For at least the past four years, I’ve been considered to have borderline personality disorder. I believe I was showing signs of it many years before, but it’s only been in the past four years that I’ve been diagnosed as such. As recently as the beginning of August, I was on Wikipedia, comparing my symptoms to those listed in the DSM IV. After reviewing the criteria for BPD those couple months ago, I reported back to Crazy Jay that I still exhibited about 95% of the symptoms. I was actually pleased back in August to see that I would still be considered a raging borderline. I was still crazy. Whew. What a relief. At that time, I believed that if I clung to the borderline personality diagnosis hard enough, I wouldn’t have to do anything to change my behavior. Don’t get me wrong: I WANTED to change. I felt miserable. My life was chaotic. I was depressed and contemplating suicide…again. I had purchased new tools to self harm…again. My problem was that I didn’t know HOW to change. In fact, I was at a point where I really thought it was next to impossible for me to make any positive changes. I tried pharmaceuticals. I tried trusting God to change me. I’d attended dialectical behavioral therapy and tried to study Marsha Linehan’s approach to helping those with BPD. I tried drinking my troubles away. I had numerous individual therapists. I tried reading books on the subject. Nothing really seemed to help me. Oh, I may have gotten better for a couple days, but I wasn’t able to hold onto the “change” for very long at all. That’s because it wasn’t a real change. I was trying to force my mind to do and believe things that went against my very core. Of course, what I believed in my core was wrong, but it still makes it difficult to change one’s behavior if old beliefs are held onto.
Jay and I started seeing a therapist together this past May. Since we both had pretty much hit rock bottom personally, our marriage was showing signs of distress. The therapist we saw was unlike any other we had sought help from in the past. If you’ve been following Crazy Jay’s and my blogs, I have been calling her “Unconventional Therapist”, and Jay has been calling her “New Age Therapy Chick”, or NATC. She focuses more on Eastern philosophies. She introduced us to the Emotional Freedom Technique which involves tapping on pressure points of the body while repeating affirmations. She uses oil remedies for emotional and physical issues. She focuses on being in the moment instead of brooding about the past or pondering the future. She also led me to the book that I feel completely changed my perspective on life in general, my attitude, and how I need be living. “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay has taught me that loving myself can go a long way in helping me feel better. Focusing on the negative will bring negative into my life. Sending negative thoughts/comments/actions into the world towards others will bring negative into my life. The best thing I can do for myself, and for everyone else is to love, respect, and forgive myself. If I am able to do that for myself, it will be much easier to do that for other people.
I have been feeling tremendously wonderful this past month. I can’t believe it’s only been a month. I never thought I would feel a fraction of the joy and overall positivity I feel now. Daily stresses don’t seem to bother me. Jay and I have a much more peaceful, understanding relationship. My anxiety has decreased to almost nothing. My depression is gone. I am treating myself better, both physically and emotionally. I do still have issues to deal with, but I feel that I can now actually focus on that issue, and take care of it so that it does not pop up and bother me again. Three months ago, however, I wouldn’t have really been able to start working on this issue. It was too difficult stepping over the steaming piles of pain, anger and depression to focus on anything else.
Today I pulled up Wikipedia’s page on borderline personality disorder. Any guesses as to how many criteria I met? Let me start by saying that, at my worst, I knocked all nine outta the park. I won’t go into any more detail about how things were at my worst, but start reading through my early blog posts if you want a clear picture. Today, however, is a new day. Today, I do not meet ONE criterion. If I was examined by a shrink or some doctor today, I would NOT be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
I know that I have only been feeling exceptionally awesome for about a month, but I can tell this time is different. This time I have changed my way of thinking and my thoughts. This time when I am nice to Jay, it is not because I am clenching my teeth shut so I don’t spew venom. This time I’m nice to Jay because all I hold in my head are soft, loving thoughts about him. I don’t allow myself to think negative thoughts. Not about myself. Not about Jay. Not about my co-workers, or traffic, or the slower cashier at the grocery store. Not even about my birth family. I am in the process of forgiving all from my past that I feel have wronged me, and I feel free. I am happy. I am content. I’ve found a way of thinking that works for me.
In the past, my BPD would come in cycles, as I’m sure is the case for most. I would have a looooong string of bad days, with a couple good thrown in. The rare good days could last from one day to maybe four or five, if I was “lucky”. Even on those “good” days, I would struggle with my thoughts. I was ALWAYS at war with my thoughts. A “good” day meant I didn’t punch a hole in the wall. I would just go to my car and punch on it so I didn’t leave marks (well, not on the car, that is). A “good” day meant I was only mean and snarky for a small portion of the day instead of the entire thing. A “good” day meant I only picked the scabs off of my arms and legs instead of creating new cuts. Even my “good” days were bad days.
I don’t expect my life to be perfect now. Of course things will come up. Things HAVE been coming up. It’s important to keep in mind that things will ALWAYS come up. That is the way of life. What matters is not what happens, but how you deal with it. What matters is not what others say or do to you. What matters is how you choose to react and what you choose to believe about yourself. I choose to love myself, tell myself I’m wonderful, and have an amazing day.