Restlessness.

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Tonight I feel sad. I can’t pinpoint an exact reason as to why, but it’s a sadness that aches. I tried to sleep it away but that hasn’t helped. I tried to distract it away and neither has that. It’s the kind of sadness that makes me feel lethargic and restless all at the same time.

So, with sleeping and distracting not working, I’ve turned to blogging. At first I had no idea what I wanted to write about. There were so many things I COULD write about, but none we’re grabbing me tonight. So I turned to Pinterest for inspiration, and that was where I reconnected with Maya Angelou. I’m sure most of you know Maya Angelou, but for those that don’t she was an American Poet and Activist amongst other things. I love Maya Angelou – her books, her poems, her philosophy on life. As I scrolled through Pinterest reading her words one theme stuck out to me – the theme of doing more. Not being content to be idle and quiet, but to help others and show compassion and grow as a person.

My partner often complains that I’m never content. As soon as I get one thing I want the next – whether it be clothing, house decor, an activity or an interest. I’m never happy. And he’s right. I’m not. The restlessness I feel tonight is not new to me, I’m just struggling with it more than usual. I’m not sure if it’s a BPD thing (the lack of sense of self, etc.) but I can’t remember the last time I felt content. It’s impossible for me to do one thing at once. I can’t just sit and watch a movie, I can’t just read a book, I can’t just cuddle with my partner. I always have to be doing two or three or even more things at once. My brain just won’t settle. Maybe that’s why I find Mindfulness so God damn awful and difficult.

Just like I can’t find contentment day-to-day, I’m struggling to find contentment in life. I always feel like I’m not doing enough. Not enough in my job, not enough for those around me that need help and compassion and just not enough with my life. It’s a constant itch that tells me I should be – no, HAVE to – be doing more with my life. Making more of an impact, making more of a change. It’s like a desperation to leave some mark on this world so I don’t feel as if my whole existence is just a complete waste, bogged down with depression and mental illness. Like Maya Angelou’s words above, I don’t feel content with merely surviving – I want to thrive, to help, to make change.

Unfortunately finding the motivation to make this change is pretty fucking difficult when depression means you sometimes don’t even have the motivation to get up in the morning. And so the cycle of restlessness continues. Of course Maya Angelou also writes about self-loving and knowing you are enough. Maybe if I could focus on this more I could shake this restless, this lack of contentment with life.

 I’m hoping that one day I can come out on top of mental illness and put to positive use the compassion and understanding it has already taught me. Until then, it’s just a matter of day-to-day and trying to find contentment in the small things, which is something I am still yet to master. Does anyone else struggle with this sense of restlessness? That you need to be doing more than you’re doing and every second you’re not you’re wasting the world’s time? I’d love to hear from you if you, and how you manage it. Until then I will take this learning curve that having a mental illness is and, hopefully, continue to learn and grow so that one day I can find the contentment I’m searching for.

Hello Anxiety, How You Doin?

Tonight I had a late night anxiety attack. I seemed to be coasting along okay, managing today, and then suddenly, out of seemingly nowhere, pops up my dear old friend Anxiety. For anyone else that knows him you’d know how excited I was for his visit (and yes Anxiety is a he because generally guys suck soooo…).

Cue the lump in the throat, racing heart, shaking hands, pacing, complete loss of concentration and zigzagging thoughts – all the usual anxiety attack symptoms.

And then I was bawling my eyes out. Sometimes it was for totally logical reasons such as current stressors I have in my life. Other times the reasons were not so logical. For example, I spent a good 30 minutes reading the profiles of dogs up for adoption. I cried for the unloved and homeless dogs, I cried at how precious dogs are and what they bring to our lives, I cried for how short their time is in comparison to ours and the unjustness of this. Yep, it went there. In my defence it was midnight. Midnight is always when emotional shit goes down.

I’ve taken medication to help and I’m trying to ride this out and get some sleep. Here’s to hoping I wake up tomorrow as bright as a daisy. Or, if I’m being realistic, at least bright enough to roll out of bed. Gotta keep this shit real, after all.

Veni Vidi Amavi.

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The first time I saw this quote I instantly fell in love with it. Everyone is familiar with the more popular words spoken by Julius Caesar – Veni Vidi Vici. I came, I saw, I conquered. But the idea of loving instead of conquering is something I’m much more open to exploring.

Originally I saw this quote only in relation to the world. There is so much hate, violence, prejudice, racism, sexism and homophobia around us all the time. If we approached it with the idea to love the differences and diversity amongst people, instead of wanting to “conquer” what we don’t know, think of how different the world would be. How much better this world would be.

But lately, as I work with my psychiatrist on improving my self-esteem, I’ve begun to connect with this quote on another level; a more personal one. I’m extremely outspoken on my belief for equality for everyone in this world – put me in a room with my parents who share very different views for longer than two minutes and I guarantee I will have begun a perpetual rant on my feelings about this topic within this timeframe.

My job as a special educator means I work from 9-5, five days a week, to remove boundaries and stereotypes and make school a loving, open and inclusive environment for my clients.

However when it comes to me, I don’t share this view. While I openly voice the need for the world to be loving and inclusive to everyone despite their differences, I hate myself for who I am. I hate the way I look. I hate my body. I hate my personality. I think I’m useless and there is nothing I’m good at. I question why anyone in the world would want to be my friend, let alone engage in a conversation with me. I nitpick physical attributes right down to hating the shape my fingernails grow in. Outside of work I hide my self-harm scars even when I don’t have to, simply because I’m ashamed of them. Very few people know I have multiple mental illnesses because I don’t want to be seen as less capable or “crazy”. I preach to other people about loving others and their differences, yet I hate or hide what makes me unique.

I would love to be able to say this realisation has now solved all my self-esteem problems and I’m suddenly the most confident person in the world. Of course it hasn’t; improving self-esteem doesn’t work that way and it will be a long, long, long journey for me (emphasis on the long). However it’s has given me a new way to reflect on self-esteem and self-love – the idea of seeing you for who you are and loving that.

And it’s made one of my favourite quotes even more special to me.

 

BPD Awareness Month and Looking On The Bright Side.

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The month of May is Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month. Considering I have a blog dedicated to life with BPD, I felt just a little (ok, just A LOT) of pressure to post something in recognition of this.

So, on the 31st of May, here it is (because the last day of the month still counts, okay?)!

Now I’m not going to sugarcoat it – Borderline Personality Disorder sucks. The emotional rollercoaster you ride every single day is horrendous, it impacts every facet of your life no matter how hard to try to not let it and it has the highest suicide rate of any psychiatric disorder.

However for many of you reading this, and myself included, we’re diagnosed with it. We go through gruelling amounts of therapy to reduce our symptoms, we take all types of medication to make day-to-day life more liveable. But we have Borderline Personality Disorder. We may never change that, and if we do, it’s a long, long, long-term process.

So it’s time to look on the bright side. Because with all the awful aspects that come along with BPD, there are also some aspects that aren’t so bad. Aspects that make me unique and different in a good way. Aspects that make me, me.

So let’s do this.

Positive Traits of Borderline Personality Disorder:

  • Resilience – People with BPD are use to struggling. Many have battled with self-harm, suicidal behaviour, drug and alcohol addiction and eating disorders, as well as dealing with extreme emotional dysregulation on a daily basis. This makes people diagnosed with BPD literal warriors, with high mental and physical resilience.
  • Empathy and Compassion – People with BPD experience an emotional rollercoaster on a day-to-day basis. However this tumultuous rollercoaster means that those with BPD are able to both recognise, and share greater insight, with others in similar situations. A study has even found that people with BPD are able to read facial expressions and emotions in others better than those without BPD.
  • Creativity – Because of the intense emotions people with BPD experience they are often skilled in creative endeavours. They are able to channel these powerful emotions into art, music and writing.
  • Passion – People with BPD are extremely passionate. They feel their emotions to the absolute fullest. They love people, things and causes deeply, and will both protect and share the things they love passionately with others.
  • Loyal – Just as people with BPD are extremely passionate, they are also extremely loyal. Many people with BPD will go to the ends of the Earth for someone or something they love and care about.
  • Intuitive and Insightful – People with BPD are able to pick up on others emotional states quickly and accurately. This is a behaviour that stems from childhood, and while this can be overwhelming at times, it also allows people with BPD to be aware of when others are in distress and help them.
  • Adaptable – People with BPD spend most of their day adapting to new situations, dependant on where they are and who they are with. This makes people with BPD able to adapt and be successful in a wide range of situations.

 

Of course there are many, many more positive aspects to people with Borderline Personality Disorder – these are just a few that I feel resonate strongly with me. If you have any others you’d like to share I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

 

And here’s to the end of the 10th Offical Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month.