Serenity and Calm Seas

The last six weeks have been a whirlwind of ups and downs. Six weeks ago tonight I came very close to taking my own life. I poured around 40 Seroquel tablets into a plastic cup. I held the cup to my lips and prepared to swallow them all. Suddenly I remembered a promise I had made (in writing no less) not to kill myself in my friend’s home. I poured the tablets back int their bottle and picked up my box cutter and cut myself 75 times. I sunk into a deep, deep depression that I was sure I would never escape from.

The following week my friend informed me that she had a change in income and was no longer able to allow me to stay at her house. On November 1st she drove me to a bus stop and sent me on my way into an unknown world. I rode the bus to the social services office and begged for assistance. Social Services was able to provide me with a motel room for three nights. They gave me a list if apartment complexes and told me that I needed to find an apartment, and they would pay up to $400 a month toward it. I was instructed to check back three days later and report my search results. The motel was a bleak, disgusting, place that should be condemned. There were prostitutes and drug dealers in the parking lot. Not a good situation for a recovering addict to be in.

I of course was unable to find an apartment that cost less than $400 to rent. The last time I was rented an apartment that was less than $400 am month was more than 25 years ago. I reported as instructed three days later and was granted an additional three days at the motel and told once again to come back in three days to report my search progress. During that three days I received my final confirmation that I would be starting my new job on November 17. I returned as instructed and I informed my case worker that I was starting a new job the following Monday. She gave me the spiel again about returning in three days. I told her I couldn’t because of work. She once again gave me a voucher for three more night and dismissed me. I left her office and was crying when I got to the lobby. I had no idea where I was going to go or what as I was going to do. Suddenly my case manager came into the lobby and called me back to her office. She then gave me a voucher that allowed me to stay in the motel until December 1st.

I started the new job as scheduled on November 17, which was my 46th birthday. Knowing that I had to figure out where I was going to go I once again began searching for an apartment. I looked at an apartment that I really liked and they were running a special where the first month of rent was free, and all I needed to move in was $510 for the security deposit. I knew that I would be able to afford that when I received my first paycheck on December 1st. I began to panic again because had no idea where I was going to go.

Then an angel stepped in. I was telling a dear friend (the same person who purchased me a plane ticket that got me off the streets of Northern California and brought me here to Upstate New York). She asked if I were able to get the money before my first payday would I be able to move in on the first. I told her yes I was, but didn’t have the money. She then did something that I never expected and would have never asked for even though my life depended on it; she offered to let me borrow the money. I signed the lease the day before Thanksgiving and moved in on Saturday the 29th. My friend drove over three hours to my new place with a truckload of things to get me set up in my new apartment. She brought furniture, dishes, cookware, cleaning supplies and some food to help me get started in my new home. Unbeknownst to me, she had been soliciting friends and acquaintances for donations to what she called “Project Allison”.

I slept in this morning and when I awoke I made myself some tea and began to reflect on these last six months. At first it felt like I was shaking off a hangover and that everything was right and life was perfect and that nothing could ever go wrong. I haven’t been self harming, I haven’t picked up a blade since the night I cut myself 75 times. I’m working for the first time in over a year. I have a home again after being homeless for six months.

Then I forced myself back to reality. While I am facing calm seas at the moment, I know that storms will come. That is the cold hard reality of being me. I am a mentally ill addict, nothing will ever change that. Borderline Personality Disorder is a cruel mistress. The best I can realistically hope for is to manage my symptoms effectively more often than not. I need to learn to ask for help long before I am in crisis. I need to take my medications properly. I haven’t seen a therapist since I left California. I need to be in therapy, and I need to be diligent and follow through to find a therapist here.

I am counting my blessings now and appreciating what I have. After losing everything I am now thankful for everything I have. I have learned to appreciate the calm and stable times when I have them, I know they won’t last forever. I am embracing myself and I am not pretending to be something I’m not. For the first time in my life I don’t hate myself. That’s a pretty damn good place to be.


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