Like Father, Unlike Daughter: Misunderstandings in the Borderline Family

What is the 4th way?
Hell if I know, but apparently I’m going to find out. My techno-illiterate father somehow managed to go on-line, purchase, and express ship a book to me (read: he got my mother to do it). It’s called The Fourth Way.
The Fourth Way mainly addresses the question of people’s place in the Universe, their possibilities for inner development, and transcending the body to achieve a higher state of consciousness. It emphasized that people live their lives in a state referred to as “waking sleep”, but that higher levels of consciousness and various inner abilities are possible.
The Fourth Way teaches people how to increase and focus their attention and energy in various ways, and to minimize daydreaming and absentmindedness. According to this teaching, this inner development in oneself is the beginning of a possible further process of change, whose aim is to transform a man into what he ought to be.
Basis of teachings
The Fourth Way focuses on the ability to constantly perform “conscious labors” and “intentional suffering.”
Conscious Labor is an action where the person who is performing the act is present to what he is doing; he is not absentminded during his act, and or is “remembering himself.” At the same time he is striving to perform the act more efficiently.
Intentional suffering is the act of struggling against the desires of the physical body such as daydreaming, pleasure, food (eating for reasons other than real hunger), etc… In Gurdjieff’s book Beelzebub’s Tales he states that “the greatest ‘intentional suffering’ can be obtained in our presences by compelling ourselves to endure the displeasing manifestations of others toward ourselves” 
Gurdjieff claimed that these two acts were the basis of all evolution of man.
The Fourth Way’s focuses on raising the level of consciousness a person can experience, with the ultimate aim of creating a permanent higher level of consciousness. Specific methods are employed to achieve this aim, some of which are described below.
Self-Observation
One aspect is to strive to observe in one’s self the certain behaviors and habits which are usually only observed in others, and to observe them in one’s self as dispassionately as one may observe them in others; to observe one’s self as an interesting stranger. Another aspect is to attempt to discover in one’s self an attention that can differentiate between the actual thoughts, feelings, and sensations that are taking place at the moment, without judging or analyzing what is observed.
The Need for Efforts
Gurdjieff emphasized that awakening results from consistent, prolonged efforts. These efforts are the ones that are made after a person is already exhausted and feels that he can’t go anymore, but nevertheless he pushes himself.
The Many ‘I’s
Many I’s is a term which indicates the different feelings and thoughts of ‘I’ in a person: I think, I want, I know best, I prefer, I am happy, I am hungry, I am tired, etc. These feelings and thoughts of ‘I’ usually have nothing in common with one another, and are present for short periods of time. They tie in directly with Gurdjieff’s claim that man has no unity in himself. This lack of unity results in wanting one thing now, and another, perhaps contradictory, thing later

And yes, my father was a hippie. A hyper politically active hippie that lead protests on Washington and organized college campuses throughout the 70’s, but a hippie. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Eastern Philosophy. After I lost faith in my pagan upbringing I turned to Taoism and Chinese/Zen Buddhism for grounding and enlightenment. I still do. But when I read these descriptions I hear, “Suppress the Self, Suppress what you feel, Suppress what you need… in the name of higher understanding and awareness”. At no point is there any kind of validation for how you feel or recognition that it is actually ok to be human. I’ve been exhausted for years and I’m still pushing myself; will continue to push myself… but it’s not such a simple matter as read a book and be healed! 

I’ll read his book. I’ll take in what he wants me to know. I’ll see if I can apply it to my life. It would be nice if he would do something similar for me though.
I hate the holidays. Going back to visit my home state and my parents is always very triggering if not outright devastating. They are guilting me to move back… “Your sister misses you”… “Your mother misses you”… “You can probably transfer and get a job closer to home”… etc, etc.
They just want me to be happy, but what they don’t understand is that being near them is what makes me unhappy. I can’t tell them that it is the act of coming home that makes me miserable.
I was a heartbeat away from not travelling back for the holidays this year. My mother was very upset and guilting me. She wanted to call me but I told her I was not up for it. So my father called me instead. Lectured me, and told me I should read some books to help me manage my stress response.
::sigh:: I KNOW he means well. I do. Unfortunately I also know that he is completely incapable of grasping the nature of my disorder and the fact that I simply function in a way that is different than he does. It’s like trying to describe a kernel panic to a Windows Vista user. Pointless.
I haven’t talked much about family and how we deal with each other. I’m not the most equipped to do this as I ran as far from them as I could as soon as I could. But I do know that not only do we have different perspectives, we have very different ways of thinking and processing the world around us.
I was stressed beyond measure, not responding well to the pressure, and my response was to hide from the world and shut myself off. I was angry that they couldn’t understand that what I needed was to be relieved of the social pressure they pile on me. They tried to structure and control my entire life growing up. It’s not surprising that I rebelled the way I did. My father at least, still tries to control my responses. He still invalidates my response.
He still thinks it’s something that I can simply think my way out of. Read a book, do some meditation, grow up, suck it up, solve your problem.
He yelled at me that they couldn’t help me if I didn’t communicate my needs to them. But what I need is to be away from the environment that damaged me in the first place. He doesn’t want to hear that.
He thinks everything is in my mind. Which, I suppose is valid, because everything in one form or another is our the mind, but there’s a difference between throwing a tantrum and having a brain that is hard wired in a way that is functionally opposing to what you recognize as normal.
I understand that he doesn’t know what it’s like. I  understand that I don’t know how it is to think like him. I also understand where he probably gets this mentality. He was raised with a diagnosed schizophrenic mother (though in retrospect it seems that she was actually bipolar), and an abusive, alcoholic father.  My grandfather was military his entire life, travelled constantly, was rarely home, drank when he was home, divorced my grandmother, then remarried ‘for the kids’, while raising them in Catholic school. My father rebelled against him, to no surprise, and him, my aunt and uncle had to essentially raise themselves.
I UNDERSTAND why he thinks I should just be able to suck it up and deal. I understand what he had to go through growing up. However I don’t think it’s ever occurred to him to try to understand what it is like to be on the receiving end of his conversations.
It’s hard. I feel completely misunderstood. I know this is a classic Borderline thought… feeling misunderstood. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t valid. He actually does not understand me. 

Lucid Analysis – Trials in Therapy : Stop the Borderline "stuff"

Therapy is hard sometimes. I guess if it was easy it wouldn’t really be necessary though.
Therapist earned bonus points this week. I told her about the other night with GF (Read the story HERE)and my worries with Tech Boy. She called me out on that one. Therapist doesn’t like to use labels very much but this is what she considers “Borderline stuff”.  I’m afraid of where things may or may not be going with Tech Boy, so instead of working on that, I’m pushing away, and going to someone that I feel is safe. GF is in and out of the picture a lot. As soon as I mentioned her Therapist was like, “GF? This is going to be trouble for you.”
I want to be friends with her, but I’m still very physically attracted to her and I enjoy the emotional comfort she provides me. Coupled with the fact that she very clearly feels the same way about me, but won’t leave her current girlfriend making it impossible for her to get too close to me, it makes her an emotionally safe place for me to fall back to. That doesn’t mean it’s healthy.
What it makes it, is me avoiding the actual issue. Which is figuring out how I feel about Tech Boy. I just, don’t know where this is all going. Physically I’m very attracted to him. It’s pretty impossible not to be, he’s a hotty. But we don’t have all that much in common, our personalities are pretty different, our general approach to life is different. He’s not the kind of person to overthink things and just takes things as they come. I overthink things to death, beat them over the head with a shovel just to be sure, bury them, dig them back up, and then perform resurrection rites.
I have a few red flags with him. Last time we went out he mentioned he liked being a jerk. “It’s fun to be a jerk. Say and do what you want, without tip toeing around other people’s feelings all the time, it’s just freeing.” Or something like that. This of course doesn’t apply to people he cares about and works with but still. Of my course my immediately reply was, “Just don’t be a jerk to me. I won’t deal with it.” Him, “Have I been a jerk to you?” Me, “No, just sayin’”.  Gah. On the one hand I don’t like people that are push overs. If I can walk over you (not that I would), I probably will judge you as not having a strong enough personality to deal with me. On the other hand, I have an uncanny ability to choose jerks (who turn out to be very abusive) and people that I can’t trust and this scares me.
Semi-drunkenly the other night I mentioned that I was pretty guarded. He said I seemed to be pretty open with him. I mentioned that I just have sort of a hard time talking about emotional stuff. He said he wasn’t the emotional type either. This is a conversation I’ll have to have with him in the future, and sober, but it worries me because I’m afraid that means he won’t have the ability to deal with me. Therapist gave me sort of a reality check here. I don’t know what he’s been through in his past. I don’t know him very well so it may be that he has his own baggage that he’s been injured from or trying to recover from. Like me, maybe he just doesn’t put it all out there at first and puts on more of a ‘tough guy’ mask to sort of overcompensate. Maybe, maybe not. The point is, I don’t know because I haven’t spent enough time getting to know him yet. Give it time and see what he has to say about himself as I get to know him.
So those are the fears. The reality, he’s treated me very well. Therapist thinks that he’s making good decisions with me. Taking things at a good pace. I worry that things aren’t moving fast enough. I always worry that things aren’t moving fast enough. I just want to know where things are going so I’m not confused and second guessing things all the time.  As I was reminded though, I can’t know where things are going until we actually get there.
I worry about him liking me and wanting to be with me, so I start to freak out and reach for someone that I know I have these things from, and while I’m doing this he texts me to spend the weekend together and go on a trip out of state. It doesn’t take a genius to see who the irrational one here is.
Sabotage. Therapist thinks I’m trying to sabotage myself because I’m afraid of him getting too close. That’s why I let GF come over and set no boundaries of ‘just friends’ with her. She reminded me that I wouldn’t be having all these fears if I didn’t like the guy. What I’m trying to figure out is how to keep myself safe. Safety is very important for me. This shouldn’t be surprising considering the abusive relationships I’ve had in my past. But just because I have had them before does not mean that this is one of those. Clearly he likes me. He’s not seeing anyone else, so I should give him the same respect that he’s giving me. I should allow him the chance and get to know him better.
Therapist kind of kicked me in the ass on this one. This promiscuous borderline bullshit isn’t healthy. I have no impulse control when it comes to physical closeness but it’s major source of emotional turmoil for me as well.  My goal is to be healthy and part of that is learning to be healthy in relationships and forming relationships that are healthy. That’s not just picking good people though. It’s also correcting how I act and think in those relationships. So no more GF for now. Geezus! No more GF! Period. Not ‘for now’. Gah.
She wants me to make sure I’m not acting on my bias against men as well. I seriously laughed when she said this. It’s true. I am biased against men. It’s not that I don’t like them, but I have some serious trust issues, and most of them are triggered from men I’ve been with. Women feel safer to me. That doesn’t mean I can’t find safety with a man though. I just have to be careful and not rush things.
We talked a bit about my going home for Thanksgiving, but I felt like this part of the conversation didn’t really go anywhere. She said my anger at my friend for cancelling on me was justifiable. I stayed in an uncomfortable place longer than I had to and at the last minute it turns out I didn’t need to. Plus I miss her. I haven’t seen her in a very long time. Oddly, she’s one of the very few people I feel like I will always be friends with. We may not talk much but I feel like she’s always there. Her, my friend in Texas, and my sister. Those three.
I still don’t understand why I get so damn angry at my mother though. She’s a nice woman. My parents love each other, they get along great. There isn’t any weird tension between them. My mom just misses me and wants to do things with me, but it drives me up a bloody wall. She’ll offer to take me shopping or something nice and reasonable and I want to snap her head off. Everything feels like nagging and invasive prying or the most inconvenient timing. What sucks is I know she means well and just wants to love me. And I know I hurt her feelings with how sharp I was. I don’t understand why I still feel this way towards her. Nothing I do to tell myself that I shouldn’t be so angry works either. IDK, maybe something for next week’s session.

Addition: (Forgot to include this): I also told Therapist that Tech Boy and I had sex. She was a little concerned about this. And surprised. I’m not sure sex is something she herself is very comfortable with. I definitely pick up on that. She was concerned that I felt alright about the choice to do this. I feel like she thinks it was too soon. But how soon is too soon? We were dating for 4 or 5 weeks, but I’ve known him for like 8 months. How long is appropriate? So, yeah, I guess I’m alright. I’m not flipping out about it so it’s fine. Honestly it almost feels as if we haven’t done it at all. Except my libido is starting to shoot through the roof. Is that strange? I know we had sex, but it doesn’t really feel like I’ve internalized it. Other than now I’m a little more crazy about the little things like how often he texts me.  She asked if he was gentle. Um, not really. I’m not a very gentle person though. It was fun. I think her concern was did I feel threatened at any point. Which, no I didn’t. I don’t think he’s out to physically hurt me or anything. She worries about me so she wanted to make sure. She also knows I’ve had problems with men in the past. For a very, very long time I had problems with men even touching me. Hell I still have problems with men touching me, but it’s not so bad if it’s one I know or am close to. So right now I’m going to say I’m fine. I don’t really feel like it’s a big deal.
We’ll see how I feel tonight though. He’s staying over so we can leave early in the morning to take a trip out of state. I’m kind of excited =)

Ritual Sacrifice…. with Pie

“I love a ritual sacrifice. To commemorate a past event, you kill and eat an animal. It’s a ritual sacrifice. With pie.”
~Anya (Buffy the Vampire Slayer “Pangs”)

Would you like to wager what the most terrifying holiday for someone with a severe eating disorder is? Hint: It’s not Arbor Day.
 Personally? I hate Thanksgiving. If I were actually doing the cooking it’d be a different story. I could participate, contribute, and thereby alleviate my guilt and not wanting to join the festivities. I could easily hide the fact that I do not want to eat anything because of the appearance of business in the kitchen. But do I get to? Nope. Not even a little.
This is such a stressful holiday for me. First off, and the reason I couldn’t post yesterday, I drove approximately 500 miles to my parents house. Not that I don’t love spending 8 hours in my car, but, well, I don’t. On the plus side, my sister got home about an hour after I did and we broke out the wine. Double win. However coming back to my parents house is an instant trigger. All of my problems, all of my turbulence, all of my Borderline expressions, began here.
I come home and instantly gain 15 pounds. Oh, not literally. My tape measure tells me I haven’t gained even a fraction of an inch. But the mirror reflects all the fears I had growing up. This is something many people do not understand. I actually see something that may not be there. My brain translates the picture of myself into what I expect to see. Mind over matter. What matters is what my mind believes though.  
When I think of Thanksgiving I think: Obsession. Thanksgiving is a bulimics nightmare. It’s an entire day dedicated to food. Something that I spend way too much time pouring over, trying to avoid, punishing myself with, and purging my body of.
Most people are dreaming about turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and hot buttered rum. I’m contemplating diet pills, laxatives, diuretics, excessive exercising, vomiting. These are the tools of my trade today. All of which I have at my disposal. All of which I would love, with all of my heart, to not use.
I would give anything to be able to enjoy the day with my family. I actually have one of those families where my parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, on both my mother and father’s side of the family… all get along. All like each other. All spend every holiday together. It’s like we fell out of a 1950’s sitcom. I would love to be able to kick back, grab a glass of Bailey’s, gnosh on all the goodies while catching up with the people that watched me grow up, and not worry about a couple holiday pounds. Can I? Oh hell no.
Holidays are a time where my family hasn’t seen me in months so I become the center of attention. I live a very creative lifestyle. I have a high profile occupation in ground breaking experimental physics. Everyone wants to know what I’m up to. All eyes are on me. All eyes are on the body that isn’t perfect enough yet, that has flaws that I’m still flattening out. All I want to do is curl up in bed, with the blankets pulled up over my head enjoying a Trazadone hibernation until the sun sets on this fateful day of dieting damnation.
But no. I have to spend it getting all dolled up, plastering a pretty plastic smile onto my face, making small talk with people as I meticulously tick off all the calories that each and every one of them is consuming. The eyes, the food, the forced pleasantries, the pressure and expectations everyone has for me, is an incredible burden. I can feel the anxiety well up in my stomach ready to burst out of my throat.
Every year it’s the same thing. Every year I hope it will be different. Honestly, my goal is to eat as little as possible. Every year I overdose on diet pills and purge at least once if not twice. I Do. Not. Want. To do this.  I am going to try my damnedest to make this year different. To make this year better. To not lose the battle.
Food is the enemy. This time it’s war.

Lucid Analysis: Trials in Therapy – 4

Monday was a good therapy session. Again, not one I got incredibly worked up over but productive none the less.
We talked about how my recent trip home to see my family affected me, how it triggered me.
My mom especially. My dad doesn’t seem to have an incredible interest in what’s going on with me. He really doesn’t engage me or start conversations with me unless I start talking first. I wonder if this is because my issues make him uncomfortable. Hm, I’m actually just realizing this as I type. My mom however starts talking to me the second I’m within sight and does not shut up. She automatically inspires the most irrational anger in me. I know this is a byproduct of my growing up and probably because she was so ‘interested’ in my life. Instead of talking to me, she’d search for my journals and read them.  I don’t trust her at all. She’d then talk to me about it, tell me of her disapproval (to be fair a lot of that disapproval was justified) and sometimes ground me for things that I did, instead of talking to me and helping me go about things in a better way. Act more appropriately. It cultivated my mistrust of her. That she takes such an interest in my life now still makes me very angry, because it feels intrusive to me even though I know she just cares. Trigger.
I was very closed off to them, to everyone. I refused to talk about my feelings, I refused to ask for help, I refused to get help. Since I was 12-ish for sure. Even before this though I was afraid that asking for help would mean I wasn’t good enough, would be a sign of weakness in my abilities. This is a direct result of how critical my father was. Anytime I did any kind of art he would ‘critique’ it. Not in a mean way. It was always directed as a means to help me ‘improve’, but I get overly happy when he does praise me and I need to keep inspiring this so I push myself harder.
This translates into how I am now. How I need to do things for other people that make them happy, that they’ll praise me for. It’s why, despite the fact that I can be mad at Friend, and really don’t like wife, I continue to cook for them because I know it’s something I’m good at and they’ll show their appreciation for it. This is especially necessary for me because my father was such a picky eater. He only likes a few select foods so when I would make new things that I liked and the rest of my family enjoyed he would either not try it or only try a little bit and let me know that he didn’t like it. I’ve always told myself this was simply because he didn’t like a variety of things, which he doesn’t, but he has never been encouraging. Even when I make new things when I visit he always comments on how ‘it stinks up the kitchen’. Those few times though, those few rare amazing times when he has liked what I made were my proudest moments. Since he was so critical, he never just placated me, I absolutely believed the compliments he would give.  Especially when I cook, when Friend or my other friends tell me they really enjoy what I make I am filled with an extraordinary sense of happiness that I am appreciated, while at the same time I don’t necessarily believe them. Amusingly the only one I really believe is Friends wife. I ask for criticism or how I can improve on some things (I cook meat dishes for people even though I’m strict vegetarian and have no idea what meat tastes like). She’s the only one that critiques me, though she is also very impressed with my abilities and has enjoyed everything I make for them, but she’s also one of the only people I believe. (She often tells people that ‘Haven makes vegetables taste like food’ or ‘Make whatever you want it’s going to be good.) Heh, but that I seek criticism and that’s the only thing I truly believe is obviously a direct result of how my father raised me. Trigger.
We didn’t talk about my brother. That my sister is the only one in this world that I truly connect to makes her my strongest base. I was horrible to her. I took out a lot of my anger on her and she was afraid of me. Until one night I came home and saw that she had been cutting as a direct result of the pressure she felt from our father. My entire relationship with her changed that night. She was afraid to talk to them about how she felt. She was always the angel, I was the devil. As a result she felt overly pressured, incapable of doing things that would possibly make them mad. I fought with them constantly and ‘didn’t need their approval’. Clearly I rebelled against them, but they’d never abandoned me for all my horrible behavior so I was able to convince her to at least sit down and talk with them so they could understand that she needed something different. Which she was able to do. We bonded over  something so ingrained in us, understood each other on a different level than we had before and realized that we could lean on each other when we needed help. She’s my best friend in the world and I would do anything for her. I love her with everything I have. I mistrust my parents, even now.
I get incredibly anxious when my sister is late getting home. I need her to be there to feel grounded. Safe. To the extent that I don’t want to go back, be there at all, if she’s not there.
Therapist doesn’t seem to be worried about the fact that I needed to have a couple drinks to deal with the barrage of questions and interest in my life that the rest of my family inspires (holiday gathering at my relatives – all of my relatives, both sides of my family). I see my family so rarely that when I do it’s practically nonstop questions and explanations. Fortunately ( I think?) my mom’s side of the family isn’t very interested in me. I was always so rebellious, so different, that they never took an interest in me. I don’t think I talked to them at all except for my aunt telling me I looked really good and lost a lot of weight (she hasn’t seen me since I was on the Symbyax that made me gain weight).  That was nice. The rest of my family though is very interested in my new job and my mental state. I can only deal with so much. So much attention is overwhelming. So I have a couple drinks to calm down. I knew before I went over that I’d be drinking though. Therapist is much more worried about my bulimia. I’m usually very good at keeping this under control. Until the holiday gatherings start. I’ve never had trust issues with my dad’s side of the family. I actually think I connect to them better than my parents. I’m  really not sure what the exact trigger here is. My parents? My mom’s side of the family? The questions? My bulimia has always been a form of control for me, so I know it has to have something to do with feeling out of control. Why the rest of my family would make me feel so out of control is still a mystery to me currently.
Note:  Identifying those issues that trigger me is the first step in figuring out how to avoid them and control them in the future.
Emo moment
Then we talked about my Abandonment issues and why Friend going out made me so ‘unhappy’  (read: hurt, anxious, depressed, jealous, left out, unnecessary, afraid). The real problem here is that I do feel like if he has more people around he won’t need me as a friend anymore. That I won’t be so important to him. That he’ll reject and abandon our friendship. Therapist is beginning to worry that our friendship is holding me back. That he triggers my abandonment issues is not healthy. I cling to our friendship too strongly. I do forsake going out on my own to meet new people because if I do I won’t be able to spend more time with him. If I go out more our friendship won’t be as strong. He will find other people. I’ll be replaced. She wants him to tell me that he doesn’t want our friendship to end, that he won’t leave me, but he should encourage me to form new, healthy relationships outside of our friendship.  That {six} years down the line we’ll still be friends. I have no way of believing this though, because I’ve never had close proximity friendships that have lasted this long in (though I have had friendship that lasted much longer than this).  I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m ready to open myself up to anyone new yet. I’m tired of being hurt. I don’t think I can do that again right now. Therapist thinks I should though.
Homework: Stop being a hermit. Get out more, outside of going to Friends’. Cultivate new relationships.
Therapist also breached the topic of wanting family, what I thought motherly qualities should be. Not that I want to have kids, but what qualities do I believe a mother should have, and how would I display these. If, if, I were to have kids, how would I demonstrate these qualities, blah blah blah.
Point:  It’s a helpful exercise to understand where I think my family failed. How I wish they had done things differently with me. 
Finally she asked about what I’d been drawing lately. Mostly I’ve been drawing my next tattoo. She was a little concerned about this because it’s so large (will hit me under my breast, down my entire right side, and over my hip). She asked me if we needed to talk about it in further sessions. I told her ‘no’ I would get it regardless. She laughed at my ‘rebelliousness’.
Update on this Friend Abandonment issue; when I was over Monday out of nowhere he did say that I should pick up the activity and join them in the future. This made me too happy and my mood improved for the rest of the night. Then my paranoia kicked in that he’s reading my blog which would make me incredibly unhappy and probably (probably? Geezus) pissed off. Bleh. I want him to include me because he enjoys my company, not because he feels obligated to me. Then I remembered that he made this offer before I’d posted about it, so my paranoia is completely crazy and entirely composed in my own mind, but that still didn’t stop me from having a small anxiety attack.
So yeah, productive day in therapy. Long, long post. Again, sorry about the day switching for this.

‘Holidays’ with the Family…

I know today is supposed to be my Trials in Therapy day, but in order to understand what we talked about I need to give the background. I’ll either post my Lucid Analysis later today or do it tomorrow. Background first, therapy second.  Sorry for the change up =/
So this past weekend I got to fly home to visit my family. This is not my favorite thing ever. Not the seeing my family part; the catching a late flight Friday after work and an early flight Sunday to get back. This translates into a 1.25 day weekend that isn’t spent in airports and planes. I’m anxious about leaving NY because I feel {relatively} grounded here, and sad before I even get home because I know I’m just going to have to leave practically as soon as I get there.



We have matching tattoos



Saturday rolls around. My sister is ridiculous late getting home which makes me anxious. This is going to cause us to be late to the family gathering which makes me panic. I CAN NOT be late to things. Can not. I’ve managed to beat out most of my OCD tendencies but I can’t let go of my preoccupation with time and being on time (maybe I’ll talk about this later). She finally gets home and I’m elated. Of everyone in this world she is the only one I never detach from. She grounds me and stabilizes me. Which is kind of ironic because I’m BPD and she’s bipolar so between the two of us we have all the rollercoaster emotions. All of them. Her BF didn’t come up with her. That was a little disappointing since I’ve gotten used to seeing him for family things. Plus he’s just a good guy and ridiculous funny.
 We went to my family gathering where we immediately started drinking. This does help calm me down through the barrage of family questioning about the new job, how I’m dealing with my PD, how I’m doing in NY, etc. It’s really overwhelming to be bombarded with so much attention like that. Blessedly my sis and I were able to break away from the crowd for some much needed catching up.  I was doing really well all day with watching what I ate/drank. Dinner came and went. Even then I did very well. After that I got up to catch my breath for a bit and completely binged out of nowhere. I had no intentions of it, but I couldn’t stop myself so I didn’t. The inevitable purge followed. That was my only slip up though. Once during the whole day is good for me when it comes to family foodie gatherings. Meh. Wasn’t very social after this.
Plus Friend was texting me about his fun male bonding stuff which stupidly makes me very jealous and feeling left out. I’m depressed, sad, and angry that he can have a good time without me. Not to mention incredibly anxious that since he’s making guy friends he won’t need to be friends with me now. With other people to do stuff with he’ll abandon me and I’ll be alone again. What’s even more dumb is one of my other buddies that he went with actually invited me to do stuff with them next time. Instead of being grateful I feel guilty like I’d be intruding. Like he’s only asking me to come because I said it sounded like they had a lot of fun and that must have guilted him into it and not because he really wants me there. 
Sunday I was flat out horribly depressed. Leaving my sister. Spending 8 hours in airport/planes (had a connecting flight). This did not translate well when my first flight was more turbulent than any other flight I’ve ever been on. I was in tears and wanted to grab onto the guy sitting next to me (he was kinda cute).  I DO NOT want to die. This thought terrifies me. I am in the unfortunate position of knowing way too much about planes/jets/spacecraft. Ok, so I do know how safe aircraft are designed to be, and I do know just how much punishment they can take before an emergency happens. However, I also know all the workings inside and out and as a result know just how much can go wrong as well. Flat out panic attack. Fortunately I manage to keep quiet from a lifetime of suppressing my emotional manifestations. Got off the plane, headed straight to the bar. Where I met a few guys and drank way too much. This did help my passing out all through the 2nd flight.  Much more pleasant experience. An old buddy of mine picked me up at the airport where he managed to trigger me about some friends that messed me up and I ultimately did away with (which doesn’t make me feel less abandoned by them because what happened truly was not my fault but if they really cared about me they wouldn’t have done it). I came back to an empty apartment because Roommate was doing the Easter thing with her family. Fail. By then I was ravenously hungry, got take out and ate everything I could get my hands on. Which only worked to freak me out about how much I had just consumed and unsurprisingly I had to purge it all. ::sigh:: Not my best day ever.  Not my best weekend ever. Holidays with the family are always rough for me though.
I was going to make light of my holiday weekend bulimia but I realized this was self-defeating and my goal was to NOT do these things. I need to encourage myself to do better, not set myself up to fail. As far as this goes, I actually did pretty well {for me}. Next time maybe I’ll be able to do better.

Morals of the Psych ER Saga

I was actually very reluctant to post this experience.
So why am I telling you this? Because this is the ugly side of having a Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s not just the therapy and the research or relatively harmless. It’s explosive and uncontrollable. It’s frantic impulse, threats, self-harm, and actual suicide for some. In that moment I felt crazy. I was in tears, feeling hollow and abandoned, worthless. With nothing to hold onto. My mind screaming, thoughts rattling around until I couldn’t tell the difference between reason and reality. When you can’t see the next minute because your entire world is dissolving in the one you’re in; there is no next minute. Just the one you’re living in.
It is meant to scare you. It is meant to make you think. To help you understand how extreme the emotions can be, and the things they can make us do. How difficult it is to control and not get swept away in the maelstrom that is the borderline mind. This is my reality.
I really didn’t belong there. It’s certainly not something that I’m proud of. I absolutely made a very bad choice. The reason I was there was a death threat even though there was absolutely no way I would have ever done it. I do not believe in suicide as an answer. As long as you’re alive, there’s a chance. A chance that things can change. Change is a powerful thing. As long as there’s change there’s hope for something better. This is my belief.
A belief that my ex knew very well that I held. I later found out that he’d been in my position for this kind of situation too. He made a dumb impulsive decision that he had no intention of acting out and had to take the consequences. There was a little vindictiveness in his refusal to listen. That’s what I get I suppose.
I wanted attention. I certainly got it from this. Not in the way I wanted though. These things never really turn out how you want them to. Everything about it is unhealthy. This type of behavior is part of why Borderline has such a stigma for manipulation. I’ll talk more about this some other day, because I’m really just now beginning to understand what this means in terms of BPD.
I wasn’t afraid of anything that happened to me in there, though maybe I should have been. This was a very dangerous situation to be in. There is no predicting who you will be kept with. No predicting how monitored you will be. No predicting what could happen to you. Most people would not have been so calm in the face of a huge guy about to rampage. Mostly I was annoyed and inconvenienced by the whole thing.

Not to mention I lost an entire evenings worth of sleep. I ended up being awake for almost 40 hours because I couldn’t rest once I got home. No sleep is never good for me. This usually deteriorates my mental state even more. 

I was afraid that this would come back to bite me in the ass though. That it could potentially leak out, and bar me from future employment, make it impossible to get a job. This was my biggest fear.

That and the fact that my landlords were not pleased. I could have lost my apartment, which I had just moved into.
It doesn’t just affect me/you either.  I felt like utter shit once I thought to consider the other people in my life. The people that care about me. I scared my roommate. I terrified my family. I had no right to put them through that. I never stopped to consider that this could affect them too. It’s something I won’t forget again.
The consequences of things like this hit you from all sides.
Like the bill. The whole experience, most of which was just sitting around, cost $2000. No extra zero there. Two thousand dollars. The nurses that have to watch you, the psych that has to be on call, the blood work they had to do, all of it is very, very expensive. This gave me something of a heart attack. Fortunately, I was on unemployment at the time so I could get this waved, but still. Very, very expensive. In money, time, and sanity.
Always, there are consequences to my actions. I reiterate. Actions that I will never indulge again. Mistakes that I have learned from. Having been through it once, believe me, once is enough. I am not altogether unhappy that I had this experience. It has made me consider the impulsive decisions that I am prone to, want to make, and rein them in. I take full responsibility for the mistakes I’ve made, but sometimes you need a swift kick in the ass to make you remember that, had I not been so impulsive in the first place, the whole thing could have been prevented. Prevention is something I work very hard on. It has helped me control my impulses. It has helped me consider my actions. It doesn’t necessarily stop the thoughts, but it has made me work harder to control them, get help for them. I don’t want to be controlled by these kinds of thoughts and behaviors. I’ve never wanted this, but now I have a little more motivation to really work to overcome them. It’s the nature of having a Borderline Personality Disorder to act this way, but we still have a choice in the matter, and the ability to change.
All these things are what I hope people see and understand. If this experience can help someone not make these kinds of poor choices than it was worth putting this story out there. I hope it helps someone. It sure opened my eyes. 

Social and Cultural Factors: Origins of BPD

Back to the theories of John G. Gunderson… 
Social and Cultural Factors
Evidence shows that borderline personality is found in about 1 -2% of the population. There may be societal and cultural factors which contribute to variations in its prevalence. A society which is fast-paced, highly mobile, and where family situations may be unstable due to divorce, economic factors, or other pressures on the caregivers, may encourage development of this disorder.

I’ve already mentioned the percentage of the population that is suspected to have BPD. That the pervasiveness in our society has to do with the failings of society itself is interesting. With fear of abandonment, separation, instability, inability to attach, emotional upheaval … it’s easy to see how society could influence this. Especially if the numbers of BPD have increased exponentially or in a manner disproportionate to that of normal population growth. With the destruction of the typical nuclear family, both parents in the work force, constant moving to accommodate a moving job market… all make it difficult for children to find stability. I don’t think this is enough though. Just as many people with BPD are abuse victims, more than that number have suffered abuse and don’t develop personality disorders at all. A society that expects more, pushes harder, is more likely to adversely affect those with the predisposition for BPD (or other personality disorders), but I don’t think it’s enough to say that it is a primary cause. The pace and change in society is not new, it’s on going and ever present and millions, if not billions of people deal with it every day. I do think that if the predisposition for BPD exists that these things could certainly contribute, but I don’t think they are a cause in and of itself.
Aside:  It makes me wonder about the military brats in particular. I wonder if there is a higher discrepancy in the military community for BPD than in regular society.  It would be an interesting study in ratios if it could be done. 

Family – Borderline Personality Disorder Facts and Statistics Part 6

My posting has been pretty erratic this week. I took a week off between the last job and the new job to give myself a break. When I’m not trying to avoid work and can actually do things that don’t make me want to strangle my boss I guess the lack of structure is, well, a lack of structure. Moving on…

– ERD (borderline personality disorder) can be extremely hard on families.  Families need support.

Mostly I just feel this needs reiterating. I’ll be doing fully separate posts on this. When I was younger and really just starting on this turbulent terror that is BPD I was really, really hard on my family. Fortunately they love me a lot, and never gave up on me. I know there were times I pushed them to the edge and I didn’t deserve their love, but they were always there.  They are the absolute strongest support system I have, even though I now live over 500 miles away from them. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have their love and support. I can’t even begin to stress how important it is to have people willing to stick by you. Especially when it can be so difficult. Frankly I’m surprised I didn’t push them all into counseling. My entire family is very close and I’m thankful they had each other to rely on, to lean on.

– Patients reported significantly higher rates of psychiatric disorders in their families in general, especially 
anxiety disorders, depression, and suicidality.

Well, I can’t deny this from my family history. On my father’s side, my grandfather was an alcoholic, died of Alzheimer’s. My grandmother was bipolar. On my mom’s side of the family: don’t know about my grandfather, but he died of Alzheimer’s too. My grandmother was schizophrenic. My mom I’m sure has some kind of anxiety disorder. My brother is depressive. My sister is bipolar. My dad seems to have made it safely to sanity, though I’m sure I pushed that to the edge at times.

It’s important to know family history. It helps pin point what factors may influence your own mental health and provide a more accurate diagnosis. At the very least, it might help prepare you for signs to look out for. My family’s mental health never concerned me so much as their physical health, but in retrospect it would have helped me more had I paid attention. Knowing the whole medical history is good to keep in mind. My family also has a history of alcoholism (grandfather) which I need to watch out for. Heart attacks/heart disease/strokes… these are all things that I can act to prevent though diet and exercise and not smoking (yeah yeah I’m quitting, eventually, when my sanity can support it).  I’ve been strict vegetarian for 18 years, and I exercise at least 6 days a week = an hour of cardio + weight training. Generally speaking I live a very healthy lifestyle. I’ve always known these things were necessarily to live a functional and healthy life. Knowing family mental histories is no different.