What It's Like to Miss Your Favorite Person While in Quarantine
While it’s important to hold a safe and judgment-free space for people to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve loved hearing the optimistic reframe that we are safe at home instead of stuck at home. I struggle with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and borderline personality disorder (BPD). Lately, I’ve felt like I’m playing a single player volleyball match with my mental health. It’s exhausting and I imagine on some level you’re playing a similar match. In my emotionally exhausted state, I’ve been searching the web for a BPD article to normalize my thoughts and feelings. Specifically, an open window into a person with BPD struggling with not seeing their favorite person (FP) while being quarantined.
Instead of continuing to wait, I decided to open the window myself.
For those of you who don’t know, BPD stands for borderline personality disorder. Some people who live with BPD have an FP, or a favorite person. An FP is someone we rely very heavily on for emotional support and balance, we tend to idolize them like no one’s business and we fear them abandoning us in ways words can’t express. If you’ve never heard of any of this before, thank you so much for taking the time to read this. It means so much to us.
I struggle with BPD and I have an FP. She and I have worked together to create mutually healthy boundaries. I am honest and open with her, and often I say our relationship is as healthy as an unhealthy relationship can possibly be. Being quarantined has been challenging because I haven’t gotten that hug that always seems to make things better, let alone seen her in person, for weeks. FP withdrawals are a real thing, and it’s not pretty. I have constant thoughts, fears and questions flying around in my head all the time. Will she leave? Is she OK? Will she decide life was better without me in it? Will she get sick? Am I too much? Does she think I’m selfish? Is she still OK? Does she think I’m dramatic? Is she OK now? Does she hate me? Should I just die?
Even as I hear the thoughts, fears and questions circle round and round, sometimes I can still function. Sometimes I can get out of bed and eat breakfast and wash my face without letting it all overwhelm me. Sometimes I can stand on the knowledge that these are only thoughts, not facts, lies not truths, and smoke bombs not reality. Sometimes I can be understanding and gentle with myself when I need to text her. Sometimes I can hold onto past conversations I’ve had with her enough to not act on new fears. But sometimes I can’t. Sometimes I find myself curled up into a ball on the kitchen floor sobbing and praying. Sometimes I fall into past temptations. Sometimes I spiral in self-hate. Sometimes I stay in bed all day.
I was talking on the phone with a friend of mine yesterday and she told me, “Helena, you are doing a great job. I know you are struggling and I don’t know the depth of it, but you’re still here and you’re doing a great job.” I needed to hear that right when I did.
So, whoever you are, whatever your story is, and whatever your day brings — you are right where you are. Perhaps you’re enjoying a good book and a steaming cup of tea, or knitting with your kitten purring on your lap, or perhaps everything is slipping out of your hands, you don’t know what’s up from down, you’re scared and you don’t know what to do.
If you’re struggling without your favorite person, know that you are still here and the world needs you to stay that way. If you are not OK and don’t have the strength to change your situation, know it’s OK not to be OK. You can rely on time to change the situation — but you’ve got to give time time. If you can’t give time time, please reach out for help. Each painful minute is a stair step away from the last, not a reflection of the next. You’re not “stupid,” bad or failing. You’re doing your best and you’re doing a great job. Your best is enough, you are enough, and you are going to be OK.
May you know the night will end and the sun will once again shine so brightly — give it time. Hang in there and give it time.
Struggling with your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic? These articles might help:
Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash