Reconnecting

This year has been stressful, to say the least; slowly, I stopped doing what made me feel healthy and like myself. Now I’m reconnecting with myself, my body, and my mind.


It’s easy for me to float through life, not present and numb. If I don’t take care of myself, time passes without me, and I lose touch with who I am.


I now know myself well enough to understand my needs and how to reconnect when I’m feeling lost. I have a list of things I need to do daily to stay healthy and connected. As requested by my new therapist, I am tracking these behaviors to keep myself accountable.


Each day I write, read, move, and take my meds.


Writing helps me process my thoughts and emotions. It clears my head of all the unhelpful thoughts that have been ruminating through my mind. My life feels more purposeful after I process, and because of this, I journal daily.


More recently, I have incorporated reading into my daily routine. I often read before bed as a way to relax and clear my mind. Although, I have noticed the more frequently I read, the greater my desire to read. I now find myself taking breaks throughout my day to read a chapter or two. Additionally, reading strengthens the brain, supporting healthy brain cells, unlike watching TV, which kills brain cells.


Movement is also an essential part of my routine. It connects my mind to my body and releases the endorphins I desperately need. Running and yoga are my go-to activities, but something as simple as a walk has the same benefits.


Taking my medication may be simple, but it is a prominent part of my routine, but it is also the most important. My meds stabilize my mood, making it easier for me to accomplish what I need to and can for myself more effectively. Even missing one day can offset my whole week.


Even with the weather getting colder and the amount of sunlight decreasing, I feel stable and comfortable. Not every day is a ‘good day,’ but I also don’t expect it to be. I no longer sit in my feelings; instead, I complete my daily routine, even when I don’t feel like it. Every day seems to have a purpose, no matter how small it may be.

Relating To Others

I feel as though I live in my own reality. I uniquely experience the world, and at times, it separates me from others.


My emotions are very intense, and I struggle with both experiencing and controlling them. Other than experiencing these emotions, my relationships are most affected by BPD and my feelings.


At times, my emotions build-up, and I’m unable to keep them inside. I become erratic and unstable. Most of the time, I can keep my feelings inside. However, it is not that I am burying these feelings; my emotions change moment to moment. The difference is every one of my feelings is extreme and will often be viewed as an overreaction. I cannot burst, break down, or express these unpredictable and sometimes irrational emotions.


When I am with others, I may not say much or always seem ‘there’ because my mental reality is going a mile a minute. I am processing what the other person says, I interpret and internally react; I manage my emotions.


Often I struggle to relate. The issues I deal with daily are not the best conversation starters, and most people in my life cannot connect to what I go through. I find myself jealous of their goals and abilities. I am so proud of those I love, but it reminds me of what I cannot do and how easily it comes for them.


Being around others drains me. While I enjoy being around those I love, I need a lot of alone time. I can spend more time with those I am closest to. They understand me better than most, so they are more comfortable for me to be around. Although they may not understand my life, they support me and love me for who I am. Even so, I keep myself at a distance, protecting my mental state.


There are vital signs for when I have been around others too much or need time alone. I become irritable; I emotionally react to others and am often controlled by these emotions. I attach to those I’m around. I usually expect too much of people but am unable to communicate my needs. I will take others’ actions personally, so it affects me when I am pulling people too close.


Relationships are essential for a happy and healthy life, but it is also necessary to have healthy boundaries and understand one’s needs. I need people in my life to connect, feel loved and supported, grow within relationships, and share experiences. Relationships are complicated for me, but they also make life worth it.


I Lost My Light

I knew we were close, but I didn’t realize how deep the connection was until he was gone. Part of me broke when I lost him, and the light inside of me was darkened. It has been more than difficult, and at times I wanted to give up. It has been frightening and exhausting. Yet, it was also a period of self-reflection and a chance to grow.  I’m choosing to find the good because if I don’t, what is the point of all this pain?


I’m connected to and so much like my grandparents. I lost my grandma 11 years ago, and my grandpa 7 months ago. After my grandpa passed away, I realized I was processing both of their losses. I have always felt particularly close to my grandpa; I had the opportunity to spend a lot of quality and meaningful time with him. I lost my grandma at a much younger age, and i was not able to fully understand the relationship and loss. During this time of self-reflection, I began to realize how much of me, comes from them.


It feels natural for me to care for people, animals, and nature. I feel more deeply than most, and because of it, I struggle to find my place in the world. These deep emotions have made me stronger. My life is challenging, and I cope with it by nurturing others, maintaining my surroundings, and creating. I share my feelings through my creative work, a chance to express myself.


Recognizing and processing this has been healing. I feel as though I have a more stable identity to cling to, something I lose touch with often. Now, this identity is true. It comes from what I come from, my family.


I’m feeling better each day, even on the difficult ones. I am continually observing my health and my life to determine what is best for me. Asking for help and relying on others when I need to, advocating for my mental health, discovering new ways to earn money, and taking a much-needed break. Slowly and steadily, I am healing and growing.

One Day

One day you’ll look at your life and recognize that you’ve reached a point in recovery that you have been working toward all these years.


Last year was a year of change. I considered moving, left grad school, got engaged, built jobs I feel capable of handling, and began to write about my experience with mental illness.


A year ago, I would not have imagined this growth. I can fight through my bad days and still have good come from it. I can process and talk about my thoughts and emotions without believing them. I have healed, something I did not see possible.


I hope you recognize your strength and growth. I hope you understand that you can fight. One day you will look at your life and realize you have reached the point you have been waiting for – health and happiness.

Guilt and Shame

Those living with BPD commonly experience guilt and shame.


Many of my negative thoughts are centered around guilt. Did I wrong someone or hurt their feelings? Have I disappointed, someone? Did I say something I shouldn’t have?


Outbursts triggered by intense emotions can result in me doing or saying things I immediately regret. I feel ashamed, and if I allow it, this emotion will consume me. Thoughts of my wrongdoing replaying in my head, over and over.


From an early age, guilt and shame distorted my perception of myself. Eventually, I learned to work through this.


One factor in my healing process has been learning how to combat and ultimately change these negative thoughts.


I can’t ignore the fact that I do and say things I regret, that would limit my progress. I also can’t blame myself for the symptoms of my mental illness. So focusing on these thoughts is essential to my recovery.


I have more control when I feel healthy, and my stress level is low. I feel my best when I get enough sleep, rise early, and eat well. I am patient and kind with myself. Instead of focusing on guilt and shame, I am moving forward.


My mind still tells me horrible things about myself, but I feel in control. If I say something I regret in response to my emotions, I feel extreme guilt. If I hold onto that guilt, it turns to shame. To fight back, I need to process these emotions and not hold onto them.


I no longer need to hold onto this guilt and shame; I am allowing myself to let it go.


Acceptance

It all begins with acceptance.


Accepting your diagnosis, symptoms, and daily reality.


When I accept my diagnosis, instead of fighting it, I am accepting myself and validating my feelings.


I may not feel appreciative or healthy every day, but when I accept my symptoms and reality for what it is, I am removing expectations and pressure. A good day for me might look a lot different than a good day for you, and I’m okay with that.


I can accept a bad day, moment, or even week, because I know tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities.


Without acceptance, I am fighting against myself. Allowing my illness and emotions to control my life. When things are good, I’m waiting for everything to fall apart, and when things are bad, It’s validating my belief. Which is why acceptance is crucial.


I will continue to accept myself, illness and all, not only because I have no other choice, but because it allows me to let go and enjoy my life.


It’s all about learning how to work with yourself instead of against.

Vulnerability

At first, I thought to be vulnerable meant sharing the awful and miserable parts of life. The ones that we often refrained from sharing. I believed that by sharing these stories, I was the most vulnerable I could be.


But that’s not how vulnerability works.


We are vulnerable when we share our emotions. Stigma has conditioned us to believe we should keep our feelings hidden, and those who choose to talk about their emotions are looking for sympathy or attention.


We are vulnerable when we talk about our hopes and dreams. When we share goals and desires we have not yet accomplished, we are putting ourselves out there and being real.


We are vulnerable when we share our work.


I feel most vulnerable when I share the thoughts I hold and the content I have created. I am aware that others may not understand or disagree with what I create, but regardless, I am putting myself out there.


While vulnerability can be opening up about a dark time or situation, it is not limited to.


Vulnerability is sharing your authentic self with the world, knowing that not everyone will be accepting of what you have to say.

Power of Emotion

I’ve always felt out of place due to emotions. My emotions appeared to be on hyperdrive compared to those around me. I never understood why I struggled to control my feelings, yet others seemed to do it with such ease.


After I was diagnosed with BPD, I realized that my perception was my reality.


The power of my emotions could separate me from others, or it can be what brings me closer to others and the world around me.


The relationships and connections I make with others feel very deep, and they always have. I can recognize other’s emotions and feel those with them. My empathy allows me to create strong bonds.


At times, my emotions take over. I act and react based on the hurricane of emotions I’m experiencing. When I’m unable to maintain control, I say and do things I regret. The most challenging part is getting out of the emotional episode, and accepting that the pain is only temporary – no matter how stuck I feel.


On the good days, I feel in touch with myself and my environment. I can connect with others and shine a positive light.


My emotions are powerful. When harnessed, they bring so much to my life. When they’re out of control, I fear myself, my words, and actions. But these emotions are part of my life, and I’m determined to view and positively use them.

Depressed

I often feel every emotion intensely, so when depression hits – I feel empty. This emptiness is so unlike me. My head was filled with thoughts and ideas. Now i struggle to maintain a conversation, unable to think.


My stomach feels tight, and my appetite is absent. My body, weak. I’m exhausted, and I need a nap, yet I sleep for hours and feel unrested.


I crave bedtime when I’m safe, asleep, and not experiencing emptiness.


I usually wake up with anticipation. I enjoy the mornings most because my mind feels so clear. Now I wake up in a daze. My brain is foggy, and I feel sick inside.


I’m coping as best I can. Distraction is the only way through this: knitting, walking, reading, baking, and music.


Putting words to this feeling brings wholeness to my life.


I’m accepting this emptiness, and I’m fully feeling – or not feeling. Then, I will move on because tomorrow is a new day.

Invisible Illness

My illness is all in my head. Well, it is invisible to you.


I won’t lie; sometimes, I feel guilty because of how I am unable to engage and present myself fully.


I wish I could be carefree and easygoing, but that’s unrealistic for me.


Often, I want others to understand why I’m not those things.


My illness is invisible; others cannot read the thoughts that I have. Others cannot feel the pain and tension I experience. Others cannot grasp the emotions that take over my reality.


Sometimes my presence is all I can manage. I am juggling my mind and existence, and on stressful days that keeps my hands full.


There are days where I feel in control. My thoughts are more positive, and I have more energy. On these days I can be present. I feel like myself, and I can engage. These days remind me why the hard ones are worth it.


If you can relate to my words, I want you to know it is enough for you just to be you as little or much as you can manage. If you can’t relate, I hope you can better understand.


I’m fighting an invisible illness.