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):

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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;

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The Worry Tree

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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;

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  • 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

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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

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

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

COPING IN A BPD CRISIS

TW: The contents of this post may trigger so please read with care

Last Friday I was in the hospital, dissociating badly, I was only partly aware of where I was and what was happening. I was very detached from reality and wrapped up in my thoughts of death and self harm. It had been a long time coming, you may remember in my previous post (A crazy life update) that I was experiencing a lot of stress for some time, not to mention that march is a tough month for me anyway as referred to in my post “the curse of march”so it was kind of inevitable really. I spoke to a lovely member of the mental health team that night who referred me to the crisis team, they visited my home on Saturday and discussed getting me an assessment for a care coordinator (which would be great) as well as a review with the psychiatrist about my medication.

That being said, although this crisis was expected I didn’t know how to stop it so instead I kept spiraling down and descending into derealization. On sundays there is a #bpdchat on twitter that I like to take part in when I can. This week I asked what people do to help themselves in a bpd crisis here are some of the responses, I’m @Addict2L btw if you want to follow me 😉

 

Just recently (yesterday in fact)I was heading for another bpd/pts meltdown, I found it hard to engage in therapy as I was so distracted by my emotions that were exhausting me, all I wanted to do was go home and cry myself to sleep as something had triggered me that morning, I wanted to self harm and started having thoughts about dying or acting out violently, I was basically a mess. When I got home though I decided to log my mood in a mental health app called Pacifica, it suggested a meditaton for me so I went to my Self-Soothe box and lit a scented candle, wrapped myself in a scarf and played the meditation. I wasn’t a 100% okay by the end of those few minutes but I didn’t feel as overwhelmed as before and I was able to keep myself safe that day.

A self-soothe box is another idea I got from twitter, its basically a box of stuff that can help you feel comforted and calm you down in a crisis. Mine is made out of a really nice gift box and inside is…

  • A Puzzle & Coloring book
  • Coloring pencils in a fluffy pencil case
  • A small soft toy
  • Scented candle with holder
  • a big scarf I use as a comfort blanket
  • Leaflets with information from MIND on how to deal with stress, anger and loneliness
  • A number for my local SAMARITANS
  • A book of positive mantras
  • Hand lotion/cream
  • A handout from DBT about “Riding the wave”

I do suggest making one yourself as it helps me feel more prepared for a crisis and safer when a crisis comes, yours may be totally different from mine, its just whatever helps/comforts you.

Thanks for reading and please do check out everyone’s twitter (@017kat @LadyAngrr @tothehospital) these people and so many others have been very helpful, remember that the #bpdchat is on every sunday 9pm UK time/ 4pm US time. Hope to see you there sometime and here’s a useful website for more ideas on coping with bpd: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/borderline-personality-disorder-bpd/self-care-for-bpd/#.XIFU-PZFxlY

and this post on supplies to pack in case you need to check in to hospital: http://wtfisbpd.tumblr.com/post/96439585776/bpd-crisis-kit

Hope you found this helpful,

NI2M ❤

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

ORDER AND DISORDER: A BPD ART PROJECT

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

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

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

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

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

This one for example:

 

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

 

 

Another one is this:

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

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

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

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

 

understanding2 hada By Unknown

empath-or-highly-sensitive1 original by Meggie Wood

the_dark_butterfly_by_baxiaart-db69c5k images (1) By Unknown

Music:

 

 

 

 

 

REGRESSION and BPD

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

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

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

So what is regression? Image result for regression bpd

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

How Does regression relate to bpd?

Related image

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

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

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

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

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

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How and Why does it affect me?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music:

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

TRAUMA and TRIGGER WARNINGS

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks again,

NI2M ❤