Enter the Asylum

It feels so dramatic when I say it that way.

I’ve been contemplating the idea of developing a sister blog to this one for a while now. Well. I did it. Basically it’s going to be a mash of all the rest of the elements of my life that don’t necessarily have to do with BPD. I swear, there is more to my life than just my BPD. A lot more. I feel guilty talking about it here though, so I’m making a new blog where I’ll jabber on about all things random and pointed. Food, crafts, geekery, Star Wars (yes this needs it’s own seperate geekery designation), costuming, love, life, madness… I probably won’t be quite so vigilant with that one as Beyond the Borderline Personality is my priority, but I thought it would be fun to show all the other wacky, random and crazy things I get up to. So come join me at:

Asylum: inviolable Haven

See you there. and here.

Oh! And this marks my 201st post! Hit the 200 post milestone today =)

This Moment of Clarity

Yeah, I was sitting here, eating my muffin and drinking my coffee, when I had what alcoholics refer to as a moment of clarity.” ~Pulp Fiction

Moments Of Clarity – Moments of Clarity are spontaneous, temporary periods when a person with a personality disorder is able to see beyond their own world view and can, for a brief period, understand, acknowledge, articulate and begin to make amends for their dysfunctional behavior.
Moments of clarity can be extremely gratifying for both people with a Borderline Personality Disorder (or any PD) and those involved with someone with BPD.  On the one hand, they may be hearing, saying, or feeling, for the first time, the very healing words and thoughts they have longed to for years. On the other hand, a sudden, unexpected change of heart, even in the right direction, can be disconcerting to a Non-BPD sufferer. There is inevitably the question of whether the change is genuine, permanent and without strings attached. The problem is, we really can’t know. And it’s not by some calculated intention to mislead. It’s simply because controlling our thoughts is arguably one of the most difficult things for us to do. While we may have something of an epiphany, holding onto these thoughts, internalizing these thoughts, not getting swept up in the maelstrom that can overshadow these moments is like trying to ride a tidal wave of turmoil that threatens to push us down and wash us over. I can’t internalize things long enough for them to not be drowned out. I mentioned this a little in my post on ANTs. I read something; hear something that is seemingly steeped in wisdom that I should be able to internalize. I’m not really sure why I have such a hard time internalizing. I suspect it has a lot to do with my lack of object constancy/permanence.  I have a hard time holding onto my feelings, my sense of belonging, my attachments for people if they’re not in my immediate vicinity. If they’re out of my sight, it’s like they’re no longer a part of my life, I’m no longer a part of theirs… and I think this extends to things in general. If my focus isn’t on something it’s as if it’s no longer a part of me.  I can recall the words, it’s not like amnesia or anything. It’s a sense of detachment or dissociation from the substance and meaning of it all. I can’t remember the letters but I can’t hold onto the sentiment in the words I want to believe.
These moments tend to be very emotional times for everyone involved. My biggest, was after I got out of the Psych ER and realized the way I live with my borderline disorder is absolutely not acceptable and that I needed to make a change. This experience impacted me enough that I was able to internalize the magnitude of this moment. Unfortunately this is not always the case. I read a lot. Almost constantly when I can. I often read words of wisdom, analysis, self-actualization and think to myself, “THIS! This is exactly what I need. This is how I want to be. This is the perspective I’ve been looking for. This is where I want my life to go and this is how I can do it”.  These moments rarely stick for long. I can read something, have a sense of calm and peace wash over me, and then 10 minutes later I’m swept off into whatever it was I was doing before or that has since distracted my attention from my epiphany. Maybe I just have a poor attention span for such things. I obviously have a poor emotional attention span, but that’s the nature of BPD.

It’s important to keep in mind that while these moments of clarity do provide a welcomed respite from the cycles of turbulence they are still subject to the nature of the Borderline. It’s not that you shouldn’t get your hopes up when a moment of clarity is experienced. They are really good indicators that someone with BPD is open and receptive to better ways of living. However it is important to remember that personality disorders are true mental health conditions over which the sufferer does not have complete control. Many of these moments of clarity are honest sincere attempts by an individual to try to reach a better place. However, it is very difficult to recover from a personality disorder and many do not make it. Most likely there will be setbacks, but each moment of clarity is a good indicator that more will come, even if they are small, and that progress for recovery will continue in a beneficial direction.  It’s important to be supportive or receive support and validation during these times to reinforce and embrace this positive change.

Because having one of these…

Can make you feel like this….

(I’m apparently feeling musical today)

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Oxytocin and Borderline Personality Disorder

I saw this very recent article on the effects of Oxytocin and Borderline Personality Disorder and thought I would share. My immediate thought was, they are doing some wild things to study BPD, however this still means, they’re doing things to study BPD.

Oxytocin and Borderline Personality Disorder

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Often referred to as the “love drug” or “love hormone”, oxytocin has attracted increasing interest from researchers in recent years. It was originally shown to modulate aspects of social attachment and pair bonding in animals such as the female prairie vole, whose monogamous nature is dependent on oxytocin. Recent research in humans has shown that oxytocin increases trust behavior in economic exchanges and increases perception of trustworthiness in human faces, as well as promoting emotion recognition and altruism. This evidence inspired hopes among some, particularly in the mainstream media, that science might have found a possible pharmacological target for humans who show deficits in prosocial behavior.
But recent evidence has complicated the narrative a bit.

Research has shown that oxytocin plays a role in increased emotional reactivity to both positive and negative social cues. For example, one study from 2009 (Shamay-Tsoory et al) had participants engage in a game of chance with another player (the actor). In one condition, the actor was made to win more than the participant, evoking feelings of envy in the participant. In another condition, the actor was made to lose more than the participant, evoking feelings of “schaudenfrude” or gloating. Participants who were administered oxytocin before playing showed increases in both envy and schaudenfrude (if oxytocin was involved only in enhancing prosocial behavior, we would expect to see the opposite result.) Other research has shown oxytocin increased approach behavior or affiliative drive rather than regulating positive or negative responding per se. And one recent study showed that oxycotin led humans to self-sacrifice for their own group while showing increased aggression toward out-group members. The gist of this set of findings is that oxytocin doesn’t seem to bias individuals toward the positive, but rather can magnify whatever “stimuli” happens to be in someone’s attentional spotlight, be it bad or good, thereby generating an increase in corresponding positive or negative emotional responses.

Jennifer Bartz and colleagues (2010) were curious to explore whether oxytocin could “correct” deficits in pro-social behavior in individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD), a population famous for emotional instability, extreme impulsive behavior and identity confusion. People with BPD tend to be involved in intense, emotionally volatile relationships characterized by frequent arguing, repeated breakups and extreme aggression. This behavior often extends beyond their romantic relationships, as BPD individuals have also been shown to have difficulty cooperating with strangers. The existing body of research, Bartz et al suggested, offers up contrary predictions. On the one hand, oxytocin could be helpful in reducing the negative behaviors normally associated with BPD in favor of kinder, gentler behavior towards others. Alternatively, oxytocin might have increasingly negative effects for people with BPD, who are chronically concerned with (lack of) trust and abandonment and have difficulty cooperating with others. They’re essentially fixed in a constitutively negative state when it comes to social interactions and increased oxytocin could decrease prosocial behavior even further. Additionally (or alternatively), the oxytocin system might be dysregulated in BPD and could produce different responses (vs. control) to oxytocin as a result.

Bartz and company designed an experiment in which the participant was paired with a partner (in reality, a virtual “computer” partner) to engage in an economic game. In this game, the participant was to make one of two choices that involved financial rewards. The catch was that the amount of the reward was also dependent upon the choice that their “partner” made.

Both players clearly make the most money if they both choose strategy A. But because the player has to make the choice before the partner, the decision involves an element of trust (if your partner defects, you get nothing. If your partner trusts you and you defect, you get $4 and she gets nothing.)

So, what did they find?

Results showed the following:

1. BPD people trusted their partners in an economic game less after they received oxycotin than when they received a placebo.

2. Additionally, when asked if they would be more likely to make a hypothetical decision that would punish their partner, even when they knew their partner had extended trust toward them, they were more likely to punish after Oxytocin than placebo.

Administration of oxytocin to BPD individuals actually decreased pro-social behavior (and increased antisocial behavior). As the experimenters suggest, increasing the salience of a social cue that makes trust issues salient may have caused BPD participants to rely on their normal strategy for trust-dependent social interactions; that is, defect and punish the partner. Or it might have motivated approach/affiliative behaviors which triggered memory of past experiences gone awry and set off chronic and ever-present concerns about trust and rejection (e.g. “reject and punish them before they can do the same to me.”). Finally, the experimenters suggest the possibility that the oxytocin system itself may be dysregulated.

In short, the evidence doesn’t offer overwhelming support for the notion that exogenously-administered oxytocin will be a useful clinical treatment for people with pro-social deficits, such as those with BPD. Additionally, it’s difficult to imagine long-term benefits of oxytocin given that it’s half life when administered intranasally is only about three minutes. It’s been said that the most of the real action with regards to oxytocin is on the receptor end.


Something to think about for sure. Drugs have unpredictable side effects to begin with but couple this with the chemistry of someone that is already outside of normal reactivity? I’m almost surprised they thought this would help. It increases mood. People with BPD don’t have normal moods, by definition.
People with borderline aren’t only aggressive and disruptive. Our moods run the gamut of angry to ecstatic, albeit more rapidly and more intensely than normal. So by extension I would expect that not only would it heighten the good moods, but also the rest of our reactive moods.
Oxytocin, like any drug, works differently for different people, and in the best of cases elevates a good mood. To me this makes me wonder if ideas of trust, paranoia are linked to the same emotional receptors. It seems that the study did indicate that moods were elevated but these other aspects were impacted differently than in a neuro-typical brain. Perhaps this points to a different area of the affected borderline brain to be taken into consideration for synapses connections.
Moral of the story: Drugs are bad kids…. And apparently don’t mix well with personality disorders.  

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Memoirs on a Sunday: Ease of Sex, Not Hiding Scars, and Father’s Day

This weekend hasn’t been traumatic at all and yet, today was a disaster.

This morning I wrote:

I’ve utterly failed at not drinking… however it’s been very reasonable; 2 glasses of wine Friday, a few with the Lady Friend on Saturday. I’m not drinking today. Not even a sip. It’s a new day, and I’ll just start fresh now.

I’m actually very proud of myself. The loneliness, being alone, hasn’t been so terrible. Friday night I stayed in; Roommate was gone, didn’t go to Friends. I stayed home by myself and painted. I did have 2 glasses of wine over the course of the evening but I don’t think that’s too bad at all. The only think I continuously note is I have bedtime anxiety. I can be absolutely exhausted but the idea of turning of all the lights and crawling into bed alone gnaws at the inside of my stomach. This is relatively new in the past few months.
Yesterday I spent the day with Lady Friend. She came over and we hung out doing crafty type stuff. I organized my beads. I have so many kinds. I love to organize and sort. It feels nice and neat, catalogued and controlled. I preceded to piece together the period appropriate style of women’s fashion in 7th/8th century Viking society. I have a huge costuming event in August and I’m changing my pre-Industrial persona from fully Middle Eastern to Viking. I’ll do Middle Eastern (dancer) at night, but during the day I’m going back to my blood roots and switching to a Norse persona. After figuring out the logistics, sewing, altering, sewing… I have a perfectly accurate sack dress, haha. I made some gemstone bead lines as well. They’re the few kinds of decorations and symbols of status women wear.

Afterwards, we went out to dinner which was really nice. I don’t like how she stares at me. It makes me just a little uncomfortable and I feign modesty just to look away. She’s so super sweet though. Our waitress obviously found us super cute which I in turn thought was super cute. Super. Everything was super.
Back to my place for more craftiness. I painted. Finished a wild Caterpillar ala Alice picture. Quick and crazy inspired from watching the movie (Tim Burton shouldn’t be given free reign of movies anymore).

Things are moving rather slow sexually. This makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know what to do when people aren’t constantly trying to jump me. I know she likes me. This isn’t a question. It makes me nervous when I need to fill the silence with actual words that aren’t so easily distracting from me. I’m forced to let her get to know me instead of redirecting her eye to other things. Maybe this is normal? Or healthy? Not jumping into bed? Not constantly using sex as a distraction?  
 I don’t know how to handle this. It’s so much easier to have sex then it is to continuously think of things to say. It’s less invasive, less intrusive. I know what I’m doing in bed. That rarely gets me in trouble. The things that come out of my mouth however, and I’m not talking about my tongue here….

…talking about Talking. That’s where things go wrong. At dinner I did mention that I was on Abilify, that I struggle with depression and some stuff. She was receptive and very understanding. Not concerned with it at all. I think this is the approach I’ll be taking. Bring up bits and pieces one thing at a time. See how she responds and gauge her reactions before I drop something new on her…

One thing I’m rather curious about. She hasn’t mentioned my scars. At all. Every person I’ve ever dated notices, and mentions them almost instantly (within the first few dates). She hasn’t said anything at all. Maybe she’s respecting the fact that this is my business and is allowing me to let her know when I feel ready to? I’m just trying to figure this out. I’m never averse to talking about them. I don’t draw attention to them, but I don’t try to hide them either. They’re really just more modifications at this point. Still. It’s interesting to me.
Back to sex. Guys are so much easier in some respects. I can throw sex at them and they won’t think twice about it. The women I date, it’s not that they’re not interested in sex, they certainly are, but there’s more of an emphasis on interest in me. That’s it I suppose. I still don’t want to let her in. Not ready to be too close. Guys I can stick to surface speak keeping conversation witty and light and when things get a little too sticky for my tastes… well, turning the tables on the evenings events is not incredibly difficult to do. I don’t have to think. I don’t have to be me. I can just feel and lose myself in the moment… if I like them. Sometimes it’s really just a way to get people to shut up and make the time move forward, to do something besides feign interest in the words coming out of their mouths.
After she left I binged again. I was a little hungry, but I just can’t seem to stop at a reasonable amount of food. I ate all my leftovers from dinner, then freaked out that I’d eaten so much so late, but it wasn’t enough to easily get rid of, so I prepared a full binge that was easier to deal with. I don’t know why I do this. I don’t know why I can’t just go to bed, except after she left I had that little bedtime anxiety and I didn’t want to go lie down alone. I’d thought about asking her to stay. We were falling asleep together on the couch as is, but… idk. I’m not there yet. Too close, not too close, too close, not too close. There’s too much content in lesbian relationships. Men are easier for me. Men are just easier. Heh, sorry. I suppose I shouldn’t make that statement, but when it comes to me and dating, they’re easier to maneuver around. I can hold back, but appear to draw them closer. Preserving myself and not pushing them away too fast by appearing to draw them in closer. Heh. With Lady Friend, it’s almost entirely balanced. She’s less easily distracted, just happy to be in my company, not pushing me for more, not forcing my {nonexistent} boundaries. It’s strange. Learning to just, be. To sit, and be, in comfort. Not needing the next moment to be something other than it is. I’m not sure I know how to do this.  Time. Give it time I guess.
It’s now Sunday evening: I broke my resolve to not drink. Not a lot, just a couple glasses of wine. Then I coupled it with an all out binge/purge. I’ve been alone all day. It’s been a beautiful day. I’ve been creatively productive, but, alone. I just don’t understand why this is so hard! There’s no reason for it. I’m so incredibly frustrated. Woke up, too low energy to really work out. Did a nice painting, did some grocery shopping, sewed 3 Viking apron dresses, redid my gemstone bead drops… and I can’t shake this tension under my skin that makes me want to, want to, I don’t even know. All I know is that how I feel right now is unsettled and unhappy. After my binge I went to the craft store, just got a couple strands of beads, had a cigarette, calmed down and returned to my crafting projects. Forcing myself to concentrate on something else makes the time fly faster and I can slow the spinning thoughts down.

And to wrap it up. I have a family. It’s father’s day so I actually called mine. He’s pretty proud that I’ve been painting. Amidst the critiques he even said that what I’ve shown him so far is really great. Mixed bag sorta praise, but I’ll take it. I can do better, I have more to learn, but hey, a lot of people never learn to 
even draw stick figures (yeah he said that)… and I’m doing a really good job.

Learning how to draw trees

Finally, I miss my sister. A lot. I got a drunken text from her earlier… “I’m going to bed. But I’m also a little drunk and I miss you. Lately I have felt like I’m always going to be too short to ride the big kid roller coaster. And I would prefer to feel this way with you here because you know how to handle me. And that makes me miss you.” If you’ll remember my sister is bipolar so she’s all over the place like me too, but different. She stresses a lot about stuff, work, school etc. She’s smart it just takes her a little more effort to process school material, hence stress. She’s back in school and doing a really amazing job getting on track with what she wants to do (work with the deaf community). I’m so proud of her. Of all the things I dislike most about living in NY, it’s that my sister is 500 miles away =( It’s so rough some days. Especially on bad days, for both of us. No one has ever had the ability to reign in my moods and keep me in a calmer place than her and likewise for her, I just KNOW her so I know what helps. It makes me sad that I can’t be there for her when she needs me. I love my sister. I wish I could hang up my life here and go home to her sometimes. Can’t. My life is here now. For now. And I have to get up for work in the morning. G’night.   

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Quotes from the Borderline

“What makes BPD different from any other personality disorder is that your anger and impulsiveness – acting out, kicking over a chair – only happens when you’re dealing with people you really love. If it’s somebody you don’t care about, who cares?” 

~Doug Ferrari
By Haven Posted in quote

What’s the point? – Learned Helplessness

Another characteristic I’ve come across is Learned Helplessness. This is not an issue I suffer with but I found it to be sufficiently interesting as a lot of people suffering with Borderline Personality Disorder, depression and a many other mental illnesses deal with it.

Learned helplessness is when a person begins to believe that they have no control over a situation, even when they do. Learned helplessness theory is the view that clinical depression and related mental illnesses may result from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation.

How Learned Helplessness was discovered is pretty interesting:
“Learned Helplessness was discovered in 1965 by psychologist Martin Seligman while he was studying the behavior of dogs. In the experiment, which was designed to be a variation of Pavlov’s famous “classical conditioning” experiment, Seligman restrained the dogs for some time in a hammock. Every time a sound was heard, the dog would receive an electrical shock. Later, the dogs were put in a confined box which they could easily jump out of. Seligman wanted to see if the dogs would have learned to jump out of the box when they heard the sound to escape the shocks. What surprised him was that the dogs just lay there and did not try to escape.
What Seligman had discovered was that the dogs had “learned” from the early part of the experiment that the shocks occurred at random, were unavoidable and didn’t depend on their own behavior. The dogs could, in fact, just jump out of the box to escape the shock but they had learned otherwise.
This kind of behavior pattern has since been demonstrated in humans if they have been exposed to punishments or discomforts which seem random and unavoidable. A feeling of helplessness and no power to improve one’s circumstances is one of the key factors in depression.”
The mantra of the person who suffers from Learned Helplessness is: “What’s the point in trying? I won’t be able to do it anyways. Nothing is going to change no matter what I do.”
Learned Helplessness can lead a person to falsely believe that they are more powerlessness than they really are. This can lead to them making poor choices, resulting in a worse situation, making them feel even more powerless, leading to more poor choices and a vicious cycle of depression sets in.
Like Seligman’s dogs, learned helplessness occurs when a person has experienced a specific series of negative events over which they have no control, despite their best efforts to improve the situation. Over time the person may begin to believe that no matter what they do, bad things will happen from time to time in a random fashion. Dysfunction arises when a person’s negative experiences are generalized to their broader situation or overall outlook in life.
This actually ties in nicely to another bit of research I found on Generalized thinking and depression.
More research has found that while this theory is a good basis, it fails to take into account how people vary in their reactions to situations that can cause learned helplessness. For example, not all abuse victims develop PD traits or remain in a victimized state, but may grow to be even stronger people for the adversity. It can remain specific to one type of situation or it can be generalized for all situations. Although a group of people may experience the same or similar negative events, how each person privately interprets or explains the event will affect the likelihood of acquiring learned helplessness and subsequent depression. Why a person responds differently to adverse events is attributed to their explanatory style.
Explanatory style is a psychological attribute that indicates how people explain to themselves why they experience a particular event, either positive or negative. Psychologists have identified three components in explanatory style:
Personal – This involves how one explains where the cause of an event arises. People experiencing events may see themselves as the cause; that is, they have internalized the cause for the event. Example: “I always forget to make that turn” (internal) as opposed to “That turn can sure sneak up on you” (external).
Permanent – This involves how one explains the extent of the cause. People may see the situation as unchangeable, e.g., “I always lose my keys” or “I never forget a face”.
Pervasive – This involves how one explains the extent of the effects. People may see the situation as affecting all aspects of life, e.g., “I can’t do anything right” or “Everything I touch seems to turn to gold”.
People with pessimistic explanatory style are people who generally tend to blame themselves for negative events, believe that such events will continue indefinitely, and let such events affect many aspects of their lives. They tend to see negative events as permanent (“it will never change”), personal (“it’s my fault”), and pervasive (“I can’t do anything correctly”)—are most likely to suffer from learned helplessness and depression.
Conversely, people who generally tend to blame others for negative events, believe that such events will end soon, and do not let such events affect too many aspects of their lives display what is called an optimistic explanatory style.
Whatever their origins, people who suffer from events that were beyond their control consistently see a disruption in their emotions, aggressions, physiology and a multitude of other areas of their lives.  These helpless experiences can associate with passivity, uncontrollability and poor cognition in people, ultimately threatening their physical and mental well-being.

Traditionally I’m a pessimist. However, I’ve made a very conscious and concerted decision to learn optimism. Learned optimism is an idea in positive psychology that a talent for joy, like any other, can be cultivated. Learning optimism is done by consciously challenging any negative self-talk. It doesn’t always work, some days I definitely fall to a dour mood, but I do have a deeply instilled sense of hope that things can, and will get better.

Learned helplessness can also be a motivational problem. People who have failed at tasks in the past conclude erroneously that they are incapable of improving their performance. They may use learned helplessness as an excuse or a shield to provide self-justification for job/school failure. Additionally, describing someone as having learned to be helpless can serve as a reason to avoid blaming him or her for the inconveniences experienced. In turn, the person will give up trying to gain respect or advancement through academic/occupational performance.

I’m almost the exact opposite of this. I had so much pressure and responsibility put on me growing up that I absolutely believe things are my responsibility to change, improve, perfect, and the outcome depends solely on my ability. However, if I have to ask anyone for help, I have failed. If I can’t do something right, I have failed. If there is a way to do it better, I have not succeeded. I can always do better. I can always push harder. I can always do more. Instead of believing that things will never get better, I believe things are never good enough; can always be better. Things have to change in order to be good enough, but I have to change them, I have to do it in order to prove I’m worthy of having something better. If I rely on anyone else, for anything it means I have not proven myself capable and it’s not entirely my own victory.  If I have to depend on someone else for my achievement, for any minute part, than it’s not my achievement. I am performing below acceptable standards. There’s a compulsive edge that I can’t seem to express this morning. I refuse to be helpless. However, I also refuse help. Which is a demon all on its own.

Unlearning helplessness is possible.
Learned helplessness can be minimized by “immunization” and potentially reversed by therapy. People can be immunized against the perception that events are uncontrollable by increasing their awareness of previous positive experiences. Cognitive behavioral therapy can often help people to learn more realistic explanatory styles, bolster self-esteem, and can help ease depression as well. What’s important here, then, is to develop a supportive relationship with someone close to you be it a friend, lover, spouse, or therapist. Communication is key. Let this person know that you think this is a problem. When this kind of pessimistic, helpless thinking begins to take over, let them know that these are the times you need reminding of positive experiences and accomplishments that validate a more functional mental attitude. When it always feels like nothing will change or be different, having those small reminders that, IN FACT, things have been different before and can be different again, can be a very powerful tool. It’s not an overnight fix, but it’s a start.

Medication, Obsession, or Insomnia?

Alright I lied. I’m posting. I’m exhausted. I’m  rambling.

Can’t sleep. Can’t seem to balance. I think I’m falling to the artists’ obsession with their medium. I would love nothing more than to quit my job and stay home painting. I stay up painting as long as I can, wake up and instantly my mind is on my palatte.  I can’t fall asleep. Can’t stay asleep. Wake up early. Can’t fall back to sleep with the thoughts of color combinations, shading, lining, running, racing through my mind.

Or it’s my meds, or the weather, or maybe I’m anemic. Saw Psychiatrist yesterday. He was welcoming as always despite being upset with me last time. That was a relief. I told him that I’ve been incredibly fatigued and not sleeping.  I have Trazadone for sleeping. If I take too much I’m hung over and groggy all day. If I don’t take enough I either don’t fall asleep or don’t stay asleep. I also suspect that it slows down my resting metabolism when I’m asleep. It’s just a theory.

Last night I woke up at 230a… around 330a I took about a quarter of one just to help me fall asleep again. I woke up before my Cantina Band alarm went off and preceded to Snooze it once it did. Dragging myself out of bed is ridiculous. This never used to  be my problem. I was never a Snooze button person. Regardless of how little sleep I get I always just got right up. Everything feels heavy and slow. My brain feels thick. I hate feeling like this.

Therapist thinks it’s the new meds. Friend thinks it’s the weather and/or just need to give side effects a chance to pass. Psychiatrist isn’t worried at all and doesn’t even feel the need to see me for another month. So I’ll be continuing with 5mg of Abilify for the next  month. I’m going to try my damnedest to really limit, if not eliminate, my drinking. I’ve been doing really well with this.

I also realized that the only iron I’m probably getting is in my multi-vitamin and really you only absorb a fraction of what the label says.  Might explain the nosebleeds too. Time to invest in an iron supplement I think.

NAP. Nap. nap. Zzzzzzzz……….

My Manic and I

My Manic and I

              – Laura Marling

“Morning is mocking me…”

Too exhausted to post today, sorry. Sorry.

By Haven Posted in Music

Now, now, let’s not get… hysterical

Continuing on our journey into common Characterists and Traits of Borderline Personality Disorder:

Hysteria is inappropriate over-reaction to bad news or disappointments, which diverts attention away from the problem and towards the person who is having the reaction.

This is especially notable in Histrionic Personality Disorder but the Borderline is no stranger to it either.
Hysterical people take everyday situation and elevate them to a level that is inappropriate, unhelpful and diversionary. They may sometimes appear more comfortable in a crisis than in a calm situation. They are the kind of people who threaten, bluster, overreact, take it up a notch, go to extremes.
Out of the Fog talks about this being a systematic approach used to seek attention.
“Many people enjoy 15 minutes of fame. But for a Drama Major or Drama Queen, obtaining and holding other people’s attention is more than a flight of fancy – it is something which they seek out using a systematic approach.
The goal of a hysterical person is to draw attention to themselves and to their plight – primarily from people who do not know them well and who are more likely to present a sympathetic response. Basically, it is a way to manipulate strangers into serving a person’s emotional need.”
This may be true for the Histrionic but from my experience I can’t say it’s true of my particular experience of Borderline. It’s almost impossible to ignore someone that is hysterical.  The end result may absolutely gain attention but becoming hysterical is never something I’ve planned to do, it just happens.
Hysteria describes unmanageable emotional excesses. Do I even need to describe this? For me, this is what accompanies panic and severe anxiety attacks. Panic attacks is probably closest. The ceiling feels like it’s closing in on me, there’s not enough oxygen in the room, the world is aligning against me and nothing I can do will pull my life out of the shit hole that it’s managed to fall into because of some event beyond my control. Last instance I recall is when I panicked about my job, wanted to quit, and an outright panic attack at Therapist (read: healthy outlet where I should be releasing these emotions), declared to Roommate and friends at large that I was done with engineering and would be exploring new occupation avenues because it felt like my life couldn’t continue on in the direction I’ve been going. And nothing could convince me otherwise. There is no consoling, no rationalizing. All there is, is the feeling that what’s happening right now, is taking over.
Current psychiatric terminology distinguishes two types of disorders that were previously labeled ‘hysteria’: somatoform and dissociative. Somatization disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis applied to patients who persistently complain of varied physical symptoms (like phantom back pain) that have no identifiable physical origin. The dissociative disorders include dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, dissociative identity disorder, depersonalization disorder, and dissociative disorder not otherwise specified. The origin of Borderline hysteria is probably much more easily identifiable as the direct result of, or perceived result of,  loss, abandonment or conflict {internal and external} and the inability to regulate emotional responses.
Hysteria can encompass symptoms of psychiatric phenomena that have been linked to psychological trauma. This brings me back to something that needs a little reiterating. Borderline Personality Disorder doesn’t just happen. It may have biogenetic origins, but it’s exacerbated and encouraged by the often traumatic environment that the borderline experiences growing up.
Recent neuroscientific research is even starting to show that there are characteristic patterns of brain activity associated with these states.  These disorders (somatoform and dissociative) are thought to be unconscious, not feigned or intentional malingering. So while the physical result may be to garner attention, act out, even manipulate a specific reaction from someone… It’s a temperamental predisposition, not necessarily some devious plot thought out in advance.
NOTE: This is not a justification and these reactions are something that can and should be tempered and controlled. Understanding what is going on though is key to bringing it under control. Recognizing that these things are unconscious, that is, of the mind, can help in the realization that these things are not real, or that these feelings are exaggerated. In recognizing this, hopefully it is possible to get ahold of these runaway feelings and ground them with the knowledge that they will pass and aren’t actually going to end the world.
Amusing origin story:
Freud was an idiot.
Historically, the ancient notion of hysteria, is of the “wandering womb.” Derived from the Latin histrionicus, “pertaining to an actor.” Ancient Greeks thought that excessive emotionality in women was caused by a displaced uterus and sexual discontent. Christian ascetics during the Middle Ages blamed women’s mental problems on witchcraft, sexual hunger, moral weakness, and demonic possession. By the 19th century, medical explanations proposed a weakness of women’s nervous system related to biological sex. Thus, “hysteria” reflected the stereotype for women as vulnerable, inferior, and emotionally unbalanced.
The cure of course, was to go to your local physician and have these sexual tensions ‘relieved’. Now there’s a cure ::smirk::. Talk about gender bias for Histrionic PD too. I’d say it’s pretty obvious where that came from.
The concept of a hysterical personality was well developed by the mid-20th century and strongly resembled the current definition of histrionic personality disorder. The first DSM featured a symptom-based category, “hysteria” (conversion) and a personality-based category, “emotionally unstable personality.” Haha, recognize this?!? Borderline. DSM-II distinguished between hysterical neurosis and hysterical (histrionic) personality.
To me this seems like a characteristic that borders between Histrionic and Borderline or one that keeps them identifiably intertwined. So I guess really, Hysteria is two related things: a personality characteristic whereby someone is a hysterical person in general (histrionic) and/or a situational state of being; as in having a hysterical incident.

Personally, while I may have panic attacks, I am not a hysterical person. This is a trait I associate more with Low-Functioning Borderline.

Lucid Analysis: Trials in Therapy


Yesterday was a productive day in therapy I think. I was in definite rapid cycle mode shift. I didn’t really feel like sharing anything, didn’t really know what to talk about, tired, irritated, hopeful, pleasant, irritable, angry.
She keeps telling me I have a healing, peaceful energy that I bring with me. That people are drawn to my natural ability to heal and ground. That I really have a wonderful influence and role model. Everytime she says things like this I get angry. I don’t see it, I don’t believe it.  
She was creating an assignment for another bulimic client of hers. She said this girl reminded her of me and in creating this assignment for her she was heavily influenced by the things I do to center myself. She handed me the assignment. As I read it was a wash of peaceful, calm, creative outlets to focus energy towards. Healthy things, not destructive. I could easily see how most of these things were influenced by me and my interests. I had these small flashes of, maybe I’m not so terrible as I think, maybe I do have redeeming qualities to offer, maybe how other people see me {positively} is not so inaccurate, not just a lie to make me feel better or manipulate me.  These small flashes were fleeting but they were like little mental peeks into a pretty part of my self-perception.
She’s very concerned about my bulimia. I only had the one incident this past week, despite wanting to more, so I say bravo for me. We’re working on why I feel the need to do this.
Triggers: The state that I am most likely to do this is when I am more stressed than usual, more emotionally taxed.  The times I am most likely to do this is when I am alone, when someone has just left.
Sometimes I think this is just practical. When I’m sitting down to a meal with someone I moderate myself easily and don’t binge. When I’m alone I have no moderator. I lose control over what I take in and then panic in a need to punish myself for this loss of control. Control is clearly an issue. Again she believes this has to do with the Punitive/Critical Parent schema.  She asked me if I believed this personality schema was all bad? I said no. There should be a part of your brain that lets you know when you are doing something wrong or detrimental to yourself or others. It’s normal. It’s when it takes over in an exaggerated, hurtful, debasing, demeaning manner that it becomes punitive and is no longer healthy or normal. This is the part that I need to work to correct. Sunday I wanted to binge after I left Friends and came home to my empty apartment, but I managed to stop myself. I was able to talk myself into just going to sleep. Ireminded myself that if I were to eat, I would feel guilty (I’d had a healthy lunch and a good dinner, no starving), eat more, and need to purge. Instead of indulging the cycle I convinced myself to lie down and just go to sleep. It’s not easy.  Not easy at all. I had to walk myself step by step through what I would end up doing and reiterate every sentence and reason for why I shouldn’t or didn’t need to; why just going to bed would be better.
NOTE: I should write out this process. Write down the feelings that come before the cycle starts in order to recognize them. Write down each action that would typically follow. Then write down a sentence to counter each action in order to bring me to a healthier conclusion. That way I have an established tool when this happens.
I showed Therapist my paintings and she was really impressed. She even wanted to give me a homework assignment having to do with expressing myself through painting. I can’t. I just can’t. She first suggested creating a picture of the Critical Parent when we talked about the unrelenting pressure I feel from my father. This idea immediately filled me with dread and anxiety like a sucker punch to the gut. I practically panicked when I told her I wouldn’t. I immediately thought of my dad and I don’t want to paint him. Especially since he is actually impressed with my painting. He thinks I have some talent here. Thinks I should look into taking some formal art courses (which I’ve never had) and pursuing this further. I don’t’ want this to be homework or a chore. I have so little time free to follow my love of this I just want to enjoy myself and let my ideas flow where they will. She tried to suggest another painting assignment but I’m not turning this into homework. I won’t.
Foreign relationship dynamic. I mentioned I don’t feel very connected to Lady Friend yet. I don’t know if it’s because it’s still early in our relationship or if it’s because when I first meet people I tend to actively keep myself held back. I don’t actually know her well and I’ve been so badly abused I hold myself at a distance. No one can plant a knife in your back without you first allowing them within arm’s reach. When people get close to you is when they can hurt you. It’s only been a month of casual dating though and she does seem to be very into me.
Therapist’s first question was: So when was the last time you had a healthy, nurturing relationship like this? Blank. I honestly cannot remember. I’ve had a lot of long, emotionally unattached/unhealthy relationships or very short relationships that I’ve either bolted from or set on fire and burned to the ground. But not healthy, nurturing relationships. Therapist thinks that part of my problem may be that I simply don’t recognize this feeling. Since it’s not fraught with conflict and upset it’s such an unfamiliar concept to me that it doesn’t register with me as what a relationship should look like. Just let it flow as it will and try to be receptive to where it goes without putting pressure or expectation on it.
Future consideration: Telling Lady Friend about my BPD. I haven’t really dated seriously since my diagnosis {having been very involved with Friend for so long and he knows} so I haven’t had to have ‘a talk’ about my BPD with someone. I don’t know how much to tell her. When is appropriate to tell her? What will happen if I tell her? Or if I even want to tell her at all? Honestly I think she’d probably take it in stride. I’ve mentioned things like my past OCD, anxiety, and my issues of object constancy; sort of bringing up pieces when the conversation is relevant. I don’t know though.
Holy crap let me tell you how freaking irritated I get with Therapist. She talks so bloody much it drives me insane. And she gets on this one topic of inter-subjective fields that I want to gag her. I know her perceptions of inter-subjective fields and how she wants therapy to be a safe space for me and how since I’m very perceptive that she doesn’t want her life or the spaces of her other clients to interfere with my space because therapy is just about me and she doesn’t want these other influencing spheres to cross any boundaries. I drift off and cannot focus on a word she says. Or if I do I just get so irritated and angry I don’t want to listen to her.
Especially since I don’t think I have boundaries.
She asked me what I meant by this. I don’t know honestly. It seems to me that I’ve always held such rigid beliefs, hid so much of myself away, feared embarrassment or humiliation for so long – very, very rigid boundaries… then after living with Evil-Ex, he would take every little piece of ammunition he could gather against me and if he perceived a vulnerable point in me or an opportunity he would use what he had against me to humiliate me. What strikes me is my reaction or lack of reactions. I have almost a casual resignation to these experiences. They happened. There’s nothing to do for it now. I believed I would feel a certain way, that my world would be impacted in a way that was so detrimental, and yet, it wasn’t, nothing that I believed would happen, happened. In fact, probably no one cared at all. Just me. So if all these rigid ideas and beliefs that the thought of having them crossed created so much anxiety in me, if they’re not what I believe they are, is anything I believe what I think it is. Is any of this imposed rigidity necessary? It seems to me that regardless of whether I believe I need these things, when I’m presented with a violation of them, I continue on anyways. Move on. Nothing stops. Nothing ends. Do I need these concepts of boundaries at all if they aren’t enforceable? They no longer seem to be there anyways.
In a way this may seem very Zen. Therapist is pretty adamant that boundaries are necessary to establish for oneself. I can see how this is unhealthy for me because in regards to myself, I’ve let things like rape and assault wash over me. I detach, dissociate, repress, and continue on, but I don’t devastate. In the moment, maybe, but it doesn’t last for long. If it doesn’t last, than are they really hurtful? If I pull myself together and keep going was it really so traumatic? Would having boundaries have helped me out of these places or prevented me from being there in the first place? Probably. But not having boundaries didn’t kill me. What doesn’t kill you and all… but do I really want to continue to test that theory? No. There absolutely are things that are inappropriate. Violations no one has a right to breach. Just because I got through does not mean that I no longer need to build these back up; reestablish what is acceptable for the future. Having gone through it before, lived through it before, does not make it okay for it to happen again, even knowing that it is survivable. Should be more than mere survival to really live.
Around and around my ruminations go.  
Homework: Create a space within you in order to establish boundaries which you believe are acceptable for your life.