If you ask someone without any known mental health issues if they let their mind wander and procrastinate from time to time most people will tell you “Yes”. So how is someone with BPD supposed to get control of their mind when “normal” people seem to struggle with much the same issues (only in lesser extremes of course)? The key to keeping your brain on a short leash is to learn what will cut that lease and let the dog off the leash to bite…
If you think you are always going to be able to keep a short leash on your brain I am here to disappoint you. There will ALWAYS be times when you might procrastinate and lose control of your mind, if only for a short while. Only a Zen DBT master has control over their brain 24/7, even myself with years of DBT teachings locked in have moments of meltdown where I will end up shouting and ranting. I don’t even have BPD and I still lose it now and again!
The good news is you can learn to keep your brain on a short leash most of the time and that will help you to live a pretty normal life. When you have a mental health condition like BPD you are never going to have control all the time, but the few times you can’t stop yourself should not stop you from living a mostly stress-free life. One of the main issues with BPD is that everything is extreme or dead. When you start to like something you can become obsessed with it and when you hate something you want it out of your life fully. A BPD is a wild dog and will need a much stronger lead than others.
Keeping your mind on a hypothetical short leash may not be able to stop the initial trigger thought or action from happing, but it might mean you can take back control and not succumb to it and make a situation worse than it already is. We talk a lot about trigger points in these pages, but being aware of them does indeed mean you are prepared for them. Then, once you feel your mind or emotions starting to take over you can snap that leash and get back the control you surely need.
The human mind is a complex organism and not some naughty little puppy. Nearly everyone experiences discouraging thoughts or emotional setbacks from time to time, you will be no different, but you have BPD which means you need to have more control than a normal person does. Remember, you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t need help, but only you can help yourself. If you can learn to stop just one situation from getting out of hand or one thought process from getting you down it has been a good day and taking each day at a time is the best way to deal with things whether you have BPD or not.
This Week’s Homework: If possible I would like you to get a rubber band or a hairband from somewhere and put it onto your wrist. Then…I want you to pull it back and snap it. Notice the sound it makes, notice if it hurts or not. You might have heard that this is a good method for those with terrible anxiety, but it also works well with the BPD symptom of Extreme Emotional Swings. Just look at that stop sign in the image above and picture it 10 times the moment you “snap” the rubber band. So…SNAP – STOP SIGN…SNAP – STOP SIGN. This is a great method for grounding yourself in the moment that works most of the time because like I said, there will always be that one time the leash will snap and you will need to say STOP!