borderline personality disorder · mental health · Uncategorized

The gap between who I am and who I want to be.

I’m sure everyone does this to some extent but I have these re-runs in my mind, take this morning for example, I imagine myself getting up with more energy than what I have, doing things I want to do that I know will be good for me (having water, eating a healthy breakfast, exercising, tidying up – you get the picture) but the reality is something quite different.

What I was doing instead was staying in bed thinking about how I want to be ‘more’ everything that I feel like I’m not right now – or at least to the standard that I want to be. Healthier, prettier, more vibrant, more active, more positive, more accomplished.

There are two issues here that I feel are at play: self improvement and self acceptance (Anna Akana explains this beautifully on her Youtube video about self acceptance, just sayin’). I LOVE self improvement, I don’t enjoy being around or particularly feel close to people who complain but don’t take steps to move forwards, I also feel like we only have so many years on this earth and part of that should be spent doing things to become better, to evolve, not in the way I think you should, but in the ways YOU want to, whether that be spiritually, physically, in character….whatever!

The downside to all this self improvement work are the types of thoughts that run in my mind and the lack of self-acceptance that comes hand in hand with my efforts. It’s one thing to self-improve because you want to and you enjoy it, and it’s quite another to do it because you’re not happy with who you are – you feel fundamentally not ‘OK’ or ‘worthy’ or ‘worthy of being loved as you are’. I’m sure on some level all three are wreaking havoc on my mental state. As cliche as it sounds, but I have spent the beginning of the year really observing and recording over the mental tapes that are running in my mind – but that’s another post for another day. I realise now that yes, it’s great that I am trying to self-improve but it has to come from a place of self love, not self hatred. I have to work both on improvement and acceptance.

Sadly, I feel like there are a few things about who I am now that I don’t quite care for in the long run. There is a gap between the person in my imagination and the one in reality. For one, the person in these day dreams doesn’t smoke and well, I hate to admit it, but I have been vaping for most of 2017. Which really sucks considering the fact that I was never addicted to smoking growing up and spent the better part of 7 years not smoking, there really is no need for me to continue this habit it makes no sense.

So today, I bridged that gap just a little, I chucked it in the bin, had some vitamins, sipping some green tea and having some damn water.

I just got to figure out this self-acceptance thing.

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mental health · Uncategorized

What I need to hear this week.

Trying is not failure, trying is in itself an achievement. 

Your worth is not determined by your achievements.

All you can do is your best, and you are doing just that.

You’re not just trying to succeed, you are trying to succeed whilst battling voices that have put you down for decades. There is strength in that alone.

You can do this, and if you don’t do it this time, there is another time and you can do it the next time, too.

You are not your struggles, your struggles are just blips on the journey.

You do not need to agree with everyone all the time, including the people you love.

Not everyone will understand you are struggling, or when you are struggling, especially when you’re coping with it.

You do not need to people please, and you do not need to say yes to everyone’s demands.

Some days people will think you haven’t done something to ‘standard’ the next day you can be their ‘hero’ – don’t take either too seriously.

Sometimes people will misjudge your abilities – that’s OK, you know what you can and can’t do, and what you do well.

You can do whatever you dream of doing, it’s all a process of trial, error and effort.

It’s OK not to get it right the first time, or third time, or fifth time.

Life is not a race.

Everyone reaches different stages at different times, but your time will be perfectly timed for you.

You will get there, even if it is one baby step at a time, you are still moving forward as long as you do not give up.

Quitting is the only type of failure there is.

It’s OK to rest and re-group.

Some days people will like you more than on other days.

It’s OK to have an ‘off-day’ as long as you are not hurting anyone in the process.

Difficult times are temporary.

Your best is enough.

 

 

 

 

borderline personality disorder · bpd

The danger with being happy

In a way, I can kind of understand now why Bipolar disorder and Borderline personality disorder can get confused and also, occur together, the highs and lows and the intensity of said highs and lows are a serious minefield. But it wasn’t until last year that I realised even happiness, or the ‘high’s’ were a time I had to be vigilant and pay attention to what was going on with me mentally and externally (in my behaviours).

Thanks for that, my dearest psych. I’m only being partly sarcastic there.

It’s kind of embarassing for me to talk about this (I know right, I actually have the potential to be embarassed after all that I have shared on this blog, in all it’s glory…) but if I don’t word vomit this out I’m sure I’m going to mentally explode and I dread that a lot more.

I have become ridicolously ONE TRACK minded. Like, it’s almost laughable. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not looking for someone, and this was the real reason why I had been looking so hard for someone, or if it’s because, well–my theory anyway – that I’m happy. I don’t even know if this is how people usually think and I’ve just been so pre-occupied that I’m only now returning to ‘normal?’

For the majority of 2017 I now realise looking back, I was struggling with depression, but because I didn’t know enough about the different kinds of depression, I didn’t see it for what it was – I wasn’t crying, I was going to work, going out, so I figured I didn’t have it, but I did. While I was still looking for love, my libido was next to nothing and really, I didn’t mind not having sex, at all.

Well, that has changed. Things are good for me lately, I don’t dread Sunday evenings anymore because I don’t have the bouts of depression and I can’t remember the last time I had a ‘low’ – the ones lasting a couple of hours and hit me outta nowhere for no explicable reason. 

I’m happy, but this happiness has brought along a new struggle. I’m fighting the urges to jump onto the next hot guy I see, well mentally anyway.

Let me set the record straight for all my talking about sex and love and how I have to deal with issues in both areas in therapy – I haven’t actually had sex in coming up to 3 years.

3 Damn years.

The longest stint of my adult life. It’s not that no-one has wanted to, it’s not that I haven’t been in love and close to, it’s not that I couldn’t call someone and get some right now. I want to hold out for something deep and meaningful (Oh I just realised the choice of wording there – see? see what I mean?)

I haven’t struggled with this in recovery. I first thought it could be part of the ‘impulsive’ behaviour that comes with BPD and that sex was my vice of choice, but they explain the impulsivity as trying to fill up emptiness, or a void. But I don’t feel a void, I don’t feel empty, I feel OK. I feel fine, I’m busy, I’m doing everything I need to and want to do for myself, I’m trying my best to make healthy choices for myself and my future.

But this is really getting in the way. I had a semi-large meeting this week, (the kind that’s important enough so you have to actually listen to what’s being said). All I could think about was which members of the meeting I totally would and then preceeded to eyeball them and notice when they were doing the same. Sigh. It’s affecting me, badly.

cat me

Does anyone have any idea how I handle this? Don’t tell me to sleep with someone that’s NOT the answer I’m looking for here.

 

 

borderline personality disorder · bpd · mental health

I’m no longer ‘diagnosable’ – aka the recovery stage.

I dropped the big ‘R’ today. Recovery. So far I have only read one account where the psychologist declared the lady as no longer having BPD. I’m not saying nobody else has recovered, what I mean is she was considered recovered from the therapists standpoint (and I’m sure there are many others who have experienced this too).

I plucked up the courage today to ask him what he thought about my current situation and whether he thinks I meet the criteria still. He reframed the whole concept of BPD so that I could understand the core of BPD (which I kind of already knew but it helped) and if that ‘core’ issue is under control/changed then pretty much a person could consider themselves in recovery/recovered.

At the core of BPD is emotion dysregulation that is where the ‘disorder’ part of BPD comes in. You’re experiencing emotions at an intense level and the individual almost ‘becomes’ the emotion. We looked at anger and how in the past when I would get angry, I would just react. There was no space, no option, and no thought process behind my emotion and the following action – it was like a reflex. The intense emotions and all of the various actions that come as a result of the emotions creates chaos in your life and that is why you cannot function, carry out long-term goals, hold down jobs/relationships etc etc.

Now I can be angry, experience anger and decide what to do with it. Do I want to wait? Do I need to talk about it there and then and if so, how? Do I need to take a couple of deep breaths and forget about it altogether? All of these come to mind in the moment – I never had this choice before.

Even with sadness, this is something I have been working on since summer of last year. Even a few weeks ago, I experienced sadness in such a way that it’s almost as if I ‘become’ sadness. There are no emotions before it, no emotions after it. I cannot summon the joy of previous experiences and I cannot remember that it will pass even though logically I know I have been happy in the past and that this will fade.

I have to coach myself that I am not sadness, I am just feeling sadness. That it will pass, and I try to bring myself out of it using various strategies, which do work a lot better than impulsivity, obviously.

Once this is under control your life changes, you can function, you can experience emotions without having them destroy your life. The main thing is – you can function, it’s no longer dysregulating you.

I’ve given enough examples over the past few months for him to agree that that is the case for me. It feels nice but also strange to be able to let the diagnosis down to rest. The past 2 years I have been working dilligently to reach this moment and yet, there is still so much to cover.

 

*Trigger warning*

 

I opened up to him about what happened to me in 2015 and we agreed it was truly rape. It’s obvious I still have a lot of cobwebs in my closet when it comes to my sexual history. That deflated my victory moment a little, but the show must go on, the diagnosis was just a framework. I will always have traits and vulnerabilities, such as my past trauma experiences, my natural physiological reactions to things. As I’m literally programmed to experience emotions at a more intense level and to take longer to return to baseline I still have to manage that daily. It takes work, and I know I’ll only remain in the recovered zone if I continue to manage it but I am adamant to do just that.

 

 

 

borderline personality disorder · bpd · online dbt

The 24 hour rule. Surfing impulses.

I found this tip in ‘borderline personality disorder for dummies’. I think it’s one of the few things that stuck with me and it has saved my behind many a time. So in honour of 50 followers (thank you!) I would like to share with you all.

Impulsivity is something those with BPD or BPD traits are all too familiar with, but it can take a hold of well, anyone really. Ever had a time you sent that text to your ex? Yep. Been there. Ever said something really nasty to a loved one and then immediately regretted it? Yep? Been there. This little trick has helped me in my recovery journey and *surprise* stopped me mid-text and boy, I’m glad it did.

Quite simply: you wait 24 hours before hitting send/before voicing an opinion on something/before deciding you want to buy that £1000 pair of shoes and so on, and so forth *insert impulsive vices here*.

Why it works: For me, it works because I’m not telling myself I’m not going to do it at all. The whole struggle with impulsivity is that you want to do that thing, that oh so bad but feels oh so good in the moment, thing. So it’s not removing the possibility completely. If I want to send an angry text but I’m not 100% sure whether I will regret this as soon as I hit send, I tell myself I will give it 24 hours and then if I’m still feeling the same way, I will go ahead and do the damn thing. In 24 hours I’ll know by then:

a) That it wasn’t a brief spell of heightened emotion and I must genuinely be feeling that way.

b) It’s not impulsive, it’s more calculated, so it’s coming from a part of me that must really feel like I need to do this for myself.

c) I have more time to be a little detached so I can rephrase/change my actions to fit the situation a little better.

So far, I haven’t ever pressed send, or made that call, or felt the same way 24 hours later so it’s only served as proof that I really did need to give it time and my emotions did simmer down. Other times, within 24 hours the situation has totally sorted itself out, either by the people in question just saying something that’s helped or some other course of events.

The only thing you have to lose really is that you had to wait a day to be impulsive – not much of a loss considering all the other consequences that can happen.

 

 

borderline personality disorder · dating · mental health

Standing in my own way.

So I was up last night, about 2 and a half hours longer than I wanted to be, but alas, I was up and I was thinking about how I’m kinda talking to someone, and I don’t know if I wanna be, am I excited enough, but you don’t really know, you know? And then thoughts of the ex love, and then the questioning of – but why are you thinking of ex-love?!, followed by, man I’m a terrible new-girl to talk to. You get the picture. 

It hit me then, I was repeating the same push-pull dance in a different way. I’m afraid of really loving and loving someone who could actually love me back so I keep putting myself into these scenarios where it can’t quite work out. I spent the better part of 2016 caught up in the tangles of a narc who didn’t quite respect my boundaries (also because I didn’t really know how to voice and stick to them) so he would come in and out of my life, getting supply whenever he so wanted. Back then, I thought that I was hopeless in love too and he ‘obviously’ was as well – that’s why he couldn’t quite let me go, so I’d hold onto hope, until he just got annoying with it, really, and I realised it was just food for his ego. 

So ex-love might not be a narc, but I’ve just replayed the same situation by staying emotionally stuck to someone I can’t have. I’m still helpless and awaiting the magical ‘right time’ that will allow us to be. I’m still in love, but from a safe distance – that is, I’m kept safe by the fact that it’s impossible for us to realistically be together. 

So I want love, and yet I’m so afraid of actually finding it in a realistic situation with an emotionally available person who really cares about me that I’ve kept my heart securely locked away – it’s too busy attaching itself to fantasies and imagining what-if scenarios. It’s just in love with the idea of love, but the reality of love is too scary and complex and messy and means letting someone new into my life, someone who will also get an insight into my life with BPD (or whatever traits I have left). Someone who can actually love and hurt me, and make me vulnerable when I’ve spent a couple of years now, becoming strong. 

I’m not saying this to convince myself that this guy is the one (waaaay too soon for that), or even anything near that. What I am saying is, I’m finally realising that it’s more than just bad luck that’s left me not open to something good coming my way. I’ve been standing in my own way, I’ve been standing in my own way in a weird warped method of protecting myself. What I really need to say is:

Thanks girl, for being so worried, but, I got this, so unless you wanna die a virgin (I’m sure I’ll turn into one soon at this rate) who sleeps alone forever with a pet insect because you don’t even want that many cats – give yourself a chance to open up, let’s just see where life goes. You’re strong enough to get hurt every now and then, you’ve done it before, you can do it again, and what will be at the end of all said hurt, will be so worth it, you’ll be glad you kept trying. 

Now go kiss some frogs.

 

 

mental health · Mental health culture · poetry

To you, boy.

Teach me which words

What kind of silence

Will help you feel

comfortable enough.

How can I help you understand that just because you’re a man or a guy or someone who isn’t like me, in that you don’t have the same length of hair and I’m here looking at you in my frilly skirt, and you can’t look up at me. You can’t look up at me because you’re a man and I’m a woman and for you it’s not OK to be in pain. Someone, somewhere along the way said you can’t cry, big boys don’t cry, but I can tell you a secret, they all do. You just haven’t seen it, but I’ve seen them. I’ve seen one, two, three, family, stranger, lover. I’ve seen them with heads down just like you, or looking at me right in the eyes, I’ve seen a tear or two, or the kind of look, you know when you want to cry but your chest is so hollow,

it’s so hollow, you’re just kinda breathing waiting for the tears to roll out, almost wishing they would hurry up and make their way because by now your chest is hurting and you heave in an awkward sob like scream, but he just sat there.

He just sat there, and I know he wanted to cry, I almost wanted to cry for him. Just like I want to cry for you, because you just told me all your secrets and I know you’re hiding your tears because you think it’s brave. Well let me tell you a truth as well as a secret, it’s a lie, they lied to you because it’s braver to cry. It’s brave to cry, I’ll say it again so please look up at me when I say it –it’s brave to cry. I know you can see that I care because my voice goes soft and I ask you to tell me more, I never said what they did to you wasn’t all that bad, or that it will go away, or ‘dont worry about it, tomorrows another day’, I think it was pretty fucked up – what they did, and I think it’s amazing you’re still here so, go ahead and cry because I know real men,

real men cry.