BPD and disassociation

Cambridge dictionary defines daydreaming as

a series of pleasant thoughts about something you would prefer to be doing or something you would like to achieve in future

However, this isn’t about lovely day dreaming. This is about disassociation; I have been doing this for years but never knew what it was. It can be hard to describe what disassociation is to people. But to put it in some sort of simple terms disassociation represents a disconnect between your thoughts, emotions, behaviors, perceptions, memories, and identity.

There are different categories in which disassociation can be split into.

  • Depersonalization
    Derealization
    Amnesia
    Identity confusion
    Identity alteration

Not everyone with borderline personality disorder may experience disassociation. But a high amount of people with the illness do. Mine can happen when I’m with friends and family, when I’m walking back from appointments, even when I am sitting in bed. I think I started doing this while I was being sexually abused by my ex. I guess it was a coping mechanism. If I’m not in my body, it’s not happening. But I still get frustrated with myself; for the fact I still do it. I know people close to me get upset when I explain that I disassociate round them and picture them without me there. I picture them being okay as I’m not interacting with them at that present time and they all seem happy.

This is just one case of what happens when I disassociate. I was asked to draw what it feels like when I disassociate. The only way I can describe my drawing is by a cloud of black covering a green patch above my head. As it’s known I describe things as the darkness or the light, black or green. Green is my living, my good colour. And when I disassociate I can see green, because although it may seem bad to others. To me I can see the positive, I can take something from the experience and put it in a good colour/light.

I guess you are wondering how can you bring yourself back from going so deep into your disassociation you lose hours at a time. My CPN and therapist have been teaching about being mindfulness and grounding yourself. To explain mindfulness I will use the example I was told to do a couple of days ago. My CPN said when walking whether that be with the dog or on your own, don’t think about anything; block everything out and focus on your environment. Focus on the trees you see, the noises you can hear and if you start wondering again. Go back to looking at the trees. Notice what you see and just live in that moment.

Grounding is where you need to notice your feet are on the ground. You notice your breathing. You notice that you are a living breathing being and you are alive. I won’t lie to you. Sometimes I fail at doing mindfulness and grounding. However, I know that this is part of my recovery, I will learn how to control my disassociation and be able to ground myself faster and not fail. As I stated previously a high percentage of people with bpd disassociate and therefore, I can not comment on how other people’s experiences are. I will though give one tip I have been using which I find helps me. I always keep something I can squeeze in my pocket. If I am doing something with my hands I ground myself more frequently. It works with something as simple as play dough (it helps I like the smell of play dough).

Anyway just remember, don’t be ashamed to tell people you disassociate. The more people that know, the more help and support you will have. Try and surround yourself with love and if you need something to help ground yourself. Use it!!

LJ

Xoxo

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Recovery isn’t linear

To whom it may concern,

You may not think this letter is for you but maybe if you read it, you can relate and take a step back from the assumption it may not take a lifetime to overcome something so moulded into someone’s mind.

Recovery is never just linear. It’s up and down, good and bad, enjoyable and frustrating all at the same time. Most importantly, sometimes, it’s terrifying. Going to the deepest most uncovered parts of yourself and facing the demons, the monsters, whatever you want to call them face on. I mean in a horror film we always think

What the hell is that person doing. Run the other way!!

But you can’t do that. You have to open the door, run through the corn field and try and defeat your maker. Therefore, how can you overcome something like that in a short amount of time? This isn’t a movie, this is real life; where real things can hurt or harm. But those things aren’t monsters, it’s ourselves. Ourselves hurt that very person who is trying to go forward, to say the grass isn’t greener on the other side. This grass here is green because the world isn’t so bad anymore.

So having a good day; doesn’t mean, bad days won’t come. And when they do come; why do you show disappointment, why do you feel the need to speak out and make us feel punished, punished that the darkness has creeped back in. Do you not understand that when things like this are spoken or mimicked through expression, it makes us feel like we should never have good days. We should never feel like we are making progress. You make us feel guilty for even having a good day! How ridiculous is that! But you see, you just don’t realise you do it. We all know this, we all know you want the best for us. You want us to recovery. You want to see us grow older and enjoy life.

BUT! Take it from us, just be more careful how you word things, how you express things. Don’t be someone that posts on social media “mental health matters” but can’t actually deal with someone who suffers from something other than depression. Don’t put us down when we suddenly drop back into not being able to leave the bed for a few days. And just be aware, just because we overcome one obstacle; doesn’t mean we are better and the others can now be left alone.

So, was this helpful to you at all. Have you been thinking about personal experiences while reading this. Did a certain someone come into your mind. Remember recovery is and never will be linear. There will be good times, there will be bad times, there will be darkness and there will be light. One thing I hope you understand is; people struggling don’t need reminders that they are being lazy, they aren’t trying hard enough, they aren’t even attempting to do things that is normal day living to others. Don’t remind them, just support them.

Everyone is struggling with something, everyone has demons. The monsters we are taught about aren’t just lurking in the streets or under our beds. They are the real Freddy Kruger and the most terrifying thing is, these monsters don’t need you to be asleep to haunt you.

Yours to remind you

LJ

Xoxo

Mental Health Mental Block

I find writing and drawing a relief. A relief from my messed up, haunted mind. But lately; lately I have not been able to get words out that mean something, anything to put out for myself or for you the reader. I have been wondering why this is happening, why have I not been able to get any feelings or emotions out? And then I remember what I say to my therapist every Tuesday

I just feel numb. Numb. Numb. Numb. Numb

Saying that to the people I love is hard. Because I don’t want them to think I don’t appreciate them. Or I don’t want to spend time with them. Because I do; but the numb feeling, I ache for it when I don’t have it. That sounds crazy right! How can you ache for a feeling of feeling nothing? Or even why would you, when the world can be full of love and happiness? Well when I get my emotions it’s never just one; it’s never just happiness or sadness, it’s never just anger. Happiness turns into manic, sadness turns into extreme depression with self harm and suicide thoughts and actions. Anger turns into hate and seeing red in the count of one, two three. So being numb, is calmness, there is no red, no black, no total darkness, there is even no light. Because when you think of the light and it doesn’t work out then the light goes dark again and the demons come back stronger. The voices all shout at once and you can not control any of them. So sometimes being numb is what you need.

I’m not saying being numb is what is needed for ever. Because you can’t live like that forever. I know this; and I know that I’m always going to have the illness I have. I know that with borderline personality disorder I will have it for life. But one day maybe I can control them extremes. Happiness won’t go into manic, sadness won’t lead to self harm and suicide and anger will be able to be less intense. But this is taking time and I won’t lie. Sometimes I feel like I can’t do this anymore, but I’ve made it to 26. I have to keep going or I have to try. I don’t promise people things about my recovery. This is simply because I can’t put the pressure onto myself or knowing I may ruin the faith I put into the promise I gave them.

If you are reading this and you feel numb and don’t know whether you should be feeling this. Honestly stop stressing about it for a while. Sometimes the numbness can be a welcome, a welcome from demons, a welcome from the voices shouting at you. However, I won’t lie. When that numbness goes, be ready. Because as you have been blocking, pushing, hiding the feelings away then they are still there and you need to know that eventually you are going to have to work through it. But remember that’s what recovery is, relapse may happen. But one day us borderline personality suffers may be able to control our crazy but sometimes amazing minds.

Xoxo

Who self harms?

When people think of self harm the mind automatically goes to teenagers. It goes to images of people (mainly teenage girls) glamourising their fresh wounds or their old scars with some stupid quote. Now these images aren’t new, they were around when I was a teenager. In fact when I was younger, if you self harmed it was because you listened to My Chemical Romance (forever love that band).

Mind says that self harm is individual to everyone. Self harm is not specific to one type of person and the journey including the recovery is unique (Mind). For me, self harm was never because of images on the internet. It was never because of a band. Self harm to me has always been a coping mechanism. For me I have self harmed since I was in high school. It’s always been a way for me to feel something when I am numb, for me to let out the emotions I have, that I feel I have no control over.

I remember when everyone found out, my mother took it upon herself to get rid of every razor and sharp object in the house. I was so angry, now I’m older I can see why she did this, but it didn’t help. If you or someone you know is suffering; it’s best to get them professional help as soon as possible. I’ve been given a booklet, laminated cards that little kids get to learn the alphabet. It shows ways to distract you from harming yourself. Some examples are:

  • Have a playlist ready
  • Write down your feelings
  • Place a rubber band around your wrist and snap them
  • Eat something hot
  • Fake it – draw red lines on you
  • Hold ice in your hand
  • Wait five minutes.

Some of these things are claimed to numb or sting; but not harm. I was given this when I came out of hospital in June. I was also told to attend a self harm group. This made me feel anxious as hell. I thought I would have to sit in a room with teenagers and I’d be the eldest one there. I guess in my mind, I felt adults don’t self harm. Even though I still suffer, I believed it was an adolescent problem, that’s the main focus group we hear on the news. But the people who do report self harm are usually between the age of 11-25 (NICE). However, in that meeting I was the youngest in the group. I was shocked, but at the same time less ashamed as I wasn’t the only adult who was still suffering with self harm.

Personally if the number of younger people are starting to self harm and there is still a massive amount of adults who are continuing or are starting themselves. We need to look at why this is actually happening, is it because of social or economical pressures. Is it because there is still not enough help out there, or the help that is out there at their limits? As I mentioned before recovery is possible and you can live a life without self harm, there are loads of amazing people who have conquered this demon. But the later you get help, the harder it is to stop.

xoxo

Abandonment issues and BPD.

Do you blame yourself for every relationship that ended, are you a partner pleaser, do you get attached to easily or do you get separation blues? These are just a few signs that A Conscious Rethink have gone into detail about regarding abandonment issues.

Now I know a lot of people suffer with this, but I want to try and explain how a borderline personality sufferer will be with this topic.

There is no way to try and describe it in a simple sentence. The closest thing I could come up with was; when you leave a child or even a puppy they have this intense fear, they believe you are not coming back and it makes them cry or be angry. They become stressed with the trauma of you abandoning them. BPD sufferers will have this with nearly every relationship they have.I know with me, I struggle to see why someone would want to be close to me; in a romantic or friendship way. I have to question everything before I open my mouth. I know that sounds super dramatic, I am forever told I am being dramatic. I do this because; either I’m going to say something to purposely push them away. If I push them away, they haven’t abandoned me, I pushed them away and so avoid the feeling of rejection. Or if I say the wrong thing they will hate me. And leave me, thereby my fear of abandonment will be meet.

I know it’s a big challenge for someone to enter into a relationship with someone who has been diagnosed with BPD. For example when anyone argues with their partner, they can usually later on; bounce back to normal. The partner may leave the room for some “space” because they are angry. But although anger is there, they still love and know it’s a silly argument which hasn’t broken the bond between them. Now someone who has BPD, that bounce back doesn’t happen. Rejection will be implanted into the brain and that will be all they think about. If someone leaves the room, it’s trauma and painful. They believe that bond is gone.

It sounds challenging to be with someone who suffers with BPD. I won’t lie, it probably is. But as with anything there are pros and cons to everything. If they are in recovery they will learn how to handle these emotions that are connected to their abandonment issues. But every so often they will just need some reassurance so they know they are okay.

Just remember as adults we are able to look at things differently. We are not a child or a puppy that is unable to process what is going on. We can make choices, we can change the way we look at things. If someone leaves us; we can accept it because we can look at different aspects of the occurrence and change the negative to a positive. “Maybe he just wasn’t meant to be in my life and that’s okay”. We are able to process rejection in such a way that other people’s opinions on us, just doesn’t matter.

I am not saying it will be easy. Because it won’t be. I am struggling with it still to the point I worry my dog will abandon me. How ridiculous is this! But one day I can hopefully move pass this. And so can anyone who is suffering. Reach out for help and if you can offer help to others who suffer do it!. No one should feel alone, the world is a huge place, with huge possibilities. You just have to not let past trauma continue to take over.

Xoxo

The voices and hallucinations are real and that’s okay.

Have you ever been walking down the road and you hear your name being called out, but no one is there; we all hear voices. But how would you react if someone told you they hear voices that tell them to do things. Tell them they are not worthy, they are worthless and deserve the pain they are in. Sometimes the voices don’t even say bad things. They have chats in your head with the other voices and you just can’t make them quite. I’m guessing you would think that person may be mad, crazy, a weirdo or even label them schizophrenic.

Many people have this misconception about schizophrenia. They believe that these people are violent and dangerous. This is not true. The violence often occurs when drugs and alcohol are involved. But this isn’t what this post is about. It’s about the voices and the hallucinations many people with mental health issues have.

I have always been worried that if I told people I hear voices, I would be labelled crazy and be given the diagnosis from an unprofessional person that I were schizophrenic. But since I have started my therapy, talked to my community psychiatric nurse (CPN) and got my diagnosis of borderline personality disorder/emotionally unstable personality disorder (BPD/EUPD). I have come to realise that voices can also be part of this illness.

To point out, I do not have schizophrenia. Katie Hurley* states that although BPD and Schizophrenia can share symptoms. They both have different diagnosis. The characteristics for BPD are a pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships. Compared to the range of cognitive, Behavioral and emotional dysfunctions which characterise Schizophrenia. I had a very close-minded attitude before I did research and spoke to amazing strong people who suffer from either illness spoke about in this post. And for that I am ashamed as I never fully understood the illness. Nor knew I had it myself.

I have spoken to others who have been diagnosed with BPD and it’s made me realise what I am experiencing doesn’t make me a weirdo, a crazy person. It made me realise I have an illness, that many other people suffer with as well. While in recovery I have been told I will always have this illness. But I will learn how to control and silence the voices. I will learn that no matter how much I believe they are real; they are in my head. If they belittle me, tell me I’m worthless and not worthy of anything. I will be able to put a mute button on them and still have control of my own life. They will no longer have conversations between themselves and if they do return I will be able to accept that; that is not a failure on my part. That it is a relapse that with no fault of my own, may occur.

If you are suffering; and the voices and hallucinations are there. Don’t beat yourself up about it. They are there because you are ill. If people say you are imagining it. Ignore them, those voices and hallucinations are real and they can be terrifying and scary as hell. But you can get help, you can show this illness you will eventually take back your own mind and life and that is strong of you. You are worthy of everything the world has to offer to you.

Xoxo

* https://www.psycom.net/borderline-schizophrenia/

Link below will direct you to helplines. Never be ashamed about asking for help:

Helplines provided for mental health by the NHS

Love and mental health

The diva, the queen RuPaul says

If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you going to love someone else

This has always bothered me. Maybe because I am a helpless romantic, but in a way aren’t we secretly all. Now I’m not saying I want a knight in shining armour, riding a white horse to come rescue me. To magically fix my mental health and I’ll be miraculously cured. I mean come on, if that happened we would have loads of blacksmiths opening up. Because they would have a surge in business.

No, no. What I mean by that saying bothering me. Is that it can make someone suffering with any mental illness feel like they will never be worthy of love if they can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve been abused in relationships; emotionally and sexually. Im still messed up from it, but being in recovery is something that is helping; well trying to help me get through and process what happened to me.

I mean after all that I can say, I still do have love in my heart. I may be mentally ill but I believe you can still love someone or something even if you don’t love yourself. Who is to say I’m talking about loving another human. Maybe we don’t need it to be another person while we are healing. If we want to believe RuPaul (he is obviously speaking about another human) maybe we can love something else instead. Something that also wants love, maybe we can love an animal. I’ve mentioned in a previous post I got a dog when I came out of hospital. And honestly I’ve never felt love like I have since he came into my life.

He has taught me about real love again, he has showed me that I am lovable even when I do question myself and don’t believe I am worthy of anything. But I believe people with mental health issues can love and should be loved. If we aren’t loved, if we don’t feel loved; we are just going to sink further into the darkness. With me, I find if I do make mistakes while I’m trying to figure out how to live with my personality disorder. I know my saviour won’t judge me. He will come and lie with me, he will still fall asleep next to me and protect me not only from the monsters inside my head. But the monsters outside my bedroom door.

I guess this whole post was me trying to say to anyone suffering. Even if you can’t love yourself at the moment. Don’t punish yourself for that. You are not alone; you are worthy of love. Even Princess Fiona didn’t have a Knight on a white horse; she had an ogre and a donkey save her from the darkness. Make your own fairytale; the world is a big place. And I do believe there is love for people out there; human or not.

Xoxo