Our local Mental Health Trust fund a facility called ‘The Recovery College”. The Prospectus has over sixty-five courses, ranging in duration from three to twelve weeks. Some classes are only two hours duration, while others are more demanding six-hours.
The subjects include, ‘Spirituality & Wellbeing’, ‘Introduction to problem solving’, ‘Five ways to wellbeing’, ‘Living beyond Depression’ and ‘Mindfulness’.
Last week I started a ten-week course called ‘Telling your story’. Participants are encouraged to make sense of their illness and recovery through writing or art.
The first group went well. All the “students” are pleasant strong characters. Underneath my calm intelligent façade, I’m a crumbling anxious wreck, tormented by extreme paranoia.
I must confess to initially having doubts about my suitability. It seems more appropriate for people who are not yet writing. Last night, our homework helped me grasp what the course could mean for me.
For the next ten weeks, we need to write a journal for five minutes, three times per week. I do not usually write “Dear Diary’s” and might find this difficult, but I reckon that is part of my problem.
A question presented to us for homework is…
What areas of your life/recovery would you like to focus on?
Last night, it became clear what MY focus should be.
It has been so long since I actively lived in the ‘here and now’. My head is always somewhere else – usually ruminating with harsh self-criticism and paranoia.
Therefore, my aspirations are almost predetermined – Focus on the now. I may have struggled with mental illness for over 13 years, but my journey has recently brought us to the new diagnosis of Agoraphobia, Borderline Personality Disorder and Recurrent Depressive Disorder. I know little about BPD and even less about RDD.
You could say that I am swimming in RDD and BPD symptoms. There is little control; in fact, my life/head is completely awash with the symptoms of Borderline.
Surprisingly, I didn’t find the agoraphobia too much of a challenge. I have a problem in strange places or spending more than two hours away from home. During class, concentration was flagging. After an hour and a half, my brain closes down.
Nearing the end of class, we were to do a very simple five-minute writing exercise, but my mind was completely blank.
Subsequent to my latest diagnosis, the areas of life I wish to focus on are….
~ Practice living in the moment. Don’t weep over past issues (unless for therapeutic reasons) and never worry about the future. This will be incredibly difficult to change.
~ Use this writing time for rediscovering the person I am TODAY.
~ Learn more about Borderline and RDD and how they relate to my present life.
My biggest challenge is Focus…