Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Personal Responsibility

I get annoyed with people that use BPD as an excuse for their behavior. I know it has a huge effect on our emotions and thoughts, but that doesn't mean we have to let BPD control our emotions and thoughts.

I lived for years using BPD as an excuse for my actions.
"It's not my fault."
"I can't help it."
"Don't blame me."
I let BPD rule my life. I let it make my decisions. I let it control my thoughts and emotions. I didn't even try to change because why should I have to change something that isn't my fault? I did whatever I wanted and then expected people to understand that it was the BPD, not me. Heck, I even expected people to feel sorry for me. And when I finally tried to get therapy and realized that there wasn't any in my area, I gave up. I used that lack of therapy as an excuse to keep acting out.

While writing this, the same words keep running through my mind: weak, irresponsible and selfish. Giving BPD so much control over my life made me weak. Using it as an excuse made me irresponsible. And giving up on finding treatment made me selfish. I never even thought about how this was affecting my husband and my family.

It was by pure chance that I found out about a therapy option most wouldn't even consider for treating borderline personality disorder. Self Help. My first reaction was ridicule. I mean, how the hell could a self help book treat something like BPD? From what I read, it takes years of intense therapy and even that doesn't work for everyone.

But then I took a look at my life. My marriage was a wreck. My arms still had scabs from my latest self harm episode. I had no friends because I drove them all away. I had almost been kicked out of the house because of my last suicide attempt. My emotions were raging out of control and because of that, my behavior was driving away everyone I cared about. I realized that if I didn't figure out a way to control my symptoms, I was going to lose everything. I realized that even though it wasn't my fault that I have BPD, it's still my responsibility to figure out a way to treat it. So even though I didn't put much stock in a self help book actually working, I decided I should at least try it. Besides, it couldn't possibly make my life any worse.

The book I chose was The Angry Heart by Joseph Santoro. After some initial troubles (which I'll write about in later post), I stopped holding myself back. I dug into my past, relived painful memories, and wrote it all down in a special journal. I took an honest look at my current life and implemented the changes needed to make it better. I started with the exercises and repeated them many many times. I worked at my own pace and it was slow-going. But it was working. My head didn't feel as crazy. My marriage was stronger than ever. I stopped self harming and attempting suicide. I even made a few friends. And all thanks to a ridiculous book I thought would be a waste of money.

I took responsibility over my life and my life got better. Although BPD still has a big impact on my thoughts and emotions, I no longer blame it for my behavior. Taking personal responsibility for my actions has made me work even harder at getting better.

This is something every borderline needs to do. Whether we use traditional therapy or self help, we still need to start accepting responsibility for our own actions.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you for the most part, but think there are some people so immersed in BPD they can't even begin to think about self-help. For me, self-help is the only thing that has truly helped me, but I didn't get there for a few years. I never could afford therapy and psych meds scare me. Finally, over this last year things have gotten immensely better for me. I read a lot of books and watched and talked with others who were sick, and learned from them.
    Taking responsibility for ourselves is a major requirement for getting better imo.
    Interesting post!