So I thought I should talk about how things have been the last two days and mostly because they’ve actually been good. Sure enough my first day at work was nothing like my BPD negative thinking brain had me believe. It’s strange how with DBT I’m starting to see how negative thoughts are seriously one-sided and point to only one possible outcome out of a potential 100 other things that could happen and then it’s like you hone in on that and panic and worry and hold onto it. Chances are the reality always ends up being different to what it has you believe.
On the first day my colleague who was meant to do my induction was off sick, so I got to sit and ‘observe’ others for the whole day. Other management members felt sorry for me that it must be so ‘boring’ for me (they had no idea how happy I was to be eased in on my first day back I had nooo problem doing nothing!). Everyone was super friendly and I felt at ease right away.
Today, despite having fears over performance last night (I was up using DBT skills to try to think about the situation differently) as I have a thing about needing to be ‘good’ at everything I do (more like ‘perfect’, but hey) I quickly realised I love my job already. Ironically, I had been avoiding jobs with major responsibility for the last year or anything that required real brain work because I didn’t feel like I could cope with it with my BPD. It tuns out I was so wrong, that, or my therapy and skills truly have allowed me to now go with it. I was so busy today as I’m responsible for 3 distinct sections of a major long-term project. I have to collaborate with so many different lead members, co leads, organise meetings etc. (I have 3 back to back meetings tomorrow morning, I think I will be exhausted before the afternoon!) and more. I was left to it, given the reigns and got to explore and work at my own pace. I hate being micromanaged and luckily my manager is not that type. She’s laid back and inviting and I feel like I can share concerns about my performance and get honest feedback.
The other thing I realised was that because I had so much to do and get on with, I literally had no time for my ‘BPD thoughts’ for example, a common experience I’ve read online by other BPD diagnosed fellows is feeling a low level paranoia – aka. if two staff members are in another room talking, your BPD brain tries to make you believe they must be talking about YOU and of course it must be NEGATIVE. I had this thought rush across my mind today when I saw a supervisor talking to my manager in her office. I brushed the thought off quick. I realised it just simply would do me no good whatsoever and that it was just unhelpful. I quite literally didn’t have the time for it. I had too much to do than spend time bringing my brain down and looping it in paranoid thoughts that have no basis or any real hard evidence. Not to mention the slow mood kill that goes along with it the longer you ruminate. I decided then that I simply am not going to entertain these thoughts and the only time I will think about such things is when someone (like my manager for example) comes to me and directly tells me that there are issues about my performance or behaviour or whatever else. Until then, worrying or thinking or guessing about it simply does me no favours and there is just no evidence for it.
The other thing I noticed was that as I have to work alongside so many team members, senior and otherwise I had to get socially stuck in. I asked for names, introduced myself, had to have the small talk, arrange time to meet people in person etc. etc. in other words, I didn’t have time to be self conscious, socially anxious, worried about how people will perceive me. Contrasting this just to 3 months ago when I entered my then new job post I was quiet in the office for days and quite literally didn’t introduce myself to some people even though I was in the same office as them 5 days a week. I only slowly started talking to my then colleagues and even then I may have been awkward in the beginning. It’s a nice feeling to see that I can do it, that I don’t have to act the way I was used to acting and that BPD aside I can work just like everyone else. I actually think my manager was a little impressed with me as it’s only my second day.
Another upside, I got a call from a previous manager asking me to help out on typing Thursdays and Fridays, I love doing this as I’m a fast typer and it means I get to sit all day with headphones in and type. I told her that I don’t mind doing that one thing but that I have too much on my plate than to be dabbling in different departments for them becoming their jack of all trades (which is what they wanted). She said it was fine and so, this means while I am stuck working full-time again, I will have enough for weekly therapy (yay!) and finally can get a few essentials instead of scraping by (I was literally giving up buying anything before just to afford therapy) and can even give my family more when they need it. It feels good to finally feel like I’m making progress and see indicators of that.
In terms of my love addiction I’m noticing a difference too, while I’ve been out the last 2 days I found I wasn’t scoping every man on the universe, sure I may appreciate a man in a suit here and there (who doesnt?!) but most of the time I didn’t notice them at all, I was too busy reading things on my phone, texting friends and family and just generally behaving in a non-addict way and it felt so freeing. I really hope I stay like this. My sponsor said it may well be the program or it may well be my higher power (God, for me) in either case she said just enjoy it as it is. I am definetly going to stick to the program after this as it means so much to me to feel a little more ‘whole’. Almost like I’m relying on myself more and taking care of myself, fulfilling my own passions instead of using that energy to find someone else, worry and obssess about them and expect them to take care of my life for me and support me with my BPD. To be honest there were times today that I forgot about my BPD altogether and that was an amazing feeling.
I will be seeing my psychologist weekly on Saturday mornings and I can’t wait to see how this month unfolds. I really hope this isn’t just a brief spell before a BPD moment but even if I do feel vulnerable I will try my best to use skills (I hope).
I bought myself a new dress to wear to work tomorrow and cookies so I could dunk them in my coffee as a mini-celebration for my day today, I deliberately ignored the calorie counting 🙂 BPD really doesn’t mean you have to always feel miserable!