Today was a sad day because this morning the Boyfriend left to go back home to Boston. He will be back in a few weeks and then we are planning a vacation together that will include Angie of course More on that when the time comes because now I really need to focus on self-care.
I’ve mentioned on the blog that I’ve had some difficulty with depression coming back and it’s extremely important to me that I do everything that I can to keep myself from falling down the rabbit hole. I briefly spoke about my intention to start some kind of movement regimen to get those endorphins flowing but that also necessitates a post or two of its own.
Although I’ve only just finished Week 3 of my nearly 10 month commitment to a Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills group, I’ve really taken each of the 3 sessions to heart and thought about how I can use the skills to create the life I want to live, and one that will help either reduce my Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms, or help me tolerate them better.
This week we started a short module on Self-Validation, which to be brief is a huge necessity for me. One thing I want to make clear is that you don’t need to have an actual diagnosis to be struggling. In fact, many people struggle with symptoms of certain disorders but may not have what is clinically considered “enough” to be diagnosable. For those of you who might just be joining me, here are the symptoms of BPD so you know what I’m talking about:
Borderline Personality Disorder Diagnosis:DSM-IV-TR Diagnostic Criteria Overview of the Borderline Personality Disorder Diagnosis An Explanation of the DSM-IV-TR Criteria
1. Abandonment Fears
2. Unstable Intense Relationships
3. Identity Disturbance
5. Suicidal or Self-injurious Behaviors
6. Affective (Emotional) Instability
9. Psychotic-like Perceptual Distortions (source)
Some of you at one point or another might really identify with certain characteristics of BPD and/or other disorders. What would have saved me a lot of heartache and time spent in treatment centers is the realization that you don’t need to have all the symptoms of a disorder in order to deserve help and be struggling/in pain. Although DBT was created to help suicidal patients, it is now considered the primary therapy for the treatment of those with Borderline Personality Disorder AS WELL AS eating disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and just those individuals who want some skills to help them cope with difficult situations. If you are hurting inside, you deserve help and it doesn’t matter what labels you have or don’t have. Pain is pain.
I’ve had to begin validating for myself that in order to reach my personal and professional goals in life, and hell just to make it through the day, I have to live my life a little bit differently from everyone else. Because of the constant battle I’m fighting in my head, I have to take time outs. I have to take a nap in the afternoon otherwise I burn out, get upset over small issues, and start to feel anger that doesn’t really feel like it belongs to me, which all leads to a really difficult evening. I need to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables but I also need to not be afraid to have a donut or two, because otherwise I could easily fall back into eating disordered behaviors.
I have to give myself pep talks to make phone calls because I HATE talking on the phone, especially with people I don’t know (like if I have a problem with my internet or I need to make an appointment for something). I will put these tasks off because I am absolutely terrified of being yelled at by strangers over the phone and having them judge me. After I get a task done, like sorting out my rent payments, I have to talk to myself the way I talk to Angie when she does something good. ”Good job, Alex. I know that was really hard for you and you didn’t want to do it but it’s ok, you got it done. And don’t worry about that person’s facial expression. It might look angry to you but you could be misinterpreting it and if it is anger, it probably has nothing to do with you.”
These are the first little baby steps that I’ve had to take in order to keep getting through every day. It’s a little hard to say these things out loud, because the seemingly trivial and “easy” mundane tasks might take extraordinary effort for someone like me. I’m easily discouraged and require a lot of recognition and approval from others to feel good about myself. It’s not something I say aloud with pride, but I say it because I know I’m not the only one who struggles with these things, and the more I keep this quiet, the more shame I feel. It doesn’t mean I’m “bad” or “defective,” all these things just mean that I need to listen to my intuition and body and make decisions based on how beneficial they will be to my overall wellness and the way I live my life will be different than the way someone who doesn’t have these struggles live theirs. There’s no shame in this.
As I continue with DBT, I feel like my life is starting to settle down and resemble me more and more. I’m excited to share with you all the ways in which I try to overcome my need for constant approval and as I begin to really start the life I want to live.
Now if you will excuse me, I plan to enjoy some time with my doggy and continue working on my business endeavor
Happy almost Friday!
And here’s something to make you laugh….if you don’t laugh, my sincere apologies.