6 Month Anniversary

Blogging milestone! It’s the 6 month anniversary of Beyond the Borderline Personality blog!

I don’t know about you, but I feel this is a pretty big deal. Of course, everything feels like a pretty big deal to me (BPD humor). In honor of this day I am taking the day off from real posting and would like to express my appreciation of you.
Thank you for following me. For stopping by. For leaving comments. For simply being with me in spirit. The support and encouragement I’ve received from so many of you means the world to me. I truly, truly appreciate every minute that you spend reading my blog and commenting here. It helps me immensely to know that there are other people out there struggling with the same things I am. To those fighting with Borderline Personality Disorder and/or to those with loved ones who fight with BPD, that I can be of aid or assistance, even in a small way, makes me feel like despite this challenge something good can come from it. And that’s really the message I want to bring here. Education, information, encouragement, support and hope. Some days are better than others. Some days are far worse than it seems possible to bear. But there’s always another day. Writing this blog has helped me so much in the realization of what I’ve struggled with and raised my personal self-awareness in a manner that has allowed me to get a better grasp on this disorder.  You, dear readers, are what have really made it worth it. So thank you. I appreciate you and the time you’ve spent with me.
So now what? Well, I’m gonna keep going of course. I live in a perpetual state of being afraid that I’ll run out of things to say. Here and in real life. It’s one of more irrational and unfounded fears, but I’m always afraid that there will be an end to the ideas and the flow for conversation. Fortunately I have no short supply of topics and ideas for this blog =) So a preview of some things to come. Eventually. And in multilple parts.
          Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorders: A study in comparisons and contrasts
          Neurological, physiological, biological and genetic studies of the BPD brain
          Personality Disorder Testing (MMPI, etc)
          Depression
          Schematherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
          Borderline Empathy
          Causes and contributing factors
          Family Support
          And of course more of what I’ve been continuing to touch on.
I’d like to open up the forum to you guys. Are there any topics you’d like me to tackle? Take a deeper look at and/or add emphasis to? Ideas for posts? I know I’ve made note of a few topics I wanted to pursue for future posts so feel free to remind me of them if I didn’t mention some. Is there anything you’d like to know about me… be it BPD related or not? Feel free to ask! Either here in the comments or e-mail me at havennyx@gmail.com .  And as always, your questions, comments, and any old random thing you feel like saying is always welcome!
So there we go. 6 months of constant blogging. I put a lot of time, effort and energy into research and writing for this blog.  I’m pretty proud of myself for this.
Thank you for journeying with me.
~Haven~

Some Random Things about me…

So I was visiting Maasiyat over at Inside the Bipolar Mind and saw her fun little question thinger and figured why not. All I’m doing is reading Star Wars novels anyways. 

QUESTIONS: 

1. If money didn’t matter, where would your perfect vacation take place? Briefly describe.

 2. What’s a bad habit that you have {or had} that is/was hard to break?

 3. If you weren’t on a diet or counting calories, what would you like to have for dinner tonight?


 4. If you had the chance to interview anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be and what’s one question that you would ask?


 5. Describe yourself in 6 words.

ANSWERS:

1.)           I love to travel. I can’t wait to have more time and money. With unlimited funds the very first vacation I’d take would be to Africa. I want to go on a photo safari from the top to bottom. Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, parasail over the Serengeti.  I want to see a different side of this world. Something unaltered, and unsheltered.

2.)           Really? Haha. Everything I do is a bad habit =P If I’m being honest, and really what’s the point in not being honest, I would have to say cutting and drinking. I’m currently 6/7 months cutting free. I do drink more than I probably should though. It’s not like I’m getting smashed every night but it’s enough that I’m concerned. Of course, everything concerns me, so there’s that.

3.)           I love experimental home cooked food. I am the king of this. I make an amazing Wild Mushroom Risotto, Gorgonzola Potato Soup,  Upside-Down Honey Cheesecake, Caramelized Shallot Mashed Potatoes… I’m going to stop here. There’s just too much good food to want. 

4.)           Merlin: Can you teach me? It’s been my answer since the 4th grade. I’m not changing it now.

5.)           Hi, I’m Haven. Consider yourself warned.


Your turn. Go! 


**Quite a while back I was taking questions, any questions, for me to answer when I had hit my 100 post milestone. I got a bunch of questions. I didn’t forget, I just feel guilty posting non-BPD stuff currently. I’m going to hit 200 soon so maybe I’ll post then. In the mean time if you feel like it, go ahead and ask me more random questions here or to my e-mail. I’ll keep you anonymous. 

Love or Obsession

Not a bad day at all.
Very productive day at work. Even though my mind kept flitting around. I’d start a design project, look back at the clock and it would be an hour later, my mind lost in day dreams and fantasy (you don’t want to know. Or maybe you do).
The night is winding down, or should be, and my energy is ramping up. 2 hours of sleep last night. Too little sleep. Too much energy. Too many thoughts. Too much to say. up, Up, UP. Everything moves too slow. Can’t keep up with how my brain bounces back and forth. 
I think I finally tossed my therapist for a whirl tonight. She asked me about Friend and how I was dealing since I stopped talking to him. I’m fine. I freaked the hell out the night I released my thoughts to him and told him to stop contacting me. I woke up the next day, and everything was different. I felt practically nothing. For the next few days I didn’t look at my phone, didn’t turn on my instant messenger, didn’t worry, had no anxiety at all about not speaking to him. I felt almost at peace. By Friday I’d turned my IM back on but other than a few hours of mild anxiety knotting in my stomach for fear he’d IM me, I was fine. Though in all honesty I turned it on so he’d see me and remember me and know that it was my choice to not speak to him. Miss that, fucker.
Which apparently he did.
Finally started speaking to him again. I feel nothing. It’s familiar, but I have no hopeful anticipation. No missed longing. He told me flat out he still desires me the last time we spoke, but I made my choice and now I feel nothing in that regard. My therapist says she’s not questioning it. It’s pretty obvious I’ve dissociated from the entire thing, but in a way that is almost contented. Hey, it’s a defense mechanism, let it get defensive. As long as it works.
It’s so weird. I’ve been insane, emotionally wracked and destroyed. For months. I make a decision… and it’s done. Like breaking a spell.
This made me giggle
It makes me question: Do I fall in love? Or do I fall into obsession? 
My emotions are so extreme, so volatile. I can’t stop thinking about things, creating scenerios, paths that actions could take, how I want things to be, how they should be…. Convince myself that I’ll never be happy unless I have exactly that…. Until I no longer want it.
I think the uncertainty is the most maddening. With no clear decision, there is no clear way to be, to act, to identify. Lost in the confusion the madness takes hold and spins me down an endless spiral of depression and anxiety. In making a decision, I can regain my composure and sense of self.
It took me all of two days {less really} to remember that I don’t need him, or anyone else, to hold my hand and walk with me through this life.
It took me weeks, months (this after years), to remember that I would be fine without Evil-ex*** and I lived with him. I know my feelings for him were tragic but I was beside myself with fear and anxiety that I would be without him. My life was consumed with him and everything we did was entangled. More so that I would have to face him and not be with him. Until I remembered what life was like without him. Fun, easy, comfortable, not filled with tension and horrible, but it took some time. Maybe not much, a couple weeks, but there was a period of adjustment.
I was starting to feel this way with Friend, this fear of not having him. I finally forced myself away and as soon as I made the decision, it stopped. The craze, the madness, the rumination, the obsession. Gone. That there was no transition period, no getting used to this new state, no time of adjustment, and now no feeling… it’s disconcerting.
Do I understand myself at all? If I shut down and turn off like this, were the things I felt before even real?
I have no personal attachments now. In a romantic/sexual sense. I’m calm. It’s not until I get involved, emotionally, with someone that it drives me crazy. I should take note of that.
My therapist was utterly thrown. I could see it in her eyes and the way she wavered. Especially when I actually said I wasn’t sure if I knew the difference between love and obsession. Sometimes I think she’s too positive. She wants the best for me, but maybe at the expense of seeing me as I really am. I haven’t been seeing her that long though. I’m just starting to really open up in ways she hasn’t seen yet.
She thinks now that I’m in therapy I’ll be able to make better choices into the future. That I’ll be able to learn from this. See the things I want, not settle for the things that I don’t. Choose the ones that are better for me. I told her I’ve seen these things before and yet… I still make shitty decisions. I still make the same mistakes. I want to see what I want to see, but it’s only a mirage. I need to be able to see what is actually there and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to.
I’m a little drunk currently, but I want to remember to look more into love vs. obsession later. 
*** Of course, he finally broke down and begged me to come back, which I did like a fool. Obsession goes both ways. 

Questions from across the Borderline….

A follower asked:

I’m guessing you’ve had close romantic relationships with people. I saw your page and said hey, this could help me. I’ve been in an off and on relationship with a girl who I am 99% sure has some sort of disorder such as is described here. Just wondering how those relationships turned out for you. Any advice? I’ve been trying for years. It’s so hard.
My relationships tend to be turbulent and intense, but not permanent. Then again, nothing is ever permanent until it is. Currently I’m single, if that tells you anything (of course I’m taking time off to just work on me – I feel to unstable to inflict myself on someone else). For me the best thing that helps is honesty and reassurance. It can be a little daunting to constantly reassure someone that you’re not going to leave, but small things, random texts to say your thinking about them, little things you know make her smile… just being honest about how you feel about her and telling her. Telling her, is the main thing, don’t assume she knows. Include her in the plans you want to do, use ‘us’ and ‘we’ statements instead of just ‘I’ or ‘me’. Also if you think it’s possible for her, cognitive behavior therapy has done wonders for me. If she’s open to the possibility of therapy it could be very beneficial but this is something that must be brought up very tactfully and with the message that you want her to be the happiest with herself that she can be; her happiness is what’s important to you, that it will make your relationship stronger and you will be there beside her the whole time. With therapy it often helps to have an objective third person point of view, that isn’t emotionally attached to you, to provide stable input. Hope this helps.

The Black Swan

Fuck.

Intense. Artistic insanity personified.

I have never been so triggered by a cinematic piece before, ever, in my entire life.

If you ever wondered what it feels like to be inside my head, see this piece.

I could kill myself and die believing that people understand the pressure that I’ve felt my entire life.

See this. I have. I will. Again.

Shoplifting – Criteria 4 / Impulsive Behavior Part 2

Some days I see something small (it’s always something small) that I want but the price tag just isn’t acceptable. Who the hell pays $15 for nail polish? $9 for cheese? $40 for diet pills? $55 for a ring?
Sometimes it’s not even stuff that I want but the challenge itself that is alluring. I never NEED to do this, but the jolt of adrenaline that spikes my curiosity is irresistible.  It’s like a runner’s high that triggers your endorphins. The high lasts for hours. 
I really have no excuse for this. I was arrested for shoplifting when I was 16 but my record was expunged when I became legal. It’s a challenge, a rush, to see if I can get away with it, and I do. I no longer look like your typical teenage shock rock goth star. I don’t have the image that people notice on surveillance. I can palm something and have it up my sleep as it appears I am putting it back on the shelf in two seconds flat.
If I got caught the penalties would be devastating. I have a very professional career path that could be ruined but I don’t care. I do it anyways. Is it a cry for attention? Do I want to get caught? Hell, no.  I just want to get away with it, and get free stuff. Stuff I like to have but not enough to pay for it. Corporate America is greedy and materialistic. I don’t usually take from small vendors, mostly your mass produced consumer conglomerate like Wal-Mart or the like. They get things at whole sale and jack up the price 1000%. I know it only costs 10 cents to make this $10 tea tray, and yet, they get away with ripping me off every day.
A penny saved is a taste of their own medicine.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Because we should start with what the Experts say, right?



Borderline Personality Disorder DSM IV Criteria


A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:  
  1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
  2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation. 
  3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self. 
  4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5. 
  5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior 
  6. affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days). 
  7. chronic feelings of emptiness 
  8. inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights) 
  9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms
The DSM IV goes on to say:

The essential feature of Borderline Personality Disorder is a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity that begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts.
Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder make frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment (Criterion 1). The perception of impending separation or rejection, or the loss of external structure, can lead to profound changes in self-image, affect, cognition, and behavior. These individuals are very sensitive to environmental circumstances. They experience intense abandonment fears and inappropriate anger even when faced with a realistic time-limited separation or when there are unavoidable changes in plans (e.g. sudden despair in reaction to a clinician’s announcing the end of the hour; panic of fury when someone important to them is just a few minutes late or must cancel an appointment). They may believe that this “abandonment” implies they are “bad.” These abandonment fears are related to an intolerance of being alone and a need to have other people with them. Their frantic efforts to avoid abandonment may include impulsive actions such as self-mutilating or suicidal behaviors, which are described separately in Criterion 5.
Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder have a pattern of unstable and intense relationships (Criterion 2). They may idealize potential caregivers or lovers at the first or second meeting, demand to spend a lot of time together, and share the most intimate details early in a relationship. However, they may switch quickly from idealizing other people to devaluing them, feeling that the other person does not care enough, does not give enough, is not “there” enough. These individuals can empathize with and nurture other people, but only with the expectation that the other person will “be there” in return to meet their own needs on demand. These individuals are prone to sudden and dramatic shifts in their view of others, who may alternately be seen as beneficent supports or as cruelly punitive. Such shifts often reflect disillusionment with a caregiver who nurturing qualities had been idealized or whose rejection or abandonment is expected.

There may be an identity disturbance characterized by markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self (Criterion 3). There are sudden and dramatic shifts in self-image, characterized by shifting goals, values, and vocational aspirations. There may be sudden changes in opinions and plans about career, sexual identity, values, and types of friends. These individuals may suddenly change from the role of a needy supplicant for help to a righteous avenger of past mistreatment. Although they usually have a self-image that is based on being bad or evil, individuals with this disorder may at times have feelings that they do not exist at all. Such experiences usually occur in situations in which the individual feels a lack of meaningful relationship, nurturing and support. These individuals may show worse performance in unstructured work or school situations.

Individuals with this disorder display impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (Criterion 4). They may gamble, spend money irresponsibly, binge eat, abuse substances, engage in unsafe sex, or drive recklessly. Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder display recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior (Criterion 5). Completed suicide occurs in 8%-10% of such individuals, and self-mutilative acts (e.g., cutting or burning) and suicide threats and attempts are very common. Recurrent suicidality is often the reason that these individuals present for help. These self-destructive acts are usually precipitated by threats of separation or rejection or by expectations that they assume increased responsibility. Self-mutilation may occur during dissociative experiences and often brings relief by reaffirming the ability to feel or by expiating the individual’s sense of being evil.

Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder may display affective instability that is due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days) (Criterion 6). The basic dysphoric mood of those with Borderline Personality Disorder is often disrupted by periods of anger, panic, or despair and is rarely relieved by periods of well-being or satisfaction. These episodes may reflect the individual’s extreme reactivity troubled by chronic feelings of emptiness (Criterion 7). Easily bored, they may constantly seek something to do. Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder frequently express inappropriate, intense anger or have difficulty controlling their anger (Criterion 8). They may display extreme sarcasm, enduring bitterness, or verbal outbursts. The anger is often elicited when a caregiver or lover is seen as neglectful, withholding, uncaring, or abandoning. Such expressions of anger are often followed by shame and guilt and contribute to the feeling they have of being evil. During periods of extreme stress, transient paranoid ideation or dissociative symptoms (e.g., depersonalization) may occur (Criterion 9), but these are generally of insufficient severity or duration to warrant an additional diagnosis. These episodes occur most frequently in response to a real or imagined abandonment. Symptoms tend to be transient, lasting minutes or hours. The real or perceived return of the caregiver’s nurturance may result in a remission of symptoms.

Associated Features and Disorders
Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder may have a pattern of undermining themselves at the moment a goal is about to be realized (e.g., dropping out of school just before graduation; regressing severely after a discussion of how well therapy is going; destroying a good relationship just when it is clear that the relationship could last). Some individuals develop psychotic-like symptoms (e.g., hallucinations, body-image distortions, ideas of reference, and hypnotic phenomena) during times of stress. Individuals with this disorder may feel more secure with transitional objects (i.e., a pet or inanimate possession) than in interpersonal relationships. Premature death from suicide may occur in individuals with this disorder, especially in those with co-occurring Mood Disorders or Substance-Related Disorders. 

Physical handicaps may result from self-inflicted abuse behaviors or failed suicide attempts. Recurrent job losses, interrupted education, and broken marriages are common. Physical and sexual abuse, neglect, hostile conflict, and early parental loss or separation are more common in the childhood histories of those with Borderline Personality Disorder. Common co-occurring Axis I disorders include Mood Disorders, Substance-Related Disorders, Eating Disorders (notably Bulimia), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Borderline Personality Disorder also frequently co-occurs with the other Personality Disorders.

Specific Culture, Age, and Gender Features
The pattern of behavior seen in Borderline Personality Disorder has been identified in many settings around the world. Adolescents and young adults with identity problems (especially when accompanied by substance abuse) may transiently display behaviors that misleadingly give the impression of Borderline Personality Disorder. Such situations are characterized by emotional instability, “existential” dilemmas, uncertainty, anxiety-provoking choices, conflicts about sexual orientation, and competing social pressures to decide on careers. Borderline Personality Disorder is diagnosed predominantly (about 75%) in females.

Prevalence
The prevalence of Borderline Personality Disorder is estimated to be about 2% of the general population, about 10% among individuals seen in outpatient mental health clinics, and about 20% among psychiatric inpatients. In ranges from 30% to 60% among clinical populations with Personality Disorders.

Course
There is considerable variability in the course of Borderline Personality Disorder. The most common pattern is one of chronic instability in early adulthood, with episodes of serious affective and impulsive dyscontrol and high levels of use of health and mental health resources. The impairment from the disorder and the risk of suicide are greatest in the young-adult years and gradually wane with advancing age. During their 30s and 40s, the majority of individuals with this disorder attain greater stability in their relationships and vocational functioning.

Familial Pattern
Borderline Personality Disorder is about five times more common among first-degree biological relatives of those with the disorder than in the general population. There is also an increased familial risk for Substance-Related Disorders, Antisocial Personality Disorder, and Mood Disorders.

Differential Diagnosis
Borderline Personality Disorder often co-occurs with Mood Disorders, and when criteria for both are met, both may be diagnosed. Because the cross-sectional presentation of Borderline Personality Disorder can be mimicked by an episode of Mood Disorder, the clinician should avoid giving an additional diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder based only on cross-sectional presentation without having documented that the pattern of behavior has an early onset and a long-standing course.

Other Personality Disorders may be confused with Borderline Personality Disorder because they have certain features in common. It is, therefore, important to distinguish among these disorders based on differences in their characteristic features. However, if an individual has personality features that meet criteria for one or more Personality Disorders in addition to Borderline Personality Disorder, all can be diagnosed. Although Histrionic Personality Disorder can also be characterized by attention seeking, manipulative behavior, and rapidly shifting emotions, Borderline Personality Disorder is distinguished by self-destructiveness, angry disruptions in close relationships, and chronic feelings of deep emptiness and loneliness. Paranoid ideas or illusions may be present in both Borderline Personality Disorder and Schizotypal Personality Disorder, but these symptoms are more transient, interpersonally reactive, and responsive to external structuring in Borderline Personality Disorder. Although Paranoid Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder may also be characterized by an angry reaction to minor stimuli, the relative stability of self-image as well as the relative lack of self-destructiveness, impulsivity, and abandonment concerns distinguish these disorders from Borderline Personality Disorder. Although Antisocial Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder are both characterized by manipulative behavior, individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder are manipulative to gain profit, power, or some other material gratification, whereas the goal in Borderline Personality Disorder is directed more toward gaining the concern of caretakers. Both Dependent Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder are characterized by fear of abandonment, however, the individual with Borderline Personality Disorder reacts to abandonment with feelings of emotional emptiness, rage, and demands, whereas the individual with Dependent Personality Disorder reacts with increasing appeasement and submissiveness and urgently seeks a replacement relationship to provide caregiving and support. Borderline Personality Disorder can further be distinguished from Dependent Personality Disorder by the typical pattern of unstable and intense relationships.

Borderline Personality Disorder must be distinguished from Personality Change Due to a General Medical Condition, in which the traits emerge due to the direct effects of a general medical condition on the central nervous system. It must also be distinguished from symptoms that may develop in association with chronic substance use (e.g., Cocaine-Related Disorder Not Otherwise Specified).

Borderline Personality Disorder should be distinguished from Identity Problem…which is reserved for identity concerns related to a developmental phase (e.g., adolescence) and does not qualify as a mental disorder.”

Why, hello there Handsome.

I’m Haven.

No, you won’t be safe here. I won’t tell you comforting lies. I am a refuge for the truth.  Large or small, sometimes the greatest epiphanies fall from the most innocuous moments. I have had these, though I make no promises that you might.

I would say, I’m just a girl, but I don’t usually feel like one. I don’t usually feel human at all. A body walking, talking, thinking. Animated consciousness. I recognize the world around me though it feels as if someone else is stimulating my actions as I witness from afar.

My story is set in the mundane. Recognizable as the world you know. The world you walk through, live in, play in, connect with. I do all these same things, except connect. I am disconnected, interrupted from the flow of the ordinary.  Utterly. I am an observer, witnessing the lives of others and overseeing my own; moving through a measurement of time three feet to the left of the common border. The border between what and what, you ask? I walk the Borderline between a Dissociated worldview and the one you know. For me the scene will differ though the picture may seem the same to you. This is the portrait I hope to portray.

What does that mean? As far as my eye can see, Borderline Personality Disorder, while a clinical diagnosis is not a tangible thing. It’s not a condition that can be disected and cauterized like a rotting limb, amputated to leave one functioning whole. It’s not a disease treatable like Bipolar or cancer that you can throw lithium or radiation at to ‘cure’. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a real problem. It’s a category that encompasses an array of symptoms classified by one overarching Title illness. You can try to treat the symptoms, but there’s no cure for the category. It’s a Label, so the psych can bill my insurance company with a pin-pointed disguise for my diag’nonsense’. I border on a multitude of madness and sanity. It’s a part of me.

This is how I journey through that world. Your world.

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