Seriously, how do you do it? How do you find yourself?
I spoke to my councillor about this today, and he was saying that a lot of people struggle with these issues. He raised some interesting points, one I had never stumbled across is a theory that a lot of our identity stems from our relationships with our fathers, which well mine has been turbulent to say the least. He suggested that dealing with these issues can start to heal us and help with these issues.
Within Borderline Personality Disorder this identity disturbance forms a huge component of it yet there’s not much I have found on the subject, which is so frustrating, as it plays such a huge role. The one theory I have found is that with BPD we experience inconsistent reactions from ourselves and others to things which mean we have inconsistent associations that we build ourselves from.
I think this makes sense, if I understand it correctly, especially with the addition of black and white thinking. I experience this thinking a little differently to what I have seen described though. For example, I love being sociable and seeing my friends and having a good time, but other times I prefer to be alone and have some time to myself. These contradict, so how do I know what I really like? Do I like going out or do I not? How do I know if I am going to want to do something if its planned ahead of time? Which me will I be that day?
Of course I recognise that the answer here is balance, I have recognised this for a long time but have never been able to find and maintain balance. The maintain part is key, as I have felt balanced numerous times with this then lost it, it’s a conscious effort and I do get tired of constantly checking in with myself so when I feel better I forget that I need to sometimes.
It’s the last question that gets me though, which me will I be that day? I never know what to think about impending future plans and find it overwhelming even though I frequently do have a good time and am usually glad I went out.
Perhaps what I need to do is change how I see this.
Questions like what do I want to do? What do I like? They’re a little, rigid perhaps. I mean like what do I want to do and this thing is something I will always want to do and enjoy every time? Life isn’t like that and those questions spark that black/white thought process and sends me into huge identity crisis mode. Perhaps the question here should be what kind of attitude and behaviour do I want to display towards these things? Who do I want to be?
The issue here then with that would be to avoid being black/white in the answer too, if I decide I want to see my friends all the time I am going to feel lost when it’s been a long day at work say and I don’t feel quite so up to it, as I would start questioning what I really think all over again.
The answer needs to allow for both realities of myself to be accepted. That way I won’t face such internal struggle, I may even find I can then explore these identity juxtapositions even better.
I also think, that to begin with at least, the answer needs to have boundaries. I am so out of touch with my identity if I just wait for things to happen they probably won’t. So I need to set some guidelines, a place to start and to begin to base my experiences on, and then adapt these.
So for example, like with my friends scenario I would say my desired attitude and behaviour would be that I regularly spend time with my friends doing things I can enjoy, ensuring I do not begin to isolate myself but also taking enough time away for myself that I am my best self around these people. The guideline would be say each week to do a minimum of two social activities with friends or family, but to not make plans more than two nights in a row.
By starting here I can be flexible and try some different balances out without having my whole ideal come crashing down when I think I want to do three things a week, or not to do two nights in a row, as these don’t conflict on what I am working with.
Hopefully this can bring some inner peace.