Stars are unbelievably big. They are so big, that our brains have trouble truly comprehending the sizes they represent.
It is said that a million earths could fit into our nearest star, the sun. And yet, there are many stars that are so large, they make our sun look minuscule in size.
I find all of this fascinating. But there is something that is even more fascinating still. I'm talking about a star's almost-magical weakness; the one thing that can completely undo these enormous monsters in a single instant and cause them to disappear. Do you know what that thing is?
Listen: As soon as a star begins fusing oxygen and carbon into iron in its core, the star begins to die and the entire star literally dies within seconds. The iron disrupts the star’s entire fusion process. Iron eats up all the energy of the star’s nuclear fusion, and without the nuclear fusion, the star collapses in on itself, in a thousandth of a second.
An unbelievably tiny speck of iron can completely undo a star larger than anything we can imagine, in a thousandth of a second.
I have been thinking about how many aspects of my authentic recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder was like this. A couple of relatively simple epiphanies I experienced opened my eyes to the true nature of what it was that I was dealing with, and life was never going to be the same. Borderline Personality Disorder was a whole complex, interconnected system, relying on some fundamental things in order to be able to exist. A couple of very profound realizations I had in literally one second to the next threw a wrench into the works.
It was like tossing a speck of iron into a monster star, and the star's process being undone in a thousandth of a second.
No, I wasn't instantly cured. As you know, it took me seven more years to accomplish that. But, the damage was already done. The star was not going to be able to continue. Its whole process had been interrupted.
Still, in my personal experience with recovery, there were many immediate benefits:
One second, I was ate up with shame. The very next second, I began rejecting shame completely.
One second, I believed my feelings could be good or bad, right or wrong. The very next second, I knew feelings could not be classified in this way, and that my feelings always mattered.
One second, I viewed certain people in my life as being people I needed. The next second, my eyes were opened, and I realized those people were not good for me; they were hurting me and had always been hurting me.
One second, I was a puppet to my misperceptions about life. The very next second, I had new power to begin to assume control.
One second, everything I believed about myself was based on what I imagined other people thought, as well as other external measurements. The very next second, I saw how foolish and inaccurate that perspective is, and I began to not care at all what other people think.
One second, I really hated myself. The very next second, I began to look at myself differently, and to feel compassion toward myself - and especially toward the little boy I used to be (and still am on some level).
So, there were many immediate benefits like this for me. Many stars popping out of existence, their systems interrupted by my accurate insight. It was the accumulation of insights like this over the course of seven years that finally dissolved the biggest star of them all - the disorder itself in its entirety.
Still, it all started with that first speck of iron years before: My first epiphany, snowballing into more epiphanies.
I hope you're taking advantage of the articles at thelastsymptom.com, and especially the episodes of The Last Symptom weekly podcast, which are full of insights that can help you, or somebody you care about, begin to snuff out monster stars.