These past couple of weeks I have been experiencing more symptoms of my EUPD than I have done for a while. I have restarted my EMDR therapy, which has caused quite a lot of stress in my wider life and as a result, things like my black and white thinking, over-sensitivity to innocuous comments and irritability/anger have all been massively triggered.
One of the hardest things for me to deal with nowadays, is knowing that I am reacting a certain way because of my EUPD but not being able to control the feelings that it causes any more effectively. I have become better (not perfect by any means) at controlling the behaviours that stem from the feelings but the intensity of the feelings themselves remain as strong as ever. I have to consciously remind myself each time that the emotions will peak and I will feel awful for a while, but that without doing anything, those same emotions will wane in their intensity. It is then, when I am thinking more rationally and not so swept up in the feelings, that is the time to decide whether any action is necessary. I know all this and can recite it easily now whilst I am calm but it is so difficult to put into words just how overwhelming and intense the feelings can be as they reach that peak. I have always thought the analogy by Marsha Linehan that emotionally, those with BPD/EUPD are like patients with 3rd degree burns over 90% of their bodies is a particularly effective one. This week in particular I have felt like that - I am so sensitive to everything and any kind of metaphorical contact from another hurts so much.
Anyway, despite all this, life goes on and I have been busy doing various things lately, both personally and ‘professionally’.
On a personal level, choir has restarted for the term so now I have a weekly respite from dealing with everything, for a period of time at least. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being part of something, the unity created, by singing in a large group. As we learn new pieces, the sense of achievement in hearing the layers of sound build is really quite something.
On a more ‘professional’ level I have attended a couple of meetings in my capacity as someone with lived experience of mental illness, which have been very interesting. On the whole, I have to applaud my local mental health trust for their drive to include those with lived experience in areas such as team training, project development and recruitment. It feels more than just a token gesture. However, there is still a lack of paid roles for people with this experience within the NHS- not just locally but nationally. Something that needs to be addressed.
In one of these meetings, I explored how much trauma training a particular service had for their staff. The answer was a resounding ‘none’, which I found astonishing. To me, it seems to be a huge gap in provision when so many mental health conditions can find their foundations in some kind of traumatic experience and others can be triggered by them. The service in question only offers short term support so I agreed that any in-depth trauma work would be carried out elsewhere but when people are seeking immediate help, they still need someone who understands the impact that trauma can have on people in that short term. Personally, I feel that, especially in a changing society with movements such as ‘Me Too’ and an increase in awareness of conditions such as PTSD, services need to improve emotional support, particularly in acute phases as well as providing the more ‘medical’ (wrong word but I can’t find a better one) support for traditional ‘serious mental illnesses’. In my opinion, having an understanding of trauma and its impacts would be needed for this and so training should include it.
I guess there’s a lot of things I would change if I ruled the world(!) but right now I will just continue to try and use my experiences where I can. Even if it makes someone think differently just for a moment, that could inspire something.