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Forums / Long term support over the journey / Living with Borderline Personality Disorder

Topic: Living with Borderline Personality Disorder

  1. lookingforme
    lookingforme avatar
    666 posts
    16 July 2016

    I had absolutely no idea where to put this post, but considering I already have the depressive disorder, I'd put it here. I have just today been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder on top of the depression, does anyone on here have it and is able to summarise it? I don't quite know how to explain it to people other than by listing symptoms, which I don't really want to do. And you know that old saying, if you can't explain it simply enough, you don't truly understand it. It's a strange label.

    Suffice it to say that I haven't been having a good time of it lately, and this diagnosis makes me half relieved and half unknowing, which I don't much care for. I just know it's something I will have to work at to manage, and stress aggravates it, and right now, I am nothing but stressed,

    Any help is appreciated.

    Joelle

  2. james1
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    17 July 2016 in reply to lookingforme

    Hi Joelle,

    I've been to the psychologist recently and she wasn't keen on giving me a proper diagnosis because labels can be self-fulfilling, but she did say I have tendencies towards BPD as well.

    Maybe I can explain my story and how I feel, and see if you share any of these thoughts, because I'm just as confused as you are.

    I've been talking to friends and trying to open up and I always struggle with knowing where to start...it just feels like there's so much wrong! I don't know whether to start with the breakdown of my relationship and being sad, being unable to motivate myself at work but feeling trapped, wanting to tell my friends but feeling guilty about that, feeling angry at myself for feeling guilty in the first place, the millions of faces I put on for people, or maybe at the beginning with the physical and emotional abuse which started basically when I was born.

    The best way I can summarise my life is that I'm constantly fighting myself and that is exhausting. I get close to people and then I push them away again purposely but somehow without realising it. So I'm super surprised and hurt when people leave, and then I feel angry and guilty and that just drags me back into my little pit.

    I don't know. It's hard to summarise without dragging on, but I really feel like I know whats happening in my life and I know what I'm doing, but I'm really really bad at stopping it, and things just keep spiralling out of control. And most of the time, it's just spurred on by some silly thought in my head that I can't shut up.

    Sorry if that ended up being a bit long! I hope it was helpful? I'm really keen to hear your thoughts as well if you are comfortable with sharing them.

    James

  3. lookingforme
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    17 July 2016 in reply to james1

    Hi James,

    Thanks for replying. No worries about length, the longer the better.

    You described my thoughts and feelings pretty accurately. Psychologists don't like us to get caught up with labels but psychiatrists sometimes tend to only use labels.

    But everything, from the friendships, to the loneliness, to the faces, to the guilt to the constant and tiring internal conflict, to the silly thought in the head that won't be quiet. It is all there.

    I, personally, can accept the symptoms, but I can't define it. Which is difficult for me. And since being labelled, well, I'm feeling more like a freak of nature than I was two days ago.

    I think you did well with the summary, I appreciate the effort.

    From whatever 9 generic symptoms there are,, I don't really have the fear of abandonment thing or unstable relationships. In my head I know I push people away but I always confirm my actions with what has happened, how they have treated me by asking people close to me. I have close friendships which I wouldn't consider unstable. Everything else is there though.

    From what I can gather it's sort of not having a clear sense of identity, which leads to a lot of sorrow, loneliness and emptiness, I myself only own up to the mistakes I make, everything else I feel detached from. It just happens as life happens. There is also feeling a fluctuation of emotions and feeling them extremely, and blaming oneself for that extremeness. And it fits into my depression quite well. It does explain my actions but, it doesn't comfort me knowing that this is the factory setting as it were.

    But you're right when you say you know everything you're doing but can't stop yourself anyway.

  4. james1
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    18 July 2016 in reply to lookingforme

    Hi Joelle,

    What you said here in particular struck a chord with me:

    “I, personally, can accept the symptoms, but I can't define it. Which is difficult for me. And since being labelled, well, I'm feeling more like a freak of nature than I was two days ago.”

    I'm finding that really difficult too which is why I was really happy when I saw your thread. I’m trying to come to terms with BPD but, perhaps because I don’t have a strong sense of identity, I keep asking: So what exactly am I coming to terms with? Which bit is me and which bit is the disorder? And which bit is the anxiety or depression that I'm feeling right now?

    My psychologist is trying something called schema therapy and one of the things it talks about is different "schema modes" and separating the bad ones from the "healthy adult" one. I'm finding that really helpful because it gives me confidence that there is a "normal" me behind all the walls, I just need to find it. And I think
    that's true for you too. There's a "healthy adult schema mode" in you, and you're displaying it now by even posting on the forums and accepting your symptoms and trying to explain it.

    My psychologist said she’s worked in hospitals and the subtleties of people's BPD symptoms can vary a lot. So I hope that can give you some comfort that whatever you're feeling is real, is difficult and needs to be addressed. She says the best way is to not focus on what should a BPD person feel, but ask:
    - how do you feel in specific situations
    - what parts of your reactions are justified, and
    - what parts of your reactions are overreactions

    Can I ask if you've tried explaining it to any friends and what treatment your psychiatrist wants to give you?

    Thanks for sharing your experience, even if it is difficult.

    1 person found this helpful
  5. lookingforme
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    18 July 2016 in reply to james1

    Hi James,

    I'm glad I started this thread then, we can figure some things out together. I understand what you mean about questioning what you are coming to terms with. I have been questioning what qualifies as "my" thoughts and actions lately. It feels surreal to be living like this. Like knowing the name of my disorder makes me more aware of it, but less sure of myself.

    Thank you for pointing out to me that reaching out is "healthy adult" and of this therapy. Sessions with a psychologist have had to be delayed for various reasons, and they are very rare to find, let alone finding good ones. My psychiatrist knows I need one and is supporting my search but he knows the limitations of the mentall health culture where we are.

    That will be hard for me, because I often rely on myself for answers, and to trust someone else in terms of justifying my own actions...well, I've been fighting to not have to justify my actions relentlessly, and I have reached a point where I have achieved some semblance of that, so to be told that there are limitations to wat I think is the right way, just makes me feel as if on shifting sand. I'm not sure if this paragraph made sense actually. I guess I have to approach people I trust and ask them if my actions/interpretations were corresct, thing is, is my version of events skewed? How can one objectively tell their own story?

    I told my friends and family. My parents are quite ignorant when it comes to mental health so they laughed at the name of the disorder for a while, kept making jokes about me having it. My bro sort of knew more than I did, but no more than the internet can tell you, he was understanding and gave me words of encouragement, which was a pleasant surprise. My friends all did what I did and googled it. I couldn't actually explain what it was, but told them if they read up on it, they would agree I had it as I had, they did.

    My psychiatrist has kept me on the antidepressants I have, changed up some meds for my sleep and put me on a mood stabilizer. I've been having a rough go of it, so he told me they would help. And I have the psychologist to go see. He told me methods of giving myself emotional release fro the extremes I feel by journaling, and exercise and ways to circumvent self injury. He told me none of what I did or felt was my fault, and told me to try and recognize and focus on my achievements, to build up my sense of identity based on what I have accomplished.

  6. james1
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    19 July 2016 in reply to lookingforme
    Hi Joelle,

    It’s certainly difficult to find a psychologist who suits you, especially if you’re a bit further out. It’s also very expensive! You might be aware already, but your GP can refer you to a psychologist which then entitles you to Medicare rebates for up to 10 sessions per year. So rather than paying ~$200, you pay ~$80. It’s still expensive, but better than nothing I guess.

    I think understand what you mean by feeling like you’re on shifting sand. I’ve always tried to make decisions for myself. But now that I’ve been told my brain is wired wrongly, which I was actually mindlessly aware of (paradox, I know, but I can’t describe it any other way), I just don’t know what to trust anymore. Apparently I can’t trust my own opinions, but I’m
    not used to completely trusting other people’s opinions either. In some way, I feel like being given my pseudo-diagnosis made my depression worse because now I really have nothing I believe in, not even my past because all of that was done by a version of me that I don’t really trust or understand anymore. So I’m just…stuck and that sucks. (Sorry, that was a long paragraph!)

    I’m sad that your parents weren’t more supportive, but it was very nice that your brother was understanding. Do you feel comfortable talking more openly with your brother? It sounds like you two are somewhat close.

    I think the idea of focussing on your achievements and building your identity around that is a good start. Have you had a chance to give some of the suggestions a go? I tried journaling but that got tiresome because when I’m depressed, I don’t really have a lot more to write other than: “Yep. Same story. I’m tired and want to sleep all day long.”

    But to finish on a more positive note: I find walking around really helps. So every night now, I go for a walk for about an hour and I just listen to music. I kind of wander aimlessly until I get tired then I go home and sleep. It’s pointless, but it’s a comforting pointlessness.
  7. lookingforme
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    19 July 2016 in reply to james1

    Hi James,

    I'm not in Australia actually. I joined these forums while I was, and remained on them after leaving, because leaving was a big blow for me, and there is not mental health awareness where I am.

    I'd like to say, you don't have to apologize for a long paragraph or post. We are here to speak, and I am definitely here to listen as much as I speak as long as the person wants to speak. All is good on that front.

    What you have said rings true. This diagnosis has shattered what was left of my sense of self rather than helping me identify a problem to find the solution. After all, maybe having a lack of identity is an identity. Certainly enough for there to be a psychological diagnosis for it. I have always described the feeling of depression, when it hits me again, akin to getting hit in the head with a bat. Not the overall feeling, the immediate feeling of being in shock and disbelief that you just got hit in the head with a bat. There is numbness and an expectation of pain. But absolute befuddlement. This diagnosis is like the next bit. Where you feel the effects of being hit, being caught up in the pain and the consequences. Still in shock but feeling everything. Only, this time, someone has pointed out to you, that you've been hit in the head, that your head is wired differently so that entire experience of being hit in the head is skewed and you have to learn how to properly experience getting hit in the head. It certainly is very frustrating.

    With my parents, it is what it is, if I let myself feel their reactions toward my mental health, I would be worse off than I am now, and that's a bad state of affairs. My bro, well, his reply was quite a surprise to me actually. He hasn't shown the most sensitivity towards those with mental health issue like depression, the intangible ones. So close but in different ways, not in a way where we talk about out emotions to each other. Things have to get pretty drastic for us to do that, or emote. For me anyway. He has cried in front of me and told me his feelings on occasion, more than I have to him. So, new territory, and I will take it slowly.

    I tried the achievements bit. I cannot do that well at all. I recently found I got an HD on the last math unit I did. I was elated for about 4 minutes and proceeded to have massive anxiety about the unit I'm doing now. It doesn't even register as mine anymore.

  8. lookingforme
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    19 July 2016 in reply to james1

    I have started exercising, but I don't sleep well, even on my meds so I'm always exhausted. And the journaling. I do that, but I write letters to my Nan who has long since passed away, makes it better somehow. Like I am talking to someone. I am quite alone here, no friends and you know about my parents, so this, takes the edge off slightly. But, I have reached those moments where I say the same thing and get fed up. I some times sketch or write things obsessively in place of writing feelings. Scribbling angrily can be quite cathartic.

    I will say that logically, if you find comfort in you walks and aimless wondering, it ceases to be pointless and possibly the most fruitful thing you can do in the day. I'm glad you have it.

    I forgot to say earlier that stress management is also recommended, because when we are stressed our symptoms can become more severe. This seems almost unattainable now, because stressed is my entire personality at the moment, hah.

  9. Chris B
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    19 July 2016

    Hi Joelle and James, just so you know we also have a long-running thread on BPD below. It hasn't been too active recently, but you might find some helpful posts and insights in there:

    Managing borderline personality disorder


    2 people found this helpful
  10. james1
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    19 July 2016 in reply to lookingforme
    Hi Joelle,

    I really like your analogy. It sounds dark, but I found it a bit funny in a black humour kind of way yet the feeling is really true for me.

    I remember talking to a friend once (when I was in a better mood) and I said that what I was afraid most of all was sinking back into depression. I’d had two really bad episodes before and I was just so afraid of going there again. This time, I was shocked at first that I was there then really sad and angry that I’d let myself slip. Then, that learning process you described is the bit where I fight myself for control – one part says “you just got hit – can you feel the pain”, and the other says “you think you got hit, but you should just ignore it”. And flipping between the two is just so exhausting that, now, I just feel empty like I’m too tired to care that I’m here again. And it was this last stage that I was always really afraid of.

    I’m really glad that you and your brother are starting to open up to each other. I have a sister who’s 7 years younger than me and by and large, we keep out of each other’s way (not in a bad way, just because we don’t have a lot in common). But we’re always there for each other in difficult times, and that’s nice. I agree – slowly sounds appropriate given it’s a new situation.

    Would you want to move back to Australia or do you feel more at home where you are? It can be really lonely just being in another country. I mean, I find it really hard even living in Australia with all my friends, let alone separate.

    I understand how you feel about the writing. There comes a point where you just realise you’re saying the same thing and that makes me wonder if I really am getting better or not, and that’s not a thought I want to entertain. I also tried writing angrily which was nice, but I’d berate myself for it afterwards. So I’ve started colouring in and going ice skating. I find that with both, I need to concentrate just enough that I’m distracted, but not enough that I’m stressed. Have you given colouring a go? I guess it’d be a bit like sketching, but (for me) easier.

    Haha yes, I get frustrated when people say “calm down” or “relax”. I’m not dumb – I just can’t do it.

    I thought what you said here was interesting: “maybe having a lack of identity is an identity”. What are your thoughts? I was discussing this with a friend and he seemed to think it was true, but I just can’t bring myself to accept that maybe I’m a person who…isn’t a person?

    James
  11. james1
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    19 July 2016 in reply to Chris B

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the link - I hadn't seen that before, but I'll have a look. It's always interesting to see what others have said.

    James

  12. lookingforme
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    19 July 2016 in reply to james1

    No worries about finding it funny. I find it funny too, if it helps, I always imagine an ACME bat/hammer from the Loony Toons when I think of the analogy.

    I am sitting here, absolutely amazed at how much the worries you shared are the same as mine. My biggest fear is not that I will go back to being heavily depressed, but that I will stop caring about it, and everything that goes along with it. If you care enough, you'll keep trying, you know? I have never been a fan of ignoring my problems, for the very reason you described, ignore it enough times and before you know it, you're in the worst case scenario and no contingency plans. The biggest problem I have with myself, we discussed earlier, the ability to see the train wreck that is about to happen, to tell myself repeatedly and with vehemence to stop, change direction, and yet, still have that wreck, but having done nothing to make it less of a collision/disaster.

    I actually hate it where I am. It's full of triggers, it's where my origins story comes from, and I hate it. I hope to move to Canada next year, and do my Master's degree. The waiting time feels like I'm struggling against quicksand though. All the people I knew here, I tried to reconnect with last year, but they didn't really treat me well, or even like I existed.

    Writing definitely makes me really feel everything I feel. I mean, I detach quite often, but writing just forces me to give it all recognition and more of a prevalence in my head. So, some days, it doesn't help. Some days it does. So, it's a gamble.

    Funnily enough, for a person who can draw, horrible at colouring. The idea of staying in the lines, I'm more of a blurred lines person. Or I just go out to spite the drawing.

    I can think of it this way, the number 0. It has no value, makes no effect when added or subtracted from something, its very presence means the absence of something. Identity; it's a function of the mind, a product of thinking. People identify themselves as one thing as strongly as they claim not to identify as others. Our particular disposition, we just keep saying no to a lot of things, we are changeable, but that doesn't make us any less as people. We are just a different category. you can categorise anything.

    Having said all of that, I still think of myself more as a thing than a person, but maybe, it's a matter of finding that nebulous category and living with it. I'll have a think and discuss further.

  13. james1
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    20 July 2016 in reply to lookingforme
    The train wreck made me think of another analogy (though not a funny one unfortunately). I feel like
    the captain of the Titanic. I saw the iceberg and knew what it meant, but for one reason or another, hit it anyway. The impact is just massive shock, surprise and anger at myself for letting it happen. And there are lifeboats, so I’m trying to save the people because my ship is sinking and will drown everyone. But somehow I survive that sinking and am left alone and stuck in the cold water, getting increasingly numb.

    What are you thinking of doing your masters in? That sounds like a good way to start again by going to a new country and going back into education. Would you be working at the same time? I just went back to uni this year to complete my honours while working full time – really hard work, but you really do learn a lot about yourself and what you’re capable of. You’ll want to have a good support network, but you might have a good group in your masters course which can be really helpful.

    Interesting what you say about detaching a lot, but how writing can sometimes open you up. It might be different for you, but when I tried explaining to my psychologist how sometimes I feel all my emotions pouring out while other times I’m just stonewalling, she explained that those could be explained in terms of my schema modes. Specifically, the stonewalling is my “detached protector” mode, which basically is a way to protect myself from the pain of all the emotions, while the flood of emotions is my “vulnerable child” mode which comes out when I’m just too tired. Both are “maladaptive” modes, unfortunately, and it’s just about finding the balance where I feel and accept the emotions in a controlled manner. Does that sound familiar to you at all?

    Would you think of it the same way as how a mirror is, in large part, whatever you put in front of the
    mirror? But there is still something called a mirror and its sole purpose is to be whatever you put in front of it.

    It seems to me like I must be something (hopefully someone), even if I am a mimic or a mime or just a changeable being. But does that make me “less” of a person if all I do is just keep changing? I don’t know and when I’m in my low points, it just makes me less confident in myself.
  14. lookingforme
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    20 July 2016 in reply to james1

    My question to you is, who are you trying to saving while you sink? Is this an analogy of you pushing people away because you feel like you need to save them from you? My reasons to push people away are always mixed, one of them is certainly that I want to save them from the eventual nuclear explosion that is me, other times, I am repulsed by being close to another human. But most often, I withdraw from them maybe to protect myself from more emotional stuff that happens naturally in relationships; it is hard enough dealing with my own. I do hope that you have at least one friend who can see past this. Will keep coming back no matter how far you withdraw or how hard you push, because on the good days, the feeling of having such friends is quite relieving. They are, after all, sticking around for a reason.

    I want to do Master's in Biomedical Engineering. And yup, I will be working also. but part time. Right now it's part time study and full time work. I think either one will provide the same amount of stress. I had a tough Honours year, not because of work but because my dad had a heart attack and surgery with complications right around the second half of the year. I don't think I slept much at that time. What did you study?

    I honestly have never before had reason to question the detachment. It was always me choosing logic over emotion. I prefer logic. But, if I am forced to face my emotions then, that is what I have to do I suppose. I mean, right now, emotions always win out, irrespective of that logic. Which is where I get trapped. But I can understand having to accept them and then, like a dimmer or a radio dial, just fine tune it. No easy feat.

    I wouldn't think of it as a mirror, because I don't think I even try to mimic those I see. I pick apart what I see and employ the bits I like. If I am forced to conform to any one person, by that person, I probably wouldn't associate that person.

    If it is any comfort to you, I have never thought of healthy people as those who never change. Life is all about change. Honestly, the only thing I like about myself is that I will choose to change if things aren't working out, no matter how uncomfortable I get or how bad anything gets, or how many people are saying no. I make my mind up and I do it. Physical change though, is easier than mental change.

    James, you have thought, no matter how erroneous or strange. You are someone and like everyone, you decide who that is.

  15. lookingforme
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    20 July 2016 in reply to lookingforme
    I've had a think, and I'll elaborate perhaps when my eyes can focus long enough (I haven't been sleeping well), but I would say not a mirror but like being a ghost. The definition of a ghost. Existing, but not quite tangible. Appearing and disappearing through space-time. Presence is felt by some, so is its absence. Not quite fitting into the world or any world at that. I would definitely say like a ghost.
  16. lookingforme
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    21 July 2016 in reply to lookingforme
    I sort of get the mirror analogy now. Though, I wouldn't think of myself as the mirror, but the BPD as the mirror. You can see yourself, but can't quite connect because of it. And the furthest you can go is to touch the mirror, you can't move past it. You know what you are thinking, not knowing if your BPD image is thinking the same. Which version is the real you? Can you flit between them?
  17. james1
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    21 July 2016 in reply to lookingforme
    Hi Joelle,

    I’m not sure who I’m trying to save. I originally thought it was to save everyone from myself, but you made me think: am I also trying to save myself from disappointment? After my last break-up, I desperately tried to hang on to the hope that she would (finally) see who I was, that the bad bits of me were controllable, and that she’d be willing to give it another go. That maybe the diagnosis would be a moment of, “Oh, that’s why we found it tough at times.” So it really hurt when she suggested that I should talk to some of my friends, even if it was good advice, because it sounded to me like: I don’t want to deal with the bad side of you – I never did. Of course, I tell myself it’s unfair of me to expect her to support me through this period, but I feel like I’ve never known myself, and to have this image of my ex as caring for me shattered would be rough. So I don’t do anything that could break that image.

    Be careful with working part time! It’s so hard to actually set your boundaries so you truly are working part time and not working full time but paid part time. Honours in Economics – I originally thought I wanted to maybe go into Federal Treasury but apparently it’s very politicised so I’m not keen on that anymore. I’m still deciding whether to continue.

    Yeah, I think I’ve also always been a logical person. For me it was just a way to keep a level head, because I know I can be unreasonable and irrational, and I don’t like that side of myself. But like you say, emotions always win out and just trying to turn that dial down when you’re in the middle is so hard. Is that what you mean?

    Yes, sorry I meant the mirror in terms of – when I look into the mirror, I don’t know what it is giving me. I always had doubts, but the BPD makes me really doubt whether the image projected back at me is “me” or the me which BPD has created. And then I wonder if there is a real me behind the mirror, and…I don’t know. It’s very confusing!

    I think the ghost is a good way of describing how I feel when I’m detached (right now), but maybe in a slightly different way. I get up, eat and work because I have to. And if I don’t…well, then I lose all remaining purpose. My purpose of existing right now is to exist and pretend that I’m a living functioning person, but even though I’m functioning, I don’t feel like I’m living. Kind of like a ghost.

    Have you ever seen the blog Hyperbole and a Half? It’s got two pretty funny but real representations of depression.
  18. lookingforme
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    21 July 2016 in reply to james1

    Hi James,

    I'd like to say that you took the words out of my mouth. I feel the same way, just existing, and if I stopped functioning that would disappear too. I have lost the sense of why I am functioning at the moment, which makes it hard. Sometimes, I don't even feel that I am alive, or real, or that I exist. Just some elusive matter to myself.

    With regard to you saving yourself, are you trying to save an image that others have of you rather than creating your own, no matter how fleeting? It's a tough question.

    And yes, that is what I mean with regard to logic and emotion. There's often too much of it at once and no dial to turn it down, to be able to navigate. And when there is too much at once, it's hard to isolate to confront and then deal with. I think I am getting better in that regard, or was, until I stopped therapy. Starting up again next Saturday so...we'll see how that goes. I express and isolate my emotions much better when I write them down than when I have to talk about them.

    As an international student, I will only be able to work 20 hours anyway, so it will definitely be part time, but thank you for your warning and concern, I appreciate it.

    Maybe you can start with what you want to do. Work on a goal that you can build yourself around? Like I am meant to be building myself around my accomplishments (still failing at that - no quick fix I hear).

    I will check out that blog, thanks. I have been following depressioncomix, uses cartoons to depict the whims of depression.

    BPD is quite confusing, and there is a lot of pressure put on what I am meant to feel now, for can't I just feel the way I feel? And there is always a disconnect. That I know. Within myself, or between me and the world.

  19. james1
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    21 July 2016 in reply to lookingforme
    I haven't had a chance to reply properly because I've been looking at depressioncomix...comic 180 is me EVERY single time I talk to someone about it, haha. I like comics...do you find they make you realise how silly our thoughts are? Not that we stop thinking that of course. Practicing what you preach when you have depression is so very difficult.
  20. lookingforme
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    21 July 2016 in reply to james1

    Ah, don't worry about replying. Is it the smile drawing? I want to pull it up but I'm at work now. A little window of BB is all I have the courage to show the people who I feel are looking but know are not. Or maybe they are.

    My brother has been trying to get me into comics, but I prefer reading and using my imagination than having the picture out in front of me. But I do appreciate the art that goes into it. I also find dialogue bubbles distracting haha. This is not to say I won't give it a proper try. But I like the simplicity and the gravitas that depressioncomix has. Each one speaks to me in some way.

    I wouldn't say our thoughts are silly. That's like calling a diabetic's pancreas silly. They are what they are I suppose. They could certainly be better. I hope you don't think that I think your thoughts are silly...

    Very true words James...very true indeed.

  21. james1
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    21 July 2016 in reply to lookingforme

    Aha that smile one was gold too. The smile comes up in quite a few - there's a good one where the girl's at a cafe with a smile, and she gets a break to just "be me". No, this one's about unloading on other people, then instantly feeling guilty. Yes, each comic is so true about a targeted bit of depression. I find it amazing how some people can be so talented that way.

    Do you read quite a bit then? I used to read but I find it really hard now to focus.

    Hmm...I think it's more: I create images of how the world, myself and others around me, should be. Every time this image is wrong, that just shatters me because I don't understand my world anymore. This image is, in part, how I see myself (which I don't know anymore), but also how others see and treat me. Which then means I need to continue to project an image and maintain that image. But that image is different for each person because I try to make myself likeable, or simply because that was how they first met me. My ex's image of me was carefree - and I tried to keep that up, but you can't really be too carefree in a relationship because relationships require work. So it feels like I'm always projecting images of myself, only to have them broken in the end. Which sucks of course.

    It sounds good that your starting therapy again, but less good that you've started because times have been tough. If you'd like to share, I'm happy to listen.

    I think disconnect really sums up both being BPD and the BPD diagnosis. The worst bit, or one of them, is I just don't feel like I can 100% trust myself anymore, because...well, I don't know who or what I'm trusting.

    Have you watched silver linings playbook, and if so, what'd you think?

  22. lookingforme
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    21 July 2016 in reply to james1

    Yea, the guy is talented. I think we each have our ways of expression. I'm certain if tried, we could find yours.

    Like you, I used to, a lot. But, finishing a book now is quite the accomplishment, because I also lose focus, and I get obsessive and then frustrated. So, small doses now. I do listen to audiobooks though.

    That's a very dangerous way of living James, creating so many versions of yourself, to project, tailored to the other person, and not really yourself. Have you brought this up with your psychologist? It might be worth exploring. I never really did that to the extent you have, it would seem, but I have projected diluted versions of myself. And letting someone see the concentrate version of my crazy makes me freak out that I've lost that person for good. And then that deflates me because I have shared a piece of me after all. And angry that someone could just take the piece for granted. Then I close off.

    I was where you are now actually, entirely lost from myself from the world, I feel I am a bit better now, though the depression has really kicked in. But in terms of identity, it definitely helps to have a purpose, even if it ends up being fruitless. Maybe, you are struggling so much is because what you thought you wanted in economics has been jaded, and your relationship ending the way it did. Obviously, I'm not really in a position to make suggestions really, but I think it helped me. There is something, even if someone else has to remind me about it, there is something, that for now I think I want.

    Thank you for the offer of listening, it is reciprocated. I'm just caught up in the present moment and feel I'm losing myself in the moment, depression is sucking me out of this world, and I am losing energy to hold on to the things that could keep me grounded, and very much here. As you said earlier, simply just existing, with the added knowledge/stress of how much laxity I am showing with regard to the things that can get me out of here and to a better place as each day passes. And each day passes so slowly that I am hyper aware of it all.

    I am with you on that, the self trust is gone. I self harmed after over a year of managing without. After that, my whole world shook. I haven't been able to stand again. I'm getting help.

    I have seen it, and I loved the movie. Never really considered it properly from a mental health aspect. Will watch it again. What about you, you brought it up specifically, why?

  23. james1
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    22 July 2016 in reply to lookingforme

    Yes, I’ve realised that creating so many versions of me is destructive. It’s exhausting flipping versions of me from meeting friend A to friend B. Worst of all? Meeting friend A and friend B at the same time. Which is why I never have big parties, and why I’m afraid of ever getting married with a wedding – I’d probably just not invite people, haha.

    Like you, I also freak out whenever I accidentally let someone see behind the image in case they feel lied to when they see something they don’t like. This time, I deliberately went around and broke all those images myself. But I hope that they’ll just think it was depression distorting me, and not that they really are fake personas. I mentioned this behaviour to my psychologist and hopefully schema therapy will delve into it. I’ll let you know how that goes.

    I think I know what you mean by being caught up in the present moment and being hyper aware. People often say at work “wow, the day passed quickly.” I look at them and just think to myself “if only time would skip by that quickly for me too.”

    Another weird analogy: I feel like, if people were robots, everyone else has rechargeable batteries but I’ve lost my charger. So I shut everything off to the bare existence level for self-preservation, but every now and then something sets me off and drains me even more, which is a double whammy because not only have I lost more battery, I’m aware that I’ve lost more battery and that thought is draining in itself.

    Joelle, it sounds like you ended up in a very bad place, and getting help (tomorrow/Saturday week?) is really brave. I don’t know what set it off, but it sounds like it’s worth addressing that in the future.

    I’m curious to hear whether you agree/d with your diagnosis – before it, when you got it, and now. I used to wonder if I was just “weak” and everyone also dealt with the things I do but more effectively, but that view’s changed obviously. My psychologist says she doesn’t believe in diagnoses because 1) if it’s all on a spectrum, where’s the cut-off; and 2) our answers to questionnaires change. But she said that for BPD, it’s about looking at our past and controlling how it affects our present and future selves, rather than “curing” it.

    I thought Bradley Cooper played the tortured mentally ill person really well. There are moments where he flips out in his manic state, then realises and you can just see in his eyes all the guilt and sadness that he carries with him all the time.

  24. lookingforme
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    22 July 2016 in reply to james1

    Hah, I wouldn't want a wedding either. I have always said I would elope and let people know. Or they can have the reception without me.

    Definitely keep my updated. My image problems are more centered around myself. I always wished or imagined me entirely different to how I was, that when confronted with the very low to non existent opinion I have of myself, it would be very damaging. There are days when I think there is no difference between me and a table or something. Or even less. That I'm not actually alive. Or my existence is some sick joke being played on me.

    I get that analogy. Very well put. The draining seems to be ceaseless.

    I have ended up in a bad place, my psychologist is next Saturday, but thank you for saying I am brave. It's very much situational this time. I'm in a land full of triggers. My body is a trigger in itself, so that on top of other triggers. No good.

    I agree with it. Definitely. It actually make sense, and I can accept that I have those symptoms, most of them, some to a higher degree than others. Before it, I was thinking I was a very weird thing. With a touch of madness or something. I have been tracing the behavior I have been exhibiting back to when I was like 8 or something and I've been getting more and more troubled that this blackness was just in me, laced or woven into the very energy that dives me. The day I got it, I was quite relieved that I had an answer. That with an answer, a plan of action can be made. Structure put into a world where chaos was reigning, and not the good kind of chaos. Now, I've gone back to feeling like a freak. That I can't trust myself. I wonder if everything I do is me doing it, if it's me wanting it. I spent all this effort before on justifying my actions to others, and now I feel like I have to justify them to me, because I'm skeptical about all of it. The student counsellor suggests I stop wondering what I should be feeling, and address what I am feeling. But as you say, more about managing than about curing. Logically, I agree with your psychologist, where is the cut off. I think the problems we face is that we cannot see that cut off. we think we do not own/control our own thoughts/emotions and yet we are defined by them. A mind f*** essentially. And we are in constant flux, change is a part of life, but I guess, we are too frequently changeable.

    Bradley Cooper did play it well. Are you feeling a bit tortured? Out of characters.

  25. james1
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    23 July 2016 in reply to lookingforme

    No, that really is no good. And being surrounded by triggers just makes withdrawing into your own shell seem so much more attractive, and this is meant to be counterproductive as well! If you feel comfortable, i'd love to keep hearing about how your session goes in a week's time. Even though time goes so slowly, at least it's booked in and you know it's there!

    I find it interesting that you've tracked how you behaved differently to others. I think I've just tried to ignore it and push it aside all this time, telling myself that the real "me" was blah-characteristics, when i just always felt out of place and wrong somehow. And now, I keep wondering "am I just putting this on as well, and trying to be diagnosed with BPD so I have an explanation for why I feel so wrong?" But then I realise it's not really a "normal" thing to be thinking anyway, and that's enough to convince me that I should be seeing a psychologist haha.

    "we are too frequently changeable" - yes, and that's the crappy bit. Changing identities due to changing, emotions, sense of self-worth, thoughts...all my friends change but at least they are, at times and in some ways, "fixed" in who they are.

    I find mental illnesses really interesting because you feel the same things that other people feel and do the same things that other people do, but to a different extent. A friend told me a story about a woman who was hyper-empathetic and she would feel whatever she saw. E.g. she couldn't eat with other people, because if she saw them eating, she'd feel like someone was force feeding her. So she was normal in every way except she felt empathy to a completely debilitating extreme. And it seems with BPD, it's like a hypersensitivity to our thoughts, emotions and other people's thoughts and emotions, so who knows which we should trust?

    Tortured? By myself, for sure. By others, sometimes, but mostly because I over analyse what they are thinking. I fall into the classic text/no reply/they must hate me so i hate them too/oh they replied i'm an idiot thought pattern, haha. I also go by the "fake it till you make it" rule with everything, but that gets me into trouble when I start faking different personas and believing different things about myself! So yes, tortured, but really only by myself.

    Do you know anyone else personally with BPD or another personality disorder?

  26. lookingforme
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    24 July 2016 in reply to james1

    Hi James,

    I will certainly let you know how it goes, thanks for taking an interest. I know I will get more anxious as the day comes closer, so much riding on it being a good connection.

    It just comes naturally to me. Note the differences, and wonder if it's me or them that is being unreasonable or different. Hmmm...trying to fit the condition to you. You come across as reasonable or logical, I think if you didn't have it, you would be less troubled by the symptoms and keep searching for another answer as opposed to be quite shaken by it. Does that make sense?

    I find mental illness interesting too, but frustrating because it is something you cannot purely quantify, because of the variety that exists within the same diagnosis.

    My brother recently told me, and a friend, that who I am never changed. Every decision I made based on my thoughts and emotions, every goal I have, this diagnosis doesn't make them any less of value than before. All that has changed is my knowledge. It's hard to accept, I know, because it is very personal. But, the logical part of me knows that they are right. I suppose, finding that middle ground is reconciling the two.

    Self torture rings true. With me also. I understand that situation all too well.

    Nope, there is only me amongst the people I know. You?

  27. james1
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    25 July 2016 in reply to lookingforme

    Yeah, I think regardless of what I had, I'd always be looking for an answer as to why I behave the way I do, and I'll always be confused and uncertain about whatever answer I do land on. Interesting what people have told you and I think it makes sense. The trouble for me is still understanding who this unchanged person is, and the BPD seems to confuse that even more.

    Funnily enough, talking to you has made me stop agonising about who "me" is. In my good moods, I decide I can just work on creating a new identity and trust in that, even mould it if I need to, but at least it's something. In my bad moods, I just don't care, haha. So thanks for giving me that peace of mind at least!

    A friend of a friend has it - unfortunately, she falls into the very extreme case and doesn't want to get help. So she's very exhausting to be around.

  28. lookingforme
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    25 July 2016 in reply to james1

    I'm glad I could be of some help :)

    Yea, I actually have never taken comfort in the fact that someone feels the same way I did because, well, what I feel doesn't feel good and I wouldn't wish it on anybody. I felt like a thing rather than someone. Now, I'm not saying I'm glad that you feel the same as me, but I am glad I am not alone in it, essentially. So thank you. And I am glad that on your good days you are picking and choosing an identity. It is good to hear, and great that you are trying.

    I was having this talk with my mum in the car and I was giving her my opinion on a social situation and all I could think was, what use is your analysis, because what do you know. You have been told you don't react the normal way, how valuable can your input be. And I had it in my head that my mum thought that too. That was a terrible experience. More reason to stop talking, that's what I have now. BPD seems to be more of a barrier than a liberator.

    Oh, that sucks the big one, on two levels, you are drained by a friend and she doesn't want to get help. Maybe she can use you as inspiration? By no means does that mean the pressure is on you. Just take your time and take care of you first.

  29. lookingforme
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    29 July 2016 in reply to lookingforme

    So...new symptom, as promised...auditory hallucinations. It hit me like a train that I had them. I can trace them back a while, just brushed it off. All this stress has exacerbated it though...the symptoms of the disorder including this. So been feeling on edge and unsafe.

    what's been going on for you?

  30. james1
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    29 July 2016 in reply to lookingforme
    Okay here’s the synthesis of what I’ve been thinking since the beginning of the week. It has been a –very- long week, as I’ve alluded to in some of my other posts.

    So the summary of this week is basically: all the “BPD symptoms” that I’ve ever suffered from, all at the same time. Really extreme reactions to mundane things, a complete explosion in my relationship with mum, constantly shifting views about my ex, upturn in my uni plans (i.e. I’ll be quitting), a binge eat and binge drink (both alone), a near miss with suicide, really severe loneliness, and complete detachment from myself. All at a time when I really thought I was getting better last weekend! Most days for me are a mix of those symptoms, but I seem to have had an especially bad week.

    I think it’s hard dealing with personality disorders because 1) they affect every aspect of our lives; and 2) because they are so entrenched in who we are. And for me, the worst thing about BPD, and it might be different for you, is the identity and trust element. At a time when I’m told I can’t trust my parents, I feel like I can’t 100% trust my friends (not for any fault of theirs), and the only person I thought I 100% trusted (my ex) wants space, it would’ve been nice to at least say: I know who I am and what I enjoy. But I keep tearing down my walls and finding more walls, until I’m so tired that I give up, still no closer to my own identity. And I can start to build one again, but the old me hangs over just ready to squash new me, and sometimes it wins, so I have to start again.

    I used to think that the only place I feel safe is in my dreams and make-believe worlds. I now realise that those are just more defence mechanisms and that thought was crushing: that all this time, I’m “creative” and a “story-teller” not because I want to be, but because I have to be. So I don't even feel like it's part of my identity – it’s just another wall to protect me from everything outside. I then started to see all my hobbies and everything I
    do as just more defence mechanisms and excuses to deal with the sense of failure I get when I look at myself. I ended up with: I am broken walls which failed to protect the broken walls.

    I’m feeling better now. I haven’t been able to move on from that thought, but in a way, I’m kind of accepting that’s how I feel now, and I’m hoping that, by continuing to do what I do, I’ll be more than failed broken walls.

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