Recovery is a long process, much longer than I ever anticipated when I began treatment for borderline personality disorder (BPD) earlier in the year. It’s been incredibly tough at times; however, the rewards have, so far, outweighed the challenges. I can finally say I am on my way to overcoming my disorder.
However, there are a number of things I wish my loved ones really understood about my recovery. Mental health cannot be reduced simply to being sick and being recovered. There is a huge gray area between those two points, and most of us will fall somewhere within that gray bit. Moving into the new year, these are the five things I would like my loved ones to understand about my BPD recovery.
1. My moods are still intense.
I’m learning to regulate the intensity of quickly-shifting moods, but I don’t always have it completely under control. Sometimes, I may still be irritable, sad or angry for reasons that perhaps even I don’t understand.
2. I have trouble concentrating.
Medications for mental health problems can affect levels of concentration, and I still have trouble staying focused. If I seem like I’m drifting off mid-conversation, then feel free to gently let me know. Usually, I don’t even know I’m doing it.
3. It’s OK to ask me questions.
A big part of recovery, for myself, has been learning to open up and talk about my diagnoses. If there’s something you don’t understand or would like to know more about, then please, ask me. Communication is a two-way street, and if you ask me something I’d rather not discuss, then I promise I will let you know.
4. Trust me.
I know I haven’t always given you reasons to think I can make healthy choices for myself. Yet, part of my recovering from this disorder will come from those around me trusting me enough to make my own decisions. You can feel free to ask me about these decisions, but ultimately, only I can guide my recovery.
5. Sometimes, I just need space.
I know I’m not good at communicating when I’m overwhelmed, but I’m trying to be better. There are times when things are just too much for me. I need to recharge because social situations can be draining. It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong, but sometimes, I just need a few quiet minutes on my own.
The biggest tool I have been utilizing in my recovery has been communication. A lack of communication between myself and those who care for me has always been a major obstacle, not only in my journey to wellness, but also in my relationships. In expressing what I need them to understand throughout this holiday period, I hope to better communicate the needs of my disorder and gain more control over my life with BPD.
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