Meditator James S. opens up about how exploring mindfulness has brought him mental clarity and emotional stability, especially in regards to managing BPD.
Written by James S., a buddhify user since 2017
All my life I have been a passionate person. When I was a toddler, I locked my extremes away, but when I started some acting in my early 20s, these extreme emotions returned and I had tantrums I couldn’t contain. I then went into the Christian ministry and got married, but after a long journey of self discovery and much discernment, I parted with both to come out as gay and try to become a professional actor. So many changes took their toll, and my mind interpreted them as failures and losses.
One of the defining characteristics of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is the instability of emotions. They often latch onto/cause/are caused by hot thoughts about the past (self blame for failures is frequent), and the future (worries and fears abound). You can immediately see the attraction of a technique, like meditation, which takes one out of the thought and emotion realm and back into the body; out of past and future and into the now.
I find the techniques less important than just the simple fact of practicing at all.
In recent years, the universe seemed to point me towards mindfulness through every channel and conversation I had. Mindfulness practice helps mitigate sudden spikes of anxiety, by providing an anchor to the moment through the breath. It helps me dissociate from extreme thoughts and emotions, realising that they are not me.
BPD is complex, like a combination lock; it has a similarity to others but everyone experiences it uniquely. This means different skills and techniques will form your own unique key to unlock your life potential. For me, mindfulness is definitely an important part of that key. It provides a cool-down strategy for when my brain spikes.
The universe seemed to point me towards mindfulness through every channel and conversation I had.
The context I practice in usually has to do with my emotional experience. But I also try to maintain a regular evening practice, seated in my room, in quiet and calm. By practicing regularly, unprompted by emotion or thought, but merely by habit and discipline, it means that when I click into that mode when prompted by an emotional experience, I can access that calm and balanced memory much quicker.
My journey with meditation is still new. In honesty, I find the techniques less important than just the simple fact of practicing at all. It’s about taking one’s soul to a different state of being. If anything, I’d say it is the constant returning to the absolute moment, through attention to the breath, that is most useful.
Mindfulness practice helps mitigate sudden spikes of anxiety, by providing an anchor to the moment through the breath.
Meditation and mindfulness have helped me strengthen that inner quality of kindness and heartfulness, particularly in regards to myself. I needed to marry the being in the now with forgiving myself for the past, and holding myself in self-compassion for the moment and the future.
James S. is new to buddhify and just beginning his journey in mindfulness. He is based in Edinburgh, Scotland.
If you feel you have learnt something important through your meditation practice and you’d like your share your insight or experience we’d love to hear from you. Let Dana know via [email protected] and she’ll get in touch.