Living "As If," and Turning The Mind To Escape An Emotional Crisis (NOW)


When I got on Twitter today, I noticed that many of my #BPDfriends were suffering emotionally.  I feel for them, because I understand the pain firsthand.  

Many are experiencing loneliness. Some are experiencing an intense reaction - a feeling of abandonment - by loved ones who must leave them for a business trip or even to just go on an errand.

Borderline Personality Disorder is complex and difficult.  We can be feeling well, strong, and confident one minute only to feel unbalanced, weak, and insignificant the next.  We must understand that this is all part of the illness.   We may not LIKE it, of course, and we certainly don't APPROVE of it, but ACCEPTING that this is the case is the first step to coping.

If you're suffering today because of BPD related symptoms, I encourage you to begin your healing journey by acknowledging:  

"I accept that while I do not like or approve of what I am experiencing, it is all part of my complicated diagnosis.  Even though it feels like I can't tolerate it, I can.  I may not entirely WANT to, but I can.  Things will get better. I will feel better again.  Emotions are transient. This too, truly, shall pass.  I'm holding on to that promise.  I've seen it more than once. I will be okay."

Next, we get to "live as if" and turn the mind over and over and over to our commitment of acceptance.  When I say "live as if," (the adult version of "Make Believe"), I draw from my own personal experience of using DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), particularly the skill of Opposite Action to behave in ways that elicit the feelings and moods I WANT to feel.  I do the things that I would do if I were feeling well.  Somehow, this affects my mind and helps it to make the shift to feeling better. This is an effective way to feel better, and it can work for you too.

For example, if I'm feeling depressed and lonely, instead of listening to heart wrenching love ballads, I'll instead turn on upbeat, encouraging music. I may turn it up loudly and sing along if I'm driving. If I'm at home, I may get up and dance.  I don't care how silly it is. I don't care how ridiculous I initially feel or about the thoughts that come up of "why bother?".  

All I care about when I'm feeling this way is practicing skills that are proven to help me feel better, and DBT skills do just this.

I also self-soothe.  Often when we are feeling upset, sad, depressed, anxious, or angry, the LAST thing we feel like doing is treating ourselves well -- and that's exactly why we must.  Swaddle up in a blanket with your pet.  Turn on some good TV or a movie while you nibble on your favorite snack.  Get outside and feel the sun on your skin.  Go to a local coffee shop with your tablet or phone and tweet or surf the web from there, around other people.  Fight the isolation. Live as if you are already in that space you wish to be in, and soon, you very likely will be.

Keep turning your mind.  It will naturally turn back to the more familiar negative feelings. Choose to acknowledge and accept that they are coming up, but consciously choose to live as if.   

How can you Live as If today?

Thanks for reading.
More Soon.

3 comments:

  1. thank you for the idea to live "as if" i were feeling well :) i wrote it down and pinned it on my cork board as a daily reminder that WELLNESS IS OUR BIRTHRIGHT as the masterpiece of God's beautiful creation. God bless you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome! So glad you found this to be helpful and that it helps to bring you some peace. ♥ Debbie

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  2. I find it extremely difficult to pratice this. I've felt like this for years. I really needed to hear this tonight. I'll have to try to practice this tomorrow. Thank you for this post.

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