BPD’s NEED FOR ATTENTION AND VALIDATION

When you have BPD, your inner world can be in chaos and outsiders don’t often understand why we react the way we do to things. So the actions we take on our feelings can be considered dramatic, an over reaction or something we do for attention. I remember a psychiatrist asking me if I attempted suicide for attention. I don’t know if he thought this because I was a teen, or I have a sister with special needs or he was judging me based on the diagnosis of BPD. Whatever he thought… Fuck him.

Two of the common characteristics is threats of suicide or self harming behavior. When we’re in a fight with someone, we can turn to these behaviors (I once self harmed when my mum got angry with me as that is one of my triggers).  But we may not follow through with them and we often get dismissed as manipulative or attention seeking.

Growing up I was known for being a drama queen and I admit to being a bit of an attention whore, but not on purpose. You see my emotions run deep and they can be so intense they cause eruptive or “dramatic” reactions. What people don’t see however is the thoughts and things that lead up to that reaction.

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I tend to suppress my emotions for fear of them being “wrong”. Its like shaking up a fizzy drink bottle. All the bubbles popping and the pressure desperate to be released until eventually the lid is opened (something triggering happens) and the contents of the bottle (myself) explodes and spills out.

I react in extreme ways, attempting suicide or self harming, not with the intent to manipulate or get attention. But, the emotion that fizzled inside for some time grips me so intensely that suicide seems the best way out or self harm the best way to get relief. Logic really doesn’t get a look in at these times.

Sometimes though we can say what we’re going to do but not act on it. This is usually an act of desperation and fear.  Again, the emotions become so overwhelming that the person with BPD literally has to cry for help, but most of these cries fall on deaf ears and are met with labels of “attention seeker” or “manipulative”

“Attention-seekers like myself are written off as lost causes instead of treated like people who are seriously and constantly hurting, who are only “wasting your time” because they know their own is running out. I want your attention the same way a person drowning wants the attention of a lifeguard, but I can’t scream for help and raise my hand because instead of drowning in water I am drowning in my own heightened emotions.”

Quote from: https://themighty.com/2016/07/borderline-personality-disorder-and-attention-seeking/

Recently I have found myself craving attention and using a lot of social media to get it, trying not to go to extremes to get that attention though. I’d describe my BPD as a child that has been neglected. The disorder is significant as it can relate to past trauma that needs to be dealt with but not by ignoring it. I learned the hard way that pushing aside “negative” feelings is bad and forced positivity can be destructive for someone like me.

You see, a few months at the end of 2018 I decided to put all my focus on spirituality and “being a better person”. I even literally tried to “just think positively” and while it did help for a while there was always BPD, still there, just manifesting itself as obsessions with crystals, witchcraft and self help books. As well as underlying anxiety that if I don’t meditate or stick to a routine then I’m not living right.

The reality hit me when I started work. Interacting with people in a busy environment induced anxiety in me. I found getting up in the mornings hard. I felt out of control of my life and frustrated that I couldn’t “just be happy”. I mean I tried to do everything right! I was meditating, practicing positive affirmations and all that jazz but it wasn’t working and I hated it. I hated myself for not being happy and I ended up self harming badly again. Image result for bpd

BPD had come back like a bitch, I was depressed and dissociating while at work. I didn’t know what to do. I just wanted my colleagues to give me a hug and tell me everything was okay, but I didn’t want to seem needy so I kept quiet for a long time.

Now I’m paying the price as BPD consumes my every thought and action. I not only write blog posts about it but also poems and artwork to explore the depths of my madness. I hate feeling like this, like I’m nothing without the disorder or not important unless I’m struggling. I was getting sick and tired of my life revolving around the BPD which is why I tried so hard to change. Only to end up feeling isolated and grasping on to any scrap of affection I could get. There are times where I wish I had physical wounds from my pain and trauma that I could show people while screaming “LOOK AT ME”.  Trying to get them to understand what I’ve been through, as people seem to only believe what they see.

“One of my biggest BPD symptoms is talking too much about my illness. Because when I’m not talking about it, I feel a lot of negative emotions. I feel alone, unloved, worthless. When I’m talking about my mental health, it’s the only time I feel cared for. I need the attention, the sympathy — I crave it. This leads me to go totally over the top and talk about it constantly. And that drives people away. People feel I am relying on them too much and that I don’t care about them. It makes me appear self-absorbed. The trouble is, when people leave me because of this, it makes me hate myself even more and so I need the attention more than ever and want to talk about my illness more to get that. It’s a vicious cycle.”

Quote from: https://themighty.com/2018/01/attention-seeking-bpd-borderline-personality-disorder/

“The fact of the matter is, I can be a difficult person. I am have trouble regulating my moods, I have the emotional intensity of a toddler, – But when I’m at my worst, that’s when I need the most love and acceptance to help me out of that place. Because really, that’s all anyone with BPD wants, to be loved and accepted for who we are.” – Claire

Quote from: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/about-mental-health/types-problems/personality-disorders

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DBT DIARY: EMOTIONS AND THEIR MYTHS

In DBT session 3, my therapist helped me look at emotions, the purpose of them and misconceptions I may have about them. The first thing we covered was identifying emotions as positive or negative for example ‘interest’ was positive, anger was negative but surprise could be either positive or negative depending on what the surprise is. I also learned about secondary emotions which are emotions that arise because of the main emotion being felt, for example, you could be angry and feel guilt for feeling that anger.

My therapist and I then looked at a myths about emotions worksheet, she went through the list of myths with me while I decided whether I believed in them or not and looked at how to challenge my beliefs, for example I have struggled with the belief that “negative emotions are bad and destructive” for years, I was ashamed of my anger because I knew the damage it could do.

1_9dctnzz9pxvr6dthunpkfq@2xThe example on how to challenge this belief on the worksheet was “negative feelings are natural” which is understandable but I would often struggle to understand whether my feelings were justified. This reminded me of what my neurofeedback therapist said about anger, she said that anger spurs us into action, if people like the suffragettes hadn’t got angry about the way things were nothing would have changed since the 1900s.

That’s also what we looked at in DBT, the purpose of our emotions and what they can motivate us to do. Anxiety would make us want to retreat to preserve ourselves, Anger would spur us into defense mode to protect ourselves or those we care about and guilt would make us look at our actions and realize what we could do better; the example my therapist gave me of guilt was if you were a parent and you were really busy working, you may feel guilt about not spending enough time with your children thus motivating you to perhaps make adjustments to your work schedule and spend more time with family.

We can also use emotions to communicate and influence others, this can be through tone of voice or body language, consciously or unconsciously we are always communicating our feelings with others and this can influence their behavior towards us.

38875036_288430361751853_4710511974662799360_nEmotions also are good communicators to ourselves and can act as indicators that something is wrong or say something about ourselves and what we like/don’t like. However, people tend to mistake their feelings as fact, especially if you feel so intensely that the objective situation is unclear. This would be where mindfulness skills come in, as it encourages us to look at our emotions with curiosity instead of judgement, allowing us to fully understand what the emotions are there for and deal with them appropriately.

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Thanks for reading ❤

You can also follow me on twitter: @Addict2L (Redefine The Borderline)

ORDER AND DISORDER: A BPD ART PROJECT

When I was in highschool I studied art GCSE, our final project before we left school was ‘order and disorder’ bear in mind I wasn’t diagnosed with BPD at the time but I guess a part of me always knew deep down as I found myself more attracted to the ‘disorder’ side of the project.

I hated GCSE art because my teacher was… not very nice, she made everyone’s experience of the class a misery, nothing we ever did was good enough especially me and my former friends, she seemed to have it in for us for some reason.

Anyway, I digress, because of that the only project I felt I could express myself more in was order and disorder but even then I didn’t have complete creative freedom, we had to work in the style of different artists when I just wanted to do my own thing. The project was both the most enjoyable and stressful one of the two years I studied art.

That’s why I decided to re-do it now with the knowledge I have of borderline personality disorder, if I knew I had it back then it would have been such a good way for me to express my experience with it (though my teacher would have probably shot my ideas down in flames)

Nonetheless, looking back at my old work I found some BPD traits being expressed through my art without me knowing at the time.

This one for example:

 

Definitely reminds me of splitting and the ‘black and white thinking’ people with BPD are infamous for. One light side, one dark side. I don’t remember what my intention was with this piece at the time but now I relate it to the switches in personality I can have, especially in anger, and the constant battle I have between the disorder and myself.

 

 

Another one is this:

This was the draft for my final piece and I remember at the time wanting to create this piece symbolising the distorted image everyone can have of themselves. It shows a (fairly) normal girl, looking into a mirror and the reflection having all these jagged lines and colours representing her messy view of herself. I can see now how this relates to BPD as with the disorder I don’t really have a strong sense of self, so my identity is fragmented and distorted to me.

When I look in the mirror, it depends on my mood how I see myself. If I’m feeling happy and confident I see myself as cute or pretty but when I’m depressed I hate what I see in the reflection or often don’t even look into the mirror and I think this work represents that complicated sense of self I had/ still have.

Back to present day and I’ve drafted pretty much all my ideas and today I’ve been making a start on doing the project properly. Back in highschool when we started a new project we would have to create a title page and mind map for it so that’s where I started. I couldn’t think of a good title page but I did the mind map, adding some printed images I used in my old project as I believe they also link to the personality disorder. I’ll also show you some new ones that have inspired this new project. Hope they inspire you too 🙂

IMG_20190127_151051.jpg  ed888672522eb8438befdd5b91e3c418--artist-art-artsy-fartsy By Kate Louise Powell

 

understanding2 hada By Unknown

empath-or-highly-sensitive1 original by Meggie Wood

the_dark_butterfly_by_baxiaart-db69c5k images (1) By Unknown

Music:

 

 

 

 

 

REGRESSION and BPD

I was on a walk today because I really needed to get out of the house as my emotions were tormenting me and I felt crazy. Something weird started happening on my walk, I looked at the trees and suddenly felt so small, like I’d shrunk and I literally felt like a child now that I’m out of that state I don’t know how to describe how it felt other than… childlike.

I did a sketch of myself with a smaller me inside (I won’t show it, looks like crap lol) but I think it symbolized well what was going on with me at the time, I had experienced stuff like that before where I didn’t feel like I was in my own body, like I was either possessing someone else’s or someone was possessing mine but this time was different, it is the most intense experience of this I had, I think if I hadn’t tried to control what was happening I would have reverted completely to my childlike state.

I was talking online to someone else with BPD and she said that what I had experienced was called ‘Regression’ I had heard of it before and after some research I believe I have been in some sort of regressive state for years now (I still sleep with a cuddly toy, sometimes talk with a baby voice and I have a fantastical imagination that I use in play)

So what is regression? Image result for regression bpd

Sigmund Freud said that regression is when the ego mind refers back to an earlier stage of development as a coping mechanism, basically if you’re overwhelmed by the stress of being an adult, your mind will automatically switch to ‘child mode’ to help you cope. Regression usually occurs in people who have faced trauma or abuse in childhood. Freud claimed that a traumatized adult can revert to a time where they felt safe (their younger days where they may have been shielded from overwhelming situations) when faced with insecurity, anger or other forms of distress. Regression can take different forms, for some they may throw tantrums, chew things or use baby talk. For more details click this link; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4578899/

How Does regression relate to bpd?

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I’ve heard people with BPD being described like emotional burn victims, no thick skin just raw emotion, I heard we don’t handle situations of stress as maturely as we should. that we’re stuck repeating a certain stage of emotional development. I remember discussing this with my therapist, instead of growing and learning to handle distress in better ways, we’re stuck replaying a state of trauma in our past and coping how we would have at that time instead of focusing on the now. For example I use toys and imaginative play to escape rather than confront a situation head on but my real life issues often get expressed in this childlike manner, I come up with fantasy stories where the heroine overcomes some sort of trauma to save the world or battles a monster symbolic of someone from my life I perceive as such, much like the game deltarune if you go with “the main character has PTSD” theory.

Here are some links to posts from people with BPD talking about regression:

https://www.psychforums.com/borderline-personality/topic202871.html

https://themighty.com/2017/08/borderline-personality-disorder-regress/

https://lolasrecoverysite.wordpress.com/2012/11/09/regressive-behavior-and-bpd-ptsd/

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How and Why does it affect me?

I have multiple theories as to why I regress so bear with me; The first is guilt and responsibility. One of my most intense emotions has always been guilt. It would be so debilitating for me that I would not be able to function until I punished myself in some sort of way to make amends for my wrongs. I’m pleased to say that it doesn’t affect as bad as it used to… until today.

This morning, I was awake, thinking about my regrets and the debilitating guilt clutched on to my heart (I get chest pains when I’m like this). I started panicking as I remembered my past actions from guilt (sometimes I think I traumatize myself) I didn’t want to hurt myself but the guilt was getting overbearing. It was shortly after this I regressed. Now this could be because I took myself back to a time where my guilt was so strong (when I was about 9-11years old) by remembering it or it could be me reverting to a childlike state so I wouldn’t have to take responsibility and face my guilt. Both seem plausible but the next one is a little nicer.

Creative Freedom, when I was a child I was very imaginative and creative with basically no shame in expressing myself whether that be through writing, drawing or performing arts. However when I got into high school, went through puberty, got bullied by peers and my work scrutinized and criticized by teachers, shame hit me to the point that I was self-conscious of everything I did. I completely stopped drawing or writing for fear that my work was not good enough or shameful. Its only recently I felt more able to express myself. I love being inspired to create it gives me hope and sense of childlike glee when I get a new idea. I guess by reverting back to my childlike state I’m tapping in to who I was, creative and imaginative with no shame and pure love for everything I create (even if they are crap lol)

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Third theory is fear and insecurity. Yes I admit I still sleep with a cuddly toy (my favorite is a bear called Sammy who I’ve had since I was 7 years old). I asked my neurofeedback therapist why I still do this at 20. She said something like toys are used as transition objects for children when their parents can’t be with them, to help their independence develop without overwhelming them. For me, that means when my dad left the family home, my brain moved its attachment from my dad to a toy for comfort. As someone with BPD, who hasn’t quite moved on from that stage, I still use cuddly toys to fill that need for comfort (especially at bedtime as I’m still scared of the dark). Toys can’t leave you and are much less complicated than human attachments for someone with BPD.

Another thing I do is use a baby voice. I am so sensitive to people’s tone of voice if something is even a little bit off with your voice I’ll pick up on it and worry. I remember getting told off by a teacher for using a rude tone and them getting angry with me, thus triggering my BPD tendencies. Since then I have spoken in a higher, babyish voice to try and sound as nice as possible so people I perceive to be in authority won’t get angry with me. It’s become a really annoying habit now. Recently when I was serving customers my sweet little baby voice slipped out and I cringed so hard. At the same time if I’m in a bad mood I don’t always want people to know so I overcompensate with the voice so people don’t think I’m mad at them.

In college I wanted to be happy, have people like me and hide my depression/anxiety. I would use forced positivity, suppress any emotion I deemed negative and pretend everything was okay to the point that I felt manic and excitable. I would behave like a hyperactive child, jumping around, being silly, talking too much and being so hyper it got on people’s nerves. To be fair if I encountered that me now, she would get on my nerves too. I guess it was something I did to protect myself from others and my own “negative” feelings. Damn that got deeper than I thought it would but you get my drift. It still happens now sometimes, everything would seem amazing and I would look at the world with childlike wonder and excitement… too much excitement.

Sorry for another really long post, I’ve been really into analyzing myself and my BPD traits lately and there is just so much to say! Thank you for sticking with me on this post and hope to see you in the next one ❤

Music:

Seems weird to include a game theory video in this post but it talks about things like trauma, imaginative play, regression and its part of why I made this post in the first place so there ya go 🙂

DBT DIARY: MINDFULNESS

DBT stands for Dialectical Behavior Therapy and its mainly used to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. I honestly don’t have a complete understanding of the therapy and its relation to BPD but I’m learning more as I go to each therapy session. My therapy is split into parts; Distress Tolerance, Emotional regulation and interpersonal skills. I did distress tolerance in group therapy (which I believed I made a couple of posts about somewhere lol) but I didn’t find group therapy to be helpful so I went on a waiting list for individual therapy instead. After a few months of waiting I was at the top of the list and able to start the therapy in the new year. So far I have had 3 DBT sessions once a week and here’s my experience of the first two which were focused on Emotional Regulation.

In my first session of DBT, my therapist introduced Mindfulness to me. Well I already had an awareness of mindfulness, even practised while at work but in the new year I stopped. One of the good habits I probably should have made a new years resolution to do everyday but even out of work I still couldn’t (or wouldn’t!) Find the time to be mindful.

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In the waiting room I was reading the first chapter of STRONGER THAN BPD and the author talks about the essentialness of mindfulness in DBT and emotional regulation. My therapist and I spoke about my feelings of unhealthy guilt, anger/resentment and even panic, how mindfulness can help me hit that pause button before I act on those feelings and when I have a memory of something bad or imagine a devastating future scenario I can use mindfulness to bring me back to the present and remember that those things are not happening right now.

We also discussed WISE mind which balances out the emotional and reasonable parts of the brain. She gave me an example; if you were to buy a house and buy it simply because you loved it, you would be acting from emotional mind or if you bought it because it meets your needs but you don’t have good feelings about it you would be acting solely with reasonable mind. Balancing out emotion with reason is acting from the wise mind which everybody has and it could be considered intuition which you can become more attuned to through mindfulness/meditation.

Image result for wise mind dbt

Other systems like this I have come across are Parent, Adult, Child and Id, ego, superego. All of them have roughly the same premise.

Soon after my session I had to start putting wise mind to the test as after it I was hungry and recently comfort eating has been a thing for me so I wanted food from a little café I like and they had loads of sweet treats that I wanted, causing feelings of delight and excitement but reason told me that a lot of these foods would probably increase my stomach problems.

After a lot of thinking I went for a dairy free banana and coconut muffin, a plain croissant and a smoothie which was much healthier than the alternative I felt like getting which was a choc chip muffin (and various others) and hot chocolate with whipped cream and marshmallows; while I did really want those things I knew it would cause more IBS symptoms for me and make me put on more weight than I have already both of which would make me even more emotionally upset but the option I went for was just as good taste wise, for my bank account and my body.

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My second session, we continued the mindfulness work. This time looking at the concept of Observe, Describe, Participate. The three steps of mindfulness. Observe being you just letting yourself notice the things around you or the sensations you feel without labelling them or judging them. Describe is where you put names and labels to what you are seeing or experiencing while keeping an open mind and Participate is where you get involved in what’s going on effectively and being fully present.

For me mindfulness, especially with breathing techniques, has been hard, I feel forced to do it which leads to me getting frustrated and impatient with the process. I tried doing some mindfulness to overcome emotional distress recently but it didn’t go too well, I ended up thinking it was stupid and I couldn’t get through even 5minutes of meditation. I’m thinking of looking into more movement based mindfulness instead of formal sit down types. It might be easier for me and my hyperactive self.

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I suggest to you and to myself to start practicing mindfulness when you’re feeling decently calm already, it may seem pointless as you need it more for emotional distress but I’ve found those times hard to do mindfulness. So I think it’s best to practice when you don’t need it at first so you can build up and practice the skills easier until it becomes pretty much your first response to stress or it may make you less easily stressed but I’ll have to keep practicing to really feel the benefits.

Thanks for reading this post, sorry it was so long but hope its helped you somehow 🙂

NI2M ❤

TRAUMA and TRIGGER WARNINGS

Trigger warning: this post deals with abuse, sexual assault, self harm etc if you are affected by these things then please read with caution. Thank you

 

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to make another post like this but here we are. Trigger warnings, I wrote a post about this before but I believe I came from a place of fear and vulnerability then, now I’m just mad, I mean would it kill people to put trigger warnings on things? No. but it would get less people to view their content and therefore mean less money, God people can be so inconsiderate and selfish! Some people may  accuse me of being a “triggered feminist” “SJW” or “special snowflake” but as someone who has legitimately experienced trauma I say STFU if you haven’t experienced things like rape, abuse, assault of any kind then you cannot hope to understand what its like to be “triggered”

okay let me breathe and take a minute here as I haven’t even explained why I’m so angry yet. It all started with a book, it was a teen book about friendship but it had some details of abuse in it, there was nothing about that on the summary and it wasn’t until I got a few chapters into the book that I realized what I got myself into, now I will admit I did like the book and I haven’t experienced abuse from a parent so I was okay but it did get me thinking what about those that have experienced this kind of thing, will they be okay reading it? it was a part of Zoella’s book club so it was being marketed to many young teens. how will this affect them?

I think I wrote a review about it where I did give a heads up on the content it has but that was all I did, in hindsight I think I should have done more (the book was called ‘beautiful broken things’ btw) then there was another book, I thought I would really enjoy it as it seemed to be just like another book I’d read and loved however this was not the case, the book was called ‘breathing underwater’ and it said on the blurb its about a girl who loses her brother in an accident, I wanted to read it as I sometimes find books about grief comforting but not this one because a few chapters in a friend of the main character was raped, it was hinted at but if you’ve experienced it yourself that is all you need.

Now more recently I have been getting into the thriller genre which is a bit sketchy, you’re likely to get some sort of sexual violence with these ones, so I tend to stick to teen/Ya thriller as that feels like safer territory for me. However a few years ago I bought two books that were scary and I was considering reading them but I read the reviews because I was bored at volunteering and it was a good thing I did because for both books rape was involved, a warning given in reviews by fellow “triggered” readers but not by the books themselves. This really pisses me off and I get it “spoilers” but I would rather have a book spoiled for me than be caught off guard by a scene in a book I thought was okay. So guess who’s reading reviews before the book now (the two books were ‘Our endless numbered days’ and ‘My sunshine away’)

I guess I should give a bit of detail of how “triggering” affects me so here goes; I start having sexually violent intrusive thoughts that cause me shame and panic, I get into an uncontrollable rage that often leads to me self harming and lashing out at loved ones, I feel the need to break down and cry right where I am. I know this is not okay, I’m working hard in therapy to get these problems sorted but I would just like some consideration put into the publishing of things for people like me who can be so strongly affected when something triggering is even hinted at. I might even still read the book with a warning on it because then I’m prepared and its my decision. My rage is ebbing away, I just feel so sad now and my head hurts so bad from the stress but thanks for reading this rant, I hope its helped you feel less alone or gain insight into mental health problems.

Thanks again,

NI2M ❤