I had surgery on Wednesday. This means, unfortunately that I can’t move around all that much. I have four small incisions that vary in size on my abdomen so I can’t do anything involving my ab muscles. It hurts to laugh, bend over, to sit down, stand up, and I found out today, it even hurts to cry.
I was scared about the surgery before hand. Scared of the physical aspects of it, of being in the hospital, laying in the OR for what felt like forever waiting to be put under. The part I hadn’t thought about is the adjustment after, and the emotional side of it. My usual routine involves a lot of walking, going to yoga, and while I had been less active before the surgery than I normally would like to be, I move a lot. Both my jobs involve standing all day, or moving around, talking to people, helping people. After my surgery I couldn’t do any of that. My life is a lot of laying down, watching Netflix, spending time still, quiet, and alone. I feel like all my usual coping mechanisms are locked up, and I am forced to spend time with the uninvited guest named mental illness, with no protection, or help. All my normal vices were gone, there are less distractions, more pain, more darkness and it is more challanging than I expected. They have been a dark few days, especially because mentally I didn’t really feel like myself (don’t really) from taking medicine and from the whole recovery process. I am fairly weak still, and am tired, I cry even more easily than I did before, (hahaha if thats even possible right?). and my starting point for my mood (my neutral point) is lower than an average day. I am getting a little better, I can teach now which is a huge saviour, I can walk a little more, bend over…ish, so if I drop my phone it’s not gone forever. I eventually turned to puzzles, colouring, documentaries, and things that occupy my brain, and would walk around a block or two when I got really restless. Even though I am lucky enough that I had friends visit me the day I got out of the hospital, and afterwards, I felt more alone than I had in a long time. (Although, it might be the same feeling of aloneness, with a feeling of helplessness sprinkled on top, and a dollop of isolation to top it off) Some of the people I had been counting on, or hoping that I’d get support from were not there. That stubbornly hopeful part of myself insisted on believing that they would come around show up at my door with flowers and say “here, I know I have been shitty, but I know you must feel cruddy, I’m sorry, I appreciate you, I hope this helps”. I don’t need the flowers, thats just somehow my go-to I guess, but what really matters to me is honesty, and compassion. Honesty, genuine kindness and thoughtfulness thats the stuff that makes a huge impact and makes me feel loved. When someone really puts in effort to listen to me, to visit me for five minutes they have the time for, or even to text me a heart saying they hope I feel better, even one sentence said with genuine love and compassion could bring me to happy tears. Thats the stuff that matters, but I have such a hard time asking for it. I have a hard time asking people for help, asking them to care, or to visit. I tend to be friends with a lot of introverts such as myself, or busy people, which means a lot of the time they genuinely don’t have time to see me. But when things get dark, like they did this week, my brain likes to fill in all the blanks with reasons that they don’t like me, that I’m a burden, selfish, too broken, too weird, not a good friend or a good person. Its like playing a terrible game of madlibs with the darkness, the depression, the insecurities filling in the blanks. Trouble is, I had to depend on people if I dropped something, or needed something, to monitor me after the surgery and I’m still not great at that even though they are easier, logically, to say I deserve those things, that I’m allowed to ask for that help. My birthday is coming up on Saturday, and its the same deal. I like celebrating, I like being taken care of, spending time with friends but for me to actually ask that of people goes against everything I was taught, all those quiet whispers telling me I don’t deserve those things. I hear voices from my past calling me selfish, weak, not deserving or good enough and its so overwhelming that I want to cancel plans altogether. Its easier, almost, to pass over the reins and give the job to someone else. I dont even want anything massive, I just want to spend the day with loved ones. People who make me feel comfortable, happy, proud to be me. People who don’t make me feel small, and undeserving of existing. Somehow though, that sometimes feels like too much to ask.
Don’t get me wrong when I’m in a good place all of this is different. When I’m in a good place, I feel loved, I can stand up for myself to the people who make me feel unsafe and small, I know that I’ll get through rough points, and that there is nothing wrong with being sad. Trouble is its really difficult, when I’m in a dark place to see this. Its one of the hard things with borderline for others to understand too, because when I’m upset my logic part of my brain is off. You can say these things, and while you might be right, emotionally I can’t hear you just yet.
Thanks for reading, this one is a bit scattered, but I hope you get the idea.
2 thoughts on “Coping with BPD post-surgery”
I recommend you read "The Art of Asking" by Amanda Palmer, it has helped me a lot.
I will add it to my list! Thank you 🙂