Saturday, March 5, 2011

Rage of the Fallen

I hate these days. I’ve been angry, intensely angry, for the last couple days. Today it just kept compounding. 

Usually running helps. Endorphins are a wonder. Which is why I started my Saturday morning at 7a.m. with them. That only lasted long enough for me to get so frustrated with lack of planning that I cancelled going into the city. Which was the only reason I didn’t let myself sleep in for one of the few days it’s even possible.

What's the best way to perk yourself up when you wake up to a continued seething fury? If you said 'Go Shopping', you'd be dead wrong, but I did it anyways. I went from pissed of to murderously homicidal over the span of 4.5 hours. Holy fuck I hate the mall. Also, there are no shoes. Anywhere. Seriously, it's like pre-Spring pops around and all real shoes disappear into a vortex of professional seasons past. I went into approximately 3000 shoe stores and found nothing. All shoes are sandals, open toed, or stiletto hooker shoes that won't do me any good at this particular job. Though I’m sure they’d leave an impression. Probably in someone’s fucking forehead.

On the other hand I did get a couple new work shirts and the most expensive shirt and pair of under tanks I've ever bought, EVER, at J.Crew. And not that I'm complaining but how is '0' a size? 

Gotta say though, it doesn't suck when you have enough money to not bother looking at price tags. 

And if I needed another reminder for why I never want kids. People are slow moving, inconsiderate, rude and pay absolutely no attention to the children they  turn loose to scream like banshees as if the mall was their own personal demonic Chuck E. fucking Cheez. 

It all Friends doing, or lack of doing. My therapist thinks I’m still grieving and I’ve just passed into the angry stage of the grieving process. Stage? I’ve never NOT been angry about this.  I’m not ready to say what I need to yet, but I will when the time is right. In the mean time it’s all I can do to not tell him to piss off and leave me the fuck alone for one fucking day. And then GF keeps harping on me. I tell her I’m pissed off and don’t want to see anyone and she tries to tell me she’s sick and afraid and wants to get sushi with me tomorrow. I’m off food until the Sci-Fi convention in two weeks = no sushi. BTW, I’m fucking RAGING and she wants sympathy?!? Genius.

I want to rage and scream, beat the shit out of something or have the angriest sex possible. I have nothing to focus on. Nowhere to direct this. Frustrated and furious.

I just hope it burns me out so I’m exhausted enough to sleep for a change. In the mean time, that’s what Xanax is for.  Try to contain it. Hope it will pass. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Borderline Geekery...

"Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose." ~Jedi Master Yoda

What bullshit. This is why I'm Sith. I wrap myself in the thing I fear to lose, the intensity pulsing through everything I am, and fight to hold on with a death grip.

Peace is a lie. There is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.

                                             - The Sith Code

**Oh yeah, I'm a Star Wars geek. Don't judge.**

Quotes from the Borderline

“Expectations destroy our peace of mind, don’t they? They’re future disappointments planned out in advance.” 

–from A Place of Hiding by Elizabeth George

Social and Cultural Factors: Origins of BPD

Back to the theories of John G. Gunderson… 

Social and Cultural Factors

Evidence shows that borderline personality is found in about 1 -2% of the population. There may be societal and cultural factors which contribute to variations in its prevalence. A society which is fast-paced, highly mobile, and where family situations may be unstable due to divorce, economic factors, or other pressures on the caregivers, may encourage development of this disorder.

I've already mentioned the percentage of the population that is suspected to have BPD. That the pervasiveness in our society has to do with the failings of society itself is interesting. With fear of abandonment, separation, instability, inability to attach, emotional upheaval … it’s easy to see how society could influence this. Especially if the numbers of BPD have increased exponentially or in a manner disproportionate to that of normal population growth. With the destruction of the typical nuclear family, both parents in the work force, constant moving to accommodate a moving job market… all make it difficult for children to find stability. I don’t think this is enough though. Just as many people with BPD are abuse victims, more than that number have suffered abuse and don’t develop personality disorders at all. A society that expects more, pushes harder, is more likely to adversely affect those with the predisposition for BPD (or other personality disorders), but I don’t think it’s enough to say that it is a primary cause. The pace and change in society is not new, it’s on going and ever present and millions, if not billions of people deal with it every day. I do think that if the predisposition for BPD exists that these things could certainly contribute, but I don’t think they are a cause in and of itself.

Aside:  It makes me wonder about the military brats in particular. I wonder if there is a higher discrepancy in the military community for BPD than in regular society.  It would be an interesting study in ratios if it could be done. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Perpetual first impressions

No calm acceptance. The feeling of dread never goes away.

I can be friends with someone for so long, years, but there’s never a quiet comfort. At least not one that lasts. Moments sure. Hours, sometimes. Something always creeps back. Doubt. Fear.

Always feel like I’m intruding into someone else’s life. Never sure if I’m wanted. Never quite sure if our relationship has changed or stayed the same. Reading too much into the subtle variations of each encounter. Everyone has off days, everyone has behaviors that change a bit, vary from mood or stress or some extraneous factor. For me, it feels like these things happen as a direct result of something I did or as a reaction to me. Did I say something wrong? Did I do something offensive? Is he mad? Does she not want to be as close to me now? These things probably did not happen as a result of something I did (or didn’t do), but I feel like it has, fear it. There’s never a constant, steady feeling of acceptance. Everything is dependent on the last meeting, the moment before. There’s a constant second guessing of Self. When so many things can go wrong, be taken wrong, how can you be secure that people don’t see each instance the way you do. But they don’t. At least, I don’t think they do. Friend told me I was a little more ‘verbally assertive’ the other night. I’d had a few too many drinks and had let down my usual filters. I asked him if that was a polite way of saying I was a bitch? He didn’t respond b/c I think he took it as a rhetorical question but now I worry that I won’t be invited over, that his wife will make things more difficult for me. Forget all the things I’ve ever done for them (watched their daughter when she was in the hospital, cleaned their house, made countless meals and desserts for them, etc.).  It all feels dependent on that one thing.

Like a perpetual first impression.

I’ve been best friends with Friend for almost a year, known him for years longer, and I can’t hold onto the belief that our relationship is stable. That it’s as strong or as close as it used to be. Even though aspects of it are changing, I can’t imagine that it doesn’t mean things will be less meaningful.  We were talking about ‘middle ground’ friends, having friendships with people that aren’t close confidants, but not held at arm’s length either. The whole time I was wondering if he still held me as a close confidant, wanting reassurance of this, and fearing that new middle ground friends would detract from our friendship.  I didn’t ask for this reassurance, this validation of the closeness of our friendship, mostly because I realize how incredibly annoying it is for people to constantly repeat this. Especially when he does randomly remind me that I’m his closest or dearest friend. I want it though.  More reassurance. Validation to calm inner voice for another few minutes. There’s no quiet slip into comfortable familiarity.

There are still times when I want more beyond our friendship, mostly because I see this as some kind of savior from my turbulence, but I wonder, would it really change anything? I have never had relationships where I didn’t second guess my thoughts and behaviors, didn’t obsess over the multitude of potential meanings from the words and actions of others (with one recent exception but I think I was already so tired of the emotional turmoil she put me through that I couldn’t care anymore).  Or if I didn’t constantly worry, I quickly became bored.

Can I have a comfortable familiarity without losing my interest? Without that hint of fear and anxiety gripping my heart and making me worry about losing someone, would I care as much at all if they left? Once that calm sets in, I no longer need to be there. I begin to look for other avenues of entertainment.

The fear makes me crave it. The comfort makes me tire of it. It’s impossible to just settle in.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Psychological Factors: Origins of Borderline Personality Disorder

Some of this information is a bit repeat-o from things I’ve mentioned previously, but I feel it’s important to provide the findings of various experts on the subject of BPD as it is all relevant and useful. So continuing on with the theories of John G. Gunderson M.D…. 

Psychological Factors

Like most other mental illnesses, Borderline Personality Disorder does not appear to originate during a specific, discrete phase of development. Recent studies have suggested that pre-borderline children fail to learn accurate ways to identify feelings or to accurately attribute motives in themselves and others (often called failures of “mentalization”). Such children fail to develop basic mental capacities that constitute a stable sense of self and make themselves or others understandable or predictable. 

One important theory has emphasized the critical role of an invalidating environment. This occurs when a child is led to believe that his or her feelings, thoughts and perceptions are not real or do not matter. About 70% of people with BPD report a history of physical and/or sexual abuse. Childhood traumas may contribute to symptoms such as alienation, the desperate search for protective relationships, and the eruption of intense feelings that characterize BPD. Still, since relatively few people who are physically or sexually abused develop the borderline disorder (or any other psychiatric disorder), it is essential to consider temperamental disposition. Since BPD can develop without such experiences, these traumas are not sufficient or enough by themselves to explain the illness. Still, sexual or other abuse can be the “ultimate” invalidating environment. Indeed, when the abuser is a caretaker, the child may need to engage in splitting (denying feelings of hatred and revulsion in order to preserve the idea of being loved). Approximately 30% of people with BPD have experienced early parental loss or prolonged separation from t heir parents, experiences believed to contribute to the Borderline patient’s fears of abandonment.

People with BPD frequently report feeling neglected during their childhood. Sometimes the sources for this sense of neglect are not obvious and might be due toa  sense of not being sufficiently understood. Patients often report feeling alienated or disconnected from their families. Often they attribute the difficulties in communication to their parents. However, the BPD individual’s impaired ability to describe and communicate feelings or needs, or resistance to self-disclosure may be a significant cause of the feelings of neglect and alienation.

Persons who have been adopted are statistically more likely to develop BPD than the general population. Adopted children often fantasize that their “real” biological parents could have and would have protected them from the frustrations and hurts they have experienced. Indeed, the hope and belief that if only such idealized and nurturing caregivers could be found, then life’s problems would be solved, is central to what BPD patients (whether adopted or not) pursue in relationships with others.

I can NOT attest to physical or sexual abuse when I was a child. But as mentioned in this post I have very strong, distinct memories of having my feelings and accomplishments invalidated. Also the ‘traumatic’ experience of thinking my mother abandoned me when she was in the hospital giving birth to my brother. For many years following this though, I didn’t see my mother much. My parents believed that one of them should ALWAYS be home with us so my dad worked days, and my mom worked nights. Subsequently when my mom was home, she’d be asleep, and when she would wake up it would then be time for me to go to bed. So I didn’t get to see her very much until high school and I had a greater attachment to my father, who was not the most adept with an emotionally challenged daughter. I was often expected to respond like a boy would respond; no emotions, no crying, suck it up, deal. With my mom so often being absent during my weekdays, I didn’t really have a chance to learn to express or deal with my emotions properly. I felt the need to suppress part of myself, couldn’t relate to myself, or my dad. I definitely don’t think he understood what I needed. Hell, I still don’t think he understands what I need emotionally, but I’ve since given up trying.

My problems with this may have started with my parents, but they relationships and friendships I developed when I became older certainly did not help. My splitting developed in much stronger ways once I was older. Probably starting around the time I was 13, and amplifying steadily through high school and especially over the last few years.

I’m intrigued by the adoption theory. I can easily see how this would manifest in adopted children. Especially when I was a teenager I used to WISH that I was adopted. I had these same fantasies that I might be adopted and my real parents might actually understand me, might actually care enough to fix me, could actually save me from myself. Of course this wasn’t the case. I’m not adopted. What’s more? I actively refused help and pushed away anyone prohibiting the possibility that someone might understand me.

It’s odd writing about this some days. I have these very clear memories, but writing them down, writing about them, seems so clinical. Like it wasn’t me that went through this, I just watched someone else that looked like me go through it all.  Recording objectively. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Inborn Biogenetic Temperaments: Origins of Borderline Personality Disorder

There is not one thing that leads to the development of BPD. Nature vs. Nurture, Psychological Factors, Social and Cultural Factors, Pathology… these things and more lead to the presentation of a Borderline Personality Disorder. I’m going to start looking into these things, take a more in depth look as some of the influencing considerations.  

In an article called A BPD Brief by John G. Gunderson, M.D. he talks about the Inborn Biogenetic Temperaments that lead to the development of BPD.

The degree to which Borderline Personality Disorder is caused by inborn factors called the “level of heritability” is estimated to be 68%. This is about the same as for bipolar disorder. What is believed to be inherited is not the disorder, per se, but the biogenetic dispositions, temperaments. Specifically, BPD can develop only in those children who are born with one or more of the three underlying temperaments or phynotypes: 

1.) Affect dysregulation
2.) Impulsivity
3.) Disturbed attachments 

Such temperaments represent an individual’s predisposition to emotionality, impulsivity, or relationship problems. For children with these temperaments, environmental factors can then significantly delimit or exacerbate these inborn traits.

Many studies have shown that disorders of emotional regulation or impulsivity are disproportionateloy higher in relatives of BPD patients. The affect/emotion temperament predisposes individuals to being easily upset, angry, depressed, and anxious. The impulsivity temperament predisposes individuals to act without thinking of the consequences, or even to purposefully seek dangerous activities. The disturbed attachment temperament probably starts with extreme sensitivity to separations or rejections. Another theory has proposed that patients with BPD are born with excessive aggression which is genetically based (as opposed to being environmental in origin). A child born with a placid or passive temperament would be unlikely to ever develop BPD.

Normal neurological function is needed for such complex tasts as impulse control, regulation of emotions, and perception of social cues. Studies of BPD patients have identified an increased incidence of neurological dysfunctions, often subtle, that are discernible on close examination. The largest portion of the brain is the cerebrum, the upper section, where information is interpreted coming in from the senses, and from hich conscious thoughts and voluntary movements are thought to emanate. Preliminary studies have found that individuals with BPD have a diminished serotonergic response to stimulation in these areas of the cerebrum and that the lower levels of brain activity may promote impulsive behavior. The limbic system, located at the center of the brain, is sometimes thought of as “the emotional brain”, and consists of the amygdale,  hippocampus, thalamus, hypothalamus, and parts of the brain stem. There is evidence that the volume of the amgydala and hippocampus portions of the brain, so critical for emotional functioning, are smaller in those with BPD. It is not clear whether such neurological irregularities have either genetic or environmental sources.

In summary, research indicates that individuals who have difficulty with impulse control and aggression have reduced levels of activity in t heir brains in a number of key locations. It is theorized that in personas with BPD, mild to moderate impairments in severl systems result in “errors” in the gathering, dissemination, and interpretations of data, and they are consequently more likely to respond with acts of impulsivity or aggression.

Can’t say as I have any arguments against this one. It seems pretty natural that someone with an emotional regulation problem would have the inborn genetics that predispose them to not regulate their emotions well.
I manage to fall into all 3 of the phenotype classes. Some more than others.

Affect dysregulation: Check.  My constant depression and anxiety aside, my temper flares, small things that any normal person would dismiss, bury themselves deep under my skin, set my fury on fire, I can’t let go of the thoughts and actions (intentional or not) that hurt me, and sink me into a murky mental grave. Every. Single. Thing… seems to affect me. Unless I go numb, shut myself off from the world, the people in my world, I can’t escape the barrage of sensations that affect my mood. I won’t say this is all the time,  I do manage to have short periods of times, sometimes a few days at a time, that are stable and okay, where my thoughts and moods don’t run away with me, but in the end, these don’t last.

Impulsivity temperament: Check.  I’m not so much with the not thinking about consequences. I can’t not think about consequences. I think about everything. I analyze things to death. Every path, every permutation, I think about it. Now ask me if that stops me. Not usually. I know the dangers, and I do it anyways. I’m too smart to ignore the consequences, but not smart enough to stop myself from pursuing the dangers, or maybe not smart enough to force myself to care about the consequences. I throw myself into things, the dangerous and the safe, the helpful and the harmful. I take it all in, until it all wears me out.

Disturbed attachment: Check.  Extreme sensitivity to separations and rejections. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of being afraid of rejection, not being able to please my father with my coloring, not being good enough, worrying that my mother wouldn’t come home from the hospital because no one told me she wouldn’t be gone forever.  These things are so small, so innocuous, I can’t imagine my reactions to these were normal. Who fears their father will stop loving them, or be gripped with anger, anxiety, and disappointment because a picture was ‘ruined’?  I had good parents that love me a lot, I don’t think they ever meant me any harm or intentional hurt, yet even in my earliest memories I read so much hurt and anxiety into the things that rocked my little world. I don’t believe it was anything they tried to do to me.

So , do I believe that my BPD is based, at least in part, to inborn traits? Yes, yes I do.

That’s not to say that the events and environments in my life didn’t contribute and exacerbate my problems. There’s no denying that. I can’t help but wonder though, if I wasn’t predisposed to feel, react, the way I do, would all these things ever have affected me the way they did? Still do?

Maybe I’m just hoping that there can be a genetic marker to pin point the brain dysfunction. If there’s a biological indicator, than there’s potential for a medical ‘cure’. Something that can be done to regulate those parts of the brain that don’t function to normal levels. I’m not sure you can actually cure a ‘personality’ {disorder}, but if there’s a genetic factor, than there’s possibly some scientific tinkering to help. I have a lot of faith in science (ß--- Irony).

Monday, February 28, 2011


Posting this week may be a little off. Started the new job today. Full 8 hours of orientation.

I slept zero last night. None. I woke up everything 15-20 minutes to check my clock to make sure the alarm was set and that I hadn't slept through it. Once I was up my brain started whirring about personal brain crazy and wouldn't calm down enough to let me relax. When I did manage to doze off I had nightmares about getting up late, being late for work, and time suddenly becoming non-linear. Bloody f-ing subconscious. As if I'm not anxious enough when I'm awake, it has to overlap into my sleep. Gimme a break please.

I drank coffee today. That's how exhausted I was. I hate coffee. Hate. It tastes like dirt and awful. Needed caffeine. I don't care what anyone says. I'd rather do a triathlon than sit through videos and mindless droning all day. I'm not built to sit still like that.

So, in summation. I'll try to resume more normal posting tomorrow evening. Good night everyone. 
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