Do you know what it's like to be afraid of your thoughts? I want to stop cutting and making suicide attempts, but when I begin thinking about suicide or when I have urges to cut, which is a lot of the time, I can't think about anything else. I am in it, and thats it. Its terrifying, I am my thoughts, and theres often no way out. Do you see why I'm anxious when I think about stopping? The worst is that I don't know when it will come or if, in that moment, I will even care about not doing it. So, if I begin thinking about suicide or self-injury, I have to stop quickly or I will do something to hurt myself, but when I start telling myself to stop thinking, it makes it worse. Other times, I notice when my urges go up, like when Im really angry, lonely, hopeless, disappointed, or just feel like i hate myself. Then I get sucked in so badly that its all I want in the world. I stop thinking and then just do it, and right afterward, I feel better.
I think about suicide all the time; it doesn't matter whats going on. I know everything about suicide; and most of the time, it seems like the best option. It has been like this for years. It has become who I am, and it will never go away. Its a part of me, and honestly, I'm not sure what things would be like without it. It sounds really messed up, and for years, I argued that I should be able to just kill myself and that it was meant to be, but now I'm not so sure. It's scary to think about life without suicide; it would just solve all my problems.
These two passages are taken from the Mindfulness for Borderline Personality Disorder book I am reading. These two passages really hit me as that is what I am feeling majority of the time but find it hard to put it into words. Trying to say all those scary thoughts with it making sense. I know when I have been in these heightened states of mind and I have tried to explain it to people, it comes across scattered. Suicidality and self-injury behaviours are very problematic in Borderline. It makes you exhausted and unable to predict the thoughts that you mind will produce.
The problem in the end is you run out of energy to defend these thoughts. When they become so frequent that is when people start to use the labels such as 'attention seeking', 'manipulating', 'crying for help', 'cant be that bad if you haven't acted on them'. People with BPD then start to suppress these thoughts which will cause more damage as the frequency and intensity is still there of the thoughts you really just want to stop.
I have spent so long thinking about suicide and complimenting it that it became the only option to solve my problems and pain. The more I think about the actions that come with suicide and self-injury the more I became accustom to it. Mindfulness wont produce a solution to stop these behaviours and thoughts but can provide a new practice to deal with them and cut down the behaviours associated with self harm and attempts.
Its very hard to try retrain your brain to thinking differently. Your brain has been wired like this since you were little. Here is a practice I read in the book to minimise the thoughts. Also just because someone is practicing manfulness please don't view it as a 'cure'. Its a step to minimise, not to make it all go away.
How to minimise the self destructive state of mind:
- Notice and label your state of mind ( for example, self-injury mind)
- Ask yourself, is this way of thinking useful right now? (answer yes or no)
- If the answer to step 2 is yes, release your mind and let the thinking continue, knowing that this could make your situation worse.
- If the answer to step 2 is no, identify alternative places to focus your mind on. You may focus on a calming memory, some imagery, your long term goals, or perhaps a task or activity. Think about the image of picking up your mind as if you were picking up a brick and moving it else where.
- When your mind wanders back to the destructive thoughts, and it likely will for a while, label that state of mind that you are slipping back into and move your mind to a different thought or to a task to complete. Tasks that require thinking- such as doing crossword puzzles, playing logic games, or making a list of things you need to accomplish at home and then doing them- can be useful. It can be helpful to say things to yourself like There it goes again, Isnt that interesting that my mind went back there again, or 'Self Injury' mind just came up as a solution to the problem.
Its a practice that takes up a lot of time and energy. The more you practice, the more skilled you will become at stepping back from challenging self destructive thinking and gaining the upper hand concerning where your mind games.
Source: Mindfullness For Boderline Personality Disorder by Blaise Aguirre & Gillian Galen