New day, new disorder: Emotional Deprivation Disorder

Fill her up!
I’ve discovered a new disorder! Is it just me or does everything have a disorder these days? Anyways, it’s called Emotional Deprivation Disorder.
Emotional Deprivation Disorder is a syndrome which results from a lack of authentic affirmation and emotional strengthening in one’s life. A person may have been criticized, ignored, neglected, abused, or emotionally rejected by primary caregivers early in life, resulting in that individual’s stunted emotional growth. ‘Unaffirmed’ persons are incapable of developing into emotionally mature adults until they receive authentic affirmation from another person. Maturity is reached when there is a harmonious relationship between a person’s body, mind, emotions and spiritual soul under the guidance of their reason and will.
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Some signs and symptoms include:
Insufficiently Developed Emotional Life

Abnormal Rapport
o Incapable of establishing normal, mature contact with others
o Feels lonely and uncomfortable in social settings
o Capable of a willed rapport but not an emotional investment in relationships

Egocentric
o Childhood level of emotional development
o Feels like a child or and infant and others must focus their attention on the individual just as an adult would focus on a young child.
o Incapable of emotional surrender to a spouse

Reactions Around Others
o May be fearful in nature or courageous and energetic
o More fearful people tend to become discouraged or depressed
o More courageous and energetic persons can become more aggressive

Uncertainty & Insecurity

Fear or anxiety
o Can be in the form of a generalized anxiety
o Fear of hurting someone else’s feelings
o Fear of hurting others or contaminating them (e.g. with germs or a cold)
o Need for frequent reassurance

Feels incapable of coping with life
o Worry that they’ll be put in a situation they can’t handle
o Can be easily discouraged or depressed
o May pretend to be in control in order to mask inner feelings and fearfulness

Hesitation and Indecisiveness
o Difficulty in making decisions
o Easily changes mind

Oversensitivity
o Overly sensitive to the judgments of others, criticism or slights
o Easily hurt or embarrassed

Need to Please Others
o Pleases others in order to protect self from criticism or rejection and gain approval of others
o Easily taken advantage of or exploited
o Fear of asking for favors or services needed

Self-consciousness
o Worried about what other people think
o Self-doubt and need for reassurance

Helplessness
o Do not dare to say “no” for fear of rejection

Inferiority and Inadequacy

Feel Unloved
o Believe that no one could possibly love them
o Feel devoid of all feelings of love
o Believe they are incapable of loving others or God
o Suspicious of any token of affection – continually doubt sincerity of others

Physical Appearance
o May have feelings of inadequacy due to physical appearance

Feelings of Intellectual Incompetence
o May have difficult completing projects
o Repeated failure or fear of failure

Show Signs of Disintegration in New Circumstances
o Fear of new situations and challenges
o Difficulty coping with new job, landlord, moving, etc.

Sense Impairments
o Undeveloped or underdeveloped senses (touch, taste, sight, smell)
o Lack of order, disorganization
o Fatigue

Further symptoms found in some individuals with emotional deprivation disorder:

o Deep feelings of guilt
o Kleptomania
o Need to collect and hoard useless things
o Paranoid condition

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Essentially, it’s BPD Light without the wild mood swings, anger, impulsivity and penchant for self-harm and suicidal tendencies.
The cure? Simple! All you need is affirmation. Just find one person who can be your personal source of unconditional love and will provide all your emotional strengthening!

What?
I’m sure there’s more to it than that, like say, years of therapy. Affirmation Therapy in fact.
“Affirmation therapy involves the therapist’s affective, not effective, presence with a client—in other words, it is a way of “being” with a person as opposed to “doing” something for him or her. Affirmation therapy can be formally described as a way of being affectively present to another human person in a therapeutic relationship in which the therapist reveals to the client his or her intrinsic goodness and worth.”
Essentially the therapist will be your source of unconditional love in a therapeutic relationship.
I don’t know. My experience with people makes it very difficult to believe that there are people out there that can genuinely love you without really knowing you…. Especially when you’re paying them to love you. It’s like emotional prostitution. This has always been an issue of mine regarding therapy actually. The idea that a complete stranger can generally care about your issues and problems without having any emotional investment in you. You can pay someone to listen, but you can’t pay someone to care. Though to be true, it has been my experience that given time a therapist can and will develop a genuine investment in their patients. A genuine investment based on the very reason they went into the profession in the first place…. A desire to help people. I know my therapist cares about me. I know she thinks about me when I’m gone, though I can’t help but feel that her connection to me is stronger than my connection to her. This isn’t her fault though, it’s my own attachment issues at play. She hasn’t given up on me though and that is exactly the kind of support I need.
My question with this Affirmation Therapy is… How much emotional support can you really expect a therapist to give? To listen, to help you work through your issues, to guide and provide the tools you need in order to learn to deal with your own life… sure. But unconditional love? Maybe they’re like the Grand Master Zen Buddhists of the therapy world.
Personally I would have a really hard time accepting this as genuine. But to each their own I suppose. Hell, if you’re in a place where you can openly accept the unconditional love of a therapist you’re probably a leg up on my stubby little bipeds of emotional stuntedness.

Helping Yourself Heal: Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder

One of the most overlooked methods of treating BPD, or any disorder, is that which we can do for ourselves. Self-Help for Borderline Personality Disorder is something I would recommend in addition to therapy.
I ‘managed’ my BPD, my depression, my anxiety, my everything, by myself, for most of my life. Some days it was better than others. Some days it was far from enough. Self-Help is not what I would consider the absolute best option of treatment. However, I do believe that it’s an important step in addition to therapy. I’m still on the fence about trying to medicate BPD, however, psychotherapy is essential. I believe this. However you can’t live in therapy 24/7. The rest of the time we have to work on ourselves. Some of the things that I find to be very helpful:

Increase your awareness. Increase your awareness of the disorder. Increase your awareness of Self. Read, research, and obtain as much information as you can about this problem so that you can gain an understanding of what it is you’re going through [like say, reading my blog =) ]. You might say, I’m living it, I already know what I’m going through. It’s badness. Well,  that badness probably has a name, and you’re probably not alone in how you feel. Putting a name to the feeling will help you gain a better ability to deal with it. Reach out, find some support, let others know you’re there. Your voice is important, just as the voices of others may be important to you. Your voices are important to me.
Create a support network. This could be as simple as friends and family. Allow the people you trust into your world. Share with them the knowledge you’ve gathered and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Voicing your issues, allows you take constructive action to work through them instead of Acting Out or Acting In. There are also a multitude of on-line support groups, forums, message boards, blogs… my blog =)  Say hi, let us know you’re out there and maybe we can be of assistance to each other before all else fails. Sometimes just knowing that you’re not alone is enough to get through a really rough moment.
Asking for help is hard. Trust me, I know this. It feels like admitting weakness. It’s not. Asking for help takes courage. Recognizing that you’re human and looking for support will only make you stronger. Sometimes you don’t need to ask for help explicitly. If you’re having a hard time being alone you don’t need to say, “Being alone is terrifying please help me”… just call a friend and ask to go grab some coffee. Small things make a world of difference.
Prevention is important, not just clean up after things fall apart.
How I deal when I’m not medicated? Call me old fashioned but I’m a fan of diet and exercise. No, not dieting. Diet. As in what you put in it, is important. Greasy, high fat, fast food garbage is going to make you look and feel exactly like the things which you take into yourself. Be kind to yourself and nourish your body. What you eat and drink affects your entire body, including your mind. A healthy diet leads to a healthier mind. I’m not just spewing new age-y vegan hippy crap here. It’s scientifically proven that the nutrients (or lack of) that your body metabolizes effect you in various ways. Good food = feeling energized and healthy. Bad food = feeling sluggish, slow, and unhealthy.
I’m strict vegetarian (which I would never impose on anyone) and it works well for me though it also very easy to be healthy while still consuming animal products. I do still worry about getting proper nutrients though so I take my vitamins too. Here’s my miracle combination: Multi-vitamin, B-complex, Calcium, Iron, and occasionally Biotin. This has worked better for me than any of the medication I’ve been on thus far. Don’t believe me? Try it for a month.
Next. Exercise. Get your body moving. You don’t have to run a marathon or be a tri-athlete to be healthy and in good shape. And don’t give me any of this ‘round is a shape’ business. Take care of you. Regular exercise increases energy, improves concentration & focus, lowers stress, boosts your immune system and a multitude of other mental and physical benefits. If there’s one thing in your day that you really should make time for it’s at least 30 minutes of movement, more if you can manage it.
My confession is that since I started my Abilify I just haven’t had the energy or will to move like I normally do and as a result I can feel the fatigue seeping into my bones.  I hate it. Normally: I’m a runner, I weight train, I do yoga/pilates, and I’m a dancer (traditional Middle Eastern dance). When I’m physically active I am so much more mentally healthy it’s astounding.
So even if you’re not medicated and not in therapy, there are plenty of things you can do to help yourself out. I can’t make medication recommendations, nor would I even if I could. I absolutely recommend therapy. In the meantime, and in addition to, I recommend everything I’ve just mentioned. I KNOW it helps because it’s always how I’ve managed. I won’t lie and say that it’s always enough. I’ve already mentioned that it’s not always enough, but it’s something. And that something can be the difference between being functional and being hospitalized or worse.  

Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder: Medication

Something that has been on my mind a lot lately. Treatment. So let’s take a leap down the rabbit hole and see where treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder takes us.
There are 4 basic strategies that are utilized for treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder: Psychotherapy, Medication, Hospitalization, and Self-Help strategies. Over the next few days I’ll start on the last 3 and then I’ll just take a dive into some of the therapeutic techniques that my therapist specializes in, what we work on, and what is beneficial for Borderline…. And not. Because let’s face it, every person is different, every disorder is different, and some strategies just don’t work well enough on their own to be effective for every case.

Psychotherapy forms the foundation of treatment for borderline personality disorder with medications playing a lesser role. While there is no known medication that can target Borderline Personality Disorder on its own, prescription medications can address many of the common symptoms of BPD. This is something my Psychiatrist told me upon diagnosis. There is no medical cure for Borderline Personality Disorder. However, we can work to manage some of the symptoms and co-morbid occurring issues in order to improve quality of life and aid psychotherapy so that treatment will be successful.
Medications typically used in the treatment of BPD include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety drugs, and antipsychotics.
 Antidepressants Used for the Treatment of BPD Symptoms
A variety of antidepressants have been studied for use in treating the low moods, sadness, and depression that can occur with BPD, including the following:
          Fluoxetine (Prozac)** <~~~~ Check
          Sertraline (Zoloft) <~~~~ Check
          Citalopram (Celexa)
          Escitalopram (Lexapro) <~~~~ Check
Mood Stabilizers Used for the Treatment of BPD Symptoms
Medications with mood-stabilizing properties, such as lithium and some anticonvulsant (anti-seizure) medications, can help address the impulsive behavior and rapid emotional changes associated with BPD.
Mood stabilizers used to treat the symptoms of BPD may include:
          Divalproex sodium (Depakote)
          Lithium carbonate (Lithobid)
          Lamotrigine (Lamictal)  <~~~~~~ Check
Anti-anxiety Medications Used for the Treatment of BPD Symptoms
Anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) medications can help with the intense anxiety some people with BPD may experience. However, there isn’t much research that supports the use of anti-anxiety drugs to treat BPD. Some research actually indicates that one class of anti-anxiety drug — benzodiazepines (e.g., Ativan, Klonopin) — may actually worsen BPD symptoms for some people.
Examples of anti-anxiety medications used to treat the symptoms of BPD include:
          Alprazolam (Xanax) <~~~~~ Check
          Clonazepam (Klonopin) <~~~~~ Check
          Lorazepam (Ativan)
          Diazepam (Valium)
          Buspirone (Buspar)
Antipsychotic Medications Used for the Treatment of BPD Symptoms
Antipsychotic medications can help address occasional breaks from reality as well as the paranoia, anger, or hostility that people with BPD may experience.
Some antipsychotics used to treat BPD include:
          Olanzapine (Zyprexa)** <~~~~ Check  
          Risperidone (Risperdal) <~~~~ Check
          Aripiprazole (Abilify) <~~~~ Check
          Haloperidol (Haldol)
          Paliperidone (Invega)
** Symbyax was the atypical anti-psychotic Psychiatrist had me on. It’s a combination of Olanzapine and fluoxetine.
My medication-go-round has been a bit exhausting. And by a bit, I mean, I am more tired and have less energy now than I have ever had in my life, even in my worst depression. At my lowest point I’m still a very high-functioning person and could at least stick to my routines of get up, go to work, go to the gym, shower, eat, bed. At the very least. I no longer have the energy to go to the gym, which makes me have even less energy to do anything else. I have begun to lose my motivation for the things I love. I just feel weighed down by everything. The weather has even cooled down a little so there’s no attributing it to the heat. My only conclusion is that it’s the medication because, surprise, that’s when I started to feel so off.
I understand why Psychiatrist put me on the Symbyax even though it ended up exacerbating my eating disorder. I was harming myself and bordering on suicidal and he wanted something that would help me immediately. Unfortunately this was not good for me in the long run. The Lamictal didn’t work at all. Because of the issues with the Symbyax I’m afraid of anti-psychotics but agreed to the Abilify.

I do feel a little more stable, but I also feel deadened and weighed down. Nothing is as fun, nothing is as beautiful, being with people is not as enjoyable, I don’t feel love and I can’t get swept away. This is not the kind of stability I’m looking for. I’m constantly fatigued. Getting out of bed and sitting upright are a chore. I’m losing my desire to do things I love. I look forward to the day ending so I can sleep. Then when I wake up all I want to do is continue sleeping. This. Is not me.  This has never been me. I refuse to accept that this is how I should be. Friend once told me that the meds might just be making me ‘normal’, “now you’re just not a superwoman, you have a normal person’s energy, you’ll get used to it”. If this is the energy level that normal people have than no wonder our country is so slow. I hate it. I am not a slow person. I think sometimes they like me on these meds because they don’t feel so bad being lazy themselves. The meds are bringing me down to their level and it makes them feel better about their own short comings. Screw that. Or I’m paranoid. (indicator of meds not working? Eh?) Whatever.
I’d rather be a little crazy but fully functional, then mostly ‘normal’ and utterly immobile.
I’m going to talk to Psychiatrist tomorrow about going off medication. At least for the rest of the summer. Give it a trial run. See if my energy ramps back up. If it does, then it’s definitely the medication that’s slowing me down and I’ll know. Which means what I’m on is not ok for me. If I continue to feel this way off the medication than there’s something else going on and I may have to go back to two sessions of therapy a week to work on stuff. It’s a process. I’m still open to the possibility of medication, but right now I feel I need to reestablish my baseline and get myself back to a healthy normal for my body. The funny thing about taking care of your body, your mind usually follows….