Soft Music

 

When confusion rules my mind,

I let soft music in to filter through the mist.

I can sense your gentle touch as it brings me down again

where the air is pure  and the warm sun always shines.

I then remember that those things that rule my mind

can be replaced by this love that rules my heart.

 

When I cannot love myself,

 I will remember how to love you.

When there is no one else to love,

I will always be able to love you.

When there is nothing left to say,

I will still be able to listen to you,  

knowing you will remind me

 that I have the power

to stop all the madness

and relax into the warm embrace

of your loving arms.

I can then say, “I love you”,

and wait with eager anticipation

for the echo that stills my mind,

and delights my heart.

 

This is my commitment to you, to me, to us,

to love you every minute  of every day,

to let minutes  blend

into a string  of unending days

to love,

to grow,

to savor,

and enjoy.

 

 

Dialogue with my friend Who Has PTSD 

PTSD: I do not have someone who loves me as a partner/lover/whatever or is intimate with me in my daily life.  I never have had someone in whose eyes I could look as this poem describes that allows my own beingness to be so accepted and honoured that such a harmony of song would erupt in this way. 

 My BPD response: Being saddled with BPD I had such a great need to be loved that even if it was not there, I pretended it was. This makes it very difficult to know if it was true or not. Perhaps JUST HOPING AND IMAGINING IT TO BE TRUE MADE IT SO. There is such a power in the human mind to create through the powers of our creative imagination. In essence we create just by our thought processes. It is so important to fill our lives with good thoughts even when life deals us a challenging hand. We have to try to see something good in it even if it is just our ability to endure and grow through the negative experience. That takes a lot of courage. Sometimes we just need a friend. It does not have to be sexual or even intimate. We just need someone, woman or man, who has similar experiences so we can share with each other.

 PRSD: Childhood or teen sexual abuse is still highly correlated with BPD.

 BPD: Actually, the literature indicates that sexual abuse by itself is more closely related to trauma and PTSD especially the condition of ongoing abuse known as Complex PTSD. BPD may exist in comorbidity with PTSD but it tends to be based more on a combination of genetic predisposition combined with confusion during early childhood due to neglect and indifferent parenting. In the Case of PTSD, it is usually incident (abuse) based and the therapy in dealing with the trauma is often much more effective than trying to deal with BPD.

  PTSD:  I also had no sense at all of being able to see myself as a loved or lovable human being,

 BPD: Yes, me too. Definitely BPD symptom but PTSD as well.

  PTSD: …so positive affirmations felt like I was simply being good girl all over again (such as in DBT and other therapies.) 

 BPD: According to the literature, this kind of therapy is effective but I personally do not think it is because of the changes in thinking patterns. I believe it works because the patient feels something, a kind of connection with the therapist that helps them see themselves as a valuable human being and that someone else genuinely cares for them and wants the best for them. 

 PTSD: A program that I am trying out that seems to touch on the things that eventually helped me stop having BPD is from Alex Howard, called “Resetting a maladaptive stress response.”

 BPD: If that is what I think it is, it will probably be a good one. However, I think that a new stress response has to be linked to a feeling response rather than a cognitive plan of some kind. We have to be able to embrace the negative feeling and respond with a positive feeling that takes us out of hopelessness and self-hate and sets us on a path to caring for ourselves and seeing the good that can come out of a situation. If we have PTSD we have to bring understanding and acceptance of what has happened and this kind of therapy is usually effective. If we have BPD it is part of our implicit memories and basic mind states. We never stop having it – we just learn to live with it and eventually, if we are diligent and consistent, we can actually begin to thrive with it. This means that we have to consciously transform the negative thoughts, feelings and energies into positive ones of gratitude, love for ourselves, and love for life. We can then experience true joy one thought at a time, one day at a time.

 PTSD: In fact, the most powerful ways of feeling this alive and acceptable and beautiful have been when I am most alone, feeling most abandoned and not “enough like” other humans.  Those are the times when my belief in a power beyond human understanding has not only grown, but has many times kept me from suicide or complete psychotic lostness.

 BPD: YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS. Comparing ourselves to others leads to feeling “not enough alike”. One has to remember that they are quite likely showing their best take on life and hiding their true feelings. True love and beauty begins with loving ourselves and singing when there is nothing to sing about or anyone to sing to. 

 PTSD: But glimpses of that fusion of souls happens for me on a regular basis, especially when I am with others who do not see the world the way I do, such as intellectually and developmentally challenged people. 

 BPD: I too find great comfort in being with people with challenges. There is a plain and powerful honesty and energy in them. Some are angry but most are very positive and even joyful. I have a daughter with profound disabilities.  She has now passed on from my life, but all the memories are still precious. Every time I remember her smiling face it lifts me up and minimizes the problems I think I have. It is so good to know that there can be joy somewhere in this twisted world even if there is no reason for it. She has inspired me to enjoy life because in spite of all the pain she experiences, she always smiles. She is my morning robin singing just because her heart wants to sing.

 PTSD: I connect in companionship with many, like with you, around our stories and experiences resonating. 

 Me too. I do this because I need to hear other people’s stories. I need to know I am not alone and that the things I feel are also felt by many others. But most of all I need to hear the victories and celebrations. I need feedback. I need to know that this path we are on can lead to not only a happy ending but to fulfilment and a life of meaning and purpose.

  PTSD: I am slowly letting go of believing I need that in order to see myself as finally a full and wonderful person.  

 BPD: Yes, I agree. It is a journey with many side trips but the destination is the same. The ultimate goal is to love ourselves just for who we are. To accept the limitations of our bodies and the struggles of our minds but to rejoice in the beauty and power of our spirits.

 PTSD: The heights of your own experiences of these gifts of love with other humans is helping me to understand that each of us is given what we need in order to become more and more who we are, however different or seemingly bereft those teachings and nurturers may be. 

 BPD: When we try to express our deepest feelings and show how the darkest ones can lead to the brightest tones, and even when those thoughts and feelings are true to us, they can never really be shared with someone else in the same intense way. Sometimes the negative ones come close and we may find someone to empathize and share because we strike a familiar cord that leads to a familiar feeling, but when we try to share the joyous transformation sometimes it may appear to be bereft and shallow. Sometimes we have to let go and let ourselves enjoy the other person’s feelings just for the joy of experiencing precious time with them without letting the thoughts go to our own problems. 

 PTSD: Envy and jealousy were not something my ego had allowed herself, given that she deserved nothing.  So I am now feeling quite happy to have felt envy and jealousy of people with such success or love, etc.,  these last couple years because it means I can experience one more “normal” way that humans seek and move through maturation and individuation;  and then move on to let go of what I think I need and allow what is given me with more and more trust that I am part of some flow of energies that is all about creating love and awakening from so many, many different directions and levels.

 BPD: Awesome. You said it so very well. I rejoice with you for reaching such an amazing conclusion in spite of the sorrows you have experienced, most of them inflicted on you and not your own fault. 

 PTSD: I have found parts of the puzzle of having to mostly consciously “grow up” from a distorted and damaged non-person into more and more a human Be-ing who can love herself and our human craziness/evil tendencies.  To try to be more than the evolved survival animals that we are is to me the true meaning of why humans can love and act beyond self-survival.

 BPD: Life is a puzzle at times. Then, almost like magic, we wake up one morning and it all comes together.

 PTSD: Thank you also for your efforts to help others find their pathway into accepting themselves as part of this messed up  creature no one really can understand, but which somehow opens up into something miraculous when we walk through those doors into the beyond.

 BPD: The key is to leave the shadows behind and keep walking towards the light. Truly wishing you the best. May you be given the desires of your heart. 

 

Please Note: If you wish to engage in this kind of dialogue you can contact me at

lawrencejwcooper@gmail.com  No charge, no therapy. Just one soul talking to another. ​

Lawrence J.W. Cooper

Poet Laureate, Comox Valley