I believe trying to make New Year’s resolutions when you deal with any mental illness is tough; it can be especially tough for people with personality disorders like borderline personality disorder (BPD).What does the person with BPD want? Some of us may want any of these: stability, friends, a decent job we can keep, love (like everyone else), understanding, acceptance and, perhaps most of all, the ability to maintain control of our emotions.
There is no need to write out resolutions about any of these things since (1) we know what we need to work on and (2) breaking one, which inevitable occurs, engenders useless self-recrimination.
Resolution is defined as “firm decision to do or not to do something.”
If I make firm decisions every day about how I will handle triggering incidents, I set myself up for failure. But being resolute, an adjective, not a noun, defined as “admirably purposeful, determined and unwavering,” I commit to continuous self-improvement.
We can be resolute, even if we can’t always keep resolutions.
Occasionally, I hear the Yoda quote from “The Empire Strikes Back”: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
I would point out that we’re not Jedi Masters, only fallible human beings.
If we do not try, there is no “do.”
So I decided to prioritize the things I will be resolute about in the upcoming year:
- Maintaining composure
- Recognizing triggers
- Finding meaningful diversions to depressing rumination
That’s it — three basic behavioral techniques I will practice — over and over.
I will not set myself up to fail with “I will” or “I must” type resolutions. Once I break one, it’s easy to forget about the resolution (since, well, I failed) and give up what we were trying to accomplish.
But by being resolute, I recognize that I will fall but rise again and that repetition, not one-off mastery, is the key to modeling the behavior that will aide me in reaching the social goals I’ve set for ourselves.
I wish all of my fellow BPD and personality disorder fighters an admirably purposeful, determined and unwavering effort in the New Year.