BPD Obsessions

A while ago I was really into the sims and I’m talking OBSESSED with it to the point that I could barely think of anything else. I couldn’t afford the actual PC version but I made do with the Create-A-Sim demo, the mobile version and youtube videos. It got to the point that, when I tried to do something else, I would get agitated and itch to get back to the sims like withdrawal symptoms of an addiction. I would daydream about owning The sims on PC and create storylines for my characters. When my phone got stolen I became really distressed as it meant I lost all my Sims mobile progress and the characters I created and loved were gone. It’s sad I know but I think at the time the game was the only thing making me happy.

This happened other times as I grew up as well, when I was in year 10 I became obsessed with this online game called Poptropica, I would play it for hours in my spare time and then talk about my adventures in the game with my friends the next day. It was actually one of them that pointed out how obsessed I can get with things. I didn’t think anything of it at the time and just put it down to me being my weird self but once I was diagnosed with BPD a lot of the behaviors like this started making sense. The sudden attachment I would get to these things that made me feel happy the way I couldn’t seem to control and got addicted to the euphoric feeling, spending as much time on that thing as possible until I eventually got bored of it.

disorder-personality-4I guess, for me, these things are a form of escapism, especially if I’m going through a time where I feel particularly lonely and depressed. When I found something that made me feel excited and happy I would cling on to it and consume my life with it. It’s not just games I can get obsessed with but also ideas, TV shows, books and even people.

With people though it tends not to be someone I know in real life as I’m afraid of intimacy or overstepping boundaries so I tend to get attached to far away people I won’t ever meet like celebrities and youtubers. I had a crush on Jacksepticeye for a while and would watch his videos for hours a day until I just found I lost interest again. I do this with other youtubers, but I don’t usually develop crushes, just rather enjoy their content and enjoy how happy they make me.

About a year ago, I became obsessed with crystals, angels and general spirituality. Whenever I went out I became fixated on buying everything I ‘needed’ to be spiritual. I spent a lot of money buying as many books about crystals, angels, etc as possible. I collected things to put on my altar/sacred space. I joined online groups about witchcraft and other such things. I even attended workshops to learn to read tarot and changed my diet. After a few months, when my contract for my first job ended, my obsession seemed to die down however I felt guilty for buying all the things and not using them so I still practice when I feel the need to.

There are other obsessions I had that are still part of my life today. When I was about 14 I got really into the music of the band EVANESCENCE. I learned all the words to nearly all their songs, Idolized Amy Lee and got my dad to take me to see them in concert… twice. I found Evanescence and Amy Lee could put words to how I was feeling in a way that I couldn’t and, even though their songs were dark, it made me happy to pretend I was on stage singing their songs. I’ve got nearly all their albums and some merch, some recent as I still love them over 5 years later.

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Around the same time I developed an interest in Evanescence, I started watching BBC Merlin and loved it. The show was about three seasons in when I joined the fandom so there were school nights spent having Merlin Marathons to catch up and, while I waited for the fourth and fifth seasons, I’d watch sneak peeks of the new episodes, watch and read fan-made content and get as much memorabilia as I could. Even though it was cancelled years ago I still come up with my own fan stories, own everything I bought for it and even still dream about the show!

Its fair to say that although my obsessions with Evanescence, Merlin and spirituality have died down they are still a part of what makes me who I am. Not all of my obsessions have continued this way though, like I mentioned with the sims, I can be really into something for a while until I exhaust myself day and night with it and lose interest. I think this has a lot to do with ‘all or nothing’ thinking where we either really care about something or have no interest in it at all. When we do care about something we can be incredibly passionate and go overboard with our interest as we struggle to regulate our intense emotions. When obsessed with something like a hobby it can consume our minds and lives so much that it feels like our identity as well.

I hadn’t realized, until I did research for this post, that as BPD sufferers we can become obsessive over thoughts and memories. I always put this down to having a bit of OCD or an overly analytical mind but it’s actually a BPD thing. Where if something particularly distressing happens I will overthink, analyze and obsess about it until my brain seems to finally let go. For example, when I fall out with friends I obsessively think and write about what happened from multiple angles, picking apart the event, what they said as well as what I said. How they made me feel and how I imagine I made them feel. Its basically like beating a dead horse but my brain can’t seem to let go until I’ve exhausted all realms of possibilities or it gets distracted for a while.

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There are also obsessions with a crush/romantic partner we can have but I don’t really have experience in that department. I guess my brain just feels safer attaching itself to fiction and things rather than real life people but if you have any experience with BPD obsessions romantic or otherwise then please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. Thank you for reading, take care ❤

BPD and Obsessions

When BPD Makes You Obsessed With Trying New and Interesting Hobbies

13 ‘Obsessive’ Things People With Borderline Personality Disorder Do

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BPD and Commitment/Consistency Issues

I’ve honestly lost count of the amount of projects I’ve started but haven’t finished. The would be bestsellers left incomplete and unpublished.  The art project I did one piece for but haven’t continued, even courses I didn’t finish studying as well as youtube channels discontinued and deleted.

I have days of creative inspiration and want to get my ideas out there and I do really well for a few days or weeks but then the inspiration dies and I no longer have the motivation to do the things I set out to do.

I think this blog is the only thing I’ve commited to properly and even then there are big dips in my productivity for months after a phase of doing really well with posts. So what causes me to discontinue things I was so passionate about?

Disappointment. 

When I’m in a euphoric BPD mood I can feel on top of the world and have high hopes for what I do. Like I could totally be a viral sensation or I imagine doing these things as fantastic and feeling good doing them but when it actually comes to doing these things, its not as good as I’d hoped. Like an art piece doesn’t look as good as it did in my head. I get disappointed, feel hopeless and like I failed and this causes me to give up on the dream I had for the idea.

MOOD SWINGS

With BPD I don’t know what mood I’m going to be in from hour to hour or day to day. I’m more stabilized and my moods change less frequently and quickly with my meds but its still a problem for me. Like I said I can have periods of time feeling motivated, hopeful and inspired but a few hours later I can be depressed and disinterested in everything that interested me before. It gets worse when PMS hits, I can have days and weeks of feeling down and my brain being too hazy to create anything. I can be really motivated to do something at night but when I wake up in the morning I don’t want to do it anymore for whatever reason, usually a lack of energy.

PERSONALITY SHIFTS

Like my mood, my personality can experience changes. I find youtube hard to do as I feel the pressure to have some sort of identity and a consistent personality throughout videos but that’s not the case for me. It usually depends on my environment what kind of person I feel like. For example I was in a bookshop and there I suddenly felt a passion for reading and wanted to start writing a story, then I went into a spiritual shop where I then felt tranquil, I wanted to meditate and do yoga. I do still like these things but when I’m at home I don’t feel as inspired to do these things regularly.

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I’ve recently finished DBT therapy and even that was hard to do consistently, every week I’d feel  different about it. When I first started the treatment I was so hopeful and committed to getting better that going to therapy each week seemed exciting until it wasn’t. I got tired of fighting the disorder and just wanted to get on with life like a normal person. When my therapist upset me by making me talk about my trauma and I stopped wanting to see her as I felt hurt and betrayed. I believe I missed at least 3 sessions and we skipped quite a lot of the skills so the treatment could finish in the three months it needed to be done. I think that’s one of the reasons BPD can be hard to treat because we can find it hard to attend sessions consistently for the reasons listed above(mood, disillusion and personality changes). I have learned a lot and I think enough to get me by for the next 6months-year before I can go to DBT group so the struggle was worth it 🙂

Its been hard for me to even start anything because I don’t see the point as I probably won’t continue/finish it anyway. However I do have some ideas as to what works for me in getting me to be more consistent with things and to stop being hard on myself when I miss a week of doing something. These are the ideas:

Managing Expectations– I found when starting something or first meeting someone my imagination would run wild with all the great possibilities of what would happen. This would lead me to expect unrealistically great things of myself and others. For example “I could make a really good art project even though I haven’t done art for months” I’d expect too much of myself and others too fast so would end up disappointed when it didn’t work out how I hoped. When I find this happening mindfulness can be a good way to ground myself and stop from running with excitement and fantasy. Making notes of the facts can help as well like yes I could do these things but I’m out of practice so its best to start with something simple.

Small Goals– Leading on from that, when I have an idea or desire to do something I like to plan how I’m going to do it, thing is I tend not to stick to the plan as it is unrealistic. I can still think of a step by step plan but It’s better to make the first step manageable and then gradually build up like levels of a video game. Its best for me not to set time limits or plan when I’m going to do these things as my brain tends to not conform to schedules For example I want to practice meditation everyday in order to reduce emotional suffering. It would be unrealistic for me to expect myself to be able to do 30 minutes of meditation at the same time everyday. Therefore the first step to being that good at meditation could be to spend two minutes meditating every other day. Then once I’ve got the hang of that I can slowly increase the time and frequency until I reach my goal.

Sticking to Values– In DBT you’re taught how to gain more of a sense of self by making note of your values, what you believe is most important to you. When I first did this, it was hard for me to think of anything as I felt I had no real values but over time I looked at what made me feel passionate or angry. My trigger for anger is when I see people being treated unfairly so I figured one of my core values is JUSTICE and EQUALITY. When deciding on your goals its good to remember your values and work with them instead of working towards goals that you think you should because of someone else. For me this would mean I’m more likely to stick to the goal I set as its true to myself whereas I don’t feel comfortable with conformity so to set a goal based on someone else’s values would go against my own and I’d be more likely to “rebel” and go my own way.

Thank you for reading, I hope this post was insightful, there’s no resources this time as I couldn’t seem to find much about this topic but if you happen to know of any articles or videos that could be useful then please feel free to comment the links or just let me know your experience with changing hobbies and interests. thanks again. hopefully see you in the next one xx

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BPD AND THE STRUGGLE TO DISAGREE

I hate disagreeing with people, it brings up intense anxiety and panic in me, especially if I like the person and want them to like me. It’s always been hard for me to comprehend how people can disagree on things and still have a good relationship. I’ve always thought of disagreements as a way of damaging a relationship. The only time I feel able to openly disagree with someone is if I’m really angry and believe I’m right then I tend to get destructive and withdraw from the relationship as I suddenly despise the person and want nothing to do with them. I think this is called ‘splitting’ which I’ll probably write a full post about another time.

With more awareness of my problems with emotional regulation and lack of interpersonal skills, I’ve been consciously trying to remain calm when disagreeing with someone. It’s not easy though as my value of being true to my beliefs conflicts with the disorder’s desire to be loved and accepted by all. I want to be honest and stand up for what I believe in but I also want to just agree with the person so they won’t hate me. As, for me, disagreements turn to hatred fast. I try to remember that not everyone thinks this way and its okay to disagree. It’s all about finding a balance of validating the other person’s feelings while also validating your own and that’s been a difficult balance to find.

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When someone disagrees with me, it feels like an attack and fight or flight kicks in where I either panic, backtrack what I said and apologize (even if I have nothing to apologize for) or get so aggressively angry and defensive that I push the person away and cut them off completely. Because why would I want to be associated with someone I disagree with? and vice versa. I couldn’t see why someone would want to associate with me if we didn’t see eye to eye on everything. If I was in a relationship with someone I thought we’d have to be an exact reflection of each other and want the same things otherwise we couldn’t stay together. I just didn’t see how it could work. I’d do whatever the other person wanted me to and act how I think I should because I didn’t want to upset them in any way.

This people pleasing tendency often leads me to feel bitter and resentful, like I bend over backwards for these people and they don’t treat me the same in return (because everyone is different and shows love in different ways). Inevitably the other person would do or say something that would push me over the edge and I would snap. It would come out of nowhere for the other party involved but for me it would have been building up over time and I just couldn’t take the pressure anymore. The term “treading on eggshells” is used a lot by people when describing their relationship with someone with BPD which I can understand but, at least for me, it would go the other way too. I felt I had to be so careful in everything I said and did so people wouldn’t get angry with me.

I hate when people are angry with me it makes me feel like I did something wrong and with BPD making a mistake and being a bad person are the same thing. Only bad people do bad things and it can be hard for us to comprehend that those who love us can say nasty things when angry. As far as we’re concerned they hate us because why would they say those things unless they hate us? It goes the other way around for me too. I once got into a fight with my mum and I told her I wished she was dead because I was so angry I thought I hated her at the time. When we both calmed down and I apologized I didn’t understand how she could still love me and forgive me after I said something so awful because doesn’t that make ME awful?

In conflict, especially with BPD, it can be hard to accept other perspectives in a situation because of ‘black and white’ thinking. You’re either wrong or right, good or bad, when I try to see another POV I get really distressed because if the other person makes a valid point does that make everything I believe wrong and them right? No, because the world is rarely black and white but shades of grey 😉 sometimes we don’t want to listen or validate the other person’s argument as it can feel like a betrayal to our own values and community. Like with extreme feminism/anti feminism or religion, we can develop an “us or them” mentality “you’re either with us or against us” no in-between or middle ground because the community can shun you for not completely agreeing with or obeying/believing them. It’s why I don’t really get involved in politics or label myself with any religion as it feels very much like having to pick a side and close myself off to other perspectives

Anyway, recently I had a DBT session about interpersonal effectiveness and I realized its not the fact we disagree that’s the problem, it’s the way we disagree with each-other that’s the issue. I see it a lot, especially online, when people disagree with each-other and they yell, treat each-other with aggression and no respect. Insults and swear words are thrown around which gets neither party anywhere. Its fair that, when someone calls you a “piece of shit” for not sharing their views , you want to fight back and defend yourself but you can’t fight fire with fire. My therapist taught me a DBT skill called GIVE which I think even those without BPD could do with learning.

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G stands for GENTLE- Treat the other person with kindness and respect (I know this can be hard especially if you consider their actions and statements to be immoral but they’re more likely to listen to you if you don’t attack them)

INTERESTED- act interested in what the other person is saying by making eye contact, keeping your attention on what the other person is saying without interrupting them. Nod from time to time as they talk to show you’re listening.

VALIDATE- What the other person has said and how they’re feeling by saying things like “I see this is important to you” or “I understand that you’re angry” try to understand where they’re coming from and work from there. This is NOT the same as agreeing with the other person but showing compassion for them is more likely to calm them down and get them to listen to you rather than shouting or insulting them.

EASY MANNER- Notice your body language, voice and choice of words; make sure you are not shutting the other person out by crossing your arms, raising your voice or belittling them. You can smile and use humor (if appropriate) to ease the tension as well.

Related Resources:

https://www.phumlanikango.com/mental-health/2018/7/31/bpd-relationships-understanding-what-goes-on-in-our-minds

‘Don’t Disagree or They’ll Hate You’: My Guide to Friendship With BPD

How I’ve Learned to Manage Conflict in Life With Borderline Personality Disorder