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The 2 Things That Help Me When I'm Caught in a Self-Pity Cycle

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I am sitting in front of my laptop and wallowing in self-pity. There is nothing new to this. This is a routine, a cycle for me. I tend to pity myself a lot. What is different, however, is that today I am pitying myself in a very different way. Today’s self-pity, ladies and gents and everyone in between (or outside the binary) is about my fate. The “why me” whining that able people think we must do all the time.

See usually, when I whine and pity myself, it’s about my symptoms. “Oh it’s so difficult to deal with dissociation” or “Oh, I wish someone understood how much it hurts to have one of my frequent breakdowns over completely random things.” But today I am whining about this: Why do I have a mental illness? What did I do to deserve this?

See, this is a very dangerous line of thinking. Because let me tell you, I have been paddling in this pool of thought for the last 48 hours or so and I am nowhere near the shore.

It’s difficult to get out of this frame of mind and I don’t claim to know how to do it! In fact, I am going to be talking to my therapist about this in my next appointment. So this is not a “how to deal with this situation” kind of an essay because I don’t have the necessary qualifications to tell you how to do it. This is an essay telling you that someone out there feels the way you do. Maybe not the exact same way because we are all different individuals, but someone who feels it similarly enough that they can understand your misery.

So on that note, hi. I am Lavanya and I have an illness called borderline personality disorder (BPD). Over the course of my life, I have had the misfortune of missing out on too many experiences and opportunities because of this once-undiagnosed illness. And yet, I have never felt very bitter about it. I have taken the hand that has been dealt to me and played with my cards. But over the course of the past few months and the past few weeks specifically, I have felt some opportunities slip away from my fingertips in ways that have caused a lot of anguish.

So here I am, typing away, hoping to find a solution to this anguish. Because while yes, it is healthy to acknowledge your emotions, it is not very healthy to drown in them. So here are a couple of things I’ve figured out through this episode about feeling the “why am I like this” self-pity cycle.

1. Feel It

Accept the way you feel right now and let it soak you. Your emotions are a river and you are sitting in the middle of it. Fighting the current won’t help you; you’ll slip on the rocks and fall. Instead sit in the shallow end and let the river soak you. Sure the current will move you and push you, but you won’t fall.

2. Vent It Out

Talk to someone who will understand. Tell them how you feel in this moment and how frustrating it is for you to feel this way. Talk to your therapist, a counselor, a friend, a parent — anyone. If however, you don’t have anyone to talk to, pretend you’re on a talk show. Pretend you’re giving an interview about being resilient and surviving it all. do it. It’s oddly cathartic. If that doesn’t work for you either, write it out. That’s what I have been doing for the last half an hour. And it has helped. I’m a lot calmer than I was. So I hope this essay helps you in any way. And that you feel better too!

Originally published: November 4, 2018
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