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.