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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borderline personality disorder · bpd · mental health · Uncategorized

Work work work

Hate that song! Anyway so I thought I would update you all on how things are going plus I feel like it’s part of my routine writing on here. Things have been productive, but boring. I have been a little non-stop since the beginning of the week but I mean, nothing happens if nothing gets done so I don’t mind. Just a little tired. I applied for some more jobs (I did get an invite to apply after applying for the last job I mentioned and found out it was 2 hours away! 😦 ). Applied for some more after work during the week and went to the charity evening. I loved it. I did feel apprehensive while I was there – I flitted between feeling like ‘this is finally going to be the place where my personality and emotions will be useful and beneficial!’ to ‘what if I’m not cut out for this at all? what if it drains me?’ Maybe a little black and white thinking? I think what makes it a little more intimidating was the fact that most of the people who want to get involved already are working in mental health in some way. Plus, they interview you to see if you’re suited for it and the questions are going to be personal. 

I’m undecided about revealing my diagnosis – in one way I hope they don’t discriminate if I do reveal it and decide I’m not fit to volunteer no matter who I am as a person. On the other hand I feel like if I don’t talk about it I’m just adding to the stigma surrounding it – that it ‘should’ be kept quiet or that I’m ashamed of it – I’m not. What do you guys think?

I feel like things have been difficult for me even during recovery – (next week is my 18 months in!) I know I have to be patient and keep letting things improve at the rate that they are meant to but I don’t feel like I’m at the stage of enjoying life or feeling stable. I still feel like im surviving, usually broke, still needing therapy, not too outgoing and sociable and still feeling a little bit like my head is just above water. No longer in terms of worrying about being aggressive and losing my shit or about breaking up relationships but more in terms of feeling depressed or hopeless, that things will never change. It’s a place I feel is in the background in my mind, tempting to listen to, to fall into, I’m just holding on to see if it’s not the case. Let’s say I’m interested to see how the next year pans out and whether things keep going uphill.

I am at a healthy weight I think, I’m avoiding the scales but from what I see I think I’ve reached it. I am uncomfortable with it, I’m just trying not to be and not to think about losing. Maybe it’s a good thing that I’ve had a few family events the past 2 weeks so I’ve been eating more than usual. 

I’m still noticing differences between my old relationship tendencies and how I’m thinking now. Me and the guy I’ve been talking to for the last 2 weeks got to talking on the phone last night. I made up a nickname for him to blog about it on here but it ended up being his actual name haha. So I’m making up another one –  James. He is a pretty interesting, lively personality from what I can tell, we talked for quite a while last night but I’m not sure what he’s made of me so far, he’s quite good at not being too obvious about it. But then at the same time, it is early days so I guess there isn’t much to make of things yet.

I remember in the past I would be super excited and feel myself getting prematurely attached. I’d think about them a lot, fantasize, wonder what they’re up to, and now I realise that that isn’t healthy for me, leads me into my own world and usually doesn’t match up to the reality of what is actually going on. So now I’m wary of thinking too much about him or how things are, whether it could be good between us, I have no expectations really and I think it’s a lot better this way. It’s not to say I haven’t thought like that at all but I catch myself a lot quicker.

I definetly would hinge most of my happiness on a relationship and talking to/being with that person. I am starting to see how unrealistic this is and how I need to make sure I have my own happiness and things going on, while I’m dating but also in life in general. Whether I’m in a relationship, married, single it doesn’t matter – I need my own life, hobbies, passions, non-romantic relationships. I am glad I can at least see that now.

Speaking of hobbies, I don’t know if it’s just me but I feel like a lot of advice that’s out there revolves around telling people to get out more, do things, be busy, have a ‘life’- but what if that’s just not you? I have things I enjoy but a lot of them can be done indoors, I have a social life it’s just not ‘busy’ or an everyday thing and I am starting to wonder whether this is just another ‘ideal’ or expectation of modern society.  I know I’m not the only person like this, not everyone is a social butterfly, going to a million and one events and not everyone wants to be – surely I don’t need to be moulding myself into this to be more ‘attractive’ or to seem ‘healthy’ as a person? Just something that’s been on my mind lately.

I got a call from IMPART and they scheduled to see me for my assessment in 5 weeks time so hopefully I can get myself into some more treatment pretty soon. The assessment will be 2 hours long (yikes!) not looking forward to that so much.

 

 

 

 

 

borderline personality disorder · bpd · dating · Uncategorized

Beach Day

As we’re having a nice summer for September here at the moment me and my friend decided to go to the beach. Apart from being a little tired the whole day, it was fun and I found it super relaxing. I think I stay at home a lot more than I should assuming it’s relaxing but sometimes you need to get out into nature. I’m glad we went.

I managed to get the text out early to Tom telling him I don’t feel as connected as I should, which was true, and he seemed fine. All he said was bye, lol. But I’m glad it’s done and the fact that I don’t feel much regret or sadness just tells me my instinct was right, I mean we barely knew eachother so there’s that too. I’m still talking to other people but unfortunately one of them who really seems like my type doesn’t even live in the country and I don’t know how I feel about an LDR and going over to visit. Even though it would be cool to get out and meet people who aren’t in the UK. It’s kinda annoying that when I do connect there’s usually some kind of life barrier. There is someone else too who does live in the UK and not too far from me. The conversations kinda slow but I’ve asked him the ‘serious’ questions, the type that’d rule someone out and it seems all is well so far. I’m waiting on him to take it further and call me and so on which he hasn’t suggested yet… we’ll see.

It might sound lame but I really want to progress onto finding the right person and spending my life with them. As I’ve never been too materialistic, I just feel like I’m done with the spending time alone part. Apart from stints of dating I have been doing a lot by myself since my divorce. Going on courses, working in different jobs, going to events with friends and family, doing things I haven’t done before, that type of thing. It would be nice to settle a little. Moving out in London is really expensive and I don’t want to get a houseshare as it’d be way more than living with my family so there’s that too. I would feel a lot more comfortable moving out with a significant other than spending a ridiculous amount of money to move out on my own.

There’s a side of me that’s struggling with a kind of jealousy? I guess from my age upwards I’m surrounded with family and people who are on holidays with their SO’s and children, going on second kids etc. and I just feel a little alien around them. My family events leave me a little wanting for this too. I know I could have it a lot worse and I have always hated the emotion of jealousy. I used to go out of my way to make sure it never went so far as wishing other people didn’t have what I wanted, and I still would never want someone else to not have the blessings they have. I always hope they get more and continue to have lives filled with good things. I guess I’m just done with this disorder and it taking from my life. I feel like I bizarrely lost a good few years of mine to it, to being out of control, living in a house I didn’t want to be in so now I’m kind of picking up where I left off and playing catch up. I mean if this last year is anything to go by I am moving forwards, just not at the stage they are at.

But, I’m trying not to get too caught up into it because I know it won’t help me moving forwards. Another plus, I’ve finally been accepted to get DBT treatment from the health services. There’s a 3 month waiting period which is fine with me and it will be a trainee doing my therapy but that’s OK too, they reasoned this on my current state not being too severe, which I’ll take (it was either that or CBT). I should be getting the letter next week. 

 

 

borderline personality disorder · bpd · dating · Uncategorized

Anorexia isn’t pretty & online dating.

I am getting stressed the f out. I feel like I need a holiday but I can’t afford a holiday and the worst thing about mental health is that there is nowhere to escape your brain anyway. Hell, I even had night terrors during my trip to Scotland. I’m losing a lot of hair. And this could be because I’m stressed but then if you stress about it, you’re still stressing and still losing hair. I tried trimming it as I heard having split ends can make you lose but that hasn’t helped. I don’t style it at all apart from having it in a bun to get it out of my face because it’s long. I take vitamins including vitamin B and I have quite a bit of water maybe not enough the past few days but all in all nothing has really changed from how I’ve always been doing things so I’m not sure why it’s happening. I oiled and conditioned it today and lost a lot in the bath which just made me want to cry. I love having long thick hair and since my mum lost a lot from the stress of living with my dad, it’s starting to freak me out. I am starting to wonder whether this is the result of my being underweight for the past few months and how I am still a couple of pounds underweight. Maybe the restriction is catching up and hair loss is a sign of that. I haven’t researched it enough to know but so far, I can’t think of anything else.

It’s been happening for a few weeks so I know I need to go to the doctors and get this thing checked out just waiting to get through to them as I write this.

I’m in a weird predicament of speaking to about 3 people at the moment. I got close to one of them last night let’s call him uhh…Tom. So we’ve been talking since Sunday I think and have been chatting on whatsapp. I got to ask him about his life and we have a lot of similar ideas, he’s independent, lives with his brother, has a good job – is actually working 2 at the moment, doesn’t have any of the major no go’s that I look for. He is good looking – I don’t find him amazingly handsome in I dont have that instant emotional bond with him? I’m trying to be wary of the people that I feel the instant bond to. Mainly because I understand now what my psychologist said about it being my emotionally intense side finding someone else like that. I realise now I guess that a true stable relationship takes time, trust and friendship before it blossoms. And that, can quite frankly seem boring in comparison to the dysfunctional lust filled emotionally passionate bpd relationship whirlwinds.

Well, while we were talking he got to find out about my marriage and what some of the major issues were. I found myself fessing up to him about calorie restricting for the past couple of months and my weight. He took it in his stride and didn’t make me feel awkward at all. All he said was that he wants me to be healthy and he would make sure I eat (lol). I have a weird relationship though to men and lust. It’s like my brain splits on people when they mention any kind of physical attraction and desire for me. It’s like I can’t quite possibly believe that someone can want me in a romantic and caring way as well as a lustful way? Well apparently, he was turned on by my voice last night as he told me so. And I felt awkward, like it was all rushed and I went quiet. He apologised and said he didn’t mean to offend me and he’d be careful not to joke around like that, even though it wasn’t a joke at all. We moved past it but I just didn’t know how to take it.

Today he’s been busy and didn’t message me and I’ve been grappling with myself not to get passive aggressive about it, I can feel myself getting attached. I caved, said hello and decided not to play games. So I asked how come I hadn’t heard from him today. Turns out he thought I was asleep. fair enough. But he asked me if I was missing him and I felt weird again. It’s like I feel close to him but when he says that I just feel weird and like I want to distance myself. It’s really strange. With what happened with S in 2015 when I ended up with him and I didn’t even like him for 3 months, I’m really scared of going that way again. Maybe that’s why I’m freaked? Or am I freaked because he’s being open and normal and for bpd open and normal is like a strange new land and I’m trying to explore it for the first time.

 

 

borderline personality disorder · bpd · Uncategorized

Who Am I?

Here I am on a computer chatting to about 5 men with about 5 different tabs open for job postings. And Here I am with still no idea what I want. What do I go for? Who do I go for? I can only seem to rule out what I don’t want. It seems like anything that is too ‘anything’ (aka has some type of quirk) I find a reason to say no. I am trying to focus but it doesn’t help that job searching is so boring. I hate the paperwork, the drawn out process. How they ask you everything that is already on your CV but they just want it written down in their own highlighted fields. I’m sure I sound super whiny but that is exactly what is going on in my mind right now.

I keep hearing all this stuff about finding out ‘who you are’ and your identity. Apart from finding out my values and some things I enjoy and quirks about myself I still don’t have my own direction. I can’t seem to commit and find ‘home’. I see my friends in jobs they enjoy, are passionate about and I’m a little jealous. Not that I don’t want them to have that, I just want to have that too. I want to be able to enjoy what I do and look forward to going. I don’t know if BPD will mean I’ll always be hesitant to go in, but I can’t keep spending my days working jobs I don’t want to be in. I’ve done it for the last 18 months and Im starting to crack.

I so badly want to find the right person but end up dismissing so many people in the process. It’s like once I find someone my brain wonders ‘this it? the one person, forever?’ and I freak. I know I’m not there with anyone yet but, it happens, a lot. On the plus side, I’m maintaining good boundaries online so far, no chasing, no passive aggressive remarks, I will not apologise for having standards.

Sigh.

 

borderline personality disorder · bpd · mental health · Uncategorized

Bridging the gap.

So yesterday I had another mini moment where I did something differently and it made something my psychologist said in a previous  session stick out that much more. I’m writing about it now to make sure it stays stuck in my brain.

After a good day out (fun, productive, insightful – yay!) I came back kinda late and exhausted and crashed on my bed. You know when you finally get to ‘shut off’ time and someone interrupts that? Well it doesn’t usually go down well for me.

My mum came in and starting talking about things I really couldn’t care less about – whether she wanted a tissue or to keep it in the room? (Srsly?!?!?!). When my tired brain kicks in I can get super snappy and as always with bpd – a little too mean with it. But, yesterday, even though I was in that state of mind, I laughed along with her and she left. That was it! My moment just consisted of me realising even though I’m tired it doesn’t mean I have to have a negative reaction and hurt someone else in the process. I’m still tired but without feeling bad for unloading it onto someone else.

She interrupted my sleep later as well but it was for something more important. This time I was close to getting snappy but she joked and it helped me react like that too. It reminded me of a session I had where I was complaining about my brother in law who’d annoyed me by acting in a certain (idiotic) way. ‘Why do you think he did that?’ He asks me. ‘I don’t know – to annoy me?’ ‘No, you just think he did that to annoy you because you felt annoyed. Think a little more – what could his motives be?’

So we looked at other possibilities about why he could have done what he did.

But, I get why we did that now – just because I feel a certain emotional reaction that doesn’t mean that was their intention. Just because I felt a little angry at my mum last night that doesn’t mean she was deliberately trying to make me angry. This ties into my DBT work too where we look at whether the emotion is ‘justified’ depending on the situation. So you get to step back and think about how to proceed. But this took me a little further – what did the other person intend? Were they trying to be helpful? Were they just thinking about other things and didn’t realise it would be annoying?

I have a feeling that thinking like this will help me react a lot less and help me feel closer to people (less paranoia, taking things less personally, responding not reacting).

 

borderline personality disorder · bpd · mental health · Uncategorized

Stuck between a rock & recovery.

My brain had a great idea this morning – we decided to go through the ins and outs of my life from 4:30am when I have to be up for work by 6:40. Plenty of time to get back to sleep and get some more rest. Wrongggg. Not with this brain. We took a trip down memory lane. Looking at all the jobs I’ve had, how I stayed in so many that I hated. Wondering why I stayed in them when I hated them. How I’d always been driven by need and money and not what I want. But then what do I want? Who knows. (Seriously; who? If you do, message me.) I know it was sparked by therapy as I expressed my frustrations about my career path. You see I’m in kind of a new phase now. Marked by our conversation that went something like this;

‘My life’s just always been too chaotic for me to even stop and think about my career and what I really want.’

‘And now it’s time to stop and think about it. And you have worked damn hard to get here.’

Why yes, yes I have worked hard. It felt so good to hear it be acknowledged and recognised. I’ve gained so much stability over the past 18 months that I am at a stage where I can make some serious life decisions – even my therapist is telling me it’s time. But the comfort of this stability is new to me and it still feels shaky. With recovery comes this weird feeling of how much I don’t want to go back there again. What if all it takes is the wrong job stressing me out, overloading me and then I’m flaring up with some destructive mechanism or other to cope with it? What if I just flit from job to job (is flit even a word?) in a ‘BPD’ fashion? What if I never find what it is that I’m truly meant for?

The position I’m in is ending soon and I had been hoping there would be an opportunity come up, but turns out that just isn’t possible so I’m back to square one. I feel a little lost. Coupled with this is – even if I do find something more challenging and enjoyable will I even be able to work the full week?

As always I did an intense amount of research (frantic googling) and I have found that some people with BPD have known what their passion is down to the T, with some knowing what it was they wanted to do since childhood. For others, they have a general sense of what field but change up the specifics and haven’t settled on that. Others have no idea and are changing from field to field trying to make sense of what career and therefore what identity would suit them. In other words, it’s all possible with BPD. Then I read how they’re either struggling to work, starting on what they’re interested in (ie. Studying for it)  or have reached a stage where they’re thriving. None of which tells me how exactly they got there. It’s like the before and after shots and I have no idea what to do in the middle.

Lately, I just feel different too. I feel like I have changed so much that I’m just not the same person I was even in comparison to last year. I still struggle with the best of them – everyday, but I handle everything differently. And now all the real challenges are just beginning – relationships, career, adding more responsibilities to reach more goals. These challenges are where I feel like my work is really going to be tested. Is this just a fake remission? Have I really come as far as I feel like I have?

In truth, recovery is still scary and still, all I have is hope that it keeps getting better from here.