One of the most distressing feelings I have with BPD is a feeling of paranoia and ‘possessiveness’ when it comes to friendships. I haven’t always had it. It seems to be when I’m under more stress, or my mental health is worse like it is now. If I hardly hear from a friend anymore, and I see evidence of them having fun with someone else, seemingly happier without me, I feel a pang of something… it’s not jealousy… it’s not even possessiveness as such. It’s more a kick to my self-esteem. It just starts me attacking myself.
I have no issue with friends of mine having other friends. Yes, perhaps I’m a little envious of them having other friends, when I don’t. I only had the one in the end. And of course it kicks in the loss of all the friends I did have before 2012 happened. But it’s not a problem.
The problem is I automatically go to ‘I’ve been replaced’. ‘That person is their new best friend’. ‘They’re happier without me’. They look it. They sound it. They have more in common now with the new person – I’m single, childless, depressed and suicidal. Why would anyone choose me as a friend? I feel I’m being ditched. This could be because of my mental illness, telling me this is the case. It could be because life has changed, and I used to see my friend once or twice a week, when our lives had more in common, and this year I’ve seen her seven times in nine months… twice in January, twice in February, once in March, twice in June…. with two lots of three months in between where I don’t even hear from her… maybe that paired with my mental illness makes me arrive at this point, of feeling it’s over. I’ve been replaced by someone better.
I know it might not be that I’m being replaced… she might just have several friends. But the reason it feels that way is because she sees other people, seems happier and more like her old self, she doesn’t see me, give me the care and understanding I need… and all of that mixed in with the paranoia and depression, and the state of my mental health right now, it tells me … that she’s better off without me. That if she’s friends with me anymore it’s purely out of pity or just because we’ve been friends a long time.
I feel us drifting apart, and nobody can understand what that does to someone with BPD and a fear of abandonment… to lose your rock. To see it happening gradually over time. It’s mental torture. In some ways it’s worse than a sudden abandonment. Believe me, I wish I could be one of those laid-back friends, who you don’t see for ages, but you don’t stress about it, you never doubt the friendship and you pick up where you left off. Perhaps in the past I could have done that. In fact I think I have. But so much has changed in a year or so. There’s so much I had to go through alone. So much that happened that I wanted to share with someone, and I have nobody to share it with. To ask what I’ve been up to since the last time we spoke or met… that’s three months… you’d need three days to hear the answer. I feel so disconnected… detached… and it’s nothing personal. I feel that way to everyone and everything. I feel like I’m a non-existence just floating around a world where everyone else lives. It’s not just about her. But it feels worse towards her, because I felt so close to her. It’s like it would feel if I felt disconnected from my family…. thankfully I’m not. They’re the only stable thing I have left, and they’re always there. But to have someone who felt like family drift away over time – yes, maybe because of circumstances beyond their control – but to have so much distance during a mental health crisis… for so long… that they feel like a stranger to you… it is hard to get your head around that. It’s not just your common ‘friends become strangers’ thing either. I’ve had that happen many times in my life, usually brutally. This is something else. This is ‘It FEELS like we’ve become strangers’ but I don’t just feel disconnected from her… but also from existence. Therefore it is hard to challenge my thoughts, because I’m disconnected from life. It’s like the thought is floating around in my head, and normally that would be fine, because I am grounded. But I feel like the thought is floating around in my head… and I’m floating around in existence. So nothing feels safe. Nothing can ground me and reassure me.
But more than this, if I expressed my feelings about this, I don’t believe I would be reassured. I believe having these sorts of paranoid thoughts about friendships will actually push people away. Like if I’m ‘possessive’ over my friend – or seem that way based on my mental illness and paranoia – it will make me a less desirable friend. It will make her more likely to replace me with the other one. I also wouldn’t believe it if I was told I’m also her friend. I’d feel it was pity. When I expressed pain at the distance between us before, I heard things that made me feel I’m ‘too much’. That she needed a break from me… time to focus on herself and other things. I respect this. Six months of this year I’ve respected this and kept to myself. Respecting it doesn’t mean I’m not hurt and won’t sometimes express that hurt. What am I supposed to do? Suffer in silence? I have nobody to talk to about anything.
I know I’m too much. I know people need time away from me. I know my mental illness is draining, and I have nothing good to offer anyone at the moment. I know that all I am is a burden. I know I bring the mood down – why do you think I keep to myself nowadays?? I know my inner turmoil when expressed, makes others feel like shit. I know people would be happier with me dead. Okay. I know that. I know I’m just one more problem that people don’t want to have to deal with. I don’t need reminding of it by people I care about. I’m too much. And I don’t matter to people.
All I’m saying is that I saw this coming. I always knew life would change and I’d lose relevance. But while my friend’s life has moved on, and she has other priorities now, I’m still traumatised and stuck in a time she’s left behind. It’s not her fault. But I wish people could understand this. While their lives have moved on, my life was destroyed in the process and I’m still living in that time. Losing a social life doesn’t exactly help me to move on and find my own happiness, and to evolve with them. So when I say I need my friends, it’s because I have nothing else. And when I feel like I don’t have friends it hurts … because I’m still stuck in 2012, and it’s like losing all my friends all over again. It’s magnifying the fact that I STILL have no friends… I’m STILL stuck here.. and everyone else is merrily moving along with their lives, forgetting me, and expecting me to save myself…. alone.
I would have loved to share in everything with my friend. To have found someone for myself, and to have children at the same time as her, so our children could be friends, and I’d be part of the ‘club’, and everything would be happy and jolly and great… it KILLS me that that’s never going to happen. It KILLS me that I’m watching her go through all this, and I’m just a nobody… I have no children. I have no relationship. I know nothing of the world she lives in, and we both know it. I remember with another friend who used to rub it in my face, that I don’t know what it’s like to have XYZ like she had (like a house, partner, pets, job etc) – because of course I have and always have had NOTHING. So I don’t know the stresses of life for people who have it all do I….? So if I get upset about not seeing my friend, or not feeling like she cares, I know that the inner response at least, will be ‘You have no idea what it’s like trying to juggle all the things of an adult life – you live at home, don’t have a partner / children, a job etc.’… exactly. I don’t have any of that. And if you knew what it was like to not have any of that, and to lose all your friends as they move on with all of that, you’d never think something like that again. I actually feel like crying now, I’m that upset by it.
I don’t have the life I wish I did. It hasn’t turned out how I thought it might. It’s paralysing. It’s frustrating. It’s deeply upsetting. I know that people are busy. I know my friend is busy. I know she has a lot to think about. But this year I feel like a burden. I feel she’s reached the point where something had to go… and it was me. Her boring old, whiny, depressed drag of a friend. And if she hadn’t already concluded that herself, then me expressing my feelings about it will have done it for her. That’s what I mean – it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, but one I couldn’t avoid. My BPD and fear of abandonment saw to that.
I honestly believe she should dump me as a friend, and find her happiness again without me. I’ve been such a drag the last few years. She won’t know who I am now. I’m different. All the years she’s known me she’s never seen me as bad as I am now. I’ve had low points, and she’s stuck by me through all of them. But this is something else. This is the lowest point ever… mixed with grief, trauma, isolation, and all the worst parts of BPD coming out in me. That’s something I’ve not had before. The symptoms ripping through my life like they have been and still are. I have had the symptoms before, but never to this extreme. It’s not in my control. And I hate who I am. I would be hurt, but I wouldn’t blame her if she gave up on me. She should. I’m not a good friend to her anymore. In fact right now I’m doubting if I ever was a good friend to her.
I’ve become selfish. I’ve closed down from everyone – I find it hard to talk one-on-one with people anymore… I wouldn’t know how to talk with her. I’m struggling so much with not wanting to live, that it’s hard to think of the feelings of others. People might think me pulling away from them is because I don’t care about them. This isn’t true. I just don’t think they care about me, and it’s protecting me from that. But when they don’t try to pull me back, that tells me I was right, and I never mattered to them. Self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s one of the hardest aspects of this mental illness. The fear of abandonment makes you pull away, and you end up abandoned anyway. And logic would say just to not pull away, but that’s rational logic, in a sound mind. And that’s where we end up feeling so misunderstood. Because people think of us in terms of ordinary thinking / behaving people. So they don’t understand why we say and do the things we do.
It’s exhausting having this illness, trying to stay alive and trying to battle crippling paranoid thoughts… this is the first time in my life I’ve experienced paranoia to this degree, and it’s hard to challenge anything as I feel so detached from reality. And the trouble is that people’s responses matter. If they’re upset by my paranoid thoughts, and respond to me in a short, sharp, defensive way, it won’t help ease the paranoia… it feeds it. That’s been my experience this year. It makes me detach from reality even more. It makes me think they’re mad with me… they’re getting fed up with me… I’m ‘too much’ again… they’ll leave me for sure now… So it’s become this thing lately that it’s better to keep to myself, because anything anyone says is highly likely to make it worse. Even if they’re trying to be helpful I’m hyper-sensitive at the moment, and see everything as a threat… an attack… a veiled abandonment.
It’s like in my mind at the moment, people can’t do anything right. My friend will have a very hard time reaching me now. I will analyse every word said, and every word NOT said. I will say I want to know she cares, and then not believe her when she says she does. I will hear reasons as excuses, because of past experiences with people she knows about. I will not trust in the long-term, as things have improved at times and then reverted back to this, and I’m sick of that rollercoaster. But mainly I just don’t know what to say to her anymore. And it’s not fair on her. It’s not fair that she would have to walk on eggshells. That I don’t trust her or believe in our friendship anymore. It’s not right for her to feel neglected by me. Or criticised by me because of my paranoia. It’s not fair on her to make bits of effort, like I’ve wished for, for so long, and to have those bits of effort rejected, because I can’t communicate anymore… because too much is going on inside me to be able to form words and converse with her. I know how unfair it all is on her. That’s why I know she’ll be better off without me. I don’t want to be the cause of unhappiness for her. I’d rather she was happy with her new friends, and her family and didn’t have to worry about me anymore. Yes it would break my heart, but I live with a permanent broken heart anyway, because I feel like a burden and I feel neglected. No point someone else being dragged down with me.
Inside I feel flooded with devastating emotions and so much pain and distress… but outwardly it’s like I’ve turned to stone, and silence is my preferred response. It’s not about ignoring people. It’s just not having the words. I’ve written blogs, I’ve made videos… I’ve said all the words I possibly could. All were ignored. I’ve lived my life quietly this year, without anyone to confide in. It’s hard to open up again. I don’t feel I want to. I don’t feel I can. I’ve accepted my fate, and that I’m alone and have to do things alone. I don’t know how you can ever let people back in once you’ve reached that point.
I have just reached the point where I have to live each day suffering. I have to take it a minute at a time, and those minutes are filled with paranoia, self-hatred, screaming emotions and suicidal thoughts. But I have to just tolerate every minute, and not beat myself up for feeling how I do. I have to accept that my thoughts may just be paranoia… that in this moment I cannot safely challenge those thoughts… I just have to hold on to the belief that one day my mental health might improve, and I’ll see the truth more clearly, but that right now this is me, and what I think and feel is my reality, even if others think it’s distorted. I have to just bear the pain and the sick feeling I get when thinking about everything, and just breathe. For so long now I’ve been screaming inside to ‘fix things’… to get rid of the horrible feelings, as I feel they’re going to lead to my suicide. But now I have to stop looking at the bigger picture of life, of friendships, of my mental illness, and take it a moment at a time and just survive the little moments. Hopefully recovery will happen in its own time. Hopefully resolution of friendships will occur on their own, either by people going above and beyond, or by walking away. I have to ignore the cries inside about losing people, and focus on not losing myself to this world. I really want to at the moment. Nobody in this world knows how much I want to not exist right now. Everything is too much. And paranoia is scary when you’ve never really experienced it before. I have to wait a month to see my doctor. It’s going to be a long month. I wonder if I’ll hear from CMHT by then or whether they’ve rejected me already. Life is so difficult right now. I’m trapped within myself, and that inner experience is hell.