**The ideas contained in this post are the opinions of the writer and communicated without reference to supporting documentation. Any uses of “she” or “he” in the communication of ideas are not intended to covey sexual bias. Breakaway MHE Disclaimer
One of the greatest lessons I have learned as a practicing therapist in Canada is that people are free to make decisions about how healthy they want to be. Even if a person is suffering with severe symptoms that could be reduced if an earnest effort was made to learn how to make changes, that person still has the right to choose if the effort is worth it or not. As long as there is any apparent benefit at all to remaining unwell – even if that benefit is very temporary or short-lived – the choice remains to invest (or not invest) in learning something new.
For instance, in conditions like Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), it can be hard to break the pattern of impulsive reacting to emotions and then experiencing all the conflict and drama, and other harmful coping that tends to follow the reacting. Facing and understanding challenging emotions such as shame, rejection, and worthlessness can be a daunting task that requires a relentless determination, and this alone makes it understandable that people might look for reasons to give up on the BPD learning process. Truthfully it is hard to master BPD, and I suppose that’s why some choose to persist and some do not.
Life is already challenging, not to mention being faced with learning to recondition thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. When a mental health issue like BPD overlays every other aspect of life, a higher degree of willingness to persevere is required. This willingness is not easy to muster, but it can be found.
One of the most willingness crushing issues about re-learning to live in your body (essentially what working through BPD is all about) is the lack of BPD understanding of those who don’t suffer from BPD. When others don’t understand, and therefore do not offer any helpful responses to BPD dysfunction, then the suffering can quickly intensify and compound and result in an urge to give up (sometimes not just on the BPD learning process, but also on life itself).
If you find yourself at a decision-point about whether or not to begin or proceed with your BPD learning process, then I encourage you to continue despite the difficulty. I hear you and understand you if there is any doubt or fear or frustration, or if you are just completely overwhelmed. I have been where you are many times. Even as I write this article with much of the typical life challenge surrounding me and emotional stresses emerging within me, I hear you. Believe it or not, there is beauty and meaning to be found in some of the life moments that pass, and this becomes your treasure. The challenges of life will continue coming no matter what, but your skill level and sense of confidence to effectively respond to the challenges will go up as you persevere in your learning.
Remember that BPD is not a disorder that can but adjusted in a short period of time. The body/mind conditioning that brought you to point of having the BPD pattern happened over several years of childhood development and other life experience. In order to make progress, there is a strong need for ongoing exposure to learning materials, and then also exposure to real-life learning opportunities where attempts are made to apply the learning as best as possible. This process of learning and practice needs to happen again and again in order to start seeing results. Are you willing to do it?
If you want to give up, I get that too. I have done that for short periods of time just to see how it will go. I usually come back to the learning process because I have realized that non-learning (or going backwards) results in more suffering than trying to learn and master the skills I need. I guess the point here is that it can be hard no matter what you decide to do, but in my experience the learning process is genuinely hard although still better than facing the consequences of giving up.
Whatever you decide to do in your life journey and BPD process, I honour and respect that. Everybody’s life situation is different and not everyone has the same support and mental health services available. No matter what your situation is, I hope that the content of BreakAway MHE can at least in part be useful to your endeavor, even if just little by little. If the BPD learning process is something that happens over a lifetime for you, then that is just as admirable as any other timeframe. You have already earned my respect just by being hear now and reading to the end of this article. Please do explore the site further!