Today we mainly talked about my remission from BPD. I didn’t get to cover the whole inner child thing, I doubted I could because I knew I had a lot to say in session today. I know I still have a lot to uncover but now it’s like the worst of the fog is clearing and I can see and navigate my way. I went through the diagnostic criteria I could remember and we discussed at length where I was before vs. what I do now. It was very helpful actually. I mentioned ‘the sense of emptiness’ and how before the sense of emptiness was a lot more generalised, it encompassed pretty much all of my life and coloured it, I also used to have an aching feeling in my chest that accompanied it. Like a massive ‘what’s the point?’. Whereas now when I’m home alone for example doing nothing and I get a feeling similar to that I recognise it as boredom and do something that cheers me up and I’m interested in, and it works. So he said ‘You recognise it as you may just be understimulated right now,’ and I said yes.
The biggest distinction which he said is a definite improvement and something to be celebrated was when it came to the symptoms of my moods being up and down and the desire to engage in destructive behaviours. I talked about tuesday being difficult for me, and how I didn’t express my emotions destructively but that I did things that would manage and/or better it. It doesn’t feel natural to do that, but I realise I have a choice. I know it didn’t feel that way for me before, I felt I was at the mercy of this horrible feeling that would plague me and the only way to deal with it was to get it out whatever way I saw fit. I know a lot of people diagnosed with BPD (I try not to say ‘borderlines’ no one says ‘bipolars’ or ‘depressives’ or ‘cancers’ – it’s a terrible way of labelling) can resonate with that feeling of not having a choice. But we do. It’s because of this realisation that I’m not the same. I am able to regulate myself and therein lies the key to my salvation. I can be independent of people, I can maintain my sense of dignity, wellbeing and stick to my values. I can let feelings pass, I can make the situation better.
He asked me an interesting question after, which was, would I have done this if I was in a relationship? And I realise, the answer was no. The times I was attached I would go to the other person to help me, to try to make me feel better, to support me in feeling better. Which is fine sometimes, but it’s not always possible and it can leave you feeling like you’re at the mercy of another person and how they recieve you, which well, wasn’t always in a nice way! Being single means I have had no choice but to look to myself, so I have supported myself. He said it won’t be easy to continue doing that once I am in a relationship but that I can do it with effort, because I still have the choice.
Interestingly enough, I am following a blog which is not so active anymore as she has reached a very impressive level of recovery so doesn’t need to quite as much. She started off as single, comitted to therapy, got into a long term relationship which has now turned into a happy marriage. The reason I mention it is because at some stage during her blogging, she too had realised that she needed to meet her own needs and sought to meet them for herself and once in the relationship she realised she still needed to do that as much as she could and to look inwards. I think this is a key to getting better and I think it’s also what helps keep relationships together. I don’t want someone to feel the burden of regulating me, they’re not my therapist, or parent, or caretaker. I also no longer want to be at the mercy of another person. Hoping they’ll help me, hoping they can say and do the right things to calm what’s going on inside me. People are not God and they’re also not mind readers, they don’t always get it right, nor do they always want to.
I have a bigger sense of trust in myself and a kind of independence I never had before. I don’t need someone anymore so in a way I think this has helped my addiction. I can wait it out now because I’m not craving for someone to make me feel good. I do feel good most of the time, life isn’t always great for anyone, but at least I can choose to make it better.