada sort of got rid of the comapicltion of Paul’s (over?)protectiveness by sending him off on the body recovery during the final scenes of Borderline. I would not have her deny Anna the comfort of his presence, but too much comfort makes women weak (as it does men) and Anna, I believe, is loved best for her strengths; not the least of which is her ability to recognize and overcome, or work around, her flaws.

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