Continuing on from yesterday’s post about exposing yourself to new experiences…
Perseverence; not something those of us with BPD are very good at. We hit “uncomfortable” and stop. Then we avoid like the plague. We get scared of ever trying again.
To someone without BPD, it might seem like we make a fuss over nothing. So this is to try and help you “normal” people understand what someone with BPD is feeling when they (over)react when faced with something difficult (we’ll tell you it’s impossible and often believe it is).
Imagine the scariest thing you’ve ever experienced in your whole life. Magnify it 100x. Remain that scared about it for a whole day.
That might sound like an extreme over-exaggeration, but that’s what BPD is. Every emotion is exaggerated and then prolonged beyond normal levels. We don’t have the off switch. Heck, we don’t even have the nice little thermostatic control knob. The emotion is turned on, full blast and for far longer than anyone would ever want, least of all those of us experiencing the damn thing.
Add in other negative emotions on top of the initial one and it’s no wonder we avoid doing things. But I’m not trying to make excuses. I’m not trying to give my fellow border-heads an excuse to avoid doing something difficult or scary. I’m simply saying “this is what happens”.
The next bit, the bit that will help you move on and live a happy, contented life (and don’t we all want that?), is to persevere. Persist. Keep going even when it starts feeling uncomfortable. Keep going even when it’s verging on the overwhelming. Keep going, keep fighting, and every second longer is a second you can feel proud of.
I may not have fully mastered riding a bike yesterday, but I persevered beyond my (dis)comfort zone. There were tears. There were moments when I had to stop and pull myself together. But I went from terrified of taking my feet off the ground, to being reasonably comfortable pushing myself along with my feet and coasting for a bit. The pedalling will take a bit (lot) more work, but I persisted with that, too. Lovely Boyfriend reckons I might have the hang of it with another couple of hours work (and, more importantly, a more comfortable saddle).
And it’s worth it. I achieved something yesterday. Yes, I was stressed to high-doe, sweated buckets, had the most enormous vampire bat butterflies in my stomach etc etc. I felt truly awful at some points, frustrated and scared beyond belief (especially when Lovely Boyfriend suddenly shouted “Pedal” when I wasn’t quite ready!). But I did it. And that’s something to be proud of.
Wouldn’t you like to be proud of something? It doesn’t have to be much; just slightly more than you’re normally prepared to do. Take it one step at a time and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’re up and running. Good luck!