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 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

Mental health and Medication

There’s some debate across the mental health community whether or not we should take meds to treat our mental illness. I personally take (quite a lot) of medication. I must admit I myself had some reservations about taking medication to treat my issues, like what if I end up being on them all my life? What if I will forever rely on them to keep me well? and “what would other people think”. I was once on this meditation app where you could talk to others and I briefly mentioned being on sleeping pills (for insomnia and depression) to which he told me that’s bad and I shouldn’t be on them.

My neurofeedback therapist would promise me a recovery miracle and that I could ween myself off meds, before leaving me for another project. We live in a world where taking medication for physical illness is considered necessary but meds for mental illness is shameful and I don’t think it should be. When I studied psychology in college we discussed the topic of taking medication for things like depression, both the benefits and the risk, we were encouraged to try and take a balanced point of view in essays. So, while I do take medication and don’t feel ashamed of it, I will try to tell you all I know about meds both the good and the bad.

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MY MEDICATION STORY

I first started taking medication in 2015/16 as I had severe depression to the point I felt stuck in life and that I may be better off dead. I was in college at the time and it was my final year so the pressure was on with coursework, exams, university applications and other responsibilities. Because of all this work and pressure I felt I didn’t have time for therapy or the time to properly take care of my mental health. So, after scrawling “I NEED FUCKING MEDS” as well as other angry writings on my bedroom wall, I went to the doctor to talk about the possibility of getting medication for my depression. After a long few months where I felt hopeful that things were looking up, the suicidality came back to the point I was fantasizing about suicide during lessons. I eventually quit college.

Quitting college took some pressure off of me and I started seeing a counsellor but after experiencing a traumatic event my mental health declined again and it was decided my issues were too severe for the type of counselling I was getting. So I was left with nothing but an increased dose of Fluoxetine and some melatonin to help me sleep. During the summer of 2016  I ended up in the hospital psych ward and  was prescribed 25mg of lamotrigine which is traditionally used to treat bipolar but can help with BPD mood swings.

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Haejin Park

 

For the next year I was in and out of A&E with suicidal thoughts but didn’t get admitted again. When my dad saw just how bad my mental health was he got me to see a private therapist who treated me with neurofeedback which helped a lot but I was still struggling with insomnia and PMS problems. For the insomnia I was originally prescribed melatonin but we found it wasn’t strong enough so it was replaced with mirtazapine. This is a sleeping pill as well as an antidepressant that has worked wonders in getting me to sleep at night where I used to really struggle before. Nonetheless a few weeks before my red visitor came along I would experience more emotional instability, fragility and suicidal tendencies that not even all my meds could help with so about two months ago I was put on the pill. Now my period actually starts near the right time and I don’t experience such severe PMS for so long now which is awesome.

I’d say that fluoxetine has helped me more with my anxiety and OCD symptoms rather than depression. Before fluoxetine I would obsess about being clean, smelling nice, germs and what other people thought of me but with fluoxetine that’s calmed down. With lamotrigine my mood swings are less frantic and more stable. You’d definitely notice a difference in my behavior if I forgot to take it. The downside though is that it has given me more weird, vivid dreams at night. Like I said, Mirtazapine has really helped  improve my sleep pattern. However a side effect of it is increased appetite so I’ve rapidly gained weight while I’ve been taking it, but for me that was a good thing as I was very underweight, I do need to get my appetite under control though.

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THE BENEFITS

If your mental illness is mainly chemical or hormone based, meds can really help. For example the Pill can be good at regulating hormones during PMS while antidepressants/anxiety meds can help increase the brain’s intake of serotonin.

Medication can help stabilize your brain enough so that you can handle therapy. My psychology teacher once said that medication works well with therapy as you may be too emotionally unbalanced for the treatment to really work, but medication can help you find that balance. Lamotrogine helped me in this case.

It’s a good alternative if you can’t afford, don’t have access to, or just don’t have the time for therapy. As I mentioned before, I started taking meds because I didn’t think I had the time for therapy. Medication can take up to 2 weeks to take effect but its quicker and easier to take a pill as you rush off to work or school than have to take time away from those things for therapy.

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THE DOWNFALLS

There can be side effects that make your problems worse; lamotrigine can give me weird dreams/nightmares and fluoxetine can make depressive symptoms, such as suicidal or self harm thoughts, worse in young people. Other mental health medications can be addictive too and anti-psychotics, which are mainly used to treat schizophrenia, can cause problems such as tremors.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all treatment, finding which type of medication and which dose works best for you is a pain. You may suffer side effects or no effects at all which can be incredibly frustrating. It’s not a quick fix either as, like I mentioned earlier, medication can take up to two weeks or longer to really change anything.

Admitting you may need medication can feel like admitting defeat to your demons as there is so much shame around the concept and the “just get over it” “think positively” attitude can hurt us more than medication will as we’re taught to power through our problems instead of address them which can make people less likely to go to therapy anyway.

Medication doesn’t deal with the cause of your mental health problems, only the symptoms. Unless your problems with mental health are solely based on chemicals and hormones, the problem will not be dealt with by medication. If your mental illness is the result of trauma or negative thought patterns its best to get therapy to help process and truly recover. I am attending DBT and teaching myself CBT as well as taking medication, the combination of the two is helping.

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MY THOUGHTS and ADVICE

Now I’m not saying that you should go on medication. I don’t know you or your life so meds may not even be right for you and that’s okay but only you can decide that for yourself. You know how it feels to be you, live in your mind and body so only you will know what’s right for them. I would like to give you some advice if you are considering taking medication.

RESEARCH what your doctor wants to prescribe you, really look at the leaflet provided as well as online. It can be good to get other people’s personal experience with the meds as well.

Keep in touch with your GP/psychiatrist. When you’re first put on medication your doctor should book you in for a review in about two weeks to check on you and how the medication is affecting you, please attend these reviews. If they were prescribed to you by a psychiatrist they should do the same but it may take several months to get a review from them. If you start experiencing problems/side effects then please consult with either of them ASAP.

GET ADVICE- if your  GP hasn’t mentioned meds to you but you think it could be useful then be sure to bring it up with them and get their advice. If you have access to a psychologist then you could get their input too.

IN SUMMARY

For those of you who don’t have mental illnesses or don’t need to take medication I’m going to use an analogy to explain what taking meds for mental illness is like for me. My mum once described MH meds as a safety cushion or blanket that softens your landing when you fall, so when your mental health goes down hill, it doesn’t go down as hard or fast as it would without medication. I would also describe my meds as armbands or a life jacket keeping me afloat in the ocean of life as I learn to swim without drowning or getting overwhelmed. I hope that makes sense to you and if you read all the way through to this bit thank you! I know this blog post was rather long so thanks for sticking with me. If you have any questions or thoughts on mental health and medication then please don’t hesitate to let me know. Thanks for reading ❤

More about MH and Meds:

https://www.headmeds.org.uk/

32 Things About Taking Medication for Mental Illness People Don’t Talk About

MEDICATION IS THE NEW MENTAL ASYLUM

Mental Health Medication – Why So Much Stigma?

https://byrslf.co/why-i-refuse-to-take-medication-for-mental-health-c66e38f4d5f3

I tried to come off my mental health medication and failed – here’s how I accepted that it’s OK

Musical inspiration:

Medicate By Gabbie Hanna (TheGabbieshow)

 

 

Coping With Nightmares

It’s all well and good people telling you that all you need to do to feel mentally better is “sleep better” “get a good night sleep” etc. But when you suffer from insomnia and nightmares, that sleep can be a lot harder to get. I don’t struggle so much with getting to sleep thanks to mirtazapine but staying asleep has been an issue recently. Nearly every night this past week or so I’ve been waking up in the night from nightmares. Some about demons and ghosts, others based on my life, things that have or could happen.

My therapist tells me I shouldn’t think of these realistic nightmares as nightmares but more of my brain trying to process what I’ve been through and what it could mean for my future, which I understand but when you wake up at three in the morning with your heart racing, terrified of your worst fears haunting you in your sleep I can’t help but consider that a nightmare.

I guess its because of my focus being on therapy and recovery that’s resurfacing past trauma and anxiety. I just have to take it as my brain trying to make sense of things but it doesn’t stop them distressing me. Settling down and getting back to sleep after waking up from a nightmare can be hard so here are my tips and ideas on how to cope and calm down after a nightmare;

  • Deep breaths– There are different breathing techniques you can try such as 7-11 and square breathing or there are guided breathing exercises you can find online such as this one below.

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  • Get out of bed/leave the room– when suffering from nightmares your safe haven of your bedroom and bed can seem fear inducing so I suggest taking a time out away from your room, perhaps go to the bathroom and wash your face to ground yourself.
  • Self care/self soothing– I have a self soothe box full of things to comfort me from soft scarves to scented candles. If nightmares are a regular occurrence for you I suggest keeping things you find comforting in your room and near your bed so you can access them easily when in post-nightmare anxiety. You could also make yourself a warm drink and watch/read something that cheers you up.
  • Write down your nightmare– This may seem terrifying but often dreams and nightmares could be our brain telling us something that we don’t address in daily life, so getting it out on paper can not only be releasing but can help you analyze what could be causing them. If you don’t feel comfortable having your nightmares recorded then you can destroy the paper afterwards.
  • Talk to someone– Especially if your nightmares are related to past trauma, its good to talk about what’s bothering you to someone you trust; this can be a friend, family member, therapist or if you don’t feel you can talk about it with someone you know and need help with the distress urgently I suggest getting in touch with a mental health crisis/helpline such as Samaritans.
  • Getting back to sleep– as I said before getting back to sleep after a nightmare can be hard so once you feel safer/calmer you could try listening to a meditation/ calming music or try a muscle relaxation exercise to help you settle back in bed to sleep.

I hope these tips help you and please feel free to let me know if you have any ideas of your own that have worked for you 🙂 thanks for reading, take care ❤

More to read on Trauma and Nightmares;

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-trauma-can-affect-your-dreams

https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/when-trauma-follows-you-into-your-nightmares-0708144

https://karinsieger.com/cope-with-nightmares/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201311/five-steps-conquering-nightmares

BPD, Jealousy and Envy

I believe we all get jealous at some stage of our lives.  I used to quite a lot.  It used to be so bad at times I could feel it eating away at me and I would develop a strong dislike for someone, but not understanding why. Since starting my medication and neurofeedback therapy, I’ve felt it less often and intense. I still get envious though.  I find what triggers it is someone getting more attention or affection than me eg someone I perceive as being more liked/popular than me. It’s a hard thing to admit and I hate feeling this way but the green eyed monster can be powerful.

When I was attached to someone, this could be my mum or a friend, I would feel very possessive of them. If they had other people around who could fill my shoes, I would fear them leaving me as I tend to see myself as “second best” or the “backup plan”. I truly believed that a friend or family member would leave me as soon as they found someone better. It took me years to accept my mum’s best friend.  Before then I saw her as the enemy, the one taking my mum’s love and attention away from me, the one who my mum would leave me for. As crazy as this appears, this type of thinking makes sense when given my family history.

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I never really did anything about it though. When the green eyed monster came, I would feel ashamed for not just being happy for the people I loved and I would suppress the feeling. However this envy/jealousy would grow into resentment and bitterness because I didn’t properly address the emotions at the first stage. Thus leading to tension in my relationships with others and paranoid thinking which can morph into serious trust issues and destroy relationships.

I’m more socially isolated at the moment so I don’t experience jealousy as such but more envy.  Social media is a big trigger for this envy. When I think someone is doing better than me with content, followers or praise I find that pit of irrational hatred for the person I see as doing better than me. Like I said, I would see them as competition and I would feel bitterness for myself and life. Why can’t I be as well liked as they are? Why does their site look better than mine? Why isn’t my writing as good as theirs? etc. Then shame would kick in. Why can’t I just be happy for them? Why do I have to be so negative? Why can’t I just be grateful? I have decided to try and understand jealousy/envy instead of pushing it away like I usually do…
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The difference between envy and jealousy:

Envy vs. Jealousy. The main difference between envy and jealousy is that envy is the emotion of coveting what someone else has, while jealousy is the emotion related to fear that something you have will be taken away by someone else.

Quote from: https://www.diffen.com/difference/Envy_vs_Jealousy

so, to summarize, Jealousy relates to personal relationships (romantic, familial and friendly) whereas envy relates to more materialistic things and can be felt towards a complete stranger.

Why do we get jealous or envious?

In DBT emotional regulation, one of the first things we learn is that each emotion has a function, even the ones we deem bad. Each one is there to motivate us to do something either negative or positive. Its not the emotion that’s necessarily bad its the actions we choose to take because of them. For example, Jealousy can motivate us to do better than our third party competition in order to keep the one we cherish and impress them. A negative action to take with Jealousy is to become possessive of a loved one, controlling or clingy to make sure the one you love can’t leave.

Envy can motivate us to push ourselves a bit more so we can do just as well as the person we’re envious of and achieve that success we crave. However this feeling can lead to things like bullying, where you try to tear down the person you deem more successful and happy to make them feel as bad as you. So you see, if we take these emotions and not judge them we can use them to become better friends, partners or family members and achieve more than we thought possible.

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Artwork by: Unknown

Jealousy and Envy in BPD

Jealousy and envy seem to be more of a problem in those of us with BPD. The jealousy probably stems from our insecurity and fear of abandonment. A blogger (linked below) said that envy in BPD could be due to our chronic sense of emptiness, causing the desire to have what others have that make them happy so that we may know happiness. It could also boil down to the fact that we can feel more intensely than others, which can lead to problematic behaviors when those feelings (i.e jealousy or envy) are not managed properly.

How to combat jealousy and envy (in a healthy way)

Another thing we learn in DBT emotional regulation is Opposite Action where we can choose to calm ourselves by acting the opposite way to how we’re feeling. You observe the emotion, what its motivating you to do and, if the action is deemed ineffective, we can use Opposite Action to neutralize the emotions.

For (a real life) example I was talking to someone via text and they stopped replying. I assumed I said something wrong or that they didn’t like me so I felt anxious and afraid. Because of this I was tempted to keep texting them until they answered, apologize or get angry to grab their attention. I knew that would be wrong so instead I cried while eating cake until I felt sick.

Now, in hindsight, once I checked that my actions would be ineffective or make things worse I could have practiced opposite action which would have been to show self compassion by challenging my assumptions of the worst “they hate me” and practicing self care instead of making myself ill.

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Image from: comic “working with envy” by Colleen Butters

Here are some OPPOSITE ACTION ideas for envy/jealousy:

  1. Count your blessings “name them one by one, count your blessings don’t you spoil the fun” (sorry, just whenever I came across that phase the song I was taught in school comes to mind lol)
  2. Challenge thoughts instead of acting on them. For example (on social media) think something like “is their life really that perfect? They could just be showing me what they want me to see and not the “ugly” parts of their life”
  3. Appreciate/ be kind to yourself. If you feel envious/ jealous it may be because you’re insecure and have low self esteem. So, take some time to appreciate that you’re doing your best and make a list (or ask a loved one to) of all your achievements and positive qualities.
  4. ACKNOWLEDGE, COMMUNICATE, RESOLVE– demonstrated in the “dealing with jealousy” video linked below. These three steps are more personal for myself as, like I mentioned before, I deal with jealousy by suppressing, withdrawing and leaving the situation unresolved because of the shame I have around the emotion. So this would be a very good Opposite Action for me.
  5. Think about the other person– People with BPD can be so empathetic, I find it hard not to cry when I see someone else cry or be sick when someone else has been. I’m very good at feeling others’ pain even when I don’t want to, I imagine this is the same for a lot of us, being so emotionally sensitive. If we find it easy to feel the pain of others, then we can learn to feel people’s pleasure too by putting ourselves in the shoes of the person we envy. I believe an article linked below mentions MUDITA which is sympathetic joy. I personally would much rather be able to experience people’s joy more than their pain, so I’d like to give this a practice 🙂

Thanks so much for reading and feel free to let me know your experiences with envy/jealousy. Have you been the jealous/envious one before? Have you ever been on the receiving end of jealousy/envy? How do you handle these feelings when they arise?

Take care ❤

Resources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/intense-emotions-and-strong-feelings/201103/envy-the-emotion-kept-secret

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/turning-straw-gold/201207/transforming-envy-joy

https://www.borderlineblog.com/envy-envy-and-more-envy.php

https://www.my-borderline-personality-disorder.com/2018/10/bpd-trauma-and-jealousy.html

Narcissism Vs BPD

Recently I got into a bit of a fight on twitter after someone claimed that people with BPD are narcisstic and can’t form attachments, of course there was uproar. I can admit that SOME people with BPD can be abusive and perhaps narcisstic but that’s a small portion, like not all people with schizophrenia are violent. Most of the people I know with BPD are kind and loving and just want to help and be helped.

Now BPD, I’ve been told, uses the term borderline as we can display symptoms of other disorders. For example I’m borderline OCD which means I have symptoms of the disorder but not enough to be officially diagnosed with it. The disorder also can have co-occuring disorders such as depression and anxiety. If you have BPD the chances are you have another diagnosis linked with it. Everyone with BPD is different based on their life experience, personalities, co-occuring disorders and their symptoms. This means that a SMALL number of those of us with BPD can have NPD or narcissistic traits but not all of us.

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Though, to outsiders our symptoms can be mistaken for narcissism. For example threats of self harm or suicide could be seen as manipulative but we don’t have the intention to manipulate, its an unhealthy way of expressing how we feel (doesn’t make this behavior okay and its important to get professional help at this stage.) I understand why some people might tar us with the same brush as those with NPD but the difference is our inner world. We do things with other reasons and feel differently to those with narcissism.

For example we engage in risky behaviours because we feel manic or impulsive, not because we don’t care about the consequences of our behavior. We often do, but the urge or emotion is so strong we need to perform these acts for the feeling to stop and will probably later, when we’ve calmed down, come to regret it.

For some time I was questioning whether or not I was a narcissist. I have a family member who’s narcissistic and abusive so I figured, having someone like that in my blood, there’s a chance I could be too. I would question basically everything I did, am I playing the victim? Am I being emotionally manipulative? and on the questions would go until I realized that someone narcissistic probably wouldn’t care so much about being a narcissist. I’ve never consciously tried to manipulate someone. Maybe my behaviour could seem like I was but it would never be my intention. I would just be overshadowed by rage and anxious desperation.

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The person I fought with on twitter mentioned that they seem to be dropped by those with BPD quickly and freely, she thought that people with BPD couldn’t get attached because of this and that’s just not true. If anything those of us with BPD can get attached too fast too much. If I met someone online I would immediately want them to be my friend and get low if I didn’t hear from them again. I have a bit of a rocky relationship history with therapists. I would get along with them and feel really positive about them the first few weeks but then they would say something I didn’t like or push me to go where I didn’t want to and I would switch to hating them and feel unsafe seeing them as they might make me talk about or bring up emotions I couldn’t deal with.

This happened a couple of weeks back and I took a break from seeing my therapist last week but knew I would have to face her again if I wanted the most out of the treatment. I saw her today and felt really on edge and defensive the whole time. I think this can happen with a lot of BPD sufferers and their therapists. It seemed to happen often with this lady on twitter and her BPD clients. Probably because she saw and spoke about those of us with BPD in a very negative and ignorant way. Granted we probably shouldn’t “ditch” or “drop” people so quickly and I can understand why it may seem we don’t care but we do care a lot, too much and we often don’t know how to express ourselves in a healthy manner, even with therapists, so we push away or leave people fast as not to be hurt or have our trust broken again, its self preservation not indifference despite appearances.

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I’m aware that people with BPD can have very high standards as with narcissism but the difference is that we also hold ourselves to that high standard as well. When someone hurts us or makes a mistake it can be very difficult for us to see past their wrongs and forgive them but it also goes vice versa, if we make a mistake we can feel terrible about it, like we’re bad people and undeserving of love. Whereas with a narcissist they believe they are superior and can do no wrong while everyone else can’t meet their standards.

Now let’s address the manipulative behaviors that both conditions can display. People with BPD tend to overdo the chameleon effect where we basically take on other people’s body language and views, I understand how this can be taken as manipulative but unlike those with narcissism, we don’t do it to make people like us so we can use them for our own gain, people with BPD don’t really have a strong sense of self or identity so when we’re around certain types of people we can “try on” their identities, we don’t do this intentionally though.

Personally, I hate when this happens and I’m very selective of who I spend most of my time with as, some people, I really don’t want to become; I hang out with people I feel good and safe around, people with traits I admire and don’t mind taking on. With BPD its an automatic thing, whether to get a sense of identity or to survive. The mirroring and changes in behavior depending on where we are and who we’re with are not intentional, we often hate saying and doing things just to fit in but the overwhelming fear of rejection and abandonment as well as the lack of identity can mean we genuinely believe in what we’re saying and doing, at least until we leave those people and that environment or become aware of our disorder. Since being diagnosed I’m hyper aware of my behaviour with different people, its not easy to change it though as its pretty much automatic now and I still don’t have a strong understanding of who I am, I’m trying though.

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I could probably go on but this post is already one of my longest yet so I think I’ll leave it there now but please keep in mind that people with BPD are all different, this is just my story and others might have different views because we are more than our diagnosis. What I will say though is that, from what I learned, both BPD and NPD can be the result of trauma and fear of abandonment, we just deal with it differently so I can’t help but have some empathy for those with NPD and hope that they can get treatment and recover even though it’s difficult. Take care ❤

Recommended Reading:

https://www.bridgestorecovery.com/blog/understanding-bpd-emotional-manipulation-techniques-and-how-treatment-can-help/

https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-differences-between-abusers-with-narcissistic-personality-disorder-vs-borderline-personality-disorder/

https://www.verywellmind.com/narcissistic-personality-disorder-425426

https://www.clearviewwomenscenter.com/blog/bpd-npd/

Photography by: Unknown

REJECTION WITH BPD

I’ve lost count how many jobs I applied for and times I got rejected before I finally got a really good job. It was a temporary contract though so now I’m back on the market looking for a new job. After my previous success I had high hopes for the next application I made, only to get rejected again. I found it hard to cope after that, I felt like my world had been rocked but I didn’t really pay attention to those feelings until my most recent job application.

I’d wanted to do some prep before the interview but when I tried to research and prepare my answers thoughts such as “this is pointless” “I’m not good enough” and “what’s the point in trying if they’re just going to reject me” started invading my mind. I got really upset and abandoned the mission. I struggled to understand why I was suddenly so depressed when just a month ago I was so hopeful and happy to get a new job. Then after my latest interview it hit me. Rejection.

I hadn’t realised until then just how much my BPD still affects me. The reason I was so hopeful back in January was because of my previous success but then I got rejected and that affected my mood.

You see, people with BPD try so hard to be accepted, to avoid rejection from people as well as abandonment. I knew that application rejections happen all the time to everyone but that didn’t stop the hurt. Feeling like I wasn’t good enough or disliked. It was worse when the interviewers would reject me without giving a reason or feedback, so I didn’t know what I did wrong and how I could fix it to be accepted next time.

The job applications, interviews and rejections were a long, disappointing, depressing process. I imagine it would be rough for a “normal” person but everything seems X10 worse when you have BPD. I’m happy I had at least that one successful time though, it has helped me feel more optimistic that someone somewhere will like and accept me. It just feels like finding a needle in a haystack and the harder and longer I have to look the more hopeless and frustrated I get.

Every rejection feels like a slap in the face, even though I know it can’t be personal and questions start swarming my headspace “why didn’t they like me?” “Why do I even bother trying?” “What did I do wrong?” “Why do they hate me?” And on it goes. The other side to how I would react to rejection was blaming “the powers that be” in the company, I remember getting rejected after a trial shift and thinking “that shift leader was a bitch, she probably talked shit about me to the managers” even though she would have been reprimanded for doing something like that so she probably didn’t. I still held a grudge against that poor girl for months.

The first company I ever applied for also rejected me after a trial shift, not long after that they ended up being shut down and I celebrated like “that’s what you get for rejecting me, assholes” as if they rejected me because of some personal vendetta they had against me. I used to take job rejection way too personally so how have I managed to not crumble from all this rejection?

Well, firstly, I’ve been trying to change my concept of rejection, instead of thinking “I wasn’t right for the job” I try thinking “Maybe the job wasn’t right for me”. Thinking this way has helped heal the hurt I felt after being rejected so many times. I also use my free time to plan and do other things I enjoy so I don’t get too bored or isolated. I’ve been going to groups at my local wellbeing centre as well as attending DBT sessions weekly and doing voluntary work on Saturdays. I’d like to start doing more soon to prepare me for paid work again as, when I worked as a Christmas temp, the time and the energy required was overwhelming considering it was my first paid job. Recently I’ve come to accept that I may not be ready for paid work and I should stop pushing myself so hard for a while. For now I think I need to focus on my recovery and hopefully I’ll be able to work in the future.

Read how Val Prozorova overcame anger and fear of rejection while dealing with BPD:

https://themighty.com/2017/06/bpd-borderline-personality-disorder-rejection/

and check out Recovery Mum’s videos on BPD and Rejection:

More videos to show some love:

A CRAZY LIFE UPDATE

I’ve spent longer away from blogging than I’d intended, I knew I was heading for a tough time because of my PMS but I had no idea how tough it would end up being. As I predicted PMS started affecting my ability to function ( I will explain in another post) days started getting hazy and my mood dipped lower more often than usual but it got so bad at last week ( a few days before my period started) that I was considering going to the hospital because I felt unsafe with myself but I ended up calling the Samaritans instead which helped but the next day I was back to feeling unsafe again. Even when my period finally started I still struggled badly, I still am but that could be because I forgot to take my medication… twice.

Speaking of medication I went to the doctor about my symptoms during PMS, she said that PMS affects women in different ways, some worse than others. She prescribed me a contraceptive pill that’s good for regulating hormones during a cycle, I’ve only been taking it for a few days so I’m not noticing much of a difference yet but then my period has finished so I may need to wait until the PMS stage to see whether the pill actually helps or not.

My phone got stolen last weekend, while I was doing voluntary work at a charity shop, I was annoyed with myself because there was someone hovering near the till where my phone was and glancing my way loads of times to see if I was watching him, I did have my guard up about him but I was more concerned about him stealing from the shop than me but I let myself get distracted anyway. When I realized what had happened I was so upset, I nearly had a panic attack but I managed to keep working, get the stolen phone blacklisted and report the incident to the police it was only when I got home I started crying, I spent basically the whole weekend crying, I know it may seem silly but that phone meant a lot to me. It had everything on there, my games, my mood trackers, my photos. I was in despair over losing it and so angry with myself for being so careless and the shitty person who stole my phone.

I managed to get my replacement on Monday and I had to start again with my apps and set up new accounts which was frustrating but I’m glad to have a phone again, it does make life easier for me. Without quick access to youtube or twitter I felt so isolated which didn’t help with my BPD meltdown. I ended up getting back into self harm and even now I feel so numb, fuzzy and I have the urge to hurt myself to feel something and ground myself, I’m trying not to though.

On a good note, in our previous two sessions my therapist and I have been talking about increasing the positive events in my life by making time for doing things I enjoy everyday, this motivated me to return to my local wellbeing centre and join a few group activities (music, art and a group for only women) It’s been fun and I’ve met some new and nice people, it’s helped me feel less alone, get out of the house and enjoy myself a bit more. Also,on the weekend my phone got stolen, I spent some of the free time reading and finally got a book finished. So it’s been really hard these past few weeks but I have found some things to be happy about 🙂

Thanks for reading,

NI2M ❤

 

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

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)