Recovery is possible for people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and other mental illnesses, but a relapse or negative episode can reoccur at any time. How do we get through this on our own internally? Especially with the deep emotions involved?
I recently had my skills tested as I’ve had to grieve the loss of my pregnancy at 14 weeks. In the 6 years that I’ve been recovered this takes the cake of all traumas. It was a particularly hard loss to deal with and I found myself dealing with extreme emotions again. Over the course of a few days this turned into emptiness. I know that as someone with BPD, when the emptiness hits it’s a way for us to block out the pain and this can lead to self-harm. So I called my doctor right away because I knew that I would need something for my nerves. I knew what was coming.
The first thing I did when I found out was have the initial breakdown. I cried for a couple days until I saw my doctor who gave me a small prescription for Xanax. The tears came when they wanted to and I let them. I knew this was grieving. I keep reminding myself of that. Next came the wall of emptiness. This is like an abyss. You can get stuck there if you let it. This usually leads to abusing a substance for me, but because I’m not doing that anymore I resorted back to the skills I know. They are pretty generic sounding but when you force yourself to deal with things head on the process goes by quicker. I made up a list of skills to resort to when I don’t know what to do.
1- RATE – Rate the situation on a scale. Is this something I can deal with on my own or do I need help through therapy or medication?
2 – RATIONALIZE – Getting the facts about something can help in any situation. If I need to deal with it now what do I do to relieve the pain of my emotions?
3 – DISTRACT – Take your mind off of the situation if you can’t deal with it right away. Find things to do to keep your mind from getting stuck. If you find the pain too great, it’s not a bad thing to take a hot bath and get sleep. Some say too much sleep is a bad thing. I say in order to heal you must rest.
4 – MEDITATIE – Meditation can also help to digest the situation. It’s ok to cry, just remember skill #2 to rationalize. Thinking things through is healthy.
5 – MEDICATE (IF YOU NEED IT) – People with BPD often require medication, but not always. Dealing with deep emotions is not easy and taking medication is okay if you need it.
I found these skills silly at first but through my recent trauma I have found them to be a lifeline. DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) teaches skills very similar to these but this is my list, through my eyes. It is how I keep a sense of control and avoid getting stuck.
After a couple days of resisting self-harm the deep emotions started to fade away and I started thinking clearly again. Right now I’m in recovery physically but I know the worst is over. I really don’t want to know what the outcome of this situation could have been if I didn’t pound these skills through my head. Mentally and emotionally I’m on the other side and doing well. Physically it’s going to take time. I have an extremely supportive partner and he listens to what my heart is saying.
I know that down the road there is going to be more grieving but I also know that I am equipped with the tools to deal with tough times. This is a total breakthrough for me because I haven’t had to really test my skills for a few years and I’m sure that anyone reading this would qualify this as a hard test. I want to send the message out there that people with BPD don’t have to get lost, or think they are lost during trauma after recovery. Trauma will happen again at some point. I’m so glad that I was able to know myself enough to know what would come next. Having that control over my mind now is very rewarding.
For now I wish the best for my little one and hope that all of you, especially those of you with BPD, are also able to get through negative situations without losing control.
About Natasha Sinclair
With every recovery, there's a story to be told. Especially with Mental illness. Some of the most remarkable recovery stories come from these individuals. I am one of them. I'm a successful 33 year old Pastry Chef, but I'm also diagnosed Borderline Personality Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and Addictions Disorder as of 8 years ago. I want to talk about the many aspects of recovery. For years now I have devoted myself to my BPD Website, local guest speaking and a volunteer for local Mental Health events. I would like to share information I have gathered about BPD through experience and research. Positive and hopeful information on BPD is scarce in social media today and should be brought to the forefront like other Mental Illnesses. I would like to offer information both scientifically and medically I have found through research that may clear the air a little bit on Borderline. I feel this needs to be done more. The many different facts that I have discovered relating to human emotions and behavior are mind opening, which are key components to think about when journeying into recovery.