With the New Year coming, we all find ourselves in a place of evaluating how the previous year went. I don’t know about you, but I find that my mind often naturally goes to a place of “what went wrong.”
Having been through a few personal setbacks this year – health-wise and otherwise – there was a lot to deal with. Additionally, nationwide tragedies and events weigh heavily on me and seem to control my thoughts.
I find myself searching for ways to more effectively command my choices, my reactions to setbacks and to better manage my thoughts in such a way that next year will be a more productive year. A better year.
Here are a few tips that have worked in the past for me that may help you take control in the New Year:
1. Look forward.
In reading blogs written by people with Borderline Personality Disorder, I notice that a common theme is a nagging desire to be able to go back in time and “fix” things or do things differently. Since we as humans have still not mastered the development of the time machine, this is not possible.
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That impossibility can be paralyzing and can act as an excuse not to move forward. If you focus on the choices you are currently making in the present, you can use the awareness of poor choices you might have made in the past to break that vicious circle.
For example, think of a relationship you wish had gone differently. Can you identify what went wrong? In one blog, the writer, who was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, spoke of his relationship pattern of pushing people away and then begging them to come back. He realized it was not possible to go back in time and change those choices he made, but he took his awareness of that pattern and applied it to choices he was making in his current relationship.
It’s not easy, but staying present and being aware that your current choices can create a better future is the second best thing to a time machine.
2. Try to see the positive.
I forced myself to make a list of all the good things that happened this year, from the tiny and seemingly insignificant (I found a taco stand that makes the best burritos) to the more monumental (I held my best friend’s baby 10 minutes after she was born). I wrote them down on a piece of paper so that when I feel myself thinking of something negative about the previous year, I can refer to it and see that not only did good things happen, there were a few cases in which the good things actually came out of the “bad” things.
On a smaller daily level, I do this as I fall asleep at night. Almost like a version of praying before bed. I mentally list the things I accomplished that day, the good things that happened and the things I am thankful for. This helps dispel any bad residual feelings I might have from the day.
3. Respect your body.
Controlling what happens to your body can seem easier and have more immediate results than attempts to control your thoughts and emotions. In the past, I have used the control of my body in a negative way, starving myself as a form of punishment for something I felt I’d done “wrong,” cutting myself to avoid the pain of negative emotions.
With help from friends and counselors, I learned to control my body in a respectful way, making sure to have a schedule of regular exercise, making sure I ate, and that what I ate was good fuel, making sure I got enough sleep. Avoiding things like sugar and caffeine that, with education, I realized would only give me a fleeting high.
The snowball effect of respecting my body came as a surprise to me. Of course, studies have shown exercise is an effective tool for fighting depression, but that was something I had to experience on my own to really believe.
4. Make a New Year’s commitment.
The phrase “New Year’s resolution” always sounds a bit daunting to me. Resolution implies a sense of inflexibility as if, were you to break the resolution, or experience a setback, then it’s over, and there’s no point in continuing that choice.
I like to think of positive choices for the New Year more as commitments. A commitment gives you room to reassess and start over if you falter. The word commitment seems to give you freedom to get back on the horse if you fall off.
Of course, if you fall off a horse, it’s nice to have someone there to help you back on. Committing to getting help and support from professionals who can help you is one of the best choices you can make in the New Year. The New Year is the perfect time to research Borderline Personality Disorder treatment centers to see what your options are. There are all different levels of treatment, and all different types. Group therapy, individual therapy, holistic treatment centers, and inpatient and outpatient BPD treatment. There will be a plan that will work for you to help you recover from the sometimes paralyzing symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.
Finally, as the New Year starts, recognize that you are a unique individual and that you are not defined by your Borderline Personality Disorder. Respect yourself, and find a Borderline Personality treatment center that respects your individuality, one that can design a customized plan for your recovery, and give you the support and tools you need to get you on the road to a promising year, and lifetime, ahead.
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