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I used to think we were made for each otherIt was always just you and ISide by side or torn apartfirst a smile and then I’d cryI thought we were the best of friendsI thought you had my backBut when the chips were downyou never cut me slackAre you family, friend or strangerwhy can you be such a danger?You are me and I am youMy sanity never to me trueI never believed that the one biggest threat in lifewould be my mind – cutting through me at times like a knife– My Mind by Nikki Hayes
Reflection is something that can only come with hindsight. I’ve plenty of that, plenty of hindsight that I wish couldve been forsight. We need to experience so much to learn but sometimes it’d be great if we could leave the pain out of that emotional journey.
It’s a year since my marraige ended it took alot of time to pick myself up from the shock, the loss, the grief, the anger and then the silence. Usually my mind refuses to co-operate when a crisis presents in my life so everyone fully expected I’d be heading for another breakdown , I questioned it myself at first.
The one thing I’ve not been able to rely on in the last 2 decades, my sanity, came up trumps. The one thing I felt would swoop in and knock me when things were already bad, the one thing I always said knocked me off the ground and kicked me to the basement – scooped me up and protected me until I had the strength to take over and fight on.
When life has been at great heights, my sanity has often failed me and sent me on a rollercoaster of mood swings and depressive states. However here it was, when life was throwing me a thorn covered curveball, shocking me with its calm, strong capabilities. It kept me level, positive, aware and willing to fight. It saw my daughter who needed her mother and made sure I fought and fought to regain control of my emotions and my life. The one thing I’ve never trusted, never relied on decided to align with me and we pushed forward together. This is something most people take for granted but I have learned that my sanity likes to play games with me. Realising it can actually work with me for the better was new … it was comforting. The usual fear and anxiety in a crisis waiting for the inevitable crash wasn’t there. I could trust my ability to stay sane when my world was falling apart – I could build it back up no matter the battle ahead.
There are a few thing I have to do to stabilise my sanity and keep it intact. Its not there to work against me so I had to stop telling the universe that it was. Instead now I practise mind exercises to balance my thoughts. These are the simple steps I take when I can feel my thoughts racing – tempting my sanity astray.
Simple. Not so easy to home in on because it happens automatically but if you can tune your mind to the breath you will feel the benefits for your mind and sanity.
When you concentrate on breathing and remind yourself that no matter what is going on – the one and only thing that you HAVE to do is breathe. There’s great peace in coming back to the present moment. It takes practise to align your thoughts with the breath but believe me its proven to work and it works like a dream for me.
Find one image, one quote, one thought that brings you back to the present moment. For me thats one person – my daughter Farah because I love her more than anything else in this world so when I wobble, her need for me keeps me afloat. I think of all I want in life and every step involves her and spending time with her to make her the happiest girl alive.
Find your one thing and keep an image in a notebook, on your phone or somewhere you can access it always.
I’ve been learning to practise self care with my MHT (mental health team) its been a hard one to tackle as Ive spent my life putting me last. I find when I’m in a crowded area, I get anxious, I think everyone is looking at how awkward I am – I then convince myself that i’m going to stumble or fall .This can cause me to just not put myself in that situation and stay away.
Lately Emma, my DBT therapist (Dialectal Behavioural Therapy), told me to imagine walking into the shopping centre beside where I live and feel that panic.
Then stop and say to myself
“I got you”
“I’m here with you”
Speak to myself with compassion. Look after me. You can feel silly at first but believe me it works and its easier to mind your mind when you are calm and not in the height of panic.
Thoughts are not facts
For someone with BPD/EUPD this is a hard one to accept as we have been conditioned to react on our thoughts and emotions for so long. I would think something in the past, believe it was true and get upset as if it was after happening even though it was all in my mind.
Example of this would be thinking someone hates you. Going over the thoughts in your head, becoming increasingly upset as to why they could hate you so much, then confronting them as if this was fact.
This compromises your sanity – makes you emotionally unstable, paranoid and depressed.
Challenging your thoughts can be liberating. It can be something so simple as a piece of paper with pro’s, con’s and possible outcomes. Challenge the thought.
Why are you thinking this way? What may have triggered the thought? whats the leadup pointing towards?
If I act out on this thought with emotion – what are the pro’s?
I’ll feel justified, I’ll have allowed my thought to manifest into emotion – a familiar feeling.
What are the con’s?
I’ll be overcome with emotions. I’ll act out without proof, i’ll hurt myself and others without finding out the truth.
Always CHALLENGE the thought before you allow your emotion to become engaged as it can often run away with itself .
At The end of the day if we dont have our minds, our sanity – we lose EVERYTHING !!! Look after yours and it’ll look after you.
Love, Nikki x x x
** Any of the above is to work alongside any medical plan you are currently receiving.