On the Road Again?

Last time I wrote it was about the very real struggles I was having with a traditional 9-5. That has only continued to get worse. While I don’t know if any of my co-workers would agree, I feel the quality of my work is suffering. My work is not only a source of pride, but I work in arenas I am very passionate about, so not being able to give my all is unacceptable to me.

My husband is also tired. He is likely tired of tiptoeing around my extreme depression and taking care of things when I just can’t move, but he is also dealing with his own anxiety and job unfulfillment.

Thus our most recent conversation; we area considering full-time RVing. We have started to look at both 5th wheels and Class C motorhomes and creating sufficient savings to purchase one. We are beginning to downsize the house and look at options for remote and freelance work and working out necessary details like health care.

It just feels like it is time to get back to just living. Neither of us felt like ‘traditional’ people when we met but somewhere along the way, we became married homeowners with full-time office jobs and little energy to explore much of anything new. This isn’t living for us. I’ve moved before and it is true that wherever you go, there you are. I know my depression won’t magically disappear because I am living in a motorhome but I am hoping to have freedom in my work, and spending my time experiencing new things rather than getting caught up in a mundane routine will help me to see much more of the beauty that life has to offer.

I hope to document it well and share the experience and transition with anyone that wants to read about it.

My Struggle with the Monster that is Work

Trying to figure out what’s next is hard. I have long figured that I was not capable of maintaining your standard 9-5 job. Yet, I continued to work towards it, thinking if I could find the right position, right boss, right company- I just hadn’t found the right fit.


I think, after having to take some time off because of deteriorating mental health for the third time in my working life, I can be pretty confident in saying it has nothing to do with the fit.


I have the greatest job. I work in public disability policy and advocacy. It is my dream. I just completed my Master’s in Emergency Management and have been given some freedom to incorporate that into my work.  Yet, the anxiety I feel at going back into the office tomorrow makes me want to hide away and put it off forever.


I strive under pressure and stress at work until I just don’t anymore. My brain stops engaging, my depression blooms, my health and sleep decrease, and few things-whether in or out of work- bring me joy. I am just too exhausted to function at even several levels below my traditional pace.


Still, I can’t shake off the societal pressures that that’s what we do. Why else spend all this time in school? Why else rack up student loan debt, however minimal? When my husband says, “Just stay home, we can figure out living on one income.” I can’t get passed the imagined stares and judgments at a ‘stay at home spouse’ with no job when we have no kids. When people say, “You’d probably qualify for Disability.” I can’t help looking at my body (though I can’t see my mind), and thinking, “I’m just not disabled enough.”


So what next? What now? I’d love to write but I don’t know what about. I’d love to do research, but I find little available in a field I am passionate about. I’d love to work remotely and travel for a while, but doing virtual assistantships or survey jobs seems like letting everyone that supported my academic journey down.


I don’t say this to just complain. It causes me honest mental/emotional anguish, whether real or created, to determine my next steps. Like I am stuck on this precipice of change but any decision I take just leads me to step off and fall to my death.


How do we determine what’s good and right for us? When do we stop trying to force a ‘normal’ that just doesn’t work for us?  I thought it ended with high school but maybe that was just the start. This workforce game is just another monster and I am still trying to figure out how to beat it.

I am in a black hole…

Valerie is sitting in a dark room, looking down at the camera. Her face is blank and tired.

I told myself if I was going to start a blog, I needed to be active in posting. However, I am currently in a black hole and my will to be productive is zilch. I have some longer pieces brewing on homelessness and disability and on inclusion of disabled people in disability-centric research, I will get those out as soon as my head is quiet enough to concentrate.

The goal in this blog is to provide information, primarily about disability policy topics. However, it is also about me.  This is a very real part of my day to day. Right now it is many days.

I hope to gain readers that will be able to stay with me on the journey, even when that journey causes me to produce at a slower pace that expected.

Take care, be well, I will catch you all soon.

My Husband’s Been Married to Borderline Personality Disorder for 5 Years

CW: Suicide



This week my husband hid the Percocet without telling me. He hid the Percocet because a few weeks ago I sat on my bed with a handful of them, not feeling sad, just calm and empty and ready to finally not be alive anymore. I didn’t do it because of a strange, almost vain reasoning: the opioid epidemic. I didn’t want anyone thinking that I overdosed on Percocet because I was a closeted, functioning addict.


My husband hid the Percocet because he knew this story. He did it without fanfare. I only found out because I needed one for pain so he mentioned over the phone, “Oh by the way, I moved the Percocet to that top shelf you can’t reach, you’ll need to get the step stool.”


This is a type of everyday life for him and for us. It is the type of life where he checks in every so often to every day, depending on how it’s going, to ask me if i’m “doing okay” which is largely code for “do you want to end your life and/or never leave bed again?” and where I’ve agreed to always tell him the truth. Sometimes its “I’m fine” sometimes it’s, “I can’t do this” and occasionally it’s, “Maybe we need to talk about me going back to the hospital.”


Despite the fact that my husband has intense anxiety, we have managed to find balance in this reality. He is not anxious so much as concerned. My suicidality just is.


I have Borderline Personality Disorder. My diagnosis was very recent (within the last two years) but I’ve been miserable since I can remember.  After my diagnosis I avoided therapy so much of what I’ve learned about BPD has been from websites and forums.  The more I gathered the more things just fit. So much about what others didn’t get about me started to make sense.


It explained why a chief complaint of a high school friend was that I “felt too much.” It explained why I fall in love so hard, fast, and unyielding. It explained why even my depression did not seem like other people’s depression. It helped my gracious husband understand my extreme affection and dependence on another man who (despite knowing him for almost a decade) I didn’t really know, we learned together he was my “Favorite Person” (Note: for those unfamiliar, a Favorite Person or FP is an individual whom someone with BPD is extremely emotionally dependent on and often swings between intense idolizing and devaluation).


It explained my impulsivity which was the first sticky point in my and my husband’s relationship. He doesn’t handle change well. Not just big change either. The first time it came up was early in our relationship when while walking out to his car I told him about a battle of the bands I had just heard about and asked would he be up for doing that for our date instead. He had a bit of a breakdown. Explained how he really didn’t like that I was always changing plans after we’d agreed on what we wanted to do. He wouldn’t learn for another few years how I packed up what I could and moved across the country to be with him with no job, $500 in my bank account, and living with a guy I found on a craigslist ad who said I could have a room for free if I drove him around. What we were doing that day was small potatoes. Still, it was and is difficult for me.  We came to an agreement. I told him I’d try but that I would never be the type of person to settle down. If he needed someone that could be rooted he’d need to find someone else, but that I would do my best to try not to change things without notice unless I felt like I’d explode otherwise.  


I really think that is what it is all about. I have seen so many people on Twitter or forums afraid that finding love with BPD is impossible. But my relationship is not a unicorn (though I feel fairly certain no one will find a husband as wonderful as mine) but I do think it’s about honesty, which can be hard for us with BPD.


I don’t mean honesty as in not telling lies, but honest about what we need and what we feel. For many of us, we’ve so long been criticized because of what and how we feel; add to that a difficulty trusting and a desire to accommodate and it makes it hard to be truthful about what we need. While I’m not some type of relationship guru, I think that’s imperative.  


Voicing what you need to a person that you care about helps you self-care and ensures you’re with a person that can love you back because some people won’t be able to.


My husband loves a woman who he has to worry will take her life.

He loves a woman whose emotional buoyancy is strongly attached to a different male.

He loves a woman that can’t be still despite his need for calm.

He loves someone that rarely is able to believe he loves her and he won’t leave.

He loves someone who gets jealous at the idea of him loving children more than her.


But even before a diagnosis, before we had words or names for these aspects of my personality, I told him they were there and he told me he’d take them. He loved my mental illness and that helped me love myself. I am now proud that I ‘feel too much’ when before those words haunted me.

We celebrated our 5 year anniversary this week. That isn’t a long time, but I didn’t plan to live this long, so it feels like everything. I didn’t plan to marry for love, but figured I’d marry out of loneliness, so this is a gift. I guess I just want those who are so worried you’re unlovable due to mental illness to know that it is okay and you are allowed to need differently. That there are people out there who are okay with loving differently and validating you a million times in a million different ways. But I do think it takes being okay with yourself so you can let others know what you need and sometimes that part is really hard.