Life can sometimes feel as if you are travelling at a hundred miles an hour through it and the truth is there will be times when you feel a situation is going too quickly or wrong for you to do anything about it. Sadly for those of you with BPD those sorts of situations will always be a part of your life, but as long as you live your life F.A.S.T you don’t have to feel bad about those times…
This is not about denial or simply moving on from a bad moment in your life, the acronym stands for…
- F – Be Fair to Myself and Others
- A – No Apologies for Being Alive
- S – Stick to Values (Not Do Anything I’ll Regret Later)
- T – Truthful Without Excuses or Exaggeration
Once you learn that mantra, you will soon realise that there is nothing you can do about your past actions and experiences. Those few simple lines will help you to move on in life and indeed keep looking forward. Many of us have done things in the past we regret (well I know I certainly have), but to keep beating yourself up about it will only keep those negative thoughts in the forefront of your mind. By having some self-respect and living life by this F.A.S.T. mantra you can prevent that cyclone of depression and negative thoughts from happening.
The ‘Critical Voice’ is something many people with BPD have issues with, as their own BPD symptoms will often cause that said ‘Critical Voice’ from happening in the first place. This negative inwards voice will then trigger your BPD symptoms making a never-ending spiral of self-hate, self-doubt and self-loathing. But the truth is having a critical mind is not necessarily a bad thing at all. We all need that ‘Critical Voice’ at some point in our lives to fully analyse certain situations. You might have noticed that many of the teachings in these self-help pages are trying to program you to stop and think before doing and reacting. At the end of the day, It’s not so much the ‘Critical Voice’ that is the issue, it is the way we react to it.
While I won’t go too deeply into its teachings here Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) encourages people to embrace their thoughts and feelings rather than fighting them or feeling guilty for them. The part I will be using here from ACT is the ‘Notice the Difference’ teachings. In short, it teaches you to notice the difference between the thoughts stuck in your head and what is happing at that present moment. The therapy teaches you to only deal with the here and now, by pushing any thoughts out of your head that don’t deal with the situation at hand and I think that is a great way to deal with that said ‘Critical Voice’.
Living your life in the moment isn’t something that will turn you into a stereotypical hippy, it makes your mind and thoughts sharper and much more relevant to the situation at hand. Those with BPD often struggle to handle certain situations because their mind is racing at a hundred miles an hour, but with practice, you can learn to slow things down. This is often why people with BPD are not only prescribed mood stabilizers but also talk-based therapy in unison with their medication. Sure, you can learn to slow down your own thoughts without medication, but it just takes longer to do so.
Above all else, try to learn not to be so hard on yourself. At the end of the day, you have BPD which is a serious mental health condition. Whoever said “Practice makes perfect” was lying, but practice does lead to improvement. Sure, they do not come naturally, or magically happen simply as a result of reading these pages, but one day the information might sink in and then you will start to see a new you.
This Week’s Homework: When people recall stories of bad situations they have caused for themselves they often recall it all happening in seconds. So what I would like you to do this week is to play a little game with yourself. Download a stopwatch app for your smartphone and start the app. But as soon as it starts I would like you to look away (or close your eyes) and guess how long 10 seconds is. Once you feel those 10 seconds are up stop the stopwatch app and see how much time really did pass. The point is you will struggle to get close to those 10 seconds because the mind often works faster than time passes. Or, it gets lost in the thinking and more time has passed than you might think. Even when your BPD mind is racing faster than other peoples, you can still find the time to think about your actions before they happen.