borderline personality disorder · sex and love addiction · Uncategorized

Dating and Dreams.

Ahem, I was saying. I have made the decision to start dating again. Not like tomorrow soon, but another month or 2 soon. I talked about it with my psych on Monday and we looked at the why’s and a little bit about how it used to go vs. how I want it to go now.

Some of it is because I think it’ll be a great chance to practice more of my skills I’ve picked up. I know I used some of my DBT skills in my last relationship and they worked well, helping me break up with very little self destructive or other-destructive behaviour. I treated myself well afterwards and my only regret was that I never told him how much the relationship meant to me and how great a person he truly is. My thoughts of him are very fleeting and rare now, compared to the times I thought of him everyday.

Another reason is, it helps me tackle my social anxiety. Now, there a lot of other ways to do that but first dates are one way. They force me out of my comfort zone bubble and get me talking. Once I’m over the nerves and  the – I’m going to turn back the other way and go home RIGHT NOW – moment I always have just before I meet them, I’m OK and it’s usually fun, or funny, depending on how it went.

I want to be able to practice all that I’ve been learning about boundaries too, it’s interesting to me how I’ve been out in the world dating without them. I mean, I did relatively OK, but it feels like I’ve been walking around with no armour. Now, I’m hoping I will be able to set much clearer, firmer boundaries a lot earlier and keep myself safer and if I’m not feeling safe, I am hoping I will have insight to look into the problem areas and then speak up. 

This is the first time I’ll be in therapy while starting the dating process too, so it feels reassuring to be in the process with my psychologist and it may well give us a lot more to work with. This ties into the fact that my BPD manifests the strongest in romantic relationships, my emotions are quadrupled too, so I feel like it’ll reveal a lot more to my psych and help me heal in a lot of ways.

My sponsor in the SLAA program is also going to help me make a ‘dating plan’ which makes me feel a lot safer. It’s like I’ll have a map to get me through the woods. I had to write ‘bottom lines’ in the program which are behaviours that are unacceptable to me and that I want to absolutely avoid (major no no – dating someone I don’t even like?!). Just having them written down means I have a clearer idea of what I do and don’t want to do when I start dating and when getting into a relationship. I can always call her when I’m stuck or in a really tricky situation too, so it feels nice to know I’m not going through it alone and can get guidance. Plus, I have you guys too who are all super supportive and wise 🙂 ❤

I’ve also been in recovery without major lapses for 16/17 months so I feel stable enough in my day to day as a single person. I want to push myself in recovery and see if I can add more relationships to my life through that. 

The most obvious reason is obviously that I really do hope to find someone who is loving, gentle, patient and who can understand and care about me – BPD and all. I will tell anyone who I resonate with about my BPD, if they can’t accept that or support me with that, then it’s ta-ta.

My psychologist said it seems I have put some thought into it and that I seem sensible enough about it. He pointed out something to be wary of – which I am grateful he did. It was about not attracting a ‘certain type’ of person – the dyfunctional type. He said with borderline personality, I have a kind of ’emotional charge’ and so I look for the same in relationships. When I’m interacting with people I am looking for an emotional intensity to match my own, so regular, ‘nice’ guys can seem kind of boring in comparison. Since regular, healthy guys are living day – to – day normal lives without major emotional highs and lows, when I’m talking to them I don’t get that same ‘rush’ or excitement so, I don’t take it further. But, those who do have that kind of emotional intensity, usually have some kind of emotional problems of their own. I hadn’t thought about it before but I am definetly going to pay attention to it. That’s not to say that I didn’t like one or two guys who seemed ‘stable’ enough, it’s just that life happened and we didn’t take things further.

I did have an unfortunate experience exactly like this so I know he’s right – but I’ll make that another post!

I had a dream last night. I had re-married my ex-husband (not even if he was the last man on earth – Lord knows what got me to do that in my dream but hey, let’s roll with it). We slept in different beds for the wedding night and when I woke up I was asking him what he was up to. He was on his tablet, busy (something he did a lot). I kind of looked around, wondering what to do since he obviously wasn’t going to spend time with me ( a HUGE issue in our whole relationship ) bored and frustrated, I held my breath and realised he hadn’t changed at all and this is what it would be like, AGAIN. I sat alone, and noticed how he didn’t want to hold me either, nothing had changed there either. I felt hopeless and woke up.

I know the obvious meaning to this dream is that I’m afraid I’m going to find someone and end up in exactly the same position – feeling unloved, feeling like I’m with someone who doesn’t care or doesn’t want the same things as me. That I’ll be left on my own while he’s busy and I’ll be in that same hopeless position of wondering how I got here and feeling like it’s too late to get out (symbolised by the being ‘married again’ as opposed to dating which is a lot easier to leave).  But I’m going to talk about it on Monday anyway because dreams have a lot more to them than the obvious, I’m sure he’ll reveal more to me. Better that it all comes out now than before I start dating.

 

 

 

 

 

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Birthdays, weight gain, dating.

(You don’t need to commend me on the creativity of the title, I already know, thanks)

So I am officially 27 (waay) I rounded up when I started the blog because who cares about being something and a half years old, unless you’re like 6 and you’re being picked on by your older brother who says you’re too ‘small’ to play with that toy because you’re 6 and he’s 7 in which case, being 6 and a half is a massive game changer and you should definetly point it out. I don’t know whether it’ll change his mind at all, but you know, at least you tried. (Not that I feel your pain, because, I am the eldest sibling, aka. the one with all the power – hashtag eldest siblings conquer all).

I am on my period. So if I ramble the way that I did, well, I’m allowed. I’m allowed because I have a monster raging in my uterus and beyond which has rendered me incapable of moving. I feel like a wounded animal who wants to attack and crush the poor souls that cross her path.  But, I won’t. I’ll probably just eat chocolate cake for breakfast, swear too many times, play with my neice and stay in bed with this hot water bottle which is now my love for the day.

On a more serious note, I worry about my mental health more during this time, one for the obvious reasons of the hormones playing their games during this time but also because the pain and emotions make it that much harder to be on ‘top’ of my BPD. I feel like I’m more vulnerable to my old ways. I’m clingier, crier and sometimes, meaner. Maybe something akin to an angry foetus?

In other news, I am very close to being back to a healthy weight, aka. not underweight. I maintained a steady ‘underweight’ for months now, and, I have been happy with it. I’m probably not totally out of the woods with my anorexic thinking? The thing is, I check the mirror a lot and from what I see, I just like the look of being at a certain weight, so what if it’s not disordered? What if I just prefer the way I look then? I’m not trying to continuously lose, and I do eat ( a lot these days ) but then there must be something about hitting a healthy weight and how uncomfortable I am with it that tells me something’s still up. *siiigh* I don’t know, it’s all a bit confusing.

Another major – I have made the decision to get back into dating soon. But I am going to make a whole other post about that, because I can OK? OK?!

Bisous x

 

 

 

borderline personality disorder · bpd · mental health · Mental health culture · Uncategorized

Girl, Interrupted.

So the book finally arrived yesterday and I finished it by, well, yesterday. I want to share my thoughts about it, especially in terms of BPD recovery.

The book gripped me from the beginning, maybe because I enjoy books and films on mental health or those written off as ‘insane’. Anything that has anything to do with mental wards and psychiatry and you can count me in! The whole thing just fascinates me, but also because Susanna is a very talented writer. She adds a unique touch which makes the whole thing more relatable – snippets of her case notes from her time of admittance to discharge, between chapters of the book. I don’t feel so alone in my BPD anymore but something about seeing the ‘concrete hard’ evidence of her time made it seem so real. This is a writer who has lived it, and is still living it. This is someone who has ventured to a place I have not been and is back, writing this book. How awesome is that?

I wanted to read this initially because my psychologist told me her BPD manifested in terms of some psychotic symptoms (seeing things that aren’t there) and while she describes it a a little, I was hoping for more detail. I was also hoping for the slow progression to recovery which gives me a lot of hope, insight and determination to keep going. Rachel’s ‘Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder’ takes you through that journey and truly leaves you believing that if she can do it, so can you. I don’t think that was the purpose of this book which did leave me a little disappointed. It would have been nice to understand how during her 18 month stay at the hospital she started to feel better. Which therapists/nurses supported her? What activities made her change her outlook on things or did she leave feeling pretty much the same? All I was really left with was understanding that her time at the hospital did help, but on discharge she was in remission rather than recovery and the real work probably began once she left the hospital and began her adult life.

On the upside, Susanna has a very quirky, at times – sarcastic and witty outlook on things and, as if right on time in my life, she too questions the diagnosis.

‘What does borderline personality mean, anyhow?…to quote my post-Melvin psychiatrist: “It’s what they call people whose lifestyles bother them.”

“The person often experiences this instability of self-image as chronic feelings of emptiness or boredom.” My chronic feelings of emptiness and boredom came from the fact that I was living a life based on my incapacities, which were numerous.’

And what were the capacities she wanted to live her life based on you may ask?

“Boyfriends and literature: How can you make a life out of those two things? As it turns out, I did.”

There were also points during the book where she described her experience so accurately, in such a well-thought out and vivid manner that I just had to pause and contemplate.

“Something had been peeled back, a covering or shell that works to protect us. I couldn’t decide whether the covering was something on me or something attached to every thing in the world. It didn’t matter, really; wherever it had been, it wasn’t there anymore.

And this was the main precondition, that anything might be something else. Once I’d accepted that, it followed I might be mad, or that someone might think me mad. How could I say for certain that I wasn’t, if I couldn’t say for certain that a curtain wasn’t a mountain range?

I have to admit, though, that I knew I wasn’t mad.”

The whole thing does make me laugh at the same time. If not a ‘recovery’ book, it is entertaining, thought-provoking and proof that those with mental illness can live a fulfilling life outside the diagnosis. Susanna is proof of that.

 

 

 

 

 

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Seeing the world through Rose coloured eyes.

Somethings been on my mind a lot lately, and that is exactly how much of my experience is down to sickness and how much actually has to do with my own unique way of looking at the world. In all the insanity and the darkness, not all of it feels dark. In fact, feeling things more than other people doesn’t feel like a downside at all. If it means I feel more alive, if it means I feel happier, if it means I love more intensely and hold onto the ones I love tighter, what’s so bad about that?  There are things I experience that I love:
When I see the face of the man I love, I feel as if my entire being is warmed by the sun.
When I sit in my garden watching my cat catching bees (or trying to) while sipping on my coffee I feel like I’m experiencing all the peace and joy the skies have to offer.
I have an insatiable desire to find meaning and purpose. Driving me to learn, to improve, to seek spirituality and for that I am so grateful.
I may be frustrated at work, but maybe that’s just because I want to help people and improve lives.
I am quicker to smile, quicker to humble myself and quicker to forgive. I know life can be tough, feeling so many things in any one given day has taught me that. 
I love being able to feel child-like joy just by watching animation on my laptop on a night in. 
I love that small things, just like seeing flowers in my room is enough to lift me up in a day. 
Becoming infuriated and angry at wrong-doings doesn’t always feel bad either, if you or people around you are being mistreated, I don’t always see what’s so wrong with being the one who acknowledges and acts on that. Too many evils have been left unchecked by people remaining silent. 
I’m sure there are a lot of other things I could add to this, maybe I will when they come to mind but for now, the most important thing to remember would be, we are not just our illness and not everything is ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ or needs to be ‘fixed’ maybe some of it is just ‘different’ and this world needs different. 

 

                                                                  Love, x

borderline personality disorder · bpd · mental health · Uncategorized

BPD and Work.

So my crash last week lasted several days. I ended up calling in sick and going in later the day after that. So it took me about two – three days to recover from some inexplicable mental exhaustion. I spent some of Saturday looking up how to cope with working full-time when you have BPD in the hopes of learning something new and to post on here but sadly, there isn’t that much. In handling my other issues – I found a lot on distress tolerance, or handling emotions etc. but not many tips on how to work full-time and not struggle.

The most of what I got was, some people are just managing to do it, or like me, are taking a lot of time off sick. On the other end of the spectrum, those who do manage to perform well working full-time or even longer hours in demanding jobs don’t always have their symptoms under control outside work, in short, their lives are just unhealthy in a different way. This is not to say everyones experience is like that – I have read enough accounts to know it can be done and whilst living a healthy lifestyle, it’s just that I still don’t have enough information on how it can be done.

I did thankfully get some answers to why I might be more exhausted, in therapy. I know in my experience of borderline personality disorder my inner life is a lot richer. There is so much more going on, granted mostly negative at the moment but – I have so many more thoughts, so much more emotion, so many more reactions than other people do, and I don’t entirely hate it, (in fact, sometimes the extra emotion doesn’t feel like a disorder at all but just another way of looking at the world). Plus, in recovery I am learning to adjust, to control, to express, to release, to be mindful, to assert at the right times, to separate and connect with others. In other words, below the surface I am doing a lot more than other people are in any given day. This was true for me just yesterday, I spent the whole day out in the City and there were times, in the crowds I was met with angry, snarky women making comments or hushing under their breath, I could feel the immediate physical sensation of anger come up, the flush of heat in my chest, and my voice tone switched where I was about to become defensive, I stopped before I could finish my sentence, took a breath and explained the situation in a calm, impersonal manner, which suited me alot better. This is just one example from one day. I can go through several incidents in one day – no wonder I’m tired by the end of it.

But, all in all, I had to practice asserting myself in the morning and face reality, I can’t work 5 days right now. I calmly explained my being sick is caused by me pushing myself too hard to work 5 days at the moment and I’d like to try 4. I don’t want this to be a permanent thing, but for now, this is what I need.

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High functioning mess.

Waking up exhausted is the worst feeling in the world. I had a solid sleep, enough hours. Yet my body refuses to move. I cant do this. I cant do this. I’ve already had quite a bit of time off from being physically sick. How do I manage to get through the commute, work and the journey home when I feel like I can’t even get up from my bed? I lay there. Time’s ticking, I’ll be late if I don’t move. It still doesn’t stir me. Do I take a day off? I won’t get paid if I do. Plus, the guilt leaves me feeling worse and then the extreme side of my brain wants me to believe that I won’t be able to face them all when I do go in tomorrow. Then, I don’t want to face them tomorrow either. I should just give the whole thing up, quit. I want to work part-time, it hurts me to say that. Then I don’t have enough for all the recovery related things I do want. Books, therapy, times out. All things I can do now (just about) thanks to working full-time.

Just get up, just get up and get ready, I’ll work half a day if I can get away with it. I get up, go through the motions. I feel like shit. Nothings happened, I feel like shit. On the train, looking at me, no one would be able to tell, hell, I even managed to put on my favourite lipstick. I look out at the tall buildings, wonder what it would be like to jump off of one. Would it really feel freeing? What would be stopping me? I think of my sister, of my neice, my mum. But I’d feel like crap leaving them. What if I said sorry first, maybe leave a message? I decide I can’t do that to them. It doesn’t stop me imagining the scenario.

Why after over a year of therapy, is it still so hard? The one ‘symptom’ that doesn’t go away. I look out at the buildings, with their patchy paint, the litter on the grass, the grey clouds, the dull-looking houses, I’m unimpressed, I always have been. I feel like a zombie, I bite my lip and look around to stop tears on the train. I get into work, I smile, I say hello, ask my colleagues how they are. No one has any idea anything is wrong. I’m too good at hiding it. I get on with the meeting, I get on with my work. I used the script I wrote to put forward my position to my supervisor. She understands that my working differently, doesn’t mean I made a mistake, she says it’s ok. My mind had made it such a scenario once again, and once again the reality proves that with a little communication, it really wasn’t a big deal.

Having achieved all I could be bothered with, I sit at my desk, tempted to read more on BPD, on BPD survivors, it’s all I care about. I lie to my manager and say I need to go home early to babysit, I don’t, I just need to get out. It was a victory today just to manage to show my face.

Perfectly timed, my sister came round. I spent my evening with the family. I didn’t isolate, I enjoyed it, it relaxes me, I know it’s healthy, the ‘right’ thing to do. But I know the nagging feeling is still there, waiting for me. I’m still so exhausted, exhausted when all I’m doing is lying on the bed chatting. Looking at me, they too have no idea something’s wrong.

This is what it is, to be high functioning. To have a life as normal to others as it could seem. To want a normal life, and yet, to be a mess on the inside. A clawing, raw mess, wondering how it is that each week is like running a marathon. Exhausted on Monday morning through to Sunday, only to find on Sunday that the quiet down-time isn’t relaxing, it’s a time to be extra vigilant. To self-care and occupy my mind so that I don’t do anything stupid. I’m in pain, but my options are out, I know too much about my old coping strategies to use them. Sex? Maybe I could try that, he’s hot, he’s hot, why don’t I do that? Oh yes, because that would make you feel like double-shit afterwards. Cut? I remember how that feels, how brief the relief is and how devastating the after effect is, looking at it heal, realising you succumbed once again, to such a shitty coping mechanism. All I choose to do right now is blog, and read more, I read about BPD, I discovered a writer talk about using identity forming worksheets. My identity is a shambles. I don’t know if they will cheer me up or help me tonight but all I can do is face this demon head on. I’m fucking exhausted, but on the outside, it doesn’t show.

 

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The issue with my mum.

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

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

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

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

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