BPD Blog Borderline Personality Disorder

Treading Water

Posted October 21, 2019 By kmarrs

Things at the new job are… going.

I love the job in general. I love what I’m doing. I’m fully on board to helping people get their eyes checked and into new glasses. I see it as a vital service. So that’s cool.

I really like 95% of my new coworkers. But…

See, my boss, the office manager, gives off the vibe of being the type of girl who bullied me in 6th grade. I got that vibe pretty much within the first few days. But I filed it away and ignored it because this isn’t middle school, surely she’s grown and matured. Right?

Well, one bright and sunny Thursday afternoon she pulled me into her office and ripped me a new one. For 15 minutes she just piled on complaint after complaint. Told me everything in my moral character, and a few job-related things, that were fundamentally in need of serious change.

And I don’t mean BPD stuff. Or even autism stuff.

My favorite example is my hair. I interviewed for the job in need of my hair being buzzed again. Not fully on purpose, but I only buzz it every 3-4 months anyway and was only just barely overdue. But I figured since I was job hunting, it could wait a bit. I mean, I got the bank job years ago with a freshly buzzed head, but you never know.

Anyway, I got the job and immediately read the employee handbook when it came to appearance and nothing at all was mentioned about hair. This is a handbook that forbid us from eating garlic with our lunch, that’s now meticulous it was, but not a word on hair.

To be safe, I went into work my first day, with hair an inch or two long, and asked her directly what the policy was. I explained I keep my hair super short, that what she was currently seeing was on the long end of the spectrum, and that if there was no official policy, I would be buzzing my head in the next few days. I did my best to get across how short it would be, but let’s face it, it was only an inch or so long at the time, so clearly we were talking short. She said she’d speak to the regional and get back to me. By the end of that first day, I had the official thumbs-up to buzz my hair.

So I did.

Now some 8 weeks later I’m learning that they had no idea how short I intended. What’s worse, a couple of patients have asked me if I have cancer. I have simply answered that my hair was a personal choice and steered conversation right back to their eye appointment at hand, all in a matter of 30 seconds. HOWEVER, those two patients asking me that means my hair is officially a workplace distraction and she feels she now has ground to dictate how I keep my hair. Mind you, if I passed as a man, this would not be an issue. We actually have a male optician with a similar cut.

While I took most of what she had to say to me to heart and will work on changing the things in the name of keeping my job, and some of them were 100% valid. I want to be upfront about that. Some of them were 100% valid things that I need to work on. I am not taking her word as the final word about my hair.

See, my hair ties into my disability. I can not have hair that is long enough to touch my face, neck, or ears. I have sensory issues.

So I have very politely went over her head to HR to ask what the official policy is on hair length if there even is one. I gave her the full story and I did mention that me buzzing my hair ties into a disability, which makes me a protected class. I did not name the disability. I said I elected not to as it did not otherwise affect my ability to perform my job. If pushed, I’ll fess up to sensory issues. I’ll blame the fibromyalgia (nerves misfiring), not the autism. I will not ever disclose I’m autistic.

We’ll see where this goes.

That particular Thursday was a really rough day and while I held my shit together to finish out the day, I did cry myself to sleep that night. It wouldn’t have been so bad if she’d mentioned even a couple of the bits of my job I’m doing well in. Because I know I’m overall really good at my job.

I know this because she was not at work the next day and my coworkers who knew something was up and got bits and pieces out of me have all rallied around me and told me I’m doing a fantastic job, I’m likable, and that boss lady is like that with everyone.

So anyway, I’m going to hang in there. I’ll keep my head low. Do my absolute best. Change the few behaviors that I recognize need to be changed. (Such as they are patients, not customers. I get that right 80% of the time, but I need to fix that other 20%.)

I think this job is going to work out. I really do. I can survive a boss who doesn’t like me, and doesn’t hide that fact, when in general I like everything else about the job.

Oh, and I do have some awesome job perks to report. I’ll talk about those in the next post. This post deserves some happy news, but it’s already getting long.

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I’m 35, Almost 36 Years Old

Posted October 14, 2019 By kmarrs

I feel like for the first time in a real real long time (if not ever) I know who I am.

I have well-defined interests that I understand. For the first time maybe ever, I’ve figured out what exactly my taste in music is. I have a favorite artist even. Who I’m going to see in concert (my first concert) later this fall. I still read everything in sight, but I have favorite authors. I even know how I prefer to present myself appearance-wise.

I’m comfortable and confident in my queerness. I’m still evolving and working to define my sexuality, but I’m comfortable in that process. I understand my gender, which is that I don’t have one.

I know what I want in a friendship. I’m seeking out individuals that I want to know better. I’m taking an online acquaintance who is sort of local to the concert this fall even, in a bid to get to know them better.

In general, I have a life full of friendship. People who love me as I am. People I love back with all my heart. I’m opening my home to one of them, who is more like a child of my heart to me, and not just a friend. My eldest child comes home to me this winter.

I’ve defined and become comfortable in my spirituality. I have found comfort in the old gods. They help me to define my place in this world and give me strength in my hours of need.

I have found comfort in witchcraft. I have taken my fate into my own hands and project my desires into the world helping them to manifest.

I have taken my fate into my own hands and accomplished one of three degrees I will need to pursue my dreams. I will accomplish the other two degrees then I will go into practice as a psychologist diagnosing, especially those who are afab, with autism and ADHD. I will research and strive to correct the problem of this subset of the population being severely under-diagnosed. I will be the change I want to see in the world.

I finally understand my own neuro divergence. I have ADHD. That is officially diagnosed. I am autistic. That is unofficially diagnosed with therapist support. Suddenly life makes sense. All of it.

Gods. There is so much more. So much I’m forgetting. I could go on for paragraphs more. But I think my point is made.

But let me say this. If you are reading this and young and lost and floundering in your identity, please no that there is no deadline in figuring out who you are. Life is trial and error. It’s an imperfect process. I’m 35 years old and only just now finding my identity. And I’d be foolish to assume I’ve learned all there is to know about who I am.

So many of you are delayed in self-discovery due to things like abuse and mental health issues and general neuro divergence. And that’s ok. I understand the frustrations. I understand feeling lost. But please know it will come. When? I can’t answer that for you. But it will come.

Continue to grow at your own pace. Continue to explore who you are and your interests and gender and sexuality and just your identity in general.

And it will come.

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We Bought A Box

Posted October 7, 2019 By kmarrs

We gave the box to Sammy and she’s built herself quite the little fort. Only it’s not so little because said fort can hold all three of my children with room to spare.

Said box fort happened to come with a brand new washing machine (first brand new one we’ve ever had in 16 years of marriage) and the washing machine came with a drier friend.

And actually my parents bought them. Even though I have a new job and our finances are improving, we just could not afford new appliances when, once again, we found ourselves in dire need. My mom, who has been adding in the procuring of used sets every few years over the last 16 is apparently sick of the process and decided that at this point, we really do need brand new with warranty. Luckily my dad was happy to chip in. So with their combined budget in mind, they shopped around and bought us they could find in their budget. It was a decent budget and they bought amazing, beautiful, high capacity machines. And yes, they bought the extended warranties.

Because even though these machines are brand new and have no history of abuse, the simple fact that they will be doing laundry for 5, and soon enough 6, means we will wear them out faster than most machines have to worry about. They will be well-loved and cared for, but they will be used. Oh, will they be used.

I am super excited about my new appliances. However, I’m also super excited that we (it was actually 100% Pat in the best daddy move he’s made this year) talked the delivery guys into leaving a box (the company gets paid to recycle them) because the box they left makes quite the fort. It’s so big it doesn’t even fit in Sammy’s room. She immediately took the new art kit that my friend Marissa bought her for her birthday to the walls and is having a blast decorating it. I just can’t get over how small Sammy is compared to that box. In reality, she’s getting so big, but that box dwarfs her.

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Anaphylactic Shock PSA

Posted September 30, 2019 By kmarrs

Ok, y’all.  I’m going to put this out there because apparently my husband, who’s been living with me and my allergies for 17 years now, didn’t know this.  Hell, even I didn’t realize some of this.  So I’m going to do my best to make this public knowledge.

First, anaphylactic shock can be progressive.  It gets worse with each exposure to the allergen in question.  This is so important for you to know.  Frequently, as with me, your throat doesn’t close and kill you the first time you are exposed to something.  It’s not uncommon to not need an Epipen (or even Benadryl) the first time someone is exposed to an allergen, even if they are indeed suffering some symptoms of anaphylactic shock.

But what are the other symptoms?  The “lesser” symptoms?  Let’s look at them.

Some of these symptoms are more obvious than others so I’m going to break it down as it applies to me.

The first time I realized I was allergic to apples, some 17 years ago, it was because the apple sauce I kept eating for lunch while pregnant with my eldest made my throat kind of itchy and feel like it was a touch swollen.  Swallowing was slightly difficult but not anything significant.  I can’t stress enough that this was extremely mild.  I thought I just had a touch of a sore throat like I was getting a cold, only it only happened when I ate the applesauce and there were no other cold symptoms that ever showed up.

What I know now is that I built to that and hadn’t even recognized the earlier symptoms.

Here is what an allergic reaction, that doesn’t always involve my throat, looks like to me now that I know what to look for.

First, my stomach is upset.  It feels overly full, like I just ate a huge feast, even though I only ate a normal amount, and I’m maybe a bit nauseous but always extremely gassy.

Then an hour or so later my chest starts to feel tight.  It’s like I have bronchitis (the best comparison I have because I’ve had it so many times) only I’m not coughing.  All in all, it feels like my lungs are being seized and it’s hard and even painful to breathe.

Somewhere in this comes the ominous feeling of doom.  Something isn’t right.  In fact, something is very very wrong.  If I’m paying attention to it and recognize the symptoms, then I pin it down to something being very wrong in and with my body.  Folks, this is because I’ve poisoned myself and am potentially dying.  I should feel like something’s wrong.  Don’t discredit this feeling.  It’s almost like a panic attack without the racing heart.  It’s just ominous. 

Around that time, I sometimes, but not always, feel like I’m having a hot flash only it doesn’t go away like my hot flashes usually do.

Usually, if my throat is going to come into play, it’ll happen about 2 hours out.  A mild reaction means it’s just sort of scratchy.  Maybe a touch of difficulty swallowing, but not so bad that I can’t take a small handful of Benadryl.  Of course, a serious reaction means that handful of Benedryl needs to instead be liquid and if you can’t even do that, you need to use the EpiPen.

Some would say that you should have used the Epi earlier in the process.  Talk to your doctor about when it’s an Epi emergency versus when it’s just a Benedryl emergency.  The next step is to get yourself to an ER for steroids and shit.  Don’t do what I do (which is to take too much Benedryl and sleep off the maybe dying process).  Seriously, don’t do what I do.  One of these days I’m going to wake up dead.  Also, and I can’t stress this enough, if you had to use your Epi it is 1000% time to go to the ER.  Don’t drive, call 911.

Now another point to make.

I described this as a process that takes hours to fully develop.  This is not even close to always the case.  I described it this way to really fully make the point that just because your throat didn’t close up immediately, doesn’t mean you didn’t have a reaction and it doesn’t mean that it won’t.  

I’ve heard plenty PLENTY of stories where someone was exposed to something they shouldn’t have been and it took all of 30 seconds for their throat to close and the only reason they survived is because there was someone right there with access to an EpiPen who knew how to administer it.

Anaphylactic can play out in hundreds of ways.  It can take on any combination of symptoms and it can all happen really fast or it can take hours for a reaction to develop.

The first reaction can be so mild that you don’t even realize you had one at all, allowing you to repeatedly expose yourself to the allergen until it finally clicks what is happening.  Each exposure getting a little worse than the previous one. 

Example:

Somewhere over the last couple of years, I’ve developed an allergy to jarred red sauce for like pasta or pizza.  I’ve been tested and I’m not allergic to any of the individual main ingredients (tomatoes, mushrooms, the herbs) so we’ve collectively (including the doctor) come to the conclusion that it’s the preservative.  The solution for the past few months is that I’m only allowed to eat fresh, homemade, red sauce.  Most pizza chains are ok.  (Papa John’s is not.)  Pat has his grandmother’s recipe.  I am fine.

However, two nights ago I may have had a mild reaction to Pat’s homemade sauce.  I don’t honestly know because I happen to have a cold and honestly, early reactions already look like a cold so it’s stupidly hard to tell the difference.  I just know that my chest gradually began to tighten and my throat became compromised.  But that happens anyway with a cold?  I took a couple of Benedryl and went to bed.  I still don’t know if I had a reaction or not.

So I guess the next time I expose myself to it, I need to make sure I’m otherwise healthy.  Only then will I know for sure.  

(Also, if I’m allergic to red sauce I’m going to straight-up riot.)

There is no one way to experience anaphylactic shock.  It doesn’t look the same with every person and it doesn’t look the same with every allergen and it doesn’t look the same with every exposure to the same allergen.  It’s progressive with time and exposure.

So learn the symptoms.  Learn to listen to your body.  And if someone says they are maybe having a reaction, don’t discredit them just because it doesn’t look like you see on TV.

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So Tired

Posted September 23, 2019 By kmarrs

The new job is going really well! However…

You’d think that going to school fulltime and working parttime plus parenting and chores would be the most exhausting period of my life. However, you’d be wrong. Apparently working fulltime, no school, and no energy for chores or much parenting takes ten times the energy.

Honestly, I think the difference is that this job involves the general public and working with people is just really draining.

However, I will get used to it. I will build my stamina and I will be fine. I have no problem getting through the workday itself, I’m just crashing into bed at like 8 pm because I’m exhausted.

Anyway, I love what I’m doing. I like my coworkers. I’m apparently good at my job so far, at least for what I’ve been taught, because I’m getting loads of validation. So I’m happy with the situation I have found myself in.

I’m just also really fuckin’ tired.

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Crossing the Stage

Posted September 16, 2019 By kmarrs

There really is little left to say beyond I’m glad I don’t wear makeup because I cried and would have looked like a raccoon. Otherwise, I’ll add captions to my photos so you know what you’re looking at or the stories behind them.

I have no idea at all how I earned this. I know it ties to my grades and has to do with leadership. I was not expecting this but it was drilled into me that it was a high honor.
Just my honors wrote out. It’s official. All my hard work was worth it!
So the frame was a gift from my former boss and forever mentor at Franklin. She and another coworker went together to buy me this special frame. I’m super excited about this gift. I think it’s amazing! I especially like that they bought me one that has a spot for my tassel. Then, of course, I had to drape my honors cord across the top.
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