Hey friends, its been a while.
It feels nice to be sitting in front of my computer again. The baby is napping, a warm cup of coffee steaming next to me and so much to share with you all. Its was a much needed break from writing, especially since I was in a brain space that always led down a dark rabbit hole. That “dark hole” was something I should have paid more attention too. My fingers buzzed over the keys, desperately trying to tell me “you’re not okay”, but I simply hit the backspace button and wrote over my mental ink splats with small quips and humor. Denial. Ahhh, my safe place. My way of coping and surviving in a world where a very small number of people understand, while the vast majority that remains simply don’t understand. Hell, up until just recently I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. I had never received a diagnosis. I was given medication for the side-effects of a greater problem. Side-effects such as anxiety and depression and still no one wanted to jump down that rabbit hole with me and find the source of all this pain and confusion. A pain so great that in the winter of 2018 I came too close to taking my own life. I had lost all hope of escaping this constant cycle of trying to live my life and run from it at the same time. So one night I polished off a bottle of red and took a fist full of pills.
I won’t get into the details because I can’t recall a lot of it but I will not say I regret this decision. We all need a moment like this. A catalyst that forces you to look in the mirror, to see yourself at the bottom of that hole where you’re given two options. Option one; eventually you will succeed in killing yourself and through your attempts you will destroy those who love you. Option two; take a hold of the hand/s reaching into that hole and let them help pull you out. Sometimes those hands are there, even if we don’t ask for them. Other times there are hands we need to seek out. Either way, if you choose option two you are choosing to work. One of the hardest things I’ve had to face thus far has been myself. Before, I made a million excuses like “who has the time to explain over and over again that I have this thing and it makes me suck sometimes” or “I’m a mom, I have to focus on my son not myself”. Those excuses were just that, excuses. I know a little bit about myself and from the little I do know, I know that I am lazy and I hate facing my problems. Who doesn’t right? I told myself that I didn’t have the time to find a therapist, especially one that I connected with AND run back and forth to weekly sessions, drudging up painful events in my childhood only to get to a destination that in my mind didn’t exist. That destination being “normality”. I didn’t believe I could ever be a normal person with normal person problems. I still don’t think I’ll ever be normal. But I’ve learned that “normal” is not the purpose of therapy, healthy is the purpose of therapy.
Finally we have a diagnosis, BPD!!! Why would I be happy about this? Well, if you unknowingly had cancer, suffered from awful side effects but never knew why, would you want to know you what was causing your suffering? You could start treatment if you knew, right? YES. TREATMENT is why I am excited! Before, therapy felt like I was chipping away at a mountain. There wasn’t much hope to be had as far as improvement. Any Jim Bob in a tweed blazer can talk you until you’re blue in the face but if you’re not talking about the right stuff, you’re not going to get anywhere. So, when I read the criteria for BPD I was shocked! How in the FUCK had I not been diagnosed years ago? The DSM-5 could smell me coming a hundred miles away for Pete’s sake! Knowing this information made something very clear to me, in the words of Slim Shady, “I’m sorry momma, but tonight, I’m cleaning out my closet”. I am going to have to face it ALL and reopen wounds that never truly healed right. I am going to have to ask questions to get answers I didn’t know if I wanted. I am going to have to accept the reality that the people who hurt and abandoned me did so because they never truly loved me. Talk about a huge, horse pill to swallow but to know love we have to experience pain. I want to love my family in a way that’s healthy. I don’t want to hold my son hostage when he turns 18 in fear that he will leave and never come back. I don’t want to push my husband away every time I hear the word “deployment”. I want to love them like I needed to be loved when I was little. And I’ll be damned if I don’t do that! So, while sitting in that hospital bed feeling lower than I’ve ever felt before in my life, I surrendered. In that moment I lost all denial in the fact that I was “okay” and that I didn’t need help. I was scared, relieved, embarrassed, and lost but even then I had so much to live for. Therefore, I choose to live.
BPD: Borderline Personality Disorder
A personality disorder that affects a persons mood and how they interact with people. The causes of BPD are unclear. However, as with most conditions, BPD appears to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Traumatic events that occur during childhood are associated with developing BPD. Many people with BPD will have experienced parental neglect or physical, sexual or emotional abuse during their childhood.
- Extreme reactions to feeling abandoned.
- Unstable relationships with others.
- Confused feelings about who you are.
- Being impulsive in ways that could be damaging. For example, spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating
- Regular self-harming, suicidal threats or behavior.
- Long lasting feelings of emptiness or being abandoned.
- Difficulty controlling your anger. For example, losing your temper or getting into fights.
- Intense, highly changeable moods.
- Paranoid thoughts when you’re stressed.
I have been in therapy ever since November of last year and about a month and a half ago joined a DBT therapy group. This form of therapy emphasizes the use of coping mechanisms to avoid impulsive/self destructive behavior and reactions. I’m also learning that yoga and DBT are similar in a lot of ways which is very comforting to me. Knowing that this lifestyle that I love very much can further my healing and help me connect to my treatment in an everyday kind of way is encouraging. I’ve discovered other methods for my emotional outlet such as journaling and painting. I’m no Picasso but hammering a brush onto a canvas can be very satisfying and the finished product isn’t always as bad as you think. The group has also showed me that I’m not alone. There are other people in this world, neighbors even, who understand the struggle. Its bittersweet knowledge because it’s not something I’d wish on anyone, but still, it brings me solace.
What is DBT?
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a specific type of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy developed in the late 1980s by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan to help better treat borderline personality disorder. Since its development, it has also been used for the treatment of other kinds of mental health disorders.
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) treatment is a type of psychotherapy — or talk therapy — that utilizes a cognitive-behavioral approach. DBT emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment.
The theory behind the approach is that some people are prone to react in a more intense and out-of-the-ordinary manner toward certain emotional situations, primarily those found in romantic, family and friend relationships. DBT theory suggests that some people’s arousal levels in such situations can increase far more quickly than the average person’s, attain a higher level of emotional stimulation, and take a significant amount of time to return to baseline arousal levels.
People who are sometimes diagnosed with borderline personality disorder experience extreme swings in their emotions, see the world in black-and-white shades, and seem to always be jumping from one crisis to another. Because few people understand such reactions — most of all their own family and a childhood that emphasized invalidation — they don’t have any methods for coping with these sudden, intense surges of emotion. DBT is a method for teaching skills that will help in this task.
To those who are struggling with their mental health or know someone who is, meet in no judgement. This means no judgement for both ourselves and others. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself “what would I need right now if I were them?”. If the answer to that question is judgement then maybe you’re not the right person for them at that moment and that’s okay. Not everyone should be tasked with such things. The same can go for ourselves. We are, without a doubt, our worst critique and we often jump to the negative parts of our self and let them consume us until we’re curled into the fetal position, back at square one. Try changing the vinyl, if the current lyrics are all but uplifting then change it to something more along the lines of Meghan Trainor’s – Me Too. And this is where I will leave you, with this super catchy, totally awesome brain worm stuck in your head. Your welcome! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDRORgoZxZU 🙂
With much love & gratitude