Saturday, March 19, 2011

Self destructive impulse

I just don’t know how to be alone some days. I know. Shut it. 

I’ve been kind of a hermit lately. Off the grid sort of anti-social. I’m always around people at work and my roommate is always here in the evening so it’s not like I’m really alone. Might not be talking or anything but I still feel her presence. 

My roommate is gone for the weekend. I hate being alone in the apartment for long periods of time.

I take for granted that she’s around so much. I take for granted the affect that having her here has on me.

I don’t always recognize how it affects me though. Or that it does in the first place. Like Thursday.

She was gone Thursday. I got home from therapy, was alternately very frustrated b/c of my therapist and increasingly hypomanic. Left alone to my own devices I make mildly irresponsible (destructive) decisions. I’ve been trying to drink less, but I mixed myself a drink and a half.  This lead to me just being more hyper and prolific. Also hungrier. I’ve been very, very good about watching what I eat, but I completely binged. Being bulimic you can imagine what followed that. I haven’t done that in many months. Everything goes so fast. From start to finish not a second to stop and think.  Roommate came home eventually and I basically hid myself away after that, didn’t say anything, but she was home and I just felt better. 

Last night Roommate said she’d see me in a couple days, headed out and I went about my evening.  I went to Friends, which was only mildly uncomfortable for me. He had sort of a non-stop  need to fill the silence chatter going on which is unusual. I was mostly sleepy. I didn’t really have any great need to stay but I didn’t want to come home. I hate coming back to an empty apartment. Meh. It’s too quiet. Too empty. My room is too isolated. I can’t hear if anyone gets in our not. I pull my comforter out into the living room and crash on the couch. Ever since I was little, in high school, through college, if my brother or sister were gone for the night/weekend I always sleep in the living room where I can hear better if someone tries to get in. It’s more open and lived in. Meh. IDK. It just feels safer. 

Woke up this morning. Really hard to even pull myself to a sitting position. I just wanted to stay curled up.  I went to the gym. Came back. Empty apartment. I just feel, hollow. I know I could call people and make plans, but I’m already turning inward. Day already feels too long. There’s too much time to fill and I have no thoughts for how to fill it. I just want this low level anxiety to calm down. My psychiatrist doesn’t prescribe anti-anxietals and I need a new PCP so I’m out of Xanax. Pour myself a drink instead. 

I even told Friend that I didn’t think that I quit the drinking thing. I could see my fingers moving just for a reaction, any reaction, attention, but then I just got annoyed upon getting a response. Not about what the response was, just that he texted me back. I was more annoyed at myself for bothering to text him.  
One drink turns into half a bottle of wine. Turns into eating to soak up the alcohol, turns into freaking out about how many calories I’ve consumed, but I’ve already fucked up this much and it’s actually easier to get rid of everything if I’m filled to capacity so I make myself everything else I want. My wine is awful (that’s what I get for listening to the lady at the liquor store), switch to Jameson while I cook so the alcohol absorbs into my bloodstream while my stomach is still relatively empty. Vodka, wine, whiskey…. Bingeing on everything I have in the apartment (which admittedly isn’t all that much), finally so full that it’s easy to get rid of everything. Release. Release  from the anxiety, my thoughts,  my loneliness, from an endless few hours of uncertainty, trying to figure out how to just get through them. The span of 3 hours from start to finish. Then sleep. 

My favorite part being the residual alcohol in my blood just makes me sleepy enough to pass out at 5pm for a  2 hour nap. Sleeping is the best thing for me. Unconscious time machine. Time passing faster when my eyes are closed. Can’t be lonely when you’re not conscious.

I am not very social lately. With the exception of the first year or two when I moved to NY, I’ve never been very social, but less so than usual lately. But I haven’t really been alone, alone, too often.  This sucks so much.

Being alone is intolerable, but I don’t want to leave, don’t want to go out either. It’s just as intolerable but in a different way.  Ugh. I went to Friends last night, which was fine as far as that went. I was surrounded by a bunch of engaging people. I just don’t know. I wasn’t alone, but I didn’t feel /with/ anyone either. I always feel separate. It’s better than actually being separate though. There’s just no winning. Alone. Not alone. Still alone. 

 I eat. I drink. To keep myself busy.  I know before I start this shit that it’s not healthy for me, but I can’t stop myself. I just keep going, feeling more and more guilty the further in I get.  I’m sure my therapist would say this is poor impulse control. I’ve been doing this too long. I know this is bad, but it doesn't feel bad. It feels normal, just another Saturday afternoon. That, is a problem.

I'm not even sure I can call it a relapse. Well the bulimic tendency, yes, but everything else? This is exactly what I’m working to stop, but it just seems like no matter how much work I do I still slip. I keep falling back into bad habits and screwing up. No one is perfect. I get that. I know there’s a certain amount of relapsing in the recovery process but I can’t help feeling like I’m not making any progress. Maybe I expect too much of myself. I’ve been dealing with this shit for so long, I just want it to be done. I want to feel better. At least, not crazy. I know I have to keep trying, keep working. Just because I have a couple bad days doesn’t mean everything is a wash. ::sigh:: Tomorrow is a new day. A new chance. I’ll just have to try to be better come morning.  

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ask and ye shall receive...

So it appears I have just passed the 100th real post mark! Quality of my blogging aside, I feel this is an accomplishment.

I've gotten a lot of really great feedback, kind words, encouragements and hard truths in my experience here so far and I'm thankful for all of it.

I do a lot of talking about stuff on my mind, so I thought I'd invite you to ask me about things on your mind. Questions about things that you're curious about... be it borderline, personal, quirky, kinky, or utterly random...  and I'll do my best to answer and post my responses.   

Thanks for reading and sticking it out with me so far.


 E-mail to:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Love or Obsession

Not a bad day at all.

Very productive day at work. Even though my mind kept flitting around. I’d start a design project, look back at the clock and it would be an hour later, my mind lost in day dreams and fantasy (you don’t want to know. Or maybe you do).

The night is winding down, or should be, and my energy is ramping up. 2 hours of sleep last night. Too little sleep. Too much energy. Too many thoughts. Too much to say. up, Up, UP. Everything moves too slow. Can't keep up with how my brain bounces back and forth. 

I think I finally tossed my therapist for a whirl tonight. She asked me about Friend and how I was dealing since I stopped talking to him. I’m fine. I freaked the hell out the night I released my thoughts to him and told him to stop contacting me. I woke up the next day, and everything was different. I felt practically nothing. For the next few days I didn’t look at my phone, didn’t turn on my instant messenger, didn’t worry, had no anxiety at all about not speaking to him. I felt almost at peace. By Friday I’d turned my IM back on but other than a few hours of mild anxiety knotting in my stomach for fear he’d IM me, I was fine. Though in all honesty I turned it on so he’d see me and remember me and know that it was my choice to not speak to him. Miss that, fucker.

Which apparently he did.

Finally started speaking to him again. I feel nothing. It’s familiar, but I have no hopeful anticipation. No missed longing. He told me flat out he still desires me the last time we spoke, but I made my choice and now I feel nothing in that regard. My therapist says she’s not questioning it. It’s pretty obvious I’ve dissociated from the entire thing, but in a way that is almost contented. Hey, it’s a defense mechanism, let it get defensive. As long as it works.

It’s so weird. I’ve been insane, emotionally wracked and destroyed. For months. I make a decision… and it’s done. Like breaking a spell.

This made me giggle
It makes me question: Do I fall in love? Or do I fall into obsession? 

My emotions are so extreme, so volatile. I can’t stop thinking about things, creating scenerios, paths that actions could take, how I want things to be, how they should be…. Convince myself that I’ll never be happy unless I have exactly that…. Until I no longer want it.

I think the uncertainty is the most maddening. With no clear decision, there is no clear way to be, to act, to identify. Lost in the confusion the madness takes hold and spins me down an endless spiral of depression and anxiety. In making a decision, I can regain my composure and sense of self.

It took me all of two days {less really} to remember that I don’t need him, or anyone else, to hold my hand and walk with me through this life.

It took me weeks, months (this after years), to remember that I would be fine without Evil-ex*** and I lived with him. I know my feelings for him were tragic but I was beside myself with fear and anxiety that I would be without him. My life was consumed with him and everything we did was entangled. More so that I would have to face him and not be with him. Until I remembered what life was like without him. Fun, easy, comfortable, not filled with tension and horrible, but it took some time. Maybe not much, a couple weeks, but there was a period of adjustment.

I was starting to feel this way with Friend, this fear of not having him. I finally forced myself away and as soon as I made the decision, it stopped. The craze, the madness, the rumination, the obsession. Gone. That there was no transition period, no getting used to this new state, no time of adjustment, and now no feeling... it's disconcerting.
Do I understand myself at all? If I shut down and turn off like this, were the things I felt before even real?

I have no personal attachments now. In a romantic/sexual sense. I’m calm. It’s not until I get involved, emotionally, with someone that it drives me crazy. I should take note of that.
My therapist was utterly thrown. I could see it in her eyes and the way she wavered. Especially when I actually said I wasn’t sure if I knew the difference between love and obsession. Sometimes I think she’s too positive. She wants the best for me, but maybe at the expense of seeing me as I really am. I haven’t been seeing her that long though. I’m just starting to really open up in ways she hasn’t seen yet.

She thinks now that I’m in therapy I’ll be able to make better choices into the future. That I’ll be able to learn from this. See the things I want, not settle for the things that I don’t. Choose the ones that are better for me. I told her I’ve seen these things before and yet… I still make shitty decisions. I still make the same mistakes. I want to see what I want to see, but it’s only a mirage. I need to be able to see what is actually there and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to.

I'm a little drunk currently, but I want to remember to look more into love vs. obsession later. 

*** Of course, he finally broke down and begged me to come back, which I did like a fool. Obsession goes both ways. 

St. Patrick can burn in hell

Wear green, get drunk, destroy indigenous cultures. Practically the founding ideologies of this country. Well maybe not the wear green part. Alright, here’s my issue. St. Patrick was a Roman Catholic that came to Ireland to prosthelytize the region. In a nut shell, spread the word of Christianity in order to wipe out the heathens (read: Banishing the snakes from the island).

What’s wrong with being a heathen anyways? I’m a heathen. My beliefs and ideologies pull from across the globe, but I’m still a heathen. I’m no fan of Christianity (or any of the big 3 monotheistic religions) but I don’t deny anyone’s right to follow them. I may not agree with someone’s beliefs but I do respect the fact that people believe different things.  
However, if you try to wipe out my beliefs, I will show you why you have no right to impinge on them and display your ignorance with a childlike glee. Granted, now I won’t get burned at the stake for it, which, to be fair, was a concern at the time. But, still. We’re celebrating the destruction of a culture and the annihilation of an ancient belief system. That, I do not respect. People don’t even bother to consider what it is they’re toasting to.
When do we get to celebrate Indian Assimilation Day where we all wear war paint, feathers and smoke it up?
Do holidays really have any real meaning in this country? Or are they just an excuse to gather and get drunk? 
I understand the desire for camaraderie (says the girl that doesn’t like to be left alone), but do we need to exploit it? When does the commercialization corrupt the ceremonial spirit?
When so many things are arbitrarily recognized, it detracts from those things that are worthy of note or cause. Diminishes and devalues what should really be important.
Nothing is sacred anymore. Then again, I guess everyone has a different idea of what is sacred. If your idea of sacred is green beer and puking up a Car Bomb… Cheers.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Social Adaptation: Conceptions of Borderline Personality Disorder - Part 5

Skipping around a bit. I may not do all the conceptions as presented by John G. Gunderson. Embarrassing impulsive behavior and abandonment issues are pretty done to death here and I just don't feel like doing it again.

- Poor social adaptation: in a way, borderlines tend not to know or understand the rules regarding performance in job and academic settings.

Hm. I think often times this is a problem with boundaries. Someone with a Borderline Personality Disorder doesn’t understand the proper boundaries for different environments. So ruled by their emotions they neglect to notice that those around them do not respond in the same way. The instinctive nature to act out, not hold in, is not appropriate for a place external to their personal sphere. What is going on inside does not trump what needs to be done outside.  In the work place, you’re there for the customer, to produce a product that is unrelated to your own life.  Being so often emotionally overwhelmed it overshadows the ability to perform for someone else.

I tend towards the extreme opposite. My identity slips from one to another to completely immerse myself into different environments. I’d like to say this is a tribute to my more High Functioning tendencies, but I can’t. I don’t utterly disrupt the setting, instead I lose myself.  At work, I have almost no personality. I feel awkward and out of place because I have no solid sense of self. If I act the way I normally would, I would, be causing a scene. I would disrupt the professionalism of the environment. Also, being in an almost completely older, male dominated environment I don’t even maintain a steady adaptation of the shadow I do create. When I’m out on the floor, in meetings, talking to shop workers or other engineers, I’m harder, more forceful, business bitch efficient.  But in less formal venues, sitting around my office, training sessions… I always keep a notebook and a book with me. I generally try to hide inside myself, not make eye contact, try to look busy. When I don’t, inevitably, people talk to me. I have very little patience for random people. Especially random boys trying to dazzle me with their less than witty repartee. It’s a physical effort to keep the catty sarcastic bitch reigned in. To not yawn in their face and show my boredom. I fail utterly at social etiquette. Those niceties that make people comfortable around you. Want to be around you. I can ride on my looks a bit here. It’s a double edged sword though. And I have this annoying tendency to smile, which I’m told is rather pleasant. Especially when I talk to new people. I need to learn to smile less when I talk to new people. I feel it gives the wrong impression. That I am less prickly than I really am and invites people to drop in on me rather more often than I would normally encourage. I can’t seem to manage to NOT smile though. It’s like a nervous tick, with more teeth. I don’t want to be unprofessional and stone cold = bitch, don’t want to be too soft and friendly = people won’t leave me alone at all and I have to constantly fend off silly boys bothering me. If I’m too nice I’m girly and it undermines my intelligence. No, this is not a distorted perception. In my field this has been a big problem. If I throw all my education to the fore I’m a snob and people don’t want to deal with me. I have absolutely no balance here. No idea how to fit in. To blend. No matter what I do I feel like I stick out.

My thoughts are disjointed on this subject and I may have missed the point. Mostly I want the day to end so I can go to the gym, draw, write, read, go do something relaxing and more engaging. Dealing with people, trying to maintain an image of myself that I don’t belong in, is exhausting. Wrapping myself in someone else’s skin. It makes my face hurt. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hypersensitivity: Conceptions of Borderline Personality Disorder - Part 4

Criteria 5 of the latest list from John G. Gunderson. Taking a deeper look into this one was the original reason I wanted to get into these conceptions more thoroughly. Along the way, in even a few days, my own perception of what this means to me has evolved.

- Hypersensitivity, meaning an unusual sensitivity to nonverbal communication. Gunderson notes that this can be confused with distortion if practitioners are not careful (somewhat similar to Herman's statement that, while survivors of intense long-term trauma may have unrealistic notions of the power realities of the situation they were in, their notions are likely to be closer to reality than the therapist might think)

Hm. I’m wary of this because I don’t want to confuse it with distortion. So I found a couple of definitions that seem pretty accurate to me.

1.) Hypersensitivity (also called hypersensitivity reaction) - Hypersensitivity reactions require a pre-sensitized (immune) state of the host.  

-       This definition refers to the immune system, but I think it fits with the mental state of the Borderline Personality as well. We are pre-sensitized to the emotions projected from ourselves and from the world, making the additional pressure compound even more.

2.) Being hypersensitive could be described as being allergic to life. For the highly sensitive person (HSP) a seemingly ordinary day can be overwhelming. Even the most subtle of stimulants a person encounters on a daily basis can be over-stimulating. Energies associated with touch, noise, scent, light, etc. are often too quickly or deeply absorbed by the HSP. As a result, the HSP may become mentally confused, emotionally upset, and/or physically uncomfortable. Hypersensitivity is also associated with a heightened sense of awareness and intuition. This makes being a HSP or empath a two-way street.

For me, hypersensitivity comes most often in social interactions. Too many voices, too much noise, too many people, too close. Voices volleying back and force. The crush of noise pressing inside my head, filling my mind and making it frantic, reaching for the quiet. Bodies sharing my space, not leaving me enough room, not enough air to breathe. Too many eyes falling on me, dissecting me. Turning me inside out so all I can feel is the falling back into myself.

Flashes, too bright, 8 mm film reels, projection noise, film flapping, screeching halt, Go, padded hallways constricting as you make your way through, goose down filling your lungs soft and suffocating.

It’s almost impossible to follow one line of thought, every external conversation clashing with the internal monologues branching off and running away in my own head. The noise is deafening, lost in the static. Everything comes too fast, and I can watch myself, too slow, cover my ears and hold myself together.  That slow motion screen shot of a woman screaming, curled up in a corner, pulling at her hair to make it all stop…. Except it’s just another day, at the dinner table, in a friends living room, out to lunch with co-workers.

Other days it’s like feeding off of other people’s energy. Calm people are the best. This is one reason I do like Friend so much. When it’s just us, the influence between us is very calm, almost silent. Still. Other people, most people, have fragmented energy, turbulence that rolls off of them in waves. It’s clear in the motions, their manner and speech. Impossible to ignore, it permeates the thin skin separating us and their energy leaks in, pushing our own out. It’s too easy to feel what they feel. Confusing. I have a hard enough time figuring out my own feelings most days. The last thing I need is to figure out someone else’s and pick it apart to figure out which is mine and which is foreign on top of that.

Most days being hypersensitive isn’t too much of a problem. Eyes are the worst. I hate people watching me, looking at me. I keep to myself. Keep random conversations to a minimum. I’ve perfected a determined pace and lack of eye contact that keeps my interaction as little as possible.  Oddly, I love being out in the machine shop or the lab floor. I’ve always loved being out in the shop. The metallic smell, the loud machines, everything running and operating, noisy and dirty… mechanic. Machines. Not people. Machines don’t overwhelm me. Just people.  

Other times I think this contributes to reading too much into other peoples actions. Bridging the emotional gap between a normal relationship and the distorted one. Every compliment is uplifting, creating a warm glow. Every small gesture a glimpse into what another person is feeling. If you can see it, it must be there. You can read more in a person’s body language than from what they’re actually saying more often than not. Picking up on the unspoken cues, especially when they’re in conflict with the verbal ones, is a mess. Thoughts collide and become a confusing mash of disbelief and desire.  Not knowing what to believe and what you want to be true. Even the smallest negative reaction, building on other actions pointing down a path you don’t want to travel. Noticing everything. When someone pushes back, even a little, it’s obvious. Why? Because we look for it. Hoping it’s not there, but expecting it, seeing it, is frightening. Then what do you do from there?

All of it. It makes me cringe. Stops my breath and curl into a ball. Flight. I can’t fight it out and expect anyone to treat me as sane. I walk out, walk away. Learned to hold it in, until I can get myself out. Getting out is the only thing I know to do. Remove myself from the source, the scene, until I can get a handle on my reality and calm down. Stabilize myself enough to go back and keep going. It doesn’t always work. Sometimes I have to leave completely, go home and go to bed, or just drive aimlessly, left alone to the quiet night. I like the darkness. My monsters lurk in the light.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Distortion: Conceptions of Borderline Personality Disorder - Part 3

Getting back to our look at Gundersons' Conceptions of BPD... 

- Distorted thoughts/perceptions, particularly in terms of relationships and interactions with others

Ugh. Yes. These come in various forms for me. 

Wanting there to be more than there is. ::sigh:: I do this at some point, in almost every relationship, be it romantic or platonic, that I’ve ever had. There’s an time where I could fall in love with everyone I let close. If I have a significant other, this can be a fleeting moment. More often I want to be more to people than I want them to be for me. Once I’ve let someone in, once they’ve become very close to me, the relationship builds in my mind. I have a hard time distinguishing between healthy platonic love and romantic love, almost obsessive desire. I want it to become more. I see more. If there’s more, then they won’t want to let me go. They won’t walk away, won’t leave, won’t abandon me. If I’m more, if I can provide everything someone needs, they’ll need me in a way that does not make me expendable.

Or, the extreme opposite… wanting someone to want absolutely nothing more than there is. To not be any closer, to not confide in me more, to not touch me, sit near me… keep a very distinct distance. I have a very difficult time with blurry lines and familial relationships. They’re either very close, or a mile apart.

Splitting. All good. All bad. Hero or villain. I generally give people a wary benefit of the doubt at first.  I can take a lot. I can deal with a lot. I put up with a lot. Until I can’t. Sometimes this fluxuates. It depends on how things were the last time I saw someone. If I’ve been slighted, hurt, embarrassed, clearly this person doesn’t give a rats ass about me anymore. Everything we’ve been through together has been a lie. All they’ve done is use me, to torment me, to push me further from people that would actually care in an attempt to break me. They’re terrible. And so am I. If they could treat me this way, I must deserve it in some way. Right? Wrong. Or they’re wonderful, considerate, closer to me than anyone else in the world.  I can trust them completely and know they always have my best interest in mind. I’m someone of value to deserve such wonderful friends. They can do nothing wrong. Until they do. Then redeem themselves. Back and forth. There’s no middle ground. No grey area. No understanding that just because someone messes up, that it doesn’t nullify every other aspect of the relationship.

Or in some instances, and really there have been a lot…. I take so much, I absorb so much of people’s energy, believe them so good, for so long.  Give them more support than I can manage for myself, be there at all hours of the night, providing everything I can to comfort or console or provide some semblance of happiness… until they’ve sucked up all I have to give, and I can’t give anymore. Oh somewhere along the way I usually fuck something up, something not terribly important, but I’m human and it feels more important than it should be, then everything I do is wrong. Nothing I do is good enough anymore, they keep putting more on me until finally the weight of their needs and expectations and my guilt, breaks me. And they’re forever ruined to me. Once this happens, it’s done. There’s no going back, no longer anything to salvage. It’s just over. The near endless energy I have, is severed. If you’re close enough to me that I will pour every emotional ounce into you, leaving very little to take care of myself, and you refuse to allow me any flexibility to be human, I break under the pressure, and some things simply cannot be rebuilt. And I no longer want to try. I move on.

Paranoia. Paranoia isn’t such a problem for me. Well, I mean, it is, just not my biggest problem. I always think people are taking digs at me, trying to make me uncomfortable or alienate me, undermine my intelligence… but I can usually keep these thoughts controlled enough that I don’t make a scene from them. I hold them in, let them fester, and then silently implode instead of directly confronting the person(s) that make me feel this way. Which if I would do from the onset, civilly, ask if that was what they meant or if I was just interpreting it wrong, but that would be rational, and when you’re rather paranoid, well, it would also be embarrassing to show people just how paranoid you really are.

It's always intense. Wild euphoria, heady love, blistering revenge or seething wrath. Not, slightly prickly or mildly satisfied. In between states of emotion are uncommon. Sure there are calm days. Days of relative contentment, but they're disproportionately rare. 

I’m sure there are other ways for other people. Anyone experience other ways? These were the three things that popped out at me as I’m writing this. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Questions from across the Borderline...

My psychiatrist won't even consider borderline as a possible diagnosis because I'm not 21. Is that normal? Do you have any advice?

Hm. I know most psychiatrists won’t consider diagnosis until at least 18. 21 seems a little high. This is mainly due to the fact that people’s personalities are still developing and they don’t want to influence how your personality might evolve on its own. I would advise working on the symptoms. Even without the broader label of BPD, the underlying symptoms are there and undeniable. Working with a psych or a therapist on all of those things will certainly still help. Even with my therapist we don’t sit there and dwell on BPD. We work on my depression, handling and coping with my dissociation, finding healthier ways to manage my emotions instead of cutting, etc. Even without an official diagnosis there is still a lot of help you get for yoursel
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