Friday, February 17, 2012

Inspiration: Guest Post

Trigger warning: Self harm, eating disorders

All my life I was a little overweight, but I was neverfat. I just let other people convince me that I was. All throughout elementary school I felt like an outcast. I felt like my classmates were judging me because I had a little extra meat on my bones. I felt like the fat girl. The ugly girl. The weird girl no one wanted to be friends with. I was extremely insecure with myself, so I started to bully other people to make them feel as low as I did. I thought that if I put myself above other people, then kids at school would start to like me, and I wouldn’t feel like an outcast anymore. But that idea came to an end as soon as eighth grade began.

Two boys harassed my relentlessly. They mooed when I walked by. They nicknamed me Mary Cowhar and Garbage Girl. They made sure that my life was a living hell. I let them convince me that I was worthless. I let them make me believe that I really was fat and disgusting; I let them make me hate myself.

When high school came around I decided I wasn’t going to be the fat girl anymore. I lost myself in a deep depression and an obsession with losing weight. I went on crazy crash diets, and started working out by myself every day. I had a rule that I could eat no more than 500 calories a day, and I couldn’t eat anything after 5:00. If I ate more than I allowed myself I would take laxatives to flush it all out. My grades started slipping because I just didn’t care. All I wanted was to be accepted. I didn’t want people to have a reason to make fun of me anymore. I wanted to be perfect.

I had tried self harming once or twice before high school, but during my freshman year it became one of my biggest vices. It became my release. My escape. Whenever I was angry, I would cut. Whenever I felt worthless, I would punish myself. Whenever I felt numb, I would beat emotion into me. I was so lost in my own depression and insanity that I had no concept of the world around me.

It wasn’t until a friend saw how much danger I was in did I started to get help. My friend referred me to a medical clinic in my school where I could get medical attention and talk with a social worker instead of taking my problems out on myself. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety when I was 14 and although I was never officially diagnosed, I was at severe risk of being hospitalized for anorexia.

I spent my sophomore and junior years in a blur. My therapy caused me to face some of the hardest criticism of my life, all from my biggest enemy, myself. I wanted to give up. I wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out. I wanted to be happy, but I was scared of the journey I had to take to get there.

Last year, at my one of my lowest moments, I carved the word “Fuck” into my side. It’s one of the only highly visible scars I have left

Even though it was hard, it was all worth it. Because now, in my senior year, I can finally look in the mirror and feel confident. I am finally at peace with myself and who I want to be. I’ve only had two slip-ups with self harming since my “fuck” incident, and I have no intention of doing so in the future. I have reinvented myself. It was a long and emotionally draining battle, but I got through it. Even now every day is a struggle to stay positive and not let the negativity get to me, but I’m trying my best. Of course I have my days, but who doesn’t?

I want you all to know that no matter what anyone else says to you, all that matters is what you say to yourself. Look in the mirror every morning and say to yourself “I am beautiful.” Don’t let anyone control you like I did.

Be confident in who you are, and everything will fall into place.

Lucid Analysis: Trials in Therapy – Stress and Sexual Healing

I’m about to crash. I’m so stressed out right now I’m not sure how I’m going to even function.
In regards to work, Therapist thinks I need to develop more interpersonal relationships at work. My mentor had his last day here a few weeks ago and has moved across the country. He was a huge inspiration to me and one of the only people I felt comfortable coming to talk to.  When you’re able to discuss things that occur at work with colleagues it provides the opportunity for them to share similar stories and experiences that happened them. They can relay how they felt, how they handled issues, and how things worked out. It provides the opportunity to realize that I’m not alone in this kind of stress and that others have also shared this experience. The opportunity to relieve some of the pressure is created. Without that, I feel like I’m alone and adrift without anyone that I can rely on for support. I’m just, not sure how to go about doing this.
I’m so very hard on myself. I’m harder on myself than anyone else. She started to ask me where I got this idea that I wasn’t allowed to fail or make mistakes, but then she just sort of kept talking and went off on a tangent. I know this goes back to how I was raised. Nothing I do is good enough. Everything I do can be better. There’s always a way to improve. But it’s not like I was ever punished for failing. My father pushed us, yes, definitely. There was always a way for us to improve and keep getting better. But we never got in trouble if we weren’t the best, never got yelled at if we made mistakes. The only time we ever got a cross word was if we tried to quit. Quitting wasn’t acceptable, but mistakes were fine. In fact, he was always more concerned with fairness than he was with performance.
Story time: My dad was often our coach or assistant coach on the various sports teams we played on. He always coached my brothers baseball. Unfortunately he often had a losing team, but it was because he was the most fair coach. Parents and players loved my father. He didn’t care if a player was weaker than another, didn’t hit as many home runs or make as many catches. If you were on his team, you were going to play. As a result, his team often lost, but he players enjoyed the game and learned how to play. You can’t get better if you sit the bench, so he let them play, didn’t hold them back, and gave them the chance to improve. I always loved my dad for how he coached.
I think I’m self-sabotaging here too. I’m beginning to withdraw. I’m afraid to succeed. I’ve had so much turmoil in my life lately the emotional pressure is becoming too much for me. I’ve tried so hard with people and failed that the feeling is bleeding over into the rest of my life as well. I want to escape. Withdraw into my own head. I’m afraid of disappointing everyone, so I’m having a hard time forcing myself to try. I don’t want to put myself out there for fear that people will see me try and potentially not succeed. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. If I try I might make mistakes and possibly fail, but if I don’t try at all, I’ll absolutely fail. That’s not ok. Time to reorganize my life and my priorities.
Onto the next. I feel like I’m having a hard time working on the deeper issues of my psyche because I keep having to focus on current issues. ::sigh:: Everything in its own time I suppose.
If you follow my other blog you will have read about my last weekend with Tech Boy and the concern I had. In a nutshell: things got rougher during sex than they should have and he crossed a boundary of mine. I have very few of these but I was very upset and didn’t know if I’d be able to continue on with this ‘relationship’. You can catch up on it here.
I resolved to actually talk to him about the incident. On Monday I told him to get ahold of me after he got off work. He did. I was nervous and wasn’t sure I’d even be able to talk to him about it until the words were actually coming out. I was afraid he’d be mad at me for even bringing it up. If he even remembered… which as it turns out, he didn’t.
I told him I had a concern. I have very few boundaries and sexually I’m open to almost anything, but one thing I will not tolerate is being hit. He hit me, in the face, three times. Not very hard, but he still did. I knew this was a sexual fantasy of his, it wasn’t something he did in anger, but the only time he’d mentioned it before I’d flat out said no. It was so brief and we never discussed it again, and he was SO drunk that none of this entered his thought process. He doesn’t even remember this happening. But I do. I told him I wouldn’t tolerate it, and if it happened again, I was done.  
He was floored. He couldn’t believe he would do something like that to me, or to anyone. He doesn’t hit people. He apologized profusely. He said he must have gotten caught up in the moment and clearly overstepped my boundaries. Apologized some more. He said he doesn’t handle being an asshole very well and he should have known better.  I’d mentioned being in abusive relationships in passing, but I’ve never really discussed this with him. I figured it was time to tell him a bit about Evil-Ex and the abuse I dealt with from him. I’ve been in abusive relationships before and it’s not something I’ll ever do again, even if it’s just simulated fantasy situations. Not ok.
Therapist said this must have been very triggering for me because of my past abuse. It was. Which is why I wasn’t sure if I was overreacting or not. I’m concerned about whether I can feel safe with him now. I’m not afraid of him. I don’t believe he would ever hurt me on purpose. Being drunk isn’t an excuse to do something like that though. It actually makes me feel worse that it’s something he doesn’t remember because it’s potentially an out of control and even less predictable situation. I’ll just have to keep my eyes open, and not engage in more intimate behavior when that much alcohol is involved.
I felt a lot better afterwards, though I still wasn’t sure what would come of ‘us’. I was still worried that he’d be angry at me or that it would change things even though he thanked me for bringing it to his attention. I shouldn’t have worried though. The next day was Valentine’s Day. We hadn’t talked about it. We’re in that undefined area of relationships where I’m not sure what the protocol for not just friends with benefits but not quite boyfriend/girlfriend are. I hadn’t expected he’d want to do anything so I wasn’t going to mention it. As it turns out, he had been thinking about it. Later that afternoon he texted me and asked if I wanted to do anything. Why the hell not. He ended up coming over and made me a nice homemade dinner. It was very yummy. Afterwards we watched a movie and just curled up on the couch. He didn’t even hint towards sex at all. Just wrapped his arms around me and sat back to enjoy the movie.
Therapist was concerned when I said I didn’t have many sexual boundaries. This confused me.  Why wouldn’t I be open to experimenting with my partner? I’ve already decided to be physically intimate with him, after that it’s just fun and games. She thinks it’s more than that. There should be trust and boundaries. She was very proud of me for speaking my mind, taking control of the situation, and setting boundaries when I felt it was important. But in a relationship sex is more than just being physical. In a relationship sex is about sharing something of yourself with your partner. There’s an emotional intimacy that should be there as well.
I definitely have problems here. Sex is affection. It’s something that makes him want to stay with me. This may not actually be true, but I generally think that sex is one thing that works to keep a guy’s interest. Oddly I don’t feel this way about women so I think it’s a by-product of my experiences with men using me for sex. If I deny sex or refuse something my partner wants, there’s a fear in the back of my mind that they will lose interest or go somewhere else for it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy sex a lot. It’s one of the few things that makes my brain shut up and I can just let myself feel and enjoy the moments. But I also think it’s a way to make my partner happy with me in a way that will lessen the chance they will leave me. Being open to new sexual experiences and things that interest my partner lets me potentially give them something they won’t get other places and endear them to me. I don’t know if that’s a healthy way to look at it. It doesn't really enter my mind that they should be accepting of what I want as well (Though Tech Boy certainly is).  I didn’t have a chance to discuss this with Therapist. However as my homework:
Homework: Think about what my personal dreams and aspirations for a sensually intimate relationship are. What do I want? What do I need? This is important for me to consider. My needs are important to consider for a healthy and emotionally intimate relationship.
Therapist pulled out something called The Wheel of Self- Awareness. I make our sessions pretty easy because I’m very self-aware in most areas of my life, but occasionally I need focus.
The Wheel of Self-Awareness is a tool to help you organize your thoughts and feelings about any particular emotion, situations, etc. With any issue you want to explore you write down the:
Memories you associate with it
Thoughts that correspond to it
Feelings you have toward it or that are created by it
Dreams and Aspirations you have in regards to it
Sensations that you feel with it
Perceptions you have of anyone or anything concerned with the situation
And at the very Center is your place of Grounding. The things that you need or feel are important to think about the situation from a calm and centered perspective. The things that make you feel stable.
Try it out. It’s what I’ll be spending some time doing.
I know my handwriting is a mess.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Occupational Hazard

Crushing disappointment with myself today. Stressed out beyond reason. I can feel myself shutting down and starting to drift away from my surroundings. Staring off into an empty, lonely space.
It’s not really my fault, but it feels like it. I should have known that something was wrong.
Work stress.
Having to rely on a team is necessary but dangerous. One wrong input, that I couldn’t generate and had no control over,  that I had to rely on someone else to provide for me, and it changed completely the results that I had been looking for. There was a mistake. Wrong.
I feel like my job is over. I’m so panicked I can’t even feel anymore.
And the dumbest thing is, I already talked to my boss and he’s not that concerned! I just have to redo a couple things and make them my priority instead of some other projects. I now also have more resources at my disposal to collaborate my findings.
I’m just… I feel like I complete and utter failure. Admitting this is so difficult. So difficult. I’m ashamed of myself. I want to quit my job as save myself the embarrassment of ever messing up again. Everyone is going to judge me. Everyone is going to see I’m not as intelligent as I need to be. Everyone is going to see that I’m not perfect. They’re going to look down on me. They’re going to silently laugh at me behind my back and feel like they are better than me. I can’t actually measure up.
I know these thoughts are destructive and massively exaggerated, if not outright wrong, but I can’t help that it’s how I FEEL.  
I take on so much. I know I can do the work, but the shear load is overwhelming.
When the work day is done I feel so much relief. I made it through one more day doing what I need to do. I go home at night, but don’t want to go to sleep because I know it will only make the morning come so much quicker. When morning comes I have to walk right back into work and do it all over again. One more potential chance to fail. I’ve never had a hard time waking up in the morning, but now it seems like dragging my ass out of bed would be easier to do with one of those giant claw machines designed to pick me up and drop me off into my morning routine.
This is the only thing everyone will see about me now. They’ll only remember this one thing. That’s what they’ll judge me on. This last problem. None of the other brilliant and productive things I’ve done before will matter. Just this one thing. This is how I think. I don’t think this is how ‘normal’ people think. But I don’t know how it feels to not think this way. I don’t have that perspective. This is all I know. And all I know, is that this time my work wasn’t good enough. That’s terrifying.
I have to be better. I have to push myself harder. Making mistakes just isn’t acceptable. I’m going to lose everything I worked for if I make even one small mistake. I just, can’t. I’m so disappointed. I feel small. My self-esteem is completely deflated. I feel the fingers of depression and self-doubt slowly clawing their way into the forefront of my mind. This is bad.  
Every time someone looks at me I’m going to wonder if they’re thinking about that one thing. I want to crawl into a hole and blot out the sun. If they can’t see me, they can’t judge me.
All I can do is prove that I’m better than what I did previously.
It may sound like I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, but when the mole is a mutated radiation experiment created by an evil genius, genetically altered to be 6 feet tall with yellowed broad swords for claws and teeth that rival a velociraptor, that molehill doesn’t sound like something I want to kick over.
Stress. I know that I’m actually very successful by anyone’s standards in my occupational field. Choosing such a difficult and high stress profession on top of my Borderline Personality Disorder is harder than most people realize. The work isn’t that hard. The amount of work load I have to juggle is where the pressure comes in. I have to figure out a better way to deal with this kind of stress….

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Borderline Isolation

Sometimes I need to be alone. Sometimes the rest of the world is too much for me to deal with. Hell, sometimes just one other person is too much for me to deal with. I need everything to just go away.
Isn’t this a contradiction in the Borderline personality? Aren’t Borderlines supposed to need a ton of attention 24/7 and fall apart if they’re forced to be alone?
I’d say that’s an exaggeration of the condition. Yes, it tends to be true that Borderlines need attention and hate to be alone. It’s not that simple though, because people aren’t that simple. Especially when you are dealing with someone with a volatile range of quickly changing moods, what they need in each moment is also going to change. I know that’s not incredibly reassuring. This is why communication of needs is so important.
For as much as I hate to be alone sometimes, there are even more times that I do need to be alone. I think I’m a little different here than many Borderlines. People with BPD often come across as needy and rather clingy when they’re not pushing away. However, for me, I have never been able to do this. I can’t stand the idea of being seen as clingy so I force myself to suppress the need to ask for constant attention, regardless of how I feel sometimes.  That said, there are plenty of times where I really do not want attention.

For instance, in large groups of people that I know I often feel like an outsider. I’m different and constantly see myself off to the side, even if I’m engaged in conversation. I don’t quite fit so I feel alone. Surrounded by people, yet alone. Being with other people creates a cognitive dissonance between the reality of the situation and the feeling of the situation. It stresses me out and often makes me depersonalize and begin to feel like I’m floating outside of my own head. It’s not pleasant. I prefer to actually be alone, because then at least the feeling of being alone makes sense. Sometimes better to be alone and lonely, than with someone and lonely, because at least that makes sense emotionally. It’s logically consistent.

I also have body dysmorphic issues. Never underestimate the power of a poor body image and low self-esteem. Some days I don’t want other people to look at me. I don’t even want to look at me. I’ll put on baggy clothes, refuse to look in the mirror, and hope that I feel better tomorrow. I see and scrutinize every perceived “flaw” and because it’s glaringly obvious to me, I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t be glaringly obvious to someone else. What’s more is, when I look in the mirror these flaws are amplified. They’re exaggerated in my mind and I actually see it this way. My body perception is distorted. I may look beautiful or just fine to someone else, but I am quite literally not seeing the same person they are. Showing flaws means I’m not perfect, and if I’m not perfect why the hell would someone want me around?  I’m actually making a lot of progress here. I still have my days where I can’t face people, but I’m able to force myself to go out even though I’m not “perfect” and I even manage to enjoy myself. I can look in the mirror and realize I still have some work I want to do, but also appreciate my positive features. I think this is a great step. It’s not all perfect (white) or one flaw means everything is ruined and I’m hideously flawed (black). I’m starting to see the grey areas in my self-perception. This is probably the first time in 18 years that I’m starting to be able to do this. I know gaining a couple pounds or ‘feeling fat’ may seem like a silly reason not to see someone, but I promise you, it’s not just an excuse.

Probably the biggest reason I want to be alone is that I’m aware that my mood is unpleasant and I don’t want other people to see me like this. I’m often depressed, angry, frustrated, and irritable. who the hell wants to be around someone like this? When my mood is swinging in this direction my temper is extremely short and I’m likely to lose control of my very sharp tongue. I’m quick to make harsh and cutting comments that hurt people’s feelings.  It’s a great way to piss people off and drive them away. Which is exactly what I do not want to do. When I was younger I wouldn’t care. I’d want company and what anyone else wants be damned. If they’re really my friends they’ll put up with it. If they’re really my friends then they’ll let me be how I want to be. However, at the time I didn’t think of the fact that, if I was really their friend I wouldn’t want to take out my temper on the people around me. I wouldn’t want to upset them. I just didn’t think this way. It took some reprogramming to get there. Other people have rights too. It’s not always about me.

Not to mention, it would ruin the pleasant image I purposely and meticulously cultivate. I constantly feel a need to ‘hide my crazy’. Always. The picture that most people have of me is a very in control, quirky, but competent individual. And really, I am. On the outside. Internally though I’m often a seething mess of emotion. Letting other people see that, or letting them know it exists, I believe would drive them away. I hide anything unpleasant so the impression they have of me, is one that they want to keep around. I can't internalize the concept that other people may understand or accept that I am not perfect, I have emotions like others (ok, moreso) and it's ok to show this to people.

See a pattern here? I do.

And then of course, sometimes it’s just practical. Yes, Borderlines can acknowledge practical needs. We’re not running around with our mind in a frenzy every single moment of every single day. Sometimes, even if we’d prefer company, it’s necessary to go to the grocery, or clean the house, or run a metric butt ton of errands and it’s not feasible to get everything done if we feel like we have to entertain someone else at the same time.

Sometimes I feel guilty having company as well. For as much of a socially theatrical person as I can be (think themed parties, costumed events, masquerades, wild venues, and street performance – not personal drama queen issues) I also have a big homebody streak. I like to have nights where I curl up in my pajamas, reading a book with my cat curled up in my lap. Or as has been the case lately, spending hours on my computer trying to complete my latest Quest (Hush, I’m a gamer). I don’t need to go out every single Friday night and often I’ll opt to stay in and avoid the social scene. I would actually love to have someone else over to keep me company, but I feel silly having company and then ignoring them as I do my quiet time stuff. This is one of the reasons I appreciate living with Roommate. She’s around a lot, but it’s pretty typical for her to be in her room doing her own thing. I feel her presence but there’s no pressure to talk or entertain. I can do what I want to do and not be alone.

I think the final thing is, bottom line: It’s safer to be isolated. The more time you spend with someone, the closer they become to you. The more intimate your connection becomes. This is dangerous. Because as we all know, the closer someone gets to you, the higher the risk becomes that they can hurt you. People that we have no emotional attachment to can come and go and it makes no difference. When you let someone into your life, they learn who you are, share your secrets, this gives them leverage and ammunition and the control over the extent of the attachment begins to slip for your grasp. It’s a risk that is absolutely worth taking for the right person, however, as you may have notice, finding those “right” people isn’t exactly easy. Often I err on the side of extreme caution and don’t let anyone close at all. That doesn’t mean it’s a good thing to do, but it feels safer.

Our disorder becomes intensified in interpersonal relationships. People drive me crazy. (Yay for massively inaccurate oversimplifications.)  I can’t stand to be alone, for long stretches anyways, but if it’s a choice between feeling crazy and feeling lonely; the lesser of the two evils is often to feel lonely.

It's funny, even on days I desire to be alone, it can create anything from an intense anxiety to a low level dread in me. Not always, but usually. It's a struggle. It's hard to completely fill up the emptiness and the room in my mind for ruminations if I'm by myself. Often it comes down to a fight between what I know to be good for me and what I know I need. Reconciling the two isn't as easy as it should be.

I isolate.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine’s Day and Borderline Personality Disorder

I really do have a hard time taking this holiday srsly.
Yes, it’s that time again. That special day of the year when Hallmark tells you that you haven’t been living up to your woman’s expectations of what a good spouse should be. Congratulations you fail at life, unless of course you empty your bank account on expensive jewelry, flowers, and epic love poetry that you compiled yourself while starving in a cave, naked, for an entire year.
This holiday makes a lot of semi-reasonable women turn into pretty, pretty ultra-pink heart shaped princesses with highly unreasonable expectations. You don’t have to have Borderline Personality Disorder to be driven crazy with this one, but as with most things, it’s possible to make us crazier.
If you’re dating, married, “special” friends, or stalking appreciative of the Borderline in your life you should know by now that it’s important to make her feel special pretty often. If you wait for only one day a year to provide her with the reassurance that she is meaningful to you, well, you probably experienced the melt down and received a lovely parting gift of emotional explosions. Frequent reassurance of love and caring are very important (To EVERYONE!) when you’re involved with a Borderline. Be careful not to be too reassuring though. You don’t want to cross the line into smothering and emotional suffocation.
Really, you want to make your loved one think Valentine’s Day is silly because you already make the effort to turn those ‘average’ days of his/her life into something special. That’s really the point here.
Be continually appreciative.
But for those of you that didn’t plan ahead and now are floundering about to make this one day a focal point of the year, here are some helpful tips for a smooth evening out with your Borderline.
Tip #1: If your Borderline has an eating disorder, don’t get her chocolate. I know the corner drug store has those gigantic heart shaped boxes of chocolate all up in your face, but unless you want to encourage a binge filled evening laced with a hint of self-loathing, step away from the candy.
Tip #2: If your Borderline has a fear of commitment, don’t choose this day to propose. Getting engaged is stressful enough. Getting engaged on a day where the expectations of romance are a bajillion times higher, could make her heart crack into a thousand of those mini little chalk flavor heart candies with inspirational sayings like “WTF dude?” or “Are you serious?”.
Tip #3: Just because your Borderline says that she hates Valentine’s Day, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything.  Remember when I said that you should treat her special every day? February 14th is still one of those days. I know it's a complete contradiction to say you hate Valentine's Day, and then want to do something on Valentine's Day, but it's also a message of, the holiday is stupid, then again, it's a day like any other that I want to see you, so I want to see you! Warning: This may get you laid instantly.
Tip #4: Don’t expect perfection. This is for the Borderlines out there that create these amazingly unattainable fantasy scenarios that no human short of a transgendered Aphrodite come down from Mr. Olympus could live up to. There are a handful of romantic men out there, but playing the odds, yours probably isn’t one of them. If you want to do something specific, speak up! Otherwise just be appreciative that he remembered the date at all. Let’s face it, this is pretty impressive for a lot of guys.
Tip #5: If your Borderline has issues with object constancy… get her/him a gift! Or even a thoughtful card. No, not one of those goofy ones with a pre-written message. A blank card. The kind that you fill up with your own writing. Don’t be afraid to get gooey. Emotionally gooey, I mean. Don’t like, jerk off on the card. That’s just gross. And creepy. Giving a gift or a card that your Borderline can keep with them is an excellent way of saying, “I may not be around all the time, but here’s a small part of me for you to hold on to.”

So there you go. Haven’s tips for a successful Valentine’s Day with your Borderline. Does anyone have any special plans? What am I doing you ask? Nothing. Tech Boy hasn’t brought it up and I’m not going to mention it if he doesn’t. I’m going to the gym, because I do have an eating disorder and if I skip one more workout my head may explode. Head explosion prevention trumps candy company holidays in my book. That doesn’t mean I like the idea of being lonely today (because it’s a day like any other day that I don’t like to be lonely!).  Feel free to spend some time here with me =)
EDIT: Soooo I may have plans afterall =X
*I know I use “her” mostly but this also applies to all the “him”s out there too. Writing him/her everywhere is kind of obnoxious and interrupts the flow of my writing. It’s not that I’m discriminating, I’m just lazy. Happy Valentine’s Day!  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Take a Tumble with me...

I don't know if anyone is interested or uses Tumblr.... quite some time ago I had been running a Tumblr for this blog alongside my posting here. As my life got more hectic I sort of let it fall by the wayside. I'm attempting to pick it up again, picking up where I had left off, posting old posts and all the pictures and inspirational quotes, messages, and pictures that I enjoy and tend to correspond with my post. This blog will always be my priority, but it's fun to have the little additions. So if you're interested in reading older posts as I revisit them and seeing the pretty pictures my wacky brain is attracted to, follow me at:

This blog will still and always have the latest updates and thoughts. 

Stop the Ruminations

Mental Ruminations are distressing and often very unhealthy. If you’re someone like me, you find yourself doing this often.

For all the time spent worrying and creating disastrous scenarios in your mind, how often do you come to a constructive conclusion? Practically never? Hey, me too. Is it just me, or does this seem like a phenomenal waste of time, energy, and emotion?
These aren’t going to stop on their own. The most important thing we need to do in order to stop these is also the hardest thing to do:
Take responsibility for your thoughts and proactively work to change your habits.
Unfortunately there are no quick fixes or easy solutions to this one. Not that I’ve found (unless you’re considering a lobotomy. Please consult a medical professional first. I don’t recommend this. Hah.). If you’re working to heal from Borderline Personality you should be used to this. It doesn’t make it fun, but it’s not something we’ve never heard before.
Why can’t anything be easy? If only……… This. Right here. Is where the problem starts. This is the wrong kind of question. Instead of working to find a productive solution, it is very easy to get caught up in thoughts that push away responsibility and blame the fates.
Step 1. The first thing you NEED to do. With no exception: Realize when you are ruminating. When you see your mind start to run away with it, you need to recognize what you are doing. Say it out loud if that will help, “Hey you, Brain. I see what you’re doing. Right now. You’re ruminating.”
Step 2 can be one of many options, or a combination. But Step 2 is ALWAYS: Be proactive. You need to take responsibility for your mind and do something about it. Fortunately there are a whole lot of things you can do:
1.      Talk it out. I know a lot of us have a very hard time doing this because expressing our inner concerns and fears puts us in an emotionally vulnerable place. We’re afraid that if we let someone in on our thoughts we will get hurt by opening up. Well you know what?  By not expressing our concerns, by allowing our minds to torment us with “what if” scenarios, we’re hurting ourselves and potentially doing more damage to ourselves than anyone else could do. These thoughts are destructive, harmful, often self-abusive, make us fearful, hurt, angry, paranoid… and when we have the destructive emotions building up it makes it all the more easy for us to explode at the very people we’re afraid of losing in the first place. We have two options:
Disordered Thinking Scenario
            1a. Talk to someone, and fear they won’t understand or worse, walk away without caring.
            1b. Don’t talk to someone and potentially hurt ourselves and eventually drive them away anyways.
Here’s how this actually tends to work out. Realistic Thinking Scernario
1a. Talk to someone that you can trust. At worst they may not understand. At best they can help you brain storm various ways to come up with a constructive solution or figure out better ways to cope with the situation you’re dealing with. At the very least you will have unburdened some of the weight you’re carrying. But I feel bad dumping my problems on people.  The thing is, while we may feel the weight of our problems, someone else isn’t going to internalize them the way we do. It’s a burden for us. For them it’s often the simple act of caring and providing a few minutes to listen to you.
1b. Don’t talk to someone. Destructive thoughts build up and multiply like mental gremlins fed after midnight and multiplying in water. Stress yourself out, mentally hurt yourself, and potentially misplace your anxiety and pain on the people around you that you care about.
Wait a minute. Both those #1b’s are practically the same thing. Yep. That’s the point. You can do nothing productive and continue to hurt yourself mentally. Or. You can ‘take a chance’ and ask for a little help. If the thing that is stopping you is being afraid that you will lose the people you care about by asking for help, it doesn’t make any sense to not ask for help… and still potentially lose the people you care about. If you talk it out, you have a much greater possibility of finding a healthy solution while strengthening the bond with whomever you’re confiding in. If you don’t, you still risk the thing you fear.  Choose the more productive option.
Sometimes it’s not always possible to talk things through. Maybe no one is around or you’re not in a position where you feel it’s something you can talk about. It happens.
Other things that help me:
2.      Do something else – Sometimes my mind just starts picking fights with itself over nothing in particular, or problems that don’t really exist. These are the least productive ruminations in the entire world. The things that helps me the most with these, are to distract my mind by doing something productive. I’ll go to the gym, make an elaborate dinner, pop in Diablo II on my PC because Blizzard still hasn’t released Diablo III yet even though it’s been like a decade, grrr. I digress. Do something that engages you, which you enjoy, and let yourself focus on something else.  
3.      Schedule some worry time – I’ve mentioned this before. Quite literally pick a day, time, and duration, go someplace quiet and dedicate a small chunk of time to worrying. When the time is up – Stop. Physically leave that space and get on with your life.
4.      Journal. Write it out. – It helps me so much to write down the things on my mind. It makes the real problems seem more tangible. At first this sounds bad, but if they’re just these disembodied free floating forms and thoughts they can seem impossible to tackle because you can’t actually get a grasp on them. If you write them down, see them, they become something you can take action against. On the flip side, sometimes by writing things down you give solidity to your fears and are able to recognize just how absurd some of the things you think are. Writing down your fears and anxieties can also help you find patterns to what bothers you and causes you unnecessary stress. When you increase your awareness of the things that motivate your destructive thoughts, it becomes possible to counteract these.
5.      Become a list person – I worry about a lot of dumb shit sometimes. I worry about a lot of very real problems and issues though as well. When your mental ruminations involves real problems it is very helpful to compile a list of the things you spend time worrying about. Write them down.
5a. Come up with various solutions, or at the very least, ways of interacting with each item on your list. Use a lot of verbs; doing statements. Use affirmative and positive language as well.
Taking concrete, decisive steps to solving your problems with always make you feel better. I promise.
The great thing about doing these things is you have a plan of attack. Start with some #4 during your scheduled #3. Take the real issues and move on to #5. If possible take that list you made in #5 and sit down with #1. Write down a list of things that trouble you. Take that list to someone you trust and work on creating constructive solutions that you can actually implement.
Instead of ruminating endlessly, destructively, and wastefully…. If you’re going to worry, make your mental activity productive. Do something about it.
I feel three thousand times better when I am able to actual DO something about a problem I’m having. I hate, hate, not being in control of things in my life. The uncertainty of ‘potential’ scenarios is just awful. Instead of leaving situations up to the whims of the world, take control. Things in this world do not get better on their own, especially if people don’t realize anything is wrong in the first place and can’t work with you on it. Recognize something is on your mind, figure out what is really bothering you, decide to do something about it, form a list of things you can actually do, and seek out the resources and help you need to make the changes that will actually benefit you.
I know it sounds like a lot of work, but the simple fact of reality, especially a reality with BPD, is that living requires a certain amount of effort.   However the more you do this stuff, the easier it becomes. Until one day you’ll realize you have a problem and instead of wasting massive amounts of time worrying needlessly, you’ll see that you automatically begin fixing your situation without a second thought.
Additional thoughts that a lovely Reader brought to my attention in the Comments below, which I believe is valuable for everyone to see:

A friend gave me a helpful tool. When you catch yourself (the sooner the better) say, out loud if no one is around, "do I want to change this?" And answer "Yes" out loud, again if situation permits.

It’s a self-empowerment technique. You have to really feel the word change. Feel it with a positive, powerful connotation. No room for fear of change, here. In this context, change is your very best friend. This question is your awareness that you are not only the captain of your ship, but you are the waves and the stormy skies as well. You have the omnipotent power, through this simple question, to change your mental scenery.
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