Saturday, January 29, 2011

Quotes from the Borderline

"Borderline individuals are the psychological equivalent of third-degree-burn patients. They simply have, so to speak, no emotional skin. Even the slightest touch or movement can create immense suffering."

University of Washington
 psychologist Marsha Linehan

Friday, January 28, 2011


No real post today. My anxiety is too high. And my focus is diverted.

I have an interview with one of the most renowned Research & Development Laboratories in the country today. That I've even been considered for the position is rather an honour.  I've spent the entire day yesterday and today going over my resume, interview questions and answers, reviewing and working on applicable technology. I've known about and researched this facility for a long time. I am as prepared as I can be, but I still feel like there's more I should do. That I haven't prepped enough. How much can you really prep for something like this though. I know my stuff, I know myself and I'm willing to put in whatever effort I need to in order to meet the qualifications for this job.

To date, I've never been turned down for a position that I've applied and interviewed for. I have no illusions about this opportunity though and I know how competitive this field is. If nothing else, it will be good to get back into the swing of the interview process. Here's hoping though.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Body Dysmorphia

Lack of Control. Destruction of my sense of self. It all translates into a perceived physical manifestation. For me this is body dysmorphia. What you see, is not what I see. I’ve been told over and over what wonderful shape I’m in, how great my body is, how beautiful, how this, how that… and I smile politely and say ‘thank you’. If I’m having a particularly good day, I may even believe the compliment. Or I should say, I do believe that whomever is telling me these things believes it, I, however do not see it. If I’m not having a good day, the voice in the back of my head finds ulterior motives for such compliments. Especially if they come from men – as a means to get into my pants, or get something else from me. I know I don’t look so good, how could someone else really believe what they’re saying, they must want something. Maybe it’s a little paranoid.

You may see someone pretty. All I see are my flaws. I can’t see myself as a whole picture most days. I see pieces in a shattered mirror, amplified, multiplied until that’s all that is in focus. If everything isn’t perfect, the whole picture is flawed. And nothing is ever perfect unless I am in control. Control of my body, my body image, is key. If I can control what I eat, how good my work outs are, they manifest physically into a very lovely physical result. My hard work is rewarded with results I can see and I feel wonderful for the accomplishment. If I slip a little, indulge just a bit too much, I see it the next day, amplified grotesquely. All I can do is obsess over what I must do to correct what I’ve done to myself. All the while hiding from those around me so they won’t see my shame in what I’ve done as my anxiety rages out of control. How I’ve lost control.

Everything is about control.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Intolerance to aloneness…

I hate it. I need it. I constantly feel alone, cut off from the world around me. Being in close proximity to those that care about me is one of the few things that actually helps me feel connected. If I’m with people, in their physical presence, I know they haven’t forgotten about me because I’m right there with them. Of course, they don't actually forget about me when I'm not with them, but this goes back to my problems with object constancy. Out of sight, out of mind.

One of my greatest weaknesses is simple, human, contact. Sitting close, holding hands, laying with someone, especially sex. It’s hard to feel alone when there is a physical connection between me and someone else. 

This doesn’t always help though. The problem is, even when I’m surrounded by good friends, I often can’t relax or connect. The worst feelings is being in a room a people, and still feeling alone.

Sometimes I seek out bigger and bigger crowds. I go to massive costuming events in the city. Allow myself to get swept up in the frenzy of masquerade and merriment, dancing and drinks. When I’m in costume I feel more comfortable in my own skin. So many strangers, I don’t have to pretend. The feeling of disconnection from the people around me is normal because I don't actually know any of the people around me. Match. I can let go, release all inhibitions and act out. The noise and music so loud it drowns out the constant racing in my mind. Sheer, beautiful distraction from the mundane. 

It’s odd for me. Giant crowds of strangers don’t usually bother me as much as big groups of people I’m closer to. Strangers have no expectations of me. I can’t disappoint them because they have no preconceived thoughts of me. Groups of friends though, the pressure to not be melancholy or whatever I’m feeling can be oppressive.

Often I can’t face being with people at all. Too many people when I’m already in an anxious state can be overwhelming for me. I feel others emotions, constant volley of conversation, voices raised each a little louder to be heard over another, too much, too much, too much stimulus. I feel like I’m drowning in a crush of sensation. And then there are the eyes. When my body image isn’t perfect, I feel like every eye is gazed in judgment of my flaws. Every innocuous conversation directed at me is a way to focus everyone’s attention on me, malicious, drawing unwanted attention to my imperfections. I can’t stand to have everyone looking at me, I don’t want to be surrounded, but I can’t bring myself to leave. I sit there in a haze of conflicting thoughts, wanting to be unseen but not wanting to be left alone.

I often refuse to not be alone. If I haven’t already put myself in the position to be surrounded by people, the thought of that social pressure is too much. Just the thought of people looking at me, judging my body, it’s unbearable.

 If I could be with people blinded by burlap sacks I would feel infinitely better. I wouldn’t have to worry about my physical failings, because what you see, is not what I see….

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Asshattery in the work place...

Ok, my tolerance for bullshit is pretty low. It should be pretty clear by now that I have to work on maintaining emotional control, which I do admirably 9 times out of 10. I am also incredibly intelligent. I have my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a one of the more difficult fields of Engineering. I work in a professional environment. Supposedly.

I have about hit my tolerance level when it comes to dealing with the Good Ole Boys douchebaggery around here.

 Old boss: Young guy, kinda decent looking. Hit on me relentlessly. We had a teleconference in his office one day. After the meeting and it was just me and him left in the room he confided in me that he was super drunk, having just gotten in from lunch at a local bar. I was shockface for a minute but recovered with, "Man your day has been more fun than mine." 
Old boss: "Yeah {he} had two Long Islands and two black and whites, definitely a little buzzed, didn't get back to the office til 2:30p".
Me: "Yep, your day, still better than mine"
Old boss: "Well you should come have a drink with me after work, what time you leaving?"
Me: "4p, but I can't drink."
Old boss:"Can't, or won't?"
Me: "Can't, just started new meds. Can't have alcohol." I did state this in a manner that it would be assumed I was physically ill, not mentally ill.
Old boss:"Why would that matter?"
Me: "Because alcohol reduces the effectiveness of medication."
Old boss:"Psh no it doesn't, come have a drink with me after work."
Me: "No, really, I can't."
Old boss: "Yes, you can, you just don't want to and don't want to tell me."
Me: "You're right, I don't want to.But also, I can't. "
Old boss:"I've been asking you for weeks to come out to lunch with us and you never do."
Me: "I know (over exaggerated sigh) I'm such a pain in the ass."
Old boss:"So, come out tonight."
Me: "I don't want to come out tonight."
Old boss: "Man, you're flat out rejecting me, don't you think I"m cute? You're gonna be bad for my ego." (He is pretty cute btw).
Me: "I don't believe in ego."
Old boss: "You should still come out tonight.  Tell you what, if you can't drink, let me buy you dinner, and we'll discuss it over food. Then maybe get a drink later."
Me: "I'm gonna go to the gym actually. I need to run."
Old boss:"Psh, I was a personal trainer before this I could train you (I don't doubt this), then we could grab food after."
Me: "Haha, Working out helps me clear my head, it's something I usually do alone."
Old boss:"Well you'll definitely need food after working out."
{Insert tiny snipped of conversation about how we both cook}.
Old boss:"Tell you what, we'll go get dinner, I buy drinks, and I"ll make you breakfast in the morning? What do you like, pancakes? eggs?"
Me: "Um, I don't eat eggs, and no?"
....and for the next ten minutes it was back and forth.
Finally I mentioned that oh btw the report he gave this morning to do would be done first thing in the morning and I had to go.
By the time I walked 50 feet to my office I had an e-mail:
Old boss:: U buy me dinner I make u breakfast …that sound like a great deal. I can work out with you I am a gym Nazi
Me: You’re persistent I’ll give ya that. I’m not going out tonight, haha.
Old boss:: If u wanna do dinner and no drink call me XXX XXX XXXX.

Gee, why don't I think he wants to go out in order to discuss my engineering acuity? For the next few days my inbox would sporadically come up with more appeals to go out with him. Finally I told him, look I have a lot going on, ease off, I don’t want to deal with that for now. Kudos for me for not taking out this guys knees. Though to his … he did back off and office life returned to good natured joking around and fun. Eventually he got a better job and quit.

Enter New Boss. I am highly productive and efficient. New boss likes to micromanage things. He likes to change things just to exert his new found bossly power. Guess how well I’m interested in complying with bullshit demands? Zero. That’s how much. He was determined that I should switch my desk from my nice quiet office (with 3 other very decent guys) to the open desk area where he is which is noisy, filled with obnoxious people, and I actually heard of the other engineers scream at the other woman that works over there. I politely gave him a paragraph of perfect logical and well thought out reasons why this would hinder my productivity and make my performance at work less efficient. He said I still should just move. I said no. He then sent his boss over to talk to me. I told him the same thing. He told me to think about it but didn’t push. I didn’t hear anything more for a few days so naturally I assumed I won. Then on Monday he comes in and this is the conversation we had:

New Boss: So you ready to switch sides yet?
Me: No.
New Boss:Well come over, pick a spot and we can move your stuff over soon.
New Boss:I’m just going to take that as a ‘yes’. Women always mean ‘yes’ when they say ‘no’.
Me:(as he’s walking out the door) Or no means no.

Seriously? Who says shit like that in a professional environment? Who says that in any environment other than rapists and child molesters? This is not the 1950’s. Fuck this shit. I’m sick of it. I have yet to go to HR, but if he harasses me one more time, I’m done. I think I deserve a metal for not smashing his face into MY desk and wrapping the office phone cord around his neck. Furious. Grr.

Monday, January 24, 2011

What causes BPD? Linehan Theory - Part 4

Continuing my 4 Part series of Dr. Linehan’s theory I’ll now explore Unremitted crisis vs. Inhibited grief.

Unremitted crisisuninterrupted; constant, unpardoned (as a sin) feeling that a condition of instability or danger leading to a decisive change which the trend of all future events, esp. for better or for worse, is determined by a dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person’s life. Steadily maintained.

Ok, yes. Especially with my depression and trying to hold onto the thought that people care about me and aren’t going to leave, I always feel like I’m struggling to hold on. Everything feels dire or like there’s impending doom whether it’s externally perceived or battling my own internal thoughts and feelings. I NEED to understand what’s happening and what’s more I need those that care for me to understand, intervene, be there for me to lean on if I need.

What’s more I often feel like people won’t forgive me for any small infraction. I get worked up if I’ve done anything wrong and have a nearly fatalistic attitude that people will walk out of my life. Dissolving in a puddle of self doubt until I can prove that I am not a bad person. Again, this has to do with my inability to believe that one action does not negate all previous actions. That people take me as a whole series of our interactions not just single episodes. I can’t say this is completely unjustified though. I have had people, people that I was very close too, walk out of my life at the first infraction (however big), or once a single mistake was made all further actions were then in question and I was made to feel like I wouldn’t be forgiven no matter what I did to make up for it. While this may be true, it’s not entirely unjustified, but now it permeates my experiences with people.

Fortunately my current apartment and roommate are a safe haven for me, I have some reprieve from the constant upheaval. Some, not always, but it’s at least a calm environment.

Inhibited grief – to restrain, hinder, arrest, or check keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.

Definitely. I’m at constant odds whether I have a right to feel the way I do about any given situation. I don’t understand what I’m allowed to expect or what I deserve from other people so I constantly question whether my emotional responses are appropriate. Do people really owe me anything? What can I actually expect of them? What do I deserve from people when I need help? Do I have a right to impinge on their time and divert their attention from what they were doing? Especially if it’s from a loss. I’m sure things are often my fault, guilt, and I don’t know if I have the right to believe/expect that others should work things out with me. If I don’t have the right, then my feelings aren’t justified and I need to hold them in. But when I know something isn’t entirely my fault, I feel absolutely no remorse if the contributing party isn’t willing to communicate with me. Black or white.

I may want to pursue the topic, push someone to work things through with me but I restrain myself for feeling like I have no right to do so. I hold back and wait. Which only causes me to get more anxious and allows my thoughts to wander down all the possibilities that may be going through their minds and often come to the worst conclusions in my own mind. I feel the loss, sadness, over something that hasn’t even occurred yet. Or may never occur at all. I can’t quiet the distress that it creates and suffer for it in silence being unable to decide if I’m allowed to pursue a solution just to make myself feel better. Then I regret not being able to rectify whatever it was that occurred. This cycles back to making myself feel guilty for something that may or may not be my fault.
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