Living With BPD
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What the heck is this Mindfulness I keep hearing about?

Rebloged from: My Journey With BPD by Michael Johnson:

What the heck is this Mindfulness I keep hearing about?

12/18/2015 

Mindfulness has sort of been the new buzz word in Mental health treatment. Much spawns from DBT therapy which tells us that we are where we are. Mindfulness teaches us to stay in the moment.

This practice far out dates the recent attraction to it. Many far east meditation practices incorporate it and have for thousands of years. One of the best coaches ever in basketball was Phil Jackson, AKA “The Zen Master” I recently read an article on ESPN where All NBA player Stephen Curry of the Champion Warriors listed it as the 1st of 4 fundamental beliefs their coach Steve Kerr preaches, who played for Phil Jackson.

I practice mindfulness every day. I have to. My brain is designed and developed different from others. It’s not natural for me to be in the moment I am (re) training that part of my brain. I had breakfast with my father yesterday and saw my therapist today. Both were eager to hear about what has happened to me the last month as it appears I have turned a corner. Just being able to accept that is growth for me.

I want to share a quote my father has in his den, framed.
“When we are disappointed by a pleasure which we have been expecting and which comes, the disappointment is because we were expecting the future, and as soon as it is there it is present. We want the future to be there without ceasing to be future. This is an absurdity of which eternity alone is the cure. -Simone Weil
I had to read that a few times. It’s pretty deep to me. Think about it….is it true that we fall victim to chasing pleasure so bad that once we achieve that pleasure it no longer meets our need? Or for the folks of my generation perhaps we can just say Deep Purple’s “Thrill of the chase” (Song is actually called Knocking on your back door for the purists) is a lot more than a catchy line in a song.

I’d say absolutely. Probably in every aspect of many people’s lives. Let’s take an easy example. Sports. Let’s look at the Royal’s.

I live in KC and this town went nuts over winning the World Series. Justifiably so. But as my father put it, the day after the parade there is this let down. What about next year? Who will play for us? How can we compete financially? Who replaces Alex Gordan?

The joy started to end within minutes of their victory. It wasn’t winning the world series itself that was the prize. It was the chase, getting so close last year, fighting hard this year, a really exciting playoffs…that was the joy. Those were unknowns though. Once that initial joy subsides its over.

So to me…a huge part of mindfulness begins with an understanding that we create our own joy. We choose to live out of the moment, especially when that present moment is so painful. We also contribute to our own pain. Individuals fighting with a personality disorder are beginning with an ORGANIC difference. Then add trauma and pain and it becomes really hard to be mindful. However we have dealt with that pain, normally in an unhealthy way, has been enough to get us to this point. It’s the survival techniques we have created that have worked, in our own minds, to get us to where we are.

It’s hard for some of us to want to be in the present. Sometimes the present is scarier than the past and we can just block out the future. If no one has ever entered our world or we haven’t allowed anyone in then exposing parts of our self is very hard. In our minds the world hasn’t exactly treated us fairly.

This is where the danger is. I know, I have been there. If you are a new reader I probably sound like I have “all the answers” and all you need is some DBT. Well, if you feel that then I’d encourage you to read some older entries. I fought DBT, I mandate the need for individual treatment plans. But I have changed

About a month ago a thought came to me that now is a daily thought. My own Mantra so to speak.

Yesterday does not remember me
Tomorrow does not yet know me
I own today

Is it that simple? Yes in some ways and no in others.

First you have to get to a point where you really believe it. If that doesn’t happen its hard.

Second, DBT alone is normally not what meets the full need. We still need to examine the past if for no other reason than to try and identify pitfalls we can now hopefully avoid.

Third, and most important, your mental health is not treated by any ONE thing. Nothing should be communicated in a Pass/Fail fashion.

Finally we need practice. Lots of it. Learning not only how to set boundaries (hard) but also how to manage them and the expectations that they have (Unbelievably tough for personality disorders). The simple part is yeah….all it really is is re-training the brain but the hard part is each person needs good support systems, the right meds (if applicable) and some hope or belief that it can get better.

A few scant weeks before my last explosion and subsequent diagnosis I had a conversation with my father and my wife. I shared that although I appear self confident in social situations it really was an act. I had no idea what people actually thought of me and I was afraid to find out. I didn’t know who I was so I couldn’t accept that others did.

Well now that makes all sorts of sense with the diagnosis of borderline.

So part of my own moving forward is a result of starting to get to know myself better. Learning how not to just set healthy boundaries but also how to execute them. How to remove toxins from my life. So much of my life was hanging on to bad relationships because the thought of abandonment so heavily outweighed the cost to just let something go. I’m still learning how to accept other people have their own issues and its not always about me.

Not sure what tomorrow holds but all I am worried about is today and today…I feel pretty good

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