…is like learning to ride a bike!
Except, of course, there’s more to it under the surface. Without realising it, you’re constantly adjusting your balance or the handlebars to keep yourself upright and heading in the right direction. You lean into corners, lean forwards to push up hills and all the rest of it. Suddenly it’s not quite so simple as “pedal and don’t fall off”.
When you’re living with BPD, you’re trying to follow the same simple rules. Keep going and don’t fall off. And underneath the surface there’s the complicated stuff that keeps you going and stops you from falling off. All the mindfulness work. All the coping thoughts. All the emotion regulation skills. All the “they’re not really watching to see if I mess up; they’re too busy getting on with their own lives. Honest. My psychologist told me so” thoughts.
And, eventually, like with riding a bike, all those thoughts and constant reminders of the “appropriate” way to behave/respond, become so much background noise. With practise, you’re suddenly muttering a coping thought without even thinking of it AS a coping thought. You’re simply getting on with life. And when you hit a metaphorical pothole in the road? Well, it’s OK to fall off your metaphorical bike. Even the best riders in the world come the occassional cropper thanks to circumstances outwith their control (and sometimes within it too).
Where am I in this journey? Well, I can’t yet ride a bike for more than 2 pushes of the pedals without falling over…but I didn’t cry and I didn’t hate myself afterwards. I didn’t even feel overly embarrassed when a helpful gentleman came over to give me some tips. I may be a bit saddlesore and have bruises all over my legs (why did I think gripping with my knees would work?!) but I’m getting there. And the same story stands for my metaphorical bike journey through life too!