I have registered for the NAMI Walk. For anyone who doesn’t know, NAMI stands for National Alliance for Mental Illness. I’m trying to raise money, and all of it goes to NAMI! As I don’t know a lot of people in real time, I thought that I would reach out to those of you who followed my blog. All of you would understand the toll mental illness takes on the person suffering and the surrounding friends and family members. You don’t need to pledge much to sponsor me. Every little bit helps! If you’re willing to donate to this awesome cause, please visit my NAMI sponsorship page HERE. Thanks, everyone!!
**There was some kind of issue with the link to my new blog. I’ve fixed it, and wanted to repost this with the correct site.
After a lot of careful thought, consideration, and prayer, I have started a new WordPress site. I said that I would share my site with the followers of strugglingwithbpd when, and if, I made the decision to start a new blog. I may still blog on here from time to time, but it will be rare.
My new site is GOD’s Beautiful Sovereignty. As I’m sure you can tell, it will be about GOD/religion/Christianity/the Bible/etc. I will be discussing the active role that GOD takes in our lives. Feel free to check it out if you want. If this doesn’t sound like something you’re interested in, no worries!
Thanks to everyone who has followed my crazy journey the past two years plus years on this site. I may still have a thing or two to post about recovering from BPD in the future.
I woke up this morning and made sure I had a good attitude. I affirmed that it would be a good day, and that I was excited about the upcoming possibilities. Sounds hokey, but it made me feel pretty good. Every time I’ve thought through that affirmation, I smile. I was grinning from ear to ear on the way to work. I’m sure I looked like a fool. I know I didn’t care.
I really am amazed at how well these silly sounding affirmations work. Yesterday evening had the potential to be disastrous. Instead of thinking, “Oh no! This is going to be a crappy, stressful night. I think I’ll stay late at work to avoid it.”, I ran through positive affirmations. All afternoon and all the way home from work, I was repeating to myself “All is well. Everything is working out for my highest good. Only good can come from this situation. I am safe.” After a few minutes, I wasn’t anxious about the upcoming evening. This affirmation can be used for anything, but seems to be good when one is worrying or anxious. Now, I don’t know if I yet believe that we create our experiences based on our thoughts, but I know that I FELT tremendously better than I would have if I was worrying and anxious all afternoon.
I think the whole idea is that how we THINK is really what shapes an experience. If we are constantly thinking negative thoughts, we will have a lot of negative experiences. If I went home last night with the thought in my head that it was going to be a difficult evening, I probably would have walked through the door on edge. If I had been edgy, that would have made the entire situation precarious, and, most likely, explosive. I went home thinking that everything was going to work out for my good (which is a Biblical principle, so not a huge stretch for me), and I had a very nice evening. This morning I started the day stating that I was excited for what could possibly happen, and that I would have a good day today. I know it’s not quite one o-clock, but so far a great day! I’m not feeling stressed, and the silly office bullshit I have to deal with isn’t bothering me in the slightest.
I know I’m not changing events with the power of my mind, but I am continuously surprised by how running positive thoughts through my head all day keeps me out of the low, angry moods I’m prone to. Bad things are going to continue to happen, but I don’t have to let them affect me like I have in the past. After all, it’s not what happens – it’s how we react to it.
This may all seem like a stretch, and I thought it was completely ridiculous when I started reading “You Can Heal Your Life”. However, constantly repeating to myself that I love and approve of myself started to turn my mood the very same day. I have a desire to feel stupid and silly while talking about all this positive affirmation stuff, but I can’t deny that it works. Read some of my many negative, angry, struggling past blog posts if you doubt me.
“I choose to feel good about myself. It does not matter what other people say. What matters is how I choose to react and what I choose to believe about myself.” – affirmation from “21 Days to Master Affirmations” by Louise Hay
“Self-hatred is only hating a thought you have about yourself, and thoughts can be changed.”
You know how some people will ask how you’re doing, and when you start to tell them honestly, they respond in irritation with, “Everyone’s got problems!” Whatever the context, I’m quite sure all of us have heard this from time to time. Either directed at ourselves, or someone else who can’t seem to keep it together.
I was pondering this the other day. Yes, everyone has problems, but why do they seem so HUGE for some, myself, at times, included? As I type this, I realize the answer is obvious, but it seemed novel to me at the time. Yes, everyone has problems, but not everyone is equipped to deal with their problems. Not everyone has the tools to solve their problems and keep them from returning.
Up until recently, I thought it was impossible for ME to learn to use these tools on a regular basis. I knew that the way I was raised caused me to wrongly react to things, but I also thought that I could sit back and blame the way I was raised. I was not taught how to deal with many situations. I was not taught how to act in interpersonal relationships. I was taught to be critical and negative so as not to become disappointed. That doesn’t mean I can’t change any of that, though. Yes, I had a screwed up childhood. No, I do not have to have a screwed up life.
When I started reading “You Can Heal Your Life”, I was depressed and angry. I was considering starting to self harm again. I thought there was no way out, and nothing I could do to change anything. I had tried desperately to change what I said and how I acted. All I managed to do was frustrate, become angry at, and blame myself for not being what I thought I “should” be.
As I began reading, though, my outlook started to change. I realized I had the ability to change what was going on with me. The author says that one has to change how they think about themselves before they can expect their lives to change. I thought it was a lot of touchy-feely-sit-around-a-camp-fire-naked-and-cry-while-singing-koom-by-ya kinda thing. It seems silly that just being nice to yourself and liking yourself is going to change anything. It seems IMPOSSIBLE to me, as a borderline, to even begin to show self-love. The entire concept seemed foreign.
It starts off with baby steps, though. Not being critical of yourself, not having negative views about yourself, only telling yourself nice things, repeating affirmations, etc. If one goes through life thinking they are shit and don’t deserve happiness, they will never obtain happiness. If one thinks that everyone is out to get them, that is what they will see in their life. What you view about yourself will manifest in your life. I KNOW this seems crazy, but it really seems to work!
Think about it, though. If you believe, deep down, that you will never be happy, how will you be able to LET yourself be happy? Letting yourself be happy would go against everything you truly believe! If you believe everyone is out to get you, that is all that you will see in each interaction with people.
Conversely, if you tell yourself you deserve to be happy, it will come. If you tell yourself that you love yourself, you will not see a need to be overly critical. If you forgive other people for their faults, you’ll be more able to forgive yourself the faults you possess.
I have been repeating affirmations to myself over the past week. “I completely love and accept myself.” “I deserve to be _____, and I accept it now.” “I am willing to release the need to be unworthy. I am worthy of the very best in life and I now lovingly allow myself to accept it.” I think you get the point. I have seen a difference in how I treat myself since I’ve started doing this. I have been showering on a daily basis, and using smelly bath stuff. I have been using lotions. I have been exercising some. I have been eating better. I have been sleeping better. It’s like I finally convinced myself that I am WORTHY of being treated well, and I am doing that for myself. The above things have been difficult for me in the past because I never thought I was worthy of anything other than pain and misery, and that’s how I treated myself.
I have also been treating other people better. I do not get as frustrated with my coworkers, and I have not been lashing out at Crazy Jay. I do not look for the negative in everything and find ways to tell others that they’re wrong. I am not as critical, and am more willing to over look things others do that bother me.
Here’s something else COMPLETELY CRAZY: Crappy things have happened this past week, but I am not really bothered by them. Jay and I have had a tiff or two, but it was quickly nipped in the bud, and I didn’t brood about it all day. I am not as stressed out at work, even though there is a HUGE invoicing mess that I’ve been dealing with. Everything seems to roll off my back much easier than it ever has in my life. Maybe this is what my unconventional therapist meant when she told me to “be an observer”. It’s like the bullshit that other people throw my way doesn’t even touch me.
I guess maybe I should have started with this next part. Then maybe people would have read all the way through. I am not struggling and straining to “get through” each problem that comes my way. I do not have to bite my tongue or deeply consider what I say. Because I have changed my outlook on things, and the way I view myself, it’s not hard to be nice, because I FEEL nice. It’s not hard to contain my frustration, because I don’t FEEL it anywhere near the same level I used to. It’s not hard to “act” happy, because I AM happy. I am not trying to twist my mind into doing something that it doesn’t want to do. I am in the process of retraining my mind so that it wants to do what I want it to do, and not just react to things that trigger childhood memories. I changed my fundamental beliefs about myself and my life, and I have seen an almost immediate change. It helps that Jay is going through the same book as me, and is seeing things the same way. Even if he wasn’t, though, I think I would be ok. I think I am going to get through all this. In fact, I can see it as I look over my shoulder, getting smaller in the distance. I AM going to have a full, happy life. I AM worthy, and deserve good things. I AM lovable and capable of showing love. I AM willing to release the negative patterns in my mind. Holy shit…I think I can do this thing, after all.
Soooo…It would seem that I’m toying with the idea of forgiving “the snapperheads” (as Crazy Jay would say) who screwed me up in the past. This would include everyone that I’m harboring resentment against, but it would start with my parents.
I’m reading “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay. It was recommended to me by my unconventional therapist. I’m not too far into this book, but I feel like it has already changed my attitude about certain things. I’m learning the benefits of self love and positive thinking. “Self love” is hard for a borderline to feel, but there was a brief paragraph in this book that caught my eye.
“Loving the self, to me, begins with never ever criticizing ourselves for anything. Criticism locks us into the very pattern we are trying to change. Understanding and being gentle with ourselves helps us to move out of it. Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”
Well, I guess she has a point. I HAVE been incredibly hard on myself all of my life. I don’t particularly like how my life is going right now. Something needs to change. I have tried a lot of things to try and change my thoughts and behaviors, and nothing has really worked. Why not give being nice to myself a try? It couldn’t hurt.
Back to forgiving snapperheads
The thought is that, if one is holding onto anger and resentment, not only can they make themselves physically sick, but they are exerting a lot of unnecessary energy. One keeps the negative energy and emotions in their body, and it just continues to make their life difficult.
Not only that, but expecting perfection from your parents is a sure-fire way to never expect less than perfection from yourself. How can you love yourself and not be critical if you expect yourself to be perfect? I know when I place expectations on myself, I’m constantly kicking myself and feeling like a failure. It’s better to remember that, just like you, your parents are frightened, injured people. They have been damaged in their lifetimes, and are only able to teach their children what they have been taught.
In order to free ourselves from the negative patterns in our life, we need to learn to love ourselves. Before we love ourselves, we must forgive those who have harmed us in the past. Now, I’m still a little leery of this “forgiveness” sticht. I talked to my unconventional therapist about this last night. She cleared a few things up for me that might make this a little bit easier.
Just because you forgive a person does not mean you are saying what happened is ok. You are not condoning their behaviors. You are just making the conscious decision to not spend any time or energy being upset by this person’s actions. The past cannot be changed, but we can change our future by adjusting how we think about things. If we are constantly thinking about how horrible people are, and about the evil things that have been done to us, our lives won’t be very fulfilled. We will hold onto hate and anger, and never flourish into the person we could have been had we been born into a loving environment.
I was also assured that just because one decides to forgive another does not mean that person has to be in their life. I can accept that my parents were raised a certain way, and act a certain way. I can decide that I do not want people who act a certain way to be part of my life. I am not judging them, angry, or hating them, I just do not want the negativity they bring as part of my little world. I can forgive them and work to heal myself without judging them or including them in my life.
I really want to heal from my past. I want my future to be different than where it seems to be headed. I want a full, happy, positive life. It will be difficult for me to show self love. It will be difficult for me to forgive my parents, and keep in mind that that means no pent up anger towards them. It will be difficult for me to focus on the positive, and keep the negative out of my life. It’s difficult, but not impossible. I am committed to being different. I have tried a lot of different things to try and change myself. Nothing’s worked so far. Time to try being nice to myself, and show a little forgiveness.
I’m starting to think that I’m not cut out to be in any kind of personal relationship with any person (dogs are ok!). This is problematic as I’ve been married for the past 10 years. I can interact with people on a professional level, and I can interact with the check-out girl at Walmart. Other than that, no one should come near me. I do not know how to have an interpersonal relationship. I didn’t have any good examples growing up of how healthy people treat each other. I don’t know how to talk to people without being harsh, demanding, negative, and instructive. I’m told I treat people close to me like employees. Though the people I work with think I’m sweet and quiet LOL. I don’t know how to be open and honestly express my feelings, and what I want, so I come off as sneaky and manipulative. I don’t know how to show affection or be loving, so I come off as cold and uncaring. I don’t know how to have a conversation without offending or being offended, so I tend to keep my mouth shut, which makes me seem withdrawn and aloof. I come off ok on paper or through email. Of course, it takes me more time than most to compose an email. I read over it numerous times to make sure it says what I want, and that I am not coming off in an offensive manner. Too bad that doesn’t work in life or in real time.
Crazy Jay and I have had various marital issues throughout the ten years we’ve been together. I used to think the problems were all his. It wasn’t until he and I sobered up a few years ago that I realized a lot of the problems we have are coming from ME. I don’t want to end my marriage. Not at all. Not even close. I just wish I could snap my fingers and change the old tapes that keep running through my head. I notice some of what I am doing, but still probably not everything. I am told all the time that I am doing and saying things that I don’t think I’m doing or saying. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around something that I absolutely do NOT think I’m doing when the person accusing me is crazier than I am. Then again, what he says makes sense.
I really do not know what to do. I am seeing a therapist, and going through a couple books. I am trying to change as best I can, but it is slow going. REALLY slow going. It seems that no matter what I do that I think is right, and no matter how hard I try to do and say the right thing, I am always wrong. I try “A”, and am told I need to do “B”. I do “B”, and then find out that I’m not doing “B” right. Or, I can do something “technically” right, but because I do not seem to have the appropriate emotional response or feeling to put behind it, I’m wrong again.
I think part of my problem is that I don’t have any good emotional feelings to put behind my actions, making everything seem forced and hollow. I feel so numb and beaten down by life, I don’t have a clue as to how to show the emotion. Not to mention that, a lot of the time, I’m not even FEELING the emotion I should be feeling. I don’t have soft or warm and fuzzy feelings, so I can’t act on them. I don’t even know how to express what I AM feeling. Every time I try to talk about what I am thinking, feeling, or what is going on in my head, it comes out all wrong. I come off as complaining and accusatory, though I don’t know how that happens when I am only talking about myself and not another person. I know that I have stopped expressing myself because it always starts a fight. It doesn’t even feel worth it. It seems it would be better for me to suffer in silence and try to deal with things on my own than cause any more trouble.
Things really do feel hopeless sometimes, though I know that they’re not. It seems that when I don’t try to amend my behavior, I am wrong and that causes a lot of problems. However, when I DO try to amend my behavior, I am still wrong, and still causing a lot of problems. I feel like there’s no point in trying. Why add failure and frustration to my already negative feelings? If I try and am still wrong, why bother trying? Why turn myself into a failure? I feel like I am at an impasse, and I don’t know how to get around it. This life is exhausting me.
Who is this girl in the photo? Not me.
She looks ahead. Innocent eyes. Wide grin.
She is ignorant of events to come.
She has not been broken. Used. Defiled.
She does not yet know the world hates her.
Still so full of hope and expectations.
Wide open. Still trusting those in her life.
Not knowing the hurt and pain they will cause.
They wouldn’t do that. They say they love her.
She hasn’t yet learned the horrors of love.
She will soon find that love morphs to evil.
Everyone uses love as a weapon.
Trying to beat her down. To make her bleed.
She will soon feel worthless. She is trash.
She won’t recover. Her soul feels dead.
She’s condemned to a life trapped by her past.
But not yet. Today still carefree. Happy.
She’s not me. I’m not her. Impossible.
Crazy Jay and I met with our therapist last night. I’ve been calling her “new age therapist”, or something like that. I think I’m going to change to “unconventional”, instead. Anyway, we were talking about how a lot of the issues Jay and I both have now are a result of things done to us throughout childhood. Unconventional Therapist was telling us that we need to go back and heal our inner child so that our adult selves can be healed. Now, this is the kind of thing that I used to think was complete B.S. “Heal your inner child”? Gimme a break!! What kind of mumbo-jumbo is that? Just be an adult and deal with this!!
Of course, that could be (and probably is) the voice of the fuckers who raised me. They didn’t believe in therapy. They weren’t convinced of the legitimacy of They looked down on people with mental disorders, telling me that if I was depressed, it’s because I “wasn’t trusting God enough”. That’s nice. And so helpful. Way to make a person who already feels shitty into even MORE of a failure.
I think Unconventional Therapist is absolutely right that Jay and I need to heal our inner child. I mean, the way we react to things now is directly related to our experiences in childhood. Jay tells me all the time he feels like a financial burden, even though I keep telling him to shut his whore mouth. I have never thought of him as a burden, and I hope I don’t ACT like I think he’s a burden. It clicked for us last night, though, that Jay’s father always made money an issue when Jay was growing up. His father was constantly talking about how much things that Jay needed cost. No wonder he now sees that he is using money and not putting any in the kitty, so he equates that with being a burden.
My distaste of being touched stems from my childhood sexual abuse. I feel hands on me now and essentially think I am a child, being abused and touched against my will. Of course, that is not a conscious thought, but that is why I don’t like hands on me now. The thoughts, feelings and ideas we have reinforced as children come out when we’re adults. I have so many more examples of how things in childhood shape my thoughts and actions now, but I think I’ve made my point.
Jay told Unconventional Therapist that he didn’t know how to heal his inner child. That he didn’t even know what this looked like. I’ve had several weeks to digest the “heal your inner child” thing, but this may be the first time Jay tried to apply it to himself. I told him that his inner child and my inner child (Little Jay and Little Meg) should have a play date this week. Do something childlike and silly. I suggested going to a playground and swinging. The teeter-tooter would be fun, too! Unconventional Therapist suggested we may like to try some art projects since we both thought coloring in coloring books would be enjoyable. Art projects may be too lofty of a goal, but I could sure mess around with some Play-Dough!!
This week Jay and I are both going to focus on “going back” and taking care of Little Jay and Little Meg. Unconventional Therapist said our goal is to “go back”, “pick up” our little inner selves, and tell him or her that we will protect them. That we are there to take care of them. We aren’t terribly sure how to attempt that quite yet, but apparently the first step is doing activities our inner child would enjoy…hence the play date. It was also suggested that we go to the children’s section of the library and check out some kid books, but then that would entail brushing elbows with ACTUAL children.
I’m looking forward to letting out Little Meg. I think this could be fun. It will be nice to focus on small enjoyable activities throughout the day instead of the many stresses of life.
This is a very good post I found at Half of a Soul. I’ll let it speak for itself.
Lately I’m overwhelmed with ideas to consider/write about/explore in relation to that all-consuming topic of my life: BPD. I know that it’s actually much more important to LIVE a life rather than just spend it looking at life from every possible angle in your mind. Looking at it, analyzing it, considering it from every possible angle is just too exhausting for anyone’s mind, let alone a borderline’s. However, that’s what this post is going to be, in the hopes that venting some of these constant buzzing thoughts regarding the inner life and identity of BPD gets them out for the day (or hour at least).
It hardly needs to be said that, as borderlines, we spend so much damn time thinking this out (well, trying to), questioning everything we do/have done, trying to come up with solutions when ultimately, we don’t even know if we want to…
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