Discovering What You Really Want in Life in the Strangest Ways

So it’s my favorite time of the year again. Every July, my city has a busking festival, which is one of my favorite events that occurs every summer. I love the festivities and getting to watch the unique acts. I have so many fond memories from the festival, from the year it got rained out the one night I attended with my best friend and the big fire spectacular put on by Dream State Circus went on despite the terrible weather. This year’s acts were amazing.

Attending the festival had gotten me thinking about life and what I want. After seeing Zap Circus, one of the returning acts, which were the 2017 People’s choice award winners, I realized that one thing I want in life is an amazing relationship like Tarabelle and Rusty have. They have such an electric chemistry (pun intended!) and I realize that relationships are not something that I want to compromise on. I’m totally jealous of how Tarabelle and Rusty look at each other because you can totally see that they’re still in love after 12 years and still have the cute infatuation and the trust that comes with a strong relationship.

There have been a number of times in my life where I feel like I had to compromise on relationships, including times where I was with guys that didn’t like me as much as I liked/loved them, I want the passion and excitement of a relationship, but also the stability, love, and warmth of a relationship. Both the Eros, Philia, and the Ludus (pasisonate love, deep friendship, and playful love).

Another thing that I admire about Zap Circus is the passion that they have for their careers. It’s very evident that they love what they do for a living. I want to be able to wake up every day and be excited about going to work, to feel like I am making a difference in people’s lives. There have been times in my life where I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the work that I have done, where I was either bored of the routine, or just plain didn’t feel fulfilled.

I’m Back and Thoughts on Finishing DBT.

Hello readers,

Sorry I fell off the face of the Earth for a little while. I decided a while back that I was going to focus my energy more towards my recovery, namely finishing DBT and working to overcome my anxiety. I recently finished both group DBT sessions and individual sessions with my therapist. I’m feeling quite a bit better now after having finished DBT over the course of a year.

I feel like a lot has changed about me over the past year. I find that I have less extreme emotions and I feel more in control of my life compared to before. I still have anxiety but that’s alright because it’s not as bad as it once was. I now feel hopeful about my future.

For me, what was really challenging about finishing DBT was saying goodbye to my therapist. I got really attached to her over the course of a year.For me, one of my problems in life is that I have a hard time with saying goodbye to important people in my life, regardless of how they leave my life, be it through death, or just having to move on in life. I feel like I got closure when we terminated because I got to express my fondness of her and got to reflect back about the changes I made in my life.Right now, I’m allowing myself to feel a bit of sadness from the loss of this relationship.

I was also really nervous about not having much of a support system in my everyday life. I realize now that I can be my own supporter, I just have to be a little kinder to myself. I still have a lot of things I want to work on to improve my mental health. I decided to set some goals for myself for the next year. Below are some of my goals:

1.I’d like to try and make some friends once I go back to school. For me this means trying a harder to be more social. I’m hoping that it will be much easier now that I’m doing a degree that I am actually interested in,

2.I’d like to do more stuff that makes me feel fulfilled. For me, I think this means taking the time to blog, to work a bit harder on schoolwork and studying more, and do more stuff that I enjoy doing.

3.Do more acts of self care and work to prevent myself from getting burnt out.

Connection and Feeling Alone

Hello once again,

Welcome back this week. Today I wanted to address the feelings of loneliness and disconnect from others. This is something that I’ve struggled with for years and years. It’s something that I’ve wanted to fix for so long but never really knew where to start. I’ve been trying lately to both be more mindful of the thoughts that fuel my loneliness, and trying to make more effort to build healthy relationships with others.

One thing which took me a long time to realize is the difference between being alone and being lonely. I’ve experienced both being alone and being lonely. Anyone who knows me really well knows that I am an introvert;I draw energy from having time alone. Something else that I recognize is that I also really crave that deeper connection with others. What wise mind tells me is that I need a balance between the two.

So I decided to take a bit of a step back and analyze the thoughts that come into my mind when I feel disconnected from others. Some of my common recurring ones are “I don’t feel like I fit in”, “My thoughts seem strange compared to others”, “nobody wants to be around someone like me who has depression”, ” I deserve to be alone and lonely”. I allowed myself to simply observe the thoughts, acknowledge that they were there, and gently let them pass.

After they pass, I allow myself time to purposefully think kind and reassuring thoughts to myself. I try and treat myself the way I would when comforting a dear friend. I gently tell myself things like “you’re being really harsh towards yourself”, “other people probably feel the same way you do”, “everyone has lovable qualities, you’re kind and sensitive towards others”, etc… I also allow myself time that I can use to build connection with others, such as time volunteering and blogging about my own mental health, because I always feel most connected when I’m sharing myself with others.

Hope this helps, and have a lovely Easter,

Gabby

Coping with Difficult Emotions [part 2]

Welcome back readers,


As promised, here’s part 2 to my previous post, coping with difficult emotions. Today, I’m going to be talking a bit more in-depth about observing and describing your emotions and rethinking thoughts that feed into your emotions. This is something that I’ve been asked to work on in therapy by my one-on-one clinician (shout out to you or any of your team members if you’re reading this, by the way!)

So the first step to understanding your emotion is to stop, take a step back, and observe what is going on and what has prompted your emotion. Next, you’re going to want to take a moment to observe your thoughts and beliefs that play into the feeling. After that, make sure to make a note of how you are expressing that emotion, both sensation, and action wise, then finally after having taken a step back and mindfully observing your emotion, it’s time to try and rethink or rephrase your thoughts that are playing into your emotion.

An example from me would be how I always feel despondent. The sadness still hits me in waves and is always prompted by thinking about how I miss nursing school (which is usually triggered by seeing or doing something which reminds me of school). For me, common thoughts are that “I wasn’t good enough for nursing school,” “I didn’t have it in me to finish nursing school,” “I feel like a failure. I am a failure”, and “I shouldn’t cry over this.” For me, when I feel sad, usually I express it by crying, which leads to me feeling guilty for crying, especially if it is in front of other people.

While practicing muscle relaxation and paced breathing, I’ve been trying to rethink my negative thoughts into coping statements. I’ve been actively trying to replace non-productive thoughts with statements that will help me cope better and relieve the distress that I feel regularly. I’ve so far managed to transform the negative thought that I’ve mentioned above as “nursing school was too challenging for me, and it’s alright to change paths,” “I can spend time to find a career path that is better suited to me now,” “Other people would probably feel sad if they were experiencing the loss that you are right now. It’s okay to cry over this loss,” and “You are successful in many other aspects of life and you are blessed with skills that will allow you to be successful a different career.”

Overall since trying this coping skill, I feel like the loss has been easier to cope with and I feel more hope than I previously did.

I hope these coping strategies help you, and hope to see you back next week,

Gabby

Coping with Difficult Emotions [part 1]

Hello again friends,

Lately I’ve been feeling some rather strong emotions because of what life has been throwing at me, so I’d like to take a bit of time to address emotions, what purpose they serve, and dealing with difficult, unpleasant emotions. As someone living with borderline personality disorder, I find myself often overcome from emotions very quickly. This is something that is normal for someone with bpd and is something that I experience on the daily.

I find that these days, compared to when I was first diagnosed with bpd, I don’t find myself as upset about my emotions anymore. I’ve taken on a bit of an easy going manner when it comes to my emotions, which I find really helpful. Emotions tend to come on really quickly but on the other hand, they can leave fairly quickly as well if you’re using positive coping strategies. When I first started my recovery journey, I often found myself getting “stuck” on emotions and end up in a perpetually bad mood. Something that I find very helpful when dealing with difficult emotions is remembering that a feeling is temporary and will go away as long as you don’t ruminate on it.

So the question you’re probably asking yourself right now is “how do I cope with difficult emotions?”. The first step to processing emotions healthily, in my opinion, would be to name the emotion. This can be quite tricky, particularly if you’re experiencing multiple emotions at once. One thing to realize is that emotions are very complex, are experienced differently for everyone and that can make them very difficult to name or explain to somebody. What might be “sad” for me might be “depressed” or “melancholic” for someone else.

The next step to learning to deal with difficult emotions is learning to both be separate from your emotions, and to learn how to be “one with your emotions”. I know these sound like contradictions of each other, but they’re not entirely. When I say learning to be separate from your emotions, I mean being able to take a step back from your emotion and be able to observe it mindfully without passing judgement . What I mean by learning to be “one with your emotions” is to realize that your emotions are a part of you, and that by being mindful of your emotions, you can regain control of your emotions without “fighting against” them. The more you fight against your emotions, the more difficult they will be to deal with.

Hope this helps a bit, be sure to stay tuned for the next week’s post which is a direct continuation of this week’s content, where I will be going into further detail about describing your emotions.

Kind regards,

Gabby

Finding Purpose in Life

Hello to all my fabulous readers,

Finding purpose in life is something that can be very difficult. Your life’s purpose isn’t set in stone and can change very quickly. This is something that I realized fairly recently when I suddenly had to change career paths due to extenuating circumstances. When you suddenly have to make a big decision, you often feel lost and unsure what to do next. There’s no easy, guaranteed way of knowing what your life’s goal is meant to be. In fact, I think that nothing is certain and that it’s your responsibility to make your own life’s purpose. You do not come with a life’s purpose, it’s something you have to discover on your own.

When I first left the career path that I had been pursuing for years, I felt absolute panic and didn’t know what to do. There were a lot of tears shed because I felt like a failure and felt as though I gave up on what was once my dream. One night, I couldn’t sleep so I picked up my copy of Turn Your Pain into Art by Ariel Bloomer, and just started reading, until I came upon the quote :
“It’s alright to have wanted to be one thing with every shred of your soul and then later end up wanting a different thing and living a different life than you had imagined as a teenager. Part of loving yourself means listening to what your soul is saying now, not when you were six “. – (Turn Your Pain Into Art p 206)

Reading this quote from my favorite inspiring rock star, Ariel Bloomer (of the band Icon For Hire) made me realize that I hadn’t really validated my own feelings on the matter of changing careers. I never spent the time to grieve and mourn the loss of what I thought was my life’s dream. It might feel counterproductive to feel the sadness because of how unpleasant it feels in the moment, but in the long run, allowing myself to feel the feelings and practice distress tolerance skills. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve made that difficult decision to change paths, but over time, the waves of sadness and grief that have been hitting me over and over again have been diminishing and hurting less and less.

After validating my feelings, I spent some time soul searching within myself; I knew that I had to keep moving forward, rather than sit, frustrated and stuck. I began to ask myself questions and reflect. One of the first things I asked myself was “what is going on in my life right now, and if I could wave a magic wand and live my ideal life, what would that look like?” I asked myself these questions to start getting a feel for goals to work towards

Next, I find myself asking “what is the biggest challenge that is in my way from achieving my goals right now and what strengths do I have that can I use to help move myself towards my goals?” I wanted to work towards a solution that would leave myself feeling empowered to work towards my goals.

I finally asked myself, “what actions can I take to show being committed to my new found goals?”With this, I wanted to come up with solid commitments to work towards. I wanted to choose something that was a specific task, that was attainable and realistic for me to achieve. It’s detrimental to choose a goal that you cannot work towards because it is just not realistic to work towards, and will only leave you feeling hopeless and helpless in the long term.

Hope this helps you in finding purpose in life,

Gabby

Welcome to Borderline Heart

Welcome to Borderline Heart,

Welcome to Borderline Heart, your premier destination for discussion on living with borderline personality disorder, with posts ranging from coping tips and skills, general discussion on day to day life with bpd, and everything in between. We sincerely hope you enjoy our content, and hope to regularly provide new content.

Kind regards,

Gabby