Coping With Abandonment Issues (and I think P!nk "gets" us)
Yesterday, I had to drop my boyfriend off at the airport. (I wrote about how my fear of abandonment has been triggered, here, the other day.)
He's only going away for a little over a week, but trying to calm my inner child (and nervous system) with that bit of information is challenging.
Here's a pic I took of the walkway back to my car. The way the phone captured the depth of the journey accurately captured how I felt in that moment.
Image I snapped at the airport yesterday
Thinking about him going away was terrifying enough. Watching him go through security even more terrifying. Even though I have been through this so many times before, and for even longer periods of time (see my post on when he went away for a month!), I still notice my body and mind reacting in similar ways.
There is good news, though. Now that I have a lot of practice coping with his departures using Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills, I am able to handle these situations much better and even recover more quickly.
I notice the sensation in the pit of my stomach -- that "fear" feeling, that emptiness feeling in the evening...that scary feeling that I'm not sure who I am or how I am supposed to behave with him not around.
Last night, I used Wise Mind to acknowledge that these thoughts, feelings, and sensations are clearly components of my Borderline Personality Disorder (Emotion Regulation Disorder). I acknowledged that while uncomfortable, I've experienced these before and have emerged feeling better. Yes, I've experienced these before and know that they are only transient. These, too, shall pass, and I will feel better soon.
Most of what goes through my head when I have these episodes are thoughts and feelings that are just that: thoughts and feelings -- not always necessarily facts. This acknowledgment is soothing and comforting.
As I'm writing this to you, I am experiencing a dialectic: One part of me wants to scream and cry, and stomp and talk about how unfair it is that I have to go through this. The other part realizes how ineffective that would be, and that my ultimate goal right now is to feel well
I'm listening to the latter, but my ears are taking refuge in songs like this one, from P!nk, who really seems to get the whole BPD experience. I can actually relate to many of her songs.
This one, "Please Don't Leave Me" is particularly apt:
In addition to mood matching with this song for validation, I plan to shift to activities that are considered Opposite Action to change my mood, such as watching funny television shows and going for a walk.
Fortunately, I also have DBT group today. I also intend to keep social plans with THREE different people this week, though the anxiety is building up inside. I know I will feel better if I follow through and spend quality time with other people.
I suppose I can even distract, immerse myself in the experience, and even be a good listener for other people instead of focusing on this passing difficulty.