There are commandments telling us how to treat other people but how do we treat ourselves?
People with mental health conditions tend not to like themselves very much. Those of us with BPD have little to no idea of our own identity; we don’t know what we like so how can we start to like ourselves?
Wonderful Psychologist tried to get me to like myself over the years we worked together and I think it’s time I tried it again for myself. I’ve slipped over the past six months (understandable given the return of the depression) and I don’t fancy slipping any further.
I learnt in DBT (dialectic behaviour therapy) that I’m allowed to be kind to myself. Self-soothing, distress tolerance etc. I took this to mean I could hide in bed or watch endless TV without feeling guilty. Here’s the thing though: I can only do that for so long before feeling worse about myself. I need to do stuff in order to feel stuff. It’s a thin line to balance because I have to make sure I’m not doing stuff in order to avoid thinking about stuff!
I think the answer is learning to be more mindful again. Observe how things make me feel and making sure I do the stuff that’s positive for my mood, and the main thing will be cutting out the internal bashing and automatic put-downing. If I find myself feeling bad about myself, I need to figure out why and resolve the situation until I feel good.
I’m going to spend this next year in my own active therapy, learning about myself and what makes me tick happy. Maybe, at the end of it, I’ll even be able to take a compliment!