I was watching the horror movie, “Shadow People”, the other day. It’s a really good, creepy movie. I’d recommend it! It is about these shadows that come to your room as you’re drifting off to sleep. You open your eyes and see the shadows moving, and coming towards you. You experience paralysis, being able to move only your eyes, and then you die. As the movie progressed, it was revealed that the people who die at the hands of the “Shadow People” BELIEVE in the “Shadow People”. Doubters don’t die. Just the people who believe this “monster” is real. The number of deaths by the “Shadow People” increased as more people heard and believed these stories. The movie ended with evidence of the “Shadow People” being suppressed and lied about so as not to create more believers, and more deaths.
There was a woman on the movie (that’s supposedly based on a true story) who drew a parallel between dying at the hands of the “Shadow People”, and taking a placebo. Your body thinks it is getting medicine, when in fact it has only received a placebo. Because your mind and body THINK it has medicine to be healed with, the body begins to heal itself. The people in this movie believed that there were “Shadow People” who would kill them in their sleep, and their minds made it happen.
Now, this is obviously a little far-fetched, but it got me thinking about mental illness. It made me wonder if we could make ourselves sicker by buying into all the Wikipedia pages about our illness(es), and listening to the negative things people say about us.
I know that when I was reading ALL the blogs on WordPress about borderline personality disorder, I was more focused on the negative aspects of myself and my disorder then when I decided I would only peruse the POSITIVE mental health blogs. Listening to people talk about what they were going through can be helpful, but it can also be damaging, I think. While it does help and encourage me to know that I’m not alone in my craziness, and other people know what I’m going through, I also tend to focus so heavily on the negative things they’ve experienced and are feeling. It’s almost like their emotions and their memories become my own. I start thinking about the issues other people are having, and think about how it relates to me. I see that these people have BPD, and I do, too, so I seem to make a leap in my mind. I cannot just listen and observe what another person is going through – All of a sudden it is ME going through those things. Focusing on their negativity makes me focus on mine. I forget to do the things that make me feel good, because all I can think about are bad things. I take on the bad feelings I’ve read about, and make them my own.
Reading about borderline personality disorder just reinforces all the crap I’m feeling and thinking about myself. It makes me forget that I am working to get better. It seems to make me worse. Crazy Jay has told me for a long time that I am the best student he’s ever seen. When I thought that I was a psychopath, I read a lot about serial killers and sociopaths/psychopaths. I started taking on the traits I was reading about. I convinced myself that I didn’t care about things. I convinced myself that I didn’t feel. I convinced myself that I hated the world, and wanted to try my hand at taking out a few people. Just for the hell of it.
Apparently the same thing happened when I realized I have BPD. I read about it all the time, and started acting more and more like a crazy chick having a borderline episode (after episode, after episode, after episode). I noticed that when I started reading more about dermatillomania, the same thing happened again. I started picking at my scalp more and more. It’s like knowing about it fed my need to pick at my scabs, just like learning more about BPD turned me into a textbook borderline.
It has taken me a long time to figure this out, but I really think my focus needs to be on HEALING, and not on my symptoms. I need to worry about filling my day with positive moments. I need to continue to practice controlling my tone and the nasty things I say. I need to address the hurt inner child that has never been properly nurtured. I need to focus on my relationship with my husband. I do NOT need to read book after book on what it looks like to have borderline personality disorder. I do NOT need to read blogs that are full of negativity and nothing but complaints about life. I do NOT need to watch movies that will make me think too deeply on my past. I do NOT need to visit the Wikipedia page on BPD every other week to check and see if my symptoms are still in line with what they “should” be.
The more I tell myself that it is “normal” for a person with BPD to act the way that I do, the more I’m giving myself permission to act in that way. If I hear that I can’t get better until later on in life, that the symptoms of borderline personality disorder tend to diminish after the age of 40, then I’m giving myself free reign to only half-ass getting better, at least until I’m closer to 40. If I keep thinking that I “can’t” do this or that, then that is how I am going to act. If I have myself convinced that I can’t be pleasant because the BPD has my mind weighed down with anger, sadness, and irritation, then I am not even going to attempt to be kind or gentle. I need to start focusing on the change I want instead of the bad behaviors I “can’t” get rid of. I need to stop making myself sick, and start focusing on healing.