I get little fits of 'energy' from time to time. They scare me, yet paradoxically they motivate me into productivity. Its like I realize that; all too soon I could be back in the familiar haze of depression, so in a fury of energy, I have to take full advantage of any brief respite from the emotional hell when it comes.
Yesterday the two girls I lived with moved out. They were students and had finished their exams, so have now moved home for the summer. For at least the next three months it is just me and the landlady living together in my house. I like it this way. I really do not enjoy living and sharing my space with other people, yet financially I have little other option. Call me anti-social, I don't mind. I agree!Anyway, back to the topic at hand; It gave me a perfect opportunity to give the kitchen well over due clean. As you can imagine; cleaning is not high on any students agenda. The place was festering with months old grit and grim.
The most outstanding part to this idea was not that I found the motivation to clean, no. It was that I wanted to clean it for me, not anybody else, so that I would have a nice comforting environment to live in. When I realized this, I sort of stopped in my tracks. I can't remember the last time I was this kind to myself, this compassionate. I see it as progress, I really do. I know from previous 'healthy' periods in my life, that when I take pride in my own choices and in my environment that I am doing well. I am living for myself again now, heck, I want to live! That's a big difference from a mere month ago...
With regards to DBT, I can most certainly see a noted improvement of late also. There are so many things I know have contributed to this bout of wellness, all of which I feel have been needed in conjunction with each other rather than in isolation.This includes my very successful treatment stint in the Center For Living, also I am now attending OA regularly and have started eating and sticking to a food plan daily, my sleep has vastly improved due to a more structured routine, and I am volunteering twice weekly and meeting new interesting people and most importantly I am making friends and family a priority again, I am resisting the urge to isolate. I have reduced my vulnerability factors drastically by really concentrating on PLEASE. By doing this I am giving myself an opportunity to have happy, or 'normal' life, or if we go all Marsha on it 'a life worth living'.
That is not to say that all is peachy all of the time. I had a good chance to practice self soothe only hours ago. I was at a public lecture tonight in a private hospital here in Dublin. The same hospital where I spent five very unwell months two years ago, and where I received my BPD diagnosis. Even though I loved the security this hospital offered me from reality, the 'bubble' effect I like to call it, I also have very negative memories of the treatment I received there.
One incident in particular involved the very Doctor who was giving the lecture tonight. He was not my Consultant, but he was on call for the night in question when I became very dysregulated. I had not yet received a formal diagnosis at this stage and had no idea what was going on with my emotions. I thought I was a horrible person, my self worth was nonexistent and I was seriously contemplating ending my life. Now, obviously being in hospital, this wasn't really a viable option and thankfully I at least had the sense to express my thoughts to the nurse on duty.
Little to my knowledge at that time, the formal protocol for suicidal initiation during the night is to page the on call Consultant. I got the addiction specialist, who, in my opinion didn't know any more what to do with a Borderline any more than a man does with a bottle of moisturizer.
In retrospect, all I needed was to talk, to distract, to be thought distress tolerance. Simple as. But instead I got put in the high security ward as I was a potential danger to myself. I cried and shouted and pleaded and begged, until this Doctor was left with no other option than to sedate me, and turn me into a deserving zombie. I fitted right in on that ward then.
I was so angry at him. I felt let down by him. All I wanted to do was get relief from the hell going on inside my mind. I needed someone to explain what was happening to me. I needed validation that at that time suicide was the only coping method I possessed.
So to get back to the present moment, I was taken aback when this Dr strolled up to the podium and began talking. I had no idea he would be speaking. I got flashback of me, the bawling, screaming mess sitting in-front of him as he sent me 'down stairs'. Down to where the real crazies were.
I wanted to yell at him "DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID TO ME!" "DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW WRONG YOUR TREATMENT PLAN FOR ME WAS!!!!!" "STUPID IDIOT!" I sat stewing in my anger for at least 15 mins. I couldn't take in a word of the lecture.
Then suddenly, my WISE MIND kicked in. "He was only following procedure, he was doing his job. He didn't know the correct way to deal with an emotionally sensitive person. He was making sure I was safe. "
My anger started to decrease slightly. I then reminded myself that I was not under his care and that I had a wonderfully supportive treatment team who specializes in treating BPD. I used OBSERVE to bring myself back into the present moment and really paid attention to what he was saying, letting all judgement flow through me. I then took out my hand cream from my DBT emergency kit and soothed myself back into calmness by gently massaging the cream into my skin.
It was only on the bus on the way home that I reflected on my fantastically skillful evening. Who would have thought that the quivering wreck of a girl in that ward nearly 2 years ago would be able to mange her emotions in a such a skillful way! I really wanted to go up to the Consultant after the lecture, to show him how far I have come. I imagined the wonder and pride on his face and hoped he would feel humbled by my progress. Maybe I even wanted an apology from him. But once again my wise mind took the driving wheel and stirred me away from confrontation by asking what I really wanted from him.
I wanted validation and I know well enough now that looking for it from others is not as reliable as giving it to yourself. So one blog post and a very skilled evening later, here I am patting myself on the back, and forgiving myself for the chaos I created that faithful night 2 years ago. I didn't know any other way to manage my emotions. Thank God I do now.