So, those of you in touch with me or following my blog know that the past two and half years of my life have been a steep learning curve for me… a time of reflection, meditation & personal growth. I lost everything that I could materially lose and gained a disorder in return – a curse where I could go into depression any time, any moment things went bad for me – the name of this curse was Borderline Personality Disorder aka BPD. Little did I know at that time that it would be a blessing in disguise! Yes! You read right! I called my curse a blessing. I’ll shortly tell you why!
When I was diagnosed with BPD I was into deep depression but I remember feeling relieved….being happy about it, that I had a concrete problem to tackle….a diagnosis of BPD answered all the questions that I had about my random behaviour till date. I was happy to know that something was wrong with me because then I could fix it however difficult it proved to be. And, boy, was it difficult! So, I tightened my belt, set my shoulders against the twin boulders of BPD and depression and started pushing towards the goal where I could have as much of a normal life as possible (absolutely normal life is overrated, is boring). But this resolve did not come as easily as it sounds here nor it is as difficult as it seems. It is just a human being’s quest for happiness – the difficulty only magnified a thousand times as the problem lies in the mind and the mind is the source of all happiness – so how do you uproot the problem so that only happiness remains? I believe I have found the path and I’m walking on it – one step at a time.
One thing that I have learnt in the past two and a half years is that you have got to believe in your goal fully, completely and keep moving continuously in its direction – you’ll keep falling, now and again – but you’ve got to get up, dust yourself up and start walking again. Sometimes, you’ll get caught in a maze and end up at the starting point, you’ll feel dejected, but that’s okay (though it won’t seem so then), that’s life – full of struggle. That’s how it is for everyone. You aren’t special. Your struggle isn’t special…just the magnitude is more, the load is heavier.
Everyone is mentally unwell, one way or the other, concealed or obvious but everyone is. Mine is just more evident, more on the surface. Good that it is on the surface. I can work on it and eradicate it from my mind. One is not given a load more than one cannot carry. Others are oblivious to their mental issues I am not. I have been given this because I can carry this load. I know my personal demon very closely and thus, can exorcise it from my existence. This realization gives me the power, the strength to fight with my demon every day and gain mastery over it, gain victory over it – one day at a time!
In the past 30 months, I have been through certain stages pertaining to my mental health issues. I am gonna mention these stages here with the hope that they might help someone else in need maybe –
- Acceptance – Just accepting that I had depression was very difficult for me because I could see no reason for it. My life was absolutely fine on the surface. I had a nice job, plenty of friends, lovely family, everything that I could want. Also, I thought myself to be too smart and clever to fall into that particular trap. But I was also, too smart and clever to ignore the signs which clearly told me that I needed some kind of help otherwise I would be in a huge trouble soon. So, I made a list of all my symptoms (I find it difficult to talk to a strange person about myself even if it is a doctor…hence a list – as a conversation starter) and sought out that help in the form of a top psychiatrist asap who gave me the diagnosis of depression and prescribed some meds. This is the first stage – Acceptance that I had a problem that needed addressing at the earliest possible time.
- Struggle – Initially, I couldn’t accept that I had depression but since the doctor was a really good one, I decided to evaluate my symptoms for myself (with the help of Google Momma) and there was the inescapable truth – I had depression! It took me a little time to adjust to the idea of depression and, frankly speaking, it wasn’t till I got the diagnosis of BPD that I accepted my depression diagnosis because as I earlier said, there was no valid reason that I could find for being in depression. The BPD diagnosis helped me to come to terms with my depression. This second stage of struggle was very hard and an arduous one…
- Dejection – So, not only did I have depression but I had another, more serious problem of BPD which would require more efforts than even Hercules would be willing to make to overcome! Each day, every moment would be a constant struggle. I had already been living such a life but the problem with knowing was the responsibility that came along with the knowing. I couldn’t just blame it on being a part of my nature because it was very much behavioural and something that I could change if only I learned to behave properly. As I said, even Hercules would refuse such a task. Our behaviours become almost fixed after a certain point in time and changing them is almost impossible as they become like second nature to us, instinctive. So, after all the research on BPD, dejection set in…. Surprisingly, I was not worried about depression…I knew that some day soon I would smile again because I chose happiness long back than I can ever remember. I made happiness my choice, my goal, my ambition – long back! So, I knew I could come out of depression one day soon enough (all it requires is a commitment to yourself to laugh every day even if there is nothing worth laughing). But BPD kept me dejected for a while because I had to struggle with it every moment, every day. It felt very difficult to me. I could see no light at the end of the tunnel named BPD.
- Acceptance – In the middle of all this dejection and struggle phase, I was recommended a book “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E Frankl by a dear friend which helped me accept my struggle with BPD. It makes for one very interesting read. It helped me understand how basically everyone struggles for happiness in life. All I had to do was struggle a bit more than the rest. But even that is not correct. There is no objective way to measure one’s struggle to that of other person’s. Everyone feels that their struggle has been the hardest because struggle, by its very nature, is subjective. This led to acceptance of all that it meant to be a BPD person by me (though I am not limited by it).
- Blame-On-It – This was a short duration phase which did not last long as I started coming out of depression and smartly using the excuse of BPD or depression for getting things done my way. It worked for a while but then stopped as people around me became wiser to my tricks…:-D I’m not proud to say that I did use it for a while very successfully….
- Fight-Against-It – This was a really crucial stage where, after I found that I could no more use BPD as a reason to get away with doing mischief, I decided that it was time to start finding a way to handle it. I was already coming out of depression (it happened through meds, counselling, meditation and keeping really, really busy) and I needed to find a way to tackle my BPD side so that I could become independent of the medicines that I was still taking. It started by making infinitesimal changes in my behaviour or thought pattern – by saying positive things, thinking positive thoughts. reiterating good behaviour patterns, taking a pause to think before acting, stop acting rashly, to think before speaking….I could go on. Small changes that make the bigger picture… Difficult to do, very difficult but not impossible, never impossible. I decided not to give up! That was my most important change that I made…. Not to give up on myself, on me….I would cure myself of BPD…..
- Co-exist – Now, my BPD and I co-exist peacefully. It does act up at times. I still struggle every day…. but there have been many significant changes…I don’t need to struggle every moment now….There are many times when I spend my time almost normally….
- Mastery – I still have to reach this stage. One day, I will have complete mastery over my mind, over my BPD and that day I will be fully free of all kinds of mental illnesses.
- Happiness – That day I will be completely happy. Today, I am happy most of the times which is better than what most of us have and that is perfectly fine with me and enough for me.
Happiness is the goal. And I keep walking….As Always…