Firstly, I must apologise for the brevity of my blog yesterday. Lovely Boyfriend was heading offshore a day early and I wanted to spend time with him, rather than messing around on my laptop. It’s the one part of his job I hate; the saying goodbye for two weeks. And when his company make him go back a day early for a stupid course…grrrrr…
And that’s the topic of today’s blog. What to do when something doesn’t work out the way you want. Plans get changed. Someone “lets you down”. You get “abandoned”.
There’s the first problem: the language. Lovely Boyfriend didn’t “abandon” me; he went to work. But it’s very easy for my BPD brain to over-react to the situation and insist he’s abandoned/deserted/left me forever. I have to put all my therapy into practise to prevent myself from toppling into a pit of despair.
In order to accomplish step 2 of yesterday’s advice, I need to rephrase things inside my head. I have to force my rational brain to take over from the emotional, BPD-driven one. I won’t “get over it” by moping; by brooding; by constantly reminding myself of my misery/loneliness/abandonment…there I go again. *grin*
Instead, I have to think up some “coping thoughts”: he’s gone to work. If he didn’t work offshore, we wouldn’t get to spend two lovely weeks together at a time. I’d probably see less of him if he worked 9-5 etc etc.
Then I have to use “distraction techniques” to keep me and my brain busy. I have to battle my urge to eat mountains of chocolate by reminding myself of the bikini I need to fit into in June. Combine this with all the other issues I’m tackling at the moment (more on those through the week) and my brain is overloading on “just think positive”.
It’s hard work, and it seems impossible that the majority of people do this without even being aware of it! In my experiences, “normal” people say stuff like: ‘but that’s obvious. Of course that’s what I do, now that I think about it.’ It might seem obvious to you, but it’s much less obvious to those of us with wonky wiring!
It reminds me of My Friend The Vet. We spent 4 years together at University, studying, working on lab projects, revising for our finals etc. It was only 5 years later, when she went on to train as a vet, that her dyslexia was discovered. She has to read every single letter of every single word and it slows her down when compared to “normal” readers. She hadn’t been aware of it. She thought everyone had to read that same way, with that same intense effort.
BPD’s like that…intense effort to get through a situation in a “normal” fashion. A conscious battle between the different parts of our brain in order to keep going and not fall off the rails.
And I haven’t even STARTED on step 1…
Actually, I don’t have a huge amount to say on Step 1 (Get upset), apart from this. ALLOW yourself to be upset. Don’t try to stop the natural (over)reaction. You’ll only end up making yourself feel worse in the long-run. Allow yourself to feel upset/lonely/pissed off/whatever. Then move onto step 2 and find a way to get over it. We’ll all have different ways of doing that, and not all of them are easy. But you have to TRY, trust me.
Like I say to The Porglets when they get overly upset about something (generally something like “Porglet Maximus doesn’t want to play Barbie with me”). I ask them this question: Who’s upsetting you? I’ll then get a snottery, sobbing response about the mean nature of the nasty sibling. At which point I interrupt with: No. Who’s upsetting you? YOU ARE. Five minutes later, they’ve dried their tears when they realise they’re the only person maintaining their state of upset. It sometimes doesn’t even take that long.
With BPD, we perhaps don’t have that same ability to switch off the upset. To instantly realise that WE’RE the ones maintaining it. But, with practise, it IS possible to train your brain to rationalise the situation. It takes a huge amount of effort, but you see the results instantly. I’m not moping. I’m not curled up on the sofa or still in bed. I miss Lovely Boyfriend like crazy, but I’m getting on with life and a whole extra day by myself. Like he often says to me: someone may give you offence, but it’s up to you whether you take it or not. It’s the same with every other negative emotion; it’s up to you how much you want to indulge in it. It’s not easy when your brain swamps you with negativity, but you CAN work through it, just like me.
Good luck with the battle, people.