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Journals and scrapings: the reappearance of Penny / 26 June 2013

Penny with blonde hair with small flowers, in a silk black blouse (1986 approx)

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Inspired now by my darling friend Jo Cox to write some DAO blog. I’m sad that my energy levels restrict me; sad too that DAO has no funds for us bloggers so I end up shuffling it down my pile.

And Jo understands. Borderline thoughts swing you to the highs and lows in extremis, and somewhere, in the middle, you clasp onto any breather that allows you to Do Stuff. Sometimes I roll with the highs. A manic mood can mean completion, inspiration and even letting my babies go into the dark world. If my focus doesn’t float off to lalaland, always a risk.

I’ve entered 12 competitions/projects recently and have had success with one so far (more on that soon). I wait for the results of the rest, nervous, optimistic, gloomy, desperate, a roundabout of contrary emotion. My thoughts often feel like the Ouroboros-the snake eating itself…good and bad.

I am now writing a regular column for a national disability features magazine. But while looking for scraps to survive, I’ve been feverish in developing new work.

Fragile physical health is a challenge and a frustration to this, but I’m getting there with a balance that won’t create set-backs. I’m half-way into a long slog of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, favoured by shrinks for us BPDers. It is intense as I try to manage new ways of controlling my emotions – emotions that are not reliable and often cause great trouble. Mindfulness in every day life is central; so far I a cautiously hopeful. It does make sense. And ironically, while assessing points in my past that fed into my hypersensitivity, I am writing my memoir, First in the World Somewhere, using extracts from the 30 plus years of my journals.

With that in mind, I’ll end with a few extracts from 1985. I hope to do some more soon. So much history and unintentional humour amid the daily grind, the despair matched with joy.  

May 31st 1985.
Even as I write this I am STUNNED, delirious and with a desperate excitement. MORRISSEY HAS SENT ME A PRESENT… The day CANNOT be cheerless, even the other post cannot depress me. Mum received a letter from Carol (social worker) saying the repairs to new waiting flat (in London) are STILL being done and will take 6-8 WEEKS TO COMPLETE. The move to freedom hangs in an awful balance…

June 19th 1985
Mum had a vague, not uncommonly occurring nag at me, I exploded into blank hysteria, screaming, crying and throwing a cup at mum and not able to wrench myself to calm…By the time I frumped to bed the tears would not obey my cold reasoning and control was lost to relentless torment, agony beyond despair, beyond saving. I sobbed with indecision. Should I fall down now and stop offering myself out as a ‘talent’, as a hopeful, when I have nothing?


June 20th 1985
I have yet to put my feet falteringly upon a path of normality, that is my own certain normality, of living freely in my own time and space.
No wonder I feel insanity tempts so near to fall into it, these tortures, this loneliness, frantic, unbearable.

August 13th 1985
Our phone call danced on enjoyably, for hours of lovely, saving talk. He hates me to mention my suicidal inclinations… begs me not to give up, begs me plaintively, rallying me on… He liked the photo I sent of me nibbling a banana… we have decided to read some of the works by R. D Laing together.