Today, a very quick conversation with a friend got me thinking.
He suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder – ‘BPD is a common mental illness. People affected have difficulty managing their emotions and impulses, relating to people and maintaining a stable self-image’ – www.sane.org
It was his Birthday yesterday and tried with all his might to have an amazing day with his loved ones. Which, to an extent he did.
Today though, just the day after, he came crashing down like a sack of potatoes. Today, he is feeling sad, lonely and lost. To many, this may not make much sense, but for many others, me, for one, it completely does. It is so hard to try to ‘seem’ and ‘act’ and ‘feel’ happy and content especially for those around us when we, ourselves, are so down or sad or so full of self dislike (to put it mildly).
And I said that to him. I said I completely understand the exhaustion and therefore the accompanying down spiral that comes from even just one day of ‘pretending’. But I also did say to him that he needed to remember it is the ‘condition’ talking and telling him he is alone and sad, not him.
I reminded him that BPD does not make him the person he is. It is separate to who he is. Who he is in essence. BPD does not define him. This, seemed to calm him a little.
During our conversation he mentioned he had helped an elderly man push his trolley today. And there it was! There, I pointed out, was the proof that he himself, is still inside there somewhere being pushed down by the ‘reality’ his condition is trying so hard to make him believe! And that, I think, is what he needed and what I have needed so many times in the past. A reminder and a ‘pointing out’ that as kind and thoughtful we can be towards others by ‘pretending to be happy’ so as not to worry them, or helping someone out when we, ourselves don’t have the energy to even brush our teeth, we can also try to be kind to ourselves.
This is my point. We need to start being kind to our own selves first! We need to be ok about not feeling that crash hot. That it is not ‘us’ who bring it upon us. We don’t purposely decide one day to be so down we can’t get out of bed.
So let us not hate or dislike ourselves for having these feelings. Instead, feel and reach deep within and remember who you are without all the baggage! You don’t cease to exist because you suffer from a Mental Illness. You are misguided by what it wants you to believe about yourself!
So let’s try make a deal and I soooo know it is hard! Believe me, because I too struggle with doing what I’m about to suggest. But I am trying as much as I can, and hope you can start trying too!
So, this is the deal: each time you do something ‘nice’ for someone else, straight away do something nice for you! It doesn’t have to be anything big at all, just a simple little act of kindness to your own self, the one you know you are, that is buried under those dark thoughts!
An example could be, say to yourself ‘Yes, I did something nice’, and give yourself an inner smile! Buy yourself a nice cup of coffee, get takeaway instead of cooking, have a long, relaxing shower, give yourself a ‘pat on the back’, etc. RECOGNISE to yourself you just did something good, YOU are good!:)
Honestly, try doing it each time you realise you’ve done something good for someone else! At first, it will probably feel awkward and it may even make you a little angry, but keep at it! It is definitely working for me.
The idea is to learn to be kind to yourself again which is the first step in accepting you for who you TRULY are, and not who you THINK you are because of x, y, z…
Much love xx