Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I'm such a hypocrite

I just realized how unfair I've been to my husband. He's a great guy. I'd even say he's every Borderlines dream guy. He's read everything he can in order to understand the condition. He puts up with my mood swings. He follows all of my stupid rules I made in order to alleviate the feeling that he was going to leave me. Even in my hardest times, he's never stopped supporting me. And it's because of all this that I expected more.

We got into an argument the other day. Well, it wasn't really much of an argument. I just said something that he took the wrong way and he ended up yelling hurtful things at me. It made me cry for hours. The whole time I was thinking that he should've held back his feelings. I was thinking that he shouldn't have yelled because he knows I might react badly to it. I was thinking that he must not care for me because if he did, he would've acted in a way that put my feelings first.

It wasn't until last night that I realized how hypocritical and selfish that is. I mean, I yell at him all the time. Why shouldn't he be able to do the same? Just because I have BPD doesn't mean I'm the only one with strong emotions. I've always said that everyone has a right to their own feelings and there's no such thing as a wrong feeling. So then why do I expect him to always keep his feelings in check? Why do I think my feelings are more important than his?

I've got some serious thinking to do.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

BPD and Memory Loss

Sometimes I wonder if BPD causes memory loss. I used to have a terrific memory. I could remember every word of a conversation. Now I forget entire conversations, and I'm not talking about just forgetting what was said. I forget that I even talked to the person. I used to have over 200 phone numbers stored in my head. Now I can't even remember my own phone number most of the time. I used to be able to read something and never forget it. Seriously, my mind sucked up knowledge like a sponge, but now there's times I can read something and forget it the next day. And would you believe 9 times out of 10, I forget about making love with my husband?

This is getting so frustrating. My memory, specifically my ability to retain knowledge, has always been my biggest point of pride. When someone asks a question, I always knew the answer because sometime in the last 25 years I had read about it and stored that information in my head. Now when someone asks a question, I get frustrated because I know the answer is in my head somewhere. I just can't find it.

For example: I've been studying healing herbs for over 10 years. During that time, I've recommended different herbs to many people and they always worked. I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about the subject. But then yesterday, my MIL and I were having a conversation about herbs vs medication. I spent the whole conversation getting frustrated because I couldn't remember any pertinent facts. I felt like a complete idiot.

The thing is, I expected some memory loss. I've always lost big chunks of time when I get manic. Although it's confusing and embarrassing, I've always accepted it.

But this....this is just too much. I feel like I'm losing who I am.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Why am I not good enough?

I've never felt good enough. For as long as I can remember, I always felt like everyone else was better than me. I always felt like I didn't deserve anything positive. I always felt like I was the outcast. Even in my own family. I've never felt like I'm loved and liked as much as my sisters.  And I don't understand why.

I'm smart. I maintained a 4.0 all through school. I completed 3 years of high school in 4 months and aced every class. My mind soaks up knowledge like a sponge. I love learning and I was the only one who didn't give my parents any trouble about it. So why didn't my parents ever brag about their smart child?

I was the one that stayed. Everyone else got shipped off and got to live out their teenage years in happy homes. But me? I stayed. At least until I went to the girls home. And then I came back and stayed again. While my sisters were spread out in 3 different states, I stayed in my hometown with my family. And what did I get for it? The same old feeling of not being good enough. I mean, you should hear my family talk about my sister Lisa. She's perfect, even though she's not. They just act like she is. She lives in California and flies up every year or two. She never came up when Dad was hospitalized. I was the only one there for that. She never came up when Grandma had open heart surgery. Just me again. She never sent Dad money when he was broke. But I did. And I didn't do it for praise or thanks or glory. I did it because he needed help. And do you know what I found out last year? Lisa does drugs. I really don't care. It's her life. But I don't do drugs. Sure I tried pot when I was 14, but it was just 3 times. I smoked it a couple times as an adult but I realized I still didn't care for it. So I just don't do drugs. But my Dad thinks I do. And he looks down on me for it. But not Lisa. He's proud of her.

It's like I'm held to a higher standard or something. And it's so high I'll never be able to reach it.

Please don't take this post to mean that I don't like my sister. I love her very much and wish we could be as close as we used to be. I just don't like that I'll never be as good as her.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

So now I'm freaking out

The full force of my decision to move home just hit me. What the hell was I thinking? I moved away because that whole town makes me an emotional wreck. My "friends" are all the people I used to party with. They probably expect me to be the same person I was back then. The girl who will sleep with anyone if she gets drunk enough.

Then there's my ex. He's going to use my kids to hurt me every chance he gets. And in doing so, he's going to break their hearts and probably mess their heads up so much they'll end up with their own mental disorder. Part of the reason I moved away was because he told me the only way I could see the kids was if I slept with him. That's just the kind of person he is.

And there's my Grandma. I love her and I wouldn't trade her for the world, but she's manipulative. She lies and then lies about lying. She tries to play people against each other. She's just too much to handle sometimes.

And of course there's my Dad. My Dad makes me feel inadequate, like I'm just not good enough. When I tell him something, he looks at me like I'm lying (even though I'm not). He acts like I never do anything right. He never tells me he's proud of me. And he's disowned me 3 times. When I try to talk to him about the things Patti did to me and Lisa when we were little, he won't listen. He denies everything. I understand that denying what happened is his way of telling himself he's not responsible. But how can he deny coming home and seeing me covered in blood? How can he deny Patti hitting me so hard that she sprained her hand? How can he deny picking me up from the hospital after her actions caused my hand to be cut in half? He moved me out of her house that night so he must have suspected something. But I lived with him for months after that and he never said anything, He was with me through the reattachment surgery, doctors visits, physical therapy, and he never even asked what happened. I guess the denial was present even back then. I just get so tired of hearing "You remember it worse than it really was".

And last but not least, there's Patti. She made my life a living hell. She beat me for no reason. She gave us so many little rules, they were impossible to follow. It was like she wanted to control everything about us, no matter how small. I can't tell you how many times I got in trouble for drinking wrong. How does a person drink wrong? She treated me and Lisa like crap just because she wasn't happy with my Dad. It wasn't our fault he cheated on her. And when I got out of the girls home at 17, she tried to play the victim. She said I should feel sorry for her because she had to put up with me and Lisa. Screw that. I can't stand her. I hate her. I don't want to be around her and I definitely don't want to live with her.

When I step into my parents house, I turn back into a scared little girl. I remember all the rules. Ask before getting a drink of water. Ask to go to the bathroom. We only eat at designated times. No humming. Don't touch anything. No gum or candy. Ask to use the phone. I still follow them. I shake with fear (literally, my body trembles) that I'll break a rule. When my husband ate a banana without permission, I totally freaked. And it's silly because I know Patti can't do anything to me anymore. After surviving for 4 years with an abusive husband who outweighed me by a hundred pounds, Patti's nothing. I'm not scared of her. So I don't know why my head goes all screwy whenever I'm over there. But the point is that it does go all screwy....and I'm supposed to go back there and live?


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Struggles with Self Therapy

Yesterday I posted about how I use self help therapy to help with the symptoms of my BPD. It's been a very long 2 year struggle and I'm guessing I have many years of the same to look forward to. This is literally the hardest thing I've ever done. But it's also one of the most rewarding. When I started this, I was on the verge of losing everything I loved. I was miserable and crazy and in turn, I was making every one around me miserable and crazy. But now I lead a semi-normal life. I have a semi-normal marriage. And I even feel semi-normal! For someone with BPD, that's a big achievement!

But it almost didn't happen. The problem with self therapy is the fact that I'm doing this alone. I have no one to support me when I'm struggling, encourage me when I feel like giving up, or celebrate when I hit a milestone. It's just me. The hardest part was getting started. Knowing what was ahead of me made me put it off. And once I finally did start, I ended up sabotaging myself and almost quit.

Like I said before, the book I chose was The Angry Heart by Joseph Santoro. When I got it, I spent two days reading it from cover to cover. As I read through it, I kept alternating between feelings of discouragement and encouragement. I mean, I could actually see myself following the book and getting better. But one of the things it stressed was the need to drag up old childhood memories and work through my feelings about them. To be quite honest, that scared the crap out of me. So I set it aside for a couple weeks.When I picked it up again, I read that I would need a notebook with different sections to use as a journal. So in an effort to put it off a little longer, I opted to make a journal from scratch instead of buying one. Although it really was just an attempt at procrastination, today I'm glad I made it myself. I look at it as a reflection of me. It contains my whole life inside and out.

It was hard at first. I don't know if it's my OCPD or the BPD, but one of them makes me a stickler for rules. I tried to do everything the book said word for word, but I kept worrying that I wasn't doing it right. Was I going too fast? Too slow? Was I doing the exercises correctly? How was I supposed to know when I was ready to move on? There were things I wanted to write in my journal, things in my early adult life that I thought were important, but each section was for specific thoughts or exercises and there wasn't a section for what I wanted to write. So I held it in. Plus I was scared that my husband would read it, so I refused to write the truly awful memories of my childhood (I did this for him. He has a good relationship with my family and I was afraid that would change if he knew the worst of it). I was making improvements, but they were tiny because my fear was holding me back. Then one day I decided there was no point in even trying if I couldn't give it my full effort. I knew I had to either do something to make it work or I had to quit. So I made it work.

I got a lock box to keep my journal private. I really don't think John would have read it, but I had to be sure.
I decided since it was my therapy, I would make the rules. On the front page of my journal I wrote:

"This is my journal. This is my story. I can write whatever I want in it. I'm not going to get into trouble. Nobody will be mad. I will take my time and work at my own pace. I will trust in myself to know when to move on. I can and will do whatever it takes to make myself better"

It may seem silly, but it worked. To me, writing that in my journal made it feel like a rule. It was a rule that gave me permission to do what I needed to do in order to keep going forward. And it was a lot easier once I stopped struggling against myself..

Although I'm proud of how far I've come, I still wish I could attend regular therapy. I wish I could go to group therapy and see with my own eyes that I'm not alone in this struggle. I wish I could go to one on one therapy and be able to open up to someone that could help me. I wish I could get some sort of medication to help regulate the ups and downs. For now that's not possible. But that might change when I move back home. Oh, I wish, I wish!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Personal Responsibility

I get annoyed with people that use BPD as an excuse for their behavior. I know it has a huge effect on our emotions and thoughts, but that doesn't mean we have to let BPD control our emotions and thoughts.

I lived for years using BPD as an excuse for my actions.
"It's not my fault."
"I can't help it."
"Don't blame me."
I let BPD rule my life. I let it make my decisions. I let it control my thoughts and emotions. I didn't even try to change because why should I have to change something that isn't my fault? I did whatever I wanted and then expected people to understand that it was the BPD, not me. Heck, I even expected people to feel sorry for me. And when I finally tried to get therapy and realized that there wasn't any in my area, I gave up. I used that lack of therapy as an excuse to keep acting out.

While writing this, the same words keep running through my mind: weak, irresponsible and selfish. Giving BPD so much control over my life made me weak. Using it as an excuse made me irresponsible. And giving up on finding treatment made me selfish. I never even thought about how this was affecting my husband and my family.

It was by pure chance that I found out about a therapy option most wouldn't even consider for treating borderline personality disorder. Self Help. My first reaction was ridicule. I mean, how the hell could a self help book treat something like BPD? From what I read, it takes years of intense therapy and even that doesn't work for everyone.

But then I took a look at my life. My marriage was a wreck. My arms still had scabs from my latest self harm episode. I had no friends because I drove them all away. I had almost been kicked out of the house because of my last suicide attempt. My emotions were raging out of control and because of that, my behavior was driving away everyone I cared about. I realized that if I didn't figure out a way to control my symptoms, I was going to lose everything. I realized that even though it wasn't my fault that I have BPD, it's still my responsibility to figure out a way to treat it. So even though I didn't put much stock in a self help book actually working, I decided I should at least try it. Besides, it couldn't possibly make my life any worse.

The book I chose was The Angry Heart by Joseph Santoro. After some initial troubles (which I'll write about in later post), I stopped holding myself back. I dug into my past, relived painful memories, and wrote it all down in a special journal. I took an honest look at my current life and implemented the changes needed to make it better. I started with the exercises and repeated them many many times. I worked at my own pace and it was slow-going. But it was working. My head didn't feel as crazy. My marriage was stronger than ever. I stopped self harming and attempting suicide. I even made a few friends. And all thanks to a ridiculous book I thought would be a waste of money.

I took responsibility over my life and my life got better. Although BPD still has a big impact on my thoughts and emotions, I no longer blame it for my behavior. Taking personal responsibility for my actions has made me work even harder at getting better.

This is something every borderline needs to do. Whether we use traditional therapy or self help, we still need to start accepting responsibility for our own actions.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Can a Borderline have a long distance relationship?

I have to leave, to go back home. My Dad is really sick and I'm pretty sure he won't live another year. My step-mom is treating him like crap. He said he fell down a couple times and she made him lay there for an hour each time before helping him up. And even though he has trouble moving, she won't help him with anything. So I need to go home and take care of him.

But home is 2000 miles away and my husband can't join me for 5 - 6 months. Can we survive that long? Can I survive that long?

I have so many fears about leaving. Will he cheat on me? Will he talk bad about me? Will he realize he's better off without me? Will he decide not to follow me? So many worries...

John's not happy about it anyways. But he says he doesn't have the right to ask me to stay because he would do the same thing for his parents. Heck! We did do the same thing for his parents. We were just supposed to visit his parents in North Carolina for a couple weeks and then move up to my hometown in South Dakota. But then John's Dad hurt his back. So we stayed to take care of him. Then John got walking pneumonia. Then he had to get 2 teeth pulled and by then we had no money to move. So we stayed here....for over 3 years.

Although I wanted to leave immediately when my Dad told me how bad it is, I've put off leaving until the beginning of September. We have a week-long vacation to Pigeon Forge planned for the end of August. I figure that will give us some one-on-one time before I leave.

I hate this, but I have to go.

I would hate to be normal!

I've had a bad couple of weeks. Actually, I've had a bad month. I've only been manic twice in the last month. And even then it was only for a couple days. I hate it. If I'm not manic, I'm just blah! I don't want to do anything but watch tv and overeat. I make plans and to-do lists and then cast them aside. I have no energy. No drive. Nothing!

So how do normal people do it? How do the mentally sound get through each day without feeling the intense drive that mania gives? How do they live life without that manic "I can do anything" feeling. Or do they have that same drive and that same feeling just in lower non-manic doses? I don't know. And I don't want to find out!

All I know is when I think about it, I feel sorry for my husband because he doesn't get to feel these intense happy feelings. But then I'm jealous that he doesn't have to feel the sad, mad, empty feelings that comes when the mania is gone.

I wish I could just be manic all the time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bad bad Mothers Day

I really thought I could handle Mothers Day this year. I was fine last year and the year before, so why would this year be any different? Well, last year and the year before that, I celebrated Mothers Day by planting flowers for each of my kids. To me it was sort of healing. My kids aren't here for me to protect and nurture, so I spend all summer protecting and nurturing the flowers I plant for them on Mothers Day.

This year it rained. It rained all day long.

I was fine when I woke up. I knew how the day was going to go. I planned on working on the computer for a bit. Then showering. Then I was going to plant my flowers. I had only been online for about 1/2 an hour when my husband came in the room with "that look" on his face. You know, the one that says "Please don't shoot the messenger". When he told me it was raining, I didn't react. I felt nothing. But then I went back online and when I saw the page for my support group, I broke down and started sobbing uncontrollably. The pain was unbelievable. I felt so broken.

I don't know how long I cried, it felt like forever. When I was done, I posted on my support group and then clicked out. I spent the rest of the day going through photos of my kids, pictures I never look at because it hurts so much. I literally beat myself up with memories, sort of an internal self harming. Throughout the day I tried to visit my support group online, but every time I did, it would trigger a sobbing session (I guess I know a little about triggers after all).

Monday was a little better, but I still wasn't "happy". Today I'm still a little down. I don't feel like talking to anyone, so I'm hiding out in my rooms. My normal daily activities hold no appeal. Facebook, Squidoo, Sidetick. I'm not really wanting to do any of it. I hope this feeling passes soon.

BPD, Self Harm and Triggering

Like most Borderlines, I self harmed in the form of cutting for a good chunk of my life. I'd say I probably started around the age of 12 or 13 and I didn't stop until I was 29. The first time I cut, I did it because it was cool. All my friends saw what I had done and I swear their view of me went up a notch after that. I continued to cut every once in a while, but not too often because it hurt like the dickens!

Then came the day when my horrible temper showed itself. Like always, I was out of control, screaming, throwing stuff, punching the wall. Even after all this time, I can still remember how mixed up I felt inside, how badly I needed to explode. I don't know what made me think of it, but I got out my razor and I started cutting. It was the first time I had ever cut without feeling pain. Instead, all I felt was exhausted relief. That day, and for the next 17 years, I would use cutting as a form of anger control. 

Now you're probably wondering why I took the time to tell all that. I did it to explain why I cut. I've seen so many instances where a Borderline reads or hears about someone cutting and that triggers them into doing the same thing. It's like they go crazy with the need to self harm. But I don't understand why. The only thing that's ever triggered a cutting episode for me is feeling that extreme anger and not wanting to explode. For me, it's never been about "feeling the pain" because I don't feel pain, just relief. I think if I actually felt the pain, I would have never cut again. So anyways, the whole point of this post was that I really don't understand triggers. So if someone wants to explain it to me, that would be awesome!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Online BPD Support Groups

In the three years I've been online, I've joined quite a few online support groups. Some were just for BPD and some were for a broader range of problems. I always ended up quitting because it seemed like I was never able to post about the things I needed to post about. For instance, if I was having a bad day and felt like cutting, I couldn't post anything asking for help because it might trigger someone else. How stupid is that? While I understand about not wanting to trigger anyone, what's the point in being part of a support group if I can't get support when I need it the most? 

Recently Facebook made it so that groups can be either closed or secret. With this change came the creation of two (that I know of) BPD support groups. I joined the first one and spent the next couple days in awe. Everyone was so open about everything. We were all asking questions and finding out that we all have pretty much the same symptoms. I found out that I'm seriously not alone in this. That support group quickly became my leaning post. 

But after a while, people started arguing. Feelings were getting hurt and people were leaving the group. To be honest, I expected this to happen. After all, you can't gather 200 emotionally unstable people in one room and expect everything to be fine. But after seeing this happen every single day, I finally couldn't take it anymore, so I joined the second group (who I heard was much calmer). Thankfully, they were. Everyone was super nice and supportive. I very quickly became close friends with a few. 

Then a couple of us started seeing a trend in the posts. Certain people were posting all day every day about wanting to hurt themselves or kill themselves. Now personally, I ignore those posts. I know that's not very supportive of me, but I wouldn't know how to help them anyways. Besides, it was getting really annoying (and triggering for some) to constantly see a steady stream on s/h posts. And when one of the group members voiced her concern about it, she got attacked. So now there's arguing in both groups. 

A little before that happened, a couple of us struck out and started our own group. There's only 8 or 9 of us, but we like it like that. This is a different type of support group. It's a place we can go and be around other Borderlines, but we don't really talk much about BPD. We mostly talk about other aspects of our life. It's so nice to be around other Borderlines, but not focus on BPD. This group has been a life saver for me.

In the past couple of days, both groups have calmed down again. For now things are peaceful and I plan on sticking with all three of them. If you have Borderline Personality Disorder and you would be interested in joining one of the Facebook groups (they're better than I make them sound. I promise), friend me on Facebook with a message about joining so I'll know to add you. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

BPD and other Mental Conditions

Borderline Personality Disorder is commonly found to be co-occurring with other mental disorders. I've been thinking about this lately because I have at least 2 other disorders, Mysophobia and Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD). In trying to write about one condition, I find it almost impossible not to mention the others because the symptoms overlap so much. In some ways, I think the three disorders feed off each other.  I've noticed that when I'm having a bad day with my BPD, the Mysophobia seems that much worse. It's the same way with BPD and OCPD. Go ahead and compare the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder with the symptoms of Mysophobia. Not try it with OCPD.
Do you see how the symptoms could feed off each other?

Monday, May 2, 2011

BPD Awareness Month!

Yesterday was the start of Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month. Throughout the month of May, I'm going to be doing things, both online and off, that hopefully will bring awareness to BPD. Yesterday I published an online article celebrating the 4th anniversary of BPD awareness and giving some background information about why awareness is so important. Today I downloaded some fact sheets and gave them to friends and family. Tomorrow...who knows? But I'll think of something! What are you doing to enlighten others?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What causes Borderline Personality Disorder?

When someone is diagnosed with BPD, one of the first questions they ask is "Why?".

What causes BPD?
Some of it's genetics. Like most mental illnesses, if someone in your family has it, that puts you at a higher risk of getting it. It's estimated that about 35% of Borderline patients have a close family member diagnosed with BPD.

The bigger cause of Borderline Personality Disorder is living through an extremely traumatic childhood. Sadly, that accounts for about 75% of all cases.  When a child is forced to endure so much abuse, their brain does what it can to cope. And since the brain is doing all this coping during the time that it's also developing and growing, the pathways end up getting all screwy. And that affects the way we think, feel and react for the rest of our lives.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

When I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, I had no clue what it was. I'd never even heard of it before. So of course I went online and Googled it. I was pretty disappointed with the results. It seemed like the exact same information was on every single website. Like someone researched it, wrote about it, and then gave it to every website to display. Ans as if that weren't bad enough, it was all written in complicated medical terms. Even the explanations of each BPD symptom were too hard to understand. I had to look every other word up in the dictionary and even then, I was still confused.

That was 3 years ago. Today I'm well aware of all aspects of my BPD. But because I had such an awful experience trying to figure out the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, I felt I had to do something to help others in the same situation. So I wrote Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms Explained. This article explains every symptom of BPD right down to the last detail, in words everyone can understand. I wrote it based on my own life, how the symptoms have affected me. It's very personal because I felt that the more personal it was, the more people it would help.

This article was written for those who have just been diagnosed with BPD and are looking for information. It was written for those who have a family member or friend suffering from this disorder. And it was written for people like me. People who understand BPD because they've had it for so long, but they feel like they are the only ones suffering. I hope reading about my own experiences will show that we are not alone in this fight.