Thursday, 31 October 2013

So...That was Then...This is Now...

I started writing this blog in 2010 - still reeling from finding out that my 'emotional issues' since childhood had a name and could be understood beyond my being 'oversensitive', 'overdramatic' and 'overstimulated' (amazing what comes out of angry confrontations!).

It has taken me three years to adjust to a diagnosis of BPD with a lovely side order of severe Clinical Depression. It took until the age of 42 and numerous periods of: instability, breakdown (of self and relationships), relocation and rebuilding to find that my life patterns had a cause and some hope of a remedy.
I am forever grateful to the CPN (still with me after all these years - possibly the longest adult relationship I've managed to maintain longer than three years) who saw through my 'apparent competence' and my 'high functionality' to see that I was screaming out for help. Patterns of Self Harm and risk of suicide associated with BPD distract some professionals from listening to the pain being expressed. I used to describe myself as being 'trapped inside my own head, screaming'!

For me no one knew that I self harmed (I was working with cases who tended to have the same patterns of self abuse and emotional stability as I was experiencing). My professionalism was a dam holding back the torrents of emotional distress tumbling around inside me. My biggest fear was losing my job, my raison d'etre, the only effective means of self validation I had at the time. So I knew that admitting that I had made detailed plans to end my life ironically, was the last thing I wanted to do. But in an assessment, begged for by my GP who fought so hard for people to look beyond the surface, for the first time someone asked me directly how far I had gone in planning to commit suicide - suddenly it was ok to let it all out and my life as I knew it came to a juddering time for people to recognise how much emotional distress I was experiencing. The mask was off and it was all there for anyone who cared to look to see.

Some of the most comforting words spoken to me around this time were - 'your response is understandable', 'it's ok to feel low' - I was allowed to struggle due to my previous experience of life. At that time suicide seemed like an answer to unbearable emotional pain, but to quote Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones 'Death is so very final'.

At the moment, I am attending a DBT graduate group - just like that! 14 months of DBT Skills Group and individual therapy have flown by and I recognise that I have come a long way since my juddering much learning has happened. One of the most freeing realisations has been that although I may be a product of my past, I don't have to remain as its prisoner! It is exceptionally freeing to recognise that the 'solutions' to my emotional pain, no longer have to be so final. Today, I am learning to accept each moment, with all its feelings, good or bad, while changing what can be changed in me.