I am able to be pretty honest about my experiences with BPD. I just have one important thing to say which feels relevant to make clear right now.
The truth is that it’s really fucking difficult to measure recovery from BPD. I wouldn’t want to lie and say that everything is all hunky dory now even though some clinicians may say I no longer meet diagnostic criteria for the disorder.
I want to portray the truth – and that includes the pain, too. I actually need people to know I’m still hurting.
As recovery is often measured by a reduction in the behaviours which lead to the BPD diagnosis in the first place, when Borderlines stop engaging in behaviours, it may look to the outside world like they are free of distress.
However, my experience, and that of many others I have met in treatment, is that “recovery” is far more subjective and unquantifiable than even many professionals are aware of. For me and many of my Borderline friends, it really is the internal stuff we struggle with that is most indicative of the ‘personality disorder’.
The behaviours are just the tip of the iceberg. They are simply a way of managing the distress and are therefore a symptom of the real struggle. It is the inner pain (including and especially ‘relational pain’) which is the core issue for so many of us.
Without the self-destructive behaviours, there is no outlet or release that reduces the pain in quite the same way. Because of this, sometimes recovery can be even more painful, especially in DBT Stage 1, which focuses mostly on reducing target behaviours.
In recovery, we actually have to feel it all – all the pain for what it is – and face it head on. We can’t run away any longer.
“In order to heal, first you have to feel”
I’m ready to heal all the trauma that’s keeping me trapped in the pain. (For me, this is mostly early-developmental, relationshal trauma, amongst the other bits which impact me on a daily basis.) Bring on DBT Stage 2.