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Andrea's World

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I believe that there is an angel who watches over me from time
to time -- partly out of concern; partly out of curiosity.
 

Andrea
5.jpg
My Angel

Last updated: February 8th, 2012

 

February 8th, 2012

 

Just a note to say hello to my Andrea's World friends.  I just went back and fixed those pesky pop-ups and ads again...hopefully for good this time.  Minor glich.  I hope to have a new article out soon.  I've been very busy lately with other things and feel that I've been slacking.

 

December 8th, 2011: 

 

I'm happy to announce that Andrea's world has just completed Health-on-the-Net Foundation recertification and continues to conform to the high standards required by HONcode as a reliable source for health information on the net. 

 

About this site:

 

While this site is dedicated to my angel, Andrea, it’s really about more than that.  It’s also about me and my struggles since her passing.  And it’s about how I have applied what I learned about mental disorders and life from having known her to my life and my relationships today.  It’s about what I’ve learned, what has worked and what has not in my interpersonal relationships to date.  I hope that you find what I say here interesting and useful in your own relationships.  And please feel free to write me to tell me what you think (whether good or bad) about this site.  If you need an ear, I’m here at jim_kendrick@hotmail.com.  I may not have all the answers, but I might know somewhere to look that might be helpful to you concerning BPD, bipolar disorder, living with people with these disorders, and grief from loss.  Feel free to write anytime.

 

Jim

 

Ascension

 

And if I go,

while you're still here...

Know that I live on,

vibrating to a different measure

--behind a thin veil you cannot see through.

You will not see me,

so you must have faith.

I wait for the time when we can soar together again,

--both aware of each other.

Until then, live your life to its fullest.

And when you need me,

Just whisper my name in your heart,

...I will be there.

 

Used with Author’s Permission.  Ascension 1987 by Colleen Corah Hitchcock

P. O. Box 390082, Edina, MN  55439     Web Site:  http://www.colleenhitchcock.com

I would like to thank Collen Hitchcock for giving me permission to use her beautiful poem, which came to me at a time when I was desperately missing my angel and in need of some emotional support.  If you like this poem check out her  novel, "Rabbit Heart", below.
 

Rabbit Heart
rabbitheartsmaller.jpg

 

 

About Andrea,

 

This site is dedicated to my angel, Andrea.  Andrea was a remarkable person who lost her life tragically in a car accident two days before Christmas, December 23rd, 2003.  What made Andrea's world so remarkable was the spirit and drive with which she lived her life - a life that had so many ups and downs.  You see, Andrea suffered for Bipolar II, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Anxiety Disorder, yet despite this, she was an intelligent, compassionate, fun-loving, talented, charming, religious person who wanted to be a child psychologist and do missionary work to help others in need.  She loved reading and learning and was always inquisitive.  She loved to travel and see new things.  She wanted to write a book about her life and wrote voraciously in her journals.  And she was driven to find God and bring his word to others.  She was beautiful and she was my best friend.  I miss her dearly.

 

Her best friend always,

 

Jim

 

Amsterdam
ghettolillies.jpg
Andrea loved flowers!

 
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night.
But ah my foes, and oh my friends --
It gives a lovely light
 
First Fig -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Hearts That Hear

I would like to reintroduce a website that I believe has a wealth of information and support for those who suffer from BPD and/or Bipolar Disorder in addition to other mental health disorders. It's called "Hearts That Hear".

It's mission statement is "to provide support for people who are doing everything within their ability to help themselves."

The site can be found at:

http://forums.delphiforums.com/n/main.asp?webtag=ComfortPlace&nav=start&prettyurl=%2FComfortPlace%2Fstart


 

Self Image

 

According to the Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self_image) a person's self image is the mental picture, generally of a kind that is quite resistant to change, that depicts not only details that are potentially available to objective investigation by others (height, weight, hair color, sex, I.Q. score, is this person double-jointed, etc.), but also items that have been learned by that person about himself or herself, either from personal experiences or by internalizing the judgments of others.

 

When answering a question in a workbook about things she felt good about herself Andrea had written, “Pretty – sometimes”.  To me Andrea was the most beautiful person I had ever met – morning, noon, or night.  But for some reason she didn’t always see herself that way.  I never really understood why, as she grew up in a wonderful family, went to modeling school, and was extremely photogenic with a natural ability to strike just the right pose for the camera.

 

I’ve come to realize that when she didn’t think she looked pretty it wasn’t the outside she was seeing.  It was the inside.  Sometimes she didn’t like the person that she was looking at in the mirror.  And when you don’t like someone it can be difficult to see them as they really are on the outside.  For me, the more I like someone on the inside, the more I like them on the outside.  Beauty is not skin deep.  It penetrates all the way from the soul to the outer person.

 

About a year ago I met a woman named April.  The first time I saw April, I was stunned and said out loud, “Holy f…k.”  I was caught off guard because I had just seen a ghost.  It turned out that the girl I was with was a friend of hers and she looked at me and said, “Well, I guess I’ll just go home” and introduced us.

 

April looked so much like Andrea that I just had to get to know her, but it scared me to death.  First, because I needed her so badly that I was afraid it was all about Andrea and my loss.  And second, because I was afraid to fall in love again for fear of losing her, too.  But, starting out, over the first few months I kept those thoughts to myself and we dated casually and got along great.

 

But as I got to know her I saw so much more of Andrea that I loved on the inside – the passion, the charm, the charisma, the caring for others, and the need to find God.  But also, there was the self-centeredness at times, and later (when we became closer) the anger and rages that Andrea was prone to having when she felt fear inside.

 

And one more thing that I began to realize was that April thought she was ugly sometimes.  She would look in the mirror for an hour at a time, trying to make herself look beautiful but never being satisfied with the result.  I came to realize that it was because she was not seeing the outside but the inside and she didn’t like what she saw.  And there was a lot of baggage there from her past and perceptions that others had put into her head.  I could see, though, that she recognized beauty in others.

 

So, I made a decision that could have turned out disasterously, but it was one that I felt I needed to do.  One day I picked out three of Andrea’s modeling photo’s that I felt looked the most like April.  Others who I showed these photos to actually thought it was her in the photos.  The next time we were together went something like this:

 

Me: “April, do you remember the first time I saw you, how my jaw dropped and what I said?”

April: “Yes, I remember.”

Me: “Well, this is what I saw.” And I handed her the photos.

April: “I look like this?”

Me: “Yes, you look very much like that.”

April: “I didn’t know I was beautiful.”

 

She picked the one that looked most like her and put it up on the mirror and over the next several hours she would constantly go back to the mirror and look at the picture and play with her hair and try on different clothes and smiled at the results.  It was a wonderful experience for me seeing her happy with her self image.

 

Why did I do this?  Because I believe that before a person can find the strength to make an effort to change their self-destructive behaviors they have to first believe that they are worth it.  And for April, I felt that self image was a start.

 

 
I'm speeding like a bullet
to drive through your chest
I hope you're wearing
a bullet proof vest

Rachel

Trying to Find a Way to Carry On

Adia I'm empty since you left me
Trying to find a way to carry on – Sarah McLachlan, Adia

Andrea's mother sent me a cassette tape that Andrea made a few days before I met her.  I got it in the mail the other day along with a CD full of pictures of her ashes being spread in about two dozen countries across the world.

I had to work up the strength to listen to it.  A package that traveled 5,000 miles to reach me, the last 20 feet from my mailbox to my cassette player would be the most difficult.  After a while, with mixed emotions of desideration and diffidence, I put the cassette into my tape player.

She was drunk and lonely and spoke with her characteristic passion of her life, her hopes, her dreams, her difficulties, and the veneer of confidence and control she presented to the outside world that hid the lost child underneath. She hinted about the man she saw coming into her life in the near future who would protect her from herself, yet then spoke bluntly of the certainty of her coming death.  It saddened her that her life would be a short one, and (she thought) insignificant.  One thing that will always be with me are the words she wrote in a book of Bible lessons -- words that I was drawn to once when I was missing her -- “I don’t want to be forgotten.”

I listened for half an hour to her voice.  Well, really that’s not true.  I could not listen to it all at one time.  I had to turn it off twice along the way to recover and prepare myself for more.

Her voice was exactly as I remember it; her enunciation so familiarly distinct, especially her “t’s”. I’ve missed that voice and hearing her say things I had not heard her speak before.  Her words were imbued with insightfulness, openness, honesty, and prophetic visions of her future -- and sadness. It was difficult, but I needed to listen.  So I did.

One inexplicable result from listening is that finally, after a year and a half, I can play our Sarah McLachlan CD again.

I pull you from your tower
I take away your pain
And show you all the beauty you possess
If you'd only let yourself believe

She wanted so badly to believe that she had value and a purpose.  That was my initial goal when our lives first became enmeshed and I knew I had met the person who would change my life forever; to show her that she did indeed have value and that God had a purpose for her on this world and in His Kingdom.  But she knew more about God than I did.  And she worked harder at that relationship than I ever could.

I wanted so much to take away her pain.  But just as you can never feel someone else’s pain, you also can’t take it away.  Would only I have had the power I would have laid my hands on her forehead and absorbed all the pain inside.  I would have gladly and willingly taken that pain as my own.  I would have died to take that pain.  I would have given my life for her happiness, were that possible.  Of course it was not.

“…by whose stripes ye were healed." -- 1 Peter 2:24

Andrea had this phrase from 1 Peter tattooed with a cross over the dozens of scars across her left forearm – her stripes of pain. She understood that Christ died as our substitute and that His stripes have healed ours. She knew where to look to take her pain away, but the dichotomy that is the borderline mind fought her all the way.  She wanted it both ways, but knew that was not possible.  She was either to be all God’s or all the Devil’s.  She ultimately chose God.  Were it not for that choice I could not have an angel watching over me now, holding off that stiff breeze that threatens my house of cards with the consequences of sin. I have needed that angel desperately at times since and I am so grateful that she is there for me when I need her most.

I often think about the many things that I wish I had done differently.  I wish I had been more attentive to her needs and more validating of her hurts.  I wish I had been more aware of what she was going through in her head near the end.


Adia I do believe I failed you
Adia I know I let you down
don't you know I tried so hard
to love you in my way
it's easy let it go...

But it isn’t.  I'm trying my best though.

 

“Always know in your heart that you are far bgger than anything that can happen to you.” – Dan Zadra

"I Miss You, Baby"

by Jim

Hello Andrea, how have you been
What's it like on the other end
What's it like in heaven's hold
Is it just as we were told

The life you lived was filled with hurt
You felt ground into the dirt
But you never gave up the fight
Til God reached out and took you that night

My Piglet, I miss you so much
I miss your lips, I miss your touch
I miss your smile, I miss your charm
I pray that now you're free from harm

I know that you are in that place
I know that God left you a space
I know that now your heart will heal
And he will take the pain you feel

So tell me Andrea, if you can
What's it like in God's land
What's it like on the other end
And are you happy my special friend 

 

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Purpose: The purpose of this site is to talk about my friend and her life and struggles with mental illness.  The intended audience is anyone who has been diagnosed with a mental disorder or suspects they may have a mental disorder, the spouse and family of someone diagnosed with a mental disorder or who suspects the person they love may have a disorder and anyone who wants to know more about borderline personality disorder in particular.  The information provided on Andrea's World is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/visitor and his/her physician.

This site is entirely personal and non-profit, and I am not professionally affiliated with any other site or product on the web. I  am not a practicing psychotherapist or physician, and cannot guarantee the accuracy of any material located off-site, nor be responsible for any third-party interpretation of my material. For specifics on your situation, I encourage you to consult your mental health professional.

Attributions: Where possible, I have traced the material to its originating homesite and linked you there. I respect authorship copyright and try to adhere to it in these links.  Please do the same when using these resources.  When known, I will inform the visitor of the date of origin of scientific information you may find here as well as where it was found.

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Andrea's World was created March 20th, 2004.  I hope to add to it often.

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