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I fear that I am truly, certifiably, totally bat-shit crazy

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Saranoya

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Joined
Jul 12, 2012
Messages
152
So I'm a boderliner, right? At least, that's what I think. Nobody with a medical license has ever really called me that, except for one psychiatrist. But she called everybody who ever set foot in her office a borderliner. It was like she'd found a particularly effective hammer (DBT), so everything looked like a nail (person with BPD).

Anyway. There's no other label that seems to fit me better, and it helps me frame some of my crazier behaviors. Like the fact that I am totally terrified about going over someone else's boundaries without really noticing, because I want to be closer but I don't know how, while at the same time sending people all kinds of crazy signals that scream: get away from me!

Case in point: this e-mail below, which I sent to my piano teacher yesterday (buckle in, it's quite a read):

Stopping piano lessons -- this time for real said:
Hi,

When you saw the subject line of this e-mail, you may have thought: sigh, here we go again. I know. Every year, I decide more than once that it's time to quit piano. A day, a week, or at worst two weeks later, I tend to have changed my mind. And I shouldn't bother other people with something that I know will disappear on its own, as long as I have patience. Only: it's not disappearing; not this time.

In June, I explained to you what I value in piano lessons: the fact that they enable me to reach concrete goals on a regular basis, about which I can eventually say with some pride: nice, I did it! But since then, that's never been true. Since then, I've been stumbling my way through a Mozart Sonata, which I know I will only ever be able to conquer by way of brute force and an overdose of stubbornness, and which, even then, I will probably not be able to play confidently in front of an audience (cf. Chopin). And that Händel piece, which could have been a piece of cake for me (especially since I remember an often-played record of the strings version from my youth) turned out, in reality, to be more of a demonstration of how *not* to study a new piece.

For the latter, there is only one honest explanation: I don't play the piano enough. For two years, I played for at least an hour each day (often longer) without even thinking about it. Just by getting up earlier. Even when I had no piano at home, I was willing to run across half the city to go practice in public places, and even string along piano shop owners if need be, as long as I could play. In hindsight, the results weren't all that stellar even then, but they were definitely a lot better than what I have to show for the past six months. Now, I'm at a point where even when I manage to drag myself out of bed at a decent hour, I have to strain to keep my head in it for longer than ten minutes. The motivation is gone. It's been gone since September, and I no longer truly have faith that it will come back any time soon.

Despite that, I've kept coming to lessons, mainly because I like to have a nice chat with you once in a while. But nice chats aren't what piano lessons are for; especially not when they involve things that no thinking adult would ever want to discuss over the water cooler, but which I apparently want to share with you. And which you, understandably, don't always know what to do with.

I've often said that I am grateful to you. Not long ago, I even managed to put into words many of the reasons I keep repeating that. The above explanation doesn't take away from that gratefulness. I've simply come to the conclusion that playing the piano, contrary to what I said in June, is not a positive force in my life right now. If I do it, it's no longer because I can't *not* do it, but rather because "duty calls"; and playing the piano is an obligation that often gets shifted into the background, because other things are taking up the spotlight. The consequences for the progress I make, and for my confidence, are quite predictable.

So I say goodbye to you with much regret, but secure in the knowledge that after this decision, mental energy will be freed up for some of the things that I truly *have* to do. Top of the list: to get that defective brain of mine fixed [I'm having brain surgery very soon].

So once more, and then not again: thank you for everything, and then some. I suspect you won't be reading this until a while after you've moved, so I won't say: good luck in the final stretch, but rather: enjoy the new place!

Love,
Sara

P.S.: Reason number 21 for my gratefulness, which didn't really fit among the earlier ones, and is probably wholly inappropriate even now, but I'm going to risk it anyway: thank you, because you are great mom to two undoubtedly great kids, one of whom would never have had a good home without people like you.

If you think I'm saying that because of my own bumpy youth: I'm not. I have a daughter. Nel is the name I gave her, but I doubt she's still using it. She turned twelve not long ago. I've been suspecting for a few weeks now (but I am not 100% sure) that she celebrated that birthday on exactly the same day as [your oldest daughter]. And I can only hope that Nel, or whatever her name is, landed in a nest half as warm as the one you provide for [your youngest, adopted child] and her big sister.

Advantage to the fact that you won't be seeing me again (other than your having to fill out one less report card, now): you don't need to come up with a response to this. Should you be tempted to try anyway: please, don't. You know this, now. I'll never speak of it again. Nel is one of my secrets; maybe the biggest of them all. Just know that I think it's fantastic, what you guys are doing. And understand why.
Fast-forward 24 hours, and I am already having second thoughts. But with a bomb like that at the end, there's no recovering from this, right?

How fucked-up do I need to be to send something like that?

Help!
 
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Polar Bear

Guest
It's probably an email you will later regret and cringe at the thought of but you must accept yourself for what you are. Good and bad. There's nothing wrong with being too emotional or too open as you have been but it's better you get to work on your issues and these sorts of behaviours as they are only going to make your life chaotic and difficult and rob you of peace of mind. Never be ashamed of who you are is what I'm saying but you owe it to yourself to fix these social difficulties you have. It sounds like transference/attachment possibly but I'm sure you know that. It's probably better that you cut ties with this tutor now although I don't know much about these issues.

Try not to worry. I'm sure the tutor will only have sympathy for you or kind thoughts.

Kelly x
 
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notrealname

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May 4, 2009
Messages
766
I don't think you need to cringe at all, you have nothing to be ashamed of. I thought it was a very nice letter that is very well-written. Had I received it I would be very flattered.

Yes, it might look a bit odd for you to change your mind on piano lessons now, but there are other tutors :)

You have nothing to be ashamed of, and nothing embarrassing has occurred. I found you open and pleasant, and a very articulate writer. Nothing crazy here that I can see.
 
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Saranoya

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Jul 12, 2012
Messages
152
You have nothing to be ashamed of, and nothing embarrassing has occurred. I found you open and pleasant, and a very articulate writer. Nothing crazy here that I can see.
Well, I did just tell her my biggest secret out of nowhere ... something must be going on with me, if I'd do that at the end of a "goodbye" e-mail. But thank you for putting the worst of my fears at ease!
 
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notrealname

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Well, I did just tell her my biggest secret out of nowhere ... something must be going on with me, if I'd do that at the end of a "goodbye" e-mail. But thank you for putting the worst of my fears at ease!
I don't think there's something wrong with you at all. I think you really needed to tell someone and it must be very lonely to have a secret like that. I think that shaming yourself for having these feelings is what is causing the behaviour you think is crazy. But I would not think you were a crazy person if you sent me that. I would be sad that you were feeling sad and especially sad that you felt embarrassed about it, and I would be very hopeful that you would feel better soon.

Sometimes we think we're crazy because we're comparing ourselves to other people who have had completely different experiences to us.

Have you seen that film Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? (if not, watch it, it's great!)

The lead character in that is one of my favourite characters, and everybody I've known to watch it has loved her. But that character probably has a pretty severe personality disorder - most likely borderline. No one thinks she's weird or crazy because in the film you see the context, you see her history, you see her being raped by every man she ever meets since childhood and you totally, utterly understand. If what had happened to that character happened to me, I'd feel just the same; her behaviour is 100% rational, and everybody agrees because they know the context.

Don't compare yourself with people who have not been through what you've been through. Your experiences are unique and have affected you the same way as they would affect anybody. Maybe there's nothing wrong with you except that you think you're crazy, and that you're ashamed? Maybe the feelings you have are completely normal when you think about what experiences you have had to endure? What do you think life might be like if you accepted yourself?
 
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Saranoya

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What do you think life might be like if you accepted yourself?
Now *that's* a crazy thought, right there :).

No it's not. I think I'm doing pretty well accepting myself the way I am. It's just, with this particular person, I am always hyper-afraid of crossing some kind of inappropriate line. I don't know why, exactly. Perhaps because her world is so different from mine. A world in which parents are there to care for and protect their children -- so much so that they'd be willing to love someone else's child as if it were their own. A world where married people respect each other, and forty-somethings call their mothers every day, and (this is a literal quote here) "there is a solution to every problem".

I don't really *want* to pull her into my personal drama. But somehow, I always end up doing exactly that. Ergo, I am crazy. No?
 
Mayfair

Mayfair

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I don't think you're crazy at all based on that letter.

I agree with much of what notrealname said.

The acceptance thing, is a big question - and a very big issue. It's also most certainly not like a switch - it's a long process, which includes learning boundaries etc. Almost like being an infant again in respect to learning boundaries.

I've found that as I've got older, I've cared less about what people think about me, hence I've opened up more. The reason why it isn't a simple switch is because from the 'outsider' point of view, they think I'm getting madder with time. IN fact, I don't think I am, I have evidence of this, because from 11 I wrote diaries, and when I re-read them, I found lots of personal feelings and anxieties and similarities to me now, even at that age. I'm not different now in most respects, other than physically being older of course.
 
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Saranoya

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Jul 12, 2012
Messages
152
Ugh.

I appreciate all the kind words putting my mind at ease, but still: does anyone here know of a way to "un-send" an e-mail, short of breaking into the other person's account and deleting it?

I don't think that exists, but ... ugh.
 
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Polar Bear

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I wish I could take back some of the things I've written. At least you will not be impulsive next time. Chalk it up to experience.

There really is nothing horrendously bad about the letter though. It does sorta cross a boundary and is a bit over familiar but as you said, this person does chat with you/listen to you anyway so obviously does not mind you being so honest.

You can't undo what is done. None of us can. But you did nothing wrong at the end of the day.
 
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