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The Calm After the Storm of Borderline Personality Disorder

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As hard as it is, as many of you already know, dealing with borderline personality disorder (BPD) is absolutely exhausting. I’d like to invite you to share with me in the space I’m going to refer to as “the calm after the storm.” It’s been four years since I got my BPD diagnosis. Since then, I have gone through books, documentaries, therapy and multiple other related subjects that helped me find practices and concepts to understand and help myself during periods of crisis. Much research has been done, and with it came new possibilities for me to take control over mental and emotional turmoil. Nonetheless, I am still not a master of these skills.

I couldn’t sleep last night. In fact, I haven’t had a good night of solid, uninterrupted sleep in a while. Fortunately, right now, I’ve managed to arrive to a state of calmness, where it is almost natural. Yet still, it was quite hard to recognize that last night, when my mind was consumed by my own insecurities. I could have made a choice. I just did not.

Let’s be honest. You know the voice that speaks all the things you’re afraid of and runs a movie in your head that plays them out in your mind? It’s literally right in front of your eyes, and you are right there, just taken by the whole thing, feeling too small to stand up for yourself. Yet, you know inside the turmoil, there is shiny little light that’s worth so much more than that exhausting moment of despair you can’t seem to defeat.

I am trying to invite you to recognize that shiny, little light. To let you know that you must hold onto it during the moment you have the slightest doubt that any of your struggling is worth the pain in your chest or against others. I want to invite you to look for yourself when you are not in the condition of pain and to see if you recognize the shiny, little light. It is sometimes in the shape of the hope that we have to not just conquer, but also work with, our demons. Therein lies the switch to distract your struggle. Therein lies the opportunity for you to realize that all pain is real, but agony can be a choice.

Maybe next time, because I know there will come a next time, when I’ma bout to be taken down by a wave of fears and pain, I’ll chose not to go with it. I will absolutely acknowledge it, but I will not choose to carry its weight. Hopefully, I will manage to remember this moment of calmness, this critical moment of well-deserved calm after the storm, when I am emotionally sober enough to know I saw the shiny little light that I deserved better. I know I have to stand up for her because no one will ever be able to do for her (and I mean me), what I can’t even do for myself.

I get it now. BPD therapy techniques are all about training the brain to alternative routes of behavior, to be less harsh on ourselves, to be kinder to ourselves. We know we hit us hard. We feel run over days after emotional distress. So please, acknowledge the shiny, little light as much as you acknowledge the giant pain because oh man, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” So let’s choose the “opposite reaction.”

At this point, we may start learning from all this constant pain and understand the repetitive message behind it. We must learn some self-reliance because we know it will be impossible to feel completely safe with others. The moment we can see that shiny little light, hold on to it and know it’s real, we must stand up for it. Befriend and accept your mistakes so that you can finally become more fluent at not inducing yourself into despair.

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Image via Thinkstock.
Originally published: December 14, 2016
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