borderline personality disorder · bpd · dbt · mental health

Family & BPD.

I haven’t been posting because there are about 4 or 5 things that all require at least several sessions each that I want to bring up in therapy all at once tomorrow. So I don’t want to just word vomit all over the blog about these intense things until I’ve explored them with my therapist and made some kind of sense of things. Otherwise, I’ve been good on a personal level. But, I have a big issue on a family level that I know is very BPD related and until I hash this out in therapy and try to come to some kind of resolution it will on the surface level continue to hurt me inside.

I decided to post about this because whenever I look online about having BPD and coping with family, I always see the reverse. Streams upon streams of information on how to ‘cope with’ ‘handle’ or ‘survive’ a borderline family member. Seriously, wtf. I am trying to survive myself, as are so many people with BPD, I didn’t realise there needed to be manuals of information about how to ‘survive’ me. More stigma, more negative BS streamed by people who don’t know the reality of the situation. So I want to put a little something out there. I have read entire blogs upon blogs, watched videos upon videos of people with BPD who have had difficult upbringings, who have had problematic family members, who have been undersupported, undernurtured and down right mistreated growing up. So where’s their support in survival? What about people like me who have had to grow up in this kind of situation and then cope with MH on top of that? I don’t see pages upon pages of actual help. You know for people like me, who actually want to break the cycle.

The thing is, I know all too well, the other side. The ugly side of BPD, the ‘surviving’ someone with BPD. My own father is an undiagnosed severe case of BPD who has only just calmed down from the age of 50+ (As it does with age). He’s still so triggering. Is it any surprise that as a child, he was separated from his parents young, abused by his auntie (he hasn’t even told us all the ways but I know it was definetly through labour and verbal abuse at the least). Is it any surprise he went on to get BPD? Maybe not. I can see how his childhood shaped him and yet, he didn’t work on himself. So there is one parental factor and environmental factor that left me in trauma before I was even the age of 1.

Then my mother, my mother was an orphan and she was raised by their auntie. Although she was raised well, and my auntie (her older sister) then went on to raise her and my mum lived with her. My mum had for the most part, an OK time growing up. But I do believe the lack of a mother figure meant she didn’t maybe learn the things she needed for when she was a mum, that and maybe just personality? I’m not too sure. I know she made a stupid decision sticking with my dad. Anyway, as part of her coping strategy she was always out. I know I didn’t get validation, I didn’t get time with her. I didn’t get what I needed.

I know this and yet in therapy, this has just meant I have had to deal with this isolating feeling. Here I am dealing with BPD and the very harsh reality that my parents added to it and have made recovering from it a very isolating experience. My mum’s not uncaring at all, she’s kind and giving and makes friends very quickly. But what I needed, and need I didn’t and will not get. So I have faced this reality. So many of the other blogs I have read, the individuals are going through a similar situation. Either being totally invalidated, or cut off, or refused support, or just treated as if their MH issues don’t exist, or that their emotions just aren’t important. Is it any surprise they have BPD? So where is their support?

I know I have this gaping hole of affection and I know I need to fill it inwardly, I just wish it didn’t have to be an isolating experience. I think before therapy, I had always been treated as if I was the issue, so I felt that once I’d worked on me I’d fit in with my family and all would be well, I’d have a good relationship and fit in. But, the reality is, I don’t fit in. I feel even more out of their world. When I lived out, I felt out of place there too. 

The issue I have in the present with this is, being able to accept the family dynamics I now have. There’s a character in ‘Reign’ (my most recent series obsession – last season finished this year, RIP. </3) called Leeza she’s the eldest daughter of the mother of the king of France, Catherine. She comes into the series wanting to destroy her mother’s work of keeping her son on the throne.

leeza

(Leeza’s probably revealing another scheme here). 

Catherine teams up and gets help from her younger daughter, Claude. Claude and her work as a team at some points and Catherine has shown to be there for Claude time and time again in the series. What Leeza later reveals is that her mother had neglected her growing up and Catherine admits to this. Leeza resents their teamwork and you can see the jealousy in her face seeing how her mother is now able to be there for Claude, care for her and support her when she never did that for her? This is so similar to what I feel and my situation. 

My father mainly treats my youngest sister as if she’s the only main child he has. (Like seriously, he doesn’t even try to hide the favouritism). We’re kind of all used to it and don’t really care much about being close to him anyway because he’s too draining. But, with my mother, she’s also catered to my sister in a way I have never experienced. My mum has been there for me in my tough moments but never in this way. My sister and her spend a lot of time together, my mum seeks her company, she’s there for her woes, at 21 my sister lives with my dad and my mum goes over to spend time with my dad and her, so she has the attention of both parents more than any of us ever have. I can’t help but feel, where was all of this for me? The massive difference between me and Leeza here is that, I don’t want to set out to ruin my mum’s life in some kind of grudge, on the contrary, I support my mum with the household finances, I help in the house, I try to schedule time to spend with her. And yet, we don’t have that bond. My mother has never even tried to have that bond with us. I have had to cut off from trying to get that emotional support and love from her because 1) its too late 2) I have learnt I will not be able to get that. Do I feel jealous? I like to think I’m not because I hate that emotion. And I know it’s too late, I am too old and my mum made her decisions. I am happy my sister is getting love and support but I can’t help but feel angry. Angry in the sense that, she can be that way with her but not me? Where was any of this for me? Why doesn’t she seek my company out? Why do I still care? I am left to deal with BPD when most of this is most likely a result of all the dysfunction in the household I grew up in, and then I’m left to heal and support myself. In the end thinking this way makes me a victim, and I’m not a victim. I don’t want this to be anyone else’s burden, it would just be nice you know?

When my sister comes around they spend a lot of time together, and I feel out of the loop. I feel like I’m watching their close bond and I am on the sidelines. I try to involve myself but they don’t always involve me. I want to give up feeling any way about this. I want to radically accept it all. I really do. I have tried, I have tried to accept that this is my family, this is the way they are. They will not change. I read another blog of a younger youtuber who was totally invalidated and emotionally abused even by her mother and elder sister who were totally disregarding her experience and all the while she is battling BPD and going to therapy and trying to get better. I know it’s not just me, which is heartbreaking too. But it just feels like one other difficulty to deal with. I want to live just for myself. I want to heal for myself and give myself what I wasn’t given. So today, instead of being angry at my mum, for not being home, not calling back fast enough, etc etc. (all BPD abandonment type of thing) I looked inwards and realised I’m actually sad. I’m sad and I need things that I know I can’t get from them so I need to give them to myself. At the moment when I ask myself this I think I need, some kind of comfort. Some kind of self-care. I am going to do something that I think is fun and that will make me happy and then maybe some positive self talk and connecting with God, which always makes me feel less alone. Other than that, I am just going to wait until I can talk about this in therapy tomorrow.

 

Uncategorized

The issue with my mum.

We discussed her some more today but over the past few days of being sick and what just happened to me tonight. I decided I am well and truly through. You see not everyone who has BPD had a bad environment growing up necessarily. But I do see a lot of people who have BPD have been neglected or made out to seem like they don’t have the handle on reality when the reality is, they’ve been outnumbered by family members and fooled into believing them. Their family supports them very little and/or make the situation worse.

Cue the situation with my mum and my post. I just woke up from a paralysing nightmare, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t wake up and I had no sense of what really happened. I dreamed my mum was in the room, so when I half-woke I was calling her, I wanted some assurance and to ask whether she had really been in the room. I called her twice she replied from her room and once again, but she didn’t bother to come by. I went to her room eventually seeing her awake and on her phone. So she hadn’t been asleep she just didn’t care to move. I know it was a very real nightmare and not a life and death situation but it’s just another incident where she hasn’t been there for me. Now I don’t even want to compare it to me to what I ‘would have done’ because well, she wouldn’t have had to call me that many times.

I was talking in therapy today about how I thought I was selfish and my expectations of those close to me might be high. We went on to dissect why I thought that. The past few days I’ve been sick Ive had a lot of comments from her along the lines of ‘youre all always falling around’ ‘youre always sick”go to work we’re losing money’ just anything but ‘hope you feel better,’ ‘are you ok?’ You know the type of thing you’d think someone, a parent, would say to their child. In the end I had to accept with the agreement of my therapist that neither are my expectations high nor am I selfish but that was truly a reasonable thing to expect from my mother, despite my age.

I’m done. I am done putting her up on a mother platform that she has never lived up to. Growing up it was my auntie that was my refuge, her loving home, the nights she sang me to sleep, brushing my hair in the mornings, spending time with me, telling me stories. I didn’t get that with ‘mum’ & On a psychological level I realised long ago that my mother figure was my auntie all along. I wonder if she were alive longer than she was or if I’d lived with her would I have had BPD?

I feel sad this is my next post after an optimistic one but such is life, I am OK. I have just made an internal decision that she is not the type of mum I need or have needed her to be nor the type of mother I want to be when I have a child. I will have to learn and be better for them. I am too old and experienced to keep or hold onto toxicity, I am letting the mum concept go.

borderline personality disorder · bpd · mental health

Therapy today & the element of choice.

Today we mainly talked about my remission from BPD. I didn’t get to cover the whole inner child thing, I doubted I could because I knew I had a lot to say in session today. I know I still have a lot to uncover but now it’s like the worst of the fog is clearing and I can see and navigate my way. I went through the diagnostic criteria I could remember and we discussed at length where I was before vs. what I do now. It was very helpful actually. I mentioned ‘the sense of emptiness’ and how before the sense of emptiness was a lot more generalised, it encompassed pretty much all of my life and coloured it, I also used to have an aching feeling in my chest that accompanied it. Like a massive ‘what’s the point?’. Whereas now when I’m home alone for example doing nothing and I get a feeling similar to that I recognise it as boredom and do something that cheers me up and I’m interested in, and it works. So he said ‘You recognise it as you may just be understimulated right now,’ and I said yes. 

The biggest distinction which he said is a definite improvement and something to be celebrated was when it came to the symptoms of my moods being up and down and the desire to engage in destructive behaviours. I talked about tuesday being difficult for me, and how I didn’t express my emotions destructively but that I did things that would manage and/or better it. It doesn’t feel natural to do that, but I realise I have a choice. I know it didn’t feel that way for me before, I felt I was at the mercy of this horrible feeling that would plague me and the only way to deal with it was to get it out whatever way I saw fit. I know a lot of people diagnosed with BPD (I try not to say ‘borderlines’ no one says ‘bipolars’ or ‘depressives’ or ‘cancers’ –  it’s a terrible way of labelling) can resonate with that feeling of not having a choice. But we do. It’s because of this realisation that I’m not the same. I am able to regulate myself and therein lies the key to my salvation. I can be independent of people, I can maintain my sense of dignity, wellbeing and stick to my values. I can let feelings pass, I can make the situation better.

He asked me an interesting question after, which was, would I have done this if I was in a relationship? And I realise, the answer was no. The times I was attached I would go to the other person to help me, to try to make me feel better, to support me in feeling better. Which is fine sometimes, but it’s not always possible and it can leave you feeling like you’re at the mercy of another person and how they recieve you, which well, wasn’t always in a nice way! Being single means I have had no choice but to look to myself, so I have supported myself. He said it won’t be easy to continue doing that once I am in a relationship but that I can do it with effort, because I still have the choice.

Interestingly enough, I am following a blog which is not so active anymore as she has reached a very impressive level of recovery so doesn’t need to quite as much. She started off as single, comitted to therapy, got into a long term relationship which has now turned into a happy marriage. The reason I mention it is because at some stage during her blogging, she too had realised that she needed to meet her own needs and sought to meet them for herself and once in the relationship she realised she still needed to do that as much as she could and to look inwards. I think this is a key to getting better and I think it’s also what helps keep relationships together. I don’t want someone to feel the burden of regulating me, they’re not my therapist, or parent, or caretaker. I also no longer want to be at the mercy of another person. Hoping they’ll help me, hoping they can say and do the right things to calm what’s going on inside me. People are not God and they’re also not mind readers, they don’t always get it right, nor do they always want to.

I have a bigger sense of trust in myself and a kind of independence I never had before. I don’t need someone anymore so in a way I think this has helped my addiction. I can wait it out now because I’m not craving for someone to make me feel good. I do feel good most of the time, life isn’t always great for anyone, but at least I can choose to make it better. 

 

borderline personality disorder · bpd · mental health · Uncategorized

Regression.

So my mum and sister are at my dad’s house in another town since last night which leaves me and my brother at home (he’s still not awake…ahh the 16 year old life). I am still recuperating from my cold which means I have been stuffy in bed with tissues, pills and….okay well, I love the naps. Plus, I like the rain when I’m inside and cosy. These days I am trying to take responsibility for how I feel, so if I’m alone and bored, I figured it’s easily up to me to choose to do something that makes me happy and what can make one happier than studio ghibli movies? Although so many of them are soft, gooey movies that actually make you cry. I watched ‘When Marnie was there’ today and it was so cute, so I cried into my tissues, as if I didn’t use enough of those today.

Anyway, to the point! I noticed ‘child me’ ( or so I call her ) surfaced a little today after a long time. Not in a major way, but I was humming, I was happy and smiley in my child like innocent way. Now, I don’t know if other people can relate to that experience but I had periods of regression during my marriage that got to the stage where I could be behaving in a child like way for hours on end. My ex initially at times thought it was okay, but eventually got fed up of it. I remember once near the end of the marriage, smiling at him in what was a childlike fashion and he told me to ‘grow up’ and that it ‘was like being with a child’. Ouch. The common theme I’ve noticed with her is that she surfaces when I feel safe. As in, a loving relationship gave me room to ‘be safe’ and the interesting thing is, it was also when I wasn’t living at home. Despite all the difficulties I had in my marriage, in the beginning and during most of it, my ex did try really hard (as did I, but I was undiagnosed and untreated, sadly). I remember he encouraged me to paint, so I’d sit and paint and show him my work with a huge accomplished grin on my face and he’d smile and nod and told me it looked good. I also struggled to sleep alone. It’s interesting she’s surfaced today when my mums not home again. I know I was left to shoulder a lot of her burden growing up as she was depressed and stressed in our domestic violence home she’d talk to me about a lot of her woes. Maybe I couldn’t be enough of a child with her? I never had a safe house growing up, so maybe that’s why she comes up now. Or, it could be to do with not being close to my dad, which explains why it’s usually with a male who I feel happy or content around. My therapist last year told me that it was okay, and that lots of people can act childish when theyre in a loving relationship, think ‘pet names’ and ‘baby talk’ couples get into. But, I don’t know how I feel about it, in a way it makes me feel weird and broken. In another way, maybe with the right person, it won’t be such an issue?

I remember I was up late on the phone to my last ex once, (let’s just call him J from now for anyone who reads enough of my posts) and while we were talking at some point I had switched into a childlike voice and hadn’t even realised. He mentioned it that I was doing it right at that moment but he told me it was sweet and he found it cute. That made me feel like it was totally okay and relaxed me even more. She wasn’t there all the time. I’ve talked about her in therapy before, maybe I’ll talk about her again, but, I don’t think she’s ever going to ‘go’ away. I had resented her during my marriage and divorce for having clung to my ex the way she did. But, I guess, I don’t hate her, I try to love her. I don’t go into inner child work much anymore as the period when I did, it got really deep, I was journalling in a childs journal so she’d surface more, bought toys I enjoyed and tried to let her ‘free’ so to speak to heal, but it got too much, the hours of being that way I’m sure cannot be healthy. I guess I’m a little frightened of going too far into it. I think this is another thing to add to the list of things to talk about in therapy but, for today, she’s not doing any harm and well, we’re going to watch Ponyo now 🙂

 

borderline personality disorder · bpd

Remission?

I just have this feeling, since my post yesterday (turns out I’m actually ill all along and that has affected my moods!) about moving on from BPD, that I’m not so sure I fit the diagnosis anymore (yet another checklist of things to talk about in therapy).

  1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. It’s hard to say but, I didn’t do this in my last break up, and I don’t do this with friends or family. I don’t know if it’ll reappear but I’m going to go for a no.

2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation. I don’t do this, I don’t idealise or devaluate anyone. I am choosy about who I like and then, well, I like them. I do struggle with my mum and sister at times, but those are well regulated, and well, there are issues they have of their own.

3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self. I have found a lot of things I like, I watch movies on my own that I like, I know I have hobbies that have stuck with me, my religious affiliation has stuck with me for 6 years. It makes me so happy when I go out with my friend and I show her something I like and she says ‘that’s so you’. woohoo.

4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging.(e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). I don’t do any of these. I know I have poor boundaries when it comes to sex when I’m emotionally attached, so that’s something I’m working on in therapy. But it’s not impulsive.

5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, of selfmutilating behavior. Nope.

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). This is the only I feel like I have, but even then, this past week it’s happened may not have been my BPD at all, I was actually coming down with something and am now recuperating!

7. Chronic feelings of emptiness. No I don’t feel ’empty’ I do find it hard to live for myself, without close connection but I am learning. I can also more likely feel bored, than empty.

8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights). I experience anger yes, I don’t experience constant anger, and it’s not frequent either.

9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms. Not anymore, because I don’t listen to it, and with check the facts, even the lesser paranoid ideation goes quickly as once I’ve checked, I let it go. I can feel a little paranoid about my manager at work, but that’s because she’s a ‘back seat’ boss who doesn’t really tell you what she thinks to your face so that could feed it, even then whatever will be, will be.

borderline personality disorder · mental health · poetry · Uncategorized

Letting you go.

I let you go,

Though I never really had you.

I am letting this go.

There are pieces inside,

and you Broke me.

I let this go.

The thoughts are lies,

and they bind me.

I dare to breathe,

and look at what surrounds me.

The beauty, the pain,

the cruelty,

is so much more than what this gave me.

Cuts on the arm,

eyes swollen, weary.

Helpless, alone,

I am no more.

At peace, complete,

Within the Universe,

I breathe.

I see Him,

and He holds me.

 

I initially wrote this thinking it was just about what painful relationships could do to me but now I see it has such a strong link with what mental illness did to me, and also how closely the two were intertwined.

 

 

 

 

borderline personality disorder · bpd · health · mental health · therapy

The days and days that are like nights, with BPD.

The experience of my day on Tuesday and Wednesday felt like the difference between day and night. I woke up on tuesday, ill and just not ready to face the world. I had taken Monday off but I think a part of me has just been exhausted. I struggled to get up and make my way to the office. Usually, by the time I’m out of the house I’m okay, or at the most by the time I’m in the office I’m okay and sociable, usually in a much better mood as I’m working with my colleague who I really like and can chat and work. But my brain was just not coming out of this grumpy state. I tried to radically accept it, I really did, from what I can remember I try and half smile while I’m working. Nothing was bringing me out of this funk. I even told my colleague that I was just in a ‘grump’ and I couldn’t snap out of it. I still got on with my work but my journey home was so much worse, because of a little rain in the UK, there are always delays for some reason so I got home an hour and half later. This means I have very little time in the evening. The only thing that kind of helped was my niece was around and that cutie makes me smile no matter how I felt but later on I was home alone for the night. I struggled to be able to sit by myself, I forced myself to take a relaxing bath and felt like I’d dissociate, I had to talk to myself ‘wash your hair, wash your body, get out’ because I could feel my mind running with too many thoughts, some of them scary. I really felt like my disorder defined me in that moment but I got out, had some warm milk and eventually came back to myself.

It’s days/hours like those that I still don’t know how to handle except moment by moment. The thing with BPD is, it doesn’t feel natural to do those nice things for yourself, and I’ll admit they didn’t even feel that great, in those moments they’re simply things that won’t make it worse, that I won’t regret the next day and I find comfort now knowing that even though I felt so bad I still chose self-loving choices. My problem is, I don’t want to have those days anymore, the days where nothings even happened and I can’t quite seem to climb out of it. It worries me, how can I have a family if I’m having days like that?

How would I even take care of a child when I’m struggling to take care of myself the whole day? For now, I’m just telling myself I am nowhere near having a child and things may well be different by then. I have heard women speak of the huge mental shifts having a baby has had on them, who knows, maybe knowing I have to be there for someone other than myself will be enough.

Now comparing this to yesterday, I woke up I have some more energy because I didn’t take quetiapine (Stopped it) despite having less sleep, the sun was out and I was good. When I got into work I was my usual sociable self and my journey home was smooth as smooth could be. I got home and I felt happy, I was chatting and laughing with my family most of the evening and I just felt free. It was as if there was no BPD at all.

It’s so weird that I’m experiencing moments in my life now where I feel like I’ve moved past BPD in some ways, mostly in the sense that, taking care of myself is a part of my life. I’m eating healthy, I’m exercising, I’m not angry. I asked my mum yesterday whether she thought I was ‘normal’ (not the best wording but the easiest way to get her to understand what I meant) and she said that I’m much better than before even when I do get angry I quickly calm down again. She’s probably noticed the moments where I felt angry and have then regulated myself (sometimes I’m literally checking the facts on my mobile with my mouth shut). Today, I was even looking up short distance hikes before I test out long-distance ones. The idea of being with myself in the sun and fields, and the positive effects it’s had on people (including accounts from those diagnosed with BPD) is encouraging and looking this up shows me I’m pushing past what I thought I could do in life and willing to try new things, on my own. I’m becoming interested in life. Yesterday, I had so many ideas of things I want to do, and I was truly excited.

But these moments — some of which I had today because I had to work despite not getting enough sleep and not feeling well, I just needed to be home resting, I struggled to focus all day and my eyes were barely open. Moments like these make me wonder whether that part of BPD will always stay with me and that makes me a little sad if that’s the case. They come out of nowhere and sometimes because of where I am (e.g. work) I’m limited in what I can do in terms of self-care. I can’t exactly snuggle up for a nap when I’m in the office for another 5 hours with an hour journey home. 

I’m going to talk to my psych about it and really hope he can help me with this one because I don’t know what the solution is.