It might end up being short lived, but at least for the moment I feel like I’ve reached somewhat of a turning point. I don’t think it’s any one thing that has led to this change, just a bunch of consistent habits and behaviours that I’ve built up which are giving me a sense of stability. I’m on a set of medication that seems to be helping somewhat, I’m staying organised at work and don’t feel like I’m drowning in neglected responsibilities, I’m still speaking up for myself but I don’t think it’s destroying me quite as much when people aren’t receptive.
I’ve realised that I’ve been living in fear all of my life. Fear of being alone, fear of social situations, fear of saying the wrong thing, fear of losing control over my life. Is it weird to think that maybe I just got sick of that and have decided to stop being afraid? I know that’s simplifying things, and I do know that I have this mental illness which has a huge influence over how I think, feel and react to situations.
For the moment, however, I’ve let go of a lot of my anxieties, and it’s nice to believe that maybe my current optimism might stay with me for some time.
So what happened? I think a lot of this comes down to communication. I know, I harp on about this a lot, but as someone who has felt socially stunted all of their life this has been a major focus for my recovery. I went from rarely speaking up for myself to erratically voicing my biggest insecurities to the people in my life. This definitely wasn’t effective, and as I’ve said in previous posts, something I desperately needed to seek some balance on.
I’ve been using those lovely ‘I feel’ statements a lot this past month or so. I’ve even gotten into the habit of rereading messages I’m about to send and making sure I’m not presenting my emotions or assumptions as fact, and then rewriting them accordingly. Doing this really helps get across the fact that I am not speaking out of anger but rather out of concern and anxiety. Most people are quite receptive to this, they can understand that when I reach out to them about an issue which is causing me considerable stress I am doing so out of a need to make sense of things. Those who can’t? Fuck ‘em. I get that BPD is a high needs illness and that not everyone has the patience for people like me. I am trying to remind myself that anyone whose go to reaction is to lash out when a mentally ill friend approaches them with insecurities clearly has their own issues they need to work out. This is not a reflection of my worth.
I had a really good conversation with members of my family about BPD. I know I’ve said some things along this journey which have been unfair to them, but I feel that we’ve reached a point where we understand each other a lot more. In a weird way this blog has been like a bridge not just to my family but other people in my life. I’ve been able to express thoughts that I may not have been able to voice in person and it’s been a good starting point for communication. I’ve had old friends reach out to me because they’ve really connected with some of the things I have said here.
I’ve been filling my life with more positive influences. I’ve reached out to friends who I’ve drifted away from. I even spent time with colleagues outside of work this week. This may not seem like a big deal but I can assure you that it is for me. What’s more is I didn’t even get anxious and I had a great time.
I’ll still get sad and frustrated when I feel isolated or devalued, but I haven’t been sobbing uncontrollably for awhile. I haven’t thought about hurting myself. I haven’t let disagreements with friends take total control over my life. I truly believe I can get through this and become the kind of person that I’d like to be. The kind of person who is confident in their own voice, who is compassionate and doesn’t hurt people with erratic insecurity, who isn’t afraid every fucking day.