I’m feeling good today. My online ego has had a wonderful boost off the back of an article in the indo and the success of the weekend’s green ribbon Mayfly run. I’ve had a hefty dose of virtual love come my way and in this moment it feels really nice. So should I really go and spoil it by following through on a thought process I had with Therapist yesterday?

Yes. Here’s why.

Image credit: the oatmeal. I LOVE the oatmeal!

Ok, maybe spoil it is excessive, but I do need to think on it, because this image exactly highlights the problem. We were talking yesterday about how I might be making a difference to people, that when people can identify with what I write, it helps them. I find it virtually impossible to accept this. We tried to tease out why, and didn’t get very far, but the best I can come up with is that to feel like I’m doing something good and worthwhile, and to acknowledge that out loud, is being big-headed, self-centred and generally showing off. Self praise is no praise, right?? I suggested that maybe it was my inherent Irishness – as a nation we’re notorious for not being able to take a compliment – but her take on that was that its an Irish trait typically brush off compliments, people generally still accept them on the quiet. Not me. I take compliments, I get a brief warm fuzzy, and then I dismiss them entirely. I get the odd negative comment (thankfully not too many), but these, unlike the short lived feel good of positive and supportive comments, these I believe 110%, because they feed in exactly to the negative loop that tends to play in my head and can undo all the good work of the previous positive comments

Apparently this is all part of the guilt/shame spiral of bpd (yes, I’m back to borderline now. What I’ll be calling it tomorrow is anyone’s guess. I’ll settle eventually), and at the core of what I really need to tackle. Why do I find it so hard to believe that I’m possibly, just maybe, for even one person, helping a tiny little bit? That I may actually have some good qualities??

Another factor in this is that once again, my mood is very much influenced by what’s going on around me, and how people are reacting to me (or more to the point, how I perceive them to be reacting). Today my page is flying with comments and shares, and it makes me feel great. Later on, when that slows down, my mood will go down with it. That’s where the work is. Developing a filter for myself so that my mood is less defined by feeling and environment, and more by thinking, because at the moment, while I know logically my feeling is way off, I can’t seem to change it and no amount of rationalising can think me out of an emotional hole. I don’t think I’m explaining that very well, I’m sorry if it doesn’t make sense. It’s such early days trying to manage bpd, I think I’ve understood a concept and know what I need to do and then it slips away again.

Anyway, bottom line is, right now, today, filter or otherwise, I’m feeling quietly proud of myself for what I’ve done this last week. I’m not sure I’ll be able to hold on to that, but for now, even glimpsing a sense of pride in myself is enough.

This article has 21 Comments

  1. I've managed to do 2 long postings, one on Saturday and another today – and lost them both (delete expletives!:o). I wanted to say that I thought your post on Friday was magnificent – your drawing attention to what is such a huge failing on behalf of the health authorities to tackle the huge problem of mental health and the appalling lack of facilities and help. Really well done Fiona. Then today I read your latest posting and could identify with it so much. Since seeing an excellent therapist for a long time she has identified my problem as having a total lack of self confidence. I can receive a 100 plaudits and yet would home in on maybe 2 brickbats and they would bring me way down & a lot of my anger (at the unfairness of it all) would "feed" my problem (depression, anxiety etc.) With work on myself I am slowly starting to recognise my reactions. It's a long & difficult road I know, but I honestly think you'll get there Fiona. You're trying so hard, and if anyone deserves to feel peaceful and calm then you do. Thanks so much for a brilliant blog x

  2. Sounds like Bitchface needs to adopt a Proportional Representation model for evaluating feedback.

    I know I find it easy to dismiss nice comments as people "just being nice" though, rather than meaning it. Because trolls are so sincere and leave such well thought through comments don't they and they have no ulterior motives….

    Wish I had an easy answer for you on this one. Maybe set you some maths homework of labouriously calculating and colouring in pie charts to represent good / bad comments?

    Anyway, nobody has to read your blog so those of us that read it regularly are surely getting something out of it and we can't all be deluded and/or procrastinating.

  3. If I think that I could have written this post myself, because it sounds EXACTLY like my brain, does that mean I'm bpd? I say that flippantly but really it makes me realize how blurry all of these lines of diagnosis are. And how everyone has their own unique cocktail of stuff that comprises their mental health struggles. In the end I think we should just call it all CRAP, with rather dramatic gestures off to the side, and each get to work on our own specific stuff.

    Last week I wrote a post for another blog. The moderator replied with great comments about the post and then offhandedly said, "I may edit a bit." In a millisecond, I went from "Yay! I can do this blog thing! And I could maybe be valued for my contributions!" to "Oh my God what does she want to edit? Is it that bad? Does she understand that I realize half of my sentences are run-ons or incomplete, but I would never submit those to any serious publication – it's just my blog writing style?" I could literally feel the positivity sink into the hole. So yes, I definitely understand that piece.

    I don't think I've heard you mention anything about your childhood or family of origin stuff. Presumably you're working on that in therapy too – I know I've learned an enormous amount by really looking at how my parents interacted with me and how I never developed a healthy sense of self. It's terrifying since of course I'm raising little people myself, and it feels a bit like the blind leading the blind. But understanding the dynamics that have contributed to my low self-esteem have helped me to change some of the dynamics in my own head- and hopefully change them for my kids.

    Keep plugging away, keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep remembering how much you mean to so many people out there.

  4. Like many of the above posters i can relate to a great deal of what you mention. The self praise thing in particular. I can recognise achievements and accomplishments in others..but somehow it's harder to do for myself. I rememeber years ago when i graduated from UCD,thinking that i somehow i didn't deserve my degree? I wasn't worthy of it? I would be found out? Even though i knew i had put a lot of work into getting it. I guess this is a confidence/self worth issue.

    One thing i am doing at moment is seeing how i compliment and am proud of my daughter and trying to apply this to myself (undoing bad habits takes time i suppose!).

    The filter point you make is very true- its like a litmus test- find myself tempered by little things around me and comments- even my own comments.
    Just today i had to walk out of a packed work meeting because of a panic attack (used to get these,but thought they were gone). Spoke to manager and explained about "whole depression thing",went ok but feel kind of exhausted after it.

    Keep doing what your doing,hope you find support in all of us because personally i find great support in you. Sorry for the rambling- i must get back to work.

    1. Never apologise for rambling, it's much appreciated. How are things at work after the depression chat? Boss ok with you? I've had to talk to 3 separate managers about it at this stage – one should have understood very well but didn't, one panicked and one was incredibly supportive. Thankfully it's the supportive one I'm still working for!
      You're so right about applying to ourselves how we speak to our kids – I'm afraid mine are going to end up with a massively inflated sense of self I tell them I'm proud of them so often!! Rather that than no confidence though. Some day we'll be able to do it for ourselves as well……
      And yes, the support I get from you all is absolutely wonderful and so important to me. Thank you!

    2. Things were ok after admitting to the boss. I am off today so back in tomorrow,to see how it is!! Think he was a bit panicked like your previous boss,but then said if i need anything to ask. Guess it could be the male thing of "God,don't want to talk about that!!!". But feel a lot better getting it out there. Totally wiped today though.I'm of your thinking though in terms of kids- would rather Sarah-Jane be full of confidence and to feel that she can do anything in life she wants to (which is true of all our kids). It was one of the main reasons i wanted to finally look for help ,so that i could break the cycle of depression and encourage open talk & feelings with SJ. Good luck with the DBT bye the way,will have you in mind.

  5. I feel like this all the time too! I get lots of great comments on my Facebook Page, but I get one negative comment and it hurts right to the core of my being! I'm working on it. I was told in DBT that my core believe was that "I'm not good enough" I suppose that's where this stems from. Excellent post! Keep up the good work!

  6. Just a quick post (from anonymous who lost 2 postings!) to say that on the 26/27th Joe Duffy (Liveline) had 2 features on his show about depression and work. Will listen to them today and see what they say. Love his programme anyway. Hope you're not having too bad a time at the moment Fiona. Lousy day today (have plummeted way down) – this illness is definitely a roller coaster.

    1. Can you share the link to those? Would love to have a listen (although not a Joe Duffy fan!!) Hope you're feeling better, I'm good today although meds have me extremely sleepy. DBT group starting later, should be interesting. I hope!

  7. Fiona, if you just go to LiveLine RTE1 and then it will come up and you can listen to backdated programmes. I'm a bit of a computer idiot but that should do it okay! You can select which part of the programme you want to listen to. I've just listened to it and it wasn't really in depth about anything, or nowhere near as much as I thought it was going to be though :o/. Sometimes they expand on subjects in later programmes and I know Liveline has tackled depression in the past, in detail. So I'll keep us all posted. My mood has slumped because yesterday a couple of people were off-hand with me – they were probably in a mood themselves and not specifically just with me – but being as I am (I always try and put on a "good, smiley face" even if I'm feeling half dead!!) I always blame myself (the zero self esteem again). My therapist encourages me to practise CBT but at times I struggle with it. I was raised to be a people pleaser and it runs deep. Glad that you're having a good day today though Fiona – aren't the good days b. brilliant?!! Oh, to feel like that all the time!! I really hope that you have a good WEEK. Take care x

    1. The good days are so good! Unfortunately things got a big hairy for me for a few days trying to figure out meds, but today is better. I'm up in Kildare – all by myself!! – to hang out with my sister and niece as they're home from Denmark for a few days, so really enjoying that.
      Hope things picked up for you. It's so very hard not to take comments/attitudes personally, especially on a bad day. Hope you're ok, and thanks so much for the support x

  8. Great points and I think this blog is incredible. By sharing your world, you are helping so many other people to fit better into their own x

    1. Thank you so much. I've just been reading through yours (incidentally mine was briefly called the elephant in the room), your writing is incredible, you describe it so well. Therapist reminding me to breathe is always my undoing – that kindness and complete absence of judgement – it makes me simultaneously want to run screaming from the room and never leave. It's a strange one.
      I hope the weekend has been good to you so far and you're doing ok. Looking forward to reading more of your work x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *