Emotional regulation is a thing people with BPD tend to struggle with the most. Being in the moment of the emotions and feelings is learnt instead of heightening the situation with anxiety and conclusions. I think its something every human could struggle with. This is why mindfulness for people with BPD is so important and can change someones life for the better. Make them sit in relief instead of the pain caused by catastrophic thinking patters.
In past events, ever since I was little, I always remember I would feel so overwhelmed from painful events that I learnt other coping strategies instead of finding other calming ways to deal with them. Self harm was a huge outlet for me. The reason I self harm was to distract myself from the pain. So self harm was a release. It felt like the only possible option to make me calm at the time. Self injury can also lead to suicide attempts if you want the pain to stop completely in that moment. This explains peoples attempts in BPD. Some plan it over time and others will think about it in that moment. The pain becomes too much so the outlet of it to stop completely is used.
I use to think I couldn't escape my memories of pain and escape my mind in moments of distress. I always heard of mindfulness. I even practiced some mindfulness without being aware of it. Sport has always been an escape for me. There were times I was so ill even the thought of doing the activities I enjoyed seemed impossible. The ideation was high and all I was capable of doing was staying in my room and trying to block out reality. I wouldn't accept the memories of pain or the present moments of pain. Here is what I have been practicing to put out my emotional 'fires' that irrupt in me when I start to get lost in my own thoughts.
One example was the other night I found myself to be feeling quite alone. I was craving my ex girlfriends affection as that is the most intimacy I have had. I then started to get worked up about everything that happened with us. I started to get angry at the treatment I was given when I was ill. I then found myself allowing myself to be angry as it was valid instead of getting angry that I was angry. I use to get angry at being angry which then started to heighten other emotions and started to bring up other emotions on top of that.
Another scenario was the other night I was conversing with a friend about a celebrity I have always had a slight obsession with. I posted a picture of her on instagram stating how I think she's upgraded. A mutual friend of mine and my ex girlfriend thought it was a direct dig at my ex. I have blocked my ex on my account and I wasn't even considering my ex at the time of this. I started to get angry I felt like I had to justify my behaviour to someone I thought was my friend. My friend then started to make me feel bad for expressing how I was frustrated she messaged me and was defending my ex even thought this post had nothing to do with her. I thought it was unfair how someone questioned what I wanted to post on my social media outlet. Then emotions started to fire up. I started to remember how she never pulls them up for their behaviours that seem out of line to me. Then excuses came up and then she decided to say how she said if people are really suicidal that they wouldn't vocalise it. That was a trigger for me as I know how real my suicide ideations are and I thought out of everyone this friend would understand as she saw me in a state of psychosis and a hospital admission. In the past this has lead me to hurt myself. I felt like I was going to until I practiced my mindfulness. I reminded myself that not everyone understands my illness and I have every reason to be hurt by what she just said to me. I stood my ground and reminded myself how very scary and real all the attempts have been for me in the past and that I just don't do it for the 'sake' of it. This then proceeded into her telling me that a professional has told her this. I know all the professionals I have dealt with for ten years and being in the mental health system for that long that isn't the case. I also work for Suicide Prevention so I knew her lack of not understanding and judgements were reflecting her choice of words. I also know the people who do really love and care about me know its real regardless of what other people say. I know I shouldn't feel ashamed for how I behave when I am mentally ill. Reinforcing that has helped me ten fold.
Flashbacks have occurred a few times after my sexual abuse has come up in therapy. I use to dissociate from it which resulted in lost time. Time where I would completely leave the room and forget where I am. I use to block them out with all sorts of outlets. I use to harm and drink heavily to deal with it. Now I have started a journal, writing down in detail about my experience and letting myself feel it in the room. Its very scary and confronting but I know I couldn't escape what happened to me. I feel like an object sometimes when I have these memories. But I start to touch things around me like my pillows and donna to remind myself that this was in the past and not happening in the present moment. It make me feel safe.
Validating myself instead of wanting others validation has helped me a lot too. I remember I adored my ex partner. I thought the absolute world of her. Not a pedestal, just no one else was in the equation for me. I loved her that much that I wanted the same adoration. I know I could have that with someone else. But my self worth was extremely low when we were together. She always made me feel like I wasn't enough for her, or if I said that she would say I was 'too' much. She always said how she struggled to express how she feels. She use to always go on about how great everyone else was around her. How she appreciated all these friendships she had but I just didn't feel appreciated. I did absolutely anything and everything for her but I still didn't feel worthy enough to her. I know I respect myself but something I was lacking was validating myself. I had everyone reason to be upset at her behaviours and to be upset I wasn't receiving the love and safety back, even though I was reassured I was. Recently in therapy I realised how much trust I did put into her. She was the first person I told about my sexual abuse as it was coming up during sex or when we were intimate. I was petrified of telling her. So scared to expose that part of me I suppressed for so long of my life. She softly told me time and time again to trust her and she wasn't going anywhere. I understand the difficulty of Post Traumatic Stress Episodes, but on her behalf she left me in one of my most darkest moments. I was dumped in hospital via a text message after her all weekend seeing me absolutely losing my mind. Instead of coming to hospital with me or caring for me, she dumped me. She made me feel like nothing to her. This was the first of many times she made me feel like that. I know when someone loves and cares about you they wouldn't leave you in that time of need. I was convinced I was safe with her. I was wrong and it was wrong of me to think what I was feeling at that time wasn't valid. I had every reason to be upset and angry she left me like that after she built the safety net for me and the net was torn down when she ran away. That was the first stage of the three betrayals I allowed by not validating my feelings and thinking it was my fault that she left me in the dark like that.
I think now I am more aware of the present moments it has benefited me greatly. I still have suicide ideations but I now have the skills to recognise the emotion in the moment is valid and normal to feel. There is nothing wrong with being angry, sad, frustrated and wanting to die considering everything thats happened to me. I use to think I wasn't allowed to feel this way because everyone always judged my behaviours when I had every reason to react to hurtful behaviours shown to me past and present. I am grateful however for getting to the core of my suppressed issue. I am glad its surfaced now instead of constantly hurting myself as I didn't know other ways to deal with it. I have removed people out of my life that don't validate how I feel anymore as they are the people that get in the way of my path to good health. I now can have my self love back and I am settled with knowing all the pain caused by choice I didn't deserve. My vulnerabilities were taken advantage of.