I’ve been struggling with my self-confidence recently. I know it is a symptom of my depression, a period that I am currently going through. Even though I understand the source, I still feel the effects. So I will recognize each feeling of self-doubt, but I refuse to accept and internalize these doubts and fears

I fear my time is not as valuable as others.

I worry my writing is a waste of time.

I fear I am not enough.

I worry I won’t be able to handle future challenges.

I fear others won’t accept me if I put myself out there.

All these negative thoughts and self-doubts have been damaging my confidence. It leads me to a dark place I’ve been to before. A year or two ago this would have made me stuck. Now, I know the pattern, and I recognize what can get me through it.

While depression lingers, I’m still experiencing self-doubt. I’m hearing the thoughts and then pushing them awaybecause these unhelpful beliefs are not going to control me. I am filling my time with things that do increase my confidence: reading, writing, yoga, running, being around kids, talking with someone who understands me, and organizing my space. The thoughts may continue, but I’m going to keep living and fighting.

New Year, Same Me

Another year has passed, and I’m looking forward to a fresh start. But each year, I’m reminded of how most people view a new year.

Most New Years’ resolutions relate to change. We analyze our life and pick out all the things we don’t like about our lives. There are a couple of issues with this method of growth.

First, a New Year’s resolution tells us that who we are currently, isn’t good enough. To become a better person, we need to change what we don’t like about ourselves. If we do this each year, we will never be accepting ourselves for who we are currently. We will always see what needs to be changed, instead of learning to love who we are.

Secondly, making a positive change in one’s life does not need to occur only once a year. I am all for making positive changes: eating healthier, exercising more, or incorporating healthier habits in our lives. But as we know, most resolutions don’t last. So, if we want to change something, just do it, and don’t wait till a new year to help ourselves. If something is truly important, stick with it and make the change.

This year, I’m going to be the exact same me as I was last year, and the year before, and the year before that. I will continue to be worthy, unique, kind, and strong. I will continue to be honest with myself and my needs. I will keep making positive changes when they arise, and I won’t wait till a new year to change something about my life that I’m unhappy with.

For me, this fresh start of a new year is simply an opportunity to let go of all the negativity and stress that I’ve been holding onto this year. I am not becoming a new or improved version of myself, because I don’t need to. Who I am right now, is more than enough.

Power of a Positive Mindset

Having a positive mindset will not cure, fix, or prevent depression. Optimism and positivity may not always help someone who is struggling. However, a positive mindset can enrich the good days and bring hope for the future.

I used to be very pessimistic and I believed that doing so released my stress and frustration. It was not until recently that I discovered the internal and external dialogue, matters.

Assuming and anticipating the worst makes it convenient to both perceive and experience negativity. The reason I was not feeling joy was because I rejected all the happiness around me. I was preventing myself from enjoying and appreciating life.

Now, I begin each day with an open mind. It may be a wonderful day or a difficult one. Regardless, I will accept it. I no longer want to confine myself to solely bad days.

Mindset matters, that is something I understand now. If I tell myself everything will work out, I may not accept it at the moment, but my subconscious hears this. Often I will later reflect and recognize how everything did work out.

On my bad days, I can recognize that there is room for improvement. I also know that tomorrow is a new day, a new opportunity.

A positive mindset will not prevent bad days from occurring or remove one’s pain and suffering. What if will do is enrich your life and improve your overall outlook of life, the world, and happiness.

Emotional Energy

I feel depleted — not from being busy or moving my body, but from strong emotions. This is my emotional energy.

The days I spend at home leave me feeling tired, but whole. I accomplish what I can and cope with the emotions that arise.

The days I spend working leave me drained and exhausted. When I go out with friends or Tyler, I’m left feeling tired. I often make memories and experience powerful emotions.

By the end of those busy days, I have nothing left to give. I am drained of my physical and emotional energy. I become incredibly irritable and often lash out.

There is emotional energy between Tyler and me as well. My strong emotions leave us both feeling raw and empty. We often argue over little things and become distant for a while. We require time to regroup before making up.

Positive emotions increase my emotional energy. There are days where positive emotions outweigh the negative; these are my best days. They remind me of how important it is to utilize and embrace the positive mood.

I am working toward adapting my life to increase my emotional energy. Working from home, clear boundaries, and being open about my emotions and thoughts. The more aware I become, the better I feel.

Mood Swings

My mood keeps life interesting. Due to having an emotional reaction to everything, my mood can quickly swing. One small bump can turn my joyful spirit, sour.

The most challenging part is coping. Once my good mood is gone, it is impossible to get back. I can use my skills, deal with the recent mood change, and make the best of it, but I can’t go back in time.

Once my mood swings, my mind desperately searches for ways to justify my bad mood. Suddenly I’m nitpicking a wonderful day due to one bad moment.

I try my best to prevent my mood from taking over. I can’t ignore the sudden mood swing, but I can do my best not to escalate the mood. The bigger deal I make of it, the more significant the mood becomes.

Sometimes it works in my favor. Doing activities with people who make me feel safe can turn an average mood into an amazing one. Excitement comes easily to me. The feeling may not last long, but sometimes it swings in my favor.

I’m learning to appreciate and make the most of my good moods. I can recognize the importance of adjusting my plans based on how I feel. I’m beginning to understand how to live more in the moment — one mood swing at a time.

The Deepest Love

You know me like no one else. You can read me, decipher me, understand me. Maybe it’s time which led us to this point, although it’s so much more than that.

I spent some of my darkest days with you. Since then, it hasn’t been time that brought us closer, but hardship. We can make it through because we have each other. We are always leaning on another, still picking the other up after a hard day.

Mental illness forced us to get comfortable. It brought out our flaws, the ones we would have usually tried to hide. We are tested, again and again, but we never run; we lean.

Now we are referred to as an old married couple, but we are neither old nor married. It is the comfort that you see — the understanding and acceptance of one another.

The deepest love.

How I Percieve Myself

Who am I? Where do I fit? How can I belong in a world that feels like it was made for someone else?

Self-image. What does that mean? It’s who you are, who you feel you are, and how you see yourself in the world.

I struggle with my self-image and sense of self. I can quickly lose sight of who I am. Most days, I feel real; other days, I float through my day, struggling to make sense of my presence in this world.

These days, my body moves and goes on with my day. I suddenly wake up at times, but the feeling never lasts, and I’m sucked back into my head. I will forget to eat, shower, change my clothes. I will go out in public to realize I forget to brush my teeth or fix my hair, but not be able to remember what I did instead. I don’t feel alive or human.

I shift between self-awareness and dissociation. Being fully aware of myself, my needs, and what I want in life to withdrawing into my head and not feeling like a person.

My mood is dependent on my environment. Interactions with others easily trigger me. This is due to my perception of both other people and me. Because I struggle with my self-image, I often lack the feeling of being grounded in who I am. Meaning, if I perceive judgment or criticism from others, it significantly affects me because of my unstable sense of self. I also can’t quickly bounce back from these perceived judgments or brush them off.

I’m suspicious of others, assuming everyone is against me.

I struggle accepting that others love and care about me. When my brain perceives someone who did me wrong or hurt me, it rejects them. My mind tells me that because they hurt me, they don’t care, and I’m worthless. It’s like my brain can’t accept both ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ It wants to see the world in black and white.

I hold others on a pedestal, while I diminish my self-worth. I do these things to myself, but not by choice.

My brain fights against me, and my happiness, so I have to fight back. This journey wasn’t my decision, but it is my reality.

Emotional Instability

I never knew how to describe how I felt inside or how I experienced emotions. I’m sensitive, but it is so much more than that. I could never just “take a joke” or “brush it off” because words left me in physical pain.

I’m writing to spread awareness of what living with a mental illness actually looks like. It’s not beautiful, dramatic, made up, or a trend. It’s an illness. However, because we are each unique, everyone diagnosed with a mental illness will experience it differently from the next person. My experience is not intended to be generalized to all those struggling, but instead to shine some light on an important and often neglected conversation.

I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Unfortunately, like many mental illnesses, there is a stigma or a set of assumptions about the disorder. I hope to decrease these assumptions by sharing my symptoms, and what BPD looks like for me. The symptoms will be described in four groups and four separate posts: the first group: excessive, unstable, and poorly regulated emotional responses.

I experience emotions to a high intensity. Anger becomes rage. Embarrassment is humiliation. Sadness becomes overwhelming despair. Shame, guilt, and fear are always present and can send me down a negative spiral. My emotions shift quickly. I automatically react to what is said to me. I view comments as personal attacks. Basically, I think everyone intends to show me my unimportance. I often struggle with keeping emotions in, but it can’t be seen. I’m not always visibly emotional because I’ve learned how to hide them. When I’m tired, hungry, or having an off day, my emotions spill out, and I’m left feeling raw and hurt.

I get angry over the most unimportant things. Honestly, the anger takes over, and I’m often unaware of where it is coming from. Sometimes there’s no source except for the symptom. I used to feel guilty for getting angry, but after being diagnosed, I’ve learned to accept my symptoms and understand why they’re there. I no longer have to blame myself.

“Chronic feeling of emptiness” is something that once consumed my life. I have huge gaps in my memory due to this and periods of my life I floated through. Dissociation, emptiness, it’s like I didn’t exist. I experience this feeling of emptiness today, but it’s very different. It used to last weeks or months even. Now it may be hours, a full day, or a period of days, but never how it was. Today I feel empty, but I know the feeling will pass, eventually.

BPD is extremely stigmatized, I’ve experienced it first hand, and because of that, I want to explain my experience as well as I can. Normalizing the conversation will lessen the stigma. This group of symptoms I covered is part 1/4.