Encouraging Those With BPD & Anxiety

Today was particularly challenging.  I have been in somewhat of an existential mode (which is interesting but can get really scary, really fast for me), and I have been experiencing some rather intense anxiety attacks (heart jumping out of chest very fast, racing thoughts, crying spells).

I know that there are some reasons why I feel overwhelmed and worried, and I also know that after some reflection, my mind is also reacting to ‘perceived dangers’ – things I am afraid may happen or that may be happening, but that aren’t actually solid facts.

I ended up feeling the need to reach out for help today. I felt like going to the emergency room (which I have done so many times in the past), they always end up diagnosing me with anxiety/mental health issues after me being there for about 12 hours. I usually end up pressuring them to give me an IV, because I have a major fear of being dehydrated (since I was in the past), and when when I am anxious, I tend to eat a lot less and, well, I just worry.  I decided, even in the midst of the intense panic and the fact that I desired to have an emergency room team reassure me that I am alright (yes, I have the insight to understand that this is what I, personally, tend to do), to I called the psych department’s crisis line and talk it through. It was time for a reality check.

I spoke with a counselor (who I happened to know, which made it less scary and less embarrassing). I talked about all of the symptoms I have already mentioned here and how I have been going through a huge abandonment fear (people with Borderline Personality Disorder often fear and dread – more than anything else, being rejected and abandoned. I am no exception.)

I was really, really hurting and suffering in those moments. I cried out. I wailed. I felt desperately afraid. The counselor helped me to ground myself. She had me take several slow, cleansing breaths. Then she had me look around the room and notice the windows and doors. She had me crack the window and describe what the air felt like on my skin. She then asked me to describe everything that I saw out the window. I quickly calmed. I realized that I had been in a trigger-reaction mode, and by simply bringing myself to the here and now, things felt less intense. I felt less scared, and more in control.  Thank you, dear counselor. I also send thanks to my therapist who picked up the phone yesterday to talk me through it, and to my dear friend and my love, who both helped me today.

Today, I used the DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) skills of:

Taking hold of my mind
Being present in the moment

and the Anxiety Skills of:

Accepting the symptoms
Reminding myself that it would pass
Doing a guided meditation CD (3x!) — what are some of your favorites?

General Self Care:
Reaching out to others
Making sure I had something to eat and drank lots of fluids

May your inner voice guide you to the best ways to care for yourself, in the best of times, and in the most challenging of times.

More soon.

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