Welcome!!! Please, if you are new here, READ THIS FIRST!!! Thank You!!!

Thank you for visiting. Content MAY BE TRIGGERING ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE WHO HAVE EXPERIENCED ABUSE, STRUGGLE WITH SELF-INJURY, SUICIDE, DEPRESSION OR AN EATING DISORDER. Contains graphic descriptions of suicidal thoughts, self-injury and emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Do not read further if you are not in a safe place. If you are triggered, please reach out to your support system, a mental health professional or call 911.

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Disclaimer: Although I have worked with persons with mental illness for twenty years, I do not have a Master's Degree or a license. This is not meant to be a substitute for mental health care or treatment. Please obtain professional assistance from the resources listed on the right of the page, if needed. And call 911 if you or someone is in immediate danger.

A key word that you will see:

Fragmentation: a mental process where a person becomes intensely emotionally focused on one aspect of themselves, such as “I am angry” or “no one loves me,” to the point where all thoughts, feelings and behavior demonstrate this emotional state, in which, the person does not or is unable to take into account the reality of their environment, others or themselves and their resources. This is a term that my therapist and I use and is on the continuum of dissociation.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Starbuck's Coffee "The Way I See It" #36

On Friday, this is the quote that was on my therapist's coffee cup from Starbuck's:


"Mother-love is not inevitable. The good mother is a great artist ever creating beauty out of chaos."

--Alice Randall, Novelist, The Wind Done Gone,
and first black woman to write a No. 1 country song.

So, what are your thoughts and feelings about this quote? Agree, disagree, happy, sad, angry, grateful, thankful, etc...

Stop and think before scrolling down to see my thoughts.










Well, when my therapist read this I was shocked given the things that we had been talking about regarding my mother. I thought, "that is true it is not inevitable and what a profound statement about being a mother for it is from chaos that she helps her child to grow." My therapist said, "your mother took beauty and created chaos." Makes me sad and tearful, but he is right.

Friday, August 29, 2008

"Whose Line Is It Anyway?" ~ I hope I have a good time!!!

Well, this weekend my husband and I have tickets for another performance. Brad Sherwood and Colin Mocherie both from "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" It was "stolen" from the British show (the US just "borrows" from the British because we can't come up with anything original) that was a improvisational comedy show that was hilarious. So, I am hoping I can handle the show and that I will have a good time. I thought I would share a bit with you. Brad and Colin are in this clip. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

No Writing Today...Tired!!! (But, stay...look at the fun pictures!!)

Well, I decided that I did not want to write a post today...I'm a little weary..."feeling small. When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all; Im on your side. When times get rough. And friends just can't be found..." (okay, and my brain can't focus, but I like the song...recognize it?)

Besides...my cat, which I don't own, is blocking my view
(Hey, someone get the cat out of here...who owns it anyway!!)


Maybe, I'll relax and count my happy toes!

Shh...or sleep on my computer with my coffee in my hand. Don't touch the coffee. The computer I don't mind, but the coffee...don't do it!!

Or, maybe view things from a different perspective!






Or, maybe ask my best friend to stay home from work and cuddle and sleep all day!!!


Have a great day everyone!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Warning!! Borderline Personality Thinking Run Amok!!!


Okay, I've been holding off writing this because I just don't like to reveal the "darkside" of recovering from borderline personality disorder. Sometimes, it just comes out in full force which it has especially for the past several weeks and this past week was really difficult. I was in that "I am bad" and "angry at my therapist" mode. It is such a horrible place to be in because I end up feeling abandoned, but it is me abandoning me and not being able to hold on to connection with myself and therefore others.

I hate being aware of it, but feeling like I'm helpless and can't do anything to get out of it. Which I keep being reminded that I am not. Then, everything my therapist does, doesn't do, says or doesn't say gets all twisted into "I'm bad. Or, he is being scolding or critical. I can't do anything right." Then, I get more depressed, the suicidal thoughts increase as well as the urges to self-injure which I did a little bit a couple of times this weekend. I feel panic, out-of-control and disconnected to everyone (and don't want to change that). It is a scary place to be.

What is worse is that my fragmenting is not even the real issue, it is only a defense against doing and feeling what I really need to do and I blame this blog. I had to go and be honest which has made me really focus on my mother and then you readers go and mirror back that it was that bad. Now, how in the world am I supposed to maintain denial and control? All my defenses come out for war to protect me from a threat that no longer exists. But, tell that to my borderline brain in the middle of it and my clinical brain becomes clueless and inaccessible to me.

What is worse is that I got myself into "trouble" because my therapist read the whole BPD series!!! So, he now knows that somewhere in me that I get it...it is like playing cards and revealing your whole hand. Not that I play cards, but that doesn't matter. He keeps telling me that, "I did it to myself." Well, who was the idiot that told him to read my blog in the first place. Okay, that would be me too. I'm starting to feel a little better, but on Sunday and Monday before the session I was so angry at him, so I wrote some ramblings down. Now, remember this is from my borderline thinking and I'm not very proud of it. But, this recovery stuff isn't easy. Remember, I'm doing better now. However, this is what I wrote and read knowing full well that I was "crazy."
August 25, 2008 ~ Monday ~ 9:15 AM
Geoffrey,

I’m not even sure how to start this because in my head I just keep hearing you telling me that “I’m defending, reacting or fragmenting.” Somehow, that completely invalidates what is going on and that I shouldn’t tell you. I felt worse after I hung up with you last night than I have all week. I think that I needed to feel reconnected with you. When I reconnected with me some, I did not feel it was reciprocated. At the end, it felt like I really needed some validation that you were okay with me. My head wasn’t enough. And, I don’t feel like it was fair because I did work through a couple of those things on the phone.

I am just so angry with you right now. It just feels like I’m feeling worse the more I talk with you or don’t. I know, I’m fragmenting. Last night, I didn’t feel like you gave me any validation or put it right back onto me. I’m feeling really hopeless and yes, I know that I am reacting. I guess, it is sort of like my mother and when I just hope that she will give me that one little morsel of telling me that I am okay. I guess that is what I wanted from you.

But, even when I said that I was frustrated about not being able to leave a message you were silent. Most of the time, I wasn’t even sure that you were hearing me because I felt like you were not even acknowledging that you heard me.

I really feel like you don’t understand how difficult crying is for me and in my head I hear you telling me that I make it bigger than it is. But, you don’t feel that automatic cut off when I start to feel the tears come or the numbing that immediately happens.

I know this is all or nothing thinking, but I really feel like you don’t understand how the past couple of weeks have been. I really feel like giving up if I’m just going to feel worse after each session or contact with you. I can’t continue to do this. Last night, was the worse I’ve felt. And, I don’t want to tell you what is going on inside my head because you are just going to throw it back at me. And, then I react and feel bad. I’ve been feeling bad for a long time and I feel like there isn’t anything to counter balance it. I know that was what it was like growing up along with feeling like you are blaming me for everything.

I know that I need to learn things for myself and that it has been so long, as you reminded me that it was five years. I just feel really bad that I’m not doing this. I feel like I’m not trying or working hard enough. I keep thinking of injuring myself or planning to kill myself…I know, I’m just reacting. I feel like it isn’t okay to tell you what is going on if I am reacting, fragmenting, projecting, etc… I just don’t think things are working out and I know it is my responsibility. I feel pretty hopeless and want to just give up especially after this weekend.

Well, there it is! By the way, I by no means was able to take in that he called me and we had an hour conversation on a Sunday evening nor the millions of other things that tell other than what I wrote above. BPD really sucks...what is worse is knowing about what I am doing!!! I just want to be clueless again!! Thanks for letting me rant. I feel better now.(Guess what, I discovered I like emoticons!)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

PAST JOURNAL ENTRY: September 1, 2005 ~ 6:30 pm ~ Remembering Pain

Geoffrey,

Last night and today especially in the morning was loud with the thinking of purchasing things and wanting to cut, bruise and burn. Last night, I played the recording that I have on the micro cassette recorder and fell asleep to it. This morning, I could not concentrate on work.

I'm feeling really disconnect right now. Feeling this way on and off today with moments of being on the verge of tears. Also, feeling anxious and a bit fearful. Feeling bad about sharing the fantasies. Keep thinking, I'm bad for having them...and then project that you thing I'm a horrible person for having them.

I feel really shut down. A lot like I did as a teenager and younger. Now, I am a bit tearful. So many different feelings...anger, rage, terror, confusion, abandonment, hurt and pain. I feel achy all over and my chest and throat hurts. Feels like I got hit in the stomach. Remember feeling kind of empty, hopeless and alone. Just seems like so many things were really painful. One of the most difficult parts is feeling hopeless and anxious and not having anyone to talk to.

I felt so alone and wanted someone just to talk to who would understand and comfort me some. Right now,I just ache all over and want to cry...tearing up. Wanted so much for someone just to care about me and how I felt. Wanted not to feel like I was bad. Wanted just to feel like I belonged and that someone wanted me. Really getting tearful now, but can't cry. I want to curl up and just cry. Wanted someone to cry with. Wanted to be listened to.

Observations: I hate the dangling participles!! As I wrote this, it reminds me of my my most current slideshow and how accurately it depicted what I just wrote. By the way, I revised it...it is the unedited director version. I used a different program to put in all the picture that I wanted.

Monday, August 25, 2008

PAST JOURNAL ENTRY: August 28, 2005 ~ Hitting & Crying

Geoffrey,

After talking about the teasing...I also feel like crying which is stuck in my throat. I can also feel it in my chest and stomach. Really just wanting to just go away. Completely numb out. I remember feeling like this a lot growing up.

I am really wanting to hurt myself so much. I so much want to cut and bruise...both, one doesn't seem like enough right now. Remember, so much hurt when they teased. It was like they were intentionally being mean and felt like a personal attack on who I was, so I wanted to just go away disappear and die. Felt so embarrassed that I even asked or shared anything.

Had difficulty staying asleep Friday night. Kept waking up feeling like I was being teased, but mostly feeling like my mother was hitting me. Remember, so many times just sitting in my room feeling like crying, but not daring to do so. Somewhere very, very early I decided not to cry. And it became easy to shut it down quickly where no one would notice. Crying would just create more difficulties. Either, I would get teased more. Or if if was related to an argument, or getting hit or screamed at, it would just make it worse. On/off flashing back to sitting in my room or lying in my bed feeling like crying. Seems like I wanted to cry quite frequently.

Some flashbacks are of my mother slapping me...scared me so much and I felt so trapped...couldn't move because it would make her more angry and she would hit me more. Couldn't say anything and I wouldn't dare cry, no matter what...it would just make it worse. Just pretend nothing happened which is what she did too.

Remember, how hard she would hit, sometimes knocking me off balance, sometimes, she would grab me up off the floor, sometimes she'd knock my glasses off my face. I remember some how how hard she would hit. Sometimes, it would sting for a long time after she left. It really hurt. And sometimes it really, really hurt if she caught my cheek bone with her wedding ring which was really heavy. Feeling panicky now.

Sometimes, she would use her right hand, but mostly, she would use he left hand. She was able to use both with equal force. Sometimes, she would grab my arm and hold me when she slapped me which meant she was really angry, so it hurt more and then it could mean multiple slaps. I just wanted to hide my face which would have made it worse.

A couple of times, I bit the inside of my lip or cheek and bleed, but never let her see it. Afterward, I just went to the restroom and rinsed my mouth out. When I was older, she it harder and sometimes slugged me with her fist on my back which was worse because I was usually taken off guard some as she came from behind. She would knock the wind out of me. She rarely left marks except for maybe some small bruises on my arms. Sometimes, she would be completely silent and just leave, other times, she would be screaming at me...never understood what I did wrong.

It was so much worse if she was screaming because that would enrage my step-father and he would grab me and start screaming in my face. Sometimes, I would hit myself afterward or later that evening or the next day. When I was a little older, I would either cut or bruise. What I really wanted to do, but could not even do so by myself is cry and scream.

Sometimes, I could identify what I did wrong, but that was rare. Funny thing is that when I actually did something wrong, my mother usually lectured and grounded me which was rare. Sometimes, she would ignore what I did. Really confusing and unpredictable.

I'm really feeling like cutting and bruising. Numb out. Feel bad. Feel sick and keep having flashbacks. Want the feeling to stop. My feelings were hurt a lot...realizing maybe I wasn't too sensitive, but that is was just really bad. I feel like crying and it is still stuck.

Observations: When I first wrote this two years ago, I was really for the first time writing down somewhat of how bad my mother used to get with hitting me. What also strikes me is my inability to cry which stopped in infancy. It currently, like my last session, is a problem because I really, really feel like crying, but all my defenses are extremely high (fragmenting, suicidal thoughts, want to injure myself, etc...) There just seems to be so much prohibition to not cry. I can really feel it now and I just ache all over and my throat, chest, stomach and neck really hurt.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"I Will Change Your Name" ~ Worship in Song!!

This is a beautiful song for those who have been hurt in their life. If it does not load properly, please click on the button "Pop-Out Player."





I Will Change Your Name
D.J. Butler

I will change your name
You shall no longer be called
Wounded, outcast
Lonely or afraid

I will change your name
Your new name shall be
Confidence, joyfulness
Overcoming one
Faithfulness, friend of God
One who seeks my face.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

"The Wright Stuff" ~ Is Teasing Torture?

Are parents who tease their own children: for having funny ears, or red hair or bit too much weight or for being a bit dim, well, are they inadvertently damaging them, filling them with complexes and insecurities. Is teasing torture or are children who grow up feeling damaged by mum and dad's hiliarious put-downs too damn sensitive? (This Weeks panel: Anne Diamond & Ed Vaizey with special guest: Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson). Please watch both videos and tell me what do you think?

These videos are from the I believe British show The Wright Stuff. The first video is a sort of introduction with the panel and the second are viewer calls.





Thursday, August 21, 2008

PAST JOURNAL ENTRY: August 25, 2005 ~ Teasing

I've been debating in my head whether or not to share this journal entry because if my family read it especially my mother, they would know this is me. However, it feels like I really need to say something because it is still a source of great embarrassment and pain. Teasing seems like such a simple thing, but both my therapist and psychiatrist used the word sadistic in describing what my mother and step-father did. No one in my family will probably read this anyway. But, I consider this a brave step.

Geoffrey,

I am remembering being teased at school about wearing the same shoes, jacket and glasses everyday..."same old." I remember coming home and telling my mother and step-father about it. They responded by laughing and repeating the same taunts and added their own like, "same old Clueless." I remember being confused and angry and like it would have been better if I hadn't said anything in the first place.

I just wanted some comfort and maybe another pair of shoes. They continued to tease me on/off for a while even years later my mother still does it now. Sometimes, it would be "Same old Clueless, Same old pants, Same old shirt, Same old dress, and same old face." The same old Clueless and face were the most hurtful. [I still am embarrassed just by writing this...like something is wrong with me.]

I learned not to share problems with other kids with them. I just wanted some comfort and to know how to handle it. Afterward, I just felt so bad...I was being too sensitive and wanted just to die. I walked away feeling a little angry...and ended up being told, "Same old Clueless is being too sensitive again."

I remember my best friend in Elementary school telling me she was 1/4 (insert race) [well, now you know, I'm not Caucasian!] and I came home and told them and asked how much (insert race) was I? They immediately laughed. I felt so embarrassed, like I shouldn't have asked, I should already know, it was a silly question. My stomach sank and my throat got tight. [I teared up the first time I wrote this]

My mother asked what makes you think that you are not all (insert race). I said I didn't know, but my friend isn't, so how much am I. I remember feeling so ashamed for not knowing. I'm not even sure I ever got an answer. But, they both continued to tease me even after I was married and my step-father was out of the picture, my mother called me "1/4 Clueless."

I was really confused. I thought I was asking a simple question. I didn't understand genetics. [I didn't know exactly what my biological parent were and my step-father was Caucasian. I feel really ashamed just writing this.] I just wanted my question answered. I stopped asking too many questions or asked my grandparents.

I remember learning in school about embryos and that at the beginning you can't differentiate human ones from some animal ones. One area of commonality is that a small tail forms on both. She explained that in humans it became the tail bone and in animals it develops into a tail. I was really excited and thought it was interesting, so I came home and told my mother and step-father when they came home.

They wouldn't let me finish and started teasing me and kept saying "where is your tail." By then, I was so flustered that I couldn't remember the answer and said something like it goes in your pants. They started laughing even more and asked me to pull out my tail. They were laughing so hard and I was so humiliated. They even told the rest of my family. I felt like my feelings were crushed. I went to being so excited to feeling really bad that I couldn't remember the right answer. I just wanted to share something exciting. As a result, I stopped sharing even more and became more withdrawn.

I never received a telephone call, card or gift from my father except for one. It was a stuffed animal, a frog. Well, I didn't like them, but my mother and step-father thought it was funny and began making frog sounds and purchasing frog t-shirts and knick-knacks. This was really painful given my relationship with my father and that I didn't like frogs.

[This feels like a good place to insert that I have always been scared of snails. I know it is unreasonable. But, my step-father knowing this used to chase me around with them, line them on the walkway so I'd get upset, used them in some of the sexual abuse, and put them on the outside of my bedroom window. Once, while running away from him I bit my mother and lost my tooth and was she mad at me.]

[Although this was written two years ago the next two paragraphs still hold true right now.]
I felt so ashamed. Even embarrassed to write this. Felt humiliating. I can hear them laughing. Sometimes, I would hit myself with my fist. What makes it worse is that they would tease for at least everyday, several times a day for about a week, then occasionally. But, my mother still brings it up now by saying, "Oh, you remember same old Clueless...same old face...same old shoes. You're 1/4 aren't you? Show us your tail." [It confuses my husband, but now he knows not to ask my family questions. I'll tell him later]

I just laugh it off and walk away. I'm really embarrassed and afraid to say anything fearing the same responses of more teasing or being told I'm just too sensitive or that I'm making a big deal out of nothing.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

PAST JOURNAL ENTRY: August 23, 2005

Geoffrey,

I've been feeling tearful on and off for the past couple of weeks. Not really sure why. I think, some of it is remembering how bad I felt all the time and how anxious and overwhelmed and scared. Also, realizing how young the self-injury began and the circumstance of my family and how I wouldn't cry.

Yesterday, at the end of the session, was really difficult because usually the flashbacks are more isolated to one room...like I'm not aware of the whole atmosphere or the other rooms in the house. But, it was like I was literally in my room at the apartment and was aware of the whole place, the atmosphere, the sounds, the sounds outside, feeling my feet on the carpet, just aware of all my surroundings. It was quite disturbing because how I felt then went with it.

It was like I was standing in my room after my mother came in and yelled at me, grabbed me and slapped me during an argument with my step-father. I remember how bad I felt and how confused I was and feeling really alone and scared to move or say anything. I just stood in the middle of my room feeling like crying, but not daring to do so.

So easy to make the tears go away. Wanting so much to just disappear and die. Not understanding what I did wrong. And afraid she would come in again. Remember Gene turning up the volume of the television and my mother banging around in the kitchen. The dilemma, do I go in and offer to help to calm her down or will it make it worse or will she suddenly call me angry that I didn't know that she wanted help. (my stomach, chest and throat hurt)

In that position so many times. She really did hit a lot and I was scared all the time. After a while it didn't hurt anymore and I got a little more attuned when it was going to happen, so I was able to brace myself and numb out a little. And, she yelled or screamed at me quite frequently. Sometimes, it would anger my step-father then he'd start screaming at me. I was terrified...he'd get that look in his eyes and would grab my arm and get right in my face. I couldn't move because of the way he held my arm. I hurt too.

I can hear them yelling at each other and at me in my head...it is so loud and I just want to die. I was so scared all the time. I used to bruise or burn myself sometimes just to numb out or stop myself from crying. I used to hit myself after my-step father would touch me. I used to think that he only used his fingers when I was in bed except for the time at his parents, but he did more. I feel like crying. It was on the days that he would take care of me. It was in the morning.

Seems like there was yelling almost constantly from before I was even born. Feels like I was scared of everyone my mother, my step-father, his father, my father, and his father.

I also remember I liked living with my grandparents and grandpa walking me to school, kindergarten. Also, remembering wishing I could disappear or that I needed to die because they argued about me, my mother and father. Afterward, I was never sure if she was going to come to me angry or wanting my comfort.

I remember a few times waiting on the porch for him and them arguing before we left. I remember his apartment and sleeping on the couch staring at the Cheerios on top of the refrigerator. Remember being afraid of his temper. He was really strict, so I felt like I was afraid to say anything. One time, he spanked me with his belt with my pants down because I spilled the cereal. I was three and terrified. Slowly, the visits stopped and were never overnight or where he lived.

Just seems like I was scared and anxious all the time...don't really remember not being so. Felt so alone, my stomach, chest and throat hurt again. Every now and then, I get like a wave of sadness or fear go through my body. I remember feeling that much of the time. I can't cry even though I feel like it.

The arguing, my mother or my step-father screaming at me, my mother slapping me and the bruising and burning happened a lot more than I thought I wanted to acknowledge. Keep having waves of anxiety and wanting to cry. I guess, that is what it was like then, all the time, even when it was quiet. It didn't take much for it to change in a split second. I think panic and overwhelmed are good descriptions of how I felt. On edge is a good one too.

Hurting myself numbed me out...also, a way to express my anger and how bad I felt. Feels like there was so much pressure to do the "right thing." Remember how painful and confusing the teasing was and how bad I felt. Wanting to immediately cry and feeling really crushed...I eventually stopped sharing even positive stuff and asking questions. Numb out...just go away. Slowly disappearing and losing myself.

Can't remember when I stopped crying I know we talked about that it probably happened in infancy. I feel kind of a numb sadness. I can hear so much yelling in my head...feels a little crazy...like I don't have control to turn it off or lower the volume. Sometimes, this goes through my head during the day. Feeling like crying or screaming or both.

Observations: I don't preview what is coming next in my journal, I usual just write as I go. However, I would swear this sounds like I completed the slideshow in time for this journal entry because so much of it is contained in the images. It is also a little of where I am at with still trying to accept and come to terms with how bad it was and how bad my acting out was. I still can't cry even though it feels like I would feel better if I could just sob.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Forgot To Write a Post & Slept Like a "Normal" Person

Good Morning (at least for me)!!!! I like to post on a daily basis and usually write them in advance, so it posts at 12:01 am. However, I forgot last night and went to bed figuring I usually wake up early, so I'll write it then. Well, I slept like a "normal" person. I went to sleep about 10:30 pm and woke up at 5:45 am while my husband was getting ready for work.
I thought, I was awake and turned on the computer and began to do stuff. However, when my husband came to give me coffee. I was sleeping with in front of the computer, so I went back to bed and got up around 7:30 am. So, change of plans. I'm writing a different post than expected.

The slideshow really took a lot out of me emotionally and somewhere along the way I disconnected my feelings from the content, so I was really numb yesterday when I went to therapy. However, my "wonderful" therapist "helped" me to reconnect to myself those feelings about what happened. I know it is helpful and what I'm supposed to do, but I feel like an angry little kid going, "It isn't fair. I don't want to do this." It does feel good to be present to myself, but it also is quite painful which is just sucky!!

The slideshows and Wordles are quite therapeutic. I was telling my therapist that I wish the current one could have been longer, but I'm limited to 100 pictures. I had over 200 to sort through and omit to 100. (I just realized that I could do it in Picasa.) Yesterday, I decided to start another blog that is sort of another page to this one. It will only have fingerpainting, slideshows, poetry, Wordles and whatever else seems to fit. I'm still just figuring out how I want the page formatted, then I will start adding things including fingerpainting that I've omitted from this site. When it is ready for viewing, I'll put a link on this blog. Oh, the name is COURAGEOUS EXTRAS. Thanks to an anonymous reader who has renamed me.

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Truth ~ My Childhood Slideshow

This slide show will be triggering, so if you are not in a good place do not watch it!!! Don't even try to push yourself!! If you are triggered, please go to your safe places and people. You can also blog or write a long comment. I don't mind and Blogger seems to take it. Be gentle with yourself.

This particular slideshow has been in the works on and off for a couple of weeks. I felt compelled to put it together and at the same time it repelled me. I did not want to deal with the content. I do note that there is some lack of emotional words, but the pictures speak louder than words.

I am very apprehensive about posting this one and there is shame at what I experienced and what I have done. Again, is it really okay to share what is really inside. Also, I don't want to believe that it is about me and I am afraid of how people will respond because it is difficult for me to watch. Yet, another step of telling my truth ~ my childhood. And, the fears that come.

I also really did this slideshow for my process which also means that there are some things that won't make any sense, but to me. Don't worry about not getting it. Thanks.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Word of God Speak" ~ Worship in Song!!

All I can tell you is that when I was selecting a song for today, this one spoke to my heart and I found it comforting to think of resting in His Holiness without words, yet with Him knowing exactly what I am saying.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

ABC's of Aging from Doc's Place

Okay, now I am stealing this whole piece from Doc's Place, which is a fantastic blog. He posted it on 8/10/08 and I thought it was hilarious. I think I'm getting older. The rest of this post is from him sort of. Well, you will understand what I mean.

I have no idea from where I copied the 25 Things You Should Have Learned by Middle Age, so if I have used anyone’s original material, please let me know and I will credit you as the source. The Aging ABCs came from the EONS newsletter and were submitted there by “Steve.”


25 Things You Should Have Learned by Middle Age

1. If you're too open-minded, your brains will fall out.

2. Don't worry about what people think; they don't do it very often.

3. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

4. It ain't the jeans that make your butt look fat.

5. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

6. My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance.

7. Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.

8. It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.

9. For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.

10. If you look like your passport picture, you probably need the trip.

11. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of pay checks.

12. A conscience is what hurts when all of your other parts feel so good.

13. Eat well, stay fit, die anyway.

14. Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.

15. No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes.

16. A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.

17. Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places.

18. Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.

19. Junk is something you've kept for years and throw away three weeks before you need it.

20. There is always one more imbecile than you counted on.

21. Experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.

22. By the time you can make ends meet, they move the ends.

23. Thou shalt not weigh more than thy refrigerator.

24. Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world.
25. If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before.

The Aging ABC’s

A is for Apple, and B is for Boat,
That used to be right, but now it won't float!
Age before Beauty is what we once said,
But let's be a bit more realistic instead.
Now - -

A is for arthritis;

B is the bad back,

C is the chest pains, perhaps car-d-iac?

D is for dental decay and decline,

E is for eyesight, can't read that top line!

F is for fissures and fluid retention,

G is for gas which I'd rather not mention.

H is high blood pressure -- I'd rather it low;

I for incisions with scars you can show,

J is for joints, out of socket, won't mend,

K is for knees that crack when they bend.

L for libido, what happened to sex?

M is for memory, I forget what comes next!

N is neuralgia, in nerves way down low;

O is for osteo, the bones that don't grow!

P for prescriptions, I have quite a few, just give me a pill and
I'll be good as new!

Q is for queasy, is it fatal or flu?

R is for reflux, one meal turns to two.

S is for sleepless nights, counting my fears,

T is for Tinnitus; there's bells in my ears!

U is for urinary; big troubles with flow;

V is for vertigo, that's "dizzy," you know.

W is for worry, NOW what's going 'round?

X is for X-ray, and what might be found.

Y is another year I'm left here behind,

Z is for zest I still have -- in my mind.

I've survived all the symptoms, my body's deployed,
And I'm keeping six doctors fully employed

Respect thy elders, even when they drool on you.
From Steve in the EONS Squeaking By Retirement Group
Peace, Doc

“Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth …” – Ecclesiastes 11:9

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I can't stop fragmenting!!! Today's therapy session.

Geoffrey,
Thank you for this week and especially for today’s session. I know that I’ve been really having a difficult time for the past 3-4 weeks. My fragmentation has been really bad and many times I can’t seem to get out of feeling like I’m bad which makes what everyone else says and does feel critical and rejecting. Most of the time, I know I’m fragmenting, but can’t seem to get out of it. Until today, I haven’t been able to tell you what has been going on in my head, so I’ve been feeling misunderstood and not heard. But, I haven’t been able to tell you anything.

The suicidal thoughts are loud and constant for this past week with, “I want to die.” I just feel so overwhelmed, confused, hopeless, misunderstood, unheard, bad, etc… I also know that this is part of my fragmenting. It felt good to talk about it and how difficult the fragmentation has been. When you brought up hospitalization, it felt good to discuss it even though I don’t want it. I have thought about it either because I’m just so tired of fighting, fragmenting and dealing with the suicidal thoughts. I am also glad that you trust me in making that decision with you.

Between talking about abandonment, the BPD series, the last Wordle about things my mother said and my working on another slide show and everything being so loud in my head. Until today, I just haven’t been able to find the words to get it out. I feel relieved today after talking. I’m tired of being depressed, dealing with all the thoughts and memories and I’m angry that I have to go through this. I’ve been gathering pictures for the slide show and it seems like it is going to be more graphic regarding the abuse and self-injury, so I’m not sure that I will share it in a post. Or maybe, it would be good for the comments. Whatever, I feel like I want to put it together. It is also some of what has been rattling in my head.

I know all the stuff I mentioned and the flashbacks have brought up all of the feelings that I really didn’t feel. I’m fragmenting because I am having difficulty separating then from now. I feel so tired. I am also really grateful for your being there for me and that I trust you enough to talk. Now, if I can stop fragmenting long enough to say something in session that would be good. Today felt good and shitty at the same time. But, mostly I feel relieved. I am also really grateful for the blog and the support I receive from the blog community. I’m just in a bad space right now, but today helped. “I want to die,” is still there, but not as loud.

Feeling overwhelmed ~ Gap in Time

I'm skipping over a huge period of journaling in 2005 which is most of the month of August 2005. Going over it was too overwhelming and had a lot to do with working, my relationship with Geoffrey and my continuing to self-injure. It was getting worse and I was feeling really disconnected and fragmenting a lot to the point where everything he was saying was "critical" to me. Some of it was, but most of it wasn't.

Geoffrey had become frustrated with my increasing frequency and intensity of bruising. Sometimes, it was everyday and several times during that day. It escalated to my hitting myself from my thighs to the top of my buttocks with a wooden spoon over 200 times at a time leaving welts and bruises. At times, it would also include taking a plastic hairbrush and removing the nubs and hitting myself at least until I was bleeding all over the area and then 100 time more once the bleeding started.

Right now, I am feeling so ashamed, embarrassed and in shock that I actually am going to post this. I actually feel kind of sick from anxiety of potential reactions. The only thing that I could tell you is that I wanted to numb out, I was feeling like I was bad, and like I needed to be punished partly for talking about the sexual abuse more. It was like I really wanted to injure myself to the point of thinking of breaking a bone.

Geoffrey says that my symptoms were/are severe which matches the abuse that I describe. It makes the puzzle pieces fall into place. This is hard for me to really take hold of and admit. Which is also where I am stuck in therapy right now. I don't want to admit how bad things were or how sick my mother is because then I have to deal with that reality of it was that bad.

I feel like every part of me wants to scream, "no, it was not that bad." I'm not really sure why. I think, part of it is because I don't want to feel the pain of how bad it was growing up. After this afternoon's session, I also think that I am angry that I have to learn how to comfort myself now because my mother never did that for me. I comforted her.

I just don't really understand there is so much in my head right now that I feel like I'm spinning and really need to talk with Geoffrey, but somehow I stop myself. Today, I heard what he was saying as I wasn't doing enough and I was purposefully resisting treatment. A part of me knows that wasn't what he was saying and the BPD part is in "I'm bad," so everything is getting filtered through that. I want to curl up and die. I think, I'll take a couple of my PRNs and take a nap.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

PAST JOURNAL ENTRY: July 31, 2005 ~ 6:15 pm ~ Part II

Geoffrey,

Since Friday, I've also been having flashbacks of the things we've been talking about and other incidents. Keep having the feeling of being trapped, terrified and unable to move, speak or cry. Having difficulty with the idea that they were mean or sadistic, even though a par of me knows it is true. I feel a little sad and tearful right now.

Remembering John's hand over my mouth and just how scared I was of him because he was so big, felt like his hand could cover my whole face. I also keep feeling that the day program staff, holding me down by grabbing my arms and holding them above my head on the mat. I remember my skin sticking including my back side when he pushed. I keep rubbing my arms to try to make the feeling go away. I can feel him holding my shoulders into the mat while his friend hut me. Remembering being pinned to the ground in the park by him and pushing his legs into mine, so he could put his hands in my underwear.

Remember going away when Richard, co-worker in 1990, pinned me to the wall and becoming panicked when I was pinned to the couch, floor or wall during a date which was always the last date and I always cut and/or bruised afterwards.

Remember, my step-father holding me down when he touched me or had me touch him. I can feel him grab my right wrist and pull it toward him or push my head into his lap. When he would go inside or put his fingers there, I can feel him holding me down. But, after awhile just the look in his eyes had the same effect. Same look that his father could get, but mostly he pretended that nothing was going on and knew I wasn't going to make a sound or say anything. Even remembering how similar it felt (trapped, terrified and unable to move, speak or cry) when my mother would grab my arm to yell or hit me.

I didn't want to write about any of this stuff because I keep thing I'm making this up or that it is insignificant or that I've already said these things, but your message on my voice mail about the flashbacks helped.

This weekend, I keep feeling bad that I feel angry, scared and hurt that you left town. I'm not as angry as in the past and I think the check in calls and help. Not that I'm not angry, but it seems this time I feel more scared and hurt. Hurt because I feel abandoned. Really scared that you are not going to come back. Then, I feel bad. What you said on the tape and having you coffee mug helps. Also, feel bad that I'm excited that I'll see you tomorrow.

The suicidal thoughts, wanting to die, planning on purchases and wanting to cut and bruise have been really loud. However, tomorrow will be eight days without harming myself.

Observations: I still can't believe that I was working full time during all of these flashbacks. I still have them, but they are not as intense and they are more about feelings then sensations. Also, Geoffrey was only gone for the weekend and my borderline thinking always kicked in especially the fear of abandonment. It is better now, but still is a problem for me. Why in the world was I working...to prove to myself that I was okay...NOT!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

PAST JOURNAL ENTRY: July 31, 2005 ~ 6:15 pm ~ Part I

Geoffrey,

I've been thinking about what my husband told me about his conversation with my mother's husband. I am really reacting to it. Three things: (1) my mother getting angry, but not telling him for a few days and probably calling me then; (2) not being able to say anything negative when asked for his opinion; and (3) if he says anything to defend himself, when she is angry and yelling at him that it just makes her more angry and the situation worse...as he put it, "he goes to the bottom of the barrel."

Makes me tear up...really validated that things were really this way, but she has gotten a lot better, more mellow. Also, triggered memories of how she was with me, the arguments she had with my step-father or how she treats me now. Feeling sadness, fear and anger. Actually, more PRT (pain, rage, terror). Sometimes, I do these things and I feel bad about that.

My mother used to do all of the with my step-father all the time. Big difference is that he would argue too and it would escalate into their big arguments and fights. He basically needed to be right and so did she. He would say whatever he wanted and was on his mind. Sometimes, it seemed they would end up in an argument because they both needed to. Mom mother would do what her current husband said.

With me, I did more of what her husband does...I didn't say how I was feeling or what I was thinking and tried to calm her down if I said the wrong thing. Sometimes, it would be something seemingly neutral or insignificant that I would say in response or that I would initiate and she would blow up. Just as she does now with her husband. It didn't happen all the time which was worse to me as it was so unpredictable. I think I just stopped talking in these situations and didn't give my opinion. I also learned this in other situations. But, this happened frequently enough.

Thinking, she probably got angry with me because I wasn't available when she wanted to talk about being angry on vacation. Also, thinking that with the other two situations it is about mirroring. Like a child, she was wanting someone to mirror, or validate, that she was justified in being angry. She becomes angry if you don't mirror her thoughts and feelings.

I adjusted to her and really stopped giving my own thoughts or feelings. The being angry and not saying why was really bad when she did that to me. But, mostly she did this all the time with my step-father, but during those events the silent periods could last a week or more. But usually a few days, but she would verbally or physically lash our at me more frequently.

Makes me feel overwhelmed and panicky now thinking about it. I felt so trapped and like I needed to fix it which I sort of did my attending to her and trying to calm her down or keep her company often foregoing my own activities. Writing this makes me realize more that I really lost myself. Feel tearful. What her husband said really helped to validate my experience. I've been having flashbacks of being in those situations everywhere and especially on the holidays.

Observations: This really fits right in with the BPD series. I didn't time it, I just happened to be where I was in my past journals. I think it illustrates some of her BPD behavior. It makes me think and feel more of what was stirred up during it. I'm still trying to process and feeling emotional raw and vulnerable with the series. It really has taken a lot more out of me than expected. I guess, part of the problem is that I really do not want to believe that she was that sick and that growing up was that bad.

Monday, August 11, 2008

PAST JOURNAL ENTRY: July 29, 2005 ~ Evening

Geoffrey,

My husband was talking with my mother's husband the other day. They talked about his and my mother's vacation including her becoming angry with him. He reported that my mother got angry at him when he didn't say, "goodbye." before leaving to go shooting with the guys. But, she wouldn't tell him she was angry or why, but he knew she was angry. The next day, he did the same thing which, I'm thinking, she became angrier. She didn't tell him until after four days of being angry why she was.

I told my husband that I bet that was the day she called me on the second or third day she was angry, which she probably became angrier, because I wasn't immediately available. I called her back several times, but she never answered or called me back. She was probably angry with me.

Anyway, he went on to tell my husband that he has to be careful if she asks for his opinion as because if it doesn't match hers or is not positive, she may become angry and defensive. He also said something to the effect that if she is angry with him that it is better not to say anything or try to defend himself as she just becomes more angry and you get into more trouble.

When my husband told me, I began to cry a little because I know what he was talking about first hand and it was validating. Now, my mother's husband, her third, is a very intelligent man who can certainly defend himself, but doesn't, most of the time, to keep my mother calm. If she can do that with an adult man, I wonder what that was like for me? Also, my mother's husband usually does not talk much and definitely about things like this, so it must have really effected him.

Observations: My next journal entry goes into my reaction. But, after finishing the BPD series, this makes a lot more sense. Do you think my mother would have a problem if I gave her husband, "Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder" as a gift. LOL!!! I'm just kidding. Things are tenuous enough with my mother as it is. At least, I can joke about it. I do feel sorry for him, even though I know he can take care of himself.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Beijing Summer Olympics 2008

I actually saw this on another blog and thought that it was well done and held my attention and interest, so I wanted to share it. It is about two American's who about a year ago when to see how things in China were shaping up. The two new structures to me are amazing. I'd love to see those in person and read more about it. I hope you enjoy this.

Friday, August 8, 2008

"In the year 2525 (exordium and terminus)" by Zager and Evans

To tell you how strange of a child I was, this is one of the first songs where I memorized the lyrics. I literally grew up with music all around me, so I know the late 60's music and 70's music very well. This is a one hit wonder by Zager and Evans that spent six weeks at the number one spot on the American Billboard Hot 100 Chart in June 1969 and in the UK in August 1969. (I guess, I have always liked Science Fiction type stuff.)



Thursday, August 7, 2008

"The Electric Company" ~ Blast From My Past!!!

The Electric Company was a children's show from the early 70's which I loved. It debuted in 1971. This is the first season's introduction. See below for more details.

A very young Morgan Freeman was one of the ensemble cast. He is Count Dracula for this number about a "casket." Bill Cosby was also a member. See below for more details.

The Electric Company is an educational American children's television series which was produced by the Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) for PBS in the United States. PBS broadcast 780 episodes over the course of eight seasons, from 1971 to 1977. After it ceased production that year, the program continued in reruns until 1985. CTW produced the show at Reeves Teletape Second Stage in Manhattan.

The Electric Company employed sketch comedy and other devices to provide an entertaining program to help children of elementary-school age develop their reading skills. It was intended for children who had graduated from CTW's flagship program, Sesame Street. Appropriately enough, the humor was also that much more mature than what was seen there.

The original cast included Morgan Freeman, Rita Moreno (it was Moreno who screamed "Hey, you guyyyyys!!" to open the show in seasons two, five, and six and first screamed the phrase in episode 19), Bill Cosby, Judy Graubart, Lee Chamberlin, and Skip Hinnant. Most of the cast had done stage, repertory, and improv work, with Cosby and Moreno already well-known from film and television. Ken Roberts, who was best known as a soap-opera announcer, was the narrator of some of the segments during the first season.

(Above information from Wikipedia)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I'm Feeling A Bit More Depressed!

Today, I wasn't going to post anything at all, but I woke up realizing that I was feeling more depressed than "normal." For the last two days, I've been sleeping on/off throughout the day. 1-2 hours up and 1-2 hours sleeping. I'm tired, but it feels more like an escaping kind of thing. Not, that I can do anything about falling asleep at the computer, my desk or table.

I had lots of things I could have scheduled to post today, but I just did not feel like dealing with it. Just like, I did not feel like doing my homework assignment from my therapist focusing on abandonment from my mother. Yes, we got into that Monday. I'm not happy about it and don't want to discuss it.

But, it came up because of my borderline personality disorder series. I don't think I realize how much that took out of me emotionally. Or even, how much I revealed about my mother and I. So, again I put myself out there and tell the truth. What always happens, my symptoms go up, so that is part of the reason for being more depressed.

I also think that the two panic attacks, last Wednesday and Friday, is still rattling around in my brain with I did something wrong and it is a set back. When in actuality, my therapist told me that I handled it well and that I could not have done anything to prevent it. Also, in that somewhere is trusting and allowing my husband and my therapist to take care of me and letting that feel good. With that came the realization, that I've always longed for that, but my mother couldn't provide it. What always happens, my symptoms go up, so that is part of the reason for being more depressed.

Okay, now I get it. Now, what to do. Or do I do nothing and just ride it out. Now, I am feeling my depression. I suppose it is a good thing. I guess, at least, I have something to talk about in therapy today.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Borderline Personality Disorder ~ Part V ~ Common Traits

To close my Borderline Personality Disorder Series, I wanted to review some common traits and terms relating to BPD. I hope the series was informative and helpful. Some of the information below comes from two books that I highly recommend which are Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder and Surviving a Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self Esteem. They will be noted in parenthesis as Eggshells and Surviving.

Undefined Boundaries: Because the person with BPD has such a blurred sense of self in relation to others, enmeshment, or emotional entanglement, is common. Borderline parents may treat their children as an extension of themselves, almost like one of their limbs, expecting them to wear the same style clothes, hold the same opinions, or to side with them in disagreements with a spouse or other family members.

The person with BPD may be jealous of the child’s relationship with the other parent and extended family members. The thought process appears to be, ‘If you love your father, you must not love me,’ ‘If you want to spend time with someone else, you’re abandoning me. If you have a relationship with someone else, you’re disloyal to me.” (Surviving)

Although I do not seem to have a problem in this area, my mother sure did. As I stated in an earlier article, I often felt like I was an extension of her. We do/did have similar taste in clothing however. And if she likes a certain food item, she is certain that I will even though I have already told her I don’t. She will insist I eat it. But, it really showed when it came to disagreements, she would often complain to me about my step-father or other people and unless I took her side, she would become angry at me. So, I always took her side even if I disagreed. She does this with everyone in the family to this day.
Lack of Object Constancy: One of the necessary, but painful tasks that children need to learn is object constancy. It is the ability to know that mommy and daddy exist and love me even when I don’t see them. This also teaches them to soothe themselves rather than to rely on others. However, a person with BPD has difficulty if that person is not physically present. To them they just do not exist on an emotional level. They will require or demand things to make sure you are really there such as excessive telephone calls and may become anxious if their spouse isn’t on home right on time. To alleviate and cope with the fears and anxiety of perceived abandonment they may use pictures, letters, colognes, etc. It is much like a child uses a favorite blanket or toy to represent the nurturing parent.

For me, this was and is an extremely painful area because I have an extremely shaky sense of object constancy especially with my therapist. Not seeing him on the weekends is hard and when he goes on vacation I almost always feel abandoned. This is why I have a pillow from his office that I take to and from my sessions. When things were really tough, I had voice recordings and greeting cards from him. The pillow is comforting to me and I sleep with it by my head and it went with me to every group meeting when I was in the hospital. Now, I still have difficulty with vacations and holidays and long weekends, but they are a little easier. I still feel really uneasy inside and a little ungrounded though.
Situational Competence: “Some people with BPD are competent and in control in some situations. For example, many perform very well at work and are high achievers. Many are very intelligent, creative and artistic. This can be very confusing for family members who don’t understand why the person can act so assuredly in one situation and fall apart in another. This ability to have competence in difficult situations while being incompetent in seemingly equal or easier tasks is known as situational competence.

By way of explanation, one borderline woman says, ‘We know deep within that we are defective. So we try so hard to act normal because we want so much to please everybody and keep the people in our lives from abandoning us.’ But this competence is a double-edged sword. Because they can appear so normal, high-functioning borderlines often don’t get the help they need.” (Eggshells)

This fits me perfectly which has frequently created difficulties, but none bigger than during this current major depressive episode which I’ve been writing about. I’ve received many comments about how I could work during all of what was going on. Well, I did and when I needed hospitalization, it came as a surprise to everyone and my co-workers all had to assist with keeping my caseload up to date just as we would for anyone. Well, apparently during my three and a half week hospitalization and one month off after that, which wasn’t enough (but I had to prove I was okay to myself ), I did not return to a supportive environment.

I returned to a more demanding and hostile environment. I was expected to take on my own duties and additional duties my first day back. And, I was informed that my co-workers were resentful as it was like I left things a mess and took a vacation. Now, these are social workers and all knew that it was a psychiatric hospitalization. They thought that I was just trying to get out of work. It was an extremely painful way to return and resulted in further decompensation. I won’t go into details, but the union was assisting me.

Narcissistic Demands: “Some people with BPD frequently bring the focus of attention back to themselves. They may react to most things based solely on how it affects them. Some people with BPD draw attention to themselves by complaining of illness; others may act inappropriately in public. These self-involved characteristics are defining components of narcissism.

I do this some, but not anymore than the average person. However, my mother does do these type of things, in fact, my husband commented once that she was like a child in public with her being inappropriate like swinging between two carpet sample stands. I may act silly, but usually not inappropriate per my husband. (So, not just my opinion…although, he may be biased.)
Manipulation or Desperation?: Loved ones of a person with BPD often feel manipulated and lied to by their BPD loved ones. Their loved one with BPD may feel like they are controlling, taking advantage or them via their rages, suicidal threats, gestures and attempts. It is often viewed as manipulation by the non-borderline loved one instead of a means to cope with intense painful feelings or a way to get their needs met. Their intention is not to harm someone else. They are acting out of fear, loneliness, desperation and hopelessness in the only way they know how to get their needs especially for comfort met.

This one is a tough one for me to answer and it isn’t because I don’t have an answer, it is because I am embarrassed and feel bad about how I act sometimes. In terms, of my mother, I’ve already answered this more than enough. But, when it comes to me, I really haven’t written about the “ugly” side of my being borderline. Five years ago, when most of this started, it was really difficult for my husband and I. He says that he was not sure that he could handle it.

I would go into these rages and pick fights with him from daily to three times per week. Without provocation, I’d me like my mother, I would be yelling and screaming at him for every little thing. I know now that I was trying to make him feel as badly as I felt. Sometimes, I would just start throwing things, not at him…just throwing. I felt so out of control. I really felt like I was going crazy because it was like I had no control over how angry I was or what I did. It was really, really stressful for both of us. My therapist really helped him to understand what was going on with me and to handle things and reassure him that it wasn’t him. I was afraid I was going to be just like my mother; however, it was pointed out that I would always eventually realize what was going on and apologize.

Through therapy and because of working through some of my anger, I am now much more aware and do not do this anymore to that degree. I may try to pick a verbal argument, but nothing more and my husband knows how to handle it so it doesn’t last long or happen frequently. It still happens, but it isn’t as intense.

Acting In, Acting Out: “Those that act out tend to function well in public; they are doctors and managers, lawyers and parents, best friends and board members; they’re politicians and teachers. They are often fun to be around. They may be ambitious, successful professionally, the life of the party, sociable and great storytellers. They may have a knack for putting others at ease. Once out of the public eye, however, they direct their negative emotion at others-usually family members-pointing an accusatory finger, making impossible demand, and inflicting verbal, emotional and sometimes physical abuse on loved ones. (Some adult children recall being told as adolescents that they were ugly, unpopular, and wouldn’t amount to anything, for example.) From outward appearances, the person with BPD may seem the model of competence and normalcy.

Others with BPD act in, tending instead to turn negative emotion inward, resulting in self-destructive behaviors such as cutting, self-mutilation, abusing alcohol or drugs, feeling intensely guilty for circumstances and events beyond their control, setting unreasonable high standards for themselves, or attempting suicide. They tend to be heavy utilizers of the mental health, and health care systems, and may have difficulty keeping a permanent job.” (Parent)

My therapist explained that BPD is about rage and which direction it gets turned. My mother’s obviously is completely turned outward and mine for the most part is turned inward. The difference from this description from me is that I also had the high degree of competence, so there was a lot more pressure that I placed upon myself. I left very little room for my anger to go anywhere, but inward and sometimes outward toward my husband.

One thing I do want to highlight is that many of the people that are similar to me you would never know that they were BPD unless they were in an unusually stressful situation because they are high achievers and may be the at the top of their fields as physicians, CEOs, teachers, psychologists, social workers, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, pastors, pastor’s wives, managers, lawyers, etc…I am one of those types and it is very difficult to maintain the over-functioning which is a defense from feeling what is really going on inside.

Dissociation:
a mental process that causes a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memory and sense of identity. Dissociation seems to fall on a continuum of severity. Mild dissociation would be like daydreaming, getting “lost” in a book, or when you are driving down a familiar stretch of road and realize that you do not remember the last several miles. A severe and more chronic form of dissociation is seen in the disorder Dissociative Identity Disorder, once called Multiple Personality Disorder, and other Dissociative Disorders. (definition taken from
www.MentalHealthAmerica.net) My therapist and I also refer to dissociation as “going away” or “leaving.” Remember it is on a continuum.


This is something that I do frequently especially when experiencing intense emotions. 20 years ago, in therapy, there were times when I would just go away for the whole session. It wasn’t safe for me to talk. Recently, I am beginning to realize how frequently I have done this my whole life. There are times now when I have some time gaps or don’t remember a conversation. This doesn’t happen very often and doesn’t seem to interfere with my daily activities most of the time.

However, there was a period where, I was almost not able to drive because I was becoming disoriented in familiar places. It was like I had no idea where I was or what to do. That was really scary and was due to the intensity of therapy at the time. I’ve mostly just highlighted the most severe experiences, but there are little ones all along the way…like when I’m typing a post, like this one.


Fragmentation:
a mental process where a person becomes intensely emotionally focused on one aspect of themselves, such as “I am angry” or “no one loves me,” to the point where all thoughts, feelings and behavior demonstrate this emotional state, in which, the person does not or is unable to take into account the reality of their environment, others or themselves and their resources. This is a term that my therapist and I use and is on the continuum of dissociation.

A good example of this is above where I discuss my anger with my husband. Also, there are times when I feel bad and no matter what anyone says or does, I will twist it into something that makes me bad regardless of my reality. Also, when I become angry with my therapist, there are times when it is not going to matter what he says, because I will interpret it as an attack. These instances are very painful and emotionally very intense. I will also do things like cancel appointments only to change my mind.

It is quite embarrassing, but it is part of the borderline splitting everything is bad or good and I can’t find any middle ground. The hard part is that I can’t access the part of my brain that knows differently, but I am getting better. One thing that has helped tremendously is that I have reached a new level of trusting my therapist and when in this type of situation I keep telling myself, “This is Geoffrey and we can talk anything through. He is not angry, is not going to harm me, is not going to yell or hit me.” Yes, the internal state of a borderline is quite intense and painful. This is why so many with BPD terminate therapy prematurely. I’m really glad I’m sticking it out…it is so worth it, but extremely painful and difficult.

Okay, I’ve revealed what I would call the “ugly” side of my being borderline, but all borderlines experience this pain and confuse themselves and others with their behavior. There are a multitude of areas and topics which I did not cover. Some include what to do if you have a borderline personality disorder. I did not cover it because it is very individualized and I want to encourage anyone who is experiencing difficulties to discuss it with their physician and/or to seek out treatment from a qualified professional. If you want to know more information, please look at my book suggestion list on the side bar and/or do a worldwide web search. For those with a borderline personality disorder, I hoped this series helped you to understand yourself better and gave you hope that things will get better. Also, for those with loved ones with borderline personality disorder or for those who had a parent with BPD, I hope you were encouraged and will seek assistance and support as necessary. Now, I’ll go eat my chocolate and chocolate chip cookies!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Borderline personality disorder ~ Part III ~ Overview

Change of plans again, today I had written that I would cover some general topics related to borderline personality disorder, but instead I revised Part III and this is the result which is much more readable. It no longer sounds like I'm trying to write a thesis...that was horrible, but I'm glad I noticed it early in the day and pulled it. Here is Part III revised...

According to the DSM-IV-TR (American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), the essential feature of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity that begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts.

Most of the information in this article was gathered from http://www.psychcentral.com/, http://www.mentalhealth.com/, and http://www.mayoclinic.com/ unless otherwise specified.


The prevalence of BPD is about 2% of the general population. It is seen in 10% of psychiatric outpatients, and 20% of psychiatric inpatients. This disorder is more frequent in females (about 75%) than males. Emotional instability and impulsivity are very common in adolescents, but most adolescents grow out of this behavior. Unfortunately, for some, this emotional instability and impulsivity persists and intensifies into adulthood; thus they become diagnosed with this disorder. As with other mental disorders, the causes of borderline personality disorder are complex.

The name arose because of theories in the 1940s and 1950s that the disorder was on the border between neurosis and psychosis. But, that view doesn't reflect current thinking. In fact, some advocacy groups have pressed for changing the name, such as calling it emotional regulation disorder.

Meanwhile, the cause of borderline personality disorder remains under investigation, and there's no known way to prevent it. Possible causes include:
  • Genetics. Some studies of twins and families suggest that personality disorders may be inherited.
  • Environmental factors. Many people with borderline personality disorder have a history of childhood abuse, neglect and separation from caregivers or loved ones.
  • Brain abnormalities. Some research has shown changes in certain areas of the brain involved in emotion regulation, impulsivity and aggression. In addition, certain brain chemicals that help regulate mood, such as serotonin, may not function properly.
Personality forms during childhood. It's shaped by both inherited tendencies and environmental factors, or your experiences during childhood. Some factors related to personality development can increase your risk of developing borderline personality disorder. These include:
  • Hereditary predisposition. You may be at a higher risk if a close family member — a mother, father or sibling — has the disorder.
  • Childhood abuse. Many people with the disorder report being sexually or physically abused during childhood.
  • Neglect. Some people with the disorder describe severe deprivation, neglect and abandonment during childhood.
Marsha Linehan theorizes that borderlines are born with an innate biological tendency to react more intensely to lower levels of stress than others and to take longer to recover. They peak "higher" emotionally on less provocation and take longer coming down. People with BPD are like people with third degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement. In addition, they were raised in environments in which their beliefs about themselves and their environment were continually devalued and invalidated. These factors combine to create adults who are uncertain of the truth of their own feelings.
I also agree with A.J. Mahari's theory that compliment Linehan. Mahari states, "It is the core wound of abandonment in those who have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) that is the source of insecure or non-existent attachment that leads to the toxic and unhealthy ruptured relationships that have at their centre emotional enmeshment and an insatiable need for love. These broken relationships, often rupture under the weight of the child-like behaviour and needs of the borderline still searching for the much-needed unconditional acceptance, validation and love of a parent as the result of unmet early childhood developmental needs.
Most, if not all, borderline behaviour is driven directly or indirectly by fear of abandonment and the fear of re-experiencing the intolerable pain of your original core wound of abandonment. What feels like it keeps happening to you, is in fact, a triggered, dissociative, regressed re-experiencing of what initially happened to you in the very early and formative developmental years of your life." (A.J. Mahari has a fantastic blog entitled Borderline Personality Disorder Inside Out: A.J. Mahari unravels the mysteries of Borderline Personality Disorder)
With borderline personality disorder your image of yourself is distorted, making you feel worthless and fundamentally flawed. Your anger, impulsivity and frequent mood swings may push others away, even though you yearn for loving relationships.
Individuals with BPD seem to have a much higher stigma than individuals with other disorders even within the mental health community and there is debate as to whether or not they are treatable. Many professionals will not treat people with BPD or must limit the number of patients. In order for treatment to be successful, it requires a significant commitment from the therapist and patient. My personal belief is that people with BPD can be treated. I, for one, have been receiving treatment and am near a point where I will no longer meet the criteria.
But, it has been a long time of much tumultuous and extremely painful hard work for both my therapist and I. There were times when I think both of us wanted to quit. Persons with BPD are often described, by the DSM as deliberately manipulative and difficult with extreme inner pain and turmoil, powerlessness and defensive reactions with extremely limited coping and communication skills. My translation, they take tremendous energy, extra attention, consistent limit-setting, terminate treatment prematurely and may return, and have a love/hate relationship with the therapist. But, there is hope.
The course of this disorder is quite variable. The most common pattern is one of chronic instability in early adulthood. This disorder is usually worse in the young-adult years and it gradually decreases with age. During their 30s and 40s, the majority of individuals with this disorder attain greater stability in their relationships and vocational functioning. After about 10 years, about half of individuals with this disorder no longer meet the full criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder.
Increasing awareness and research are helping improve the treatment and understanding of borderline personality disorder. Emerging evidence indicates that people with borderline personality disorder often get better over time and that they can live happy, peaceful lives.
And, I, for one, am getting there; however, it has taken a very long time and much commitment and painful work. I can see why people "give up" treatment. But, the reward for sticking it out is priceless. Well, really not priceless...therapy and medication is expensive, but that is a whole other issue. Don't even get me started. So, tomorrow will be the last of this series and will cover some basic areas that I wanted to highlight and will contain personal examples...again I'm offering cookies, chocolate and coffee.

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