Mental Health

What They Won’t Tell You About BPD

I found out eight months ago that I have Borderline Personality Disorder *BPD. It’s taken me a long time, this whole time, to not only come to terms, but understand the symptoms as well. I’m still learning, to be honest.

It’s 4am as I write this. I went to bed hours ago, but some thoughts kept me awake until I was forced to get up and write about them, right now.

First off, let me explain to you that, eight years ago my therapist wrote in her personal notes the suspicion that I may have BPD, but she never told me. Over a year ago, my boyfriend started researching my symptoms online. I have bipolar 1, but he felt that I was presenting symptoms outside of the spectrum of bipolar. Several things came up, which is why armchair diagnosis is not good and rarely accurate, but he kept coming back to BPD. Despite not ever knowing anything about BPD, I heard *personality disorder* and immediately recoiled, accusing him of gaslighting. Six months later, while he was sleeping in bed, I took a BPD aptitude test. Yes, I know how silly that is. No, I do not put truck in random online “tests.” But, I did happen to get a score that was very high above “Extremely Likely BPD.” I took my knowleadge of the “test” results in to my following therapy appointment, where my therapist proceeded to not only go through the BPD DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders) checklist with me, and check each box as I fit every symptom, but she divulged the reasoning behind not wanting to write it in my charts or formally diagnose me.

You see, Borderline Personality Disorder is highly stigmatized and misunderstood, not only by the general population, but specificly by medical professionals. I say specifically because it is their job to be informed and they are routinely misinformed. I went home upset and feeling somewhat stabbed in the back, for having this information kept from me for so long. But eight months later, after reading everything I can about BPD, and involving myself in multiple support groups, I finally understand why she felt she was doing me a favor. I still feel that she should’ve told me, but also understand that she wasn’t even aware that there was a treatment (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy *DBT) for BPD until around the time I brought it into conversation. I can see why she felt keeping something from me that has no treatment would make sense, she was sparing me the grief.

Now let’s put my therapist situation aside and go back to the medical professionals, and misinformation, and expand into thousands of articles written about people with “BPD” warning potential partners to steer clear, telling horror stories of our narssistic ways, and unfeeling habits. Making bogus accusations that we’re severely manipulative, and can cry on command, make up suicide threats, lie to get our way, make horrible parents, and my absolute favorite, do not have the capacity to love.

This is what she was sparing me from, are you less mad? Because after hearing stories about people with BPD being turned away from the emergency rooms, hung up on by crisis lines, dismissed by doctors, and psychiatrists, and shunned by their friends and family, I am the opposite of mad.

Here’s the thing. I could spend all day listing off each untrue claim and explain to you why they are myths. But rather, I want to focus on something I feel is more important for you to understand. If you know anything about autism, which is NOT a mental illness or chemical imbalance, but a neurotype, but if you know anything, you’ll recognize the common misunderstanding that people on the spectrum are unfeeling or lack emotion, even claims of narssism. What we know within the autism community is that the opposite is true. People on the autism spectrum generally not only feel so intensely in their emotions, but also experience high sensitivity sensorily. They spend so much of their energy processing all the input that they have little energy left over for output. It leaves them scrambling to regulate themselves and leaves the neurotypical observer or interactor to assume that their buddy on the spectrum just doesn’t care enough to pay attention, or respond in the way a neurotypical would.

Now let’s look at BPD and apply that same logic, yes we seek attention, there is fear of abandonment, we have what is called an FP (favorite person) of whom we attach our existence to and rely on for emotional validation, we have trouble regulating our moods, splitting, identity confusion, and  intense emotion. But can you see how all of these symptoms are related? The number one thing I’ve come to understand about myself, and others with borderline personality disorder is that we are so very highly sensitive that we present our symptoms with abandon and desperation. We display different than someone on the autism spectrum, but the idea is the same; which is, we are so profoundly sensitive that often we act out in attempt to protect ourselves from harm. Too often our emotional response is counterproductive to our desired outcome, but in the process of trying to regulate our sensitivity we do things that someone without BPD wouldn’t do. We’re so busy trying to hold ourselves together that we fall apart much more than I would like to admit.

Many of us have done regrettable things to get attention, many of us have walked away from a relationship, or pushed people away out of fear that the person we were walking away from might walk away first, it’s a form of self preservation, to protect ourselves from being hurt. After all, it’s better to hurt ourselves than to let other’s inflict the pain. Too many of us use self harm as an emotional regulator. We cling, and need, and beg in many different forms for compassion, honesty, understanding, patience, and love, and that’s the thing. That. We. Don’t. Get when  someone sees the diagnosis of BPD hanging around our necks. The very thing we need to mend is withheld by longstanding stigmatization, ableism, and misinformation.

Of course we need to learn to give ourselves the things we crave, and that’s what treatment is for, but in the meantime stop alienating us by villifying our sensitive nature, and instead offer us the appropriate equivalent of a simple hug.

~Davs

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Food, Mental Health, Recipes, Uncategorized

Spoonie Cooking: Burritos


If you’re familiar with the Spoon Theory, you can probably guess what a spoonie is: Someone who has a limited amount of spoons. I live in a spoonie house, and have loved ones and friends who are spoonies. I’m making this post especially for a special spoonie in my life, who’s name shall remain annonymous, but they will know who they are, and hopefully in the process, I can help a few other spoonies get a new dinner idea while I’m at it. 

With a limited amount of spoons, often times dinner is the hardest meal because it’s at the end of the day, not to mention to a spoonie, the most important because spoonie’s often skip breakfast and lunch because we’re too tired. I understand how common it is for us spoonies to shirk off meals throughout the day. But at some point we have to eat. This meal is focused on getting that job done. It’s not particularly healthy, or unhealthy, it just is. But for us spoonies sometimes that’s all we need to keep on (mildly) kicking. 😉 

Without further ado: Burritos For Spoonies

You will need:

Your favorite hot, medium, or mild sauce for flavor. *I like Verde’s guacamole salsa, with tapatio coming in a close second.

Soft burrito shells

Cheese (preferably shredded)

Refried beans *one can

Ranch dressing for flavor

Paper plates *if you are lucky 🙂 

1. Take about half of a can of refried beans and put them on a paper plate. 

2. Add about 4tbsp of both your favorite hot, med, or mild sauce & ranch dressing.

3. Mix together with a fork.

4. Place two burrito shells positioned like the photo above on a new paper plate. 

5. Pour the mixture of refried beans & sauces into the each burrito shell using the fork, half and half.

6. Topple that thing with cheese. 

7. I hope I illustrated in the #7 photo how I fold a burrito, after that photo was taken, I rolled the rest of the shell over until it made a sort of funnel with one side folded up into the shell.

8. Take a breather. 

9. Microwave for 2minutes and 25 seconds. 

10. While microwaving throw the dirty paper plate in the trash, and put the ingredients away in the fridge. 

11. Be sure to let it cool before you take a bite, but viola! There you are. Hope you enjoy! ❤

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Mental Health

She Was Asking For It


“Not being assaulted is not a privilege to be earned through the judicious application of personal safety strategies. A woman should be able to walk down the street at 4 in the morning in nothing but her socks, blind drunk, without being assaulted, and I, for one, am not going to do anything to imply that she is in any way responsible for her own assault if she fails to Adequately Protect Herself. Men aren’t helpless dick-driven maniacs who can’t help raping a vulnerable woman. It disrespects EVERYONE.”-Emily Nagoski


When I was 12 I was raped by a guy in his 30’s. At the time, age 12, I didn’t realize the difference in mentality between child and adult, and naively believed that I was mentally and emotionally on par with my rapist. We met in a park while I was babysitting and he was with a group of children from a daycare. He asked for my phone number, knowing full well my age. We later met in front of my house, I was wearing a short skirt and high heels, I got in his car and he took me to his house where he instructed me to tell his roommate that I was 16, because that’s better(?)


I honestly just thought he was a cute guy that I wanted to be around, and didn’t predict him attempting to do anything physical with me, please remember that I was 12. I had no idea what kind of situation I was putting myself in. 


About two months later I was late, and scared. I told my brother I was afraid I was pregnant and unbeknownst to me, he went to the police, and also every bar in town looking to beat the motherfucker down.


I remember the police trying to get information out of me, at the time (12) I blamed myself for wearing a short skirt and high heels. I remember feeling immense guilt over the idea that someone might go to jail or prison because *I wore a short skirt, and high heels* I remember an officer telling me that, even if I were naked it still wasn’t a good enough excuse for a man to have sex with me against my will. I however, was unconvinced and went on blaming myself for years.


I cried, I said no, I tried to push him away, but I still blamed myself because of what I was wearing. I believed I was asking for it.

As an adult, I know it’s bullshit. THIS is rape culture. THIS is why I need feminism. Men have just as much ability to control their libido as women. Men do not have stronger, uncontrollable urges. Rapist’s suffer from weak minds NOT strong, overpowering dicks.

Every time a girl is sent home from school because her shirt was cut too low, or jeans too tight, her entire class is taught that a hard dick is her fault. Every time a girl was sexually harassed, assaulted, or raped, and what she was wearing, drinking, did she have a reputation, comes into consideration, we are taught that a hard dick is our fault.

It’s a sick joke to say women and girls bear the responsibility of a hard dick when we have nothing to do with the body or brain that owns and controls said apparatus. Teach boys self control, teach boys they are stronger than an urge, stop underestimating men. Men, manly men, have 100% control of their “wondering eyes” and urges. We know better, and we need to speak up for women and girls that have internalized sexism, who will be sexually harassed, assaulted, raped, and blame themselves. 

You may believe that a woman who is drunk, walking naked in the streets at 4am is asking for it… well, so did I. 

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Mental Health, Uncategorized

Nothing Has Changed But Everything Is Different

Three weeks after my diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) I sit alone in my studio apartment hovering my finger over my keyboard. My screen set to Google search. I’m hesitant to type, terrified of learning what behaviors I display that are the result of this new, to me, mental illness.

I was diagnosed with bipolar in 1993. I was so young that I never had a grieving period for the person I thought I was pre-illness, I had not yet gotten to the point of defining myself. Throughout the years, I’ve lived my life through the lens of someone who is bipolar. It is not who I am, but a distinctly undeniable part of what makes me me. It never scared me because it was always there.

I struggle with Agoraphobia, I have PTSD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. But this (BPD) feels different. All of the mentioned illnesses I’ve aquired were undeniable and obvious when they struck. When I became ill with each new disorder I still knew who I was, I still understood my own triggers, ticks, and quirks. I was still there, sometimes barely recognizable, but I never lost hold of this basic understanding I’ve formed about who I am as a unique, individual person.


Borderline Personality Disorder is not blatantly obvious, if you do not know the hallmarks to look for. It’s a lot like bipolar, not in all the symptoms, but in the stigmas. People generally understand anxiety and rarely fault you for it. PTSD is widely talked about and almost never seen as a personal fail. Agoraphobia, is basically the need to isolate, or fear of public spaces, again, not seen as a personal fail. Borderline though, like bipolar, comes with a lot of assumption and judgment. They are both often misunderstood and treated as a personality flaw.

This new diagnosis makes me feel like I don’t know anymore, who I am. I learned for the first time in over twenty years that there are behaviors I show that are the result of an illness that I know nothing about. I could not stop crying when I got home from seeing my therapist who confirmed what my boyfriend had suspected and even researched for six months prior. He kept saying, in hopes to comfort me “nothing has changed, you’re still the same person you were before the diagnosis” but, what I could not put into words was that, maybe nothing has changed, but everything is different. I may still be the person I was five, ten, even fifteen years ago, but how I think of myself has shifted. I feel upside down, as though the grasp I thought I had, of my own identity, was false. As if I have to relearn what and why I act the way I do, and learn new ways to cope, deal, or curb actions I thought were under my control, or in the very least within my understanding.

I reached out to someone I trust, who in an attempt to comfort me advised that I pay no attention to the new diagnosis. As if ignoring it would somehow make everything ok. I would love to ignore it, but this is not something I can unlearn. Now that it is confirmed, that I have this illness, it is my responsibility to understand it, because how else can I get better or learn to navigate myself if I deny the root of my behaviors?

I don’t know. I like to wrap up my writings like a present, you untie the bow, open the box, and have some sort of satisfactory ending like a shiny new toy. But today, it’s like I didn’t have time to buy wrapping paper. So here it is, in a paper bag, the price tag still hanging off the side. I don’t have an easy way to end this post because I am still grieving for a perception of myself that is now gone. Maybe next time I will have had a revelation, good news, a shiny new toy. But for now all I have to give is the truth, and it isn’t pretty. ~Davs

Image by Davs at http://www.Davs.Etsy.com

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Mental Health

Being OK With Being OK

  

I’ve been ashamed of myself, for months, maybe longer. Ashamed because I have not lived up to the person I thought I was going to be by this time, after making some life changes a little over a year ago.

It’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror and not find everything wrong, when you are disappointed in yourself. Guilt, I have too much. Emotional issues I believed had been laid to rest, reawakened, unexpected, like fast zombies, because we all know zombies are supposed to be slow.

I am ok though. I am managing. I’m not on top of the world. But I am not at the bottom. I guess being bipolar for over twenty years has left me confused as to what it is to be ok. Before the medication, before the therapist, before the psychiatrist, before I began seeking help for my mood swings, it was either or and no inbetweens. Either singing from proverbial hilltops, or swinging from a metaphorical noose.

What it is to be OK, I am learning only now. Learning to be OK with being OK? That’s where I fall. I’m supposed to be this great mom, artist, friend, writer, individual who breaks glass ceilings. I’m supposed to have an active social life, always adding to my contacts, painting soup bowls for charity. Never sweat pants, never three days with no shower, never sitting alone in a stairwell crying because I can’t come to terms with just being OK. Just here, living, breathing. 

But here, this is the thing, I am here, I’m alive, I’m breathing and I’ve got to learn to be OK with not always being on top of my game. What good does it do me to pick myself apart? So what? So what if my art isn’t selling right now? So what if I didn’t take an extra two minutes to apply mascara today? So yeah, maybe I’m not wearing a cape and scaling buildings. But why did I ever think I was supposed to be a superhero? This isn’t a movie. Nobody can be great all the time. I catch a voice inside me saying “at least you knew how you felt before. Not like this, where nothing is extreme” I admit, being medicated has been a journey. Nobody wants to want to die, but when you find yourself always at the extreme end of a feeling there is some comfort in knowing exactly how you feel. Not having that intense emotion all the time leaves me confused, to be honest. Am I happy? I’m not laughing hysterically. Am I sad? I’m not making plans to kill myself. I mean, that is strange, right? That I don’t know that I’m OK. That I have to remind myself that I’m OK.

Please don’t misunderstand this: I’m glad I got help. I’m glad for this. This new reality of being OK. But it’s new to me, and alarming at times. It confuses me, it leaves me a lot of room for thought. Before I got help, very little thought was put into some of my biggest life decisions. And I paid dearly for that. I was so fervent in whatever opinion, or feeling, or belief I had, before I got help, that I missed out on a valid reality; just breathing, just being alive, just being here. My dreams come from that time in my life, I like to call it the ‘Hot Air Balloon Era’ and they are so big, I’m embarrassed to tell you. And maybe a big part of what makes this new reality of simply being OK, so hard. Because the urgency of my emotions did not have time to just be OK.

Yes, I am not winning any marathons. But I’m not burning any bridges either, and I need to appreciate it.

I am here, I’m alive, I’m breathing.

I’m here, I’m alive, I’m breathing.

I’m here, I’m alive, I’m breathing.

You have to admit, there’s something very beautiful about that.

~Davs 2015

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Mental Health

Please Stay *talking about suicide

It’s sad when people so quickly say that suicide is selfish. People looking to take their own lives are suffocating internally. Often they convince themselves that the world would be better without them. They are victims of lies believed, fed by negative messages coming everywhere from society, abuse, depression, themselves, and even bullied in. But not selfish.

My step brother killed himself 13 years ago. How my whole family and I wish he had reached out before choosing a permanent “solution” to a temporary problem. The easy thing would be to call him selfish, because I’m still here, and have witnessed the repeated tidal waves of pain he caused in all that love him. But I will never blame a victim. I miss you Christopher. Your pictures sit by our family’s photos in our parent’s living room, but you never will. And it breaks my heart over and over.

Dear Reader,

Please, if you think the world would be better off without you, understand that you are needed and wanted to be here. If you are suffering, know that you are not alone. Realize that no matter how low you feel, there is always tomorrow. Recognize that if you take your life today, tomorrow won’t have a chance. If you are sinking, know that there is help and hope. Please be aware that someone does care, even people that you don’t even know care. You only get one life. Please stay.

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Mental Health

Agoraphobia

  

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