543 days since I submitted my last blog post.
What a 543 days it’s been!
I’m writing this, pleading with you to not lose hope. To not give up. I know how it feels to be absolutely certain you will never escape this, you will never get better; that you can’t. I’m not promising you you’ll be healed; I had all those feelings just last week. It gets easier, you just have to give it all you got; because what else do you have to lose?
I completed my first year of my degree at university. I completed my intense course of DBT. I learnt how to live. I learnt living doesn’t mean every day is a good day. I began to breathe without it hurting.
I still have BPD, that isn’t ever going to go away. It isn’t ever going to ‘heal’. I just have to learn how to cope, how to exist with it being part of me; just like an annoying laugh or a shy disposition.
I took part in a year course of Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) it involved 2 and a half hours of group therapy and an hour of one to one therapy a week. It was very intense, time consuming and at times a drag. But I did it. I had to sign a contract at the beginning to say I would commit myself to every therapy session. At times it was extremely hard, I’d wake up at 8am and turn my alarm off 18 times before saying come on, you can do this & throwing myself out of bed.
In DBT you are taught a number, and by number I mean hundreds of ‘skills’:
- Interpersonal skills, as BPD means losing or never even possessing your ability to express yourself and make friends.
- Emotional Regulation skills; this being the most important in my opinion. Having BPD means my emotions are as irratic, unexpected and unreasonable as a drunk man being refused his last beverage.
- Distress Tolerance skills; it’s thank to these I haven’t self harmed in over a year. It’s thanks to these that when I have an urge something tells me in my head not to act on it (well, it’s thanks to these skills and the overdose two years ago that I don’t, I can’t, it’s too great a risk).
- Mindfulness.. finally there are an unbelievable amount of mindfulness skills and as difficult and ridiculous as it may seem, they work.
Out of these hundreds of skills, one has resonated with me an incredible amount and I’d like to share it with you. Now, as a BPD sufferer, if you are ever offered the opportunity of DBT; take it, grab it and embrace it with more than just both arms; your whole self. It will change your life. It will improve your life. It will save your life.
Back to the skill I learnt; it’s called ‘opposite action’. Not only is it the opposite action in my eyes, it’s the positive action. It means doing the opposite to whatever action your emotion is telling you to do. For example, when you are sad and just want to wrap up in your duvet and hide; go out, get up, shower, do something, anything. When you feel guilty and have that feeling of dread and discomfort in your stomach; tell someone, confess to someone you trust and love, and someone who reciprocates this.
I can’t express how DBT has changed my life. I remember when I began over a year ago on my first day, I observed another member of the groups behaviour and actions. How confident, happy and a joy to be around she was. I sat there in silence, withdrawn, afraid and just admired this girl. I thought I’d never be her. On my last day a few months ago, I did most of the talking. I encouraged the others, the new members, I put myself forward to try anything and everything. I realised I had achieved what I thought impossible.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am nowhere near ‘over’ BPD. I still struggle every day. My head is a constant battle. I’m persistently arguing with myself. Defending myself. Hating myself. But it’s all that little bit less and it’s that little bit less that gives me room to breathe, room to enjoy even a single moment, room to live.
I’m still working on myself. Working on my behaviours. Working on my mind. Working on my future. Working on my success’. Working on getting better.
All you need in life is that little bit less, please, whatever it is; whether it be horse riding, therapy, singing, laughing, walking, reading.. find your little bit less.
Love for the past 543 days, and always,
An Impartial Soul xo