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

Topic: Living with Borderline Personality Disorder

  1. james1
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    25 September 2016 in reply to calamity

    Hey it sounds like you're really struggling with all your thoughts at the moment which seems to be conflicting. Taking advice from someone with a bad track record at relationships probably isn't the smartest move, but it sounds like it's causing you a lot of grief and I do think it's best to air some of these thoughts, but maybe after you've spoken to someone professional who can help guide you.

    Do you feel like the diagnosis has made a lot of this worse?

    James

  2. xmin
    xmin avatar
    36 posts
    25 September 2016 in reply to james1
    Hey James,

    Haha I know, I should have been more patient. I get why this forum is more sensitive but I'm not used to such heavy moderation- although, I've never had a post delayed by that long here.

    That does sound like a better term- borderline as a name doesn't really explain much. I read up why it's named as such, but it's still a confusing term.

    Yeah, that's a very small and simplified part of BPD, but I guess lucky for them they won't truly understand what it's like to have it. As long as they listen and don't try to belittle your issues, it's something.

    For me I find it hard to untangle the big mess of what is BPD and what are my personal flaws, not knowing when one ends and one starts. I mean, you could say that you are potentially able to work on both your shortcomings and also the aspects of BPD, but gosh it's confusing. Yeah, it's a tricky one. Sometimes I try to think- how would a normal person react/handle this/behave? I'm not sure how healthy that is, but that's me trying to be grounded.

    I hear you. It's such a frustrating thing to wait for to happen. Can't force it, can't predict it. I am working at the moment but the general workshop mood is pretty blah at the moment, and that isn't helping my motivation/mood. Not really the best solution, but are you able to switch to something low pressure/focus? It's not everyone's cup of tea but honestly I love brain dead repetitive tasks, lets my mind wander and has low stress levels.

    Boxing sounds like a solid idea, good release of stress and energy, you get to hit things and make yourself stronger =). I'm doing wing chun, which is a form of kung fu- I'd definitely recommend it.

    Luckily I haven't experienced any dissociation experiences- it sounds pretty unsettling. Have you? I'm not exactly sure what this falls under- self image or identity or something, but sometimes I have this feeling like I'm suddenly aware of myself, like I'll be mid sentence and it'll just snap and I'll be hearing the words I'm saying and I get this snap of realisation. Does that sound like anything you've experienced? Maybe it's not a BPD thing...
  3. xmin
    xmin avatar
    36 posts
    25 September 2016 in reply to calamity
    Welcome calamity! Yeah, you have my sympathies too. You definitely don't have to tell anyone before you're comfortable with it, but knowing about it can sometimes make it easier to understand where you're coming from, why you react/behave a certain way and such. And I get that your mind is logically moving from one step to another and rationing that because of A, it means that B is true and so on. Is it possible for you to be direct and honest with your boyfriend? You could let him know how you feel and what's been going on your end, and see what his response is. I hope you manage to sort things out, it sounds a bit rough.
  4. james1
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    25 September 2016 in reply to xmin

    Hey xmin,

    Oh that rings so true about untangling yourself from the BPD. I guess that's why it's called a "personality disorder" because, harsh as it sounds, it affects all aspects of our lives and is really deeply entrenched in who we are and our identity. On the other hand, something like depression, which also affects all aspects of our lives, isn't part of the person. It's more like a virus that's trying to take over the person.

    But I like to think that we can change ourselves in very fundamental ways once we recognise that our responses to certain situations are different. Because unlike depression where you're fighting something else, with BPD you're essentially fighting yourself. And this is hard, but at least the reins are entirely in our hands, you know?

    Hm..I hope it doesn't sound too negative :/ I guess when I think of depression, I think of it as a coat of tar that blankets a person and stops them seeing the world in colour. But when I think of BPD, I think of it as my own brain deciding on its own accord that it wants to alternate between high saturation and greyscale repeatedly.

    I think it's really good that you're trying to stay grounded by asking what a "normal" person would do. In DBT language, they call it wise mind (as opposed to emotional mind and rational mind). In Schema Therapy, they call it "healthy adult". The idea within both types is to accept that you have all these emotions and that they will run rampant. But then to take a step back and say, "What would Wise Mind/Healthy Adult say?" So it sounds like you're doing therapy on yourself, haha.

    Oh yeah I'd love a boring repetitive job right now! Something that is enough to keep me occupied and not ruminating, but not enough to stress me out. That would be brilliant. It's why I run.

    Wing chun - that's what Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee did!

    Hmm - my dissociation is not so severe that I see myself in the third person, but most of the time, I feel pretty robotic and just... blunted a bit and not part of the real world. But no hallucinations or anything like that which is good. Do you mean where you are suddenly self-aware like you just... weren't feeling/thinking anything prior?

    James

  5. xmin
    xmin avatar
    36 posts
    25 September 2016 in reply to james1
    Hey James,

    I think I understand what you mean about the difference between depression and BPD and agree. Depression comes and goes and stops me from feeling happiness(and other more complicated sensations), but BPD affects me big time because it affects my emotional response to almost everything. That also makes sense about having the reins on BPD, but it does seem like a trickier battle somehow. Depression is kind of like a roommate I can't get rid of, but I can get used to it, or grit my teeth/hunker down when they show up. BPD....is crazy roller coaster which is on fire hahah.

    Oh that's interesting eh, I haven't even heard of the 'wise mind' approach. I guess that's a good thing then, I shall continue with my approach. For some things- mostly emotional issues with other people, I tend to run my thinking processes though a neutral third party, and ask my friends whether my behaviour/thinking is reasonable. Most of the time they say it is, but since they're a milder personality and I'm more grumpy/sensitive they wouldn't have been as bothered, but it's not too far off.

    That was the good thing about food service during my younger days, especially stuff like food prep. Mindlessly slicing food for the good part of an hour or more...bliss! Hehe. Although it wouldn't be good for stress levels, because people need their food right now. You could be one of those incredible factory workers that does the one task for years and end up in a youtube compilation! Or you could hand out pamphlets....repetitive and on your feet. I wouldn't mind doing something a bit more active, sitting down all day is not great for mental or physical health.

    That's right! Part of the reason why I find it cool. I'm going to quite a decent place to learn it, and the Sifu trained under a man who was taught directly by Ip Man. And they've got a very good vibe, no aggro/steroid heads.

    Hmm...is the robotic feeling at all a defensive mechanism for the over emotional part of BPD? I've not had anything like that, I just feel the hypersensitivity. Kind of like that, like it'll just kick in and I'll feel uncomfortable and for a moment I'll lose my sense of self and it feels weird to hear myself talking and be aware of my thoughts.

    xmin
  6. james1
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    26 September 2016 in reply to xmin

    Oh it totally makes sense that the BPD is a tougher battle. Depression feels more external - like you say, a roommate - so it's something we can bear. But BPD... it lives inside. The only way to beat it is to confront it head on and running at a rollercoaster on fire is bound to end in disaster, haha. The only hope is that over time, you slow it's momentum and eventually get it back at a speed where the brakes work again.

    I think when you run it by a third party, you're actually using someone else as the "wise mind" which is good practice. Schema Therapy uses a technique called "limited reparenting". Basically what that means is your therapist acts as the "Healthy Adult" for you, telling and showing you how best to react to certain situations that have caused you to boil over in the past. Over time, they slowly give you more responsibility over this "healthy adult" mode to tell yourself what the best course of action is, until you can do it entirely on your own. So it gets its name from the idea that as children, we never had good parent role models to teach us the right behaviours, and the therapist is there to do that for us now as adults. And it's called limited because they can't be our emotional crutch which parents are. Did that make sense at all? haha, not sure because I'm used to all the terms when I have my psychologist sessions.

    Are you there full time? An alternative, if finances allow, is to do a bit of volunteering work on the side. I find that helps a lot and is usually quite social too.

    Oh that's awesome. I watched the Ip Man movies (not the latest one though). I loved them. It might not be for me at the moment though, because I feel like there's quite a bit of latent aggression in me which needs to be released on a bag.

    Yeah, the robotic feeling is what Schema Therapy calls "detached protector". So just like you said, it's to protect the self from the raging emotions by just detaching and not feeling anything. There's lots of different ways to cope with the emotions which I guess is the frustrating thing about BPD, because the stereotype doesn't fit everybody, but the stereotype is so strongly ingrained in people's understanding.

  7. xmin
    xmin avatar
    36 posts
    26 September 2016 in reply to james1

    My psychologist and I have talked about dealing with stressful emotionally situations, and how over time and with practice eventually I'll need less and less to get through episodes. So I guess it's kind of like that, getting it under control. At my first I'll just sit there crying endlessly, or calling the same number over and over and over if I can't get through(very unhealthy). Haven't had anything that bad for a while, but it's hard to say as I haven't been triggered too much.

    I'm not sure if I'll ever fully be independent of seeking other people's views/opinions, but I don't reckon that's too abnormal. It's not that uncommon to run things by someone else and see what they think, but luckily I'm not too dependent on it. I take the best action I think I can, weighing up logic and emotion. I definitely understand that part about not having a parent role model- watching my mum run unchecked with no self awareness is kind of an eye opener. It definitely made sense. Actually my ex finished up their masters in psychology and should be working as a psychologist now, so maybe I should be better at terms, haha.

    I am working full time, however I've had a bit of time off recently as it's been quiet at work. Back on today, and it's been alright. I wouldn't mind doing volunteer work, but it's not a priority with the time I have in the week, I'd probably do it when I retire. Also I'm happily not a super social person, so I'm ok with that aspect =P.

    Our sifu jokes about the inaccuracies but I did find them an entertaining watch. If you just need to let loose, then go forth onto the punching bag! Wing Chun is good in that it has some structure and you can focus on the steps and techniques, and then let it out when you practice it using the bags/mitts. Very satisfying after spending the day sitting down.

    Ahh I see. I'm not exactly how my mind has adapting to coping with all the extra emotionals apart from, well, just feeling all the emotions. Sometimes I wish I were able to detach myself and not care and get riled up, but I guess it's another problem in itself and not a 'better' or 'healthier' way.

  8. xmin
    xmin avatar
    36 posts
    29 September 2016 in reply to xmin

    Hello, how is everyone doing?

    Just dropping in to report(complain) on how I'm doing. Had a very minor meltdown tonight, nothing too crazy over not much at all but at the time I just wished I could be physically comforted by someone. Every time I think I'm doing semi ok I'll run into a bad patch, but I guess with mental illness it's inevitable.

    Hope you're all well =)

  9. james1
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    29 September 2016 in reply to xmin

    Hey xmin,

    I know what you mean by wishing you could be physically comforted by someone. The weird thing, and maybe this is just me, is that I feel awkward being physically comforted. I don't know how to react and it freaks me out a bit!

    Ah the inevitability... it's inevitably there isn't it? hah. Hum... sorry I would post a longer post about how I'm doing, but if you have a read of my recent post in my thread called "I don't know what to say" in long term support, you'll see how I'm feeling. Sorry, I hope you don't feel like I'm palming you off. It's just that I probably can't explain it better than what I did there.

    I hope you are doing a bit better now. As you know, you can always tell us what's happened if it helps you, but no pressure of course. We just want to be around to support each other in any way we can :)

    James

  10. lookingforme
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    666 posts
    30 September 2016 in reply to james1

    Hey xmin, and James.

    xmin, I found myself in that place just a little while ago. Standing in a shopping center, feeling both like an imminent nuclear explosion (I call it running nuclear) and flat. Flatter than flat. An insignificant nonentity. I wanted to cry right there, and I wanted someone to just hold me. Thing is, like James, being physically comforted is not something I normally seek, and there are times when I crave it. Maybe to be sure that I do in fact exist, if only someone would confirm it. It is like the sense of touch, while you can feel other things, you have a sense of self in there as well, because you are touching it. Maybe that's what I want, recognition of both so I know I am here, I exist (I have trouble with that concept).

    I was writing something about inevitability just last night. Let's say I was in an altered state, shall we, and I was thinking how quickly the little good things, the things you are told to hold on to as they will remind you of an alternative, those things, they seem to disappear or just slip through. Because that feeling inevitably comes back. As James said, if you would like to talk more about it, I can only promise to do my best to show up.

    James, I caught your other post, I seem to tell you over and over that I feel the same way, it is uncanny. It's BPD awareness week, I wonder how far the reaches will be?

    Joelle

  11. xmin
    xmin avatar
    36 posts
    1 October 2016 in reply to lookingforme
    Hello James and Joelle,

    Feeling a bit better now, thanks for your words. I believe that I crave physical contact because my parents were quite cold when I was growing up. Funny thing is now mum tries to hug me or pat me and I absolutely hate it. This goes for being touched by all immediate family members, makes me extremely uncomfortable. Childish, but I have to immediately wipe my hands on my clothes. Is it physical comfort from everyone, or just people you aren't super close with? Of course I am picky about who is touching me, but mostly just not strangers or family members.

    I read through your other post and you've expressed a few points there. How have things been going? Have you made headway on your list?

    The thing that set me off the other night was silly, just having parking issues as I'm house sitting for my sister in law at the moment. I've also been trying to reach out to my ex- and I think I remember you posting somewhere that you had done the same, but in a closing manner? Correct me if I'm wrong. And just generally feeling isolated and alone, and needing some comfort.

    I think I kind of get what you're saying Joelle, but for me it's much simpler. I need a hug, dammit! Shower me with love. Then leave me alone. Hahahaha. But it does sound like one of the common issues with BPD, the concept of existence. I have kind of been noticing that I'll 'pop' into my own awareness like I've mentioned before and I am only realising now how odd that is.

    It does feel like a world/life of mere slithers of happiness/good times, filled with a lot more negative. I feel like I hold on to the past a lot, because that's when my happiest memories were.

    Something happy to report is I did my first wing chun belt grading today, and am no longer a white belt noob! Hooray!

    xmin
  12. lookingforme
    lookingforme avatar
    666 posts
    1 October 2016 in reply to xmin

    Hey xmin,

    I'm glad you're feeling a bit better. I feel the same way about my family and contact. My skin physically crawls when mum tries to touch me in anyway. I literally cower and try to disappear when I see her coming. Yea, I let people who I trust have physical contact with me. But not strangers and immediate family. Maybe a couple of cousins. You put it very well, sometimes you just need a hug dammit!

    Yes, I call into question my existence, everybody else's existence, the connection between us. And what is real. I hallucinate at times and it is more in question now than in before.

    It does feel like these fleeting moments. I don't think I have too many happy memories. Not since I was younger than 4 haha. I don't know, I don't fully understand the notion of being happy, what is good enough?

    Hey, congratulations!

    Joelle

  13. BKim
    BKim avatar
    3 posts
    5 October 2016 in reply to lookingforme

    Hi there!
    I've been diagnosed with BPD but was told to keep it hush when receiving medical care because there's a HUGE stigma against it and medical staff often think we're just attention seeking.
    I explain it as having 3rd degree burns all over - everything is heightened and painful. And like having no control over my actions sometimes - my hands act while i watch. it's like watching a movie and screaming at the actor not to do something even though you know they can't hear you. And i'm needy and attention seeking. I need constant reassurance and confirmation.
    BPD is really difficult and uncurable. but we can all learn tools to deal with the symptoms. distress tolerance is good. ACT is too. i hate CBT but i do use the mindfulness techniques on occasion!

    We can survive this.

  14. james1
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    5 October 2016 in reply to BKim

    Hey BKim,

    Welcome to the thread.

    Yes, the awareness of what we're doing totally sucks because it can lead to really strong self-hatred. But accepting that a lot of how we act is due to the way we were brought up can help.

    I think what you said about needing constant reassurance speaks very true to me. But I also separate it from when people think they're listening, but in fact they're not listening and are just giving generic advice which makes me angry. Otherwise, it's like I need to be constantly told that people are not being silent because they are angry at me, but simply because they're busy but they'll talk to me later. I am so bad at waiting for people to reply!

    My psychologist started with schema therapy with me then shifted to DBT. Are you still seeing your doctors?

    James

  15. BKim
    BKim avatar
    3 posts
    5 October 2016 in reply to james1

    hey James1

    yeah seeing a few people still. no more focussed therapy though. it's all just free talking. mainly learning to identify emotions and triggers and learning how to cope. most days im totally on top of it, it;s just some days i absolutely cant!

  16. xmin
    xmin avatar
    36 posts
    5 October 2016 in reply to lookingforme

    Hello everyone!

    Oh thank goodness you understand Joelle, I've never met anyone who had the same skin crawling upon contact thing.

    I only realised recently too that I don't have a bunch of happy memories. I definitely have memories and we were an active family, but there's no link of happiness at all, which is strange.

    Thanks!

    Hello BKim, I've also heard about the stigma towards BPD, it's a little worrying to me. I haven't really mentioned it to anyone, but I'm more open with my depression/anxiety. The burns all over your body analogy is a common one I think. Definitely with you there on the constant reassurance and confirmation. It's never ever enough that I think I did ok, I need someone else to repeatedly tell me so. Which I can imagine would be quite annoying on the other end =P. I'm going to attribute it to my upbringing, not a whole lot of love/praise there. Not good for the self esteem. The thing that pisses me off is the phrase 'you never know'. It somehow makes me feel like they're challenging me, and I'm too weak and uncertain for it not to bother me. I'm pretty bad at that too James, but I feel like I'm slowly developing that wise mind that tries to reason with my not so wise mind.

    Good to see you dropping in here BKim, hope you have more good days =)

  17. james1
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    6 October 2016 in reply to BKim
    Ah, yes it's good that you're still seeing them to help you along. It sounds like you're in a better position than before, but it still sucks. Can I ask how long you've been going? I've only been at my psychologist for...~4 months now so it feels like I have ages to go.
  18. Hope&love
    Hope&love avatar
    1 posts
    24 January 2017

    I'm new here and not sure if I place this post in the right spot.

    Im here to ask for advise on how to convince my fiancé of almost 4 years to seek help for what I suspect is narcissistic personality disorder. We have had a very turbulent relationship and my relationships with my daughters have suffered immensely due to my fiancé raging and unpredictable anger, put down and humiliation of me in front of my daughters, family, friends and in public. He also tends to use emotional abuse to control me such as telling me I am worthless as a woman because I've had my uterus removed and now I can't conceive (I'm 46, he's 55 and none of us want children anyway) and he says it feels like Grand Canyon. This is just one of multiple things he says.

    That said I wouldn't still be with him if not because I love him and appreciate all the other great qualities he has. I just can't seem to make him acknowledge that he is the problem and needs help. I hope someone here can give me advice because I am at my last straw and will soon end it if he doesn't seek help. All my family and friends have begged and advised me to leave him long ago. I'm still hopeful and will stick by him if he gets help and works on his issues.

  19. xmin
    xmin avatar
    36 posts
    24 January 2017 in reply to Hope&love
    Hi Hope,

    There might be a better place for you to post your query, but I'll add my personal bit here anyway. My brother has NPD and I read up a little about it- your story sounds very familiar as I've watched my sister in law with similar struggles. From what I've read, NPD is a tricky one. Convincing them they need help is a big struggle- some people who have NPD don't see it as a problem. And even if they do seek help apparently it is a long and hard struggle. It must be very hard and isolating for you. I mean, on the one hand you have not much to lose at this point, and it would hopefully only get better. On the other hand, it would be a long hard slog for the both of you. It's pretty sad to hear that your relationships with other loved ones have suffered.

    So, since you're at a point where you will stick by him on the condition that he makes some improvements, perhaps you could set some concrete goals? Hopefully there's a suitable therapist out there to help things along. You could give a deadline by which he must attend a therapy session? I mean, you can't force him to go in with an open mind, but at least it's a good gesture. May I ask if you're personally seeing a professional for your own issues? An unbiased third party could help you see things more clearly.

    The most important thing here is your personal health and safety. Honestly, you really need to put yourself and your needs and wants forward. I hear that you love your fiancé dearly and would love to resolve things, but it has to be a two way street, and it's already taken a toll on you personally and your surroundings. Please keep me updated on how you do.

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