Taking A Break

This blog is now over 3 years old and I must say I’m surprised I kept it up for so long. These past few years have been a crazy ride for me and if you’ve been reading my posts for some time now you’ll know that a lot of things have changed over the years, mainly me. I’ve learned to be alone and take care of myself while also making sense of my personality Disorder, things are far from perfect but I’m in a better place than I was 3 years ago, heck even 1 year ago.

My writing has changed and my blog has gone through quite a few makeovers, It’s been a while since I’ve done a post about my life and how I feel. I think this is the first one since the end of last year! I’ve really enjoyed making informative posts about what I learn but recently I feel like I’ve been treating this blog as more of a job than a hobby, I try to spend at least one day a week writing new posts and it’s time to be honest with you, I love the attention that my blog gets, since I started using twitter to share my posts and network they’ve got more likes and this blog has got more followers.

I started seeing numbers as validation and approval, when a post didn’t get many likes or people unfollowed me, I’d get disheartened and wonder why they don’t like me or what I write.I became very envious of people who seemed to do better than me on twitter and on here. The relationship I developed with social media became unhealthy and I’ve had to take a big step back from it all but not too big otherwise I’d lose people’s attention thus the scheduled blog work time. I put myself under pressure to keep improving my posts, make them longer with no mistakes sort of thing. The informative posts I wrote seemed to get more traction than my personal story so I kept going with them as its what other people wanted but I’m not sure its what I want. Recently I tried to force myself to write a post but my brain and my emotions weren’t co-operating, became anxious and a bit manic whenever I tried to write a post like I was trying to force enthusiasm and taking it too far.

At the time when I first started changing my blog style it was because I was inspired to do so but the inspiration just isn’t there now, I’m still very proud of my new posts don’t get me wrong but now the writing just feels forced, like I’ve started blogging more for the attention and validation rather than because I want to. Today i found myself sitting in the bathroom with pain in my chest from stress and the thought of my blog came up and how I’ve just been putting it as another part of my weekly to do list instead of utilizing it as a therapeutic hobby, the thought of writing this post calmed me down and this does feel like a weight lifting off my shoulders.

I still love this blog and I’m really proud of the work I’ve done but all good things must come to an end unfortunately, I’m honestly not sure what the future of this blog is going to be but right now I need to take a break, focus on getting well and then maybe come back to blogging but I’m not sure and I don’t want to worry myself about it now. I hope you understand where I’m coming from, I feel like I’m now starting a new chapter of my life and I’m not sure my blog is currently reflecting that. I hope to one day come back here better and brighter but if not, don’t worry about me I’m just doing different things with my life 🙂

Thank you for reading,

NI2M ❤

Advertisements

Anxiety Management Workshop

Recently I enrolled in this thing called a recovery college that has a bunch of courses and workshops to help in recovery from mental illness. My DBT therapist suggested I sign up to a few things with it once my therapy was finished to help myself and give me something to do. I signed up for a mix of courses/workshops for emotional development, help looking for work and trying new hobbies. The first workshop I went to was anxiety management which involved an introduction to CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) this is what we covered in that workshop.

What Is CBT?

To give a quick run down on what CBT is I’ve linked the video below. Please watch it, if you don’t know what CBT is, before proceeding as I don’t think what I say will make much sense if you don’t;

 

The cross sectional formula (hot cross bun model):

75c2cbf6f331371fe6dcdf0ba5cdfbbf

This model was designed to show how our thoughts connect with our environment, behavior, emotions and bodily sensations. It shows how all these elements of an anxious reaction interconnect. Thoughts are usually the first in the diagram because CBT believes that our thoughts are the main cause of our problems so it focuses on our thought patterns and how to make them more helpful to us. When filling out a template such as this you’d have to describe in each section what happened to trigger the reaction (environment) what thoughts came up, how it made you feel emotionally, what physical sensations you experienced and how these things made you behave. Below is an example of a filled out model;

hot-cross-bun1

 

The Worry Tree

ShrunkCBT-GoogleFoundWorryTree

The worry tree is a diagram that offers guidance on identifying the type of worry you have and how to resolve it, the two types of worries identified are Hypothetical and Practical (current). Hypothetical worries are things that aren’t actually happening right now but what you are worried might happen. These type of worries can be dealt with by setting a worry time. Practical worries are problems that are currently happening and need to be dealt with as soon as possible, usually through problem solving.

 

Worry Time

Worry time is when you schedule a time everyday to focus on whats worrying you so you can satisfy your brain’s urge to worry without disrupting your day by distracting you from your tasks. You can set aside time in the morning, afternoon, evening whatever time is best for you and you can make this worry time as long or short as you want. When you dedicate to this time, you’re not supposed to rationalize or talk down your concerns but allow yourself to feel anxious and ruminate a little to get it out of your system. You may want to write your thoughts and feelings down, once the time is up its a good idea to calm yourself down through things like Progressive muscle relaxation or breathing exercises.

Problem Solving

This skill is also learned in DBT and can be applied to current problems by going through this step by step process to problem solve;

IMG_20190610_115953.jpg

dav

  • Identify the problem– For help identifying the problem you should focus on, there is something called a Problem Statement which is a way of summarizing the difficulties you face. When writing a problem statement you need to consider the trigger, the symptoms and the impact of these things, to the right are some examples of a statement from ‘The CBT handbook‘.

 

 

  • Write down as many possible solutions you can think of– You can do this by making a list or mind map. The idea is to consider ALL possible solutions even if they seem silly. It’s best to think outside the box at this stage.
  • Think of the pros and cons to each solution– Write a list of ways that each solution could be beneficial and the ways they can be harmful.
  • Pick the solution you think is best– Weight out the pros and cons of each solution, deciding which one you think is best for your situation.
  • Plan how you will carry it out– Once you have decided on a solution plan step-by-step how you are going to implement it.
  • Put the plan into action
  • Review the results– Review how well the solution worked and if it didn’t, go back to step 4 and pick a different solution you think might work better.

I hope you found this post informative and useful, feel free to let me know what you think and whether you’ve had CBT before. Did it work for you? are there other helpful techniques you’ve learned from it? Thanks for reading, I hope to see you in the next one ❤

NI2M

Growing Up With BPD

Trigger warning: This post talks about self harm and suicidal behaviours

When I was diagnosed with BPD at age 18 a lot of things fell into place. When I showed my mum a leaflet about the diagnosis she was able to link a lot of my behavior to the disorder. Fair to say we both agreed with the diagnosis, in hindsight the signs were there all along but professionals are reluctant to diagnose children and teens with BPD as the mood swings and unsure identity could be put down to growing up. They tend to wait until you’re 18 or older to diagnose you but I think if someone had picked up on the signs at an early stage I might have got better but instead the symptoms got progressively worse.

For as long as I can remember intense emotions have affected my life. When I was in nursery and primary school I would get so distressed about going and being separated from my mum that I would cry, scream and put myself at risk to avoid going. I’d run away from home or undo my seat belt in the car in the hopes that we would crash and I would get hurt or die so I wouldn’t have to go to school.

I would cry out of nowhere even if, like a minute ago, I was laughing I could suddenly start crying or get angry at the drop of a hat. Attachments were an obvious issue for me as well, not just being overly attached to my mum but I would get attached to toys and games, getting incredibly upset if they broke. At the age of 10 I was in therapy for anger management problems. I only got six sessions with the therapists but when they “dropped” me I felt unwanted, unimportant and abandoned.

I used to go horse riding every week which I enjoyed but from one week to the next I could feel completely different about it. I remember looking forward to this special riding party with other kids but on the day of the party I was crying and screaming like I was being forced to go to school.

My friendships were very unstable in my primary school/early high school life. I would get angry easily for reasons that not even I knew sometimes but it meant a fight nearly every other day. We would always make up and be good friends until the next time I got upset with them. Being friends with me was like trying to handle a ticking time bomb that could go off at any minute or with even a slight wrong touch. There are a lot of diary entries from my first year of high school talking about this one girl and each entry would be either about how bad of a friend she was or how we made up after a fight… Again.

Suicidal ideation was around from a young age too. I wrote in my diary about how I hurt a friend and how I felt so guilty that if she didn’t forgive me I might as well end my life. This may all sound dramatic but this was how I was genuinely feeling at the time. I was considered a drama queen and a crybaby for years because of this emotional intensity.

I was bullied as I wore my heart on my sleeve and it was obvious there was something wrong with me as I was able to go from laughing to crying to lashing out in a matter of minutes. I was aware of how my emotional sensitivity was a problem but I didn’t know how to control it. In my teen years these erratic emotions morphed into severe depression and anxiety.

I was crying almost every night and having a panic attack nearly everyday, I’d also learned how to self harm and that became my way of releasing my emotional pain and self hatred. I eventually got counselling and group therapy for these things which helped a little but as the disorder could not yet be diagnosed, the issues were still there. I just became better at hiding/suppressing my emotions at school and with family, saving my “meltdowns” for when I was alone.

I changed my mind a lot too, picking my subjects to take at GCSE was a nightmare as I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do or what I wanted to be when I got older. My aspirations would change nearly every week and I went to the office multiple times to change my options, I eventually settled for Drama, Art and Child development as, for a short while, I wanted to be a social worker,that dream changed quickly though.

In college things seemed to be looking up, I was happier there but underneath the cheeriness was the fear that if I let my “true” self show everyone would hate me and I would be bullied again so I played up the happy/hyperactive persona as that is the side of me people seemed to prefer. However, this escalated into mania that would last a couple of hours but by the end of the day I was emotionally and physically drained from all the hyperactivity. If something went wrong during the day or I perceived someone as being upset with me, my mood would quickly change to depressed and distressed.

So you see, when I was a child, I had no pause button on my emotional reactions. Whenever I felt overwhelmed I didn’t know how to stop the tears or the rage, I didn’t know how to react to these intense emotions in a healthy way or communicate how I was feeling to others appropriately so very soon a wedge was driven between me and the other kids. It was when I started being bullied more severely in high school that I learned to not let my feelings show, bottling them up and suppressing them as much as I could but even then some of it would show, especially the rage.

The emotional intensity, mood swings, unstable relationships, attachment issues and lack of identity were there with me from a very early age. Things have improved since I got neurofeedback, DBT therapy and medication but there are definitely things I need to work on like resolving my trauma and coming to terms with the way my life is now because of said trauma. I understand why professionals are reluctant to diagnose people with the disorder before 18 but I think early intervention is key for BPD. I think there is a term called ’emerging personality disorder” that identifies symptoms of a personality disorder in young people without actually diagnosing them. I think this would have been useful for me as it would have got me treated sooner and improved my school life but alas that was not the case. I do think it would be a good idea to teach children about how to deal with difficult emotions and how to look after their mental health, not necessarily if they show signs of mental illness but in general.

Hope you liked this post, do feel free to let me know what you think or share your experience with a personality disorder in childhood. Thanks for reading.

NI2M ❤

19 Signs You Grew Up With Borderline Personality Disorder

18 Signs You Grew Up With ‘Quiet Borderline Personality Disorder’

https://thetab.com/uk/sheffield/2018/10/11/this-is-what-it-is-really-like-growing-up-with-borderline-personality-disorder-36588