Friday, September 16, 2011

Lucid Analysis – Trials in Therapy

Another night of therapy comes and goes. Therapist is so positive sometimes I wonder if she listens to me or is able to be realistic. Then again, maybe I’m too ready to believe the negative. I expect the worse without hoping for or even thinking towards the best.  Every week she tells me I’m a good person and a good friend, a joy to work with. I hear her words, but I still feel like she must be talking about someone else, some other idea of me that only she sees because I am a bad person. Though the people around me seem to support her to. I don’t know how to see myself as ‘good’, or at the least ‘not bad’. 

Therapist asked about the situation with Roommate. I talked to Roommate a few days ago. She thinks staying the full 6 months until the end of our next lease cycle is very reasonable. It’ll even give her more time to save and be more financially secure as well. That’s a huge relief to me. The holidays, especially December, is such a hectic time for everyone, and so fiscally strenuous, I couldn’t think of a worse time to add more stress. We ended up having dinner together and just spending a couple hours chatting. She also brought up that she wants to hang out more because we haven’t been doing that for a while. I can’t tell you how much better that made me feel. I’d been thinking the same thing, but you know me, I don’t think anyone remembers me when I’m not around, so to hear that she does think about me and wants to hang out more is reassuring. It gives me hope that even when she does move out we’ll be able to stay in touch and that she wants to make the effort to keep me in her life.
Reassurance. I hate that I need so much of it sometimes. I’m always afraid to ask for it. The thought of coming across as needy or clingy grates at me so I bury how much I need to hear certain things. This creates its own problems of self-doubt and loneliness though. Traits that I feel make me weak and bad. If I feel these things are bad, I can only believe that other people will believe it too, and who wants to be around someone like that? So I put on a mask of stone and solitude and slip slowly into myself. And really, who wants to constantly expound on the importance of having a particular person in their life? I’m sure it would get annoying after a while. I just can’t allow myself to come across as the kind of person that needs this. I don’t want to be an annoyance or a burden. A burden. That’s what I imagine having to provide this constant reassurance would be. I don’t want to be a burden on the people I care about. I should be able to take care of them, not a burden when they’re dealing with their own stuff.
Therapist was thrilled that Roommate gave me this kind of validation though. She also noticed that I didn’t seem to be personalizing Roommates reasons for moving out, and amazingly, I realized she was right. Roommate and I are good friends, she still wants me in her life, in no way is this meant as a way to surreptitiously end our friendship, she’s is just approaching a time in her life where she needs to take a new step. I’m going to miss her, I’m still not sure what I’m going to do and I can’t even conceive of living with someone else yet, but at least I don’t feel like it’s my fault and I don’t think I’ll lose her friendship.  
Therapist doesn’t think I’m an alcoholic either. Yay for me. If I were to start drinking multiple bottles of wine by myself every weekend; that would be a concern. If I wanted to stop drinking, but felt compelled to pour myself another glass and couldn’t stop; that would be a definite problem. The choice to sit down and drink, even a lot, as a conscious decision is pretty normal, though possibly not the best judgment. So she’s not worried about that so much, surprisingly, my trying to pick a fight with Friend was. That was what she found interesting. She said clearly I still have a lot of anger towards him that I’m trying to repress. And she’s right. I still have moments where I don’t understand why he would remain with someone like her when there seemed to be so much more passion in our attraction. That he does makes me feel like I must be even less worthy of a person if I rank below that. The displays of affection he/they put on in front of me, is like a constant jab reminding me of what was taken away. It’s compounded by the fact that I have so little respect for the kind of person that woman is which makes me doubt how much I can really respect myself. It’s the power that these things still have over me that really makes me angry. Alcohol sort of releases that cork that I’ve used to help bottle up my feelings. We talked a lot about expressing anger. I don’t often see my anger expressed in a healthy manner. I rage, I drink, I pick fights, I cut, when I was younger I would kick down doors and put my fist through walls and windows. I do have one healthy outlet for my anger, and that’s the gym. Running and working out are at least one way to channel that aggression into a constructive outcome. Therapist had a homework assignment for me but she forgot it at home so next week we’ll see what my formal assignment is. This week I’m to start getting back into my journaling which I’ve sort of let slip. Bad girl.

Med Update: The Pristiq seems to be working well for me. My weight is fluxuating a little, but I think this is more due to stress then the medication. My energy has been really good too. My mood does seem to be a little higher on average. My head is clear. I can concentrate better. I’m more productive at work. And so far it doesn’t seem like I’m having any side effects at all. Except the dreams. I’ve always been a vivid dreamer, but lately my dreams have been EPIC. I feel like I’ve lived days and nights between the time I lay down and the time I wake up.

Then again, that might just be the excessive sleeping I’ve been doing.  That’s been a switch from my insomnia for sure. For the last few weeks all I’ve wanted to do is read and sleep.  I found myself falling asleep at 8:30p the other night! I think I must have turned 70 at my last birthday haha. I’ve been so stressed out from my job and from people it’s all I’ve had the strength to do. I’ve almost completely withdrawn from the world around me, losing myself in the escapism of my books. Except for this blog I’ve shunned tv (not that I watch tv), movies, and even the internet. Therapist sort of dismissed this as needing some down time. I’m not so sure. I’ve been completely incapable of facing the real world. Completely cutting myself off from the outside. As soon as I’m home from work I shut down and retreat into the fantasy world of my books. Or maybe I’m just a little obsessive and this book series is really JUST THAT GOOD. Haha. Nah, idk.  I do feel like I should make an effort to get back out into the world though. Maybe branch out and expand my circle of friends. I still fight with myself regarding how close I should be to Friend. I’m afraid of losing him, but I don’t know how good it is for me to have him so close. I do know that spending more time with Roommate is a wonderful idea though and we are already making plans to do stuff this weekend =)
All in all therapist thinks I’m making a lot of progress. I’m in a pretty stable place, even a pretty stable headspace for me. I do sort of feel like I’m floating though. I’ve had many days where I question what my purpose here even is. I feel like I’m living each day simply to see the next and I wonder if that’s enough. Is that all there is? I’m missing something. There’s a hole somewhere that still needs to be filled to really ground me to where I am, and I’m just not sure what it is.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

To Drink or Not to Drink?

I’m definitely feeling a little better though I did my body a great disservice with how much I drank this weekend.
Saturday I drank more than a bottle of wine as a buddy of mine and I watched A Game of Thrones.  I made sure to tell Friend the silliest details . In my increasingly drunken state I wanted him to be jealous. I clearly started to pick a fight with him via text as well and barely restrained myself from overtly expounding on the uselessness of his wife. Though I know I implied it. I also recall accusing him of hiding his true thoughts from me which I’m sure he does but he used my inebriation as an excuse. I wanted to push him away, make him mad, something… but he didn’t indulge me. He’s good about that. My buddy and I drank steadily for about 6 hours before I decided it would be a good idea for me to drive home. I wasn’t going to stay. Fortunately I managed my way home without incident or injury. Though I did pass my street, and once I turned around, passed my own apartment in the dark.
Sunday Friend texted me bright and early as if nothing happened at all to confirm I’d still be coming over for dinner. The wife was making something or other… turned out to be a vodka sauce for homemade pasta. The homemade pasta was a disaster. The sauce was, well, very much like creamy vodka. Not good. I made an Egyptian street dessert that did come out very well though. At one point the wife wanted grapey wine so Friend and I went to the liquor store where we bought 3 different bottles of potentially grapey wine (whatever that means) and a bottle of some Brazilian liquor. We got back to the house and proceeded to try them all. I probably drank another bottle of wine and glass of liquor.  
I worry about my drinking. My grandfather was an alcoholic so I’m afraid it runs in the family and I’m genetically predisposed to it. Friend had made a comment that we should just accept the fact that we’re alcoholics but appreciate that we’re functional alcoholics. In the moment I was all for this plan. Hey at least I’m not alone and what’s so bad about it anyways? It doesn’t interfere with work or providing for my life, what does it matter if it takes a drink or two to help me relax? Society says it’s not really acceptable but what are social norms besides imposed morals thought up by other people?
I’m not sure I have the answer to these. I could go either way. But I do know that drinking makes my thoughts turn black eventually, and spins me down into a darker place than I had been before. And that is not where I want to be. Hence, it’s a problem. Do I actually think I’m an alcoholic? No. I’m just afraid it can happen. I worry. That I worry about it probably is an indicator that I’m not, because if I was truly I’d accept it as a part of my life, and not something that needs to be monitored.

Does that make sense? If it was actually a problem, I’d probably be in the thick of it and not realize it was a problem. But since I’m worried that it might be a problem, I’m aware of it so it won’t actually be one?
Something like that.
4 days no alcohol! With no anxiety or anything at all, so that’s an indicator too that it’s not so much a worry as I fear. Maybe?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Who did what now? Modes of Dysfunction and Dissociation

Hello lovely readers =) I hope everyone is having a wonderful morning. I’m starting to feel my energy returning. I have so many little updates and thoughts today but let us start with my research.

“A Dysfunctional schema mode is a facet of the Self involving specific schemas or schema operations that has not been fully integrated with other facets of the self. Schema modes can be characterized by the degree to which a particular schema driven state has become dissociated, or cut off, from an individual’s other modes. A dysfunctional schema mode, therefore, is a part of the self that is cut off to some degree from other aspects of the self”

I really like this description of schema modes. I dissociate to such a strong degree that it puts things in perspective for me to view the various aspects of the self as aspects that aren’t fully attached to each other. For me this really explains why I feel, and seem to others, to be different people at different times, because truly, at different times different aspects of my Self are more prominent than other times when another aspect may be more dominant.
Unsurprisingly this often poses a problem for someone with BPD and their therapists because someone with a Borderline Personality Disorder has an almost overwhelming number of schemas and coping mechanisms. What’s more, is we’re continually shifting from one extreme state or coping mechanism to another. A psychologically healthy person will still have some of these modes, but the sense of a unified identity remains intact, where for someone with BPD it is almost situationally dependent. The modes of a ‘normal’ person will be less dissociated than those for a healthy person. Normal modes are also less rigid, much more flexible and open to change than the modes of someone with a personality disorder.
Time for more grouping. I’ve noticed that groups and categories are abundant in psychological circles. Organization is really important and somewhere in my brain I find all this structure pleasing because it’s easy to break things down and digest things in easily discernible chunks.
Schema therapy identifies 10 schema modes grouped into 4 broad categories: Child modes, Dysfunctional Coping modes, Dysfunctional Parent Modes, and the Healthy adult Mode.
Child Modes:
1. Vulnerable Child – this is where you find that inner Abandoned Child, Abused Child, Deprived Child, or the Rejected Child. This mode is often where most of those core schemas are experienced.
2. Angry Child – this is the part that is enraged about unmet emotional needs and tends to act in anger without regard to consequences.
3. Impulsive/Undisciplined Child – this inner place is where emotions are expressed, desires are acted on, and natural inclinations are followed form moment to moment in a reckless manner, without regard for the consequences to the self or those around you.
4. Happy Child – this is more of a healed state. Or the state that you hope your kids come to naturally as they grow up: where core emotional needs are currently met.
Coping Modes: These directly correlate to the maladaptive coping mechanisms we just talked about.
1. Compliant Surrenderer – This person submits to the schema, becoming once again the passive, helpless child who must give in to others. Who gives in to the coping mechanism and Surrenders to it without thinking about it.
2. Detached Protector – This person withdraws psychologically from the pain of a schema by emotionally detaching, abusing substances, self-stimulating, avoiding people, or utilizing other forms of escape. Avoid, avoid, avoid. Personally I see this in myself more than most others in my day to day life. Therapist often refers to my Detached Protector as a way to shield myself from the hurt and pain that I am afraid is constantly looming.
3. Overcompensator – Here is where the person fights back either by mistreating others or by behaving in extreme ways in an attempt to disprove a schema. By nature of being extreme however, it proves to be dysfunctional.
Dysfunctional Parent Modes: These modes are where a person becomes like the parent that they’ve internalized.
1. Punitive Parent – This parent punishes one of the child modes for being “bad”.
2. Demanding Parent – This parent continually pushes and pressures the child to meet excessively high standards.
I often feel both of these modes. I’ve internalized my father’s voice that constantly pushes me to meet higher and higher standards. Unrelenting. The stress is constant. My Punitive Parent is a bastard. This is what I recognize as the part of me that tells me I’m worthless. In its most extreme this is where I cut and abuse myself. One aspect of my cutting anyways as I have many reasons I’ve do this. I can’t count the times I’ve taken a blade to my skin because I felt I let myself down, did something wrong and deserved to be punished. This has almost an immediate gratification aspect to it at least. The other is pervasive. I’m not sure which is more dangerous.
Healthy Adult Mode:
1.      Yay you’re healed mode! Or at least just as capable of dealing with life in the way your average joe would with a more integrated sense of self. This mode is really the goal of therapy. What you work towards and try to strengthen.  
It’s obvious to me why something as complicated as Borderline Personality Disorder takes so long to really manage. It’s like a battle between different sides of your psyche! When the Punitive Parent takes out their anger on the Vulnerable Child, the Detached Protector jumps to withdraw the person from harm. Each of these aspects presents in their own way and triggers unique dysfunctional coping mechanisms. And that’s just one combination of how the mind interacts with itself. I don’t know about you, but I can see why people need to get degrees in this stuff to really get a handle on it. The mind is intensely involved and not easily dissected.

But we’re gonna try. I’ll be looking at each of these modes more in depth. I can’t say whether this approach is “right” but for me, being able to take a look at each aspect, seeing how I relate to them personally… it at least gives me insight into myself. Understanding is what I’m all about here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Hi Everyone! I know my posting has been a little erratic and today will be no different. Sorry! Work has been a non-stop barrage of busy and high stress. I have a major presentation all morning but I'll try and get a post up this afternoon. I have a lot of things to talk about coming up!

I promise I'm not falling off the planet. Trying my best not to anyways. Sometimes those pesky life things take over and *gasp* I have to be a responsible adult. Good to know I can still pull myself enough together to take care of the important things.

Wish me luck and I'll have another post for you soon =)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Quotes from the Borderline

If you know someone who tries to drown their sorrows, you might tell them sorrows know how to swim. 

 ~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Sorrows may submerge for a time but they never drown for good. Oddly, not only do they come back, but they make all my thoughts that much bleaker. Maybe not so odd as water logging your brain in a depressant. Expected even. And yet, I continue to do it. I'm still very upset about recent changes but this is the wrong way to cope with the issue. Drinking. Drinking heavily. In the bottle I feel fine for a time, reveling in a momentary escape from my madness, and then spend days afterward in a deep, dark place. Clawing my way back to the surface, when it was me that jumped into the hole in the first place. I'm worried about my drinking. I had resolved to stop and at the first upheaval I lost my resolve. I'm disgusted with myself. I'm making myself sick.The beautiful thing about new days, is they provide new opportunities to begin once more.  Today I start again.  
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