As 2022 ends, I feel a sense of gratitude and peace in my heart for how many blessings I’ve had this year. I’m closing this year off with immense serenity in my life. That’s saying a lot for me who used to live in chaos and for adrenaline rushes. I’m not saying I’m “healed” or “cured” of my BPD but I will say that I’m so much better at managing my emotions. This year has been about recovery from my BPD symptoms that often left me in a constant influx of emotional chaos. While I still feel my emotions intensely, they don’t control me like they used to. I’m a much happier and content person at the end of this year than I was starting off the year. In fact, this has been one of the best years of my life. I wanted to give you some insight into what helped me:
1.Routine and Consistency pays off-
In the latter half of 2021, I started to pay really close attention to how I was spending my time and learned what was working for me and what wasn’t. When I’m not working, I incorporate a routine of wellness and creativity that helps me feel balanced in my otherwise super busy life with 2 jobs and 3 kids. I make time for exercise 1 to 2 times a week and write daily. I’ve learned that this combination has helped me so much in bettering my mental health. The endorphins from walking/running always makes me feel better especially after a rough day. Writing every day has been instrumental in helping me manage my emotions. I journal every day and try to write poetry daily even when I’m not super inspired. Do I like everything I write? No, but I don’t filter out anything I’m thinking no matter how crazy or dumb it seems like at the time. If it’s a poem, I tell myself, well I can always revise and edit later. This first draft is almost always going to be rough.
Here’s a poem I wrote about it:
2. Find your own Happy Place or Happy Places
This year I’ve felt a sense of overall contentment in my life because I’ve learned how to be happy. Happiness is a hard emotion for me because I’ve been depressed and anxious for the majority of my adult life. However, one of the things I learned this year is to build happiness, and sometimes that looks crazy. Music, writing, nature, exercising, and food are a few of the things out of many that bring me joy. This year, I even made a playlist called “Happy Music” with Yung Gravy and Jack Harlow songs that hype me up. Here is that playlist:
3.Take back the Power from the things that have made you feel powerless
I used to live in a world of insecurity and fear about a lot of things. I allowed my fear of failure to keep me from living a full life. Last year, I decided to stop doing this and just started living unapologetically and authentically. I stopped caring about how I’m perceived to others for the most part. One example is that I was always too afraid to call myself a writer/poet because 1) I wasn’t published 2) I didn’t feel like I was intelligent or eloquent enough in my writing to do so. In fact, when I was posting poetry in 2016/2017 I used to call my writing mediocre and I now think that was a disservice to myself. It was me devaluing myself and my art. This year, I’ve learned not to judge what I’ve written or decide to post. It might resonate with someone or it might not resonate with anyone.What matters to me is that I’m being brave enough to share it with the world.
4.Whatever you do, don’t suppress your feelings.
This one is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. For years on end I had been conditioned that anger and sadness were these negative emotions that I should try my best not to feel and express. Even when I allowed myself to feel them, I still spiral into a loop of shame and guilt about it. I went through a process this year of learning to let go of that shame and guilt and fully feel those emotions, express them (sometimes through exercise or writing), and organically letting go of them. I’ll admit, sometimes I do get hateful when I’m like this and a hateful poem happens but I tell myself, this is me in this moment and doesn’t define who I am. It’s like an emotional burp or first thought that needed to be expressed. Yes, sometimes I call my poems emotional burps or first thoughts. Doing this has helped me find more contentment, satisfaction, and gratitude in my life in general.
Here is an example of one of those “emotional burps”:
5.Be Protective of Your Energy
I cannot stress this enough. The only way I was able to really thrive this year is to understand I could not extend my emotional bandwidth. One thing that kind of drained me was men,relationships and sex so in May when “C” stopped responding to me, I decided to delete his contact info, archived our photos and pretty much ended that relationship on my own terms. I was honestly really proud of myself because I took it in stride and accepted it because well me and him had a good run. I also told any other men I was kind of entertaining that I wasn’t available for anything aside from a platonic friendship. With that, I decided to give myself a year of celibacy from that part of my life. It was rough starting out because aside from a couple of months here and there, I don’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t been romantically involved with someone. 7 Months later, I’m much better. I’ll admit that celibacy does suck at times but it’s been completely worth it. It’s the break I needed to really discover who I am without the validation from relationships and men I’ve been dependent on since the age I was teenager. I plan to date sometime in May after my divorce is final provided I feel like I have the energy. Right now, my energy is really happy and thriving and I’m continuing to build on this.Here is a poem I wrote about missing my white jacket after me and “C” ended:
6.Acknowledge and take accountability for your part in your misery
I’ve been doing this on and off for the past 5 years but if I had to be honest with myself, I’ve also blamed others unfairly for my misery. It’s not that I don’t acknowledge that the actions of other people have caused me pain or that I condone that pain but at the end of the day I can’t control them. I can only control myself. This means I choose what situations I put myself in, who I allow into my life, what energy I let in, etc,etc. I used to think that life happened to me and I didn’t have much power over it. Thanks to a deep level of self awareness and introspection, I’m hyper aware of much control and power I have over my life and damn, it’s way more than I expected. It took me a while to get here and it sucked because now I can’t blame my parents, my exes, or that idiot who put a triggering status post on facebook about politics- it’s really me and how I react to it/them. As difficult as it has been to acknowledge this, it has also helped me feel this sense of peace in a lot of ways. I sleep way better at night understanding this concept. I also understand that there are things I won’t have control over but I always have a choice as to how I react to it. Here is a poem I wrote about it:
2022 was one of the calmest and best years of my life. This year was my year to rest and recharge because I know 2023 will be chaotic with all the changes I’m making in my life. These changes will be uncomfortable but like someone once told me, “you have to go out of your comfort zone in order to grow”. I hope that whatever happens; I continue to grow and learn from the experience. I’ve healed and transformed into the healthiest version of myself but still understand that I’m a work in progress. I look forward to continuing this journey of self discovery and am excited about what’s to come.