Friday, October 12, 2012

Amanda Todd: Struggling, Bullying, Suicide, Self Harm


This makes me so sad. Bullying is scary. I don’t think it would be much of a stretch to say much of this went well beyond bullying right into stalking, and then right back to bullying.

This story is heartbreaking, but worth watching. I was picked on a lot in middle school for being “a bookworm”, for being curvy when “those changes” started happening… when people found out I wasn’t Christian the rumors and taunting were constantly around every corner. People weren’t dumb enough to attack me directly, but the rumors, the names, the everything because I was “different” didn’t help my steadily deepening depression, anxiety, bulimia, cutting, suicide attempts and ultimately BPD. I learned to toughen my exterior and not let anyone have more ammunition on me. No one would have believed that things bothered me the way that they did.

I won’t make any claims to have been the nicest person in the world. I was an angry emotional wreck growing up. I’m as nice as I can be now, but I still have my moments and people that grate at me. This kind of bullying though? No one deserves this.

People think it’s funny. That it means they have power over someone. So by extension it makes them better than that person. It makes them feel big. It doesn’t. It just means you’ve crushed the potential from someone because your own ego was too frail to build itself up on its own. Needing to destroy someone else, to make yourself feel better, is like dropping an atom bomb on the Louvre because your finger painting didn’t get the respect you think it deserves.

Watch it. What do you think. 





*** BTW there's no correlation between this story and BPD. It just moved me and I felt the need to post it. 

Lucid Analysis: Trials in Therapy – Slow and Steady


I was so exhausted, and so worn down yesterday. It probably didn’t help that my dinner was a handful of goldfish crackers and a bottle of wine. Bleh.

I had an appointment with Psychiatrist and Therapist yesterday. Double the mental health day! I got to my appointment with Psychiatrist on time, as usual, but had to wait almost 50 minutes before I was seen. I was falling asleep in the waiting room.  At the end of our session he made a remark about it being okay to be a few minutes late. Excuse me? I was there on time. I’m compulsive about being on time. Anyways. Pristiq Rx is holding steady. I’ve been really good about taking my meds and I still have an extra 5 pills in my bottle when I should be out, which means I’ve missed a couple days even though I’ve been extra vigilant and I don’t even know how this happened. ::sigh::. Last time I saw Psychiatrist he prescribed me Tenex for my heightened anxiety. Except it’s specifically designed for ADHD (which I don’t have) and lowering blood pressure. I already have very low end of normal blood pressure, so it was making me light headed all the time. No to that. So this time he prescribed me: 

25 mg. of Vistaril (Hydroxyzine/Atarax/ Atazine) to be taken as needed.

Psychiatrist is very against prescribing Benzos. They’re addictive, I get it. Being addicted to Benzos also deteriorates your brain, which I can’t have. But whatever: Hydroxyzine is used to relieve the itching caused by allergies and to control the nausea and vomiting caused by various conditions, including motion sickness. It is also used for anxiety and to treat the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

So we’ll give this a chance and see how it goes.

Next, straight to Therapist.

Again, not a super eventful session, but I think that’s kind of good.

We talked about Tech Boy a bit. I’ve been missing him. But in smaller ways that I think are actually pretty normal. We were together for a year and it does feel weird to not have him around. But at the same time, I’m not devastated at his absence. And that is a change. A big change.

It kind of affirms that while I had all of these reasons that I KNOW we weren’t right together, the fact that I’m not devastatingly heartbroken and overwrought with doubt at my decision, affirms that I made a decision that was right for me.

I was getting angry at Therapist a lot. She does think I ended things too soon. She’s done a lot of couples therapy and counseling, and there’s a very standard sort of relationship evolution.

Year 1: First 6 months are that honeymoon lovey times. Second 6 months are when the little problems start to crop up but people don’t really want to talk about them and problems start to build up. More importantly it’s the crucial time when trust, opening up, and sharing should solidify.

Year 2: Is when couples really learn to face those challenges and learn to develop the skills they need to communicate effectively. And fall into that comfort zone.

Therapist said that once people fall into that nice comfort zone they think that’s where the work ends. But they’d be wrong.

Year 3: Is about pushing out of that comfort zone. Digging deeper into the problems you experience as a couple, not settling into the comfort which makes people avoid bigger issues, and in digging deeper moving forward together as a more complete unit.

Tech Boy and I, while we were together for a year, didn’t even really get past that Year 1 ability to really open up and trust each other. There were moments where the sharing and emotional connection were apparent, but there wasn’t enough dedication to make that work. He would start to gain my trust and form a connection a with me, and then something big would happen and that would crash. Over and over. Until the last time and I just couldn’t get comfortable again. With him, he still clearly has trouble expressing himself, opening up. Therapist doesn’t really want to analyze him because she’s never met him, but she thinks there’s still a lot of connection problems from his parents getting divorced so early and not having him in the picture. So he never really learned to connect in a loving way without that threat of inevitable loss. I recognize that.

Therapist wishes we had spent more time together, really working on things, getting into that Year 2 of relationship development. This is where I was getting frustrated and I think Therapist loses her ability to be realistic with me. The last major incident I had with Tech Boy, something broke with me and our connection. I was never able to reform that connection, in large part to the fact that he was never around. Working on his truck was more of a priority for him than spending time with me. Also, anytime I mentioned that I something was going on and we should talk about it, he flat out said he preferred to avoid.

He also tried to defend his decision to “let me settle in on my own” at the new place as a way of displaying a functional interdependence. He wants to be with me, but doesn’t need to be codependent. Is comfortable enough with us that he’s okay giving me space. …. Space I didn’t ask for, and in fact, told him was making it harder for me to hold a connection with him. The way she presented it sounds lovely. Except it’s not what his motivation really was. He told me that me being stressed out, was stressing him out, so he figured he’d give me time to settle in, so we could just get back to the fun stuff. In that time he worked on his own projects, got his stress levels back to their usual non-existent level, and said he’d prefer to keep them that way, so he it was fine for me to take the time I needed to get myself in order.

This was after that “epiphany” where he stated he should try less to fix things, and just be more supportive instead.

And by the way: his epiphany of not trying to fix everything translated to: avoiding situations when I might not want to have sex. Thanks for that.



All I took from that was that he said one thing, but would rather act in the opposite way. Avoidance.

Therapist wanted to see us get to that Year 2 stage where we can really work on our issues, but I couldn’t even get him to talk about little things. Yeah, I’ve been stressed out, but it hasn’t even been panic inducing, can’t pick myself up off the floor stress. It’s been standard life stress. And I’ve still been functional, still going out with friends, still making an effort to focus on other people.

How do you get to a stage of opening up and trust with someone you don’t see? And won’t talk to you?

Therapist reminded me that different people have difference communication styles. I know. I am very much a communicator. I write, I talk, I discuss. In case you haven’t noticed, at any point in these last 540 blog posts or so, haha. His is obviously very different. He’s not comfortable talking about his feelings. No surprise, most men aren’t. Hell, it wasn’t until this last year or two that I was really able to start attaching to my feelings enough to express them in a way that actually made sense. I get it. He’s more expressive in other ways. He communicates more physically I guess, like he’s not very affectionate in public, but when it’s just us he’s super cuddly, which is adorable. I do notice that. But it’s not a whole lot of comfort when the only affirmation I get is when we’re together alone, but I don’t actually see him. So, I don’t know what to do.

Regardless, it was making me angry that she kept telling me she wished I’d given it more time because people grow as they get older, and letting the relationship grow over a few years would really let you know.

?!#$%@?!?!?!asdf?!?!#@#?!?!??!&!!!!! < ------- Not a typo.

 I agree with everything she said…. For the right person. I liked Tech Boy. He’s nice. Just because we were dating doesn’t mean we were right for each other in the long run. Especially if he had no real inclination to figure things out. He liked me, but it’s kind of obvious to me that he couldn’t have been that into me either. < ---- Okay, this is what Therapist calls me internalizing perceptions that may not technically be true. Projecting my own fears where they might not be real. Maybe? Or is it just being perceptive? It doesn’t matter.

By the same note, I’m not really overly distraught. I miss him a little, but not overly so. I don’t feel like I’m grieving at ton. I’m not sure if this is good or bad.

I’m still hanging out with my friends. Not holing up. Planning parties. Excited about our Halloween party. Working on what I actually need to do for Samhain. Excited about Comic-con.

Meh. Idk. At the same time I’m just kind of down.

Therapist says seem much more grounded. More grounded than she’s ever seen me.

It’s a really weird feeling. I don’t feel completely balanced. That’s no surprise. But I do feel pretty steady.
I do feel like I’m waiting for something though. I’m not sure what. This whole feeling steady, is oddly disconcerting. How strange. I’m used to having something about to fall apart. Waiting for something to come crashing down. But right now there’s nothing in my life posed to do that. Work is going really well. I have very solid, caring friendships. I’m in a beautiful condo. It’s just weird.

I don’t know how to handle my life not having some kind of strange turbulence. I feel like I’m stagnating a bit, because everything is normal?

Oh the lesser known tribulations of healing from a personality disorder… not knowing how to acclimate to life without your head filled with a bunch of crazy. It’s like learning a foreign language after being dropped into a country that doesn’t use that language, or your own. ::headdesk::

Really though, everything is pretty stable, and I’m just kind of being successful. Like a grown up. Ugh. =P

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Message from my Mom


I thought this was cute and maybe it might provide a little hope to all the parents out there with sons and daughters diagnosed with BPD. And maybe it'll give some foresight to the sons and daughters with BPD that feel so misunderstood by their parents. 

Growing up I was fantastically Acting Out, aggressively angry, BPD. My parents and I would have screaming fights, literally, every night we saw each other when I was in high school. To the point where they threatened me with kicking me out and I ran away. 

It gets better. 

It's taken a lot of time, and small doses, but especially once I started this blog and really began to understand on a deeper level what was going on with me my relationship with my parents has improved. 

Remember last time I went home for Zoe's wedding? I spent a much larger amount of time (willingly!) with my mother than I usually would. Afterwards she e-mailed me this: 


“Just wanted to say how happy you made me when you came home in August!  I had a great time wine tasting.  It was so fun helping you and being able to talk and do stuff with you!  I wish I could have more!  You are so important to me!  I love you so much.  You have no idea what a wonderful person you are!   (-: “

It may not seem like much. But growing up… when I felt so alone, so misunderstood, like my parents were out to get me, my greatest enemies, and people that I truly hated at times… we’ve come such a long way. Looking back I am forever grateful that they never gave up on me. Even when it seemed hopeless and we’d never reconcile, they never gave up. I can only imagine how difficult it was for them having to deal with me, we fought constantly, but they never left. And slowly, as I’ve gotten older, gotten through therapy (by my choice), things have become a world of different.


Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. It may seem dark and never ending, but it can change.




P.S. Same with the relationship I had with my brother and sister. A terrible destructive mess growing up. Now? I love them more than I can stand some times.  


Yes, this is my real wrist, with a real tattoo (artistic skill courtesy of my sister, haha) The red out spots are the name of my brother and sister. My sister and I both have this on our wrists. I wanted it on the same wrist as her, but I have too much scar tissue on that one and I refuse to cover up my scars. I love my family. 

Sex: Wanting it even when we don’t


Does talking about sex ever get boring? No? Good answer.

One of the things I love about talking to my Readers is they help me consider fun and exciting experiences that I’ve had, and that I’m clearly not alone in. And when I say fun and exciting I hope you know that what I really mean; is we need a sarcasm font.  But in a good way.

I love sex. But, sometimes sex can be really, really hard for me. No, that is not a pun.

Sex can be a major point of ambivalence… does anyone else wish this word sounded less like you just don’t care, and more like EVERYTHING is split in an extreme way that you feel all at the same time and care way too much but also not at all?

Sex is wonderful for a lot of reasons. It’s probably the most tangible affirmation of affection that you can experience with your entire body (for someone like me). It can take me out of my own head and put me in the actual moment. It’s a way to experience and share intimacy… (or avoid emotional intimacy while remaining comfortably close). It’s comforting! A comforting escape sometimes, but comforting none the less! It makes us feel desired, needed, wanted… an affirmation that we need often. And maybe most importantly, it makes our partner happy. Not going to lie, there’s a deep sense of satisfaction that comes (no pun intended) in knowing that we’ve satisfied our partner.

At times sex can be more about our partners than it is about ourselves, or “us” as it probably should be. Yes, it can be all about you. Which is great, yes?

Except when it’s not.

As I mentioned in my post about Sex Avoidance, there are a lot of reasons someone might not want to have sex, or be able to have sex ---- > Sexual abuse, being the big white elephant in the room. How people handle sexual abuse is dependent on the individual. Some people can’t handle sex well after and try to avoid it as best as they can.

 Some people overcompensate with it and go the “I want it now and all the time” route. This can be for a lot of reasons, including, but not limited to: Needing to feel like sex isn't a big deal, and therefore less like something was taken away from them; something of a Stockholm syndrome of that was how my abuser “showed” he cared so that’s how we understand “love”, a desire to be the one initiating and therefore in control, the one using not the one being used, the one dominating, not being dominated…. The list goes on.

Those are the more extreme of the extremes. The all or nothing.

But there are many places in between where we might go. I’m somewhere in between, but it was a process to even get there. When you’re used to being used for sex, when you've dealt with other forms of sexual abuse, the desire for a loving, sexually intimate relationship can still survive, but there are some big gaping emotional wounds that don’t heal easily. That may not completely heal at all.

That doesn’t mean we want to give up on intimacy altogether though (the sexual kind, getting comfortable with the emotional kind is a whole different ball game).  Sure we may take a break from one form of it (for example: men) for a while, maybe a few weeks, months, or even a few years, if you’re not particularly limited in the orientation of preference. But after a while, or maybe even right away, we’ll try to get right back up on that, um, horse.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that wound doesn’t still exist though. It’s important that we share this kind of information with partners we plan on staying with, otherwise there’s no way for them to understand what’s going on when they, inevitably, trigger us. Especially if the psychological injury is still fresh it’s very easy to trip that trigger. Even if it’s been years, and you’ve been through a lot of healing, something may catch you on an off day that you weren’t expecting, and the wound reopens for a while. It might not be as bad as the initial wounding, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still significant to you.

Which can surprise the shit out of our partner b/c if we weren’t expecting it, they’re definitely not expecting it.

This can be especially unfortunate if that trigger occurs during an already intimate situation. This has happened to me with a few guys before. I hate saying no to sex. I hate even more having to stop the process after we’ve already started getting frisky.

I feel guilty. I feel like I’m failing my partner. No matter how understanding they are (and it is important that you respect this need and treat it with understanding – this was actually that last straw I had with Tech Boy), I still feel like I’ve failed them on some level. When that fear of abandonment and rejection translates to: Making my partner happy is what makes them stay, I need to do this for my partner or they won’t be happy, if they’re not happy they might not love me anymore, if they don’t love me anymore they might leave, if they leave, I’m lost… not being able to please our partners can be devastating, and trigger another set of rejection reactions and emotional turbulence.

This can lead to a lot of having sex when we don’t necessarily want to (but we won’t show that), initiating sex because we think it’s what our partner needs or expects, despite our own desires, etc., because the consequences of not always seeming ready, willing, and able, or much more frightening to us than just saying, “No tonight honey, let’s do it tomorrow.”

In the past I’ve just sucked it up, and sort of tuned out. I did this with Boring-Ex a lot. Yeah, occasionally with Tech Boy. Evil-Ex, oddly, didn’t use me for sex, so much as prestige and money. Especially in college, when I was struggling with my sexuality and the decision to date men at all, having sex with men (the whole 2 of them I dated in 6 years at school) was complicated and invasive for me. There was a lot of internal battling going on with whether I was even okay with it or not. I’ve said it before, and it still holds true: sex with men can be like getting punched in the vag repeatedly with a blunt object. Not my favorite thing ever.

In the past, I couldn’t say no though. I felt guilty. I learned pretty early from guys that if I wasn’t available in that way, I wasn’t worth keeping around. I learned that being available in that way, kept him coming back (The One). So of course, the counter thought to that internalized logic, is if I’m not available in that way, they won’t be there anymore. This is what abusive douchebags are like.

So when we date someone that isn’t out to get us with only dishonorable intentions  it can be a pretty confusing place to be. The two guys I dated in college were really very nice guys, but I was struggling with my sexual identity and after the more extreme sexual abuse I’ve suffered through. After a while I wouldn’t see my partner as often in person b/c I knew where it would inevitably lead, or I would use the functional excuse of needing to study. Not being around because of school helped me avoid the pressure of having to do something I wasn’t comfortable with, and also provided an excuse that wouldn’t hurt their ego so they wouldn’t leave.



Even though they were nothing like The One and some of the other guys that screwed with me, I couldn’t turn off the expectation that they would, or should, treat me the same way. No amount of them telling me they understand could really make that sink in either. Hearing and “knowing” is one thing… feeling and KNOWING, is something else.

It’s taken a lot of work to get past some of these hang ups, and to be perfectly honest, with men, I still can’t shake the underlying suspicion that all they want is sex. I try very hard when I’ve made the decision to be with a guy to not hold them to what previous exes have done. But it’s ye olde battle of cognitive knowledge vs. emotional instinct. I’ve been through so much trauma, that the thought of someone wanting to be with me, for me, and not just for sex… fits, wrong. Once the aspect of sex comes into place, something changes.

I have a lot of guy friends. I grew up with guys. For most of my life I was much more comfortable being one of the guys, than having female friends. Until that moment when it became too obvious to ignore that they had some other kinds of feelings working behind the scenes. It’s a tangible sensation of my heart dropping into my stomach and my brain cringing in sadness when a platonic male friend tells me he has feelings for me. It makes me question every intention back to the beginning. It makes me sad.

I’m still trying to learn, and internalize, that you can care for someone deeply and being physical with them doesn’t negate that. (For me “someone” means a male someone. Sorry I’ve never had these problems with women so sexual intimacy and women is just a non-issue for me).  Unfortunately Friend and Tech Boy didn’t help me much with this one, so it’s something I’m still struggling with. It’s not as bad as it used to be. In the past I would be disgusted and filled with revulsion at the betrayal of what our friendship was supposed to mean. ::shrug:: Now? It still makes me sad, and my guard does go back up a little.

On the plus side, my appreciation for my straight female friends has risen dramatically!

Frankly, some days I just want to be "normal", without all of these constant, conflicting feelings, and just be happily impulsive with my sex life. This is much more possible for me now, but sometimes you just want to do what you want to do, and you don't realize it's not a going well til you're already there. It sucks. And it's a mess. 

In summation: Even though we may really, really be into you, into having sex with you, there’s still a lot of wounds and conflicting experiences that can interfere with our decision to be intimate in that way. And for those of us that do struggle with this, our bodies our ours. It’s OKAY to say no, it’s okay to wait until you’re ready, even if you were okay with it the night before.



This isn’t always the motivation, it’s not the motivation for everyone, but it’s something I’ve been through and I think some can relate. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Are Borderlines Confused about Sexual Orientation?


Let’s reiterate that title: Are people with Borderline Personality Disorder confused about their sexual orientation?

First, if you haven’t read the article I posted last Thursday, you should.

Now, I have a question for you. Have you ever been confused about your own sexual identity?

I suspect this is a question from someone that has not been. If you’ve never been in the position to question your own orientation or identity than it can be difficult to understand that other people have a different experience and that things are not so clean cut. Not so black and white, if you will ::wink::.


Sexual orientation and gender identity, is a complicated issue and process for many, many people; Borderline or not. Then again, for others it isn’t. It is entirely dependent on the individual.

Growing up I was a tom boy. I had a ton of close guy friends. I never saw them in any way other than friends until I was about 13, and even then I remember I had my first “boyfriend” because I thought it was what I was supposed to do.

Fortunately this is now changing, but in this country (the good ole U.S. of A.) there was an accepted way to be, and everything else was (and still is in many places) frowned upon. I didn’t grow up knowing anyone that was “out” in the GLBTQ community. I didn’t know this was an acceptable way to feel. To my parents credit, this was never frowned up, and never discouraged (my parents are our first supports of whatever was right for us), I simply didn’t have the exposure to it. All there was to it. I knew what everyone else was doing and thought that was what I was supposed to do too. Turns out, not so much.

Many people don’t experience that kind of tolerance and open-mindedness. Often expressions of orientation and identity that are different from the particularly accepted cultural norm are met with hostility, prejudice, and hate. Not to mention if you’re raised in a religion that views anything other than hetero sexual relationships as a sin; you’re facing religious oppression from the church, “moral” alienation from family/friends/community, and even an internal conflict because what you feel is different than what you have been brought up to believe. So even if it wasn’t a question, it can be an extremely difficult decision to stray from the publically accepted normative relationship style of the community in favor of a personal choice that is privately acceptable for you.

Now add mental health issues where straying from the accepted norm can create a schism between you and the support you need. Add a mental health issue that increases your depression. Add a mental health issue that intensifies anxiety. Add a mental health issue that hyperfocuses on a fear of rejection and abandonment.  There can be an intense conflict between abandonment of what you need from others and rejecting what you need from yourself. 

Then there’s the wacky idea that some people just haven’t got it all figured out from the get go. Crazy!  What do you mean there's no individually tailored road map? Yes, they may be confused about what is right for them. Or they may be curious to explore an aspect of what they are feeling in order to actually come to a conclusion. Or they may just not care that much about anatomy, because who a person is, isn’t necessarily dependent on their plumbing. If you’ve never had the experience of a non-normative-hetero relationship but you’re open to the idea, how can you know if it’s right for you or not, if you don’t do something to figure it out?

And finally, yes, some people with BPD may be confused about their sexual orientation. Many people with BPD do have an extremely tentative sense of identity. Who we are can be almost fluid depending on where we are and who we’re with. Figuring out who we are, on our own, without the influence of the people around us, isn’t always easy. Hell figuring out the question of : who am I? Isn’t necessarily easy for anyone. And figuring out our sexual identity is another facet of that larger process. Please keep in mind that just because some do, does not mean all do though.

Just because many people with BPD are open to the idea of relationships other than hetero ones, does not mean they’re confused either.  Bisexuality, pansexuality (actually how I identify) , sapiosexuality (this too), asexuality, hetero, homo, all of it… are valid lifestyles. Some of those just happen to be inclusive of a larger or different selection of the population. Which is not to be confused with actually being attracted to everyone in that particular population.

Discovering and exploring sexuality, especially when you’re already in a particular kind of relationship, can be very difficult for both partners. I’ve been in relationships with men, actual decent men, where I reached a point that I was so uncomfortable in my own skin because being with men was not what was right for me at the time. I don’t form the kind of necessary emotional attachment to men that I do with women. I didn’t know this before, it was a realization that I figured out as I went along. At the same time, I liked them as people, didn’t want to lose them, didn’t want to be alone, didn’t want to hurt them, emotions and conflicting needs battling it out like my life depended on it, because that’s how it felt…. It was hard on both of us. Fortunately he was understanding enough, and because I’ve never been closeted about my sexuality, was aware that men weren’t really my preference in the first place. It still hurt like hell, but it worked out for the best and we’re actually still friends that chat occasionally. I still struggle with this issue when I’m dating a guy, as I wrote about on my other blog.

Sexuality, orientation, identity, it’s a very complicated issue for some people. Figuring this out under the best of circumstances is often confusing at best. Very few people have the best of circumstances to begin with, which can make this a difficult and painful process of discovery. Add into the mix a serious mental health condition, not to mention multiple comorbid ones, and you have a recipe for some very trying times.



So in short, the answer is yes, no, maybe, sometimes, and not at all. 





Monday, October 8, 2012

Not Smiling Enough

Hey, remember when I said: 

"I don’t feel much, but she says it shows on my face that I’m sad. I don’t know if I’m sad about this in particular or if I just look sad in general. I think mostly I’m reflective, and it comes across as sad??? I’m in my own head a lot whether it’s stuff having to do with my personal life, politics, what I’m going to do for dinner this weekend, my cat, nanoparticulates, whatever… I must not smile enough when I’m thinking. Constantly. ??? I don’t even know."

I remember why. Because when I do smile, or generally look like I'm not sad, serious, or having a bad day... people talk to me. All. The. Time. 

Incessantly. 

When I look to be in a slightly-right-of-neutral to pleasant mood, people approach me constantly to chat and I can't get anything done. 

I learned this a long time ago. Especially at the gym. If I'm at the gym and don't keep my eyes straight ahead with  no expression (no eye contact, no small smiles at people that happen to pass by) and generally don't look preoccupied; people do not leave me alone. 

It's like when you're reading and people automatically assume that you're "doing nothing". Just because I'm reading a book does not translate to: I'm bored, please entertain me. Just like "I'm breathing and not looking angry" doesn't mean: Flex your muscles and try to flirt with me. Grrr. 

I think I need to put more effort into an expression that says: Blank, but preoccupied. 
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