I sat on the edge of the sterile, paper-lined examining table, laughing at my husband’s silly jokes, my mind racing like a team of runaway horses. My husband accuses me of never being able to sit still for five minutes without jumping up and doing something.
A brief knock at the door and the doctor walks in, shaking his head and rolling his eyes playfully. Laughing nervously, I said, “Yeah, I know. Just cut off my head and be done with it!”
He sits in the chair across the room, crosses his long, skinny legs, and patiently begins his interrogation. I look at my husband for comfort, wishing we were at the beach or the Bahamas; anyplace but here.
Finally, satisfied that I had answered all his perplexing questions accurately, he has a diagnosis: Borderline Personality Disorder.
Great! Not only do I feel crazy, I am crazy!
Suddenly, it all started making sense, though, why my brothers called me Sybil, why the rollercoaster of high’s and low’s, the crying spells, the anger, and rage, the gnawing, gut-wrenching feeling that something is wrong with me. No normal person flies into a rage over a squeaky chair or broken vase. And certainly, no normal person feels like a terrorist lives inside them, setting off bombs and blowing up their insides and sense of reality their entire life.
No wonder I was more wildcat than my mother could handle. We were like two live wires striking against each other, creating more sparks than either of us could handle. She didn’t understand me and I didn’t understand her, yet, we were both the same.
So, I’m sitting there thinking, now what. Am I stuck like this? Do I just live out the rest of my days feeling guilty because of who I am, hating myself because no matter how hard I try, I can’t get my act together? Give me a break, I’m old. I’m running out of time!
Other than gaining an ounce of wisdom and a sliver of understanding, I’m no better off now than I was before sitting in the doctor’s office. I’ll take the medicine like he prescribed and just keep doing the best I can. Since I can’t tame the beast within, I’ll keep avoiding people, places, and things that make it roar the loudest. I’ll try to stop cleaning my house all night long and pushing myself to the nth degree in everything I do. I’ll try giving myself permission to screw up and work on forgiving the stupid things I do and say.
But, do you have an inkling how hard that is? People with mental disorders feel they have to be punished; purged from their abominable sins to be allowed back into the human race. They have to work twice as hard to receive half the benefit of “normal” people. We have to hide who we really are, don’t dare show the world our ugly side. Keep it stuffed way down deep and never, ever let that stinking sewage rise to the surface and erupt. Do you see the dilemma? Do you feel the pain and desperation of just wanting to be okay?
Pretending became a way of life for me, and how I hate pretending! It goes against the grain of who I really am. So many times I wished I could go shopping for a new brain that functioned with love and peace and joy, was more positive and happy and full of fresh ideas and creations. A brand-new brain without a junkyard dog tied to it.
I realize that no one is perfect. No one is “normal”. We live in a fallen world of brokenness, none of us escapes the trials and tears and long, lonely nights. We all have our own battles to fight. We all want to win.
So, I sit here today, feeling anxious as usual, worrying about this and that and hoping the medicine will kick in before I die. But, I am thankful for my life, the things I’ve gone through and the wisdom I’ve gained in the process. I’m thankful that God chose me to live this life with its many challenges so that I can better understand others going through similar circumstances. I’m thankful that I don’t have to be “normal” for God to love me and use me for His purpose. I’m thankful that I have sense enough to know that only God can put me back together again. All I have to do is trust Him.