Friday, 7 March 2014

My 'Me Against the World' DBT Playlist

Some days, regardless of paranoia, it seems the whole world is out to get me. The depth of sensitivity of the BPD person cannot be overstated. Hence, when some sleight or unintended (or intended) insult comes our way, the impact on us is devastating and longer lasting than for the average person. Marsha Linehan has expressed the extent of emotional pain for the person with BPD in this way: "People with BPD are like people with 3rd degree burns ...Lacking emotional skin,they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement."

My problem is with 'apparent competence' and a theatrical confidence, developed through the professional experiences of teaching and probation work over a twenty year period. Because of this 'shell' a lot of people consider that it is not possible to hurt me. Unfortunately, none of us are mind readers and therefore we have no idea of the weight or force with which our words and actions are carried to the heart of another person. Most people have some kind of emotional armour, but as Marsha Linehan's words point out, the heart of the person with BPD is raw and it is as if those hurtful things are hitting an exposed and beating heart lying on a table. It is as if the wounds opened long ago are fresh and, further hurt (however minimal to the average person) feels like salt rubbed into those wounds.


One of the good things about being an 'emotionally sensitive' person is that my own vulnerability has taught me to weigh my words and actions very carefully. I have no idea what devastation I may unleash unwittingly on those around me, because I can never understand fully the life experience of any other person. No matter how similar our experiences may seem.

When I feel the pain of these kinds of moments I know that they are connecting with numberless moments from my life when I have felt abandoned and rejected. These moments have become so much a part of my life, that in expecting, fearing or anticipating it I often create the rejection I fear. I know I act in ways which produce the opposite result to that which I intended. Such is one paradox of being emotionally sensitive - I have written about the toll this 'push-me, pull-you' yo-yo of emotions has taken on past relationships in previous posts.

Although I have completed a period of DBT treatment and am better equipped to manage my emotions than before, I continue to be an emotional 'burns victim', in the process of growing new skin over the exposed wounds. So, more often than not I find myself feeling like the world is out to get me and I feel I am alone in my battles.
Anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time will know that all types of music are my refuge when I am struggling with emotional issues. So it is in this case - I have a range of songs which allow me to express my grief and sadness, while at the same time reminding me that I am a strong person to have managed to survive to this point in my life. Sometimes we all need reminders that even if it is not just our paranoia, when we feel alone and embattled, we have more fight in us than we thought.

1) Something inside so Strong - Labi Siffre (No need for explanation)
2) The Impossible Dream - Camelot (listen to the lyrics - to fight the impossible fight)
3) Towerblock - Julia Fordham (1980s chanteuse - deep deep lyrics, worth looking up just to listen to this one song, if you've ever felt cursed by the strength that has helped you to survive)
4) I am What I am - Gloria Gaynor (?)
5) Somewhere - from West Side Story (any decent version will do - somewhere there's a place for us...)
6) Anthem for a Lost Cause - Manic Street Preachers
7) Shadows Fall - The Proclaimers (an album track which beautifully captures the pain of just getting through life)
8) High Flying Adored - From Evita (great version by Madonna and Antonio Banderas) lyrics about the public persona versus the private - never assume anything about other peoples' inner lives - we don't know unless they share that part of themselves with us.
9) Pavane for a Dead Princess - Maurice Ravel (I know the title isn't very appealing, but the expressive music allows so much letting go of sadness - I find I am able to sit with difficult emotions like grief and sadness when I either play this or listen to it....just let the music affect your emotions)
10)Town Without Pity - Eddi Reader (Or Gene Pitney if you fancy the original) Great when you feel people have been getting at you - a kind of musical finger to the small minds that have been picking on you for whatever reason - personally I love the brass arrangement on Eddi Reader's Version.

(Nearly Made it: Beautiful, Christina Aguilera, Beneath Your Beautiful, Labrinth, Over and Done with - Soundtrack Sunshine on Leith (The Proclaimers), I'll Find my Way Home, Jon & Vangelis, Never Had a Dream Come True, Stevie Wonder...)


When I am licking my emotional wounds I need this soundtrack, along with a healthy dose of solitude, crammed with positive things which reinforce the good things about my life - which I need to keep acknowledging are many and many-faceted. My dog accepts me unconditionally and loves me. I have learned through owning her, that I am capable of loving other creatures and have managed to begin to transfer that knowledge to humans! And when people have hurt me I no longer give up on people all together. I am now able to look at the friends who have stood by me, who understand that friendship is a two way street (that I am capable of giving back) and who assure me that I am indeed, lovable.