Battle for Freedom
I have been on the front lines
in this battle for my mind.
I have taken the best my enemy has to offer,
the stress, the strain, the angst,
the desire to be something I am not,
the longing to put an end
to the unsustainable stream of thoughts
condemning me to a life that is not worth living.
I have aligned with my greatest ally;
I have bonded my mind with my inner self.
We have emerged victorious.
I now have the will to be the person I want to be
and to live the life I want to live.
And the world is suddenly a better place.
I see the stars at night and the sun in the day.
The light invades the darkness
so that the shadows are just friendly reminders
that my body is strolling down a path of pleasure.
When the night comes, the shadows disappear.
I reach out to my fellow poets
for an evening shared with free spirits
who long to bring a message of hope and love
to a world lost in its own dark creation.
I have borderline personality disorder (BPD). If you do not have BPD, you may not understand where I am coming from. Let me clarify. For most people fear, anger, and the other emotions protect the person from harm. For me my emotions do not protect me from harm; if I let them, they will destroy me. There is no middle ground. If I give into fear, any fear, it will immobilize me. Having BPD means that those fears are not just fears, they are potential catastrophes. Life threatening. Likewise my anger is not just anger. It is an explosion; IF I LET THIS CAT OUT OF THE BAG, IT BECOMES A MOUNTAIN LION that will consume me and anything or anyone in its path. Likewise shame is not just shame, it takes over my whole body with a depth of despair that leads me down the path of self-loathing and self-destruction where the only escape is drugs or death. I can’t entertain these thoughts because they will reconnect me to the old feelings and that path leads back to depression and suicidal thoughts. There is only one way for me to experience the joys of life and that is to focus only on the joys of life. The only way to keep that focus is to take complete control of my mind and live continuously from my heart and soul. So to me mental health is not about changing my thoughts and beliefs, it is about finding a whole new way of life.
I have walked this path back from the edge of self-destruction. It started with intense therapy – five hours a day, five days a week, for eighteen weeks, along with heavy medication. It restored my chemical balance and gave me some strategies for dealing with my self-destructive thoughts but it did not deal with the pain that existed just below the surface. It took me two years in a mountain village in Costa Rica with daily meditations that took hours a day but I have eventually healed the wounds behind the pain. No anger. No fear. No anxiety. No chemical imbalance. No medication. No negative thought and behavior patterns. No dysfunction. No disorder. No symptoms of BPD. No therapy. I am living proof of the power of miracles that quietly waits to be awakened within each one of us.
Bruce Lipton in his book, The Biology of Belief, made an interesting comment about physiology and treatment of so-called disorders through medication: “they identify deviations in physiology (psychology) from some hypothetical norm as unique disorders or dysfunctions, and then they educate the public about the dangers of these menacing disorders, and then they medicate the symptoms.” Bruce has a point about how BPD is treated; however, I disagree with the underlying premise that many people have that there is no real problem and we just have too get over it or learn to think better thoughts. In the case of those of us with BPD, we have been led to believe that the leading cause of our BPD is a combination of anxieties, and the best way to deal with these anxieties is through medication. There is a problem with that; it does not address the cause of the anxiety. Cognitive therapy has an answer to that, a better one, but still based on the premise that our BPD is a combination of dysfunctional thought processes and the answer is therefore cognitive therapy. These strategies come from people who may have experienced other disorders like PTSD and depression, but they do not understand BPD. It is much more complex than that.
This is where our BPD mind comes in. Our conscious mind is our rational self, and our subconscious mind runs the programs we have developed since we were babes. Our conscious mind creates negative energy in the form of negative thoughts and our subconscious mind creates negative energy in the form of negative feelings. These together form my negative mind states. Another name for these mind states is beliefs. My beliefs are complex bodies of neural pathways that involve multiple parts of my brain including the amygdala (emotion) and the hippocampus (memory) and as such contain a hundred times more energy than my individual thoughts. When it comes to an argument between my conscious mind and my subconscious mind, my rational mind, even with all the new cognitive strategies, will lose every time. Getting rid of symptoms of BPD and other mental disorders is not just learning to think good thoughts. To truly live a life free of anxiety, I have to change my subconscious mind that is saying I am not good enough, or I can never do anything right, and I am unworthy of anything good happening in my life.
How do I do this? It is a simple one-step process but one that is so hard to do. There is comfort in wearing a label and just letting ourselves flow with conventional thought. We have a reason and perhaps an excuse for our thoughts and behaviors but it does not heal the pain that is inside us. To have true healing, I have to accept that I have a third level of consciousness beyond just my rational and subconscious mind – a super consciousness, my higher self, my soul, where I can experience a world full of love and joy rather than a world of fear, anger, and shame. Whenever I experience powerful negative feelings attached to my subconscious beliefs, I do not argue with them; I accept them for what they are. In my new reality there is nothing to fear, no Sabre toothed Tiger. There is no real danger out there that can harm me, except my own thoughts. There is no battle that needs to be fought except the one created by my own mind, created by negative thoughts fueled by negative feelings. I simply turn over the situation to my higher self. I do not suppress; I accept my fears and shame; I embrace them; and I thank my mind for its due diligence. Then I reconnect the present situation to new feelings powered by my heart which has an electromagnetic energy a hundred times more powerful than the energy of my conscious and subconscious minds combined. This creates a powerful surge of energy that activates the pleasure center of my brain producing feelings of elation throughout my whole nervous system resulting in tears of joy. I use this joy to create the building blocks of a new mind state. I fill this mind state with the belief that I am a truly powerful and beautiful creature. I use these feeling of joy to reattach the feelings of fear to feelings of power, to reattach feelings of anger to feelings of compassion, to reattach feelings of guilt and shame to feelings of pride and love for who I am and for the person I have grown to be. At first it is not easy, but if I am consistent, daily, and sometimes moment by moment, seeking the good in what seems hopeless, I begin to build and reinforce these new pathways until they become the automatic response of my subconscious mind. Then my brain gets the message and voila! Homeostasis. Peace.
By believing that we have a higher self that is in complete control of our lives, we get complete control of our lives. By believing that life is good and we have the power to enjoy it without changing it, we begin to appreciate the life we now live. En”joy” the day.