You can’t plan for the future. You can’t even begin to dream or aspire for a solid, stable month ahead. You tremble at the thought of agreeing to an event weeks in advance. You scuttle up the walls and form a protective chrysalis to encase yourself when someone asks you to hang out at the weekend. (Okay, maybe not that last one)
The thought of maintaining a stable life may seem very alien to someone diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder; as it can be characterised by an instability in all areas of life, including – but not limited to – careers, friendships, and intimate relationships.
It can be difficult to plan ahead when dealing with the unpredictable shifts in mood and emotions that frequently occur with BPD. You never know how you’ll be feeling from one day to the next or even one hour to the next; thus you may get stuck in a constant cycle of fear of the unknown within yourself, interspersed with an eagerness to engage in life.
When those rare and often fleeting moments of okay-ness arrive, they don’t turn up alone; oh no, they brought a few extra buddies despite the fact that the invitation explicitly specified no +1’s.
You’re feeling okay, you’re out and about, or you’re curiously optimistic, or even just suddenly overcome with a general sense that things aren’t all that bad, but before you can step foot in ‘Feelingood Town’ you can only manage to reach a trembling, tentative paw out of the door when those uninvited guests start piling in.
Enter DOUBT >
“What if this feeling is too good to be true? How long will it last? It won’t last, something always goes wrong.”
Enter GUILT >
“It won’t last, everyone’s going to get angry at me, I can never stay happy long enough. I don’t want to be a downer again.”
Enter CONFUSION >
“I don’t even know how to process this feeling, what am I even feeling?!”
Enter ANXIETY >
“Oh God, I don’t know if I can do this. What if something bad happens? What if I breakdown again. I can’t breathe. I can’t focus. I can’t do it.”
cue self-fulfilling prophesy
It can be extremely difficult living in a perpetual state of unknowing; distrusting yourself, willing yourself to be okay, taking it out on yourself when you’re not okay or never being able to feel fully comfortable or stable in any given situation.
The only thing I’ve found that helps is, yep, you guessed it, take it one day at a time. If you can’t manage that; take it one hour at a time.
It’s perfectly okay.
Take as long as you need.
Take care of yourself.
Just do that next right thing.
Gotta go into town? Don’t plan ahead, just do the next right thing.
Wake up. Done.
Next right thing:
Deep breaths. Done.
Next right thing:
Sit up. Done.
It’s okay, it’s going to be alright, because you just have to do the next right thing.
It doesn’t matter when and it doesn’t matter how long it takes you.
You have to go at your own pace. Some days will be easier, some days will be harder.
Heck, some days it will be downright impossible.
But you will do that next right thing.
It may take some time, it may take herculean effort, but you can do it, and you will.