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.

Learning Self-Love

I used to hate time alone. I feared my thoughts and despised my own company.


When I began to heal, self-love became more natural. Slowly, I started to appreciate time with myself.


Maybe I realized I only get one me. Perhaps I understood the positive relationship I could create. Regardless, I began to see myself as more of an opportunity and less of an anchor.


Unfortunately, when it comes to others, people may come and go from your life. Life changes, sometimes for the best, and other times may be more difficult. Regardless, you will only have one you.


Recently, I’ve observed the changes in my relationship with myself. I came up with three steps to self-love.


First, language. I am not as harsh or critical as I once was with myself. I am kinder, more forgiving, and more patient with myself. I started talking and viewing myself the way I would want others to.


They say to treat others the way you want to be treated, but for those of us who need a nudge when practicing self-love: treat yourself the way you treat others.


Next, I am more cautious about the actions I take for my health. The food I consume and how it makes me feel. The products I use and being mindful and present when I care for myself.


Lastly, I began to appreciate time alone i realize that not only can I be my own best friend, but I should also be.

Minimizing

I used to minimize and dismiss my pain for the comfort of myself and others.


I thought that doing this would result in the feelings just going away. I believed that when others asked how I was doing, they didn’t actually want to know the truth. I wanted to be seen as strong, not weak.


Mental illness is a fight again the mind. You feed it and give it power by minimizing because that is exactly what the illness wants. Minimizing only covers the severity of your illness. Hiding the illness and letting it win.


When you’re going through it, this concept is very difficult to understand and accept. At least that’s how it was for me. I didn’t understand the harm in minimizing until I’ve reached this point in recovery.


Now I’m honest with myself and those around me. It’s amazing how honestly and vulnerability can bring people closer together.


I can better help myself because I am willing to accept however I feel – no judgments.


Being honest about my mental health with Tyler has only brought us closer together. He can express his pride in me because he’s aware of what I’m actually dealing with.


My friends and family feel closer to me. They feel as though they understand me better. When I am open and honest, they feel comfortable to be vulnerable as well.


So join me on this journey of authenticity and stop minimizing your pain.

Surviving or Thriving

I used to survive each day. That was my goal when I woke up every morning. Get through the day, and get through life.


I was drawn to mindless activities that took up my time but resulted in achieving nothing. I could survive the day by sitting in front of a screen. What I watched didn’t inspire me or improve my life in any way. It helped me survive, but nothing more.


Recovery changed a lot in my life. It had cleared and shifted my mindset. I’ve been becoming more mindful of how I am spending my time and my life.


I no longer want to just survive, I want to thrive.


For me, this means modifying my diet, reading more, using my skills and creativity, and improving my life.


Surviving just isn’t enough for me anymore.


I am beginning to take responsibility; for a healthier, happier and more stable life.


I know recognize my worth. I see my skills, talents, healthy body, and a world full of endless opportunities.


I see the world in a way of possibilities instead of obstacles. My hard work has led to this point in my recovery. All I want for you is to feel this clarity too.


Authenticity

Aspects of ourselves that we once viewed as weaknesses can become our greatest strengths. For a very long time, I hid my true self. It can be frightening being authentic and vulnerable. By putting ourselves out there, we are showing the world who we really are, but we are also opening ourselves up to criticism. However, there is another side to this. By showing our authentic selves we are allowing the possibility for deeper and more authentic relationships. Others will love these aspects of ourselves because they are what sets us apart and makes us unique.


I am extremely emotional and these emotions are intense. I am also very sensitive and reactive to my environment and personal interactions. I once believed this made me lesser than others. I felt like a child because everything upset me and I couldn’t control my emotions like those around me. now, I recognize what strengths I have because of these strong emotions.


I am empathic. It comes naturally and s always present. I care deeply about others and their emotions. I can empathize with others because I have felt these strong emotions, every day.  I can feel the room and pick up on these emotions as well. I feel with people, and their emotions become my emotions.


I thought these were flaws, but now I view them as strengths.


I want the same for you. Embrace what you once viewed as a flaw. Be unapologetically authentic. This self is exactly who you’re supposed to be. Others want to get to know that person, so be that person. Be you.

Distress Tolerance

When I was in an inpatient program I would hear this Dialectic Behavioral Therapy skill mentioned daily. I have not been focusing on my skill use recently. I get distracted by life and caught up with emotions. Life passes by and I forget these ingrained skills that I sue daily. When I focus on my skill use, I use my skills more often and validate my own success.


I am reactive to my environment, and the smallest things can send my day downhill. Over time, I have learned how to ride this emotional wave instead of allowing it to crush me. This is distress tolerance.


This skill allows me to take a step back. I observe what is triggering me: a conversation, an overwhelming stimulus, a sudden change. I feel these strong emotions and acknowledge them. However, instead of allowing these emotions to control me, I accept them. They will not immediately disappear, but they will lessen over time.


Earlier said than done, I understand that. At times, I still let those little bumps ruin my day. Although since I’ve begun to recover, the days I am able to use my skills outweigh the bad days.


Recovery and the use of skills take time. Life will not get easier when practicing unhelpful coping mechanisms. This is something I have had to learn the hard way. However, with time and hard work, recovery is possible and so worth it. Hang on and ride the wave.

Asking for Help

Asking for help has always been something that I struggle with. I used to believe that reaching out meant I was admitting weakness. I would push it off, telling myself that I was fine and I would reach out later. This made it easy for me to not reach out. I thought this made me strong and independent in some way.


Reaching out is still difficult for me, but I realize how important it is. A few months ago Tyler took a side job as an assistant golf coach. This means he had to travel on occasional days and weekends. At first, I felt abandoned. This is a common feeling for me, and a large part of my diagnosis. I constantly feel that those I love no longer care, and will eventually leave.


When he was away I struggled and it was easy for me to get into that dark place inside my head. I blamed these feelings on Tyler – if he would just come home I wouldn’t feel this way. I soon realized this was not helpful for either of us. It would be easy to say “just get ahold of yourself, you’re 23 years old and should know how to be okay by yourself.” However, I cannot put blame on myself for struggling to manage my symptoms when I am alone. I must accept reality and find an effective way to cope.


Our relationship took a hit from this. Tyler felt guilty each time he had to leave, and I was overwhelmed with pain and loneliness. After a lot of fighting and talking, things became clearer. When Tyler traveled for coaching, I needed to ask someone to stay with me. This brought up a feeling of immaturity and shame. I didn’t want to feel as if I had a babysitter.


Since then I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. I now feel grateful that I have the support system I do, and they are willing to stay with me. I also appreciate how they never make me feel dependent or immature. I feel like I am spending time with a loved one, rather than on crisis watch.


I am proud of myself for pushing past my fears of abandonment. No matter how irrational my fears are, they still exist and feel incredibly real to me. I can now make the most of my weekends away from Tyler. I have worked through my feelings of guilt and shame, and I am happy Tyler can enjoy his time as a coach. I can see how happy and fulfilled it makes him.


Needing help and support from others is nothing to be ashamed of. Humans are social creatures and need one another to survive and thrive. Next time you’re feeling lost and alone, don’t sit with those feels alone. It is okay not to be okay, so reach out to your support system.


One of the ways I work through this second-guessing is by journaling. I realized that I hold myself to very unrealistic standards. I would want and expect my friends to reach out if they were struggling or needed help, yet expect myself to do it alone.


We all go through roadblocks. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but strength. Knowing when help is required shows self-awareness and maturity. Take care of yourself and reach out to a friend. They want to help you, so let them.

My Diagnosis Saved Me

After my second suicide attempt, I accepted that something has to change. Medication  changes and weekly therapy were helping me cope, but not enough. My life as I knew it was fading away. I was fading away.


Around the same time, my psychiatrist suggested psychological testing. By this time I had two mental illness diagnosis on my mental record, Depression and Anxiety, but I had never gone through formal psychological testing.


From an outside perspective I had it all together. I was high functioning and successful. I graduated with my BA in Psychology. I was accepted into a counseling masters program. I was in a loving and committed relationship and was close with friends and family. While all this was true, I was also hiding the chaos and suffering within.


For most of my life, I didn’t have the vocabulary to fully explain how I felt inside. Being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder helped me understand how I had always felt, but could never name or describe.


Now I understand why my body feels raw with emotion. Why I wakeup in paralyzing fear for no significant reason. I now understand why I quickly get attached to people, but once they’re in my life, I struggle attending and keeping the relationship. I push and pull people away using emotions. I now understand my impulsive self-harm urges and suicidal thoughts even when I’m not depressed. I can recognize the dissociation, splitting, and over the top emotions. Now I understand why I’ve always felt like I experience emotions differently than others, because I do. I’m emotionally sensitive and reactive, and now I have to vocabulary to express that.


I began to understand myself. For the first time I felt heard, understood, and validated. I had hope for recovery, love, life, and a future advocating for myself and others like me. I discovered my true self and all the wonderful skills, talents, and dreams that came along.


Don’t let the stigma of your diagnosis present self-acceptance. Understanding your true self is the first step to acceptance. I accept you just as you are and you can too.


My diagnosis saved me. I don’t know id my suicide attempts would have been controlled if I hadn’t been diagnosed. It allowed me to discover who I am, and be proud of that person.

Self-Care

Recently, self-care has developed into a trend on social media. Ads for bath and skincare products pop-up on my feed daily. With all these images and suggesting floating by, its easy to forget what self-care actually means.


The idea behind self-care is caring for oneself. Meaning, self-care is different for each and every person. It is processing emotions, letting go of stress, relaxing, rejuvenating, and healing the body, mind, and soul.


Self-care doesn’t have to cost money. Shopping, spa days, or going to the salon can be relaxing, but for many, this isn’t enough or is unattainable due to cost.


When I practice self-care my goal is to let go of stress and process difficult emotions. Due to the amount of self-care, I require it isn’t realistic to spend money whenever I take care of myself.


Here are some ways I practice self-care: go on a walk, read a book, journal, draw, paint, bathe, exercise, meditate, do yoga, write a letter, call a friend, make appointments, and play with my pets. Each of these activities will help me grow and heal. Some are fun while others are more practical, but the main point of doing things that help you grow, not hinder growth.


Self-care is also doing what you need to stay healthy. Such as: eating well, going to therapy, the doctor, physical therapy, chiropractor, dentist, or psychiatrist.


Next time you’re looking to practice self-care, take a step back and observe and describe what your body, mind, and soul need. Recognizing which areas of your life need attention can help you determine what type of self-care to practice.

Emotional Support Animals

As I sit here covered in paws, I’m appreciative of the support my dogs provide. They are a safe place I can always come back to, an overwhelming welcome when I come home, and a shower of love and kisses.


When I’m away from home, having Bentley by my side helps me cope with anxiety and overstimulation. He has been my emotional support animal for two years now. I feel honored to be his mom and I am blessed to have him in my life.


When I travel, Bentley comes along. Day trips or long weekends, he’s by my side. He is living his best life while helping me live mine.


Having dogs to care for helps me get out of the house. We go on walks, runs, and to the dog park. I can easily say I am more active because of them.


They help me socialize. Hey, you have a dog. I have a dog. Let’s talk about our dogs and look at them instead of each other to reduce the awkwardness.


Having something that depends on me keeps me going. I’m glad I get to live in a world with dogs. Especially ones that support your mental health.