“Hard is Not Impossible” – tackling BPD thinking

So Thanksgiving is finally over and everyone is back where they belong! My sisters back at university, my brother back at his apartment that he shares with these other guys from college, my grandparents back in Grandparenttown and mom’s sister and her husband on vacation somewhere warm. Blessed peace at the house! Mom, dad, me – perfect!

I survived! And for the first time ever I survived a family holiday without a major slip-up. I didn’t self-harm other than digging my nails into my arms once, I didn’t ruin the family dinner, I didn’t make a (big) scene, heck, I didn’t even kill grandma, though I really wanted to! 😉 But maybe the greatest accomplishment of all: I didn’t steal any of her sleeping pills! They’re benzos, just my kind of stuff, and though mom had begged her to not bring any to our house, of course grandma wouldn’t be told what to do and brought them anyway. And see, it’s kind of dangerous to have them around, cause while I’m off the shit, resisting the temptation when they’re available and I’m stressed out over the stupid holiday anyway . . . that’s a whole different matter.

Okay, now that sounds like I did awesome, which is not true either. I did miserably at times. I cried a lot more often than I want to admit, I complained to mom about how much I hate everything and everyone until her ears bled and I threw a little tantrum with suppressed yelling and threats about the awful things I was going to do, to make her throw out everyone right on Thanksgiving morning. I was convinced I couldn’t do it. That it was impossible and that I was going to end up awful if I had to do it.

Suffice it to say that mom was not too impressed. Instead she said something that she has probably said a lot of times before, but this time I registered it. She said: “Honey, I am aware that having everyone here is hard. I am aware that trying for the best you can do is hard. I am aware it is very hard, even. But hard, baby, is not impossible.”

Now that was a thought.

It was only a little tantrum that I was throwing, so I was not yet beyond listening. That mom took my feelings seriously helped, and my being angry faded to being unhappy with feeling so overwhelmed by the holiday. So I cried and whined a little, but while my mom comforted and cuddled me, I thought about what she had said, that hard is not impossible.

And I had to admit that she was kind of right. Hard really doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Just that it’s . . . well . . . hard. That had never really occurred to me before. I guess that’s an example of borderline black-and-white thinking. Either I can do it (white) or it’s too hard to do it (black). But that it could be real hard (black) yet at the same time doable (white) . . . that was a new one. So while Thanksgiving still sucked, my attitude changed a bit.

I didn’t feel so angry anymore at the fact that it was so hard and mom expected me to do my best anyway. That maybe I could take some hard and still try my best. Like, my real best despite the fact that it was hard, not the ‘waaah, it’s so hard, that’s not fair’ best that usually ends with me doing something to force a stop to the hardness.

I guess that change in my attitude, glimpsing the grey of ‘hard is not impossible’ instead of the black ‘hard is unfair’, made a difference. I didn’t take a shortcut, but actually endured the hardness. Go figure. And I’m even a little proud of myself for that.

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