My Facebook feed has been full of these sorts of personality quizzes recently; which Disney Princess, what type of dog, which character from Harry Potter etc etc. (Sleeping Beauty, Border Collie and Hermione, if you’re interested. Oh, and a swan.)
They’re all a bit of fun…and all have some degree of accuracy. OK, so I’m not an actual swan but the characteristics given (faithful, protective of family) do apply.
Personality tests are useful tools. When I finally received my BPD diagnosis, it was based on observations, discussions and what felt like a hundred different personality tests. Tests that gave a really accurate picture of what was going on in my head and how I was likely to think and act.
When working with my psychologist after my release from hospital, we used numerous personality tests to look at my different “schemas” to work out what was driving me (or not). We would then pick a schema (eg unrelenting high standards), work on it and then re-assess to see if things had improved or not.
I think the DWP are missing a trick here.
Looking back through my posts from the past month, I can tell you I’ve been full of the cold since at least the 12th of February. If I cast my mind back further, I can remember the first signs of it a couple of days before that…it’s been almost a month of snotters, sore throat and coughing disgustingly.
I am not a happy bunny about it…and it runs deeper than general annoyance and frustration.
If you have a long-term mental health condition, physical health problems can affect you more than would be expected. And if you have a long-term physical health problem, your mental health may go downhill too. It’s a bit of a vicious circle.
It’s hard to feel anything but low when you’re feeling physically incapable. If you’re only able to curl up on the sofa with hot tea and cold ice-cream, how can you feel positive mentally? (Really good ice-cream helps but isn’t a cure).
I’m trying not to be too hard on myself. I haven’t achieved a great deal this past month and have buried my head in the sand over housework/finances/fixing the whole benefits-not-coming-in situation. It’s scaring me a little this morning; the first morning I’ve woken up feeling a little better.
It’s amazing how something so commonplace as a cold has effectively gobbled up a month of my time. A month of feeling apathetic. A month of not really feeling anything.
How do normal people cope? How do they continue working through the fog? How do they look after their families as well as themselves?
I know my BPD brain takes a simple cold and exaggerates the feeling of not-feeling-quite-right to epic proportions…and today, although I feel physically better, I feel mentally unwell; weak, tearful and wondering how I let something so simple affect me so much.
This is the reality of life with mental ill-health. It’s wildly unpredictable and simple things cause out-of-proportion behaviours.
I really wish the DWP could get their heads around that. Actually, I really wish I could get my head around it!