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 =)
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Lucid Analysis – Trials in Therapy

 I’ve been lax with my days in therapy. Yesterday was an odd day for me. I’ve been so overwhelmed with the amount of work I have to do the stress has been almost a physical weight slowing me down. Around 2p.m. yesterday my boss sent me an e-mail to see him at 4p.m. to go over a presentation I’m preparing and give me a 6 month performance evaluation.  I was instantly paralyzed, I could barely think, barely force myself to move. You would think the world was coming to an end, which I would have preferred, b/c seriously, zombies I can handle. For as busy and productive as I’ve been I could only imagine the awful things he could say; not productive enough, not good enough, too slow, why don’t I know everything yet. My brain whirred a thousand miles per hour while my heart seems to take forever to beat up in my throat. As it turned out it was more a handshake and congratulations I’ve been here 6 months. The only critique he had for me was that I should get out in the shop more. Done. It’s never as bad as I fear it will be. Never, and yet I can’t stop myself from thinking it. When I sat down in Therapists office I was still all locked up and tense from stress and could barely think of what to say. It took me almost 45 minutes to really be able to hold my end of a conversation.
Though it wasn’t much a problem. She talked for ages about studying psychology and things to be aware of. She was also very focused on reassuring me that this space was a safe space for me. It’s the developing the therapist/patient bond I think. I feel like I’m failing her here. Most people can probably come in and develop a trusting relationship real fast. I know I still hold parts of myself back. I’ve been in Protector mode for a while now, my walls and defenses have been very up. I am having a very hard time allowing anyone to be close to me. And rightly so I should not allow everyone close, but I recognize that there are people that do deserve my trust, like Roommate, and I even have a hard time letting her in and maintaining a connection. Therapist asked me what I was afraid of that makes me shut down that way. What causes me not to trust where cognitively I know I should? What instances can I recall where people have betrayed my trust. Of course the first people I thought of were those like Friend or Evil-Ex or the One I don’t talk about, but she said No, those are guys and the reasons I have for not trusting men are a different kind of mistrust. That stems from a different place. She wanted me to think to my female friends and understand where this may have stemmed from. I haven’t had much better luck with female friends than I have with male friends. All the petty instances of girls being catty and turning on me floated out of my head and I remember one friend that I was very close to when I was 12/13 years old. I remember very clearly that I had been suicidal, just understanding what cutting did for me, and needing friends that I could share my problems with. We’d been friends for ages, talked for hours every day, but when I let her in on the darker parts of my mind she drew away. We talked less and less and one day when I asked she told that she couldn’t be as close to me because I made her too sad. And who could blame her really? Too young to understand, too young for that kind of responsibility. But for me, I took a lesson from that. One that just compounded all the perfectionistic fodder that was already beaten into my brain. If I’m not perfect, people will leave. If I show the imperfections, I won’t be good enough. So I learned to hide myself away. When I was younger all the bottling turned to rage and exploded outward, now I turn it in. Therapist wants me to remember to step back. When a situation presents itself where I feel my defenses or walls coming up, try to recognize that this is occurring, and draw what comes to mind so that I can better visualize what I am feeling in relation to the reality of the situation.
She also said that when someone has such a strong Protector mode that it’s an indicator that one or both of the parents did not do enough to shield me from some kind of threat. I get angry thinking about this because my parents were never intentionally hurtful. My dad made us over achievers, he pushed me to the point of nervous breakdowns and suicide though I don’t think to this day he understands the level of stress he placed on me. Therapist believes that somewhere I feel like my mother let me down because she saw how hard I was being pushed but never tried to intervene. I don’t know if she could have though. She wasn’t around so much when I was growing up because she worked nights and slept during the day so I never really developed a strong bond with her. By the time I was old enough to express how I felt I had developed this mentality, this fear of failing. That I cannot be less than perfect or I will not be good enough for anyone. I cannot trust people to hold my best interest. I had no one to rely on but myself. I know my mom would read my diaries and I never trusted her after that, but it was even before. Maybe I was just an independent child, or suspicious in my nature, that I did not believe I could trust because all the things I wrote in my journals I wrote because I could not tell anyone else. I had already lost my ability to trust or maybe I never learned how to trust in the first place. Hm, I’m not sure. My memories are fuzzy if I have them at all. Something to think about for sure.
Homework: Create a timeline. Call my mom and talk to her. Talk about all the times growing up that we did things together, when we started doing craft type projects, major events in my life that she took part in, starting when I was very young. This will help me reform memories, see my mother’s perspective, and hopefully form a stronger bond between us.
The thought of this is daunting. Talking to my mom for any length of time is exhausting and often infuriating. Not for anything specific that she says persay but she always manages to make me feel like she’s asking too much. Information that I would gladly share freely with anyone else suddenly feels intrusive to tell to her. I recognize this and now it’s something to try to work past.

Smash365: Fear

Since it appears that the #Trust30 writing challenge is up that I’ve been doing over at within Asylum ::sigh:: I have decided to try the Smash365 writing prompt instead. I don’t usually cross post but today seemed somewhat relevant. Today’s is:
Smash365: Fear
Jul 26, 2011 by cara moulds
“Fearlessness comes from a habit of doing lots of little things that constantly put you out of your comfort zone.” – Marty Wilson
What are you doing today to take you out of your comfort zone?
I feel like I’ve been in a rut for a while. Or like things don’t take me out of my comfort zone. Or that I’m always out of my comfort zone. All at the same time.
Work is my lease comfortable person. She exists in an environment that is not comfortable for her. That does not suit her personality, that makes her want to crawl out of her own skin. Every day here is an attempt to push myself just one more day beyond my boundaries of tolerance. And make others believe that I do, in fact, belong here.
The pretending has an odd effect. I feel split to my core. That this is not some place I belong or should be. On the other, the playing a part for 9 hours a day I occasionally slip fully into the roll, even for just a moment or two I feel like I belong in a meeting, talking to a vendor, performing my analysis. The disconnect comes in the fact that I am very capable of doing all of these things, though they do not feel like my true calling. They are something I am good at, not something I am passionate about…. Which is where this place is both comfortable, because it is not challenging, and not because it takes me away from my identity.
This however, is not what the prompt cues.
Going back to school. Again, both in and out of my comfort zone. I will be embarking on a challenge into a field that is  utterly new. It doesn’t completely feel like it’s pushing me out of my comfort zone because I thrive in an academic environment and clearly I have gone to school before. Also, the psych field I have dabbled in amatuerly. However to do it with the mindset of becoming a professional in the field, now that, is pushing the bounds of what I am accustomed to. It’s a field where I do not know how to go about finding my footing. I have no idea of the field work, interactive processes that accompany preparing you for the working world in this field. Engineering is cut and dry. Do the work, get an internship, do what you’re told, graduate, get a job. It’s all very objective. Psychology is a little less rigid. It seems more subjective. I’m intrigued. It will be a way to use my brain in a field that is utterly foreign in a way that I do not get to normally.
It’s a little scary to take the step outside of my established environment. Scary, but exhilarating.
Side note: I cleared up the hold on my transcripts and hopefully I’ll be able to arrange a meeting with an academic advisor by Friday =)
I also wonder if I even have a comfort zone. I don’t seem to be comfortable anywhere, at any time, save for brief moments of it where my mind is taken to places of fleeting peace. When I feel like I’m floating outside of my Self it’s difficult to settle into my own skin long enough to obtain that sense of comfortable calm. The best I can usually hope for is to occupy my mind so much so that I forget my malaise. This is why I constantly push myself, try new things, explore new avenues of adventure and information. Perhaps this is why I do not often feel outside of my ‘comfort zone’ because every chance I get I push my limits into a new venue. Nothing seems foreign to me, because often everything is. Who I am, what I’m doing, where I’m going, how I go about doing it… every time I try something new, it makes going outside of my comfort zone, a comfort.
x-posted: Asylum

Bordering on Fear… of Success

A few days ago I talked about  Sabotage. I found an interesting article that touches on potential subconscious reasoning behind the fear of success and it immediately struck me as relevant to Borderline Personality Disorder and my experiences with it. I’ll talk about the relevant parts. You can find the full article here.
Fear of Success
The excitement of success can feel close to anxiety for some.
As a psychologist specializing in trauma and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) I’ve had firsthand experience coaching clients whose past experience feeds their current fear of success. For them, the excitement of success feels uncomfortably close to the feeling of arousal they experienced when subjected to a traumatic event or multiple events. (This feeling of arousal can be linked to sexuality, in certain cases where trauma has been experienced in that realm, but that is not always the case.) People who have experienced trauma may associate the excitement of success with the same physiological reactions as trauma. They avoid subjecting themselves to excitement-inducing circumstances, which causes them to be almost phobic about success.
There is another layer to the fear of success. Many of us have been conditioned to believe that the road to success involves risks such as “getting one’s hopes up” – which threatens to lead to disappointment. And many of us-especially if we’ve been subject to verbal abuse-have been told we were losers our whole lives, in one way or another. We have internalized that feedback and feel that we don’t deserve success. Even those of us who were not abused or otherwise traumatized often associate success with uncomfortable things such as competition and its evil twin, envy.
In order to have a healthy relationship with success (and it’s flip side, failure, or disappointment), the first step is to learn to differentiate between feelings of excitement and a “trauma reaction.”

“I was looking up how the body responds to fear, and it said that when we sense fear the brain transmits signals and our nervous system kicks, in causing our breathing to quicken, our heart race to increase… we become sweaty, and we run on instinct. When we get excited or enthusiastic, doesn’t our nervous system work the same way?”

 

{Yes}, the physical reactions to stress and to excitement are very similar. So, when we experience a traumatic event—such as a car accident or a school bullying incident—our body associates the fear we experience with the same physiological feelings we get while excited. Once we have been through enough trauma, we start to avoid those types of situations that trigger memories of fear. For this reason, trauma victims can tend to avoid excitement, and that can lead them to avoid success.
I work with trauma victims to get past their fears and associations and help them embrace and follow the path to success and healthy recovery.
{End}
I have a very mixed experience with success. By all outward appearances I appear to have a very ‘successful’ life. I’m independent, well educated, employed in at a renowned laboratory, financially stable… and yet, none of these things feel like a success to me. They seem flat. Like I had a goal, I worked towards the goal, I completed the goal, but I have no excitement, no pride, not satisfaction from my accomplishments. I always find a way to temper my expectations of the outcome so that I never get my hopes up.
Or when I’ve finally come so close to a big goal that will earn me more respect and recognition I pull back.
I will work full throttle until the 10th hour and at the very end slam on my own brakes so that I complete what I need to complete but fall short of something as exceptional as I know I could produce. I self-limit and I don’t really understand why. I am so used to disappointment, being disappointed, that I don’t want to get my hopes up for one more thing only to be disillusioned yet again. If it’s a hope that I’ve had in myself and do not reach: Forbid! That will just point to one more reason I’m not good enough, a failure. If I put everything I have into something and it’s not good enough, than it means I’m not good enough. But if I hold something back, it doesn’t mean I’m not good enough because I haven’t put all of myself into it. There’s a reserve in the back of my mind that can say, well if I just did this other thing it would have been exceptional, and since it’s all hypothetical there’s no fear of failure had I put all my energy into it. Sounds ass backwards to me, but it’s true enough.
The Author even provides an exercise to begin overcoming this fear of failure:
  1. Recall an event where you were successful or excited when you were younger, and notice what you are feeling and sensing in your memory. Stay with the sensation of for 5 minutes. 
  2. Recall an event where you were successful and excited recently in your life, and notice what you are feeling and sensing. Stay with this sensation of for 5 minutes.
  3. Now tap into the sensation of a memory of an overwhelming situation. I suggest not to start with a truly traumatic event, at least not without a therapist’s support. Start with something only moderately disturbing to you. 
  4. Now, go back to visualizing your success story. Do you notice a difference?
I’m going to do this for the very first random things that pop in my head:
1.      My first thought was of complete work while I was in the 4th grade, showing my teacher work that I was proud of because it was extra work and I thought I did a good job. Excitement and anxiety. Anxiety is inextricably bound to this set of  memories. That the next one won’t be good enough. I must have done half a dozen extra things that weren’t asked of me. Each time I completed something I was happy with what I did and showed the teacher. Finally the teacher said she would no longer reward me with a sticker for this work. I didn’t know I would be rewarded when I began this work. I didn’t care about these small rewards. I was proud of my work and wanted to share with someone that I looked up to. I wanted the approval of someone I admired for doing a job that actually was above and beyond what I needed to be doing, but I didn’t want a physical reward. Just acknowledgement. She seemed annoyed so maybe I wasn’t doing such a good job. I stopped showing her more work.
Staying with this memory for 5 minutes is very uncomfortable. It’s such a little thing but I recall the hurt and disappointment that I felt, like I’d been abandoned by the approval I sought.
2.      Two instances:
– I just had a huge design review for a ‘part’ I created. There is some additional testing I need to run in order to verify more ‘worst case scenarios’ that were mentioned, but in general, my design is a complete success and will go into production within the next 6 months. I felt nothing. No anxiety, no pride, no fear, no excitement. Blank. Not only could I not get my hopes up, I completely detached from the experience. Even afterwards when it was clear that the work I’ve been pouring into the project over the last few months has been a success.
– Painting: This I actually have a small spark of pride about. I smile. I am content in my new found hobby despite the fact that I am a novice at this art. I have no expectations of mastery but I look at the work that I’ve done and I like what I see. I am calm and content when I’m painting. Focused. I’m happy in the recollection of this and look forward to the times I will be able to sit down with my brushes again. It’s not an overwhelming feeling. Not a huge welling of pride, but there is definitely satisfaction in this. This is the kind of feeling that I think should be associated with success.  
3.      A few months after I moved to NY I finally made a couple new girlfriends. I told Evil-Ex that I would be out late. We hung out at one of their houses, drinking, dancing, just having a good time. He texted me around 10p asking when I’d be home. I told him I was drinking and couldn’t go home for a while, why? He was very evasive. Panic began to set it. Anxiety began to suffuse through my entire body as my mind ran in directions that could explain why he wouldn’t answer my question. None of them good. I tried to sober up but I couldn’t force this process in order to drive home. I ended up falling asleep on the couch. I woke up at 6a to go home in a panic. As it turned out he had invited a girl over ‘for us’ because ‘he thought I’d be home’.  Just when I thought I had made a very positive, healthy step in establishing some independence and newer healthy relationships, it turns out that there were very negative repercussions.
4. Of course I feel the difference. I can also sense parallels in my anxiety to my 4th grade experience.   Doing something because I enjoyed doing it, only to have it turn out to cause me painful feelings. Painting is utterly separate in feeling. Curiously, when I’m painting it is something that is dependent only on me. There are no other people in this activity or feeling of success. It’s an experience I relish solely as something I do for myself. The others are dependent on other people. Coincidence? Doubtful. I think I have become so accustomed to disappointment that my feelings dissociate completely which is why I feel no anxiety or anticipation in preparation or in conclusion of the major review I had that was by all standards, a success.
The problem is, some anxiety is good. It’s what drives you and pushes you to try harder. I have a lot of anxiety, but it’s out of proportion or directed at the wrong things. I am absolutely confident in my abilities, until I’m not. I know I can accomplish everything I set out to, until I convince myself otherwise. This is a fear of failure. This is not acceptable.

Road to Recovery…

Last week a Reader asked:
Do you think you could share a little about how you decided to address the pain and try to recover? There is someone in our life who we WISH would seek treatment, and I’m wondering what might get her there. Thanks.
How I decided to address the pain and try to recover. I wish I could give a completely selfless answer and say that I saw how I was affecting the people around me, that I realized how hurtful I was. I wish I could say that I wanted to stop lashing out and devastating the world around me. Unfortunately when I was taking out my emotions on other people I mostly felt like it was everyone else that did not understand me and the only thing wrong with me was that I was misunderstood. I felt hopeless. No one and nothing could help me because no one understood and if no one understood how could anyone do anything at all. Eventually I began Acting Out less and turned inward. I took out the majority of my turbulence on myself, Acting In. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still affect the people around me. It does. I’m just not as actively aggressive towards other people. Anyone close to me is still caught in my wake, or at the very least, sees what I go through, realizes that I’m hurting, and wishes better for me. It came down to the fact that I wanted to stop feeling so turbulent. I wanted it for me. First and foremost I want to feel better. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to be a better friend and be better to everyone around me. I absolutely do, but this wasn’t my main driver though it is a product of what I’m working towards.   The people that I’m close to care about me and they truly want me to be happy.
I’ve been an emotional disaster, especially when it comes to relationships, for as long as I can remember. It’s depressing. It’s painful. How I take it out on myself is excruciating. How I take it out on others is worse. I finally came to the realization that there has to be something better than living in constant pain and depression.
Growing up I fought the idea of therapy and medication. When I moved to New York I was involved in a very abusive relationship.  I bottomed out.   Finally, I sought therapy as a last resort.
Unfortunately as is often the case, it takes hitting bottom to have the greatest motivation to dig ourselves out of the holes we’ve dug. I wish I could say that was the only time I’d hit bottom, but it happens a lot. However, it got me to open up to the idea of therapy. Having the help to work through is invaluable and I strongly encourage this.
I think the last big kick in the ass was what lead me to the Psych ER {Intro, Part 1, Part 2, Morals}. The relationship I had been in wasn’t good but it wasn’t bad. It was just boring. I had no reason or inclination to stay in it and yet, when it ended I Acted Out in a way that got the cops and an ambulance called on me. I scared the hell out of my friends, terrified my parents, could have lost us our new apartment, could potentially have lost future employment… the repercussions of my actions were just not acceptable.  Especially when there’s no rational reason for my reactions to have been as extreme as they were. I knew something was very wrong for most of my life, but this was the last straw. I determined to stay on an anti-depressant, which ultimately was not enough, but it was a start. All these things; the realization of just how bad my actions could affect me and everyone else, remembering that through previous therapy I had begun to see bright spots again. I could see glimpses of better ways of living. I wanted not just glimpses of a better way, but actually walking a better path completely. Constant depression is a vortex of joylessness. I wanted to escape the blackness. No. Not black. Everything was grey. Grey, dreary, dull, nothing being crisp or vibrant for long enough to glean any happiness from. It’s no way to live and it doesn’t have to be that way. Finally I began to want for myself what my friends and family have always wanted for me; the chance of happiness. It’s why I created this blog; to help me as I work towards this. It’s something I want for anyone fighting a Borderline Personality Disorder.
The turning point came for me when I realized I want to get better.  No one can understand me, if I don’t help people understand me. If I don’t reach out to allow myself to receive the help I need. This is also my responsibility. This is a big world. I’m only one person in this world. There are plenty of people that love and care about me, but they also have their own lives to deal with. Ultimately, I am responsible for my own happiness and healing. This sounds like a sagely bit of wisdom, but for someone with BPD who wants so much to be close to other people without actually knowing how in a  functional way, it’s anything but easy. But it is possible. And it gets easier the more we work to embrace this.
I don’t know. I’m so tired of being so self-consumingly lonely, so sad and depressed, so misunderstood… so afraid… of everything. Life does not have to be this way. I refuse to believe that this is simply my lot in life. There is only one thing that can determine my fate, and that’s me. If I choose to be a different way, I can take control of my world and make it something that is worthwhile.  
In order to do this, therapy has helped me immensely. Writing this blog has helped me more than I expected. Being able to reach out, connect with other people struggling with a Borderline Personality Disorder, knowing that I’m not alone, hearing from other people as they also fight, or as they seek advice, or simply leave a few words to let me know they’ve been by… knowing that I’m reaching out and connecting with others like me; helps. I’m also determined to stick to a medicinal regime as well. I’ve previously floundered with this a little, but I’m working with my Psychiatrist to find meds that will aid me. There is no medical cure for personality disorders, however there’s hope that meds can alleviate some of the symptoms like depression and anxiety.
Realizing just how much I could lose. The opportunities, the people I love , my friends,…  the disappointment… The thought of losing them or letting them down is my biggest motivation now. I have a lot of people that I love and care about, and I want to be able to be with them in a healthy way that won’t drive them away.
You need to understand that I’ve lived with this for well over half of my life. Almost two decades of feeling like things would never get better. It’s not something you can just turn to someone and say ‘cheer up, it’ll all work out’ when so far, for so long, it hasn’t. It’s hard to see a better way when you’ve never known a better way. It requires a leap of faith. A leap that is incredibly scary when so often things smash to bits on the rocks below. It’s looking for a safe way down to the ground when your path is lined with jagged rocks and chards of glass. Fortunately there’s never just one way around the obstacles set in front of you in life. It takes a shift of perspective, but that sense of being safe in your own Self, is absolutely attainable. At least, I believe it is.
I  hope that gives some insight into your question. Thank you for asking.

Completing Sentences

Here’s something I completely forgot to mention. After my last session Therapist had called and left me an additional homework assignment called Completing Sentences.  It’s exactly what it sounds to be. She starts a sentence, and I complete it. Over the course of her message she also said things like she was thinking about me, and worried about me. I had a really hard week and I’ve been upset but it’s all a part of the therapeutic process and I’m doing really well. My therapist is a very caring and nurturing woman. For as frustrating as I know I must be, she’s so very supportive and I am glad to have her as my therapist.
Assignment about my fears – Completing sentences:
No one
I’m afraid to
Will I ever
I want to
I feel most afraid when
One good thing about my fear is
Immediate impressions:
No one… will ever love me.
I’m afraid to… be myself.
Will I ever… be loved
I want to… be a whole person.
I feel most afraid when… I’m alone.
One good thing about my fear is… I am only myself.
Expanded and detailed:
No one… will ever love me. No one will stay with me.
I’m afraid to… be myself. People will see me for who I really am. See all my flaws, see that I’m not perfect, that I can’t be who they want me to be, and leave me or want me to leave. When they see this it will prove what I’ve always known, that I’m not good enough, I’ll never be good enough, nothing I do will ever be good enough.
Will I ever… be loved. For me. In a way that doesn’t end or leave. Will I have friends that love me and stay, will I find a partner that wants to spend their life with me. Will I ever be the kind of person that doesn’t need this kind of validation? The kind of person that can love herself and be safe in the knowledge that if I appreciate who I am, than that is all that truly matters?
I want to… be a whole person. I want to be in control of my life. I want to love myself and my body. I want to look in the mirror, recognize who I see, and appreciate who I see.
I feel most afraid when… I’m alone. No one will remember me. My attachment to them will dissolve. If I’m not around people they’ll forget me and I won’t be a part of their lives anymore.
One good thing about my fear is… I am only myself. I have no one to play to, pretend for. No one to influence who I should be. No one to tell me that I’m not good enough, not okay. What’s so weird for me is that in general I don’t care what anyone thinks of me. It’s only those very few people that are close to me that have this kind of influence and effect on me.
For this post I’m only doing my initial impressions. Thinking about it for a few minutes I can come up with probably dozens of things to expand on but that’ll just be overwhelming here. It’s a good exercise. Try it. I’d actually be really interested in seeing what you come up with so I invite you to e-mail me or leave it in the comments section if you feel like sharing.

How could you? – Blaming –

What did I do? How could you do this to me?
If he had done this, if she hadn’t said that, if they’d only listened, if I wasn’t misunderstood… this never would have happened.
-Blaming- Blaming is the practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem.
I didn’t just make this up, there IS a reason I feel this way. For someone with Borderline Personsality Disorder feelings are always caused by external events. Thay have no control over their emotions or the things they do in reaction to them.
“Those with Borderline Personality Disorder tend to blame others for their problems and how they feel. Borderlines as a means of protecting themselves from the unrecognized and/or unconscious pain of the core wound of abandonment project their thoughts and feelings onto others. This makes everything seem to the borderline as if what is coming from or being done by him or her is actually coming from or being said or done by the loved one – the non-borderline.”
This is something I hate to admit to. I do take responsibility for my own actions. I acknowledge my faults, my involvement outwardly. I really do try to understand where someone else is coming from and that they have needs to. Sometimes I even succeed.
Somewhere, somehow, in the back of my mind that insidious voice taunts me. Plants those seeds of doubt and deception about everyone in my world. They don’t really care, if they did they wouldn’t have done this to you. They would know what you need and not withhold it from you, wouldn’t have allowed you to do what you did, dangled something you wanted so bad in from of your half shut eyes, within reach of just running your fingers over your salvation to happiness. It’s their fault for allowing it to happen. They should have known better. Known how it would affect me. Yet, they did it anyways.
I know, it’s not a one way street. All actions are only capable of entering into my lonely little world by my choice to open that door. Some part of it is mine. Some part of me knows that he was the one that did this to me. I let her in, but what she did is the thing that set me off. I can’t see that the way I react, the way I understand what has happened, isn’t what it seems to someone else.
I want what I want so badly I blind myself to what is capable of being given. I don’t understand that no one can give me that perfect gift I’ve built up in my mind. Some small thing, some big thing, some lack of that thing, any variation, brings my wish to ruins… and if they really understood me they would have known what to do. This is not my fault. It’s yours.
I know I bring these things on myself. I know my hopes are so high that no one can reach that mountain peak. The more someone tries, the further my heart is pushed. Setting myself up for a sharp fall. Pushed from reaching the pinnacle that promises happiness. Pushed by you. Not my own feet that slipped from underneath me.
I want you to be perfect. I want you to be perfect for me. It’s your fault when you’re not. It can’t be that I see some myth of human capability beyond the manifestation of anyone short of a superhero. A machine programmed to cater to every machination my mind moves me to.
It’s not your fault.

It’s not your fault though. Of course everyone messes up. People are people afterall. Sometimes things are your fault. But things are my fault too. I do know this, I promise I do. That hurt is not reasonable. In the moment all that exists is the need for something we don’t have.  As time elapses and you don’t realize what you’ve done, in those moments we sit and stew and our thoughts swirl and collide until it’s become something so grand in its offense that we’re convinced you did this to us on purpose. You knew what you were doing and you did it anyways. Of course you probably didn’t.

I’m repeating these thoughts, because that’s what we do. Repeat these thoughts until they’ve been so blown out of proportion that we can’t see our own involvement. What we need to do… is talk. I’m ashamed of these things. Ashamed that I want so much from someone that I can’t provide for myself. That I’ve allowed someone to affect me so. And because I do recognize that these things aren’t rational, or I’m terrified that you’ll be even more mad at me because clearly you didn’t understand me enough to care, that you won’t want to listen. So I hold it in, until it takes over, shaking the fizz and pop, burst from the bottle in a fit of frustration.
Fear. Irrational fear that you want to hurt me. That you’ll leave me. That you’re showing that you want to abandon me. This is my fear; that I can’t help but see in you. Project onto you.
Then in complete contradiction to these feelings, we blame ourselves too. We know that if we were better, if we could be more, than you wouldn’t have said what you said or done what you did. It’s our fault for not being what you need. If only we were perfect… If we can’t be good enough for you, why would you stay.  What’s to keep you from leaving?
Talk. Please encourage us to talk. It’s so hard to believe we won’t make you madder. It’s essential to diffuse the situation before we’ve had a chance to let the lightning strike and bring the monster to life.
I try to write things down. I know I need to let you know.  I can’t bring myself to say what hurts me until I’m so worked up that I can no longer contain it.
For as much as I know that these actions set against me are mostly in my mind, it FEELS like the world is out to get me and there’s no one that cares enough to protect me from the storm. Even though I resent anyone that tries to take care of me.
“People with Borderline Personality Disorder blame others because they do not know who they themselves are because they lack a stable sense of self or any authentic connection to the lost authentic self that leaves each person with BPD in an often desperate search for his or her identity. People with BPD lose the authentic self to the arrested emotional development caused by abandonment. They live and relate to others through a defensive borderline false self that is at the heart of so much of the turmoil in what develops as a blame game.”

Letting Go

I think I’m actually afraid to lose my BPD. It’s what I’ve always known. I don’t know what it is to be anything else. Yes, it completely sucks, it drives me crazy, I drive me crazy, but it’s familiar. I haven’t been without it since I was very young. Who will I be without it?
I think this is one of the reasons I’m worrying about my medication. On the one hand I want to get better; I want to not feel so turbulent all the time. On the other hand I’m afraid of losing the only way I know how to be. The thought of having to figure out who I am is like walking blind through a door when I don’t know what’s in the room.
I’m prepared for the way I deal with things now. Granted they may not be healthy ways of dealing with things, but at least I know. What if I don’t recognize myself? I already have a hard time looking into a mirror and knowing that the person staring back at me is actually me. A reflection of my Self. Will I be able to recognize myself when there’s someone different staring back at me?
It shouldn’t be, but it’s scary.
If I stop my medication it will probably be a big step back. A way to self-sabotage my progress. I’ve done this a lot. Sabotage what I have in order to push it away. What’s more, I know I shouldn’t do this, but I still want to, still have the urge to.
I have this need to do it now, before it’s too late, before I’ve let slip who I’m used to being because the person I might become won’t feel the need to do this.
Even when I’m not so crazed I’m still not right. I go numb and dissociate from my sense of Self. During these times intense anxiety is often what I’m riddled with but I don’t feel in my own skin so it’s manageable.
I don’t know what it is to live without this. I can’t actually tell you what it’s like to feel happy, not for more than a few days before the grip of fear and anxiety take over again. I know I shouldn’t want this. It is exactly what I’m trying to stop. I’m not sure I want to stop now. Abandoning part of who I am. I don’t want to lose me.
This is causing me a lot of anxiety. The stomach knotted into my throat kind of anxiety. I’m afraid to let go.
Will I still be me?

Will it?



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. 

On the inside… the Psych ER Saga

Have you ever been to the Psych ER? It’s a shit hole wrapped in cellophane.

Back at the ranch is where I {somewhat vaguely} threatened Boring-Ex that I’d kill myself. He was a dick, he needed to know it. Didn’t mean I planned to act on it. Bad move.

Not only did I get an ambulance and the cops parked outside of my new apartment, I was freaking out that we’d get evicted after having just moved in. This is not a good first impression.

As soon as the Rescue Kids and the cop walked into my kitchen I flipped mental modes. I turned off the crazy and slipped into competent. Like a glove. Seamlessly. Doe eyed and sleepy cute, calmly explaining that it had been a misunderstanding, Boring-ex was overreacting. I almost had the cop convinced. I had him at the point where if I could call Boring-ex and have him take back the accusation, he’d accept I was fine. So there I am, on the phone with my ex, trying my damnedest to keep my shit together, still slightly drunk trying to reason with him about why this was ridiculous and he absolutely REFUSED to call off the cop. He could have, but oh no. So the cop was ‘forced’ to accept that I was not ok. He said I could either come voluntarily to the Psych ER or he would have to arrest me and process me and then take me to the ER.

By ‘voluntarily’ he meant; do it or I’m going to arrest you. What the fuck kind of choice is that?

Enough build up. So he walked me out to his patrol car, in my baggy sweatshirt and pajamas. My arm and leg bleeding.  At least I got to sit in the front.
By the time we got to the Psych ER, I had the cop convinced that I was fine, he actually apologized for having to do this, but there was no choice at this point. I shouldn’t have been there, I didn’t want to be and I was getting out as soon as possible. Lies, deceit and acting appropriately are no foreign things.
Down the long, glaringly white hallway we went. The first thing they did was pull the tie out of my sweatshirt and take my socks and shoes. To be replaced by vomit colored grippy socks. And that was it. I guess they were worried that I’d hang myself with a drawstring? Sure.

So what happened next? Not a bloody fucking thing. I shuffled into the ward in my grippy socks. They admitted me and made me sit in a little room with uncomfortable chairs and maddeningly blue lights that made everything look green and surreal. Except the horrid grippy socks. They were just grippy.

There was a cute girl in there with me and we chatted. What a match we would have made. Can you imagine the Craigslist Missed Connection? ‘Cute girl in the Psych ward. I was the one in the sweatshirt trying not to drip blood on the floor. Hope your drug problem is better. Call me!’

After she left she was replaced by Rage Guy. I tried not to make eye contact but we were the only lucid people in there. The homeless guy passed out on the floor and the druggie going through withdrawal rocking in the corner weren’t big with the conversation. He seemed fine at first. The longer he was there, the more worked up he got. I talked to him just to keep him calmed down. I couldn’t have cared less if he imploded but it was pretty clear that he’d have taken me with him when he Hulked out and tore the place down.

I was in more danger sitting in the friggin’ ward that I would have been wandering the streets! 



Tomorrow the Saga continues… What will Rage Guy do next? Stay Tuned for Part 2