When Borderline Attacks: Attachment, Rejection, Abandonment – All in One Night! (featuring Jimmy Gnecco and Ours)

So, back at the hospital I met a girl – I think I mentioned her in one of my “Inpatient” posts – the girl with the guitar and the Katrina canine rescue. Let’s call her K.

I bought tickets to see possibly my favorite live act – typically I go alone to see Jimmy Gnecco because it’s a very personal experience, but I was in the hospital and not thinking like myself. I decided to buy a VIP package and it didn’t make sense in my brain to buy just one ticket, so I bought two, having no idea who I might take, if anyone.

If you experience depression, this is an artist you need to know, Jimmy is quite magical & he’ll reach right into you.

Anyway, K started playing guitar in the kitchen that night and I sat in and said to myself “Oh, she NEEDS to hear Jimmy”. So I went back to my room, pulled up a video, wrote down the address and handed it to her on my way to get my meds. When I got back she was so excited. We talked a bit about him and she eventually said to me “If he ever plays in Boston…”. I said to stop by room on the way back to her own, that I had just the thing. And I did. And then I knew why I had bought the tickets – one for K! And why? Well, because, out of what seems like nowhere, I was thoroughly captivated by this woman. This little, arty, smart, empathetic, broken woman.

The thing is – I am straight as an arrow. And I knew then that it wasn’t physical, but I didn’t know what it was. I was definitely smitten, I had never been enchanted with any mortal, never mind a female. So I was confused, but I thought it must be a good thing, liking people is good right? WRONG. Not when you have Borderline.

Or something.

So she was discharged fairly soon after that, the next day perhaps, and I felt sad for 24 hours, like I’d missed an opportunity that I could not quite define.  I looked forward to the show still, I was still inpatient and K was out of my mind essentially, I kind of hoped it wouldn’t be awkward when we got together, that I had perhaps made some fucked up impression.

  • She clearly goes for women – does she think I do, that it’s a date?
  • She must have noticed my wedding band…also my army of offspring comes up with some frequency…
  • Wait, IS it a date? Did I actually ask a girl on a date while inpatient at a psych ward? WTF?
But I didn’t think much of it over the next few weeks, I was focused on getting into the residential trauma program there at McLean. Most of you know that whole story (Post-Hospitalization: I Thought They Were Supposed to Help Me). And then I was discharged and I touched base with her via text and it turned out she had been readmitted the day after I was discharged. I felt terrible that she was hurting. And I worried she might not make it to the show. And then I realized I was really looking forward to seeing her. And I started to stress. She was discharged two days before the show, which was last night. I was so nervous my skin broke out – I always have the most perfect skin, but somehow this anticipation manifested itself in my complexion. And there I was asking myself 100 questions, barely articulable ones…
  • WTF is wrong with you, are you gay now?
  • Will she like you? Are you her type?
  • Is it dangerous to spend time with fellow mentals?
  • Have you literally lost your fucking mind? 
  • Stop this shit, get your act together, you’re a grown woman!

Really the last question is the only relevant one. I am straight – there is no physical attraction, but there’s something, an energy I guess.
So last night we go to the show. I am happy to see her but not in the way I was when I met my husband (that’s my only point of reference here, I’ve been hitched since I was 17), not walking, talking or tossing my head to be fetching, none of that. Still, I was inordinately happy to be around her. We had a table right AT the stage. There were two acts before Jimmy and by the time those were over she couldn’t take the noise, so she went to a table back by the bar. I wanted to be five feet from Jimmy, so I wasn’t moving, I’d paid for these seats. The show was spectacular and we texted back and forth throughout. She mentioned that a woman she was talking to had been a fan for 10 years.
When it was over I went to her table briefly, left my bag and went to use the bathroom. When I came out there was another woman at the table with K. The same woman who had taken her seat when she left the stage area. I got myself a drink and sat down. I swear the woman was trying to pick her up and I got pissed off. K has BPD and is ashamed of it. Which I don’t relate with. She hurts herself when she drinks apparently. I don’t relate with that either. I am wondering how she is a bartender AND trying to stop drinking. But I was drunk and encouraging her to have a drink, that I wouldn’t let anything happen to her. I just wanted this other woman to go away.
Then K barked at me. I can’t remember what she said. Something about me being “hardcore” and how she was really trying hard to make responsible decisions. I am a risk taker. I embrace any diversion. It occurred to me that I have nothing in common with K. I started to cry but it was dark and I masked it well while trying to reach my husband. I thought if I called him and told him I was on my way home, if I could say something out loud, if I could sound ‘tough’ to myself then I could convince myself that I could not be hurt by her, that it wouldn’t matter. In the meantime this other chick is chatting her up, and now K is talking to her and I’m left alone in a bar full of people with my tears and a cell phone that offers only the tone of a lonely ring.

This certainly would have been a preferable brand of lonely.

K got up and went into the ladies room. I had a VERY large lemonade with two shots of vodka. I stood up, finished it off in three long, determined sips, slung my $2500 handbag over my shoulder (my power bag, one of the few remnants of my period as a Handbag Whore, there’s something about the weight of an authentic Chloe that gives me some artificial confidence, kind of like a good pair of harness or motorcycle boots), tossed my shoulders back, ran a hand through my hair and walked out, leaving the Random Girl alone at the table.

George, sitting on one of my Chloes at the clinic.

But I knew I couldn’t drive. The show was in a trendy part of town and there was a little square with tables and benches, so I sat down and took out my notebook and started to write. My phone rang, it was K. She asked where I went. I told her I’d left, obviously. Silence, comfortable for me only for all of the alcohol I’d consumed over the course of the evening. Finally she said “You knew I was in the bathroom, right?”  Yes. Curtly. More silence. “Jill, are you alright?” I told her I was fine, just writing while I sobered up to drive home. “Where are you?” I don’t know, at a table. “In the square, right here?” Christ, how far could I have gotten? Yes, I guess so, I haven’t been here in 100 years, I’m slightly disoriented.
Five minutes later she was sitting across from me and my behavior was that of a petulant child. She asked why I left, what was wrong. I told her to leave, wouldn’t want to expose her to any more of my ‘hardcore’ nature. Then she knew, tried to explain, and I told her that I didn’t like being barked at. And now I WAS acting like I would around a man. Then the same fucking girl from the club is standing there and they’re talking again. I could have decked her. Instead I went back to writing, I was feeling fairly placid, angry, but placid enough not to be TOO stirred up by my anger. It really must be the lithium. I am too violent an individual to be responding with, what amounts to, for me,  emotional generosity to strangers when I am feeling wounded. When I AM wounded. But there it was.

Me being generous, swimming in sangria and citron vodka

She finally left, K and I walked around the square for a while chatting. It was warm out and I took off my slingbacks. It was nice. But I felt SO sad. Her breakup with her last partner is what landed her in the hospital. More nothing-in-common. And I felt excluded from the lifestyle. The two-girls thing. I had no idea how I felt about her, everything was so cloudy in my head, that never happens either, I am always pretty clear, right, when I write mental posts? And then I felt bad later for not asking more questions, that my first response was Well this has nothing to do with me, I don’t know this. But that’s crap, because I am interested and later of course I felt terrible for not exploring it with her.
So we hugged goodbye and I thought “I’m never going to see her again.”   And I hit SO many triggers on my long drive home I’m surprised I didn’t hit a guardrail, although I kept from actually crying. We texted again in the middle of the night and I told her that somehow I was enchanted with her. She wrote “Gosh Jill, I don’t  even know what to say.”  And the GOSH part slayed me. You know, laughing.  She said something about not being in any place to date and then I was really thrown off, because of course here I am actually fighting for a long-dead marriage with 5 kids and lots of diagnoses, I’m thinking to myself I don’t have time to date.  But it still hurt me. What the hell?
So I’m agonizing about it all night and all day, and I had to establish what this delightful cocktail of emotions and sensations was. I visit my beloved Wikipedia here:
“Individuals with BPD tend to experience frequent, strong and long-lasting states of aversive tension, often triggered by perceived rejection, being alone or perceived failure.”  
“Individuals with BPD can be very sensitive to the way others treat them, reacting strongly to perceived criticism or hurtfulness. Their feelings about others often shift from positive to negative, generally after a disappointment or perceived threat of abandonment or of losing someone.”  
” Attachment studies have revealed a strong association between BPD and insecure attachment style, the most characteristic types being “unresolved”, “preoccupied”, and “fearful”. Evidence suggests that individuals with BPD, while being high in intimacy- or novelty-seeking, can be hyper-alert to signs of rejection or devaluation.”  
“C-PTSD is also characterized by attachment disorder, particularly the pervasive insecure, or disorganized-type attachment.”  

“Seeking increased attachment to people, especially to care-givers who inflict pain, confuses love and pain and increases the likelihood of a captivity like that of betrayal bonding, and of disempowerment and lack of control.”  √

” Attachment disorder is a broad term intended to describe disorders of moodbehavior, and social relationships arising from a failure to form normal attachments to primary care giving figures in early childhood, resulting in problematic social expectations and behaviors.”  

OK. Fair enough. Thanks Wiki. I get attached every two seconds, and I’ve developed a strong ability to drop people as quickly as I bond to them, I assume a common defense mechanism. Or not. But why her? All I can think is that I met her while inpatient and I thought we could relate to one another, nobody in my real life understands or has any interest in discussing it. And we really don’t relate, our experience is entirely different, our responses are entirely different, our orientations couldn’t be more different. But I still can’t get her off my mind. Initially it was about Jimmy, then it became something else…but what?

Since I love to close with an image, here’s one I saved for Sailor some time back.

A peculiarly Spanish giraffe, for Sailor



Sorry about the formatting, I can’t get it to behave…


  1. (((hugs)))

  2. Loved the piece probably because it is was so real and so raw.
    Brought me smiles and sadness as well
    Sending Big Safe slingbackless cyber hugs (What the heck I never liked wearing those sling backs anyway, So hard to accessorize with and always made me walk like a zombified Tina Turner.)

    • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, you slay me Kevin!!!! Funny, I was going to delete it for that reason, RAW, not my usual! Anyway, I’m over it now. Hooray.

      Big hugs, friend!

  3. Writing? In a notebook? So old school. And what’s wrong with feeling not thinking? Thinking blows! Be a living-in-the-moment ocelot.

    • Lol, yes, the notebook is small, artisan made, with bunnies all over it. Otherwise I use hand bound journals I buy from an artist in Vienna. I liked old school. With 5 kids I have to think. But it’s ok. Thanks for reading Sharon. Something was up with the formatting but this was so disjointed, the writing lacked inspiration 😦 I hate writing something poorly. But maybe that was the point, based on the subject matter. Wait, I don’t edit myself, I have a friend for that…
      love, J

      • A really nice notebook can be quite… orgasmic! There! I said it. 🙂
        But about this post, it is neither uninspired nor poorly written! While not as spanky, tight and detached as some of your other prose, it mustn’t be deleted!!! no no no! Kevin put his finger on it: it’s raw, it’s real and there are important insights here. As the freshness of the pain and confusion recede, you’ll find the narrative perspective you need. Please keep making the only-Jillie-can-do observations and interconnections! Big fat hug!

  4. Loved the post..glad you are pasted it now!

  5. First up I’m sorry about all that mixed up confusing stuff in your head. I don’t know what to say so I’m sending a hug instead.

    Secondly. Thank you soooo much for posting that song. I love it and have decided that I clearly need Jimmy in my life….* Wee Gee heads of to investigate further *


    • Hooray!!!! Happy top spread the Jimmy love! I feel like people in our “world” might feel something in his music. He comes from the same place as us. But he has the guitar!

  6. Sheer perfection! I have PTSD(most likely C-PTSD), anxiety, and recently diagnosed with BPD traits rooted from lifelong trauma= PTSD, etc, etc. I too am a survivor 🙂 your writing is awesome Jill!!

    • It’s always nice to meet people who understand although I’m always sorry that others have these experiences. (My favorite place is the hospital where everybody just understands you). I have followed your blog and look forward to your healing! Thank you for your kind words – looks like you’re a strong woman! Kudos!

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