borderline personality disorder · bpd · dbt · mental health · Uncategorized

Book review: Stronger than BPD – Debbie Corso

Okay so I don’t really think I am much of a book reviewer but I just wanted to share what I felt as I was hesitant about buying this book at first. I’ve been on the DBT Path courses a couple of years ago and got to email Debbie directly. Debbie Corso, is a prominent figure in the BPD recovery community mainly because she shares so much about her own recovery and helps others in their journey too. If you can’t get BPD in your area I would definetly recommend her online DBT path course. Unfortunately, back at the time I chose to do the course I was in a tricky living situation, so I had too much going on for me to really be able to implement what I was learning. But the course itself was informative and mimics very well the actual face to face group setting as much as it can on an online platform.

The reason I was hesitant to buy this book was because I have read quite a lot of BPD recovery stories online on blogs, vlogs etc. and also books. I’ve also studied BPD quite extensively now and don’t feel there is much more to learn about the nature of the disorder (so I say). I didn’t want to read basic information and a few techniques that I may already know about.

This book was well worth the money! and it wasn’t much at all for the kindle version. Debbie doesn’t go too much into explaining the criteria etc. she jumps straight into how to implement DBT but gives examples of how and when she used it in her own personal life, and in some pretty tough, major life situations.

I’ve not even finished the book yet but I wanted to share that I am really benefitting from the book already and I would highly recommend it to anyone, not just if you have a diagnosis. The techniques can be applied to pretty much any life stressor, whether it’s on the mild end of the spectrum to something you may feel is more severe. Somehow, she phrases it in a way that makes it stick in my brain as well, as I’ve noticed good old emotions come in the way and in those moments I forget a lot of the techniques I’ve learnt.

I’ve already used the problem-solving idea earlier this morning when I was stressing out about being late to an appointment and showing up without the ID they wanted. I was familiar with the problem solving skill but it’s just her delivery I guess, that reminded me. I also used the ‘putting thoughts away in a box’ a little earlier, it’s one that has never really worked well for me, and it still wasn’t 100% but it was still about 60% effective, and if it means I’lll feel better, I’ll take it.

I’m learning something new page by page and I’m so happy she shared her wisdom and knowledge.

I will report back soon guys I hope you are all well!



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.






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’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.


borderline personality disorder · bpd · dbt · mental health · online dbt · Uncategorized

Radical acceptance.

I have to admit I haven’t been doing my daily self-dbt work for a while. I have been good but there are times when I am really holding my breath and inwardly feeling anger or bitter at the reality of a situation, such as when there’s massive delays on my way home and they make me even more exhausted than what I already am. I also have moments where I feel like I will act out and feel a bit down and even though I don’t act out, and I am able to see it through, I still have the emotions. I feel like this is part of my BPD that I may not be able to shake off, it just happens. When I have a stretch of time, usually on sundays, this is when it creeps up.

I did a few things to see me through but, I want to try radical acceptance today as I feel like this may be able to help me.

Radical acceptance is for when you cannot keep painful events or emotions from coming your way. In this case, the painful emotions. I accept them in my mind, my heart and my body. I accept that they are a part of my BPD, that they occur at the times they occur. I am not bitter about it, it is just a part of my reality. The same way some sicknesses are a part of some people’s reality, BPD is my sickness and my reality. I am not bitter. This is a fact about my present moment that that’s how things are for me. Everything has a cause – and I know many of them for me.

Life can be worth living even with painful events in it. – Even though I feel pain at times, when there is no trigger, life can still be worth living, and it is worth living. I have way more good times than bad, and even with the bad moments, they do not last forever. I may have BPD my whole life, but my life is filled with many things that make me happy and make it worthwhile.

Rejecting reality does not change reality – I will still have BPD, and most likely have those moments again. There is no point in rejecting it, or trying to, I still have BPD.

Changing reality requires first accepting reality. – I can’t recover or do anything about thsoe moments if I’m busy rejecting it, or being bitter about it. In fact, I am doing things to help me through it. Radically accepting it!

Rejecting reality turns pain into suffering – yes, I feel a little bummed out, if I try to reject that’s my reality right now, I will feel sorry for myself, and find myself in a deeper rut.

Refusing to accept reality can keep you stuck in unhappiness (makes sense since you can’t even improve the moment), bitterness (rejecting reality, why me?), anger (used to hate the world), sadness, shame, or other painful emotions.

Acceptance may lead to sadness but deep calmness usually follows. It’s okay for me to feel this way. It doesn’t make me bad or wrong. I have BPD and there are things that I will experience, it’s just part of it. It’s nothing to feel bad about, or beat myself up over. I am doing the best I can. I didn’t act out. It’s not my fault. I do feel a little calmer after writing this out. I feel like I took a sad moment and did something good with it. Plus, I self soothed put some fragrance on as I’m a sucker for nice smells. Lit a candy scented incense stick (mmm) and I am going to keep binge watching my favourite show. 🙂

I accept that this is my reality. I am not disappointed or sad, so they are not arising in me (luckily). I used half smiling, willing hands, prayer, mindulfness meditation and tried my best to accept with mind, body and spirit.

Turning the mind also comes on the next page. It says turning the mind is choosing to accept. I am choosing to accept this.


dbt · mental health · online dbt · sex and love addiction

Using DBT for my SLAA addiction.

Yay Marsha! 🙂 She has a section on using DBT for addiction, so I’m going to use it for my SLAA.

Re-inforcing non addictive behaviours.

  1. Searched for people to spend time with who aren’t addicted. Describe what you did and who you found.  – I am going to ask a colleague to go out for lunch at work sometime. I am going to lunch with a colleague on friday.
  2. Increased number of enjoyable non-addictive activities. Describe activities. – Going to go to Hyperjapan. Going out for a meal on friday with my friend and saturday.
  3. Sampled different groups and activities. Describe what you did and who you found. Found a mental health creativity group, asked about next event.
  4. Took one or more action steps to build positive events to replace addiction. Describe. – going to pray as it’s positive for me.
  5. 30 days abstinence. I did it. Describe abstinence plan and how you implemented it. – SLAA HOW and top lines. I did it by hitting my top lines everyday (behaviours I want for myself) this included spending time with my higher power (God). Outreach calls. Talking to sponsor. Meetings (I am attending one right now). Therapy sessions. I am also going to use worksheet 14 – in DT (below) to help me.

Pros and cons of stopping acting out addictive behaviours: (crisis behaviour)

What is the crisis behaviour? Jumping into a relationship/dating, falling in love without knowing who they are or whether we are compatible. Or jumping into sexual activity without knowing them.

Pros: (Yes) Consequences of acting on the crisis behaviour:

I don’t have to deal with my emotions, I have an outlet. reduces stress, I get a release for a while.

I don’t have to try to fight my urge, I can just act and not struggle to change.

Minimal effort required as it’s habitual behaviour.

I can get some attention or some level of love, back.

I can get some emotional support to some degree.

Physical satisfaction.

Cons: (of acting on crisis behaviour):

Goes against morals leaving me with feelings of shame.

Feelings of guilt.

Feel worse during if the person is unsympathetic/unkind (increased feelings of grief, anger, shame or fear if they are unsafe).

Can trigger feelings of self-hatred, self judgement and self invalidation as I want to shun what I’ve done and feelings associated with that.

Does not allow me to practice using my skills to help me handle my own emotions.

Leaves me feeling dependent, and lacking self respect, that I need to kneel on someone I barely know for support who may not have my interests at heart. Makes me needy.

Feel internal conflict and detached from higher power.

Feelings of sadness and more loneliness as I feel distant from my higher power.

Feeling of fear after feeling detached from higher power. Would I be able to stay close to Him? Is he near me? Did I detach myself for a long time?

Feeling even emptier than before if they are emotionally disconnected and/or abusive.

Can trigger me into even more impulsive behaviours as I am tempted to act on the same impulse again as I’ve opened the doors once.Or lead me to other impulsive behaviours to cope with the ineffective feelings like self harm, or impulsive sexual activity, or infidelity or smoking etc. All behaviours I want to avoid. Increased risk of relapse of BPD behaviours.

Even more shame and guilt for acting impulsively and then acting out to help with that (e..g speaking to ex impulsively then cutting and then feeling upset that I cut) – (last year).

Feeling isolated from others as I try to hide my behaviours.

Consequences of avoiding the crisis behaviour:

Pros – (of avoiding):

I get to feel safe.

Increased feelings of self-respect.

Do not engage in behaviours I may later feel guilt or shame over.

Can feel self validating, can feel happy as I take my time in the right way of getting to know someone. I will have no regrets and can enjoy the process.

I can make a healthy decision using wise mind which will benefit me in the long run.

Will give me increased positive events in the long-run (e.g. not acting impulsively but taking my time to get to know someone would lead me to a much better chance of being happy in the long run than running into something blindly).

Can continue to focus on myself as I’m not disrupting my life plans and recovery by preoccupying myself with impulsive sexual/romantic behaviours.

My mental energy is directed at recovery instead of problem causing or solving in a relationship, being preoccupied with an unhealthy relationship. Or stressing or worrying about what I’ve done. There is no stress or less stress as I haven’t included a destructive or impulsive relationship into the mix.

I can enjoy life in the long run as I am not feeling bad or guilty about an addictive relationship or behaviour, or wasting time engaged in it. I can do things that don’t make me feel bad, like going out with friends or going for a walk. I am not investing mental energy and feeling drained by something that doesn’t even benefit me.

I can feel closer to my higher power as I’m not engaging in things I find are morally wrong and I can speak to Him much freer and ask for help as opposed to feeling cut off because of my actions.

I don’t have to deal with lies or the guilt of lying to family and friends as I lie to hide my addictive behaviours and sometimes even live a double life. Hiding what I’m doing from them. I will enjoy transparency and the truth will be there for all to see. I won’t have any ‘dirty secrets’ or behaviours to be ashamed of.

Can live life how I want without arguments or pain of an abusive relationship.

More likely to find someone who respects me and is kind as they will respect me if I don’t act out and take my time. (aka respect myself).

Cons (of avoiding the behviour):

Can feel difficult or be difficult in the moment to resist urges.

Takes time to think about and utilise new skills or avoid old behaviours.

Can feel scary or uncomfortable to try something new.

Can mean I am single for longer.

Can mean rejecting attention that is available.

Takes effort to find new avenues of communication or support.

Do not get instant gratification.

Do not get the high that comes with addictive behaviour.

Cannot enjoy the company of anyone I want or come across (as there isnt a filter with addictive behaviour).

The pros of avoiding the behaviours really hit home to me. It’s about respecting myself and in turn finding someone who would respect me. Gives me a chance to focus on myself in a positive way, of giving myself a good life that I’ve built slowly instead of adding stress to the mix. I can feel good about myself for living in line with my values and it means I am protecting myself from harming myself and potentially harming myself even further by acting out. I can only see good things by not acting out! I really feel like writing it all out this way helped and helps to see it clearly. I will have a better life in the long-run by not acting out than the few moments of possible joy acting out can give me, and even then it goes and the pain comes because the foundations are rocky.



borderline personality disorder · bpd · dbt · mental health

What caused my BPD

So I read a lot of guest blogs on the healing from BPD website (which I highly recommend as they explain how and what they did to recover from/gain remission from BPD) – and a blog of a recovered BPD diagnosed lady on wordpress who wrote: ”Learning about how you have developed the condition means you can fight the causes (which may be ongoing) at the same time as fighting the symptoms”. I recommend both of these sites.

Most of the individuals have explained that part of their recovery involved self analysis, not only of the ways BPD was affecting their life but also the causes of BPD in their particular individual case. I guess it is healing because you are able to understand it is not your fault and can develop more self-compassion.

Of course, I know the main causes of my BPD by now in my head. I am just gonna get it down on paper to analyse and use the biosocial model from my DBT skills training handouts and worksheets book.

So first it says: Emotional vulnerability is biological. This may well be the case for me as my mum was under particular stress when she was pregnant with me (my dad was violent towards her ever since they got married). I have studied in psychology how the mothers stress levels can affect stress modulation in a developing foetus so that might also be what happened to me.

Secondly, it says: Impulsivity also has a biological basis. Again, could well apply to me, I have struggled with impulsive behaviour and still do to some extent.

Then it goes onto the social environment aspect:

‘An Invalidating social environment can make it very hard to regulate emotions’.

An invalidating environment doesn’t seem to understand your emotions (yep!). It tells you your emotions are invalid, weird, wrong or bad. I had so many instances of this which are now coming back to me. Whenever I was upset about something I have been told by my mum that ‘it’s not a big deal’, ‘why are you making it a big deal’, ‘it doesn’t matter’. In fact these phrases are still sometimes heard today even though I voice my feelings in a straight forward tone, I am still met by ‘why are you making it a big deal’, as if by saying that my mum can magically make the confrontation go away or brush my feelings off. The only difference is now as an adult and through therapy, I know my feelings are valid and important, whether she tries to brush them off or not.

If I was afraid as a child usually after having been up watching a scary movie with my mum (which I really shouldn’t have been allowed to sit up and watch anyway) I would be told things like ‘there’s nothing to be scared of, go back to bed’ or ‘nothings going to happen’ ‘dont’ be a scaredy cat’. None of these phrases helped me. I also have a particular memory of my dad laughing at me when I was really upset about something as a child and crying. I had to go over that one in therapy. 

  It often ignores your emotional reactions and does nothing to help you.  Sadly, this is true too. I cried once due to insomnia and the stress of it, and my mum said nothing to comfort me. When I asked her why she hadn’t even said anything she looked at me blankly and said ‘what can I do’. All I had needed were some words of empathy or understanding (validation). If I can recall this as an adult I can imagine as a child being ignored also.

People who invalidate are OFTEN DOING THE BEST THEY CAN.

They may not know how to validate or how important it is to validate. I think this may be the case, culturally there is not much emphasis on emotional development of children, the importance of validation. My dad is mentally ill, so he obviously could not do this for me (still cannot). My mother grew up as an orphan so it may well be because no one had ever validated her. 

They may be under high stress or time pressure, or they may have too few resources themselves. Yes, living in a domestic violence home is highly stressful, maybe that’s why she could never see the importance of it. She may have been trying to reduce all other stressors in her life including those of my emotional needs just to cope with living in the house we were living in. I also think she had few/no resources to help her do this. Her family lived in a different city so she didn’t get much help with us.

An ineffective social environment is a big problem when you want to learn how to regulate emotions and actions.

(Well yes, I was never taught anything related to this so struggled through life doing whatever worked no matter the consequences in the end).

Your environment may reinforce out of control emotions and actions. This is SO true for me that I feel good just by writing it down. Whenever I would be angry up to the point I was raging and smashing my room up or breaking the next thing I could see would be when I would get attention. That would be when everyone would truly stop and realise I was upset and shouldn’t be ignored. I still wouldn’t get a resolution, but I would get the attention and understanding that I was being serious. No wonder I continued doing it, because in that environment it worked!

If people give in when you get out of control, it will be hard for you to be in control. An example that comes to mind is how strict my parents were with letting me go out even just to see friends that lived on the same road! I felt like a literal prisoner trapped in a toxic environment. When we moved to London, my mum would still be strict with my going out, it was still not as often as I liked (maybe once a month) for a 16 year old who wasn’t exactly planning on going out until 2am getting wasted, this was so frustrating to me, I decided to simply rebel. I argued and would leave to go out everyday, completely disregarding her rules. That was finally when she gave in, and it was because I had decided to go ahead and do whatever I wanted anyway.

If others command you to change, but don’t coach you on how to do this, it will be hard to keep on trying to change. This hits home because they did want me to change, they wanted me to stop going out so late, she wanted me to not drink, she wanted me to stop seeing a particular bf I had at the time so much. I was the ‘out of control girl’, wearing clothes she didn’t like, going out to parties she didn’t like. I was screaming and the ‘black sheep’ of the family. But at no stage, did either parent ever think to ask me what’s truly going on, get me counselling, get me therapy, have me see a Dr, get books or ask others if they could get insight into why I was behaving the way I was behaving. Nothing. Even until today. That hurts and also makes me angry (a kind of residual anger), as it’s easy to tell someone to change but as a parent they should have taken it upon themselves to really find out what was going on and as a child I have the right for my parents to look up mental health and be involved in my recovery. I still don’t have that. I have vowed to myself that if I become a parent, I will keep learning about emotional validation and use the skills and strategies to validate. I will also consider their mental health as they grow and play an active role in educating them and supporting them with this.

It’s the TRANSACTIONS that count between the person and the social environment.

Funnily enough, I am understanding this more in recovery. As I’ve used DBT skills to react differently to situations, I am getting different (positive) responses as a result. This transaction then teaches me that I can get a desired response in a healthy way. And so I use them again, or try a new skill in the future, and so it goes on… I think the key one to remember here is;

The person reciprocates and influences his/her environment’. This is the window that I have to use my skills, to try out a new response to positively influence my environment and create a new outcome in the environment. The social environment will then reciprocate differently than it did in the past and I will be influenced differently and grow as a result. This is the part I need to think about most. ‘What response do I want to go with in this situation and what out come will it give me?’.

Well, that was pretty insightful. My childhood environment fit all the criteria of an invalidating and unhelpful environment and it seems to me that it’s no wonder I used to act the way I did. It’s no wonder I developed BPD. It wasn’t all me. In fact as a child most of it wasn’t me at all. I didn’t have the maturity to choose my responses and I was meant to be coached on how to do deal with my emotions and how to respond effectively. I should have been validated and accepted as an emotional and sensitive child, and I wasn’t. I have long since accepted this in myself and I do not see it as a negative, infact I think it’s beautiful to be sensitive in a world that is so harsh. I love that I am one of those people as most sensitive people I have met I have been drawn to and appreciated.

I can also see how this means BPD isn’t a death sentence. It’s mainly due to environmental factors and upbringing which means, once you change the environment and learn how to respond to it appropriately, you can change the outcomes and essentially change the direction of your life. I guess that’s the core of DBT, allowing you to change your responses in your window of time in the social transaction. I may not be able to stop problems happening in the environment, or difficult people saying difficult things, but I can choose how I respond which will then in turn change my environment to my favour. I almost kind of feel a sense of gratitude to my BPD, it was simply my way of coping with the hands I’d been dealt. It was a survival strategy even though it seemed like a self destruction mission at the time, even the suicide attempts were only my brains way of trying to rid myself of the pain I was experiencing at that time. It was never really about death, it was a warped way of helping myself feel better. That includes self harm, sexual promiscuity, drinking, drugs. It was all a way to numb the pain of what I was going through and help myself. All I’ve been doing now is swapping A for a much more positive B when I am going through difficulties.

I am going to be learning more about DBT skills today and practicing a mindfulness exercise on being non-judgemental. I also have big plans which I’ll be writing about after I’ve talked about it with my psychologist.

Watch. this. space., world.


borderline personality disorder · bpd · dbt

Seroquel update & DBT

So my seroquel at the moment has been giving me weird nightmares and dreams. I remember them in the morning and dream every night. I didn’t have that before so I know it’s from the meds. I also feel like I’m not crashing in my moods in the evenings. Like I feel better all day. Before the Seroquel I would be pretty okay in the mornings and afternoons just busy doing things but then I’d get down in the evenings and sometimes be battling depression and the urge to act out. But I haven’t had that in a long time, my moods pretty even. I don’t know if it’s just because of where I am at in my daily life atm (not much is triggering me) or if it’s because I genuinely am better on the Seroquel.

However it did nothing so far for my intrusive thoughts, the constant music calmed a little but I am constantly having extra thoughts on the side as well as my inner monologue. So I asked my GP last week to up it and he didn’t.

Disclaimer: what I did next was stupid but I knew from my psych report I can be titrated up to 300mg. Don’t copy me.

I took a double dose last night and upped myself to 200mg. I’m going to book an appt in about a week and tell them that I’ve done this if it’s been helpful. I had really bad restless leg syndrome on this dose last night, I didn’t sleep and was up past 2am. I caved eventually and went downstairs ate a banana as I felt really faint (maybe my blood sugar dropped even lower?) I was sure I was going to collapse, but instead managed to sit and research what I could do about the annoying feeling in my feet and found some people recommended eating a banana! I think it actually worked as I managed to sleep after 3am. I think the dose really knocked me out as I got up at 2pm today.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve gone through my DBT (I had been going through the IE module everyday bit by bit) and I feel bad because I have all this spare time on my hands and I’m not using it. I’m also not sure if it’s because I just feel good? So today I’m picking one that kind of applies to me at the moment as I learn the best this way:

It’s on acting dialectically. I’m going to pick a situation with my sister at the moment, she has decided to go on a water fast and is on day 3. I don’t agree with this as I think it’s bad for her health. It’s not a major example but they said to start small so that you’re prepared for trickier situations.

Ask wise mind what am I missing? She is an adult who is responsible for her own health and is within her rights to do that if she pleases.

Let go of extremes: use both / and – She has the right to go on this fast if she pleases and I have the right to disagree as I am concerned for her health.

Find the truth in the other side: She did say she will eat if she doesn’t feel well. She looked up and did research before embarking on this. She has armed herself with information.

Balance opposites: Validate both sides when you disagree: I looked at the other page that has ‘examples of opposite sides that can both be true’ and it has : You can have a disagreement with somebody AND also be friends. I can disagree with her and continue to have a good, close relationship with my sister.

Embrace change: Practice radical acceptance of change when rules, circumstances, people, and relationships change in ways you don’t like. She has made a change I don’t like. It is a circumstance I don’t like but I accept it anyway.

Pay attention to your effect on others and how they affect you: If I remain open and positive with her and kind she will continue to respond in kind to me.

Practice letting go of blame by looking for how your own and other’s behaviours are caused by many interactions over time. Remind myself that all things including behaviours are caused. In her case, she wants to improve her body image. She is planning on getting engaged soon and wants to look in good shape for that. Her behaviour is caused by many motivations and events.


I don’t agree with her, (validation doesn’t mean you have to agree). Validation doesn’t mean you like it, (which is good because I don’t). I acknowledge that her behaviours have causes and are therefore understandable.(I.e. she wants to lose weight).

Finding the kernel of truth in a situation: – It is helping her lose weight, she has lost some.

It is important to validate: A person’s thoughts/beliefs/opinions about something – I can see she feels strongly that it will help her. She believes it is a good way of going about it. She has the opinion that it is not dangerous or unhealthy and is beneficial. I can validate that.

I already feel better as I’ve written this. I can still be close to her. I can understand her. One or the other of us doesn’t have to be ‘right’. It doesn’t make me ‘wrong’. (This might sound like a no brainer to some people but with BPD our black and white thinking means we can be quite ‘rigid’ in our opinions and ideas). It doesn’t make her ‘wrong’. I don’t agree and it’s OK. I can radically accept she’s doing something I dislike and that she has her own reasons for doing that. I feel like it provides so much flexibility thinking this way. I’m going to continue spending time in a positive way with her and remember that I have an effect on others and how they affect me in kind. If I’m happy and kind to her she will be influenced by that too and hopefully the same back.