Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ask Haven! Episode 4: Medication and Borderline Personality Disorder

A Reader asked: 

Do you ever think the meds are killing the "real" you, curing not only the bad but also the good?  [Do you ever think] Would I have done this without meds?

It totally depends on the medication. I was on Symbyax and Abilify at various points and those absolutely killed the "real" me. They zapped me of all my energy. I no longer cared about anything. I felt like a zombie of fatigue. Absolutely horrible. Just sitting up was hard. It wasn't so much thoughts of, “would I have done this without meds,” but more, “I wish I had the energy and ability to do the things I would normally be able to do when I'm off meds”. They’ve never pushed me manic or made me do things that I wouldn’t normally do (other than stop stressing so much about negative things and be a little more happy which is what I want!). They have, however, prohibited me from living my life the way I value. It’s so important to find the proper medication for your own personal chemistry because different medications work differently for different people. 

I took Lexapro for a while and I felt like me, less depressed/happier, but there were some side effects that I wasn't ok with.

Zoloft helped my anxiety, but did nothing for my depression. I always felt like my real self, but as I needed something to help me be not depressed, this clearly wasn’t doing the trick.

The Lamictal did absolutely nothing for me. I felt no change whatsoever. I always felt like my regular old moody swingy, depressed self. Which, is exactly what I didn’t want.

Benzodiazepines (like Xanax or Klonopin) are great, but my current Psychiatrist doesn’t prescribe them. They’re short term, situational anti-anxietals. I’ve read that they can actually make symptoms of Borderline worse though. I can understand the logic too because they bring you down to a nice mellow, calm place, so when they wear off and you ramp back up or down to the roller coaster emotions it can make them seem worse. These always made me feel a little drunk. More mellow. Not really myself, but I didn’t care because I felt more calm for a while and it was the immediate reprieve I needed in the moment. I was always afraid of these though, because addiction rate is high and I don’t want to become dependent on something like this.

I'm extremely wary, even terrified, of taking anti-psychotics because of all the side effects. Antipsychotics are "mood stabilizers". I'm also Major Depressive which means I’m already starting from a baseline of depression instead of a normal elevated emotional place, my ups aren’t very high to begin with, and my lows are pretty severe. So "stabilizing" my mood means I might not have as many mood swings, but because I'll also be depressed all the time because I can’t really get that emotional lift either. That's why I asked to just be put on an anti-depressant to help lift my mood, while I work on my mood swings in therapy and through other constructive outlets.
SSRIs don't seem to work properly for me.

The Pristiq that I'm now, I love. I feel 100% like my normal self. I'm just not as depressed as usual. So I feel 100% like my normal self except I'm not as anxious and depressed! Which is exactly how you would hope these meds are supposed to work.

The Pristiq is an SNRI and I love it. With the addition of the norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor to the seratonine one, I find that I have more energy. I did some quick research on Norepinephrine. Thanks Wikipedia!

As a stress hormone, norepinephrine affects parts of the brain, such as the amygdala, where attention and responses are controlled. Along with epinephrine, norepinephrine also underlies the fight-or-flight response, directly increasing heart rate, triggering the release of glucose from energy stores, and increasing blood flow to skeletal muscle. It increases the brain's oxygen supply. Norepinephrine can also suppress neuroinflammation when released diffusely in the brain from the locus coeruleus.

I’ve talked before about the differences in the Borderline brain that are affected by the amygdala. We tend to have an elevated flight-or-fight response and stress reaction all the time. It makes perfect sense to me that having something that lessens these responses to balance out this particular reaction would help. Mind you I am in no way a medical professional and have zero medical training, but it seems logical to me.

When it comes to medication It's all about finding the right med and treatment for you. I often refer to it as a medication-go-round because unfortunately there’s no telling what will work for you or not until you try it. You’ll also never know if you can feel better if you don’t give it a shot. I’m firmly of the mind that if what you’re taking makes you feel like you’re not yourself in a bad way, then you’re probably on the wrong meds. Just keep in mind that it does take some time for new medications to balance out in your system, initial side effects to go away, and for your body to adjust. It’s usually a 1-2 month process before you can tell for certain if how you feel  initially is how you’ll continue to feel or if the drugs are even having a proper effect on you. So be patient, stick it out, and always pay attention to how you feel. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Random Question

Question: Do you ever get really anxious when there's something you want to do but there's a tiny, itty bitty, remote, minute chance it could "inconvenience" someone? Even when you know, logically, that person probably won't care?

And by "inconvenience" I mean, not be some hypothetical "perfect" time or outcome that I've built up and  imagined but haven't actually talked about or set in stone.

Tech Boy is moving into his apartment today. I hadn't expected to see him tonight. But I made a comment about wanting to bake cookies in his new kitchen so his places smells awesome. No definite time or anything, but yanno, sometime. He replied quite naturally with, "That wouldn't be a bad idea. I should be all moved in by tomorrow afternoon." I'm not sure if those are stand alone statements or combined to let me know his kitchen will be ready by tonight.... my real problem... I want to go to the gym and run after work. I told him this, he doesn't care. I'd also like to get up early so I can repeat my crazy workout from last weekend. I'd get up early, let myself out, and he'd probably just roll over and go back to sleep. Done. I worry that since there's stuff I want to do, he'll have to "wait" for me, or he'll be disappointed that I don't want to lounge in bed all morning like we usually do. Or something. It makes me anxious. Really, really anxious that what I want to do will have some kind of time conflict and inconvenience him in some way. ::sigh::

This is really common for me. I'll rearrange my entire schedule to accomodate people. Or cancel what I really want to do if I don't think I can swing both things. Being late is a huge panic attack problem for me, but this isn't even about being late. I just, don't want to see that little look like something isn't enough. That small sigh when I could have had things done by 7:30p instead of 8p. I know none of this matters all that much, but I worry. I fret. I rush myself and work myself up into a panic running around to get everything squeezed in. I have a hard time fighting the mentality that my stuff is important too and that maybe, just maybe, it's ok for someone else to accomodate me. Oh hell, it's not even really a matter of accomodating so much as, just accepting that I have my own stuff I'd like to do that doesn't effect someone else one way or another. Meh.

Lucid Analysis – Trials in Therapy: Double Edged

Happy Friday! I’m in a pretty good mood for no apparent reason considering I went to bed a bit late and absolutely did not want to haul myself out of bed this morning.

Med Update: I think I missed my last appointment with Psychiatrist. I’ll have to reschedule. I think I need to up the dose I’m taking for my Pristiq. I’m not in a constant funk, but my mood has definitely had a mildly depressed baseline. I mean, I’m used to that, but I’m taking drugs to fix that. So I think it’s time to adjust my meds. Still. Very happy with this medication. One amusing side effect but I’ll talk about that some other time.

Yesterday I saw Therapist. It was a very mellow session. My life seems to be taking a turn for the calm. I’m not incredibly surprised by this because I’ve essentially kicked out any cause for drama that could creep in and drive me crazy. Borderline really is a disorder of relationships. The fewer I have, the less intense they are, the easier it is for me to feel like I have a bit more control over my life.

Therapist thinks it’s because 20’s are so turbulent, but now I’m getting to a stage in my life where things begin to calm down. I don’t think so, honestly. I’ve had this feeling before. Throughout most of college actually. I knew a lot of people, but I didn’t socialize much. I was under incredible strain from school and tests, which had its own slew of disastrous effects, but I didn’t have the relationship turmoil. It was a time when I was purposefully cutting myself off from people because I’d been so, so painfully destroyed that I couldn’t fathom letting anyone close to me ever again. And I didn’t, for years. Instead I got to deal with my essence wrapping itself up in a cocoon, numb to the world, and horribly, desperately lonely. But hey, I didn’t have the drama!

Now. I’m not as lonely as I used to be. I’m still often lonely, but it doesn’t seem so crushing. My relationship with my Roommate is strong. My relationship with Tech Boy is steady. I’m extremely involved in my job.

All good things right? Please, life always has another edge.

Roommate and I talked yesterday. Our lease runs on a 6 month term. It’s renewing in 2 weeks, but she’s going to tell the landlords that she won’t be completing it. She’s going to be moving out in 2-3 months (I’ll still be finishing out the lease). When she brought it up my heart just sank. Stupidly since she hadn’t mentioned it in almost 5 months, and since we’d been hanging out so much more, I was having some hope that maybe she didn’t want to leave. Things have been awesome in the apartment, even moreso than usual. Hanging out more, big dinners and movie nights almost every week, talking a lot more. I really hoped that she wouldn’t want to leave. I know it’s stupid. She’s at a time in her life when she needs to do something for herself, but it still feels like an abandonment. She’s going to be around to talk to everyday. Even if we just say ‘Hi, how’s your day’. I won’t have her presence in the apartment anymore. It won’t be so easy to just hangout. She always has a ton of plans with her boyfriend. I’m afraid she won’t have time to hang out with me as they get more and more serious. I just don’t know what I’ll do if I lose her. I feel like it’s a very real possibility that I’ll slip into obscurity and drift off into the void of friendships forgotten if I’m not always around.

I’m also worried that the cats will be sad that they’re being separated. My cat is gonna lose his buddy but he’s lived without other cats most of his life. My roommate’s cat has always had mine to play with and now he’s going to be all by himself. I’m worried about my cats feeling abandonment for crying out loud! Though to be fair, my cat does seem to have abandonment issues, haha. How fitting! People tell me all the time that he’ll sit and cry at the door after I leave, and he’ll race to me as soon as I walk back in.


Things with Tech Boy have been going nicely. I told Therapist about the conversation we had on Saturday in regards to the hitting things still upsetting him. She was really happy to hear that he felt that way, and hear that he regretted it, recognizes and respects my boundaries and all that jazz. He did another super cute thing (I thought) that night. He smokes when he’s drinking. I quit about 4 months ago but I’ll have a hit of his cigarette if I’ve had a few drinks. We were sitting outside and he stopped, looked at his cigarette, and was like, “I’m being a bad influence on you. You quit. You’re really focusing on being healthy. It’s not good for you because of your birth control (all things I’ve told him), and I’m still doing this. I hate it. When I move into my new place I’m just going to stop buying them, no matter what.” I thought that was silly sweet.

I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I keep looking for the monster in the closet and wondering when it’s going to come out. Therapist doesn’t think it will. She thinks it sounds like he really does care about me.  Whenever we’re together we talk non stop about everything. We joke around. Have a good time. Our chemistry is wonderful. I like him. Admitting that out loud is hard. And scary.

 It feels like if I admit it out loud it will hurt more if it falls apart.

Therapist was proud of me for being able to talk to Tech Boy about my boundaries and concerns. If you’ve read my previous posts this week, I was talking about why it’s often hard to speak up. I’m trying to take my own advice here. Miracle of miracles, it seems to have turned out better than I could have ever imagined! I hold things in, I never say anything, I just let the hurt build and build…. I have a very long fuse for this. By the time I’ve reached the point where I absolutely cannot take it anymore it’s often too late to really fix anything. That’s part of what happened when I exploded at Friend. He hadn’t been treating me well but I wasn’t letting him know. I’d just been taking so much hurt on top of hurt from them for so long, finally I just couldn’t anymore and I imagine he felt like all of this just came out of nowhere.

Live and learn. Fortunately when I’ve let things go on for so long and I’ve hit my breaking point, the actual break doesn’t feel so bad. I’d been hurting for so long that it was almost a relief to not invest in the pain that relationship was causing me. The fear of losing that relationship was worse than the actual ending of that relationship. In fact, I feel less burdened now.

He’s being passive-aggressive in trying to get my attention though, which frankly, I find highly, highly amusing. Not directly attempting to get my attention, but attempting to force his presence into arenas where he knows I’ll notice so that he’s somehow in my face. Hah. Go go defense mechanisms. I don’t feel jack shit for you anymore buddy. Buh bye.

Seriously though, if he wants to talk to me. He needs to man up and say something. I’m not playing these games.

Work. Psychotically stressed out. Psychotically productive. I have days that go so fast because every single second is filled with an intense amount of work piles on top of an intense amount of work. After about 3 days of this though, it’s like my brain breaks. Just shuts down. Staring at my monitor makes my eyes ache. I can’t focus, I can hardly make myself think, let alone act.

Me: Why is this so hard? Why am I so stressed out all the time?

My Brain: Babe, you’re a rocket scientist working on some of the most advanced particle physics research in the world. Why do you THINK you’re so stressed?

Me: Oh yeah. Good point.

Therapist loved it when I told her this. It was a neat, swift little kick in the ass to validate myself and give myself credit for all the work that I’m doing. This is a very good DBT technique and she’s proud that I’m using them on my own, without prompting.

I’m so hard on myself. Therapist said she’s met very few people that are harder on themselves than I am. I have this NEED for perfection. If I don’t think what I’m doing is perfect, I fear complete rejection. If I don’t think I can do something perfectly, I beat up on myself. This just makes it even harder to push through and try. I’m not punishing myself at least. When I was at University if I ‘failed’ to achieve a score I believed was acceptable, I’d beat myself up, berate myself, cut myself, hurt myself to provide incentive to be better next time. I still have these thoughts, but they’re not as pervasive. Not so demanding as they once were. Not as frequent either. They buzz around in the back of my brain, but I can swat them away and try to focus on something more constructive. It seems to be getting easier to.

Not going to lie. A big motivation to not hurt myself often comes from the fear of having someone see. Roommate has seen me, held me, and brought me bandages before, and still wants to be my friend. I know she can handle it but I don’t want to burden her with it. Tech Boy on the other hand. I don’t think he would really be able to understand at all, and I don’t want him to see that. He’s mentioned my scars once and I explained them briefly, but I’ve never gone into deep detail. I don’t want to. If my wounds are all old{er} he doesn’t have present cause for concern. He sees me naked on a pretty regular basis. There just is no hiding that from him. So I don’t do anything I’d feel a need to hide.

Someday I hope I get to a place inside myself where I don’t want to hurt myself for me, not for fear of anyone else. But like I said, these thoughts are diminishing. They’re tiny, tiny thoughts compared to the overpowering obsession with physical pain to blot out the emotional torment I used to feel. I’m not so numb anymore that I need the physical reminder that I am, in fact, still alive. I’m learning to redirect my punitive need to punish myself into more constructive ways (mostly exercise, painting, writing… stuff like that). Some day. I’ll get there. It doesn’t happen fast. But it happens.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I never saw it coming! Vanishing Act: Part 2


What does any of this have to do with Nons having some part of this Borderline crazy? Triggers. That’s what. Or just those day to day things that most people would mention but the Borderline frets about in silent simmering fury and frustration. Just because you’re not aware that you’ve done something, doesn’t mean you didn’t do it. And unfortunately, because someone with BPD may continually not speak up, you may do these things over and over without realizing that you’re doing something that is hurting them.

For Example: When I was 17 a guy I knew tried to rape me. He was unsuccessful but he put in a damn good effort. I’d known him for years prior and every time I saw him he’d always say “Hey kid, how’s it going?” or “Hi there kiddo”.  Any time anyone calls me ‘kid’ I automatically think of this man that tried to rape me.  Sometimes people in my daily life will say “Let’s go kid” or something like that. Harmless, non offensive, but still triggering for me. Usually I tell people not to call me ‘kid’. Sometimes though, like if I’m in a professional setting, I don’t, because I don’t want to have to explain why this bothers me. I think it’s understandable that I wouldn’t want to share an experience like this but it also leaves the Non believing that it doesn’t bother me and leaves open the potential that they can, and probably will, call me ‘kid’ again. And therefore, trigger me again.  Is it the Nons fault that they don’t know that this is a trigger for me? No, of course not. Is the Non still triggering these traumatic memories and feelings? Yes. Yes, they are.

I havea lot of triggers. I have a lot of things that cause me frustration, upset, and anger. Humans in general aren’t as considerate as they’d like to think. There’s a lot of opportunity for small slights. There’s a lot of opportunity for doing things that don’t bother you one bit, but may come across as inconsiderate to someone else. This is really pretty normal. And a normal person would usually speak up and say, “Hey buddy, would you mind leaving the seat down after you use the toilet?” for example, without worrying that there would be repercussions. A Borderline, however, always thinks about the potential repercussions. Remember how I talked about ruminations and hypersensitivity? When you’re hypersensitive to how another person might feel, and ruminate on dozens of different ways a comment could be taken, the potential for disastrous repercussions becomes a very real possibility. So logically (for us), it’s better to just not say anything and not risk offending anyone and therefore not having to suffer the consequences.

Right. Hah. Sure. Because the problem stops there. < ---- Sarcasm.

This is where that ‘unexpected vanishing’ comes in. You’ve been with your Borderline for a long time, everything seems wonderful. Sure there’s some moodiness and maybe the occasional push-pull but nothing unmanageable. Unbeknownst to you, you’ve unintentionally been triggering problem areas in this person’s life. Or just doing things that get under their skin. When someone pokes you in an annoying spot for long enough, it begins to grate your nerves raw. Resentment begins to build. It’s small at first and ignorable. But over time, these things keep happening and that resentment turns to frustration. You should know! Can’t you see that this thing that you do makes my smile strain? Can’t you see that every time you do a particular thing, and then ask me if I’m ok, there’s a pattern there? You’re not paying attention! I want you to care enough to figure this out! But how can you do this if I don’t say something? But there’s all these reasons I shouldn’t.  Back and forth. The hurt slowly builds to anger. Until we just can’t take it anymore. Our tolerance hits a boiling point and unexpectedly pops. All that anger, frustration, and upset, that had been triggered over a long period of time, that you had no clue about, finally surfaces in one gloriously unexpected explosion. 

It appears that this perfect relationship has suddenly been devalued. You’ve been unexpectedly split into some demon of a significant other and you have no idea why. This is a problem in the perception of the Non, and the communication of the Borderline.  It’s not that it just happened suddenly, at the drop of a dime, because we had one random mood swing. It’s because these things have been building up over a period of time, but unlike how normal people behave, the problems haven’t been expressed. Without expressing them, they can’t be addressed. They can’t be worked through. They can’t be released. They can’t be healed. We can’t move on. Instead, we hold onto each incident with a death grip, pushing it down, and compacting it under all of the things that eventually pile up upon it. When we can’t communicate, we just get more frustrated! Instead of protecting ourselves, we’re perpetuating our own problems.

Because of all these fears though, often we don’t even know how to ask for help. Even when we really do want it. How do you initiate a conversation about what concerns you, if you’ve always been afraid of doing this? Or if you’ve always been told that have no right to talk about something? It’s foreign territory that we don’t know how to navigate. We literally don’t know how to seek help for certain things. We need help, learning to ask for help!

I’m not going to pretend that having any kind of relationship with a Borderline is going to be easy. It’s often not. Depending on the relationship it can be extraordinarily difficult. The relationship I had with my parents, and my siblings was much, much more volatile than almost any of my romantic relationships (other than the abusive ones – but I’m not responsible for the abusive actions of those others).  Especially when I was younger, getting me to talk about anything was like pulling teeth out of a rabid mutant bear-shark hybrid. Take a minute to digest that image. Ok. I’ve never been good at communicating my needs and concerns.  

Never? Well, crap. How hopeless is this situation? It seems inevitable that all Borderline relationships are doomed! I disagree. So how do you overcome these problems?   It will take a little more vigilance and probably a lot of patience, but it’s not necessarily a one way course set towards disaster.

Communication is really important. This doesn’t mean hounding someone every time they say ‘they’re fine’. That would annoy the best of anyone. But it does mean keeping your eyes open, and watching for signs that something isn’t right. A strained smile, a deeper forced breathe, pursed lips, wringing hands, tense shoulders… body language is incredibly telling. Pay attention. Be gentle, be approachable, and pre-emptively cultivate trust in communication. Reassurance is really important to a Borderline. It’s important that we know that you will be willing to work with us on a problem, without walking out on us. Sometimes you might get angry, sometimes we might get angry, but if we believe that you’ll stay with us while we work it out, it’ll be easier for us to believe that we can talk to you about things that are a problem. When you notice a sign that something might be wrong, say, “It seems like something is bothering you. Can you tell me about it? I’d like to know what’s going on with you. Maybe there’s something we can do to fix it together. Your feelings are important to me and it’s important to me that your needs are being met too.” Maybe not quite so clinical, but in a way that conveys that it’s safe to discuss what is going on. Borderlines, we need to know our triggers. When we learn what they are, we need to communicate them so they aren't set off.
Being safe. Often we don’t feel this. I’m not sure I’ll ever know what it is to truly feel safe with another person. Not emotionally anyways. I’ll never know unless I try. I won’t be able to try if the other person isn’t willing to work with me though.

Two people, two ways. It takes both to work on a relationship. Don’t wait until it’s too late to turn back before trying to fix something that isn’t too broken to repair.

Alright, so that was for the longer relationships when your Borderline just disappears seemingly out of nowhere. What about the one's you've known for a shorter time? Why do they disappear? Why will I see a Borderline a lot and then it seems they drop off the face of the earth? Well now, I guess there's just more to this story now isn't there.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I never saw it coming! Vanishing Act: Part 1

“He just left. Everything was great. Then all of a sudden he blew up at me over something small and that was it. Our relationship was over. I never saw it coming!”
Sound familiar? Relationships with a Borderline Personality Disordered person sometimes end abruptly. The Non Borderline in the relationship almost expects the turbulence and explosive endings, a buildup of anger or emotion over a period of time, but at least you see it coming. But sometimes it seems like things are great, and then all of a sudden, BAM! Game over.
I think there are two main contributors to this (other than the volatile emotions of a Borderline). Brace yourself, I may piss everyone off here.
1.)    A person with BPD fails to communicate;  what he or she is feeling, hides what is going on, and fears talking about what is causing some inner turmoil.
2.)    The Non-BPD doesn’t pay attention.
Especially if you know you’re involved with a Borderline, if it seems like something is wrong, you ask, and she says, “No, it’s fine,”… Come on. This is a Borderline we’re talking about. How often are things usually ‘fine’? It’d be nice if people just spoke their mind and were straight forward with what is going on wouldn’t it? Most Nons don’t even do this very well. Don’t assume your Borderline is going to do this very well because I promise, they won’t.
It’s not the Nons fault that their Borderline doesn’t communicate well, but it is their fault if they ignore the difference between how a person is acting and what they’re saying. It’s easier to take a person at their word, then dig deeper to get to the real root of a problem.
People see what they want to see and believe what they want to believe. Even if one of those people has a Borderline Personality Disorder, it takes two people to be in that relationship. I visit a lot of forums for family members and people affected by Borderlines. There’s often a general attitude of, “I’m the victim of the Borderline in my life. I didn’t do anything. They just went crazy because they have a personality disorder.” This is extremely unfair, even if it’s not completely untrue. There may be some truth to this, but there’s also the other contributing factor; You, the Non-Borderline. You may not think you’ve done something, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t.
Tha'ts  not how it works.
I’m not trying to blame the Nons here. Far from it. My point is, when it comes to relationships, be they parent/child, siblings, friends, or lovers, we each need to take responsibility for our own part in what occurs. One person alone, does not a relationship make. It’s takes two.  
Bear with me. I’ve got some explaining to do.
Nons get very frustrated with us because our emotions and behaviors are often unpredictable and irrational. That’s very understandable. However they also get exasperated and angry when we can’t just ‘grow up’, act normal, and quit acting out. Our brains are hard-wired differently. (Click that for some Neurological Studies in BPD). Literally. This isn’t a choice. That doesn't mean we're not reseponsible for our actions, we are, but it's not a choice. Believe me, we don’t like being this way (At least I don’t. Many BPDs are undiagnosed and don’t think there’s a damn thing wrong with how they behave), but because something in our brain is actually wired differently, it’s not something that we can just do a little meditation on and have it be all better. As much as we might like it to be. How we think, how we feel, is fundamentally different. You want us to be something that is not what we understand how to be, because odds are, it’s an experiencing of life that we’ve never felt. Just like you can’t always understand why we react in such unpredictable or different ways than you would in reaction to some stimuli.
Just because you don’t understand it, doesn’t mean there isn’t a legitimate (to us) reason for it happening. 
Communication. Communication is something that is so, SO, important in dealing with someone that is Borderline. Communication is necessary in any relationship but doubly so with BPD. Why don’t Borderlines just say what the problem actually is? There are a lot of reasons for this.
1.      We don’t actually know the origin of our frustration. I know this sounds strange. How can you not know what is bothering you? If you’ve ever been depressed, or had general anxiety, where you just have this low level dread or frustration permeating your life, even though by all logic your life is pretty good, you’ll understand. Sometimes our feelings are like a disembodied presence just hovering over us. The origin of the feelings may have started a while back, or something may have triggered us, and the feelings while not directly attached to what is happening in the present, are directly correlated to something traumatizing in the past. A current event or situation can spark those memories and the emotions related to that experience can still creep back into our present lives.

2.      We’re afraid the person will get mad at us for voicing a concern. This happens a lot with abuse victims. Hell, I just had this problem with Tech Boy (though I did push through this feeling and communicate my problem!). If we care about someone, we don’t want to lose them. If we’re not perfect, if we complain, they may believe that we think something is wrong with them, like we’re criticizing them. Criticism could make them angry. If they’re angry, they might leave. Or be upset with us. If they’re upset with us, they might take it out on us in another way. Even if they’re not the type to do this, we don’t want someone to be upset with us. This just reinforces the idea that we did something wrong. That there’s something wrong with us.

3.      We don’t want to hurt you. We don’t want to inconvenience you. We don’t want to make you feel bad because something you did, unintentionally made us feel bad. If we care, we feel like we should be doing whatever we can to contribute to your pleasure, not burdening you with things that bother us. This is a natural extension to #2 and leads right into #4.

4.      We don’t feel that we have the right to complain about something. For me, I’ve been told my entire life to ‘suck it up’, ‘deal with it’, ‘toughen up’, essentially take what life hands you and figure it out myself because everyone else has their own problems to deal and don’t have time for mine too. I know that everyone has their own issues. I don’t feel like I have any right to impose my problems on someone else. I should be strong enough to deal with the things that upset me. I shouldn’t ‘get bent out of shape’ about something that bothers me. So I suppress. We all know what happens when you bottle things up for too long though.

5.      We don’t want to express vulnerability for fear of having it used against us. This is another product of abuse (though not always). Expressing any feeling or concern that will make us appear ‘weak’ is an awful feeling. I overcompensate for this big time. I’m a strong person, but I talk an even tougher game. When you let someone into the more fragile areas of your world, it’s like exposing your soft underbelly to the beast of rejection. Or worse, humiliation. Evil-Ex used to call me a robot because I was “too perfect”. He would tell me “being vulnerable makes you feel human”. And then when I would show those vulnerabilities, he would quickly find a way to turn them against me, hold them up as a reason I was “weak”, not as wonderful as people think I am, and point them out publically to humiliate me. Not showing vulnerability is like an emotional armor. We can appear to let things bounce off our skin, roll off, and roll away, while maintaining an emotional distance from the problem. Unfortunately this also inhibits true intimacy in the process. Of course, things don’t actually roll off our skin so easily. Things will still bother us, but the other person won’t know that they’ve found a crack in our armor, and therefore can’t use that thing to wound us on purpose.

6.      We don’t trust. It’s hopeless. You wouldn’t understand. We don’t trust someone to treat us fairly, believe us, or be willing to help us. When you’re used to being criticized, when you’re used to being told that your needs are not as important as someone else’s, what do you have that will make you believe that someone will ever put you first? That someone will treat you fairly? It’s never going to happen; it’s hopeless, so why bother? They wouldn’t understand anyways. This is also particularly true with why my communication was so poor with my family growing up.  Mistrust, and a pervasive hopelessness, is insidious, and pervasive. It’s always lying in wait just below the surface. Paranoid. Suspicious.

Would you pick up this phone? I don't think so.

This fear of communication is all sort of a misguided self-protection. It’s not something we’ve decided to do consciously. We’re not choosing to be difficult on purpose. We’re trying to protect ourselves from being hurt.  I’m self-aware enough that I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the different reasons I do things like this. Most people with BPD don’t have these ‘reasons’ they just have the feelings without words so they can’t necessarily explain it. They just do it. What does any of this have to do with Nons having some part of this Borderline crazy?

Triggers. That’s what.

To find out what this means, you’ll just have to tune in tomorrow (Continued Part 2). Try not to get too angry at me just yet. Hear me out. Then get as angry as you want ;) Your opinions are valid too.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Memoirs on a Sunday: Monday edition

I really wanted to write this yesterday but I was too lazy and really just wanted to relax didn’t have time.

I’ve been massively, massively stressed out lately. It’s affected my ability to blog the way I normally would but I should be getting back to a more manageable schedule now. Yay!

Friday I got off work, and I was done. I was done with my week. Done with the soul crushing pressure. Done with dealing with the real world. I went to the gym. I love the gym. I put my headphones on, step on the treadmill, and the only thing I have to deal with is putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes I read, sometimes I watch the telly (all cardio machines have televisions at my gym), sometimes I listen to music, but what really matters is that for that hour or two, nothing outside of my gym matters. This is my ‘me time’. Time dedicated solely to taking care of my body and my mind. I would recommend everyone doing this. I would doubly recommend everyone who has BPD do this.

Then I shunned social activities in favor of taking a nice quiet night to myself. Yes, it was a Friday night and I stayed in reading and playing PC games. And went to bed early because….

Saturday I was waking up early to go to the gym for one of the most epic workouts I’ve had in years. I ran for an hour. Then I went to one of the personal trainer run weight training classes. It was an hour and a half of weights/core/abs. Best decision ever. Even though dragging my ass out of bed at 7:30 a.m. on any day Saturday is not what I consider a fun idea, and is in fact getting harder and harder for me to do the more stressed out I become, I forced myself to do it anyways. I’m so glad I did. Pushing my body gives me so much more energy, clears my head, and makes me feel functional.

Saturday was eventful and cute. I cleaned my apartment then went to Tech Boys. He’s moving to a new place (closer to me).  We went shopping to get him some new sunglasses (Oakley’s are f-ing expensive! Who spends $220 on sunglasses? Him, apparently).  Then we went shopping to find him some new furniture. His idea to go shopping. I’d mentioned going shopping for various things before if he ever wanted a second opinion on picking things out but he thought it was a really weird idea. So I never really mentioned it again, even though I think it’s pretty normal for people to go shopping together. Yes? Maybe I’m crazy. Well, I mean, obviously I’m crazy, but I’m not wrong, right? ::smiles:: Anyways, we went couch shopping, and ya know what? It was fun. We bounced around on furniture that wasn’t ours and got to talk about asinine details of aesthetics versus function that generally had us laughing at our own ridiculousness.  Afterwards we went to dinner at a really nice restaurant. It was super cute. We’re venturing into the land of day time outings haha. We had a pretty nice little Saturday ;) Shocked.

Later we went to a big bar to catch the nights Pay-Per-View UFC fight. I love UFC. For a minute we didn’t think it would be possible because the first 10 bars we called weren’t hosting it (I don’t have television so watching it at my place was out). We finally found a place though and proceeded to have many beers and lots of bloody amusement. We talked way more than we watched the fights though. Much more. About people we’ve dated, what we want in a relationship, work, family… and he brought up the debacle last week when things went in a direction I wasn’t ok with.  

He’s still upset about it. Strangely I’m not. He’s been very careful with me since we talked about it. Sweeter, not necessarily more considerate, because he’s always considerate, but sort of more aware of how we interact? Idk. He still doesn’t really remember it happening, but when I told him about it, he knew that it was definitely something he could have done. He’s had fuck buddies friends with benefits that were really into that sort of thing. Not only that, but would ask for it even harder. Couple that with the fact that I really do play pretty rough sometimes he didn’t realize it was out of my boundaries. He was also kind of doubly shocked when I finally mentioned it because I didn’t act like anything had happened at first. I tried explaining to him that I shut down when things like that happen. If I don’t know how to react, I often don’t react at all until I can process. I also told him I was worried he’d was going to be mad at me for mentioning it. I think that confused him but I know it’s a product of the abuse I’ve dealt with before. He told me many times that he was glad I’d said something. He was very upset that he could have done that. Yeah other girls he’s been with were into it, but he also said he should have known better. I’d mentioned abusive relationships before and he should have made the connection. We talked a little about that. I haven’t gone into explicit detail of what exactly I’ve been through, I really don’t want to. He said he doesn’t need to know the details, that’s it’s not okay is all that he needs to know. I don’t need to explain, he just has to respect what I need regardless. He apologized a lot. I was having a hard time maintaining my sympathy face. On the one hand I was impressed that he wanted to talk about it further and brought it up unprompted. It was also nice to have the reassurance that it wouldn’t happen again (though I’m still keeping my eyes open). But I already said it was ok and accepted his apology once. Twice. Probably a dozen times. I just wanted him to change the subject. Plus I was distracted by the fight on TV. We went out to watch guys beating each other bloody, not get all serious. It’s nice to know that we can talk about stuff like that though, and he’s not going to get pissed off at me, refuse to talk about it, and give me the silent treatment because I ‘can’t just accept his {horrible} behavior as being a part of who he is’. Evil-Ex was a real winner <sarcasm>.

Thought. Before when he’d mentioned briefly the thought of hitting during sexual play. It was a quick conversation of liking when things get rough. Maybe his suggestion was more something he thought I’d enjoy and less something that was particularly interesting to him. It could very well be. It’s obviously not something that he needs to do. Maybe I had the intent of the first conversation wrong. Maybe since I like playing rough, and h e’s been with other girls that like it rough in that way, he thought that would translate to me as well. It seems logical to me.

It doesn’t change the fact that it’s not ok with me. But I do well and truly accept his apology. Next time, things like that are things we should talk about first though.

It’s funny. I’m very good at hiding how I feel. Avoiding hard conversations because I’m afraid of how the other person will react. Even if I’m very justified in the situation I feel a need to discuss. This is something I think a lot of people with BPD do. Instead of expressing a concern, due to fear of another persons reaction, even if it’s something little and inane that another person wouldn’t think twice about (Please don’t run your nails down the chalkboard. Would you mind putting the toilet seat down?) we’re often afraid to say anything or complain so we hold it all in. (I have more thoughts on this and the consequences for everyone but we’ll get to that another time). It’s incredibly reassuring to me to know that I’m allowed, and capable of expressing a legitimate concern, and having a healthy, productive conversation about it. Without driving him away. Without my feelings being hurt or my fears being realized. In fact, it gave me the opportunity to see the amount of concern and care he had in regards to treating me well. Which as it turns out, is a lot.

Initiating this conversation after it happened was really frightening. The thoughts and the scenarios of how I feared it would turn out all running around, smashing into each other, creating monstrous hybrid scenarios… all turned out to be massively unjustified. He didn’t run away. He accepts and respects my boundaries. Is, in fact, grateful that I brought this to his attention so we could figure it out. Who knew people did this? It’s as if I can have conversations about life stuff like an adult. Strange.  ::smiles::

Also, Ben Henderson won the match. The man is a beast in the ring. A ripped, sexy beast, but a beast.

 So yeah. Went back to my place, made with the sexy time, and slept in. He’s so cuddly! I adore it. That time in the morning when we’re not wanting to get out of bed and just want to stay wrapped up in each other…. That… is one of my favorite things in the world. Simple human contact is probably my biggest kryptonite. The Gold kryptonite, though. The kind that robs me of my ability to absorb the crazy from life and just live like a normal person for as long as I’m in contact with it.

And I’m a geek.

Thoughts from the Borderline

I always try to remind myself that no matter how dire, how devastating life gets, moments pass. Tomorrow comes and the things that I had worried so much over in the past, aren't as terrible as they once were. Sometimes I have to force myself to just go to sleep. To get out of the moment. To make tomorrow come faster. But when it does, I realize that no matter how bad something was, my world didn't end. As long as I'm alive, there's a chance to work on it once more.

In the moment it is quite hard to do, but it is the reality of the world.

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