Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ask Haven! Episode 1: Ambivalence

Hello Dear Readers! I hope everyone is having a wonderful day today. It’s a frigid blizzard degrees outside here in post sunset New York. As I mentioned on Tuesday I get a lot of questions from Readers. I tend to respond to all questions directly (via comment or e-mail), but I think a lot of the questions I’m asked might benefit those of you following along at home. So today I wanted to introduce a new series called Saturday Sit Down With Haven. Or. Haven Doesn’t Give You Advice Because She’s Not a Licensed Medical Professional But She Attempts To Provide Insight to Your Inquiries.

Ok, maybe that second one is a bit of a mouthful. I’ll figure it out. Anyways. Since I don’t usually post on Saturdays, and I feel an unreasonable amount of guilt on days that I don’t post, I’m going to take advantage of this open air time to bring you the answers to your random questions about Borderline Personality Disorder. And maybe if you’re really really lucky and ask nicely I’ll even answer a personal question or two, like, do I have any stuffed animals, or what’s my favorite candy (Trick question! I’d just throw it up anyways). Some days I’ll take a look at very serious questions, other days I’ll showcase some of the sillier shit people ask me.

My attention span isn’t phenomenal these days and now that I have a steady sex life I can’t promise I’ll be super diligent with these weekend posts, but I’ll definitely try. Feel free to ask me any question you like either in the Comment section or send me an e-mail at

So without further ado….

Question from a Reader:

What does “Ambivalence” mean for someone with Borderline Personality Disorder?

Webster’s defines ambivalence in this way, “simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings (as attraction and repulsion) toward an object, person, or action” and or “continual fluctuation (as between one thing and its opposite).”

Translated. Someone with BPD may seem very inconsistent in their opinions and behavior. Especially when it comes to deciding how we feel about something emotionally. I often fluxuate between loving and hating something (read: someone); eager anticipation and angry impatience; a flood of feelings and being completely detached. This tends to run hand in hand with the whole black and white thinking us Borderlines tend to do.

This is especially applicable in relationships, but can contribute to indecision towards just about any query. For example; when I was in the relationship with my Evil-Ex I knew absolutely that our relationship and the way he treated me was repugnant and terrible yet I couldn’t stop myself from loving him and wasting my days obsessing over our relationship. I loved it, and hated it. I loved him and hated him.

This can make the process of deciding on any course of action very difficult because we see too many paths and potential outcomes. I often get stuck when it comes to making important emotional decisions because I feel so strongly (Or not) in opposing directions at the same time. Or even if I’ve made a very definite decision one moment that a certain way is the way I should proceed, it’s not uncommon for me to go right ahead and do the opposite of what I just told myself I was going to do, of what I know is best for me.

We’re not a consistent bunch of characters. Our ambivalence towards any given emotional situation or decision tends to make us even less predictable.

Psychiatrist and Therapist both try to help me work out my ambivalence. Psychiatrist actually thinks he can medicate it. Personally, I advise keeping a coin on hand and getting good at calling heads or tails. Because really, if you feel both ways, and are likely to go in either direction, does it really matter which way you choose first? Just flip the damn coin and get on with it. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lucid Analysis – Trials in Therapy: Stop the Invalidation

I am very grateful for therapy and Therapist. And sleep. I feel much better today. Which compared to the black hole of all consuming depression and pain I was in yesterday isn’t saying a whole lot, but it’s definitely better. Also, don’t take a full dose of your Trazadone when you haven’t been taking it for a while. I was groggy all day yesterday (side effects).

Update: I did, in fact, send Friend the letter that Therapist has been encouraging me to write for months now. He texted me to let me know that he had read it and that it gave him a lot to think about. However I haven’t heard from him since. I’m not sure if I don’t care at all or if I’m angry that he’s taking so long to get back to me. It’s confusing when you’re not sure you feel. The more I try to think about it, the further away it seems to slip. ::sigh::

 However I also unfriended him from the Faceyspaces and he has since been commenting on every single status update of the people he knows I am closest too (He does this to Twiggy too. Yes, he’s told me he does this on purpose. Many times. Passive-aggressive much?).

Therapist thinks it’s a good thing that I sent him the letter. It takes a lot of courage to open yourself up like that and it shows that I do still care about our friendship because I’m not just letting it slip away. By talking about it, even if the topic isn’t fun, it provides the medium for communication. Plus if I didn’t bring all this up I would just continue to resent him more and more until I finally blew up our friendship in a firey explosion of destruction. Idk. It already feels like our friendship is over. I guess it’s my turn to wait now.

I told her about Roommates birthday gathering and my breakdown. My desire to cut myself, and hurt myself, is a very Punitive aspect of myself. This need to punish myself for feeling emotions. This is counterproductive to therapy (It made me very said and disappointed in myself when she said this, it was like she was saying she was disappointed in me, even though that’s not at all what she said). I use the desire to cut myself off from my feelings and emotions that have been triggered in some way. I invalidate my own feelings. I am the worst offender of this. It’s how I was raised though. Growing up my father constantly invalidated how I was feeling. Any time I was upset, or frustrated, or any emotion that wasn’t positive he would tell me to ‘grow up’, ‘suck it up’, ‘crying doesn’t help’, ‘getting worked up doesn’t solve anything’.  I’ve internalized this message so hard that I do not believe that I have the right to feel the way I feel. I don’t believe other people will acknowledge that my feelings are actually valid and will respect that my needs and emotions should be taken into consideration as well. I shut myself down before someone else has the chance to. I do this on a fundamental level when I detach and dissociate from myself.

In this way I need Therapist. She’s one of the few people I can be fully honest with in this respect. She understands, doesn’t seem to judge, and actually believes I deserve better of myself than even I think I deserve. She’s the opposite of my father.

She asked me many times about how I think Friend will respond. I don’t know. Sometimes I think he’ll be gentle with my feelings, other times I think he’ll be defensive, and other times I think he’ll be “understanding”, self-deprecating, and passive-aggressive. She asked me if I think he has the capacity for empathy. He’s probably one of the most sensitive and empathic people I’ve ever met, so yes. We actually had a brief discussion about empathy and my ability to feel empathy. She says my personality is naturally very nurturing and this aspect is very strong with me. I easily see what other people need and work to provide that for them before I take care of myself.  She knows I feel very stunted sometimes to the point where I don’t think I can feel empathy at all, a little, or too much (the whole range). We’ll be talking about this more into the future (at least I’ll be prepared!) because I think she’s noticed this as well. I’m not sure if this is confusing to her or not.

It’s important for me going forward with my ‘relationship’ with Tech Boy as well.  

He’s very uncomfortable talking about anything emotional directly. As am I because I don’t believe he is emotionally available. I know he’s not. Hell, most times I don’t even think he cares about me (or that anyone cares about me for that matter), but I know he thinks about me and that’s comforting. If we can’t discuss emotional things though, we won’t have the opportunity to truly relate to each other on a deeper level.

I worry about some of the opinions he holds. I often think that every time we have deeper conversations that I make him reevaluate his world view because I have such strong opinions on things in ways that are not his norm.  He seems to have been raised pretty conservatively (and a bit privileged). I was not.  This can be very distressing for me and kicks my fight-flight levels up to full throttle.

We had a fun conversation the other night about sexuality. He doesn’t believe that bisexuality exists. You’re either one or the other. ::blinks:: I disagree. I can be in a heterosexual relationship or a homosexual relationship but that does not mean that my ability to be attracted to someone of a different persuasion has disappeared. Whether someone is male or female (or gender identifies) has very little to do with whether I’m attracted to them or not. It depends almost entirely on the kind of person that they are (and yes, physical attraction does come into play but what I’m attracted to isn’t gender determined). Just because I’m with a man, doesn’t mean I stop having the ability to be attracted to women. Just because I’m with a woman, doesn’t make me a lesbian. This is true even if I’m in a monogamous relationship because the relationship doesn’t define who I am.  And as I pointed out to him, just because I’m sleeping with him right now, it doesn’t make me straight.

I worry about the opinions he holds, but he also seems to accept that I believe different things, that I may BE something different, and he doesn’t seem to be offended or upset when I challenge a belief he previously held. That’s important. That gives me hope. Therapist reminds me that this is something I need to keep in mind. He’s still growing, he’s still learning, and especially if he hasn’t had many relationships he’s still understanding what it is to be with someone. She actually thinks this might be an important relationship for him because I’m someone so different than what he is accustomed to. I could have a very positive influence in how he understands people and how other people relate to the world. This is sort of a scary thought isn’t it?

It’s important to relate to each other on more than just a superficial level though. If we can’t, if he really is emotionally unavailable because he has some inborn inability to relate in that way, this may not be more than a transitional relationship for me. Which is fine. However this does have a lot of markers for being a healing relationship even if it’s not a permanent one. Therapist also reminds me that he may have his own past trauma, which is why he sort of shuts down emotionally. She reminds me that I need to keep in mind that I don’t know his history and perspective so I don’t know all the reasons why he does not like to express these things.

I tend to take people by what they say to me. He’s told me flat out that he doesn’t like to talk about emotions, that they make him uncomfortable… and I just sort of stopped processing at that point and interpreted that as “he’ll never be emotionally available or reliable to me”.  Even though when we’re together he is usually very affectionate, and I know he thinks about me when I’m not around. I focus so hard on the negative that it blots out the positive even when the positive is smacking me in the face.

She also asked about our sex life. The only time I feel connected to anyone at all is when I’m drunk and/or having sex with Tech Boy. My mind is so overshadowed by how good whatever we’re doing feels that I don’t have the capacity to think. He’s warm. I don’t think he truly cares about me (I don’t believe anyone cares about me really), but in the moment none of that matters. I feel good, even if it’s just for a few hours. She asked if he was respectful. If he was abusive. Things often get very rough, but we talk about the things we want to do ahead of time. I need the physicality of the moment to be so visceral that I can’t think about anything else. The things that contribute to this are probably a little outside of most people’s norms.  Pain and pleasure tend to intermingle with me and I don’t see anything wrong with that.

Therapy is often exhausting for me. I’m afraid that I’m not making fast enough progress. That Therapist will be disappointed in me for not being who I should be yet. She often tells me how bright I am and that I’m a joy to work with. I think she is more optimistic about me than I am. Which is encouragement that I need.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Be Mindful of Emotional Triggers… or Else

When you have Borderline Personality Disorder it is very important to learn your triggers. Once you recognize them it makes it easier for you avoid situations where you are emotionally triggered, or for you to remove yourself from a situation once you recognize you will become emotionally triggered.

It is VERY important NOT to IGNORE your triggers.

For instance, last night was my Roommates birthday celebration. We were gathering at a local restaurant/bar. Her guest list was approximately 20 people, the majority of which I knew. Unfortunately two of them were Kit and Twiggy. We didn’t speak, didn’t acknowledge each other but knowing they were there made me very uncomfortable in a way that is difficult to describe. I kept wanting to stare at them, like some foreign yet familiar anomaly under my microscope. They register as people that I am familiar with, my emotions are completely detached, yet I know I can’t talk to them and that my presence is also awkward for them. It was extremely uncomfortable knowing there were people that I had to avoid speaking to, or maneuver near. And ultimately they make me think about Friend, and how I lost both of them because of him.

It brought up a lot of issues for me. I make extremely poor choices about who I allow close to me, who I choose to be with over others, who I choose to prioritize. The consequences of these choices becomes overwhelming when they begin to flood through me. A buddy of mine was trying to talk to me in the bar. It was crowded. I couldn’t concentrate.  I knew I was very distracted. My throat began to constrict. Tears were coming to my eyes. I realized I was on the verge of a panic attack. I excused myself to go sit outside. I should have left then. I told my Roommate I would be there so I was trying to stay for her.
It came time to finally be seated. Kit and Twiggy chose seats directly in my line of sight. I couldn’t help but see them.  I couldn’t help thinking about Friend. And how much grief living here has caused me. Not just because of that one situation, but of all the relationships, all of the loss, all of the detachments, abuse, and poor choices. Throughout dinner I would have moments of laughter which were nice. But from the moment I entered the doors I felt myself begin to float away. I would laugh at something, or respond to a comment in a manner that was too over the top, too abrasive, or too jovial… and immediately after I would lose a few moments of my time. I’d realize I’d just been staring at a random fork on the table for a couple minutes. As the night went on my stress escalated. Though I kept a smile on my face. Eventually when the time was appropriate and people began to leave I excused myself and went home.
Driving home I was numb. I don’t remember the drive. I got in and had a complete breakdown. Hyperventilating, sobbing, shaking. My world began to break down in a way it hadn’t for a long while. I have not been so close to thoughts of suicide or self-harm in a very long time. They’ve been slowly creeping back over the last month or two, but last night I finally lost hope.
I didn’t act on these thoughts. I took a couple Trazadone and forced myself to sleep. I don’t know where I’ll go from here. The thin walls containing my sanity are beginning to crumble. I work hard to hold myself together. To heal and become a stronger person. The foundation that those walls are built on haven’t been set in stone though. They’re more like a collection of planks bolted together in sand that has the ability to shift with the incoming tides. I forgot to look towards the sea and notice that the waves were crashing in to sweep me away.
I know better than to ignore my triggers. I try so hard to appear normal, happy, and functional though. I try so hard to be the kind of person that other people want to have around. It’s too much for me some days. Lately those days are becoming greater in number. I ignored my triggers, I stayed when I shouldn’t have gone in the first place, and now I’m mired in an emotional agony on the verge of tears and heartbreak all over again. Every wound opened anew as if it happened just yesterday.
I thought these feelings were in the past. I thought I had worked through them and allowed them to be released. In many ways I have, but when I ignore what is in my best interest and refuse to be mindful of the things that are important for my emotional stability, I am clearly very susceptible to pain my past carries into my present.
I want to run. I want to spend money. I want to exhaust my vacation days and go home to see my sister. I want to quit my job and leave this life behind. I want to start over somewhere else that doesn’t have this hurt and hopelessness. I want to rip open my arms and watch my pain slip away.
I’ll probably just go to sleep. I’ll plaster a pretty pink smile on my lips that won’t reach my eyes, and steel myself to make it through the day. I’ll do the same tomorrow. And the next, until this pain passes back into the past where it belongs.  
Be mindful of yourself. Be aware of your triggers. The downward spiral set in motion when you aren’t has the potential to be devastating.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm Sorry, Were You Looking for Me?

I don’t know how many of you have your own blogs, but one of the fun features associated with Blogger is the Keywords search function. You can see a list of terms that people have used that have brought them to your site (though not who those people are, don’t worry, you’re wacky searches are safe from me).  Every now and again I check these because I’m interested in what people are looking for. There’s often the usual search words like:
Beyond the Borderline Personality
Borderline Personality Disorder blog Haven
Downwardspiralintothevortex blogspot
Borderline Personality Disorder movies
Borderline Personality Hope
 Stuff like that is pretty common. But then I get some real gems and I wonder how the heck people got to me with searches like this. That they did ultimately find my site brings up whole other questions I should probably be asking myself.
 - Are cigarettes bad for derealization (not that I know of but they’re pretty bad for your lungs.)
- Damsel in distress personality disorder (This is my new proposal for the DSM renaming of BPD)
- My super ex-girlfriend disorder
- People with bpd and sociopathy get along well
- Why is the borderline not in love with me?
- Ancient Greeks thought that excessive emotionality in women was caused by a displeased uterus and sexual discontent
- gave myself black eye borderline (hahahahha I guess I’m never going to live that down)
- Honesty is a funny thing. Especially when your truths change
- How to enjoy sex with borderline personality disorder [ sit back and try to hold on ;) ]
- The most beautiful thing is to see a person you love smiling. And even more beautiful is knowing you are the reason behind it.
- Adults with security blankets personality disorders
- are you more attractive than you appear in the mirror when you suffer from bdd
- Borderline personality disorder I’m too dependent on my boyfriend for happiness
- Borderline personality disorder perfectionist slacker
- Borderlines are notorious for being great sexual partners due to hypersexual impulsivity
- how to turn the tables on narcissistic ex-boyfriend that’s stalking me? (Advice: Being Borderline doesn’t help)
- can a bpd become sociopathic
- can anxiety make me feel like the ceiling is coming down (yes)
- Chameleon personality disorder is a myth
- Celebrity obsession borderline personality disorder  ( I find obsessing over celebrities a little distasteful so I’ve never addressed this before. This could change if I get bored enough though. )
- darth talon cute/ Darth talon fucking (Awesome)
- Euthanasia and borderline personality (Holy shit seriously?)
- I’m ambivalent
- I’m bipolar why do I fantasize about men (I don’t think these are mutually exclusive)
- Is it unhealthy to love my cat (Oh man I hope not. Funny story. Or. How I Obsess about my cat: It’s finally getting cold here this winter so we have a nice space heater for our apartment. My cat likes to wedge himself right up onto the grill. I couldn’t fall asleep last night because every 15 minutes I had to get up to check to make sure he wasn’t cooking himself (even though I didn’t have the temperature very high specifically because of this). I finally had to text my roommate asking her to check on him when she leaves her room to make sure he hadn’t set himself on fire. There wasn’t actually any risk of this, but I’m terrified of my cat getting hurt).
- “your grounded go to your room" voice
- Why is sex so good with a bpd
- seeing slightly varying image of self upon each instance of observing a mirror or reflective surface, why

 And a couple of my favorite:

-       a woman is visiting the physician today with her husband for her follow up on her pd. he state that has been acting strange lately and wanted to ask the doctor if there is anything to be done to help her .she has been hallucinating and that is scaring him .he state she has struck him a few times because she did not know who he was .and when she is not acting strange. she is bit depressed. he is state that is very quiet when her children visit ,not like she used to be .her gait symptoms seem to be worsening and she need to learn on him frequently .sometimes she just freezes when she is trying to start to start walking

-       How is the behavior of an obsessive-compulsive individual similar to that of a dog in a learned helplessness experiment?

-       How does accessing pressure points on the inner thighs of a man with borderline personality disorder help him?  (Heh. It makes the blood rush to his groin followed by anticipation of sex. I’ve found this helps most men =P )

-       blogs from bpd themselves and what makes them want to change

-       we paced along the lonely plain, as one who returns to his lost road, and until he reaches it, seems to go in vain

So how about you? What lead you here?

** I know my posts have been very mellow this week. That Empathy series really took a lot out of me, but don’t worry, I’ll be getting back into more serious topics real soon! I also have a TON of questions from Readers that I want to start addressing. Maybe I’ll make that a weekend series or something since I often don’t have official posts on the weekend.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Guest Post: Poetry cries out

A Reader sent me a poem she had written about BPD on one of her worst days. She has graciously allowed me the privilege of sharing it with you. I know I can relate quite well to the sentiment she expresses. I’m sure you can as well.

Trapped in the dark

Somebody's gotta see.

Screaming for help

Can anyone hear me?

I'm lost on this path

Terrified of my thoughts;

Their sound is deafening,

They never stop.

People say get over it,

I'm just being lazy,

No one knows what I feel,

What it's like to be crazy.

They call me weak

But they can't see,

Don't know what it's like,

My mind, my worst enemy.

The ones who know the truth

Keep wishing it away,

They don't know what to do,

Somehow I'll be okay.

That's not how it works

It just gets worse.

Living each day with this thing:

This sickness, this curse.

Smiling through the pain,

An actor's never been prouder.


When cries for help go unanswered



Monday, January 16, 2012

Blast from the Past: 2011 Recap

Happy something and hello! The last couple weeks have been some pretty heavy blogging subjects over here at Beyond the Borderline Personality. Today I thought I’d do something a little different. I didn’t really acknowledge the New Years very much so today I’m going to do a favorite blog post recap of 2011. Take a look and enjoy some previous posts you may have missed or forgotten about (it’s ok, I forget about some of them too).








August (Wow this was a boring month here)





Alright so I was originally going to just pick one from each month but clearly that did not happen. I write a lot of good stuff ::pats myself on the back::. At the least I write some very thorough stuff. Please take a look at some past posts. Leave me comments. I love to hear from you. You always have the best things to say and insight to instill. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fear of Diagnosis

I’ve noticed one particular issue a lot lately. One that stops people from getting the help they need. It’s the fear of being diagnosed with a particular label.

People have told me they’re afraid of the diagnosis. Or they feel like they will lose who they are.   I think this is really sad, because most people are already scared or feeling lost as it is.  The last thing you need is to add more stress on top of what you are already feeling.

The thing I tell people to keep in mind is this:

Remember that a diagnosis doesn't change who you are. It's just a word. You are still the same person now, that you were pre-diagnosis. The label is simply a categorical designation to give you a starting point in order to figure out treatment options.

You’re still the same person. People are also worried about what others might think of the bright shiny new label. To that there is one thing to keep in mind. It’s your own business, and no one else’s. You do not have to tell anyone that you do not choose to discuss it with.

I’m pro-diagnosis if you’re at a place where you want to take control of your life and begin to make changes. It’s a stepping stone. A starting point. It helps you choose a direction for treatment. Otherwise a diagnosis, is just another word. It categorizes a problem you are dealing with but it doesn’t define you. 
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