BPD Blog Borderline Personality Disorder

Dear Body

Posted March 18, 2019 By kmarrs

I’m sorry I have hated you for so long. Misguided in ideas that I was supposed to be a girl and society’s version of what a girl should look like.

Stretch marks don’t give my body character? Bullshit! They are there because my body held and grew three children. They are a beautiful celebration of the lives I gave birth to. I would no sooner fault a tiger for it’s stripes.

This does not define me, but it tells a story.

The weight I carry? I know it doesn’t help my fibromyalgia and I would like to lose some weight in the name of being healthier. But not through shame and mistreatment. Withholding calories out of shame for my shape does no one any good. Increasing my overall daily calories, but spreading them through the day so that I’m eating smaller meals, but more frequently, is the answer to both loving and respecting my current body, while gently shaping it to a healthier form.

And if this just never happens? I will not feel shame. Just like my stretch marks, my current form is the result of carrying three babies in my core. It’s also the result of 20-30 years of intense mental health meds. I feel no shame for this meds, I feel no shame for how they shape my appearance.

Make-up? Hair? Lack of both? Even if I was a girl, it is not society’s job to tell me what I’m supposed to look like. I do not choose to paint over my self portrait as a means of hiding who I am. And hair is just not something I’ll ever be able to work with. And that’s fine. The me I present is the me I am happiest with and there are no apologies offered.

I am, however, struggling with my breasts. I’m torn between hating them and indifference. They are a source of physical pain as the weight of carrying them destroys my back. They are a source of mental pain as they are a huge trigger to my dysphoria.

It is noted, though, that I used to appear to enjoy them, as I flaunted what I was given. What can I say? I was hungry for attention and breasts were a means of feeding that hunger. Ironically, a breast’s sole purpose in life is to feed… hungry babies. And a wept over my inability to produce milk. I wept over how such a large burden, a large weight against my shoulders, could fail to do their one intended purpose.

So how could I feel loyal to them?

The patriarchy says I am to have a painted face, long silky hair, and large firm breasts.

I reject the patriarchy.

So I will work on refusing to hate my breasts any longer, as that is a self destructive emotion, but I can still elect to be done with them. I do intend on getting a breast reduction as soon as I can. But I will not hate myself over the fact this could take years. I have bigger health emergencies in the forefront.

And nonbinary presentation does not equate to androgyny. So I can be me and still have my breasts, I tell myself. Anything to help the dysphoria.

The patriarchy find so much wrong with my body. The patriarchy has taught me to internalize those “imperfections” and hate myself for them. To want to mold and sculpt myself into me “perfect from”.

Yet in all the ways my body has truly failed me, having cellulite isn’t even related to any of them. I don’t need to contour and cover my face with makeup to fight my anemia. Long flowing hair only hurts my headaches and anxiety.

I am who I am and I will love myself for every bit of my appearance. I can work on being healthier physically as I work on being healthier mentally. The two can coexist and I don’t need to hate myself. Especially since society tells me I should.

But then society is trying to sell me something.

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Pi Day! It’s Pi Day!

Posted March 14, 2019 By kmarrs

And the best way to celebrate is with Pie!

So. This is my last Pi Day working in a math department of a university, and it falls on a work day. So…

I did my research into the department budget for the year, which we’re encouraged to spend. And then I asked if we could use some of the department “employee moral” budget to throw a little party for the college. (Not the entire university. But the college of art, science, and technology, within the university.) I received an enthusiastic yes and here we are a month later ready to celebrate.

We’re getting pizza (pies) for lunch and a bunch of dessert pies and it’ll be good wholesome fun!

Then of course, we’re celebrating at home as well. Nothing fancy. Just the 5 of us eating pie.

I like to sometimes actually throw a party for my friends and family, but a Thursday is no a good night for that. Next year it falls on a Saturday, so I’ll have to host something then.

Are you celebrating Pi Day?

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1.

First and foremost you have to understand that BPD is a medical condition and you can’t make anyone happy, much less someone with BPD. They have to make an active effort to make themselves happy, or they are actively choosing to live in misery. This doesn’t mean you can’t aid them though. Just know it’s up to them and the effort they are willing to contribute.

2.

This isn’t a perfect process. I challenge you to find me one person in the word that doesn’t have a collection of good and bad days. Everyone poops; everyone has bad days. We may have more than our fair share, sure, but it’s a part of life. As long as you don’t expect perfection, even a slight increase in the number of good days can be considered a win.

3.

Validate them. Really, you need to be validating everyone in your life. Even strangers if you can. We all hear what we are doing wrong and what we’re bad at. How often do you take the time to tell a loved one or coworker what they are really good at. When was the last time you told a stranger you like their shirt? Sound creepy? Then the problem is you. But we can fix that! Take time out of your day to reflect on who is doing what well and what people are good at, then take a little extra time to tell them! Here is a secret: chances are the person with BPD in your life suffered a severe lack of validating while growing up. Want to make both of you happier? Make up for it now.

4.

Make sure their medication is right. Ok. This is a tricky one as you have to be really close to the person. However, if you are and you think they could use an increase in, oh, their antidepressant, validate the progress they’ve made and then approach the conversation about their meds. Please don’t flat out tell them the change needed unless you are REALLY close to them. Instead ask them how they are feeling in general and how they feel about their current cocktail. Chances are they might bring it up themselves, or you’ll find a way to mention the suggestion. Either way please understand that perfecting the medication combo can take years and a lot of trial and error.

5.

Be willing to do what it takes to help them remember to take their meds. It they struggle to remember, but want to remember, they may seek you out to be part of the process. So, be part of the process. If they don’t seek you out but are talking about trouble remembering, offer to be part of the process, in a validating way.

6.

Help them increase their quality of life. This can mean anything and the burden isn’t yours alone. Remember, they have to want this too. However, taking them to the museum, zoo, or out to dinner can be a huge step. But don’t forget the little things that show you care, yet don’t require them to leave their blanket/pillow fort just yet. DO they read everything in sight? Show up with a new book for them. I know there is no better way to woo me, unless is comes with a bag of nothing but blue M&M’s that is. It’s the little things that show you are with them when the going gets tough, that helps pull them out of the funk. If they are rejecting everything, then they don’t want it and you need to go back to step 1.

7.

Finally, know when you cut loose. Look some of you may be stuck either by choice, family, or marriage. If that’s the case I’m sorry but times will get better. But if the relationship isn’t too serious and you have the option to leave… As much as I hate saying this as the biggest fear of someone with BPD is abandonment, it might be time to go ahead and let go. Look, there is only so much you as a fellow human can take and you can’t let one person sink the ship if they aren’t even willing to bail with you. Just give a fair chance, Ok?

8.

Know when it’s time to end a marriage and or distance yourself from family. This is very similar to step 7, but involves a bigger relationship. Bottom line, sometimes you have to put yourself first. This isn’t going to make the person with Borderline happy, but you have to know when to cut ties, no matter how badly they fear abandonment. You have got to be able to look out for your own health too. I suggest therapy for yourself and talking it out. And when you need to end the relationship, do it no matter if it’s a marriage, or immediate family. It’s not always about making someone with BPD happy. I can’t stress this enough.

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Executive Dysfunction

Posted March 7, 2019 By kmarrs

This will be a short note but I want to address a common misconception about Executive Dysfunction verses laziness.

You’re probably not lazy. Especially if you’re not neurotypical.

Executive Dysfunction is so common. A lot… A LOT of people have it.

Do you want to start the thing but are almost afraid of it?

Do you want to start the thing but you know you can’t do it perfectly so you think why bother?

Do you want to start the thing but your mind is telling you it is going to take more spoons than you have?

Do you want to start the thing but have trouble initiating?

Congratulations, it’s Executive Dysfunction.

You’re not at all even a little but just lazy.

And berating yourself for being lazy is doing the opposite of solving the problem.

Cut yourself some slack, and now that you know what it is, reread this past Monday’s post.

Also:

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Do What You Can

Posted March 4, 2019 By kmarrs

This started as a Twitter thread, so you might have seen it there, but I want to expand upon it, and I want to do that here, in long form.

Sambam is at that age where it’s fun to do chores that aren’t her own.
Ask her to clean her room? It’s the end of the world. Try to do dishes (my chore) without her help? Also the end of the world. I let her help until (if) she gets bored then I let her move on. And when it comes to her room (her chore), once a day I set an egg timer for 10 minutes and tell her to do what she can but once the timer rings, she can be done.

In reality, all her room ever really needs is that 10 minutes a day, and usually, it’s done in 5. But instead of overwhelming her by the limitless “clean your room”, I redirect it into a clear time frame with a set beginning and end. And reframe the word “spotless” into “do what you can”. This allows an overwhelming task to feel manageable. Possible. And I get a much better end result. In 10 (5) minutes, instead of the 10 days, it used to take.


Now she is happy to do her chores. Is excited (bossy) to help me with mine. And our relationship has a lot less stress in it. She is my heart and is growing into a functional and happy and beautiful young lady!


(Also, her hands are seeing work for the first time and she earned a tiny blister she’s very proud of. She worked herself on the dishes far harder than I would have worked her. But she was having fun.)


Do what you can.

That is just such an important concept!

So many of us are sick in one way or another. Mental health, chronic physical health. So many of us are spoonies. And when you are a spoonie, being given an open ended task like, “clean your room” or “vacuum the carpets” can seem so overwhelming.

I’ve seen this concept stated in many ways by many people, but I’m going to work it my way and see what happens.

Your bathroom is a mess? Start with the clutter around the sink. Put everything on the counter in its place. Now wipe it down. Out of spoons or otherwise need to move on? You did what you can. You’re free to go. But be proud of what you did! Tomorrow you can tackle the toilet.

Not out of spoons and the counter looks great but you want to do a little more? Go for it! Nothing is stopping you. Do what you can for 10 minutes. 15 minutes. Stop when you need to stop. Continue on when you have the spoons and will.

Vacuum one room a day. Look. I get it. Pushing the vacuum around takes a lot of spoons. So just get your living room. Or your office. Or the one room that needs it the most. Do what you can.

Writing a paper for class and it needs to be 6 pages and that feels overwhelming? Well, unless it’s due in like an hour, write the introduction and walk away from it for awhile. Go do the dishes. Get a snack. Just walk away. But while you do so, work the paper around in your head. After 15 minutes, come back to the computer and get down what your brain tossed around. Polish it. Add a little more. Just until it starts to get a little overwhelming again, or right before, then walk away again for awhile. No one said you have to write the entire paper in one day, unless you procrastinated. Take your time with it. Take little bites as you can. Bit by bit those 6, 10, 20 pages will form.

Do what you can.

Don’t ever berate yourself for not having what it takes to <insert task here> in one go. But don’t just do nothing either. Idleness won’t help. It’ll only make you overwhelmed with the task in general.

Back to Sammy.

We used to just tell her to clean her room spotless and, especially to a young child, that was the single most horrible thing we could have done (aside from actual child abuse, I acknowledge). To her little mind, it was the end of the world because it was so overwhelming. So one day I set an egg timer for 10 minutes and told her to do what she could. As long as she actually worked for the full 10 minutes, just putting away what caught her eye, or whatever was closest, or no method to the madness, just honest cleaning… whatever the end result was, she just needed to work for 10 minutes. I figured 10 minutes a day for a week, and we might have a spotless room.

But she bloomed. Suddenly she didn’t have to clean indefinitely. She had a clear and solid end insight. So instead of letting it build up in her mind into this huge overwhelming task, and accomplishing nothing at all (or worse… continuing to play and letting it get messier)…

The entire room took her about 5 minutes and she bragged about it. It wasn’t an ordeal. It wasn’t overwhelming. It was 10 (5) minutes worth of honest effort, end results be damned, and the end results were amazing. Better than what usually resulted in 10 days worth of tears and frustration, and mostly procrastinating.

I have executive dysfunction. It’s paired with my ADHD and depression. Tasks can seem so overwhelming and impossible to start. My head paints this big picture that <insert task here> is going to take a million hours of exhausting, mission impossible work. As a result, I’m afraid to even start. It’s just built up and overwhelming and I can’t seem to make myself start.

When I do eventually start the task, more often than not, it takes a hell of a lot less time than I feared, and not nearly as much effort as I assumed. It seemed endless and impossible, but in reality it was manageable and not that big of a deal. Certainly not what I built it up to be.

Getting started is the hard part. With me. With Sammy. And possibly (probably) with you.

So buy a little egg timer. Set it for 10 minutes. Now, not forever from now. (Or if you’re like me, give yourself a little more leeway and start at exactly x:00 or x:15 or x:30 or x:45… it just feels more solid and definite.) Set that timer and just start. See what happens.

And do what you can.

Oh! And one last thing! Don’t set yourself up for expecting perfection in the results. No one ever needs that. Your honest best is your honest best and don’t let anyone, including yourself, expect anything more from you.

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Therapy Update

Posted February 28, 2019 By kmarrs

We’re still in the early getting to know each other phase. But my first impression is holding true. Her office is really cozy and just feels like a safe space. Ruby herself is friend shaped and I feel really comfortable talking to her about anything.

Which is really great because a few sessions ago I opened up about the trauma in my life. The fact my step father was a bully. The bullying at school. My mom being a narcissist. The fact my first boyfriend was 8 years older then me, coerce me into sleeping with him regularly, and in all ways took advantage of my youth and inexperience and desire to please this older man whom was the first person to pay attention to me. We pulled words to what he was: a pedophile and a rapist.

Anyway we talked it all out and she is starting to piece together why I am the way I am.

BPD makes sense. Eve from a young age.

Being asexual makes sense. (Some asexuals are born that way. Some become asexual after trauma.)

The current project that I’m working on is tracking my emotions and recording what they do to me physically. Like how anger makes you tense up? Where do I tense?

I bought a little notebook and am planning to track for weeks beyond what she is asking of me. If I want to get rid of my anger response, for example, then I need to know what anger does to me so I can counter act it.

Also, I’m realizing, with help, that the 90% of my life that I feel stressed, the emotion attached to that is fear. Fear of failure. Fear I won’t get everything done. Fear I won’t have down time to just relax. My stress is a fear response and my stress is killing me.

So yeah. Therapy is going great and I really like Ruby. She is the best! I feel like that’s an understatement. But she is just really comforting and a really super effective therapist. She calls me on my bullshit. All with understanding and heart behind her words. And all while wearing fun socks, and no shoes.

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