One of the alternate names for Borderline Personality Disorder (which comes from the archaic delineation between Psychosis and Neurosis), is Emotional Regulation (or Dysregulation) Disorder. Having BPD is like having all of your emotional protection stripped off, which makes every event a REALLY big deal, even the little ones that shouldn’t. Yesterday I had a fight with Husband, and it was mildly devastating. I don’t like to talk about our fights here because I don’t think it’s fair, but I will in the context of how it affects me and why.
With BPD I overthink everything and I, though I hate this word, tend to overreact to most things. I am very emotionally sensitive. A comment that might roll off your back sits in my psyche percolating until I am so convinced that I am a worthless human being that I feel like I might explode just from the pressure of pent up sadness and frustration. BPD has high octane feelings: they’re quick to spark, intense, and long-lasting. This becomes an issue when you actually have to live in the real world the rest of the time. Continue reading “BPD and Reactivity”
In times of trouble, I always find myself writing. I journal, I write to people, I blog, I tweet, I go on Facebook, etc. Written words are how I exhale my feelings. I can process them because I put names to faceless feelings and give them life. It allows for a conversation instead of a monologue. It’s the best way I know to work on feeling better.
Yesterday I used a lot of words. I wrote, I talked to people, I saw my therapist, I was honest about the place I was in and the needs I had and it paid off. I feel better today. This is probably also because I’ve been taking my Xanax every day and doubled up on my Abilify, but I’m also sure that it’s a combination of me actively working to feel better and my meds helping me to get there.
Right now I am just afloat, waiting to see how functional I can be. I’ve talked to some incredibly thoughtful people in the last few days and they have helped support me tremendously. Even a bunch of likes on Twitter makes me feel better because I know I am connected to somebody (somebodies) and I’m not alone in my struggles. I want to help people, but sometimes I have to ask for help.
I fell asleep listening to Neil DeGrasse Tyson teaching me about astrophysics (for people in a hurry). I had dreams that everyone hated me. And I woke up on the verge of tears. I’ve already begun to cry a handful of times in the last hour, and this would confuse me except that it happens like clockwork every month.
I’ve talked about this before but it bears repeating because it repeats on me. Most women get PMS but a smaller proportion suffer from PMDD (Pre-menstrual Dysphoric Disorder). It basically means that I go absolutely crazy once a month, with episodes lasting a day to a week, depending on cosmic forces being kind to me, I guess. The loathsome aspect is that it often occurs at the least useful times, and then screws everything up. This is my last week of classes so of course, the universe says to me: let’s go nuts!! Continue reading “PMDD and Me”
There is a phrase I recently encountered: BPD boredom. Apparently it is very common for people with Borderline Personality Disorder to go through fits of extreme boredom. I can absolutely say that I suffer from these fits and they can be irrationally frustrating. I have a lot of these to do, things I could be doing, things I should be doing, but I cannot focus and absolutely nothing appeals to me. I hop from one activity to the next, never focusing on one thing for more than twenty minutes at a time. I used to call this my existential angst. I would wonder why I exist, what am I good for, and what is the purpose of the universe. But ultimately it boils down to boredom. Nothing satisfies me. Continue reading “When nothing makes sense”
In many ways I am a classic Borderline. I’ve been chronically suicidal, my moods are often labile (meaning they fluctuate very quickly and elastically), I have a tremendous fear of abandonment, I lack a stable sense of self, and I am prone to self-harm. The last of that list has been particularly troublesome for me since I was a teenager. I started cutting my arm when I was around thirteen. It was the only way I could find release sometimes. If I was numb, it made me feel something. If I was upset, at least it was a physical pain that I could see and touch. If I was angry at myself, it was a way to be punished. So I tore up the inside of my left arm, sometimes needing stitches if I went too far. I’ve also had bouts of scratching and in the hospital the last few times I had a strange obsession with punching walls, in an attempt to break my hand. I managed severe bruises and needed X-Rays because they were worried I’d broken something, but have had no lasting damage. Now, eighteen months since I was released from the hospital, I have been “clean” from self-harm (and I include my suicide attempt in this category) for twenty months. Continue reading “Victories”
When I am ready to go to sleep, I always devolve into an insecure mess. The pit of my soul feels empty, I sometimes feel like I don’t exist, and all of the negative thoughts that I was able to keep at bay come rushing in over my barricades. Maintaining those barricades requires energy and focus, things that I don’t have late at night. This is typically my most dangerous time. These days I have the tools to be able to talk myself through, to say, “This is just for now, you’re tired, and everything will be better in the morning.” But historically this was when I would make stupid decisions, like cutting or overdosing or something else destructive. I always dread nighttime, and I look forward to every morning. Continue reading “Every Morning”
One of the things that triggers my anger and frustration is injustice. I cannot abide it. In another lifetime I would have become a lawyer, in particular to fight for the rights of the mentally ill. I’ve said since I was first diagnosed as a teenager that I wanted to be a mental health advocate, to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. This picture above speaks to my sense of justice. For one thing, I think it is important to bust stigmas and help others help themselves. But this picture also says to me that passion, bravery, and honesty are key tenets to a healthy life and society. If everyone remains silent, nothing will change. Without brave, passionate people like MLK Jr., nothing would change. So this is my new goal: to be passionate, brave, and honest. Continue reading “The Art of Speaking Up”
There’s a car alarm going off. My window air conditioning unit is rumbling at a constant level that is just tolerable. It is hot outside, that deep city hot that always smells a little bit like garbage. I don’t have to go out there until later but I dread the thought. The little dog is cuddled up against me holding a tiny toy giraffe against her chest. Older dog was too hot so he’s lying on the floor. The Husband isn’t here, he’s gone to Vegas for a week and I am alone for the first time in a long time. Vague sounds of construction are wafting up from the street. The clang of metal, a truck backing up. These are the sounds of New York summer.
The brain is a detailed and miraculous thing. Wrought from the stuff of stars, our neurons fire and our veins pulse and we live, live, live.
To be alive is to be vulnerable. We are creatures made mostly of water and carbon, weak to the elements, easily injured, and yet imbued with remarkable perseverance. It is amazing what we can overcome, the limitations, the heartache, the day-to-day grind, the health struggles, the emotional roller-coasters. Yet do we go on, on, on. Continue reading “A crazy week”