After a year of continuous therapy I spent some this morning trying to think of any progress I have made. It's really hard at age 48 to try and start again. I have some really nice job titles, nary a reference and no acceptable (In the worlds eyes) reason for these gaps of unemployment.
I think that the professionals in this industry could use some perspective, I still see so many posts and blogs/comments that concern me. I see cookie cutter treatment, I see a lot of evidence that there are a fair amount of professionals that don't quite know how to handle BPD patients. Mostly I see how our society is nowhere near ready to tackle this.
I'm going to fight today to stay positive in this post and talk about where I have been, some great things I have accomplished and begin to try and lay the groundwork for getting a job and reintegrating myself.
I entered the work force at age 15 and other than some gaps have worked a whole lot of different jobs. Most jobs I have had in the professional world were management in nature. What makes employment difficult is
1. Company's will normally not hire you into an entry level position when you have 15+ years of management. It makes sense and I understand why. Pretty hard to take orders from someone that I would normally be managing.
2. I'm 48 without a degree. When I began looking for work at age 42 there was already some evidence that my age was an issue.
3. Even if you don't accept Mental health as an "acceptable" barrier the very reality of me is I have some serious issues with my back and hip and have not seen a Doctor since August due to loss of insurance and now 7 weeks of waiting to be added back on. I simply can not work on my feet for long periods of time. That is even a Medical fact :-) even in losing my disability case the court acknowledged that 2 hours a day on my feet was the max.
4. The gaps, no references of significance and my own "need" (Not always healthy) to be honest.
So....are there any positives? Of course there are
1. I have had some jobs where I built really good teams. In spite of my own demons I have some real strengths in coaching, motivating, training and am an excellent Operations Manager.
2. I have learned a lot about myself and the world. While I won't claim I fully "get it" I am learning to try and look at things from some new perspectives.
3. I'm a fighter. I chose not to use the word "Survivor" because that is a passive trait and sometimes you have no choice but to survive. Don't get me wrong....there are plenty survivors out there and my wife is one of them.
4. I interview really well.
5. I am very passionate about things I believe in.
6. I am a leader
My greatest need in the work place or really any relationship is to feel safe. Accepted. The jobs where I did very well many of these "issues" were just chalked up as "That's just Michael being Michael."
For anyone that has followed my story I have allowed you into the deepest parts of my being, my soul and my struggles. I've tried to share at the deepest level. Thoughts and feelings that we all have but do not talk about.
My ideal job would be one that utilizes my communications. Both written and spoken. Working from home would be ideal. My output or productivity has never been an issue. When I embrace something I give 110% to that. Even more ideal would be the ability to work in the mental health field as an advocate.
Listening to some music today I heard a line in one of my favorite songs for the first time. I imagine other people have had similar experiences with a song you like...then all of sudden you *really* hear it.
Most mornings I start off with "How he loves us" by the (David) Crowder Band. The song is awesome, powerful and just puts my heart at ease. There is a line in the song that says
"I don't have time to maintain these regrets when I think about how much he loves us"
This, to me, is where mindfulness gets a little tricky. What do you do when your "current" situation is so bad that IT can trip you up as much if not more than whatever world you are in? I think it's a fair question. I fully accept and believe that we need to be in the present. So how do you make your "present" more appealing? A place you want to be?
If I knew the answer you wouldn't be reading this :-)
I'm going to start today. I am going to work on making my "present" the place to be. Here is where it gets a little tricky....where the reader may see "self serving" I feel "self incrimination." Where the reader sees "I can't" I feel "I can't but I want to" Where the reader sees "He's feeling sorry for himself" I feel "shame"
Shame may be the most powerful emotion. It is to me.
I read an article last night that really stuck with me, it's called "
Dr. Seth Axelrod Speaks about BPD Recovery"
I think its the best article I have read to date on BPD. One portion of the article is titled "Fear of recovery" and it was like WOW
I think that individuals with BPD have tried on their own, so many different ways to cope that fail over and over again, and they often been in many therapies that have failed over and over again. And so they cling to what they’ve got because at least it’s gotten them this far, at least it takes away the pain and the suffering in short term at least. While they are in misery, there’s a safety in that. And I think that general principle is true across any therapies where a person is having to change the way they are dealing with their problems and take on new behaviors.
I think that for an individual with BPD facing recovery, that’s what it is — taking that step, it’s putting trust into… if they’re working in therapy it’s putting trust in the therapist, in the therapy, and it’s terrifying because you can’t see; you can’t quite see the path. They just know that they don’t want to be where they are and we as therapists help orient them to keep their eye on the prize — where would they like to go with their life, where would you like to see your life move.
This is the first PRO DBT article I have seen that at least allows me to feel pain, be afraid and at the same time believe in an outcome I can't see. That is the very definition of faith
So I will move forward. I will recover. I will make my life better. After all...that's what faith can do.