Success

Tonight I was talking to my mom and she was asking me questions about my life. One of the things she asked me was “are you doing better?”.  This question was in regard to my mental health. And my reply was that life was a challenge…which was kind of vague I guess, but that is a really hard question for someone with borderline personality disorder to answer.  She also asked me if my BPD was something that would get better or if I just had to live with it forever.  And the answer I gave was this, “I have to live with it forever—and a successful life of a person with BPD is that I die naturally and not by my own hand.”  Of course, being my mother, she didn’t like that answer much…. :/

Regardless, it got me thinking about success and being a successful BPD survivor… if there is such a thing.  So I decided to write about the success of being BPD.

Success comes in many forms—for those with mental illness, those successes are defined quite differently from those without it.

For me, being successful with my BPD involves the following:

  • Today I didn’t want to die as much as normal.  That is a success.
  • Today I didn’t scream at anyone.  That is a success.
  • Today I managed to get through the last hour without crying. That is a success.
  • Today I didn’t get violent.  That is a success.
  • Today I did not hate myself as much as I did yesterday. That is a success.
  • Today I did not lash out at anyone. That is a success.
  • Today I did not hurt myself. That is a success.
  • Today I did not hurt anyone else. That is a success.
  • Today I managed to get out of bed. That is a success.
  • Today I did not convince myself that I am a terrible person. That is a success.
  • Today I only cycled 10 times instead of 20. That is a success.
  • Today I managed to not commit suicide. That is a success.
  • Today I showered and brushed my teeth. That is a success.
  • Today I didn’t feel as guilty as I did yesterday.  That is a success.
  • Today I managed to remember I am worth something. That is a success.
  • Today my self-loathing was kept at bay for over an hour. That is a success.
  • Today I used my skills to self-soothe.  That is a success.
  • Today I was a little bit productive. That is a success.
  • Today I remembered to take my medications. That is a success.
  • Today I spoke to another human being with anxiety. That is a success.
  • Today I realized my anxiety wasn’t too bad. That is a success.
  • Today nobody left me. That is a success.
  • Today I didn’t push anyone away. That is a success.
  • Today I maintained my boundaries. That is a success.
  • Today I went to counseling. That is a success.
  • Today I got up for work. That is a success.
  • Today I combed my hair. That is a success.
  • Today I went outside. That is a success.
  • Today I was not too sad. That is a success.
  • Today I was not impulsive. That is a success.
  • Today I did not cry all day. That is a success.
  • Today I woke up alive. That is a success.
  • Today I managed to get through the day.  That is a success.

You see….all the things  normal people take for granted, those of us with mental illness, especially ones like borderline personality disorder, are hard-won, and even harder recognized. It takes a conscious effort to remember that we actually did succeed in some small way, even if that way was only to keep on living for another day…

BPD is such a chaotic illness. The suicide rate for BPD is higher than all other mental illnesses combined. Do you even realize how scary that is for us? Considering that the self-loathing, the guilt, the fear, the chaos is a constant part of our everyday lives, I cannot believe most of us even manage to make it through as far as we do….

There is no magical cure…the regular medication, both anti-depressant and anti-psychotics do not normally work for us–so we have to put in so much work to even be able to manage day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.  Its fucking hard as hell and it takes some serious strength to keep fighting this shit day in and day out.

There is always something wrong with me–I am either overly emotional or with meds I am flat-lined with rare bouts of emotion. YET, I still cry at the drop of a hat and I still anger very easily. I have to personally remind myself that I am worth something, even if that worth is not apparent to me…ever.  Don’t get me wrong, my right mind knows that I am not worthless—but it is damn hard to convince the regular me that that is the truth.

So those small little successes that happen need to be acknowledged and remembered and brought to the light as often as possible for us.

Because without them…………we are truly the nothing we believe we are.

I Just Need Space…

So my assignment this week was to write my dad and stepmom an email and explain to them what was happening in my life and why I am taking very much needed space from them…

I thought it would be easy.

It wasn’t.

The guilt it produced pretty much overwhelmed me. I ended up crying for hours after I sent it….  I hated that part.  Thank GOD I have counseling on Tuesday to work through that bullshit.

I have been trying to figure out why it produced so much guilt, when the bottom line is that they trigger me the very most and make me cycle so much. They put me in such a shitty place in my head and all I do is self-bash for days after I see them….  I know it is for my own mental well-being that I take space from them…yet it made me feel so bad. Like I am disappointing them.

Which I do all the time, so why should this time produce so much guilt on my part? I have spent my entire life disappointing my dad and stepmom… it’s nothing new. Nothing I have ever done has ever been good enough for them—so you’d think that me taking time to work on myself and my issues would be a good thing, right? UGH!

Regardless, I guess I will figure it out on Tuesday. For now I will set it aside and focus on my life and the fact that I managed to do my homework assignment–especially since I haven’t been too good at following through on my others ones… oops.

Til then…

A Little Shocked…

So I went to counseling yesterday–it had been a couple weeks due to the holiday– and surprisingly, I didn’t have much to talk about. No situations, no outbursts, no agitation worth mentioning, etc. It was kind of weird. Usually if I do have issues come up, I tamp it down until counseling and then vomit it all over my counselor.  This time was different.

So we decided to focus on my successes in the last couple months. My job was to come up with stuff that I would have done in the past and reacted badly or emotionally or overreacted to, that I haven’t done that with. At first it was hard, because I am not used to saying good things about myself, but as I got going, I actually came up with quite a few scenarios that, in the past, I would have lost my damn mind, but in the present, I dealt with like a normal person.  Weird.

Regardless, we listed them on the board and I took a picture of them to remind myself that I am making progress even if sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.

Here is my list.

  1. Decrease in catastrophic thinking
  2.  A molehill = a molehill
  3. Haven’t lost my temper in weeks–which means my guilt/shame cycle has decreased
  4. Recognized and taken space when needed
  5. Keeping my boundaries clear and sticking to them
  6. Practiced self-care–taken time for just me, not just when I am anxious
  7. Decreased self-judgement
  8. Have not experienced guilt from changing plans
  9. Planned events and gone without having anxiety build-up to make me cancel.

So this may not seem like a lot to most people who don’t have BPD, social anxiety or regular anxiety issues, but to me, who has all that, it is a HUGE deal.

I liked the reminder that regardless of setbacks–which I still have weekly or more–that I am doing so much more than I ever have and I am so much more in control than I have ever been..  its crazy.

For the first time in a long fucking time, I can honestly, sincerely say that I am proud of myself.  Who’d a thunk it??!

Go me!

Sometimes it takes Reminding..

Sometimes it takes reminding about how good you really have it in your life. I had that reminder this weekend.  Before I get into that, let me tell you how other things have been going…

So as you know, I have been doing really good with my medications and my counseling. I have become some kind of “normal”, or stable as it were. I have been keeping my emotions in check, I have been keeping my anger in check, I haven’t lost my temper on anyone–mostly–in about a month and a half or so now. I am doing pretty well.

However, I had a setback a couple weeks ago. We had company in town and they stayed with us for five days. First of all, five days is too long for anyone to stay with anyone as far as I am concerned. It takes a toll on all involved. I think the limit should be three days.

Regardless, I managed to get through that week with no flip outs, violence, or agitation for the most part. I was however, running on high anxiety the entire time. I controlled it pretty well though—while our company was there.

As soon as they left, I kind of lost it. I couldn’t handle life. I couldn’t stop crying and I couldn’t figure out why I was not able to handle shit. I know in my right mind I have the tools for these types of situations, but for the life of me, I could not figure out what they were or how to use them.  I was devastated. All I could think was how far I had come and now it was all over and I was back to square one.

In reality, that was not the case, obviously, but in my stupid BDP mind, everything is a fucking catastrophe and when I couldn’t handle one little thing, my cycles took over and overwhelmed me completely. I isolated for three days until I could get to counseling.

THANK GOD FOR COUNSELING!!

I walked in and immediately burst into tears. I told her what was happening and that I was so overwhelmed and anxious and agitated that I just couldn’t get it together and I felt like I had taken 20 steps back. I was so disappointed in myself for forgetting all that I had learned and I couldn’t stop the self-bashing that I tend to go to when my cycles are in full effect. UGH.

She reminded me that this will happen. That I will never be able to get rid of these cycles because of the disorder I have. She reminded me that there is not a cure for BPD, and that I will have small, SMALL set-backs that my BPD will make gigantic. She reminded me that this was a small incident and while I may not have handled it like I thought I should have, I did have some good accomplishments even while I was in the throes of it:  I didn’t lash out at anyone. I didn’t break anyone or anything. I didn’t take my agitation out on anyone around me. I was lucid enough to remember to take myself out of the situation and just sit with it, even though it was horrible and overwhelming and intense. I did not wish I was dead. I somehow remembered through all of that that I will find a way out.

So there’s those things.

It makes me so angry and sad and frustrated that I will never be rid of my BPD cycles. I hate that I will always have those times in my life where I feel so out of control that I no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel. I hate that I will always have to be completely conscious of my actions and behavior to make sure I don’t involve anyone else unnecessarily in the drama that is my BPD.

But, such is my life. Such is the nature of the BPD beast.

I can and will do what I have to do to keep maintaining my “normal”, even with the setbacks. Again, such is my life.

Ok, so back to my original point—my friend came to town this weekend and was really impressed with my boyfriend and all he is and does for me.  She told me I was lucky to have him in my life. I agree.

Sometimes I forget what an amazing guy he is and how much he does for me on a daily basis that I just take for granted. For example, we went fishing the other night and on the way home we stopped at McDonald’s for a late dinner. I had called my son to see if he wanted anything–which he did—but then proceeded to forget to get his burgers . Got home, realized I had forgotten and felt like an asshole. Choney, on the other hand, jumped up, drove to McDonald’s and got my son his burgers. He is awesome. Seriously, how many guys would do that? Mine for sure. I love him.

Anyway, sometimes it takes an outsider to remind you what you have in your life….

I thank my friend for reminding me what I have in mine.