December 2017, I will have reached my six months of dialectical behavioural therapy. While I have been enjoying my therapy and life has become a whole lot more manageable, the past week I have had to really use my skills to make sure I checked in with myself. I am balancing the feelings of not fighting chronic suicide ideation. I know what you are thinking, it's a good thing, right? Of course, it is. Living a life where I don't have to push aside suicidal thoughts is a huge weight off my shoulders. However, there are repercussions when the thoughts go away. Its a feeling of feeling uncomfortable, you feel lost and the paranoia starts to rise as you think this cant be it. That the thoughts have just eased away.
I have been battling suicidal thoughts since I was 13 years of age. The first time I had a thought was when I was 13 at my kitchen bench of my family home. This huge feeling of anguish overcame me, and I had to go to my room as I was crying profusely. Then when I was diagnosed at 17, I battled with the idea for 11 years of my life. It's only the past four months the thoughts have slid away, and it takes a lot to adjust to. It almost feels like a dream that I craved to become a reality. Now its become a reality, it really shows it is possible to manage a life when you have chronic suicide ideation as a symptom of your illness. I am a living example. My heart drops to know I could have been a stat in the ever-rising losses to suicide here in Australia.
The importance of lived experience is very clear to me. Now I have the capability to help others who are battling with this detrimental illness. I now see the grass is greener on the other side when countless times I was ready to throw in the towel and not seek help. I know I am just fortunate enough to have been lead to the help I need. Unfortunately, there are people out there still falling through the gaps. People out there who are in inclusive environments when the key to preventing suicide and supporting someone with a mental illness is being in an exclusive environment. An environment where they feel safe, validated and a sense of belonging. As soon as someone who is seeking a path to recovery is in an inclusive environment, whether that be with mental health professionals, friends and family, the likely hood of them moving forward is the bare minimum.
The past four months have really shown me the truths of living with a mental illness. Although my suicide ideation has diminished, I still have other symptoms of my Borderline presenting themselves and further creating a challenge for me. This challenge, however, is vital in my growth and self-management. Realistically, I wish everyone got to have the insight I have gained through DBT. Unfortunately, not everyone gets to see the other side of living with a BPD diagnosis.
Even though my suicide ideations have gone, I still live in a small amount of fear that the wave of emotion may come toppling back again when I least expect it. Life happens that is beyond my control, where radical acceptance comes to play in order for me to survive this life of pain. My psychologist is adamant that I won't go back there. I guess I need some more time for that to sink in. A life where I don't resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms to regulate the emotional pain I feel internally.
Here is my message to anyone in the midst of a BPD crisis. Where you feel so heavy hearted, fluctuating between pain and numbing when you dissociate from the overwhelming feelings, it does get better. Surround yourself with the compassion, empathy and validation you do deserve. These things are key to learning how to self-soothe when you are at your wits ends trying not to hurt yourself when you are triggered. Remember people do love you despite convincing yourself that they don't. The right ones stay right beside you in hope that one day the pain will not make your whole body feel like it's on fire. Seek the therapy that is going to help YOU. Your experience is individual. If you get a setback, keep pushing until you find the one that helps. I was ready to leave the world and I pushed through until I was bruised and battered. Now I stand tall, the heavy feeling tries to come back but with my skills, I am able to make sure I tread lightly. Last but not least, you are not any definition society tries to define you by. You are a person who has some tangles, spills and thrills about you. But at the end of the day, so does everyone else. That's what makes you so uniquely special.