What Insight means
If you type the word ‘Insight’ in Google, you will get this definition:
The capacity to gain an accurate and deep understanding of someone or something.
So insight requires a ‘capacity’. Does everyone have this capacity? The sad but truthful answer is ‘no’. Unfortunately there are people who suffer from mental illness who believe that they are perfectly fine. They refuse to accept that they need help and refuse treatment of any sort. This can make the problem worse. Especially in cases of illnesses like schizophrenia, if a person refuses treatment (and many do), the symptoms will get worse and the person can become completely lost and delusional. Yes, there’s also the case of initial denial. There are persons with BPD that may initially refuse to accept the diagnosis. (Read my post ‘Dealing with the Diagnosis of BPD’.) The situation gets even more complicated when the person gets online and reads up about BPD. The things they will read may scare and even horrify them because not all the symptoms are pretty – some are downright frightening, not just for the borderline but also people they are in relationships of any sort with. When I was diagnosed I was lucky because I immediately felt a sense of relief at knowing what was wrong with me. But, this reaction may not happen for all others. The good part is that if the borderline has a strong support system in the form of family or partner, it becomes a little easier.
How to develop Insight
Once you get past the initial diagnosis things get easier but only marginally so. At this point, support is important and so is understanding and acceptance. The borderline needs to understand what he or she is dealing with. They must understand the causes of the disorder, the symptoms etc. At this point though, I’d like to mention – Do NOT focus on the causes or the “Whys” too much. This can be dealt with later. First, understand yourself and how you relate to the symptoms of BPD. You may not have all the symptoms and you may also have some symptoms that are not mentioned. Then there’s the added complication of having other related disorders alongside BPD – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, and let’s understand BPD first. Read about BPD and get to know yourself better – analyse yourself. You don’t need to get into the technicalities too much such as understanding neuronal activity and all of that. Just focus on the symptoms and check how many of them you relate with. Slowly with time, you need to start recognizing a symptom when it surfaces. For example, you may suddenly, for whatever reason, feel strong anger and rage and want to lash out on your partner. Understand that this rage comes from being BPD. Calm yourself down. If you cant, try to think about what happened after you have the anger episode. Sit down with your partner and talk about it. Ask yourself what triggered the anger. Dissect it until you understand what happened so that the next time you are in a similar situation you can cut it at the root. You may think it’s very easy for me to say all this. I have BPD too. Over the years I have had therapy and medication and have managed to live a stable life – no its not all hunky dory, there are times I flip. But, mostly I have found that my insight into BPD and myself has led to my recovery. It will not be easy – the road will be rough but believe me – You Will Get There!
Dealing with Emotions and Ego
While developing Insight, you will come across relationship problems and this can cause a lot of negativity and turmoil. There will be times you will feel like you are not to blame. The ‘Blame Game’ is a trap that you must make sure to not fall into. Because it has no beginning and no end. What is important is not who is to blame but how to make the situation normal again. So, when you get into an argument with a family member or a significant other it can be very difficult to keep your ego in check. You may know and understand that the argument is coming from your unstable emotions because of BPD. But this knowing will not make it easier. You will not want to accept defeat or take responsibility for what is happening. Your ego might stop you from ending the altercation and calming down because you feel if you do, it will mean failure or defeat for you. Avoid this kind of reasoning. Accept that yes, you have BPD and it comes with totally roller coaster-like emotional cycles – its either up or down but seldom stable. The more you feed your ego and fight it, the longer it will take for you to feel better. Don’t you want to feel better? Don’t you want to feel loved? The answer I’m sure, is yes. So keep your ego aside and welcome normalcy. Pride is of very little use. It will only make matters worse. By accepting that you are having an emotional outburst, you are actually winning, because it means you are strong enough to accept what is going on. THIS IS INSIGHT.
Insight – the great Helper
Truly a great helper. When you get insight you will know what I’m talking about. If you already have it, great! So what happens with having insight? Time will go by and you will stabilize and get better. With time, you will have more control over your moods. You will start to recognize your thought patterns and understand what triggers you into any given behavior. BPD has a number of symptoms but personally I feel that the mood fluctuations are the worst. Its like you are a TV set and someone else holds the remote. When we give in to our moods we give others control over us. We are no longer free. Don’t let the remote control get out of your sight. Claim it. Take it. And keep it.