Day 9 of doing a 31-day poetry prompt challenge . The prompt was “Drenched in Memories” .
Day 6 of doing a 31-day poetry prompt challenge. Today’s prompt was “A Deafening Silence”
Day 5 of doing a 31-day poetry prompt challenge. Today’s prompt was :Nightmare’s Mozart
Doing a 31-day prompt poetry challenge. The prompt was “Where Flowers Bloom 💐
Doing a 31 day prompt challenge. The prompt was “Where Flowers Bloom 💐
I wrote this poem is creative writing class in 2006. It’s some kind of form poetry but can’t remember what it is.
Did I ask for your advice?
Father and mother
You are not that wise
So I told a few lies
I didn’t mean to hurt her
Did I ask for your advice?
I had to break mine and her ties
Any words, please don’t offer
You are not that wise
I’m a man of twenty-five
Don’t treat me like a youngster
Did I ask for your advice?
Please don’t give me those eyes
And pretend to be higher
You are not that wise
Stop it with your sighs,
My dear mother and father
Did I ask for your advice?
You are not that wise!
From February to July, I’ve continued to maintain the healthy coping skills I’ve acquired in therapy and have made even more progress. I started group DBT therapy in April and that’s also helped me tremendously. Listening to members in that group talk about their issues has made me gain a lot of perspective. I’ve also had a few obstacles along the way of course. In May, I upped my dosage on one of my meds that ended up with me having a major depressive episode, here’s a blog post about that:
A year later, I can honestly say that I’ve been successful in managing my emotions in a much better and healthier way. My growth has been phenomenal in many areas of my life due to my hard work. I’ve had incredible support from my therapists, medical providers, friends, followers, and family who’ve helped facilitate my growth by encouraging me and giving me the space I needed to be who I needed to be at different parts of this process. Sometimes that was a complete emotional mess, sometimes that was an angry and salty poet, sometimes that was a cringy mom or a moody coworker. Restarting this blog and creating content for it has been instrumental in my healing process and has been a great outlet for the inspiration and creativity I’ve had during this time. Another beneficial thing I’ve done is simplified my life by letting go of anything that doesn’t serve me. I keep my life simple with work, kids, friends, family, and writing and this is the right combination for me to maintain my emotional stability. I’ve learned to prioritize my mental health above everything else because the consequences for me and everyone are too great for me not to do so. I understand now that the “old me” before her diagnosis was trying to have “everything” and well, that extended my emotional bandwidth to the point it was detrimental to my mental health to the point that I constantly lived in a flux of emotional dysregulation. I don’t blame anybody or even myself; I did not have the knowledge or awareness at the time to do any better.
I’m not completely where I want to be because I have two areas that I still have problems with:
-sticking to my boundaries especially when I feel pressure from others to bend to their will and desires
-my cognitive distortions which include black and white thinking and thinking in absolutes
I’ve lived with these cognitive distortions since I can remember, and it’s been really hard to break these unhealthy thinking patterns but I’m working on it.
There is a lot more to say about this journey, but I’ll save that for later throughout this year.
To conclude, here are a few thoughts:
To have an immense amount of progress and growth this year; I had to learn to be brutally honest with myself about things I had been lying to myself about for too long. I had a tendency to blame others when I felt terrible about my life. This year, I changed that pattern and I had to learn to hold a mirror to myself and take accountability for any harm I’ve done to myself and others and that was extremely difficult to do. It also meant facing some of my biggest fears and insecurities and that was fucking hard. Sometimes it was so much work, I wanted to give up but I didn’t. And now I’m here, at a place where I’m truly happy and content with myself and my life. And to not have major depressive episodes every other week where I’m stuck in this rut of misery feels like a type of freedom I can’t describe. To manage hard emotions like anger and sadness without it affecting my whole week or my whole day is something I always felt was impossible until now.
And while I am thankful for everyone that’s been helpful in my journey, I feel the most gratitude to myself and my determination and resilience. I had always known myself but just this year I’ve finally started to understand myself and finally felt a sense of freedom to be who I really am without a need to filter out the crazy or hard parts that make me the complicated and resilient human that I am. A year later, I no longer allow life to happen to me and feel powerless and have an immense need for validation from others. Now I’m a person who lives a life with intention and purpose for my own betterment.
Around September,I started to logically understand how out of control my behavior was at times. The strange thing about it is it doesn’t feel like me when I’m acting that way. I’m a person who has always tried to have control over all aspects of my life. For example, when I was first diagnosed, I was naive enough to think that I could somehow “fast-track my healing” . I quickly learned that’s not how healing or therapy works. It didn’t matter how quickly I read my DBT workbook or did the exercises from there, how many poems I wrote about grief in one day, or how many healthy coping mechanisms I picked up along the way; healing and changing my behavior was going to take time and patience. I couldn’t speed up the process if I truly wanted to get better.
I needed to learn to sit with my grief, anger, mania, self-hatred, and any other uncomfortable and painful emotions and learn a healthy way to process and cope with them instead of chasing it away with booze, sex, or binge shopping. It’s been hard to do, and I’ve stumbled along the way and have made many mistakes. One thing I’ve learned this year is that changing unhealthy patterns in my behavior had to be the most arduous and difficult work I’ve ever done. For example, maybe one day I’m feeling fat and ugly, the old me would have gone binge shopping on Amazon for a pretty dress or reached out to one of the casual Joes in my life for validation; the new and healthy version of me had to ask myself the whys of why I’m feeling fat and ugly and what triggered this reaction in me, do I need to write about it, what can I do to make myself feel better that doesn’t involved shopping or the validation from others? It’s way harder to face my insecurities head on than chase them away with a quick and temporary adrenaline rush or serotonin fix. Throughout all this it helped to have an incredible support system who gave me what I needed emotionally to process, grow and move forward in my journey. Part of that support system was my therapist who was kind, compassionate, knowledgeable, and patient with me. I was really tough to deal with at times and I wanted to break up with her at times cause she pushed me a lot when it came to my driving phobia. I remember having a panic attack in front of her because of a driving exposure but she calmed me down enough so I could do it. I got paranoid after thinking she would leave me but she didn’t. She stuck by me through the end of our therapy sessions in January of this year. The few times I’d missed a session, she would call me to check in and talk to me for at least 10 minutes to make sure I was okay. She was also respectful of me and my experiences. I’ve had therapists in the past who talked down to me and were condescending and she wasn’t one of them. People talk about finding “the one” at the “right time”; well in my case, I found the “right therapist” at the “right time” in my life. Here is a poem I wrote about her:
From September to January, there was so much progress in my healing and mental health journey thanks to having the adequate resources and tools because of my therapist. I did beat a driving phobia (but that’s a story I’ll tell in depth later on) and I was free from suicidal ideation until May of this year. What was strange to me during these months was how I was learning to really live and enjoy my life. I remember that before my diagnosis, I’d get annoyed sometimes at having to spend time with my kids. During the months of September to December, something switched in me to have this new appreciation for motherhood and spending time with my children. My relationship with my three sons got better and I grew closer to them. I feel like I’m finally the mom my children deserve.
Here is a poem I wrote about them:
My Three Kings
My first king, I met at 17
when the nurse placed
an alien like being in my arms
She was like “feed him”
and I was like “how do I do that?”
What should I do with him?
Eventually I figured it out
My second king, I met at 24
as a birthday present, just like me
he had to make a dramatic entrance
but it was love at first sight
No one could take him from my arms
I knew what to do
My third king, I met at 30
He was a dream delivered
After a dream lost the previous year
He was planned, he was awaited, he was loved
He was welcome by everyone
with him, I felt a completion of love
As I’ve also mentioned, my therapy sessions ended in January and after that I was on my own with my maintenance plan making sure I didn’t do anything to sabotage the progress I had made.
It’s been a year since I received my life changing diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and so much in my life has changed because of it. I started therapy sometime around late June and I had to do a 3-hour mental health assessment in two separate sessions where my therapists asked me questions about past trauma and past patterns of behavior. It was a really, rough week emotionally for me because of that and other personal stuff going on in my life. I sat down across from my therapist as she explained how Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis ended up on my concept map.
My reaction was one of numbness and shock. And then I made the mistake of going to the internet and looking it up and well BPD gets a bad rap for good reason. After reading all the bad things about BPD, I thought “I knew I had issues and was kind of messed up, but I didn’t expect to be this fucked up, this broken”. It doesn’t help that a couple of things that stand out on the internet about BPD are “BPD is the most painful mental disorder “Or “BPD people are manipulative” or “Some people with BPD are incapable of love”. It didn’t help that at the time I was diagnosed, I was also having a mental breakdown and my relationship at the time was on the rocks. When I told my friends and family about my diagnosis, most of them were supportive and encouraging but some were in denial and didn’t fully accept it. I was told “I couldn’t have BPD because I’m not so awful” or that “it’s not a big deal”.
A couple of weeks after my diagnosis, I was broken up with. While I don’t want to go into the details about the events that led up to the demise of that relationship; I will say that the last day I saw my ex, there were a couple of things he said to me that really impacted me and made me really look at my life. I won’t say what they were, but it was useful for the next part of my journey. The breakup validated my worst fears about myself, “I’m unlovable”, I’m hard to love”, “I’m always going to be too emotionally unstable to be in a relationship” “I don’t deserve love” “I always fuck up everything good in my life” “I’m too fucked up and broken to be loved” etc., etc. Y’all have read the poetry and stories about how I don’t handle breakups well-ever. So, I’m lying-in bed crying and thinking all these things and don’t want to get up. I was on vacation when this happened so I could’ve stayed in bed all day and it would have been fine. However, something told me to keep going and getting up. The rest of the month of July is a blur to me at this point. I did document through video and journaling what I did so I know what I did, however there are parts of that month I don’t remember living.
I know I kept up with my therapy appointments and worked every day and wrote. Something I had to do for therapy was keep a daily diary card monitoring my emotions and any situations that brought out strong emotions in me. The main emotions I felt the months of July, August, and September were anger, sadness, and despair so filling out my diary card was a task but also necessary for me to get better at coping with life.
Something my current therapist said in group therapy was how grief makes one take a stock of life and how you’re living it. After the breakup, while yes, I felt this immense grief over that situation, I also felt grief and anger over other traumatic events in my life I hadn’t healed from. It was like I had this closet full of unprocessed trauma that was about to burst open at any time and in July, the door busted wide open and out came well, almost everything I kept inside of me well hidden. Shame, guilt, anger, fury, despair, sadness over past trauma were feelings I became well acquainted with for those first three months. I felt stuck at times in this emotional fog but somehow kept going. I continually asked myself what the purpose of all my hard work was and at first it was so that I don’t ever “split” on my kids like I had on other people in my past. I also had to learn a new language with my BPD diagnosis. I know that sounds weird but with all the new vocabulary words thrown at me, it’s what it felt like. In June and July, I learned real quick what dissociation, masking, and splitting was because that’s basically what I did those months. I also learned the term hypersexuality which I’ve addressed in some of my posts and poetry in this blog. Reflecting on everything that I’ve learned I can understand how my behavior can seem scary and unsafe to some people. I’ve finally had a deep understanding of how much of my erratic and impulsive behavior has greatly impacted my life.
To be continued to part two…
Here is an episode from my favorite podcast “Back From the Borderline” about breakups that resonated with me: https://open.spotify.com/episode/19fVPtpfy8bsO2qEKQueWv?si=8NWz6oVVQ52coU1g-Bcwyg&utm_source=copy-link