As I am on an internet-free holiday right now I asked you to send me questions back in March so I was able to prepare some posts and you amazed me by sending lots of ideas
So here we go!
Experiences concerning: Being unable to find an outlet for inner pressure (for example when other people are around) and a feeling of resignation and hopelessness due to that
Yeah, I know that. As a borderline I tend to react in extreme ways, even to trivialities and I am aware that what I would like to do would often be inappropriate. This can feel as if I was helplessly exposed to that experience, especially when I know that it will take some time until I can be on my own or exercise in order to blow off steam.
One thing I have realized in the course of my therapy is that extreme pressure doesn’t come as suddenly and surprisingly as I always used to think – the more I know what I have to pay attention about (also physically) the earlier I notice when something is ahead and can take countermeasures before it gets too bad – for example with breathing exercises, scents, herbal remedies or other things… Obviously this doesn’t work all the time (yet) but it makes me feel like I’m more in control and that is very, very pleasant.
Fighting the infinite “thought caroussel”?
I guess many people with mental illnesses know this inability to stop worrying and many of us also know destructive ways to break this cycle. I’ll leave those out here 😉
What helps me a lot (obviously) is writing in order to get the thoughts out of my head – this might work with painting, making music or other modes of expression for other people.
My second strategy (that takes a little practice) is what some therapists call a “thought stop”. It doesn’t have anything to do with suppression but rather is the conscious decision not to think about certain things at the moment – I’ll allow myself a certain limited amount of time for it later on; this is great for avoiding useless brooding that goes on for hours and it is easier for me to engage in distractions (working, reading, no matter what) when I can tell myself that I can keep thinking at some later point in time.
How to fight a sense of being a failure?
Tough one…developing some self-worth is difficult for me – after all I am used to blaming myself, hurting myself or just having no image of myself at all. It’s hard for me to say I’ve done something well but when I keep in mind that I have a job and a relationship in spite of everything and that I manage it on my own every day I am rationally aware that there are things I’ve done right at least. Whether I’ll ever actually feel that as well…no idea, guess that’s work in progress.
For me this is closely linked to self-care:
Even though I don’t believe I deserve it, I’m getting better at caring for myself – that is because I trick myself by thinking about aeroplanes: On flights they always tell you to put the oxygen mask on your own face before helping others and if I apply that logic to my life it means that I can only be a good partner/friend/employee when I manage a minimum level of self-care. That way I don’t have to take the step of doing it for myself yet at moments where that would feel like an ego trip and I can always tell myself I’m helping other indirectly. This is just an interim solution but it’s better than nothing 😉