I have been having these very strange feelings lately and it would be great if I could have some feedback from others about whether they have experienced the same thing; whether it is a Borderline thing, or whether it is just something I am on my own with.
For my new followers, a brief catch up: I have been suffering for Borderline for many years, including several hospitalisations a few years back. I now consider myself, after years of work, to be ‘in recovery’.
A few days ago, James got a message from the sister of one of his friends, telling him that she had been sectioned and was being held in a secure unit in the city. I felt a mix of emotions about this; I don’t know and have never met the girl, but I finally managed to identify the strongest emotion I was feeling as jealousy (!). I feel jealous that she is in hospital and I am not, that she is being looked after by the staff and she is not, that I have all these responsibilities of life where she has just let go of hers like I did when I was hospitalised.
I even now feel jealous that James is giving her (or I am perceiving him to be giving her) attention. How wrong is that! The poor girl is obviously in a very bad place, I don’t even know her and I am jealous of her! This obviously begs the question, do I really want to be recovered? Perhaps it would be easier for me to be ill, and be looked after? Does this mean I actually WANT to be ill again? I know how much I would lose if I became ill, but why do I feel jealous of someone who is?
Then, yesterday, I find out that my 14 year old cousin is suffering from Anorexia. The whole thing is hush-hush and only certain members of the family know, but my sister told me because she thought I would ‘understand’ and maybe I could ‘help’ (given my background with eating disorders, albeit Bulimia and not Anorexia. This nasty little voice in my head says to me “You weren’t strong enough to be Anorexia, you were weak and disgusting, and had Bulimia instead. Only strong people have the strength to have Anorexia”.
I can take a step back from that and I can see that what I have just said it totally wrong and totally sick, but it just shows that although I am no longer actively eating disordered, despite the occasional binge/purse, in my mind my thoughts are still very much disordered.
In the midst of my illness, I used to feel like I was a member of a ‘club’. I wore my scars with a sick sense of pride, because they gave me membership to that ‘club’ – the club of the Borderline, the mentally ill and disturbed. I would automatically accept anyone if they had scars on their arms or a mental health ‘issue’. Now, I don’t feel so much like I am in that ‘club’. My scars cause me more embarrassment and shame than pride and acceptance, they are something I wish I didn’t have because they give everyone I meet a glimpse into how low and dark my life has been in the past, without me saying a word. They are something I try to make less noticeable, unless I find myself in the company of someone else in ‘the club’, and that is when that pride returns and I seem to, without really realising it, show them off as a badge, as if I am saying “Look! I’m like you! I’ve been there too!”. Maybe my jealousy is over the fact that James friend, and my cousin, are now both in ‘the club’ and I miss that. I miss the feeling of completeness and inclusion that they now may or not be feeling.
Is it normal for me to feel jealous of those who are ill and in hospital? Is it that I am craving the attention that they are getting? Is that why I am jealous? Does anyone else experience this? How can I help people if I feel jealous of them? Is this a Borderline thing or is this just me?