borderline personality disorder · bpd · Mental health culture

Opposites & Cracking the work dilemma.

I have news! That is so bizarre in contrast that I feel weird and very much like I would soon end up with alternating ‘modes’ if I’m not careful. I don’t want to end up as ‘me the patient/service user’ and ‘me the mental health professional’ because that’s kind of what was happening today. I don’t have a problem with either, but in therapy I’m learning to be flexible and integrate a little more, not split up further.

A dream opportunity came up today at work. I’ve been offered to go for a job supporting Psychologists where I’m working, with a payrise. I will still have to go through an interview by the sounds of it but not as formal as what they would normally be, I believe. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much, but at the same time I really hope I get it! It would just tie in so neatly with everything I’ve been doing and everything I’ve discovered about myself at work.

A while back I posted about how I was stuck in my working life, doing things I don’t enjoy and not knowing what it is that I do enjoy BUT I found a little insight at my session yesterday which has been super helpful. So while I don’t really need to vent about this, I want to share it incase it helps someone else who might be wondering about their worklife too. At first, I was always trying to pinpoint what I would like to do by sector – design, media, teaching etc. but while I’m still not quite there with that one, I have found out more about myself and my work preference in my current job. Which is kind of neat, because it means anyone could use their current job to kind of pinpoint things aswell.

Well, for starters –  I was working in a department where I would be doing the same thing all day, zoned out, even though I had enough work for the day – it  would leave me bored, struggling to concentrate and if my moods were fluctuating – I would find it even more difficult to settle as I was understimulated. My psychologist congratulated me (yay!) for having made a proactive decision in my life by leaving the place. I am happy that I did that and was able to make a healthy decision for myself. I now have been able to leave that post as I really want to make myself happier and stop working for the sake of working – I’ve been doing that for too long.

So my Psychologist pointed out something that I was missing – I don’t like routine things that are repetitive and I like working on ‘new’ things where I have to take time to learn about what it is I’m doing (I see it as building my skill-set but most likely the learning aspect too as I’ve always been quite academic and enjoy studying in general) I have taken on a lot more responsibility which I think I need no matter how my mental health is – as during the time of my divorce I had a management position and no matter how crazy my personal life was I still enjoyed that and was able to continue in that position right until my move back home.

I’m responsible for my own schedule which is turning out to be almost a must for me as it allows me to take care of myself mentally. I’m working on longer term projects which suits me really well as it adds to the novelty of what I’m doing and mixes my days up. I also enjoy meeting and talking to different people, scheduling appointments to sit with them and attending meetings so there’s that aspect of not working alongside someone all day but still working with others at some point during the day. I kind of knew that from my research as when I searched through jobs I found most of the jobs I was interested in involved this element of ‘alone at desk time’ and ‘person focused’ time. So this ties in neatly.

I feel happier about discovering aspects of work that I enjoy as opposed to a whole sector, as I could use this understanding across all of them. After all, two jobs in one field can be so different so I could be in the right ‘area’ and still hate what I’m doing if my daily tasks don’t match up to this.

I came across some more inspiring stories in my online googling, and a lot of people are doing really well – having gone through or still maintaining a treatment program and with support they are in jobs they enjoy and work well for them with their diagnosis.                                                                                                                                               It seems to be a balance of outside support – whether that’s therapy, medication, supportive people in your life, self-care and self-awareness, finding the right work environment that fits your personality and/or how your diagnosis manifests itself. Someone who works as a director mentioned that he might work from home on days that he finds himself struggling with BPD and doesn’t want it to manifest at work so that’s a possibility too (man, I would love work from home days…ah the dream).

It also seems to be the case that ‘low-stress’ jobs do not always work for everyone as some people need structure, others need flexibility and some people thrive in high stress, busy environments while others found it stressed them out even more. My point being, I personally had this idea that the simpler, slower-paced, the work the better it would be for me in recovery and I find for people with mental health diagnoses that’s usually what is ‘touted’ as ‘what’s best’ well, it obviously isn’t always the case from actual experiences. It’s an individual thing and we will have to discover what we like ourselves.  It might even change over time, I know it has for me.

I just wanted to share someone’s account that inspired me (among many, I love reading these) it helps me realise that the work will pay-off and has paid off for so many people. It’s only a matter of persistence and time.

”[–]BPwhowantstheD 4 points

I am by most professional measures what most people would consider a “success.” Most of my career is IT based (with occasional sojourns into other fields), and I’m currently moving into more managerial roles.

My BPD these days doesn’t really impact me professionally, but it’s taken a lot of work on my end to get to that point.

The way I’d put it is that BPD creates some hurdles. If you learn to clear the hurdles, you’re in better shape than someone who never had to put in the work. The hurdles never really go away, but you learn to jump them without thinking, so they no longer slow you down.”

 

On top of this insight, I’m learning to trust my gut. The ‘healthy mind’ and ‘destructive mind’ analogy still really helps me. If I’m getting bored and frustrated, it means the work isn’t enough for me and shouldn’t be something I seek to do long-term. If I’m able to focus, feeling productive and rewarded it means I’m enjoying it and I should be seeking out more of the same. I’m definetly going to try keep rolling with this for now and see where it takes me.

The psych / nurse who did my assessment rang me and told me I may be able to start DBT as soon as a months’ time! Which would be even better as I want to take on more in my life, the added support makes me feel like I have back-up and I can keep learning about DBT skills to apply. On top of that, I’ll be having individual therapy and be signed up to group therapy where I thought I would only be getting one or the other, so I’m so grateful for that. If I do end up in group sooner rather than later (she said there’s a longer wait), I might start a whole little section for that on the site, if I can help others with it, I will! This was the part where I felt strange, on one hand I could be working in the mental health field and on another day I’ll be a patient coming to them. It’s a weird feeling trying to reconcile the two but I don’t mind at the moment, I would be grateful with both.

I hope this helped in some way, I know it organises my thoughts but I really wanted to share what I learnt.

Goodnight x x

 

 

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Normal.

Okay guys, I am up on a Monday and I feel OK. I am pretty much on time and didn’t have to tear my body up out of bed. I mean sure, it still kinda sucked and I’d still rather be at home but not in a – it’s hard to move around I’m so sad-  way.

I think it’s the patches. I feel almost, *gasp* normal? Is this what it’s usually like to just be able to get up and go to work? I hope the rest of the week is like this…

borderline personality disorder · mental health

Obstacle course.

So I got through the week. I got through it despite being sans therapy, working full time, training on thursday and having major cramps. Therapy tomorrow! woop! Although I keep forgetting I have therapy tomorrow, it seems to be a common occurence the past few weeks, I wonder if I’m feeling better enough to not feel like I need to go? I want to keep going, at least for a year, only because I have had long stints without therapy only to end up doing impulsive things without realising. My BPD can be quite sneaky like that.

My BPD is under wraps, really, for the most part. It’s with constant management though. I mean daily, hourly, management. I need rest, strict sleep, I need to socialise, need down-time, I meditate everyday. I need meditation, meditation calms me like nothing else. Sometimes my mind is spinning and I don’t even realise until I start meditating. I do though, still feel like management is a constant obstacle course, avoiding and tip-toeing around ‘triggers’ so that I don’t blow up. Especially with my family relationships. I go through ‘splitting’ type thoughts in my mind often with my family, and although I’m not letting anything out and ruining my family relationships in the process, it’s still affecting me in my head and sometimes damage control means I have to leave them and isolate myself for a while so I don’t say anything to hurt their feelings. It means sometimes, I have to mind my own business, because I have an opinion about something my sister’s doing and before I would get into an argument with her or her and my mum by telling them I don’t agree with certain things they do but I see now that that only hurts me the most. Yes, I got my point across, but if it wasn’t affecting my life, I made the argument affect my life by getting me all dysregulated, and she doesn’t listen to me anyway. Which I mean is fair enough, it’s her life and she wants to do things a certain way, she can.

I have realised now my mental health cannot be put at risk even by things like that. It’s hard though because I was so used to doing that my whole life, ending up in arguments with her or my mum by telling them ‘this isn’t right’, that it was weird to let go and keep quiet. Like last night, she stayed out til late without telling my mum or even letting me know and I still don’t know when she got back, this would have made me mad before, not that she can’t go out but the fact that she didn’t even let me know. I decided it’s just not worth getting mad over, it’s only affecting me and I ignored it, and today I am glad I did, because I slept fine, avoided an argument and felt better for it. It’s hard changing old patterns, some things I feel are completely changed and routine for me, like self-care, balancing socialising etc. but this is an area I’m still navigating.

Although now I am calmer (thanks to proper sleep and 5-HTP patches woot!) the ‘bigger’ issues of BPD are now coming into play – like questions about identity, how exactly I want my next year to go. I am going to keep going but by March it will have been 24 months (woah) of recovery and I’m starting to wonder where to go from there. It feels like 2018 is a big stretch that I don’t know how to fill apart from training at the charity, and possibly studying in September, I want something more. I want less recovery, more living. I don’t know if I want to stick in this position which will be finished by January time and after that, I’ll have to find something new again, and what? Is a question still unanswered and still a little daunting.

Now that I better manage my moods (I still have my moments, I assure you) I also have been feeling broody, YES, children have been off my mind for a long time, and since I don’t even have anyone by my side, it’s confusing to me. I guess I just want a family of my own to surround myself with, and be busy with. Focusing on yourself is great and all, but it gets tiresome focusing only on yourself. I want more love around me, a home. Plus, my close friend has also found someone so I am the only one, apart from my work-friend who is single, and while I’m not too bothered, it does impact my time with them as they talk about their relationships or just have their time filled with their other halves. My friend has already planned to go to events I would have asked her to go to with me, with her BF as he’s into similar stuff. So I won’t be able to go now, unless I summon up courage to go on my own, but these events are a little too open for that.

I am also struggling with how much I want to/let my mental illness define me. I tell myself I am not BPD, I HAVE BPD and there is a huge difference between the two. But when I put it aside, not really talk about it and just get on, I feel like people miss something, I am dismissing something that actually is still there and is only understated and easily passed over because of how much I manage it. But then, when I become all about it, wanting to mention it, wanting to be with someone I can talk to about it, reading up about it, it’s like that becomes the biggest part of my life, and that doesn’t feel right anymore either. It’s not my life, it’s not all of who I am, and there is a lot going on at the moment for me that it’s not affecting. So it’s confusing me a little, I might have to talk about all this tomorrow as I don’t have an answer…

 

borderline personality disorder · mental health

3 Things I am grateful for.

Something that stuck with me from my therapist last year was when she told me to write the following everyday:

3 things I am grateful for, 3 things I am feeling, and 3 things I am proud of. Now I don’t always do the last 2 but I try to do at least the first, almost everyday (I am slipping here and there). I wanted to share it on here, in the hopes that someone else could get into it but also because in my research I have found a lady who used to suffer from BPD and now is doing very very well in life also engages in this practice but added an extra part. She put ‘When bad things happen I write a list of what I could learn from that situation, what opportunities could come from it and I focus on that.’ – So I will add that today too.

 Things I am grateful for today:

My friend at work – being able to tell her what happens in my life and get advice from her about an interpersonal situation. I don’t do this with many people so it is a blessing.

Having a job where my timings can be flexible, some days I just can’t stick to the ‘usual hours’.

My other friend who totally understood me when I plucked up the courage to assert a boundary nicely.

I was moody and grumpy for work this morning because I was missing a lot of things before I even left the house but it also turned out it’s my monthly. Today I have learnt that I am able to catch myself in the funk of it so now I can start to change it, maybe I can practice some DBT – some mindfulness. If what I’m getting upset about isn’t urgent I could just walk out of the house instead of getting all up in my head and adding to my anger. I could try a brief affirmation. Now I can also tell myself it may be my hormones and not always me ‘acting out’. So next time, I can recall that there may be a good physiological reason for this.

3 Things I am feeling:

Tired (pretty sure this is an always thing?).

Content.

Anxious – about the assessment tomorrow.

3 things I am proud of:

I asserted a boundary today.

I made it through the morning relatively unscathed with my relationships all intact.

I socialised after work knowing it would be better for me than going straight home.

 

So I am recuperating in my room, on the screens as always. Tonight’s meditation will be the following:

 

 

 

 

borderline personality disorder · mental health

The time in the day when you felt OK.

I need to document this time, mainly because it happens many times, at least once a day but I am hoping I will be able to remember this moment the next time I feel taken over by sadness. In my darker moments it’s almost as if these happier/calmer states just don’t exist. For one, I am content right now because I am not manically checking my phone to see if I have a text back. It doesn’t bother me at all. Secondly, I have been able to have my attention fully on one thing and that has been reading articles online about people’s experiences with BPD. It always helps me –  I guess to keep hope alive. Thirdly, I feel at peace in my body. My chest isn’t hurting and I don’t feel sad or torn apart. I didn’t feel like this just earlier in the day. I’ve noticed the dreaded depressed feeling today lasted about 3 hours at the most. I played around doing make up on my sister to distract myself and after that I was fine. While at work on Thursday – my depressed mood which led me to barely talking to colleagues lasted for about 4 – 5 hours. So these mood states are not long at all. But when I am in them it’s like I can’t remember what it was like before. I can’t recall happy moments or I can but they feel like something of the past, not just you know, this morning or 2 days ago. It’s like remembering a dream you had, hazy and distant. So, as of this moment, I am okay. I can get through 3-5 hours of sadness, I can let those states pass.

I am okay and when I am in those moods, I will come out of them and be OK again. Do they still suck? Yes. Will I go through it again? Yes. Will I come out of them? Yes. Is it worth coming out of them? Right now, I don’t feel super content in saying Yes but I still feel like it is worthwhile. I don’t want to let it keep me down. I will be around even after the sadness. I am not sadness. Sadness passes. Emotions change, they do not need to be judged. This is something they teach us in DBT but I still haven’t quite accepted feeling deeply sad, especially when there is no trigger. I guess I feel like I need a ‘reason’ for sadness and if I don’t have one, I take issue with it. It’s OK to have times of sadness, even if it’s for no reason and it doesn’t make me a bad person, it makes me human and it doesn’t make me unstable, it’s just how my brain works. It doesn’t make me unstable because I have healthy, non damaging outlets, I am able to contain myself and see myself through them in some way or another. I am able to support myself and get through another day. I got through today. I can get through tomorrow.

 

 

borderline personality disorder · dating · dbt · mental health · therapy

I don’t have time for mental illness.

I guess the main relief is my current struggle isn’t actually my doing. Even in therapy on Monday when I relayed the events going on in my life of last week, he wholeheartedly agreed that none of this was caused by my BPD. For once, all the shambles around me are just life events occurring. It hasn’t been me being reckless, or sabotaging or me lashing out at people under stress. It’s just a stressful shitty time. I hibernated last weekend and I guess I’ve been hibernating from this blog too, mainly because truly, no recovery related stuff is really happening, I don’t have interesting fun facts at the moment to share. My life at the moment is pretty strained. My psych acknolwedging that a lot is happening helped me to really believe it. I guess when you feel so intensely sometimes you wonder whether you’re exaggerating it or whether things really are that difficult at the moment.

There are some pros that have emerged in my recent experience:

  • I didn’t act out at all during all of this and had a healthy ‘break up’ (we were barely together, but you know) when Ben said he doesn’t want to take things further my urge was to cling, to call him and ask to consider the changes we could make to make it work (I have a hard time letting go, obviously) but I didn’t. It was hard, but I realised that he knew that too, and if he wanted he could have called/met up with me to talk about how we could make it work, he obviously didn’t want that, and I deserve that.
  • I took ‘executive’ action – as I like to call it – to handle the stress (more on that later).
  • I have been using positive coping strategies and so far I regret none of them.
  • I am still in therapy and because of my last session I was able to notice a BPD type behaviour creeping up and nip it in the bud before it gets bad.
  • I’ve actually been pretty reliable and responsible, especially at home. I’m doing more errands, spending a lot of time with family, helping out financially even more and with all of that, managing my BPD myself.

The actions I took are actually related to more stress that has been piled on me.              My sister lost a job after being accepted and before she even started because she’s been discriminated against for having depression (this is an article in itself). So I have to chip in more financially at home – this means I’ve dropped therapy to fortnightly and I’ve had to go back fulltime. So I’ll be starting full-time next week. I feel like both of these things are not what’s best for my recovery but, I’m going to try my best to get through it. But it helps the situation at the moment, and in terms of recovery it means I was responsible and able to take care of my family despite all of the crazyness going on at the moment.

I have started taking melatonin for the last 4 nights and it hasn’t been a miracle but I definetly feel less tired in the day and it helps me manage my BPD a lot better because of that. Unfortunately, I still had a nightmare last night which woke me, I’m going through a stint of having them every night and it’s upsetting to say the least so I hope that doesn’t happen tonight. I think I’m close to nailing the best sleeping time for me and once I have that, working full-time may be a lot easier. I’m also waiting for my 5-HTP patches. Now the tablets definetly helped me, (again not a miracle but it lifts my moods for sure as I felt it happening the first day of taking it). I am hoping the patches are even better. BPD and ME talks about it on her blog and how it helped her so I’m grateful that she put that out there. I will let you guys know how I go with that. So between the melatonin and 5-HTP I’m hoping my moods and sleep will stabilise and I can get on with things easier. I also have my assessment for DBT on tuesday which will be up to 2 hours! Of getting drilled with questions but hopefully after that, I can start, weekly for a good half a year or so of DBT! I think it’s going to be one-to-one as well so maybe that will help. I really hope so, at least it’s more support so I’ll take what I can get.

I was reminded how sneaky my BPD can be this week. I was reaching a point after Ben of becoming unhealthily obsessed with the app. I kept going on it and making it about who did or didn’t like me. All of a sudden it was becoming more urgent, an evaluation, trying to find the right person quickly. Getting angry that it isn’t happening. I knew it was happening but I kept finding myself back on it. I told psych about it and he said that while my current life situation may not be my doing, this IS. I love that he can be blunt and honest with me in a nice way. He pulls me up on BS that could harm me. He’s right of course so I agreed I’ll be taking a break from it. I had already swapped numbers with one person but I’ve ignored all the messages from others and haven’t logged on in days. I already feel better for it. I haven’t always needed to be in therapy, last year I went months without, studying, going out, trying to be normal but then the behaviours creep up on me and I’m not really thinking about them. So this has been a stark reminder to me that even if it’s fortnightly I need to carry on for now no matter how ‘functional’ I might seem at the moment. It’s like pulling out weeds before they can grow and get crazy. I’m grateful he was able to help me nip it in the bud, now I just need to keep it this way for a while.

I’m not really going out much but I am making the effort to go out with family, keep in touch etc. and prayer and spirituality is really helping. I lose myself in reaching out to God to help me through this time and it really beats harmful behaviours. I don’t feel great inside at the moment, but at least I’m not regretting anything.