Archive for March, 2019

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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