Sunday, September 25, 2016

Guest Post from Non BPD Spouse

Borderline Personality Disorder is a scary thing for everyone involved; for the loved one suffering, for spouses, for children, for family members, and for friends. 

Unfortunately “BPD” still has a strong stigma attached to it. Sadly the stigma comes from everywhere. BPD is even scarier when you’re afraid to accept the diagnosis.
I don’t know the feeling of having BPD, but I’m pretty certain accepting such a diagnosis is one of the biggest hurdles one will ever face. But even when that huge mountain has been climbed most know that is merely the beginning. It’s a long road to recovery. 

Once Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is started (individual and group), one won’t see many significant changes until a year has passed. For some it is far sooner, for others maybe longer than a year. Successful DBT is tricky because many say they know DBT, however few truly “know” it. Ask for references and really question them. Otherwise the journey will be exponentially longer and you will waste time and money if you do not partner with the right person. While one can never rid themselves of BPD, you can recover. It is possible. But the journey is yours.

The journey does not belong to the spouse; or the kids, or the boyfriend or girlfriend, or the dad or mom, or the aunt or uncle, or the closest friend. The journey is yours. Make no mistake – just because the journey is yours does not mean having BPD is your fault, far from it. You did nothing because of it. You did not start this, or even accentuate its growth over the years. However blaming others merely delays the healing process. This is all about choosing recovery and about accepting responsibility for the recovery process. It’s about taking on a battle that you didn’t ask for and facing the past.

To me, that’s heroic. To me, that’s success. While the journey is yours, it doesn’t mean you’re on an island. Surround yourself with people who lovingly stand with you, and walk with you during the battle. I have talked with people at every stage, from those who refuse to accept their BPD, to those beginning the process of accepting it, to those merely looking for a strong, knowledgeable therapist, to eventually those actually “graduating” from DBT with a huge, huge smile on their face that is permanent. It’ll be the biggest challenge you will ever face. But the bigger the challenge also means the bigger the reward.

Start recovery now, and don’t worry if you take 1, 5, 10, or even 50 years to accept your BPD. A Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plan a tree was 20 years ago; the 2nd best time is now.”

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Thank you for your words Non BPD Spouse. Whether someone has BPD or any other mental illness these wise words apply. The journey is yours but you did not cause your mental illness. It's never too late to start accepting and recovering from a mental illness and it doesn't matter how long it takes you to do this. 

It's important to remember that you have people with you, people who love you, people who want to help and although they may not be able to do anything at all, it's knowing they are with you. They don't want you to get better for their sake, the ones who love you want you to recover for yourself and that is love.

For the spouses, family members and friends of anyone with a mental illness for you also it's going to be a tough journey. Not only will you see someone you love struggling but you may get pushed away. You may have your love questioned or rejected. You may be told you're not listening, you don't understand or you're not helping and that will hurt. But these words, the majority of the time, are the illness talking. They come from paranoia, from worry, from fright and from emotional pain. I salute you for standing by and waiting for the storm to pass. Please know you are doing a good job by being there and not arguing back or giving in on us. Your patience is amazing. Just hold on. Remember that famous saying "if you can't handle me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best." You've proven a 1000 times you deserve us at our best so don't leave before the best comes, you've earnt it.

Much love,

Becky xx

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