By this time next week Christmas will all be over. For those of us who aren’t religious I often wonder why we make such a big thing of the day.
I guess for me it is trying to recreate the love and excitement I experienced as I child. For others, it might be the joy of getting together with all the family and sharing a good time. All the messages in the media tell us this is what Christmas is about.
Sadly I can’t recreate the feelings of joy of my childhood days. I’m an adult now with much to do to prepare for the day, so often I am so tired I just want the day to be over. And of course, for those of us with a loved one who lives with the ups and downs of BPD, it can also be a less than happy time with family who often don’t understand the emotions she/he may be feeling at this time.
Though Melinda is much better now and simply enjoys watching the excitement of her nieces, rather than concentrating on the gifts she receives, there have been times when no matter what we bought her or who we shared our Christmas with she was never happy. I think she was looking for that elusive happiness that we are told Christmas brings. When that didn’t come about, it just added to any depression she was already living with. And of course, for her dad and me, it made us sad and disappointed and I admit, at times angry that she didn’t enjoy the effort we had made to bring her joy.
I share with you some of our experiences of some of our Christmases, not to make you sad and depressed as well, but to let you know that this is the reality for many of us. It is part of the journey we are on with our loved ones diagnosed with BPD.
Try to accept that this is how it is for now. Radical acceptance of what is, is one of the most important things we need to learn when we love and care for someone with BPD. You have tried your best to make Christmas Day the best you can, and your loved one is also doing the best they can with the emotions they live with. With radical acceptance you can at least lessen your grief and accept that this is what is at the moment. Hopefully this way you will have a more peaceful and calm day
After all this negativity I do want to give you some good news and some hope for better times. In the last 10 days I have spoken to a few people who had been in crisis with their loved one, some only a year ago, and others maybe as long as 5 years ago. Some of them had been on hard drugs, some had been in and out of hospital after many self-harming incidents, some had been estranged from their family. When I tentatively asked how their family member was, they told me things had improved greatly. One had a job, one was now in a loving relationship, one was studying again, and one now simply had a life worth living
At the recent BPD Conference, we had a session on “What is Recovery?” 17 consumers were interviewed about their understanding of what recovery meant for them. Most agreed that it was a deeply personal unique process of change. It is a journey and something that is unique to each person, something that is a satisfying life for them.
So never give up hope for a “recovery”. It may not be what you had expected for your son or daughter. It may not be what you had expected your marriage or parentship to be, but it is possible that life will be better and easier for both you and your loved one.
So, this is my wish for you all. I hope things can get a little easier for you and the person you love. I hope you have, if not a happy Christmas, then at least a peaceful one, and may 2020 bring new hope and some joy.
Photo by Martina T. on Unsplash
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