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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, October 31, 2009

Will sings "I Honestly Love You"

I realize that this is a stereotype and was in no way meant to offend anyone.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bill's Girl Gets Wise ~ Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles

I realize that this is a stereotype and was in no way meant to offend anyone.



Dora Jarre pines for her man, only to find his secret passion. If she can't have him, can she fight for him? Members of the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles lip-sync the gorgeous Marilyn McCoo for a local cabaret.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Will and Jack sing the Carpenters

I realize that this is a stereotype and was in no way meant to offend anyone.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles: The Cellblock Tango



There are many generalization about gay men. For some, the only exposure to homosexuality is through the media or word-of-mouth. Unfortunately, this is how many stereotypes (often wrong) are spread. While it may fit some, it does not fit all of one type of group. Stereotyping is dangerous, can breeds prejudice and hate and can really get you into awkward situations. Never assume anything. I want to apologize in advance if any of the posts this week are offensive due to sterotyping...they are not meant to be funny or serious which ever fits the video.



Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Be the Light" ~ Jason and deMarco

From Jason & deMarco's website: Their autobiographical and controversial, documentary-film, We're All Angels, from director Robert Nunez, currently airs on the SHOWTIME NETWORK where fans are invited to take a behind-the-scenes look at the public and private lives of these rising pop stars, who are gay, spiritual, and in love. The film chronicles the lives of the two singers as they perform all over the country in dance clubs, at pride events, and even in churches. The movie takes a look at how their openness about their sexuality often pits them against evangelical Christianity, while their faith at times meets with resistance from the gay community.

Be The Light

We're in a day, we're in a time
We're in a world thats lost its mind.
Where is our soul? Where is our heart?
We each need to pray to find a way,
There is a way out of the dark

Chorus:
Be the light, be the light
Let the flame that burns inside of you
change somebody's life
Be the light, be the light
You may be the only candle in the night
But you be the light

When you are loved,
When you are whole.
Someone will see and they will believe.
Like a fire so strong, it will catch on

Find More lyrics at www.sweetslyrics.com
Chorus:
Be the light, be the light
Let the flame that burns inside of you,
change somebody's life.
Be the light, be the light
You may be the only candle in the night
But you be the light

Shine, shine, show the way( show the way)
Open your heart (open your heart)
Don't be afraid (don't be afraid)

Chorus:
Be the light, be the light
Let the flame thta burns inside of you,
change somebody's life.
Be the light, be the light.
You may be the only candle in the night,
But you be the light

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" ~ Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles

The longer they wiped their tears, the longer the audience applauded. An unexpected connection was made between the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles, their audience and this song when it was performed at the end of their 2008 concert that spanned the music of the 70s


Friday, October 23, 2009

Queer as Folk ~ Ben & Michael's chat

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy

I realize that this is a stereotype and was in no way meant to offend anyone.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Proud Mary" - Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles

I realize that this is a stereotype and was in no way meant to offend anyone.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Will and Grace ~ Cher

I realize that this is a stereotype and was in no way meant to offend anyone.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Three Little Maids from School Are We - GMCLA



There are many generalization about gay men. For some, the only exposure to homosexuality is through the media or word-of-mouth. Unfortunately, this is how many stereotypes (often wrong) are spread. While it may fit some, it does not fit all of one type of group. Stereotyping is dangerous, can breeds prejudice and hate and can really get you into awkward situations. Never assume anything. I want to apologize in advance if any of the posts this week are offensive...they are not meant to be.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Gay Agenda?

Who has the gay agenda of indoctrinating our children?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Is Homosexuality a Choice?

The following is the YouTube introduction to this video.

Is it a Choice or are we born that way? A nice cartoon about that issue.

I cut this clip from the multiple award-winning documentary, "For The Bible Tells Me So".

http://www.forthebibletellsmeso.org/

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Homosexuality: From It's a Sin to Christian Gay Rights Supporter

“Drag is when a man wears everything a lesbian won’t” ~ Author Unknown

Most of the following comes from The New York Magazine:
Symmetry of homosexual brain resembles that of the opposite sex.
whorl
Gay men are more likely for their hair to whorl in a counter clockwise direction.
Gay men and straight women have increased density of finger print ridges on the thumb and pinky.

thumbprint
In navigational tasks and verbal fluency gay men and lesbians tend to have atypical scores.
Gay men are more likely to be left-handed.
Among white gay men they are smaller in overall stature.
Hearing acuity is more like the opposite sex for homosexuals.
fingers
Index finger of most straight men are shorter than their ring fingers, and for most women they are the same length or longer. Gay men and lesbians tend to have reversed ratios.
The second-born son is 33% more likely to be gay than the first born, and the third is 33% more likely than the second and so on.
There is a “gay sound” as a research study found that 75% of the participants picked them out correctly.
In gay men the hypothalamus, is similar in size to straight women.
There are many generalization about gay men. For some, the only exposure to homosexuality is through the media or word-of-mouth. Unfortunately, this is how many stereotypes (often wrong) are spread. While it may fit some, it does not fit all of one type of group. Stereotyping is dangerous, can breed prejudice and hate and can really get you into awkward situations. Never assume anything, not everyone of a certain group are the same. The following information is from taking with gay men and looking at gay blogs and websites, but they are STEREOTYPES:
Gay men like Broadway show tunes.
Gay men like Divas such as Diana Ross, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor and Liza Minneli.
Gay men are more concerned with presentation and the way they look.
Gay men have a better ability to gift wrap.
Gay men enjoy the arts as leisure activity and professions (theatre, dancing, musicians, singing, writing etc…).
Gay men enjoy shopping.
Gay men often choose helping professions such as nursing, social work, therapists, teaching, etc.
Gay men have an aversion to watching most sports except for figure skating.
Gay men are more emotional.


The following information is from taking with homosexual women and at gay and lesbian blogs and websites, but they are STEREOTYPES:
They are butch.
Appear more masculine.
Go into traditionally male occupations such as construction, military, law enforcement, truck driving, etc.
Enjoy playing baseball, softball or basketball.
Man haters.
Feminists.
Short hair.
No dresses or skirts.
Tom boy.

Lesbian Stereotypes:

As I stated earlier I need to see, “what the Bible says, what my experiences are, and who I know God to be in my life and must agree with the original Greek and Hebrew and within the context of the culture in which the Bible was written for it to become my own belief. What really turned things around for me was the Biblical basis for a different solid view point that used the culture and Greek and Hebrew. Also, that trends are moving forward to looking like there is partly some genetic basis, albeit, unperfect for the time. It also matches my experience with people in my life who are homosexual.

I will end my journey here, but I could go on because there is so much information and much that I read my way through and looked at over the past few years. So, this is a very short version of how I became a gay rights supporter and what I learned along the way. Thank you for taking time to read my journey and hoped it helped you learn something about yourself or others and to be more compassionate to yourself and to others.

The following are the books and websites that I can remember that I used (*think differently than I do):
New American Standard Bible Translation
What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality by Daniel A. Helminiak, Ph.D.
Jesus, the Bible and Homosexuality: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church by Jack Rogers
Gay Christian 101 by Rick Brentlinger
Pursuing Sexual Wholeness: How Jesus Heals the Homosexual by Andrew Comiskey*
The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics by Robert A.J. Gagnon*
Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views by Dan O. Via and Robert A.J. Gagnon
www.sciencedaily.com
www.pnas.org*
news.oneindia.in*
sexualhealth.e-healthsource.com
www.flyfishingdevon.co.uk
en.wikipedia.org
www.conservapedia.com*
nymag.com
www.religious tolerance.org
www.league-ncr.com
ww.drakkar91.com
www2.focusonthefamily.com*
www.narth.com
www.salempress.com
www.boxturtlebulletin.com
Also, numerous people who are homosexuals and their families, church leaders and fellow Christians and non-Christians.

(There is much more information regarding gay men versus lesbian women, so this is why men who are gay have the most attention in my writing.)

“Hollywood would not exist if it were not for gay men!” ~ Elizabeth Taylor

Share any other facts or stereotypes in which you may know and what you think about them.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Homosexuality: It's a Sin to Christian Gay Rights Supporter ~ Part IV of V

“Homophobia is a social disease” ~ Author Unknown

The following is from Dr. Daniel A. Helminiak’s book entitled, “What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality:”
Thirty to forty percent of the youth living on the streets are teenagers who were thrown out or left their homes because they are homosexual.

parents-reaction

Thirty percent up to six time higher of teenage suicides are among homosexual youth. Proportionately, this figure is at least three to four times higher than for other adolescents.
It is estimated that over 400 homosexual Christians commit suicide every year.
People lose their jobs because their boss does not like “queers.”
Parents lose custody of their children or visitation rights for being lesbian or gay.
Men and women are evicted from their apartments or their houses are burned because somebody said they were gay.
Gay men and lesbians are routinely beaten up and murdered for being homosexual.
A gay man dies of AIDS in his home, locked away from every outsider, without any medical attention, because his family did not want others to know.
Much human potential is squashed and wasted in people who live for years in secret self-hatred, taught to be afraid of their own hearts.
Please continue on the last part of my journey by joining me tomorrow. I will be sharing some fun facts and stereotypes.
“The white light streams down to be broken up by those human prisms into all the colors of the rainbow. Take your own color in the pattern and be just that.” ~ Charles R. Brown

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"Rainbow Connection" ~ Gay Rights History

Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles sings in their July 2008 concert.Images from the gay rights movement of the 70s from The Stonewall to the White Night Riots put to the beloved song from 'The Muppet Movie'.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Homosexuality: From It's Sin to Christian Gay Rights Supporter ~ Part III of V

“Why can’t they have gay people in the army? Personally, I think they are just afraid of a thousand guys with M16s going, ‘Who’d you call ‘Faggot?” ~ Jon Stewart

gay-soldier


This is a summary of the history of that has impacted person’s who are homosexual. Also, the Bible has been used to oppress and harass women and slaves, so I have included a part of that history as well.
In 1777, Thomas Jefferson made a liberal move at the time by proposing a revision of the Virginia law to reduce the penalty for sodomy from death to castration. This was never enacted.
In 1865, the Civil War ends and slavery is abolished and voting and civil rights are granted to blacks.
In 1892, Hungarian psychologist Benkert invents the word homosexual to describe people attracted to the same sex. This created a shift change in the medical profession to rather than it being a sin or criminal act, it was seen as a psychological condition to be cured.
In 1920, women win the right to vote.
In the 1930’s, homosexuals were among those that the Nazi's persecuted and were marked with larger triangle than for other "offences," so that it could be seen from a distance. It was a pink triangle pointed face down. It is estimated that 220,000 gay men and lesbian women were executed for this "offence." This is the reason for the usage of the triangle as a homosexual symbol. Both as an identification symbol and a reminder that they were part of the Nazi atrocities.
In 1950, Harry Hay and others found the Mattachine Society in Los Angeles, America’s first on-going gay right organization.
In 1953, the American Psychological Association adds homosexuality as a list of disorders to be addressed by psychologists and psychiatrists to treat. In 1973, they vote to remove homosexuality from its lists of “illnesses,” thus ending efforts to “cure” gays.

Also in 1953 on April 27th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10450, which mandated the firing of all federal employees who were determined to be guilty of “sexual perversion.” The following two decades thousands of homosexuals would lose their jobs. In all of those years, the lowest percentage for one year was 25%. I do not know what the average or the highest percentages were. In addition, all employees were required to take “loyalty oaths” for employment swearing that they are not homosexual. These regulations were not repealed until 1975.
In 1953, both, State and Local governments began to follow suit as did private employers. Although the Civil Service Commission curtailed the discriminatory policy in 1975 it still lacked sexual orientation nondiscrimination policies. In 1988, President Bill Clinton signed Executive order 13087, which prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation for federal employment.
In 1963, as part of the black civil rights movement there is a march on Washington DC where King delivers the famous “I have a dream” speech.

On June 28th 1969, the “beginning” of the gay rights movement began with the Stonewall Riots in New York City. At that time, gay bars were like the bars during prohibition, blacked out, entrance in the back and lots of raids and police harassment. On this particular night at the Stonewall Inn, a New York gay bar, they fought back against police harassment which initiated several days of rioting and began an uprising from the oppression and harassment in which homosexuals had been living.

In 1978, Harvey Milk, a gay Supervisor of San Francisco and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White. On May 21, 1979, the verdict was for 5 to 8 years for manslaughter. This sparked the White Nights Riot. The 5,000 person march turned violent as police vehicles are overturned and set on fire. Later, in the evening, police retaliate in the Castro neighborhood, arresting and beating gay men. Ironically, and much to the dismay of police, the following day 4,000 people gather for a peaceful celebration of Harvey Milk’s 49th birthday. They had already obtained a permit for such a gathering.
Please, continue on my journey and learn about some interesting facts about the problems that people who are homosexual have and do face tomorrow.
MatlovichGraveMB0907

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Homosexuality: From It's a Sin to Christian Gay Rights Supporter ~ Part II of V

“The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 to heterosexuals. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love heterosexuals. It’s just that they need more supervision.” ~ Lynn Lavner [six admonishments are not true, but what is used against homosexuality by most Christians.]


What began my journey? For many years, my stance on homosexuality was basically to repeat back what the church told me, but something in the back of my mind couldn’t reconcile this issue. And, that was/is not my normal way of being. I also have friends and family who are homosexual and the same sex marriage issue has exploded in the United States. I have almost always questioned everything the church has said and have had to find satisfactory answers for myself; otherwise, it does not become my faith or belief. For me, this means that several things need to agree together, such as, what the Bible says, what my experiences are, and who I know God to be in my life and must agree with the original Greek and Hebrew and within the context of the culture in which the Bible was written.
With the issue of homosexuality, it has always bothered me as to how the church approached it especially as the above statements do not sound like the character of God at all. So, for the past two years, I have been researching both sides of the argument using the internet, several books which I will list at the end and interviewing people on both sides of the argument including people who have been involved in ministries to transform homosexuals into heterosexuals.

Most of what I have found is that those who condemn homosexuality use a literal interpretation of the Bible which does not account for the word “homosexual” not being used as a word until 1892. The Greek words used in the verses against homosexuality refer to such things as rape, power differential, orgies, adultery, cultural issues, sodomy and polygamy. As a culture they did not have an “idea” of homosexuality and it was not a word that they used, it is a modern day translation. In the verses that they use sodomy and homosexuality it is generally in reference to rape or that it was against the law because it was making a man like a woman, who was subservient. Remember, the culture highly relied on a patriarchal system and wives and daughters were possessions. Male superiority had to be maintained.

According to the book Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality by Jack Rogers, “you shall not lie with a woman; it is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). The Hebrew word ‘toevah,’ translated as “abomination,” refers here to something that makes a person ritually unclean, such as intercourse with a woman while she is menstruating. Ritual purity was considered necessary to distinguish the Israelites from their pagan neighbors.” Matthew 15 refers to the purity of one’s heart. Matthew 5 refers to Jesus fulfilling the Law.


Rogers further states, “the sin of Sodom is mentioned several times elsewhere in the Bible, but never in connection with homosexual acts. In the Old Testament references to Sodom, the sins of wealth, indifference to the poor, general wickedness and [refusal of hospitality for travelers who were often subjected to rape if no one was hospitable. Rape was the ultimate humiliation especially for men.] In the New Testament, when Jesus referred to the sin of Sodom, as recorded in Luke 10:20 and Matthew 10:15, he was passing judgment on cities that refused hospitality to his traveling disciples. A focus on the supposed homosexual aspect of the Sodom story comes only later, in nonbiblical literature, influenced by Greek philosophy, and also in the Muslim Qur’an.”
Rogers also points out that, “the definition of ‘sodomy’ has changed over time. In the Middle Ages it referred to any form of sexual expression that was not open to procreation. Then it focused on anal intercourse. Until the twentieth century, such sexual expression was viewed as wrong and often made illegal, whether by heterosexual or homosexual couples. Then, the law was narrowed in the United States to apply only to homosexuals.” So for me, I do not see God viewing homosexuality as a sin. The Bible actually, from the original versions, do not refer to homosexuality. Also, in the more modern day translations it is a very miniscule part of the Bible.
Many of the Christian arguments against homosexuality assume that it is a choice of a life style. What I am finding is that it is a very new area of research. The “opposition” mostly, take the Bible literally, passages are taken out of context of time and culture, they don't go back to the original Hebrew or Greek and they make the assumption that it is a choice. Most of the research is finding genetic components bodily differences and brain differences. However, it is still in it’s infancy of research and research needs to become more reproducible and have a larger participant count. So, scientific evidence seems inconclusive. But, for me, after what I have seen, read, talked with homosexuals and mental health professionals, I do not believe that it is a choice. It would be like forcing a left-handed person to write right-handed. They might be able to do it, but it wouldn’t be true to who they are.
Also, if it were a choice why would anyone want to put themselves through the prejudice from others and more significantly the tremendous emotional turmoil and, at times, excruciating pain that one goes through when they are exploring their sexual identity. It is a gut wrenching process to accept oneself as being gay and every homosexual has to go through this process and if they say that they never experienced that they are either in fooling themselves or are in denial.
I want to touch on some of the history of how homosexuals have been treated some of which appalled me or was quite disturbing…Look for it tomorrow.
“I don’t think homosexuality is a choice. Society forces you to think it’s a choice, but in fact, it’s in one’s nature. The choice is whether one expresses one’s nature truthfully or spends the rest of one’s life lying about it.” ~ Marlo Thomas

Monday, October 12, 2009

Homosexuality: From It's a Sin to Christian Gay Rights Supporter ~ Part I of V

“What do you mean, you ‘don’t believe in homosexuality?’ It’s not like the Easter Bunny, your belief isn’t necessary.” ~ Lea DeLaria.

I wonder how a person who has been a Christian for almost 30 years goes from believing that the Bible says, “ homosexuality is a sin,” to being a supporter for gay rights. I can’t wait to see the post. Oh but, it is my story and I need to write it first. Actually, by this time I’ll be done. Yes, I’m crazy!! There is so much information that I could write a thesis, but posts don’t allow for that. As a result, I will be more general.

I am not your “typical” Christian, an evangelical fundamentalist Christian which is what you see most on television. What I see and hear in the media makes me very angry as I do not believe that what they do and say are part of what a Christianity is to me. They are often very judgmental, condemning and hurtful which is directly against what I believe we as Christians are called to do. (funny, I’m being judgmental by that statement) We are called to love.

Matthew 22:36-40 says, “‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And He [Jesus] said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. And a second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.’” This verse is also in the old testament in Deuteronomy 6:5.

Another issue that comes to mind is that in relation to many things including homosexuality are the verses in Galatians 5:19-22. “Now the deed of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and things like these of which I forewarn you just as those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

What I hear and see the church do is often condemning and hateful and not fruitful. I know that the first part also is part of the reason that homosexuality is considered a sin that will cause a person not to inherit the kingdom of God. (That is also why we have Jesus…long story). I will address the issue of sin later. I just wanted to address what most people see in the media and what the Bible actually says. Please keep in mind that we are in the process of becoming more like Jesus. So, I’ve never ever had a problem with loving versus condemnation as an issue within myself.
These are some of the statements and words that I found from Christians and non-Christians in relation to homosexuality: “God hates homosexuals,” “You can't be a Christian if you are gay,” “God hates fags,” “God hates gays,” “Gays are an abomination to God,” “Gays equal AIDS,” “Fag church,” “Fags will go to hell,” “Homosexuality is evil,” “All gays should be castrated,” “I don’t believe in homosexuality,” “Homosexuality is an abomination to God,” and reference to homosexuals being demonized, diseased, disordered, degenerates, etc. So, began my journey…


Read more about my journey on tomorrow…please.

“You’ll never find peace of mind until you listen to your heart.” ~ George Michael, “Kissing a Fool”

Sunday, October 11, 2009

"What If I Give All" ~ Ray Boltz

This is from Christianity Today: Ray Boltz, who sold about 4.5 million records before retiring from Christian music a few years ago, came out of the closet Friday to announce that he's gay. In an interview with the gay magazine The Washington Blade, Boltz said he came out to his family and some close friends in December 2004, but only now decided to go public with the news.




What If I Give All?

Words by Ray Boltz, Music by Ray Boltz and Mark Pay

He heard the preacher say
A single dime can feed
A hungry boy or girl
With nothing to eat
So he pulled a dollar
From the pocket of his jeans
And he asked his mama
How many will this feed?
She just smiled
And when she told him ten
He reached back again

CHORUS:
What if I give all I have?
What will that gift do?
My child, a gift like that
Could change the world
It could feed a multitude
He didnt close his eyes
Or turn away
I can see him standing tall
He saw the need
And I can hear him say
What if I give all

Three birthday dollars
Could have bought a special toy
But he reminds me
Of another little boy
Who gave to Jesus
A gift of fish and bread
I wonder if he said

CHORUS (repeat)

And long ago a Father and a Son
Saw the children lost in sin
Can you see the tears
In the Fathers eyes
As Jesus says to him

What if I gave all I have?
What will that gift do?
My Son, that gift
Will change the world
It will free the multitudes

What if I give all I have?
What will that gift do?
My child a gift like that
Could change the world
It could feed a multitude
We cannot close our eyes
And turn away
When we hear His Spirit call
We see the need
Now let Him hear us say
What if I give all?
What if I give all?

1996 Shepherd Boy MusicASCAP (adm. by Word Music) and Screaming Toad MusicASCAP (adm. by Addison Music).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Somebody To Love ~ Part II

The Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles perform in their June 2008 70s concert which charts the gay rights movement from the Stonewall to the White Night Riots.

Includes:
Cocaine
Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Somebody to Love (reprise)


Friday, October 9, 2009

Somebody To Love ~ Part I

The Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles perform in their June 2008 70s concert which charts the gay rights movement from the Stonewall to the White Night Riots.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bipolar Disorder


My therapist and I get into some really odd topics. But, I guess after 21 years or so, we probably have a pretty odd relationship. He is the odd one. Anyway, a while back we were talking about the weather and how it was changing 30 degress in two days 40 degress in a week. It was driving me crazy and to be even crazier, my therapist started talking about the weather being manic-depressive (okay we are old) as it was characterized by extreme highs to lows. (I know my thinking is a bit odd...don't all of you think of weather in terms of mental illness?)

I was frustrated, I had fall, spring and summer clothing all over the
place in my bedroom and day to day or week to week, I did not know what I was going to wear. Also, I could feel it in my sinus, my body's temperature was really weird and basically, I think, it affected my emotions. Well, if you had manic-depression, which is now called bipolar disorder, this is sort of what it would be like on a day to day or weekly basis depending on the exact diagnosis, not knowing how you are going to be day to day. I don't mean to minimize the severity of bipolar disorder by comparing it to weather. It is just how this article started.

For those not on medications or with rapid cycling bipolar disease. Imagine having so much energy that you don't need sleep because you are not tired, everything seems like it is racing, you feel like you can't keep up with the billions of different thoughts in your head, you can't focus, you speak constantly, you feel like you are just bouncing off walls, your behavior is impulsive and think you can do anything. Then, without any warning signs, you crash hard. Everything seems dark, cloudy, sad and heavy. You don't want to do anything including getting out of bed or eat. You feel like you are in a black hole with no end and that you will never feel better. You probably have suicidal thoughts. Then, without warning, you have super duper energy again, but this time everything seems to irritate you, and you are filled with rage. Imagine, living like this and never knowing which way you will feel. Also, there is very little "normal" feeling in between. For those not on medications and for most who do not cycle rapidly, this is maybe a week or so between "moods."

This is the way it is for many people with bipolar disorder and their family, friends and coworkers. The manic phase is also when people do outragous things because they think they can. I know someone who went to work early and began painting a huge mural on the wall at work. Many go on shopping, gambling, alcohol, drug, or sex binges. It tears familys apart and they lose friends and can't keep a job and have major financial problems.

Most people's symptoms are noticed and begin to interfere in their lives during late adolescenes and early adulthood. Although, in hindsight, most people can see signs in their childhood. With proper treatment, people with bipolar disorder can be treated for this illness and can lead full productive lives.

Medication compliance is one of the most difficult issues and is necessary to stablize the chemical imbalance that occurs in the brain to cause such symptoms. Especially, during the manic phase because many do not want to stop from being on such a high. Medication is also tricky because what works for one person may not work for another. Also, what works for a while may stop working and then they have try new drugs or dosages. It can be very frustrating for everyone. Also, medication does not take away all of the symptoms it usually reduces them enough for someone to learn how to cope with their illness. Remember, their illness is not an excuse for their behavior and some can be responsible for it and others cannot. If you are living with someone or know someone with this illness, you can still set boundaries. It is never okay for someone to abuse you physically, verbally, emotionally, etc.

You will become frustrated and wonder why they make the same "bad" decisions over and over again? Why haven't they learned by this time? Why can't they see the senselessness of their behavior? They seem to get it together and then bottom out. Those without this illness and I will never be able to fully understand what their world is like. It isn't like a broken leg or open wound where you can see where it hurts. Their brain is very different than yours or mine.


(shows normal, manic and depressed activity in the brain)
Even though you cannot see their wound, they do show you. You just have to listen to what they say and do carefully. An excerpt from Bipolar Disorder Today states, "However hear their pain, listen for red flags always of any danger signals were you may need added assistance...Anytime a loved one does not seem in touch with reality (seeing, hearing, sensing, and thinking things that are not true), or seems at risk for suicide, homicide or any high risk behavior, you need to call 911 or their counselor or doctor. Explain what you are experiencing and your concerns."

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS THAT MAY ACCOMPANY SUICIDAL FEELING:
  1. talking about feeling suicidal or wanting to die
  2. feeling hopeless, that nothing will ever change or get better
  3. feeling helpless, that nothing one does makes a difference
  4. feeling like a burden to family and friends
  5. abusing alcohol or drugs
  6. putting affairs in order (e.g., organizing finances or giving away possessions to prepare for one's death)
  7. writing a suicide note
  8. putting oneself in harm's way, or in situation where there is a danger of being killed.
The most important way to assist a person with bipolar disorder is to treat them with respect and care and to become a part of the treatment team if the person will allow you to do so. Then, you can speak with the psychiatrist and find out the best way to support the person because it is individualized. In the meantime, you can educate yourself. Websites will be provided at the end. Do not become codependent or enabling with your loved one. Remember that you do not have control over someone else. (Hmmm...need to do post on codependency)


The following is taken from the National Institute on Mental Health:


Signs and symptoms of mania (or a manic episode) include:
  • Increased energy, activity, and restlessness
  • Excessively “high,” overly good, euphoric mood
  • Extreme irritability
  • Racing thoughts and talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another
  • Distractibility, can’t concentrate well
  • Little sleep needed
  • Unrealistic beliefs in one’s abilities and powers
  • Poor judgment
  • Spending sprees
  • A lasting period of behavior that is different from usual
  • Increased sexual drive
  • Abuse of drugs, particularly cocaine, alcohol, and sleeping medications
  • Provocative, intrusive, or aggressive behavior
  • Denial that anything is wrong
A manic episode is diagnosed if elevated mood occurs with three or more of the other symptoms most of the day, nearly everyday, for one week or more. If mood is irritable, four or more additional symptoms must be present.
Signs and symptoms of depression (or a depressive episode) include:
  • Lasting sad, anxious, or empty mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex
  • Decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue or of being “slowed down”
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Sleeping too much, or can’t sleep
  • Change in appetite and/or unintended weight loss or gain
  • Chronic pain or other persistent bodily symptoms that are not caused by physical illness or injury
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
A depressive episode is diagnosed if five or more of these symptoms last most of the day, nearly every day, for a period of 2 weeks or longer.

I often wonder about the genius (or creative talent) of the world and the fantastic artwork created by those with mental illness. If there were medications during their time, would we have had Beethoven's 9th Symphony, Van Gogh's Starry Night or The Scream by artist Edvard Munch. Both had bipolar disorders. Just something I ponder from time to time. I am definitely not saying that medication should not be used. On the contrary, I believe that medication can save lives, assist them with leading full lives, and can stablize symptoms. For bipolar disorder, it is essential.
Many famous people have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. These are only those who have been confirmed as having this illness: Adam Ant, Ludwig van Beethoven, Lord Byron, Dick Cavett, Kurt Cobain, Samuel Tayleor Coleridge, Ray Davies, Charles Dickens, Richard Dreyfuss, Patty Duke, Carrie Fisher, William Faulkner, Stephen Foster, Macy Gray, Alexander Hamilton, Linda Hamilton, Mariette Hartley, Ernest Hemingway, Abbie Hoffman, Margot Kidder, Kristy McNichol, Edvard Munch, Issac Newton, Florence Nightengale, Sinead O' Conner, Ozzy Osbourne, Jane Pauley, Edgar Allen Poe, Charlie Pride, Axl Rose, Nina Simone, Britney Spears, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Vincent Van Gogh, Kurt Vonnegut, Brian Wilson and Virginia Woolf.

Remember if you or anyone else recognizes any of these symptoms talk to your doctor and seek professional medical treatment and psychotherapy. If someone seems to be in immediate danger, call 911.

My hope is that this was informative and gives people a new perspective on bipolar disorder and mental illness in general. All information in this post was from personal/professional experiences, http://www.mental-health-today.com/, http://www.nimh.nih.gov/, http://www.bipolar.com/. You can go to any of these sites for more information or assistance. Also, you can educate yourself further from the book, the Bipolar Disorders Survival Guide by David J. Miklowitz, Ph.D. (All this because we had some major weather swings...you never know where my inspiration to write will come from...this one is a bit strange, I have to admit.
This is a reposting
Tomorrow: GLBT History Month begins again!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Major Depressive Disorder

I am a person, a unique complex individual. My diagnosis does not define who I am. It only describes some of the things that I experience. Major depressive disorder is one way to describe how I feel and relate to myself, others and the world. Don't ever call me by my mental illness. I always have a name and a face.

Although I desperately want you to understand, I know most people, even mental health professionals, cannot. I can't just snap out of it no more than someone can snap out of heart disease. Thinking positively will not do it either. Do you not get that I am in serious pain everyday all the time. "No, I can't just get better." "Yes, it is that bad and no, I am not feeling sorry for myself." "No, I am not trying to escape my responsibilities. I want to work and take care of household and personal tasks." "I am not doing this to be treated special and no, I'm not over it yet!" I've heard those comments and thought about them and tried some and failed. I feel like I am a failure. I know that you meant well, but you were not helpful. I just feel like retreating more. My feelings were hurt. Please read the following and maybe you will understand me more.

It is normal for everyone to have the blues now and then, but they usual pass in a day or so. There are several types of depressive disorders that interfere in daily functioning and causes pain everyday for the person and those around them. Before I specifically address major depressive disorder, I want to briefly tell you what the others depressive disorders are in this category. There is major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder (low-grade chronic depression), psychotic depression (depression with a break in reality, hallucinations and delusions), postpartum depression (depression which occurs after the birth of one's baby), and seasonal affective disorder (depression which occurs when there is less natural sunlight). They are all chemical imbalances.

I was in psychotherapy for 12 years and then things were pretty good until about 4 1/2 (November 2003) years ago when I figured out I was depressed. Well, I know the symptoms, but I did not pick them up. I returned to therapy and to taking medications which I had done previously for about 7 years. Even so, my sleep is all disturbed. I wake up about 1 to 3 am almost every morning and go back to sleep about 6 am and sleep during the day.

I actually cannot remember not having disruptive sleep ever except for maybe a one year period after I was married. Dr. Doobe indicated that it is common for a person under my circumstances to have difficulties with sleep disturbances. At least, since I am not working it helps because I can sleep whenever I am tired then it is usually a 2-3 hour nap and sometimes two during the day.

During this second time in therapy with Geoffrey, I began to have flashbacks and memories of neglect, physical, emotional and sadistic sexual abuse. I became incapacitated at home and would not leave the house except for work. Everything became overwhelming I couldn't shop (me not shop...you know it is serious), clean the house, cook, bake, etc. All I could manage to do was to work, which I kept up to date, and at the beginning no one noticed and went to therapy 5 times per week. Yes, I had long days. Work was my way of trying to prove that I was "okay," when I was anything but okay.

Maybe, it was my way of getting out of the housework because my dear, dear, sweet husband began to take over the household duties. This included paying the bills. I had never before had missed payments, not kept the ledger up to date and would balance to the penny. Well, let us say that he had to start from scratch. And, I was one to balance the checkbook to the penny. Oh, the answer is "no," I was not trying to get out of anything. I just want to feel normal again, but I'm not sure what that is...it seems like it has been so long.

All at the same time, he began sleeping in the extra bedroom to make me feel safer. He volunteered...imagine a man doing that. You know that God was at work here because nothing was wrong with him. Our church began to provide meals. It felt like I was living a double life...a part had it all together and the other was falling apart and a mess. I went to work everyday feeling overwhelmed and panicked. Medications helped some, but not enough.

About 1 1/2 years ago, working and going to therapy caught up with me and I was no longer able to work. It was continue to work and be hospitalized or stop working and hopefully I won't need hospitalization. The situation at work had changed, I was having more difficulties concentrating and with fragmenting and a new supervisor "re-traumatized" me due to her supervisory skills. Most of those under her left for other jobs. The unfortunate thing is that I loved my job and envisioned being there a long time. But, I figure that God knows what He is doing. Also, I would not have been able to do the tougher emotional work while being employed. This has been a good thing.

Now, I am a little better. But, I still have to gage if I can tolerate going out and handling the crowd without going away or becoming overwhelmed. Then, afterward and the next day I sleep and sleep and sleep. Also, there are days when I just don't want to get out of bed and if I do and don't have to go anywhere I don't brush my teeth, shower or get out of my pajamas. These are some specific examples of major depression versus dysthymia which is painful as well. Geoffrey and I figure that I've been depressed my whole life with periods of major depressive episodes.

Depressive disorders are mental illness that are treatable and manageable, but need to be taken care of just as someone with heart disease would. No one would dare say or think any of the above about someone who has had a heart attack. But, somehow, everyone treats mental illness differently. Sometimes, it feels like some people are afraid they are going to catch it.

Major Depression is a serious medical illness affecting 18 million American adults, men and women of all ages, races and economic levels. Unlike normal emotional experiences of sadness, loss, or passing mood states, major depression is persistent and can significantly interfere with an person's thoughts, behavior, mood, activity and physical health. It is the leading cause of disability in the United States and usually strikes people between the ages of 25 and 44.

Twice as many women as men are diagnosed with Major Depression. It is not fully understood why. After a single episode, a person is more likely to have another one and after the second the percentage exponentially increases with each episode. There is evidence that the brain may make permanent changes making someone more susceptible to another episode. I've had a least five, but only two were diagnosed and treated. The others were before age 21. Without treatment, the frequency as well as the severity increases over time and can lead to suicide. However, with proper treatment a person can recover as long as they don't give up on the treatment.

Symptoms:
  • persistently sad, anxious or irritable mood
  • pronounced changes in sleep, appetite, and energy
  • difficulty thinking, concentrating and remembering
  • physical slowing or agitation
  • lack of interest in or please from activities that were once enjoyed
  • sleeping too much or can't sleep
  • feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness and emptiness
  • recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
  • persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain.
A depressive episode is diagnosed several of these symptoms last most of the day, nearly every day, for a period of 2 weeks or longer.

Psychological, biological, and environmental factors may all contribute to the development of a depressive episode. Whatever the specific cause of depression, scientific research has firmly established that it is a biological, medical illness. Neurotransmitters are thought to be involved which is what medications address. There is also some evidence that there is a genetic predisposition. Also, discuss with your doctor your medical history as some illness may influence depression especially hypothyroidism.

Reportedly, between 80-90% of those treated for Major Depression return to their usual daily activities and feelings. I did so successfully for about five years, but this episode is much worse and I don't feel as hopeful. But, all indications are that I will recover to some degree although it is taking much longer than I want it to partly because it is complicated by post-traumatic stress disorder (another post).
Treatment options include medications, psychotherapy (usually cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy), and/or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT; it causes a seizure by means of an electrical current which may improve mood). I am taking medications and receiving psychotherapy, but it is the person with the illness that must make the decisions just like a cancer patient with the assistance of their support system and medical professionals. Be aware that many of the side effects from these medications go away after a short period and it may take time before the full effects are noticed.

Possible complications of depression include suicide (15% of people with major depressive disorder die by suicide), increased risk of alcohol and drug related problems, increased risk of tobacco dependence and increased risk of problems with physical health and premature death due to medical illness.

Call 911, a suicide hotline or get safely to an emergency room if you have thoughts of suicide, a suicidal plan or thoughts of harming yourself or others. If a loved one expresses such thoughts, it is okay to let them talk about it. By not talking about it, it becomes a "taboo" subject, so they may not go to you if they are at risk. If they talk about it, you can be sure that they have been thinking about it.

Your doctor needs to be called right away if you hear voices, see things, smell things, feel things that are not there (psychosis which can accompany MDD; have frequent crying spells, if your work, school or family life is disrupted for two or more weeks; and if you or someone else thinks that you should cut back or stop drugs or alcohol. Side effects of some medication includes depression, but DO NOT stop taking it without talking to your doctor.

Depression effects men and women in different ways which is a fairly new area of study. They process medications differently. Neurochemicals such serotonin (used by the brain to stabilize mood) is processed differently between men and women. Suicide attempts are more common in women, but men are more likely to be successful. Men are more likely to be diagnosed with alcohol problems, but women are at higher risk following an episode of depression.


Women's changing hormones provide additional challenges. Under age 13, approximately equal numbers of girls and boys experience depression. Once they reach age 13 girls are more likely to become depressed. I know that right before and during my menstrual cycle that my symptoms are more difficult. While women may cry, become withdrawn, and gain or lose weight, men may abuse alcohol or drugs, or eat excessively, and/or become violent to themselves or others. Men keep things hidden while women are more open about their feelings. Additionally, older adults, children and adolescents will experience and express depression in atypical ways.

Preventative measures include, stress management; avoiding drugs, alcohol and caffeine; exercise regularly; and maintaining good sleeping habits. If you are socially isolated try volunteering or get involved in some social group. Medications and psychiatric treatment my prevent recurrences; however, some are not preventable.

Some helpful tips if you have a depressive disorder. You are not a failure if you cannot do these. Participate in mild activity or exercise. At the beginning, I was able to exercise, but now I do not have the energy or motivation. Participate in things that you once enjoyed. I have continued to go to music concerts, at least, one time per year. I am also beginning to read my cookbooks again and look on the Internet.

Set realistic goals for yourself. Break a large task into smaller tasks, so you don't feel so overwhelmed. Try to spend time with a friend or relative and confide in them. Try not to isolate yourself and let others help you. This is difficult for me, but I have let my therapist, a couple of friend and my husband in more and more. The biggest step was starting this blog. Postpone making major life decisions.

Remember, it is normal for appetite and sleep to be disrupted. Be gentle with yourself. Don't expect to snap out of it or for you to feel better "sooner." I get into trouble with this all the time because I always want to be further than I am instead of accepting the progress that I have made.

If you know of someone who has a major depressive disorder. The most important thing you can do is to take care of yourself first before attending to the person who is depressed. Remember what they say on an airplane, put your breathing mask on first, then help others. After that the best thing you can do is to encourage them to seek a diagnosis and treatment. It is okay to shop around for a therapist and psychiatrist. It is important to have a good match because they need to be able to tell them the truth about how they feel which means they need to be as comfortable as possible.

Please, know that sharing of this sort will cause an increase of some symptoms and that you will never be completely comfortable with a health care professional. This is normal.

As a friend or relative, offer emotional support, understanding, patience and encouragement. Talk with your friend or relative and listen carefully. Never disparage feelings they express, but point out realities and offer hope. If they become agitated, acknowledge that you don't know exactly how they feel and back off that part of the conversation, but do not end it.

Never ignore comments about suicide, and report them to your friend's or relative's therapist or doctor. They maybe angry for awhile, but it is necessary. You don't want to end up at their funeral with regrets. Invite them out even if they decline, but don't push too soon or it will feel demanding or overwhelming and increase feelings of worthlessness and failure. Remind yourself and them that with time and treatment, that the depression will get better.

I have a name, remember me and not my illness. My name is not, "depression." Please don't whisper anymore when you think I'm not listening or spread gossip behind my back or back away from me and pretend you don't see me. Please try to understand and help me. If you don't want to help, at least, don't make it worse by making me feel "different," unseen, worthless or like I'm a failure. Remember, there are at least 18 million of us. One of them might be you.

I hope this helps you or someone you love to have a better understanding and compassion for yourself and others with depression. I know it helped me to have more compassion for myself.

Most of the information in this post was compiled from www.nami.org, www.nlm.nih.gov, and www.healthyplace.com. You can also go to their websites for additional information and other resources. Remember there is treatment available and stick to it don't give up!!
This is a reposting
Tomorrow: Bipolar Disorder (repost)
GLBT History Month begins again on October 9th.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Borderline Personality Disorder A Personal Account

According to the DSM the criteria to meet borderline personality disorder the five of the following features must be present:

1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
6. affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).
7. chronic feelings of emptiness
8. inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms



Anyway, the following information is adapted from Stop Walking on Eggshells and Surviving a Borderline Parent

1. Frantic attempts to prevent feelings of actual or preceived abandonment or rejection. People with BPD rely on others for their feelings of worth and emotional caretaking. The fearfulness can be so strong that they often act in ways that bring about the abandonment and rejection they are trying to avoid (and which therefore validates and reinforces their fears). They panic and may have burst of rage or beg the person to stay.

With my mother, she would panic and become angry even rageful if my step-father or I were not home when she expected or was going to be home alone. She also could not leave a marriage that was clearly dangerous to herself and I. As a result of her not wanting to be alone, I would usually not participate in regular events with my friends if I knew that she was going to be home alone. I didn’t do this consciously, but looking back I new on some level that there was going to be a cost if I didn’t stay home.

For me, I still have difficulty anytime my therapist goes on vacation or there is a holiday. I think that he is never going to come back and, at one time, thought that he was intentionally trying to hurt me. The feelings of abandonment, panic and self-worth would send me into a tail spin and to calm down I would self-injure.

2. Patterns of relationships that are intense and unstable; repeated tendencies to shift between extremes of loving and hating another person. This is referred to as splitting, people with BPD have difficulty experiencing two feeling states at one time. An example would be that some is all bad and ungiving versus all good and idealized. It may happen without any provocation or even any interaction. They look to others to provide self-esteem, approval, and a sense of identity. They look out for any cues that someone doesn’t like or love them. When fears seem confirmed, they may fly into rages, make accusations, become hysterical, seek revenge, mutilate themselves, have an affair or any number of destructive things.

Being an only child, my mother would shift me constantly form the all good child (“I never have to worry about you”) to the all bad (“you are the reason for all my problems”) It was very confusing and resulted in unprovocated rages. I ended up feeling responsible for her happiness, keeping the peace, felt worthless and helpless to change things. She could be fine one moment and the next raging at me. I would also listen to her do that with my step-father and her boss all the time.

For me, I would do that in my head with friends, co-workers and especially my supervisors. I was always looking and finding some reason to feel rejected and then hate them. With my husband, it was not as bad, but we got into quite a few arguments over nothing…I just hated myself so much that I’d try to make him hate me or feel all bad because I got him angry.

3. Difficulty describing the self, interests, or aspirations; frequent shifts in self-perception. Depending on who they are with, they may change their opinion, thoughts and even values to please the other person. There is a chronic feeling of emptiness. Roles played could be the over-achiever, the victim, the helper or caretaker. They need someone else to tell them who they are.

For my mother, I saw her play this dance all the time. She was like a chameleon because she was a different person with different people. Different stated interests and values. It was very confusing. I didn’t know where she really stood. She was also the victim and I was her caretaker.

For me, I became the victim for survival. The target for her rages and constantly changing to adapt to her mood or what she wanted to do. I was her caretaker and until recently, I still did this. Now, I am slowly moving away from that role, but it is very difficult because she experiences it as abandonment and then, I’m the all bad object. In school, work and home, I was the over-achiever and without those things, I didn’t know who I was.

4. Impulsive, often reckless, self-harming behaviors in areas such as substance abuse, binge eating, overspending, promiscuous sex, reckless driving, shoplifting, etc. All of these are addictive behaviors and temporarily fill the emptiness. There is a very high connection between BPD and substance abuse.

I don’t think my mother falls into this category. My therapist said that BPD is about rage. My mother’s was directed outward and mine was inward. So, let’s see eating disorder and overspending fit.

5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior. The suicide rate is high for this disorder at 8%-10% of those diagnosed with BPD. People with BPD have many, many, many periods of overwhelming uncontrollable emotional pain. Self-mutilation is a coping mechanism used to release or manage these emotions. Usually they are feelings of shame, anger, sadness and abandonment. Self-mutilation may release the body’s own opiates, known as beta-endorphins. These chemicals lead to a general feeling of well being. Self-mutilation may include, but is not limited to cutting, burning, breaking bones, head banging, needle poking, skin scratching, pulling out hairs, and ripping off scabs – all without suicidal intent. I will cover self-injury and the reasons for it in a separate post series.

Again, my mother does not fall into this category. Her rage is all about taking it out on others and mine is all about destroying myself. So, I fit this category with cutting, bruising, and burning.

6. Frequent mood swings and intense emotional reactions, irritability or anxiety of changing duration – anywhere from a few hours to a few days. A Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde situation with switching from happy and loving to furious, fearful, or depressed within hours or less. Often, the person himself doesn’t remember–or claims not to remember-what was said or done during this state. When most people feel bad, they can take steps to feel better. They can also control, to some extent, how much their moods affect their relationships with others. People with BPD have difficulty doing this.

Oh, did I ever experience this with my mother. It was literally like walking on eggshells all the time or like walking through a minefield and the mines keep changing position with every step you take. No predictability and there is nothing that can be done to prevent this. I learned to be hypervigilant. I never knew if I was going to be teased, ignored, physically attacked, verbally attacked, demanded upon, discounted, minimized or if everything would be normal which was rarely the case. I became so afraid of asking or saying anything. There were many times that I questioned my sense of reality because she wouldn’t remember or deny something she said or a ragefest.

I personally experience it now, but I am aware of it and try to take steps not to act upon my feelings. After I was married, I start doing this with my husband, but it was not frequent enough to be too problematic and I was getting better. Then, when the memories started, it got really bad, but therapy really helped. I’ll catch myself and apologize and he just hugs me and says that he loves me. He is so supportive and understanding. At work and school, I was able to keep it together unless I was under tremendous stress like during the last year before I stopped working. Toward the end, I was having quite a bit of difficulty.

7. Ongoing or frequent feelings of being hollow, empty or fake; chronic feelings of emptiness. People with BPD commonly report a deep sense of boredom or a profound emptiness, which is why they may turn to drugs or alcohol, become obsessed with money and possession, or harm themselves. Lacking a strong core, a sense of self they can trust, they feel out of control and dependent upon others, forever victimized. Despite their sometimes larger than life, hard to ignore exterior, those with BPD are sometimes described by loved ones and clinicians as seeming hollow and as putting up a façade.

I am sorry. My mother fits this, but I don’t want to think or write about it at this time. I keep going away everytime I try, so I’m not going to try anymore. I really wish I could. For me, I often feel fake like I’m fooling others. I rarely have a sense of trusting myself; however, that is growing. When really stressed, I feel like a little kid helpless and dependent on specific people.

8. Either underexpressed or overexpressed feelings of anger, seen in frequent displays of temper, rage, recurrent physical fights, or extreme sarcasm or withdrawl. Rages. Many adult children know them all too well, whether the trigger is a coat hung askew in the closet, a spilled drink, a loud TV, sickness, the suggestion that the person with BPD doesn’t remember something the way others do, or a request for divorce. Whether precipitated by something seemingly trivial or serious, the storm-not uncommonly comprised of verbal assaults or physical abuse-can subside just as quickly as it rolled in.
Hmmm…which one of these describe my mother…ALL of them overexpressed. (Now, was I a bit sarcastic…naw!!) Mine all underexpressed. It seems like I was the only one in the family that was not allowed to express my anger, but was the receptacle of everyone elses.

9. Brief extreme periods of mistrust, paranoia, of feelings of unreality (numbness, disconnection, dissociation).
I was recently discussing with my therapist whether or not my mother had any psychosis, which would be beyond dissociation. His response was to begin reading my Wordle, that is in the right hand bottom of the side bar…the one you can’t read without clicking on it. It has many, but not even close to all of the things I remember her saying to me. In case you missed it, he was implying that she was psychotic at times. For me, I often go through periods of mistrust, but especially of numbness, disconnection and dissociation).

This was a part of a five part series to read more, click here.

Tomorrow: Major Depressive Disorder (repost)
GLBT History Month begins again on October 9th.

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