Welcome!!! Please, if you are new here, READ THIS FIRST!!! Thank You!!!
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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
Friday, October 30, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
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
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
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
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)
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
Friday, October 23, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
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
Sunday, October 18, 2009
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".
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Most of the following comes from The New York Magazine:
No dresses or skirts.
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
Friday, October 16, 2009
“Homophobia is a social disease” ~ Author Unknown
Thursday, October 15, 2009
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
“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
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.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
“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.]
Monday, October 12, 2009
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?
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
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
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
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.
Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Somebody to Love (reprise)
Friday, October 9, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
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.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS THAT MAY ACCOMPANY SUICIDAL FEELING:
- talking about feeling suicidal or wanting to die
- feeling hopeless, that nothing will ever change or get better
- feeling helpless, that nothing one does makes a difference
- feeling like a burden to family and friends
- abusing alcohol or drugs
- putting affairs in order (e.g., organizing finances or giving away possessions to prepare for one's death)
- writing a suicide note
- putting oneself in harm's way, or in situation where there is a danger of being killed.
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
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
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
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.
- 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.
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).
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.
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 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!!
GLBT History Month begins again on October 9th.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
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
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).
Tomorrow: Major Depressive Disorder (repost)