There Is A Sunlit Garden Just Ahead.
For almost as long as I can remember, and I can remember a long, long way back, I have felt odd, weird, strange, different, unhappy. I used to suffer from extreme mood swings, I had a morbid fear of abandonment, every relationship I’d ever had was dysfunctional, I would isolate myself for long periods, and I could do strange and ‘dangerous’ things on just a whim. Not to mention that I took to relieving the anxiety and stress I suffered from by self-medicating with too much booze.
In short, I had just about every symptom there is of a quite serious mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder. Of course, I didn’t know I had BPD, well mostly you don’t, why would you? How can you self-diagnose BPD, when you haven’t even heard of it? Anyway, I thought perhaps I was bipolar ~ I wasn’t.
My awareness came because I want to see a counsellor about my alcohol problem. Over several months Sue got to know me quite well. She didn’t say that I had Borderline Personality Disorder, she mentioned a book to me, a book called I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me, which just about summed up the way I used to feel about every woman I’d ever had a relationship with.
I was prompted to take on-line tests for Borderline Personality Disorder to see if there was a real likelihood that I was suffering from this horrible psychological illness. Each and every time I came out at the red end of the scale. I fully accepted and embraced these results. This was the beginning of my recovery. When I knew and fully accepted what was wrong with me I could start to heal myself ~ with the help of others.
My problem probably started at birth, (many psychological problems seem to start at birth). I was small, premature, separated from my mother, and placed in an incubator for many days, (so I’m told). I never, ever bonded with mt mother. I did bond with my maternal grandmother, and never understood or got over her death when I was about four-and-three-quarters years old.
A major part of my recovery was recognising these early trauma. Eventually, I wrote a letter to myself, aged four-and-three-quarters, and that was a very traumatic and very healing process.
Being very honest and open with my counsellor, my doctor, and a trusted friend helped me enormously. My doctor even arranged for me to see a psychiatrist, a specialist in BPD. After three long and gruelling assessments this guy said that I had been suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, but that I had mostly cured myself. Well, thanks very much for that vote of confidence. (A little English irony there.)
How did I manage this remarkable recovery?
- I fully accepted that I had a problem, and that it was most likely Borderline Personality Disorder.
- I fully accepted that booze wasn’t helping, and I stopped drinking, got sober, and became completely abstinent from alcohol.
- I fully embraced honesty in all my dealings, being determined to always tell the whole truth to myself and to others, (when I needed to tell others anything at all that is, which isn’t all the time).
- I did not take any mood altering drugs, neither prescription drugs nor street drugs. Obviously my doctors offered me everything, starting with Prozac.
- I got physically fit. (Mens sano in corpore sano. ~ Juvenal)
- I continued with formal counselling, from professional therapists, and with informal counselling from a trusted and knowledgeable friend.
- I embraced self-help techniques from getting lots of fresh air, to meditation, to reading appropriate inspirational books. (I did not use inspirational videos, or group therapy, and I never will.)
- I became completely willing to recover from the debilitating, life ruining, destructive symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.
- I looked at my past in an honest, open, and dispassionate way. I learned from my past, but I did not go back there, and I didn’t let it hurt me again.
- I learned to to completely accept, understand, care for, cherish, and love other people ~ no matter what.
And things got better. My life got much better, my relationships with others improved. I was sleeping well. I felt fit, strong, and healthy in body, mind, and spirit. And I felt empty inside. I felt imprisoned in the dark and forbidding fortress of my own mind. All was not well, and even though a psychiatrist and professional counsellors were telling me that I had made a remarkable recovery, changing my whole life and attitudes around, I felt unfulfilled and empty inside.
It seems that what I needed was an awakening of spirit, an epiphany, an understanding of life’s ultimate questions as they applied to me. Then, and strangely, out of nowhere, I had a spiritual awakening. Suddenly I was filled with genuine self-belief and a vision of the future for me.
I will not tell you how it happened, or exactly what happened, or why I am now a completely different and much better man than I could ever have hoped to become. You need to find your own spiritual awakening, and I strongly believe that each man and woman’s connection with ultimate reality will be different, personal, powerful, special, and moving.
I can tell you that I now understand The Divine Mother, my place in the Cosmos, and how to completely love and accept other people.
Alcoholics Anonymous, and other proponents of 12 step recovery programmes probably have it right. The first step to recovery is fully accepting that you have a problem
Step 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol ~ that our lives had become unmanageable. ~ Alcoholics Anonymous
I substituted ‘feelings’ for the word ‘alcohol’ because that was the problem making my life a complete Hell, and I had the first step on the long road to recovery.
I admitted I was powerless over my feelings ~ that my life had become unmanageable.
There is a road to recovery, and it begins with admitting we are ill.
these opinions are mine and mine alone