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

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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

BPD and Commitment/Consistency Issues

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 The would be bestsellers left incomplete and unpublished.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

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

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

Disappointment. 

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

MOOD SWINGS

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

PERSONALITY SHIFTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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BPD AND THE STRUGGLE TO DISAGREE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Resources:

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

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

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

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)

REGRESSION and BPD

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

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

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

So what is regression? Image result for regression bpd

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

How Does regression relate to bpd?

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

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

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

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

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

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How and Why does it affect me?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music:

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

THE BEST OF 2018

This year was a year of change for me, I feel I’ve changed a lot from who I was at the start of this year. The change started when I started receiving treatment for my borderline personality disorder. Over time with this treatment I found fear, anxiety, resentment and just about every emotion stopped consuming me. I still take my medication and plan to have some counselling in the new year but things have definitely improved with me.

I’ve lost a lot but also gained a lot this year. It’s been very up and down as I struggled to find my own identity (which I’m still not sure of but I’m getting there). I thought I would end this year on a positive note and remember how good this year has been for me, not easy and sometimes painful but everything happened for the best at the end of the day. So here we go;

  1. I got my first paid job– It was temporary but it was a job I always dreamed of getting, I was a bookseller at my favourite bookstore which I loved (not just because of the 50% staff discount lol) it was challenging but I managed to pull through
  2. I gained more courage– A lot of things happened to me this year that past me would have been SHOOK over, maybe even suicidal but this time that wasn’t the case, I still have suicidal and self harm tendencies but those ways of coping are a last resort for me. I only turn to those things if my new and more healthy coping mechanisms don’t work (writing, drawing etc) but circumstances didn’t break me so much this time, I grieved but I also believed that better days were coming and that the time of mourning would be over eventually
  3. I met new people– At work I was so lucky to work with the people I did, they were so loving and friendly I just wanted to give them all a hug and I did. On the day I finally opened up to my manager about my problems she was so nice and gave me a hug which I then passed on to all my colleagues XD
  4. I am not perfect but I am much better than I was– As I said earlier I still have issues but they don’t overwhelm me as much as they used to anymore. In fact I have been working on writing a story based on trauma from my childhood as a way of processing it, I never would even consider that a few months ago!
  5. Trying new things– recently I’ve been getting into spirituality and wicca which has been helping me a lot, I’ve started a blog about it lol. I’m not saying that you should be more spiritual but I suggest trying new things that you’ve considered but were too wary of trying, it might end up being your new “thing”
  6. I’m learning to love myself more– I used to be hard on myself about EVERYTHING, mistakes were more of an unforgivable sin to me but working has made me put self blame and hatred aside. Mistakes are what you learn from, we are human beings and we can get things wrong, it doesn’t make you “bad” or “stupid” I’ve learned to go easy on myself and preach the same self love to others. Self care isn’t selfish and self love is not the same as arrogance. I believe  it is important to love and take care of yourself so you can show the same love and care to others as I learned if you’re hard on yourself, you’ll be hard on others too.

I haven’t been posting on here lately, mainly because I haven’t really felt like it, you see I come to this blog when I’m struggling but a lot of my struggles seem to have been repeating themselves in a cycle, more and more posts just felt more like a rehash of another but this blog has helped me so much and I hope its helped you too, know that whatever you’re struggling with you are not alone. Thank you so much for coming on this journey with me, I’ve grown a lot but it wouldn’t have been without your love and support. This may or may not be my last post on this site, we’ll just have to see what the new year brings, lets hope its a good one 😉

 

Happy New year, Much love

NI2M ❤

 

Resistance To Change

I’ve been doing really well recently, I’ve got back into voluntary work, I start my first paid job next week! And I may be getting another if a friend of mine needs help in her shop over Christmas.

What’s not going so well is the healthy habits I started practising. meditation, positive affirmations and reading self help books. They were working really well but then I started getting into arguments with people (which I actually heard is a normal thing when you’re making changes with your life, especially relationships) and getting really angry with them for not understanding my POV but you can’t force anyone to right?

But since that I have not had the motivation to keep up with the positive habits for two reasons 1) I thought if there are so many shitty people in the world who refuse to take responsibility for their actions and don’t even try to change, why should I?

I’m no saint but I know not everything is my fault either, I used to blame myself for everything but I realise now I’m not responsible for everyone’s feelings or actions, it’s how they choose to react and that’s fine, I can’t hold myself responsible for everything that goes wrong and it is not my duty to keep everyone happy at the price of my own happiness.

Reason number two is if I keep doing the work on myself and life things are just going to keep changing and I’m not sure I’m ready, I’ve come so far already and made some sacrifices to help myself live a better life but I’m stuck again at that stage of change where everything old is gone but nothing new is coming in. Life seems a bit stagnant at the moment and I do want new things but I’m also a bit wary, the possibilities of what could happen at this new job are endless. I also have awesome plans for the new year, I’m excited but also nervous because yes things could get better but things can go wrong as well… Ugh I refuse to self sabotage at this point, I may have made mistakes and I feel bad for them but that does not mean I need to punish myself in order to make it better, I’ve been doing that for years and  its time to stop, forgive myself, forgive others and move on.

Like I said though the motivation to keep up the good work has wilted like I don’t even want to touch my life right now because “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” I feel I’ve done all I can do for now, I got rid of a lot of the old and done some healing work so what next?

Right now meditation, positive affirmations and all that feels stupid even though I know it’s not but recently the rather negative aspect of myself has been at the forefront, saying everything positive is stupid or patronising and reality is a shitshow and I should be more “normal” unfortunately normal to me means being pessimistic. Don’t get too happy or comfortable because something could go wrong at any moment; my motto when I was younger was “never hope for things because you’ll end up disappointed” I know I was a gloomy 9 year old.

I’m proud to say with the help of medication, neurofeedback and self help books I’m not so much like that anymore. This is probably just a rough patch and I’ll be okay. One thing I learned about myself is that no matter what happens to me, I’m very good at bouncing back…

Thanks for reading,

NI2M ❤️