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 Post subject: Despair is threatening...Re-focusing on what I'm doing well.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:05 pm 
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I'm having a really rough night and having a lot of despair the last month...This follows a previous month I had that in many ways was the best month I've ever had, and the only one I know of where I felt a sense of self emerging. Feeling lots of hopelessness that I'll ever recover...Thought it'd be a good time to focus on some of the things I've done well the last few days...

Waited three hours tonight to have some caffeine (this is a treat I decided to let myself have which has drawbacks for me, but it allows me to feel better for a while so I let myself have it) when I was in an emotional tailspin. This is really a pretty big deal that I waited so long and didn't give in to despair or "giving up" earlier. I waited till I had worked through a lot of the emot. dysregulation before I allowed myself the reward. This is progress and a lot of discipline. Good job! Things may not be as great as they were a few months ago, but there are things that are going well for me, and there is progress like this.

Actually, now that I look at it, in the past, I might have given in to despair about 12 hours earlier than that. This is a big change.

Had a different realization today that what triggers my negative thoughts (around a specific event) isn't as much about what may or may not be true about me, or what I am or am not capable of, but my judgment of myself about it.

After I worked through a lot of this and realized it was judgment that may be the key to stopping a pattern of thinking, I asked myself, OK, well what do you want then? I got exhausted and started to get angry that I didnt know what i want and felt shame, but im not going to go there. Im focusing on what I did well and letting myself off the hook.

I did well yesterday in a situation that I might not have before then as far as not going into black and white thinking.

Despite feeling miserable inside, I've "worn the mask" around my caregivers who are my primary source of contact in the day and have treated them well. I never have treated them badly (I think im more of an act-in bpd than an act-out bpd) and they most often have no idea that Im feeling terrible about myself inside, but I can be dependent and I've not gone into collapsing into "I'm hopeless and can't figure my life out, please comfort me." And if i feel i need comfort, I ask for it directly.

I can look at what I've done well over a longer period of time and see that I ended a dependency relationship with J. a few months ago. I've also done some other things (several years ago, but it's good to remember these now...) like I reconnected with my mother after not talking to her for five years. I reconnected with my sister too. I am working very hard on forgiving my mom and that is helping me a lot.

I am more independent and have a different (more mature) relationship with one of my new caregivers (she's been with me four months) than the one I had for the three years prior to her.

I try to treat her more like a friend or equal in a lot of ways, than like a mother as i did very often with the caregiver prior to her.

I have a new friend in my life who has a lot of spiritual orientation and is a lot healthier than previous recent friends, and our connection is a lot healthier too.

I can give myself credit for doing really well in a very difficult situation with my health. I can acknowledge how very difficult things are with my health and how that is drastically affecting my mental health and i can acknowledge and validate this and see that I'm doing very well given my circumstances.

I dont know if anyone's reading these. But thank you if you did. I do feel some better just writing these. And publicly acknowledging good things, even if maybe no one reads or responds. And if you did read this, thank you! : )


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 Post subject: Re: Despair is threatening...Re-focusing on what I'm doing well.
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:27 pm 
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Absolutely fantastic job on refocusing, Liz! That's really impressive - I hope you're proud of your accomplishment (as well as the list of accomplishments you have there.) Cuz I'm sure proud of you & what you managed to do - not just the stuff you listed but actually refocusing yourself!

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 Post subject: Re: Despair is threatening...Re-focusing on what I'm doing well.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:53 pm 
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Ash, thank you for your encouragement and for reminding me it's the action of refocusing that's most important, more than anything.

Im starting to think maybe Im getting the idea of "take baby steps". I never understood what baby steps were or how to apply them, but i think this may be it. I really only felt a little better after posting these positives, so in the past there would be no reason to do it, but I really believe it has helped me the next day and today as well. Maybe i dont have to feel better at the time, from writing positive things, and that's OK. Im not a failure that i dont feel better at the time. I always think of "being positive" as feeling positive. But maybe it doesn't have to be that way at all. The action was there, the writing it down. Later it helped the feeling.

More positives: I got drunk last night. : ) Yep, im going to see it as a positive. I did do it to STOP the emotional and physical distress, true. So I could see it as very bad/negative. However, there are good things about it I wouldn't have given credit to in the past. For one, I don't do this frequently and im going to grant that as a positive thing, rather than see myself as all bad. For another, I planned it earlier in the day as a relief valve so it wasn't totally knee jerk reaction. After my caregiver left for the day, and i was on my own and suffering, I made myself wait. I wanted to wait until i felt SOMETHING better, even somewhat. So i dindt have to be all better, just some better. Baby steps.

I tried to do some stuff around the house but could only do it for about ten minutes, then got exhausted and just had to lay down with myself and my feelings. I was alternating between furious at myself that I couldnt feel better physically nor emotionally, and switching to blaming God/the world/my caregiver (silently, not to her - she wasn't there - but even when she was, she had no idea i was furious at her...mostly cuz my fury turns immediately to anxiety or self hatred) that this was happening and that i was suffering so much. It's God's/universe's fault I have horrid emotional dysregulation. OR it's my fault I cant get it together. It's my fault im suffering so much physically and can't get relief from getting in a better place emotionally which helps the physical. No it's God's fault. No it's my caregiver, she is rejecting of my neediness (evidence to the contrary)....

I got to a "somewhat" better place, where I was just OK with the fact that I could wait to figure this out. I could tolerate the not knowing. I could wait, as I did a few months ago when I thought i was a horrible person after the relationship with J. ended and I eventually found I did not think i was a horrible person. I could stick it out, like i did back then.

I honestly only felt *a little* better, not much *at all*. I decided in advance, I 'd let myself have the break of getting drunk and I really think that reward let me stick it out and get to a little better place. Near the end, I couldnt feel any better. I just waited and watched the clock. When 45 minutes were up, I had the wine. I felt bad "giving in" and drinking to deal with emotional pain (and physical). But a small part of me gave myself credit for all the good I did. For the waiting. And I acknowledged how hard this all is. i was still angry with myself and/or God so to speak, but *less*.

I thought I would blame myself today, but today has been a very good day! Today i saw yesterday as progress! I saw it as a really gooood thing. I didnt see myself as all black. Nor white. Just someone who's struggling and doing a good job. Someone who needed a break and took it last night. Someone who is capable of progress.

I was also able to work through a lot more of the emot. dysreg. and I felt better physically too. I did good! : )


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 Post subject: Re: Despair is threatening...Re-focusing on what I'm doing well.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:10 pm 
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This part is a really really big deal...


"I was also able to work through a lot more of the emot. dysreg. and I felt better physically too. I did good! : )"

It's a really big deal that i felt better emotionally which affected me physically and I could tolerate, even enjoy myself.

I would so often blame myself for not getting to that better place sooner, for suffering so much. This could go on for days, weeks, months, (years actually). This lasted about an hour. I waited, and was able to find a more compassionate place inside that made me feel better about how hard it's been for me to not go to that place as i always do.

Yay for me. : )


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 Post subject: Re: Despair is threatening...Re-focusing on what I'm doing well.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 6:18 pm 
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Yay for you indeed! Great observations and great work. Way to keep at it and continuing to reap the rewards from the opportunities you worked through.

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 Post subject: Re: Despair is threatening...Re-focusing on what I'm doing well.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:49 am 
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Ash, thank you again.

Maybe I should keep at this list...More positives:

I think there have been some definite changes starting a few months ago in an long time (years) pattern for me of feeling shame for suffering physically (with a chronic illness), then feeling shame if I can mentally get myself into a place to feel better physically (for not doing so sooner). This is an entrenched pattern for me that has caused intense suffering. There were some definite changes in me in avoiding this pattern altogether recently (yay!), or the degree of severity with the self blame was way less or didn't last as long. I've also been able to wait longer when i do go into shame, before I throw in the towel to despair about the pattern - often to find that waiting helped me have more compassion and get back to a better sense of self. : ) This is good! It's also good that I can give myself *credit* for a degree of change. All this is a shift away from black and white thinking.

I did the five steps yesterday and took action on something i've felt stagnant about for too long. Really took a lot of work to actually employ the five steps, but followed it through all the way through step five and actually made concrete plans so that something different will happen and will see how my choice goes this week. Im ok if my choice is not the ultimate best one. It's just one choice and i can choose again later.

Things are not as consistently exhilarating as they were a few months ago when i had a lot of personal growth, but some days really are. Maybe it's not always so exciting. I give credit to to how things have been better, and how my lows haven't dipped as low as in the recent past. yay. : )


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