Learning to Cope With the Fears That Come With My Borderline Personality Disorder
In the past few months since being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD), I have had new and unique challenges that I have not had to face before. At the same time, though, with the diagnosis has come treatment in the way of weekly therapy sessions and building a strong connection to being mindful.
“Lean into the emotion,” they say.
“Let it wash over you,” they say.
“Once you have accepted the emotion, let it go!”
OK, that is all fine and good, but there are times when that emotion you are feeling will not just let go. Last week, I was off to one of my many doctor’s appointments (this time to have my brain scanned) and I was truly terrified. My BPD reared its ugly head and left a multitude of thoughts in my brain that were difficult to just let go of. I was scared they would find a tumor or something else that would explain the headaches and seizure-like symptoms that prompted me to seek help.
I was forced to go through this inner battle alone that day.
Being 44 years old, I was faced with an incredible sense of loneliness that accompanied the fear. In the past four months, I had lost my mother to cancer, and my fiancée and I had just recently ended our relationship (again) — and with college applications for my daughter coming back to us, I was faced with losing my only remaining connection to sanity. It was then I realized there can be moments when sheer will is not enough to get through these times alone.
But alone I was. I don’t have any friends (other than my ex) I can reach out to, my family is too far away and doesn’t understand what I am going through, and as supportive as my daughter is, I don’t feel it is her place to hold me up.
I was afraid of any diagnosis I might receive.
I was afraid the ongoing changes in my life would compound even further.
I was afraid my current living situation would become untenable as my employer would not let me continue to work from home during this period in my life.
You see, when I get scared, I see dangers at every corner.
I see the monsters under the bed.
I see the creepy crawlies that cover every surface.
I feel the pit in my stomach growing and the nausea that comes with that feeling.
I took all of this emotion in. I let it wash over me, and as I accepted the fear and worked really hard at validating the facts, I made the choice to do the opposite of what I wanted to do (which was crawl back into bed and skip the appointment). I fought through the turmoil, and while it hurt every fiber of my being to be in that moment (which in reality was more like six hours), I moved forward. I went to the appointment, had a clear scan and a great results appointment with the neurologist who is caring for me.
My fear, while very real (in the moment), was over-amplified. By taking time to really look at everything I was going through, I was able to let it go.
So I say again, lean into the emotion, let it wash over you… and then let it go!
Image via Thinkstock.
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