What Gets YOU Through?

It's been a while since I've posted, and I think it's due time. Without getting into the details of what's been going on just yet, I'll give it to you in a nutshell and then focus on what's happening in the now.

Anyone who has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or knows someone who does knows that one of the more common criteria of signs of this disorder is "frequent crises" ("Borderline personality disorder," 2010.)  I can relate to this. About once every 6-7 months, I end up in the emergency room with symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting that become so intense due to anxiety and dramatization, that I end up needing IV fluids for re-hydration.  Again, I won't get into the details now about my insights as to why this happens, but I will get into it in a future post.

I ended up in the ER yesterday with one of these episodes. I was deeply troubled and very badly triggered by some very unsafe situations going on at work. Not so much on a physical level, but on a mental health level.  I wish I had kept myself together like an adult and made rational choices that I could be accountable for - like quitting and moving on and knowing that I had made the right choice.

I wish I had tried harder with my DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) skills that I have been working so hard to learn and practice. But I ended up going full force into crisis mode, less than 24-hours after my significant other of many years - my first and only real, mostly stable relationship, expressed in a way like he never had before, how his feelings had unfortunately shut down for me. He was tired of seeing me self-sabotage -- one job after another, one relationship after another, financial issues, etc.  He was tired of my crises - my issues with appetite, running to the hospital and getting IVs, etc. He expressed that he cares for me so much but didn't think he could take much more. He had said this many times before, but I had unfortunately not taken it very seriously and sometimes let it go in one ear and out the other, because hearing it and considering he might leave me was just too painful.

But there was something different about this conversation. He asked me to look him in the eyes and know that he really could not take this anymore, and that it is getting close to the point where we might have to go our separate ways. I was and partially still am in denial. I freaked. I panicked. I cried. I felt sick. I begged him to give me another chance, but everything I said in my desperate plea not to be abandoned and to have him know that I do realize where he is coming from and only wanted one more chance to prove that I won't take him for granted -- he said he was tired of hearing it and had heard it so many times. I begged him to let me know if the situation was hopeless or if there was any chance at all, but he didn't want to answer.

I had to put some DBT skills into action PRONTO. Whether the diarrhea and lack of appetite I was experiencing were anxiety or a stomach bug and anxiety combined, I needed to calm down and care for my physical health and condition before I could deal with this incredibly intense, overwhelming, and terrifying emotional situation.

I pulled out a piece of paper that a licensed psychologist at the hospital helped me come up with before I left yesterday.  Here are some of the things that I wrote down to keep in mind, read, and repeat:

  • I don't need to think about this right now.
  • Just this moment, Just this breath.
  • Keep Breathing.
  • I am okay. Look at the evidence.
  • That's too much for me right now.
  • I want to show you I can do this.
  • Listen to a meditation CD.

For the last one, I listened to (and have since listened three more times to) a CD called Time for Healing: Relaxation for Mind and Body, by Catherine Regan, PhD. I am not sure where you can find this CD - a former co-worker gave it to me. But, I highly recommend it. The first track is a progressive muscle relaxation exercise, and the second track is a guided imagery meditation of walking through the countryside.

image credit:: mindbodysmile.com

Other things I am doing to stay on track is to imagine that I am the adult taking care of my inner child while she doesn't feel well.  I came up with a plan where, even though I have no appetite, I have a light snack and a full glass of fluids every 2 hours or so.  It's been going well. What I've had is hardly anywhere near what I'd eat on a normal day, but on a normal day, I don't have stomach problems and a come-and-go fever. So, I need to take it easy on myself, do the best that I can, take good care of my mind-body-spirit, and trust that each day I will feel better and stronger.

Monday I have an appointment with my psychiatrist. We are going to come up with a rational, "Wise Mind" plan on how to proceed with leaving my current job and take a look at the meds I am taking for anxiety. I am looking forward to this appointment. But, until then, I will do my best to live in the moment...to deal with the anxieties and fears as they come up...and to continue to take care of myself.

Thanks for reading. If you have any comments, questions, thoughts, or suggestions, please DO share.

Talk soon.


References/Resources:

Borderline personality disorder.
(2010, November 15). Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001931/

4 comments:

  1. I'm going through a crisis at the moment. Your approach and strategies are useful ones that I'm going to try to use this morning. I'm seeing my CPN at lunchtime, so I'm trying to hang in there until then. Thanks for the suggestions. I identify so much with having constant crises; it's exhausting isn't it. I can't imagine how it must wear others down, it wears ME down enough, but to look on powerlessly must be awful. Best of luck in your journey through.

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  2. A few years ago I came up with the idea of using part of myself as my mother, kind to a Transactional Analysis thing. It has helped me immensely -- even though I often talk in the third person.

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  3. Thankyou very much for your blog it is really helpful and I will be reading it regularly. I have BPD and feel very alone with it, connecting to other people is so important. Thank you for being so open and honest and I really like your style. I also write a blog on Mental Health and Addictions. All the very best to you.
    Penny

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  4. Hello "the last house on the block," "Linda," and "pennysnowball." Sorry that I am just noticing your wonderful comments now.

    To: the last house on the block
    I truly hope you are feeling better right now. I know how frequent the ups and downs can be, and you may have ridden many roller coasters since you originally posted here. I am finding that DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) is helping SUBSTANTIALLY. The more I learn and practice, the easier it is for others around me too. Hugs!

    To: Linda
    That is so interesting! I sometimes talk to myself as if I were counseling a dear friend. I come up with such compassionate solutions and responses that way. It's pretty amazing! Glad to hear that you are also doing something like that.

    To: PennySnowBall
    I really appreciate your feedback on my blog, and it made me so happy to read that it is helpful to you and that you'll be a regular reader. Welcome. :)

    I'll check out your blog as well.

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