To tell someone not to be emotional is to tell them to be dead. ~ Jeanette Winterson, from Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?
I have several blog posts that I want to do about some wonderfully happy times that I have experienced lately and I will review a book soon. I really want to do a post about mindfulness, but first I want to address the fact that just because I am in recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder does not mean that I will not still be an emotional person.
It seems obvious, but in my recovery pink cloud after I had just been declared to be in my remission I forgot that truth. I had a few good weeks and then disaster struck-my dad became mysteriously very sick and no one knew why. His sickness and pain continued for about a whole month. It was very stressful and though I continued to practice my DBT skills, I would still sometimes have times of anxiety, panic and tears. "Why am I reacting this way?" I moaned to my sponsor after a mini-meltdown and she replied to me,
"Stress is stress! Just because you don't have BPD anymore doesn't mean that you won't still go through stressful situations. It's normal to feel stressed out in response to a stressful situation-anyone would!"
My dad finally got diagnosed with pleurisy and got the help he needed and is now better. I self-soothed and got better. I talked about it in this post.
Then I had some more wonderful times, until a combination of really awful weather - I have SAD - forgetting to get one of my prescriptions filled and so going several days without one of my most important medications, some really stressful relationship issues cropping up between me and a whole group of people caused me to be really stressed out and tired and exhausted and emotional and slightly depressed. "Oh no," I thought-"Am I back in Borderline-land?"
This time I realized myself that emotions are normal. Even having mood swings are normal when life goes majorly up and down as it sometimes does and it often does around this time of year. So the forgetting to get my medication filled was not a good thing, but everything else could not be helped and I did eventually get them filled and now I am better.
What is the major difference between me now and me with BPD was that even though I recognized that I was moody and exhausted and depressed, I didn't self-destruct.
I kept on using my DBT skills, even when sometimes they didn't work as well as before-mindfulness is hard to do when you're depressed! Most importantly, I pushed myself not to isolate-I kept my volunteer obligations and my appointments and I even wouldn't allow myself to go back to bed after getting up, even though I often wanted to. I practiced opposite to emotion actions and would force myself to watch something funny or listen to happier music until I felt more energized and a little more uplifted. It always worked, at least for a little while. I got out my light box and I use it almost every day now.
I am feeling better now, but I had some tough sh*t to work through. We all do, even totally healthy, non mentally ill people do. And it's the holiday season, which can be tough sometimes-we can feel pressure to buy the right things or to look the right way or to act the right way in front of certain people.
It's a hard holiday season for those that are grieving. Even if you're pretty calm about the state of a certain relationship or death for most of the year, the holidays can really stir up longings for the past that must be attended to and honored in order to move forward. I had to do that, because I am human, because I am not dead.
I hate how people love to use the phrase, " you're so emotional," to denigrate others and make them seem weak, but it is only a weakness if you consider being human a weakness.
The new church that I've started going to's theme for Advent is "Awake, My Soul," from the Mumford & Sons song of the same name. Let us all re-awake this Christmas season and come into our alive-ness acknowledging our need for emotions that connect us to each other and ourselves. Let us remember that we are human and be compassionate towards one another and each other. May I always remember that, "to tell someone to not be emotional is to tell them to be dead."
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