I spent this morning attending my husband's Alcohol Anonymous
meeting as the families were invited to the Halloween party afterwards. This was
not something I would have been able to do a year ago due to chronic severe PTSD
and yet here I was relaxed and really enjoying myself as if I'd never spent one
day feeling ill.
It was interesting as I listened to everyone in the AA meeting today. I had gone
with my husband, Tim before to his meetings but it has been some time. It seemed
to me that folks did a lot of beating up on themselves and as someone just
coming in, looking at the larger picture, the "self beatings" did not
We must take responsibility for our recovery and our mistakes in life. However
many of our problems stem from our genes. Mental illness, chemical dependency,
suicidal tendencies, weight and many, many more things are in the genes. It
seems the more we learn as a society, the more we learn that we inherit many of
One person pointed out a very good point in the meeting. He had read "the
big book" (the A.A. book) now going on three times and he related to it so
much, yet he realized that a lot of the traits really are not the real him
inside. Now this is a man who is beginning to get it. This man recognizes that
his alcoholism and his authentic self are two completely different things.
I'm not bipolar or borderline and my husband, Tim is not alcoholic - he HAS
alcoholism. I HAVE the bipolar disorder and BPD. Who I really am is Patty. My
real self is hard to see sometimes because symptoms of my disorders get in the
way. However when I am treated well, my authentic self is able to shine.
If you are down on yourself, practicing a lot of self-blame, please remember
that it is very difficult to get by in this complicated world as it is without
You and I deserve a medal in my opinion. I know where I've been. There have been
long periods of time in my life where I have experienced an inner emotional pain
so bad that many people would not be here today. If you have the bipolar
disorder or borderline disorder, then you understand that kind of pain.
You are also here today reading these words and many are not. The suicide rates
for both disorders are high. You may have yourself attempted suicide in the past
but you are still here today. You have still made it through.
Now if you are like me, you don't handle stress well and the symptoms of your
disorder(s) come out.
However my point is this: In the depths of incredible darkness you have reached
deep within and found an incredible amount of strength and courage. You may not
even know you have this courage because most people I know who have the BPD have
a very low self-esteem.
However, that does not take away from the fact that you do possess strength and
courage. It is not only ok but also healthy for you to pat yourself on the back.
Don't wait for others to do it. They likely will not.
Remember too that your mental health disorder(s) were in some way inherited or
or were due to some other medical reason and it was not your parent's fault
either. They got it the way you did
One of the best things that you can do for yourself today is to learn to love
yourself. I can guarantee that you are worth it.
If you don't, it's time you get up every morning and say to
yourself "I love myself. I deserve love." Do this 50 times. It doesn't
matter if you believe it or not. Say it until you believe it. We are going to
trick your unconscious mind. Once you believe this, you will be amazed at how
differently you will treat yourself.
Here is a second thing you can do that will help your recovery. Find something
you enjoy doing that will help others. This is a very healing experience. It
will help to ground yourself by getting the focus off of yourself and it is a
wonderful feeling to be able to assist someone else. (This is not a good
exercise for super codependents). LOL
However wait until your cup is full before you can begin to help others. I
encourage you to do the things that will get you into recovery first.
Bipolar Disorder Today Newsletter
Join the BP
Today Newsletter for information, resources and support. Or, send a blank email here.
Mental Health Matters for information
and articles. Get
help to find
a therapist or list
your practice; and Psych
Forums for message boards on a variety of MH topics.
Copyright © Patty Fleener, M.S.W. All