(a peek into the challenges, triumphs, and downright shitty moments of Borderline Personality Disorder)
I know I am not alone when I say I have bad, un-serving days. You know the ones where you can’t quite figure out what you are feeling because you are feeling everything? I try to stop having these days and after gaining a little more self-awareness, I realize that I will never totally be free of them. My best friend recently inspired me with some self-realization. He told me he liked hearing me talk about the stresses in my life, and even though those circumstances haven’t changed, I am dealing with them differently. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this, as he is right. So how have I changed? I’ve learned about my most common emotions and realized that it is OK, even human, to have down times.
The biggest emotion I have trouble with is sadness. There has been a lot of pain in my life and letting go is something I’m working toward. I find if I dwell on it, it gets worse and I start believing that this pain is what I deserve. Happiness is another emotion I seem to have trouble with. I have some amazing things in my life; certain people and places that give me joy, yet I try to sabotage them. I don’t remember having anyone I could turn to for advice when I was younger; I was always alone. Therefore, I came to a conclusion that I would be eternally lonely. Loneliness caused sadness and started the circle of emotions over again. I believe this is why I became so angry at my life, other people and myself.
I’ts normal to be sad and hurt at times. It’s also very normal to get angry, however, letting it consume you is not healthy. The hard part is knowing how much time to allow these emotions to have the stage. One thing I found that helps is a technique called Self-Soothing. You can find helpful resources here.
SELF-SOOTHING is comforting, nurturing and being kind to yourself. One way to accomplish self-soothing is to comfort your five senses in the following ways:
SIGHT: Walk in a pretty part of town. Look at the nature around you. Go to a museum with beautiful art. Buy a flower and put it where you can see it. Sit in a garden. Watch the snowflakes decorate the trees during a snowfall. Light a candle and watch the flame. Look at a book with beautiful scenery or beautiful art. Watch a travel movie or video.
SOUND: Listen to beautiful or soothing music, or to tapes of the ocean or other sounds of nature. Listen to a baby gurgling or a small animal. Sit by a waterfall. Listen to someone chopping wood. When you are listening, be mindful, letting the sounds come and go.
SMELL: Smell breakfast being cooked at home or in a restaurant. Notice all the different scents around you. Walk in a garden or in the woods, maybe just after a rain, and breathe in the smells of nature. Light a scented candle or incense. Bake some bread or a cake, and take in the aroma.
TASTE: Have a special treat, and eat it slowly, savoring each bite. Cook a favorite meal. Drink a soothing drink like herbal tea or hot chocolate. Let the taste run over your tongue and slowly down your throat. Go to a potluck, and eat a little bit of each dish, mindfully tasting each new thing.
TOUCH: Take a bubble bath. Pet your dog or cat or cuddle a baby. Put on a silk shirt or blouse, and feel its softness and smoothness against your skin. Sink into a really comfortable bed. Float or swim in a pool, and feel the water caress your body.
It all sounds so easy, yet many of us know that it is easier to give advice than to follow it. It won’t hurt to try something new. Next time you are feeling overwhelmed with a difficult situation, take a deep breath and an idea from the list. Tonight, I plan to cuddle up into my new pillows, smell my fresh sheets and enjoy a good night’s sleep on my comfy bed. And tomorrow, I will take a walk. There were birds singing in the tree outside my office, springtime always makes me happy. I’m smiling as I end this article tonight. We should all take time to soothe ourselves no matter what the circumstances of our lives are. Basically, it’s caring about ourselves and realizing we are human.
“Friendship with oneself is all-important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else.” – Eleanor Roosevelt