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.

Understatments understate

“Your risk for relapse of symptoms of borderline personality disorder is greatest when you feel threatened by being left alone (abandonment).”
Relapse – is the reappearance of or increase in symptoms in a person with an illness or disease after a period of improvement
Saw this statement over at
I’m so amused. As if the symptoms of BPD aren’t expected to reoccur. As if they ever go away in the first place (without treatment).
OMG Don’t leave me!
Maybe we should try a twelve step program. Personality Disorders Anonymous or PDA (Public Dispalys of Affection are acceptable for the Histrionic). Eh, hem. Step #1, “Hi, my name is Haven. I have a generally untreatable personality disorder but I hope by sitting with other emotionally volatile people I’ll be able to stop being emotionally volatile.” What? This may help if Step #2 comes with a straight jacket and step #3 is a lobotomy. Not that I haven’t considered lobotomy a viable option on occasion, but even I think that’s a little extreme after a couple hours.
Heh. Treatment for BPD is difficult,  though certainly, not impossible. The outlook is actually getting better and better every day, but relapse is going to be part of the process. Relapse is going to be a very common part of the process. To say that the risk of relapse is greatest when threatened by being left alone:
1.) There is no consistent cause for what sets us off.  
2.) Does not automatically imply abandonment.

Being abandoned does mean being left, but being left alone does not necessarily mean abandonment.

Or maybe it does but it’s a mild form of it.  Personally I need to be in a relationship for the thought of being left (not necessarily alone) to make me most crazed. That’s the kind of abandonment that would set me up for the greatest relapse.  Left and removed from someone’s life forever, abandoned to the ether to never be seen again. This does not mean just anyone leaving me alone.
I’m alone a lot. I live with one Roommate who has a boyfriend so she’s out of the apartment all the time. I’m very happy for her. She deserves someone who makes her happy. She’s one of the best people I know. Some people might consider this statement as me Splitting her into the all good category. She’s never let me down though, and until she does she’ll stay right where she is. I’ve known her for years. Hell, my very first memory of significance concerning her was of her taking care of me after I unintentionally gave myself alcohol  poisoning on vacation (I didn’t know I was drinking Everclear – never again). She didn’t know me and yet she took care of me. That’s not something that is easily overridden. Years later and she still hasn’t let me down in a way that people inevitably do. That said, I have begun to notice that I drink a lot more when she isn’t in the apartment. Drinking takes me out of my head, even just a little bit so the emptiness isn’t so bottomless. As I type this I wonder if part of it is some subconscious connection to the fact that my first strong memory of her was of her taking care of me because of alcohol. I digress.
I do have a pretty severe intolerance to being alone. I have a lack of object constancy. If you’re not with me, I lose my connection to you. What’s more, if I’m not with you I cannot internalize the thought that I am still a part of your thoughts or your life. How can I be an part of your life if I’m not doing anything with/for you? You’re gone. I’m gone. I don’t know where I am.
What also gets me is the statement of ‘after a period of improvement’. What improvement? I’m far from healed. I’ve just begun this process. Just because we’re not in a constant state of suicidal ideation or ripping open our arms doesn’t mark a period of improvement. It marks a period of lessened triggers. My symptoms don’t go away, they just aren’t as apparent.
As mentioned, I’m alone a lot. And yes, some of the absolute worst times for me have been at the thought of being completely abandoned by someone. Even someone I didn’t really care for. Take a look at my trip to the Psych ER. I didn’t even like Boring-ex. However, relapses are relative. My being alone when Roommate is gone is a pretty mild ‘relapse’, though frequent. When I was at University the stress and anxiety cause by the course load I took on, the fear of failure, the need to punish myself for lack of perfection drove me to some incredibly traumatic tailspins. I had a nearly complete nervous breakdown when I received a ‘B’ in a class. Keep in mind that my major was considered one of the hardest majors to complete. The pressure I put on myself was unreasonable, but it had nothing to do with being alone. All relative.  
There are so many things wrong in this write up. Maybe I’m nitpicking. Maybe I’m just rant-y. Bad article. All bad.
I guess my amusement comes from the incredible understatement of this sentence. One sentence. Totally enough to sum up BPD abandonment implications. Right.

Angry penguin is angry

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 Continues

So Where did we leave off? Oh, yes, Rage Guy…

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

So finally, after a couple hours, I was called in to see the nurse. She took my pulse, my blood pressure, my blood. I had to roll up my sleeve for her to do this.  My other sleeve, not the arm I was bleeding from, but still one with prominent scarring. This gave me a momentary heart attack because I thought they’d ask to see both arms after seeing the one. She asked me a bunch of questions and walked me back out to the ward where I was informed that a social worker would be with me “soon”.

Back to Rage Guy. Who was even more ragey. He was getting red, veins starting to throb in his forehead. He was onto stories of how he nearly killed a guy the last time he got this mad. Pacing. Back and forth. Much to close for comfort. I was expecting him to start throwing chairs like he was threatening. Take one and throw it right through the nurses’ station window. In the mean time, they’d admitted some grizzly mountain guy that smelled like he’d rolled in week old beer and garbage someone had pissed on, muttering to himself incoherently.

“Soon” apparently meant an hour and a half later. The clock on the wall was the loudest thing in there. The steady tick, tick, tick, was enough to drive anyone mad.

The social worker came and got me. She asked me the same questions the nurse did. Then started my psych evaluation. Apparently she’d been on the phone with Boring-Ex who informed her that I was a cutter.  Asshat. So I did what I do best. Lie with the truth. Put on my mask of the little girl, exhausted, a little vulnerable, scared, soft spoken, exceptionally pleasant, and wonderfully rational. I admitted that yes I overreacted but I didn’t quite mean what Boring-Ex thought I meant (I did word my suicide threat well enough that I didn’t outright say I was going to off myself).  There was some misunderstanding in what I said. Yes, I had been a cutter, but it’s not a problem. Admitting things in half truths, admitting where I made ‘mistakes’, giving them the answers they wanted to hear in a manner that made me appear soft but very competent.

After this they lead me back out into the ward. Where I had to take a phone call.
They called my parents. Seriously? I’m 29 years old and they’re calling my parents? Who, by the way, are 500 fucking miles away. What are they going to do besides have a heart attack? So I was sitting on the phone with my mom at 4 in the bleeding morning trying to explain to her that, no, I didn’t try to kill myself, my ex is just a giant douche bag.

An hour later I got to repeat the entire process a THIRD time for the Ward psychiatrist. I’m sure they were trying to see if my story slipped. I’m a fucking genius, and you think I can’t lie, cheat, and manipulate my way out of a psych evaluation? And the Oscar goes to. Medical professionals can be really stupid sometimes.

She decided I was stable enough to go. Plus my blood work came back negative for all drugs and they didn’t have a leg to hold me on. Though they would have had they done a physical examination too.

Back to the ward.

Where Rage Guy was losing his GODDAMN MIND. I couldn’t have given a shit less. On some level I knew I was about 10 seconds away from getting shanked in the collateral damage but it didn’t faze me. I just watched with rapt attention, amused beyond reason. He had started to yell, flex his muscles, hit the walls. The nurses came in, trying to reason with him. Because that was going to work? Finally they informed him that if he didn’t calm down they were going to dose him with a tranquilizer. Three guesses on how he took that. A security guard grabbed my arm and pulled me away. The door to the nurses’ station opened and about a dozen armed security guards swarmed in, circling Rage Guy. He was still threatening ALL of them. He was a cornered animal in fight mode. Ultimatum: Either take the tranquilizer or they were going to beat him down and drag him to lock up. He crumbled. They dosed him.

Not amused.

The guard that grabbed me had pulled me off to the side. Where they locked me in a small room, for my own protection. And forgot about me. About an hour later I tapped on the glass and they said they’d let me out when they found the key. Excuse me?!? I’m in a small, dark room, lit only through the glass from the nurses’ station and they don’t know where the key is?  I was fucking pissed. Why the hell was I the one locked away?

They let me back into the ward. Welcome to the waiting room from hell. Because that’s what I did for the next few hours. Wait. Maybe purgatory would be a better description.

Finally, finally, around 8 in the morning I was handed my discharge papers and given my socks/shoes/phone/wallet and a cab voucher.

What do you say to a cabbie that just picked you up from the Psych ER? It was a lovely spring morning.

And finally it was time to suture my own leg.

Psych ER. Shit hole. Wrapped in cellophane.

Never, ever, again.

And thus ends my adventure in the Psych ER. Please join us next time. Or not. Because I will never, ever go there again. 

Tomorrow, morals of the story and explanation with lessons learned

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

Spring Sucks… OR… Field trip to the Psych ER

Woohoo. One year anniversary of having been in the Psych ER! Ok, not really a celebratory thing. 

This time of year really bloody sucks.

Hm. Let’s back up. I’m Major Depressive. Yes, I know you know. For whatever reason, ever since I was about 12 years old I’ve had a couple week period of deep depression. Deeper than usual. Always around the end of March, beginning of April. When I was younger, before I understood what was going on with me I noticed it in my grades. I get A’s easily. As my mood deteriorated I wouldn’t even lift an eye to my grades. I got a B in math and my teacher pulled me aside after class and asked me if I had someone to talk to. Every year I had this pattern. {Relatively} Okay, okay, deepest darkest despair, okay. It persists. Everything is always harder for me at the beginning of spring. Darker, spiraling down faster than I can usually brace myself for. For the life of me I don’t know why. If it was winter I’d say I had SAD, except I’m always depressed anyways, and winter isn’t any worse for me than any other time. It’s like a very long cycling badness.

This was my main point for this post, but I figure I’d follow up with an amusing anecdote.

Last year around this time was the final explosion between me and Boring-ex. I’ve mentioned that the only times I really like him is when we’re breaking up, right? I had just moved into my new apartment, finally out of the house I’d shared with Evil-ex and was probably the happiest I’d been in a long, long time. That lasted about two weeks when Boring-ex got his period and abruptly flipped out on me. I hadn’t actually done anything this time, so I was shocked. We ended up screaming in the street, him bitching like a little girl and me not willing to take his shit.

So of course, I went completely crazy. A lot of factors contributed to this though. I only see my family maybe 4 times a year and I was skipping one of those times to spend Easter with Boring-ex, which was that weekend. I was incredibly homesick. I had just started meds for the {first} time a week or two earlier – with a warning that starting new meds could toss my emotional state. This time of year is notoriously detrimental to my mood for deeper depression.  I had just escaped Evil-Ex. We had broken up a while ago, but I had just managed to get out of a very abusive home. The abuse didn’t stop once we broke up. It continued right up until I left and I was still incredibly raw from years of hell. Coupled with this break up being so unexpected I bonked out harder than I have in a while.  Had it just been Boring-Ex and I breaking up, again, I would have been fine. Well. Less traumatized. Well. Not threatening suicide. Which I did. After too much wine and vodka. I was being overly dramatic. I wasn’t really going to do anything. Even then I knew he wasn’t worth even contemplating that. I just wanted him to feel bad. I wanted him to know what a jerk he was and how horribly he was treating me. Bad move on my part b/c he fancies himself a hero of the people and since he wasn’t near enough to me he called the cops. Cops and an ambulance came.  I managed to kick the rescue kids out of my kitchen, but I couldn’t shake the cop out. I was FURIOUS. Apparently Boring-Ex told him I’d overdosed? I was never so specific and of all the ways I could off myself I wouldn’t choose something so passive. I was actually confused when the cop told me this. Anyways, it was either “voluntary” hospitalization or he’d have to process me. Fuck that.

I had managed to slash up my arms a bit and gashed my ankle worse than I ever have before. I did myself some nerve damage on that one. I only had time to draw a band-aid over it really tightly though because I wasn’t about to tell the cop I’d hurt myself.   I pulled on a huge sweatshirt and eventually let him lead me to the car. I managed to hide this from the Psych people too otherwise they wouldn’t have let me go.

As soon as the taxi dropped me back home in the morning I had to run to the drug store for Steri-strips b/c I had to suture my leg closed. That’s always fun.

Perhaps I’ll do another post concerning my adventures in the Psych ER. Lemme know if you’re interested.

In conclusion, if I seem more down than usual in the next week or so, blame the season. This is an irrationally bad time of the year for me. I’m doing what I can to make it less so. Do they do temporary lobotomies? I could really use one about now. Just for a week or two.

BTW, all those chirpy birds need to shut it.

Borderline Personality Disorder Facts and Statistics: Part 2

As promised I’m going to take a look at some of the more relevant facts and statistics concerning Borderline Personality Disorders. I’m only going to cover a few per post because there’s a lot of them. Don’t worry, there will be more.
– 2% of the general population are afflicted with BPD.
That’s a lot of people. That’s 1 in every 50.  In the United States alone this translates to approximately 5.4 million people. Perspective: this is the entire population of Tibet or Denmark (suppresses joke about ‘something is rotten in the state of Denmark’). That’s enough people to make our own country. Hah, that’s actually a pretty scary thought. We could have an emotional regulation tax. The government would be rich. The likelihood of finding better treatment would sky rocket though, or plummet, crash and burn depending on whether our universal health care coverage administration could manage their mood swings. Considering the massive amount of people that BPD affects, you would think there would be much more research into this disorder but to this day BPD remains one of the most misunderstood personality disorders. Often being considered a ‘catch all’ for a multitude of co-morbid symptoms (which it certainly has) instead of it’s own distinct disease. There has been some research, but not nearly as much as other personality and mood disorders. Most of this research has gone into assessing the symptoms, and understanding the causes, but it’s still a long ways from finding a cure or finding optimal treatment. Is there really a cure for personalities though? Part of me still resents the implication that there’s something wrong with my personality. I happen to like my personality. I’m pretty fantastic (on good days). Also, modest. On the other hand, I have a lot more bad days than good and I do recognize that I have a lot of defective tendencies that I am working to change.
Random: 1 in 50 people have digestive problems w/ daylilies. Gradually build up to eating them. WTF?!?
– 69% to 75% exhibit self-destructive behaviors such as self-mutilation, chemical dependency, eating disorders and suicide attempts.
I wonder if this is counted by individual people or by how many of each of these destructive behaviors present. I’ve had every single one of these self-destructive behaviors at some point + more. As mentioned before my thoughts of self-harm are slipping away. For one of the first times in my life I don’t need such an extreme reminder that I am, in fact, living in this world. This is such a surprising revelation for me because for almost 18 years these thoughts have been a constant companion. One I am not unhappy to be rid of. Chemical dependency for me was alcohol. I’ve never done drugs (except by Rx), nor will I. I have this thing where I actually like my brain functioning to it’s fullest potential. I’m still fighting with my eating disorder and my body image. This is one of the more insidious, less overt, of my problems because I hide it so well. I manage to come across as a health nut, but not problematic. I’ve been in recovery from this for years with only minor relapses. My body image is a completely different story though.
Instead of suicide attempts I would think this has more to do with suicidal gestures, thoughts, threats, as well as attempts. I threatened myself with suicide often when I was younger. I didn’t tell almost anyone about this, especially not anyone that would have done something about it. When things were so bad that I believed this was my only option, I didn’t want anyone to stop me. Telling people who would stop me is counterintuitive to the success of this plan. What’s the point of wanting to die and then telling people who will take away that necessary relief? I didn’t have hope for ‘a cure’. I didn’t have hope for anything. There was maybe one person that I can look back on that I think it was more a need for attention, a need to know that someone cared, more than anything. It was certainly a cry for help. I couldn’t hold onto the belief that anyone would remain in my life, that I wouldn’t always be alone. I needed the affirmation that there would be someone that stays. Ironically, I got rid of him years later and, surprise, my life has gone on and improved considerably.
– 8 – 10% die by suicide usually due to lack of impulse control over depression.
Lack of impulse control. Hm. I’m not sure most people consider suicide on a whim. It’s rarely a spontaneous decision. Suicide is a last result, when things have been so bad, for so long, it’s impossible to believe that things will get better. It’s a thought that is only toyed with at first. Creeping thoughts now and again that become pervasive over time as things don’t seem to ever get better. As happiness and hope become things so far lost to the past that a future including these elusive things can’t be seen. It’s not an impulse, it’s a cancer of the psyche that infects over time.
– Successful suicide rate doubles with a history of self-destructive behaviors and suicide attempts.
I can see how this would be true. Once you’ve thought about it for so long, made a couple attempts, the prospect of death can become less scary, more necessary because it becomes so ingrained in everyday thought. Personally? Suicide is my greatest failure. And by ‘greatest’ I mean one that I am most grateful for. Nothing makes you appreciate failure so much as looking back on the wonderful things I could have missed out on had I succeeded in ending my life when I was younger. Every now and again when I hit a low or things go wrong and I feel absolutely hopeless the thoughts creep back, but I no longer consider suicide an option. For as bad as things can seem sometimes I have lived enough, experienced enough, to know that things change. As long as there is a chance for change, there is a chance for things to get better.
My sense of humor is often inappropriate
– 10% of all mental health outpatients; 20% of psychiatric inpatients

I beat the stats on the inpatient thing, though probably I shouldn’t have. Other than one evening in the psych ER which was do to an overreaction from an ex {<~~~ bastard}, I’ve never seen the inside of a hospital for psych problems. Physical medical problems caused by mental problems (remind me to tell you about the sweet potato some time) yes, but not for being out of my mind in need of a ‘rest’. I am certainly an outpatient if you consider seeing talking to my PCP, my psychiatrist, and going to therapy twice a week outpatient.  What can I say, I’ve grown and matured a lot when it comes to my mental health. BPD is not easy to deal with. After more than 15 years trying to fight it on my own, finally I found assistance and it’s made so much difference. Ok, so maybe my learning curve isn’t so high but I’m getting help now.

I’ll take an order of Happiness please, with fries on the side…

Honestly, I love the idea of choosing to alter my brain chemistry. It’s the ultimate expression of choosing who you want to be, even ahead of what your biology says. To not be sad, detached, depressed, anxious, I like the concept. I choose to be a happy loving person, please, with an order of fries on the side. 

People often have mixed feelings about medication that alters brain function. I know many that dislike the idea of meds that affect the brain, drugs that tinker with mood and personality. Personally, offense intended or not, when people say they are averse to the idea of tinkering with things that affect your brain, it’s usually because they’ve never had problems serious enough, for long enough durations, that it becomes something crucial. Consideration is no longer given pause. 

I don’t actually believe that BPD is a treatable disease. It’s not something like Bipolar that you can measure, track and throw lithium at. BPD is more of a categorical Label that encompasses a whole group of problems. So it’s not the BPD that is being treated but the identifiable symptoms like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, dissociation, etc. that my psych is trying to treat for.

I fought medication my entire life. Well, since I was 12 and it became apparent to me that I was not exactly normal. I also fought therapy, but that’s a tale for a different day. 

I think in many people’s life, they hit a point where something drastic must be done or there won’t be a tomorrow for something drastic to be done in. Along with my BPD and Dissociative diagnosis. I am also Major/Clinical Depressive. This was also the only consistent diagnosis I’ve ever been given {therapy and diagnosis are a post for different times).Suicide has never been an option for me. I don’t believe in an afterlife. There is no god saint to welcome me through pearly gates. It was more like slipping into ambivalence. I don’t want to die, but if something were to threaten my life, I might not do anything to stop it. Nothing dramatic, just, numb. This life is all I have, so when I begin to lose attachment to the only chance I have, it’s time for something new to be tried.


I don’t roll over so easy. So finally, FINALLY, I accepted help and braved the roller coaster of mind altering drugs.

I’ve tried Lexapro, Zoloft, Klonopin and Xanax. Klonopin and Xanax work wonders for my anxiety but they knock me out. But hey, it’s hard to be anxious when you’re unconscious. Lexapro zapped my ability to orgasm. To me, this is unacceptable. Sex is one of the few things I derive unadulterated pleasure from. Not that just the act itself isn’t fun, but I’m not willing to feel nothing from the waist down for the rest of my life. I’m sure you understand. Zoloft worked fine while there was nothing to bother me, which is to say, it didn’t work at all. After being on Zoloft for a week I was in the Psych ER (story for a different day). Once again, I bottomed out and went back to my Dr. After the initial round of standard questions he asked me why I’d come to him and not straight to the Psych ER.

Have you ever been to the Psych ER? It’s a shithole wrapped in cellophane. No thanks. But I didn’t tell him that. He directed me to call a psychiatrist. I started seeing a therapist the next week, and a week after that finally managed to find a psychiatrist. Dr. T is my Therapist, Dr. P is my Psychiatrist. So after a trial round of a new drug, Dr. P has decided to up my dose of Symbyax. It’s a combination anti-psychotic and SSRI. Since I have a personality and mood disorder , along with sleep issues and eating, anxiety, laundry list o’problematicas, this drug is meant to stabalize my moods to a baseline norm while also working on my seratonin levels to eliminate my depression…. It’d had some affec ut not nearly enought. Today I saw Dr. P for the second time. He upped my dose.

What’s the cost of sanity you ask? Really fucking high. My mother may feel my life is priceless, but my insurance company only thinks it’s worth about $150/month.

That’s what you get when all you are is a number in their system. For the price I’m paying, beyond what my insurance covered, I better see results. You’ll be sure to know if I don’t.