BPD Blog Article


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We are what we make of ourselves.  And our disease is what we present it to be.

If you behave badly and use your mental illness as an excuse, you are helping to propel the stigma of mental illness forward.  If I only know one person with BPD and that person makes bad decision after bad decision, drinking, drugging, sleeping around, hurting themselves and all those near them, and then turns around and blames all this behavior on their BPD as if it’s an excuse, as if they can do as they please because they have this disease, then I’m going to assume this is what I can expect from all those who have BPD.  I may well be your future boss, lover, friend.  This makes it hard for all the others who have this disease but fight every.damn.day to not let it define them prove that BPD isn’t a life wrecker.  And I don’t just mean the life of those diagnosed but the lives of those surrounding those diagnosed.

Maybe remission and recovery isn’t about being 100% symptom free.  Maybe it’s about having the symptoms so well-managed and maintained that you can fool even yourself into thinking you are symptom free.

And where are those people standing up saying “Look at me!  Yes I destroyed so many lives including my own for such a long time.  But nowNow!  Now I have skills and a sheer determination that I will no longer drown in my diagnosis.  I am not my diagnosis, I have my diagnosis!”

Those fighting to destroy the stigma.  Those working amazing jobs with respectable careers despite their diagnosis, terrified to let their diagnosis be known because those words could ruin it all, based on the rep of those people making poor decisions and instead of owning up to them, choosing to blame those words.  These people need you to stop and look at your actions.  I’m not saying that you can automatically stop the actions.  But you can choose to own up to what you do, instead of blaming a diagnosis thinking that you can get away with whatever you want now.  You can’t.  Do you know right from wrong?  Then except that you have done wrong.  You, the person, said those words, did those things.  Not the diagnosis.

I’m not saying I’ve never been guilty of this.  We all have at some point.  But now?  Now I’m on the other side.  And if there is one thing I can do from this side, if I get to choose that one thing, then I choose to show those where I’ve been how their actions, and not owning their actions, create the stigma that all those on both sides try to fight.

We are fighting what we, ourselves created.

How’s that working out for you?  I have to say, it isn’t working out so well over here.

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Being on the side of the well spouse is an option.

Being on the side of the sick spouse is another option.

But I defy anyone arguing the decision to say “Fuck that noise” and choosing the side of the children.

Does this pertain to a specific family? Yes. Does it have to? No. This is universal. 

I have been that sick parent and while at the time I may have been feeling “everyone is against me,” as a well adult I can see that if they were, it was to be for my children.  As I improved and recovered, their team merged into being my team as well.

The hardest part of being the well adult in such a relationship, is understanding that making decisions that the sick adult might not appreciate up front, really is better for all involved in the long run.  For one of two things will happen: the sick adult may truly seek help and improve and then learn to appreciate what you did, or the sick adult may live out their lives feeling everyone is against them and continue to make poor choices. And while this may be hard to hear, should the second possibility be what goes down, seeing them struggle will be hard but it is best for those who don’t deserve the brunt of their poor decisions. Like, again, children.

When you love someone, watching them make poor choice after poor choice is hard. Making a choice that will inconvenience them can be harder. What needs to be remembered is that it’s the inconveniences in life that push us to fight harder and overcome our obstacles towards self improvement, even in the best of circumstances.

And in parting, it is very easy to promise “never again” from the comfort of consequences already being revoked. Knowing, or thinking you know, that you’ll always have the convenience of someone struggling against a tough decision. The promise of “never again” made with the grantee that things won’t be convenient again until after they’ve proven and lived up to their promise, is a while new promise in of itself.

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I am looking to do a series of guest posts under this topic. If you would like to chime in, please by all means chime in with your 2 cents via email. All that I ask is that you keep it respectful. Here is response #2 to this challenge!

Author Bio – Audrey Porterman is the main researcher and writer for doctoralprograms.org. Her most recent accomplishment includes graduating from Ohio State, with a degree in business management. Her current focus for the site involves Computer Science PHDs and PHDs in Education Online.

Managing a psychiatric condition such as borderline personality disorder can be hard on the people who have it, as well as the people who love them. When you love someone with BPD, you just want to do whatever you can to make that person happy. However, it can be difficult to understand just how to do that.

While every person who has borderline personality disorder will deal with the condition differently and have different needs, there are a few universal things you can do to help someone with BPD to be happy. Here are a few ideas:

 Encourage Self-Worth
Those who suffer from borderline personality disorder experience a low and unstable self-image. They doubt their own worth, and they have a hard time accepting love from others. You can help a person with borderline personality disorder be happy by encouraging a sense of self-worth. Help them to see their own value and to recognize what they have to offer others. Emphasize their talents, the positive aspects of their personality, or other valuable aspects of their character.  

Help Them Feel Accepted
People with borderline personality disorder constantly worry about being rejected. In fact, many of their outbursts can be caused by hypervigilence to signs of real or perceived rejection. Help them to feel a sense of acceptance in your presence. Use calm, reassuring, and non-judgmental language. Find ways to show them that you accept them for who they are as a person, and that you are committed to helping them manage their disorder.  

Help Them Feel WantedShowing a person with borderline personality disorder love will go a long way toward making them happy. Many with BPD feel insecure and have trouble accepting that others care for them. Do what you can to show them that you do care, and you will help to ease this doubt. Show love by being a consistent presence, by minimizing criticisms, and by showing patience and acceptance.  

Accept that You Don’t Have Control
Though there are some things you can do to try to make someone with borderline personality disorder happy, you ultimately can’t make the person happy. You can help them to feel more accepted and loved, but you can’t instill a sense of happiness. Every person has to find his or her own happiness, and those with borderline personality disorder may have to get medication and professional counseling in order to do so. Influence the things you can and offer support for the person with BPD to get the help needed. Over time, you may be able to make that person a bit happier by helping them to feel loved and accepted.

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I am looking to do a series of guest posts around this topic.  It is ALWAYS open to your interpretation as long as it’s respectful.  I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.  In the meantime, here is guest post #1 on How to Make Someone With BPD Happy!  And I think she hit a home run!

Author Bio:-
This is a guest post by Coleen Torres.

Borderline personality disorder is not something that can be flipped on and off like a switch. In the same way, happiness and sadness cannot be overcome by anything you do or say. They are internal emotions, and thus are not controlled by outside forces. However, there are things you can do to encourage and uplift the BPD sufferer.

  1. Don’t expect perfection – Everyone has their good days and their bad days. BPD sufferers just have more intense versions of this. Don’t expect them to stay happy forever, or depressed forever. The more flexible you are in your thinking, the better off both of you will be.
  2. Validate – Being validated is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Validation means that someone is listening, understanding, and agreeing with what you are saying. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go along with everything the BPD sufferer says, in fact that’s harmful in the long run, but just don’t dismiss them because of their affliction. They are people, and they want to feel respected, just like you do.
  3. Don’t get discouraged – For someone that doesn’t suffer from BPD, it can be frustrating when you feel helpless. But don’t get discouraged. BPD is treatable, and can be controlled. Be patient in the bad times and enjoy the good times, but don’t get discouraged.
  4. Make sure their medication is right – You are not their doctor, so don’t tell them they need to change medication. However, if you see a pattern arising: long periods of depression or agitation, you may suggest that they get their medication checked out. Maybe they need a higher does, maybe they need to switch. But whatever you do, don’t tell them to take their pills. It’s not respectful of them as a person and certainly won’t change their behavior.
  5. Quality care – Last but not least, make sure (to the best of your abilities) that they are receiving proper care. There are good therapists and bad ones, and it is often difficult for patients to tell the difference. If you feel the BPD sufferer is not receiving the care they should, encourage them to seek alternate help.

You can’t change people, but you can encourage them. Just stay positive, set boundaries, and keep strong. A strong support system is the best medicine a BPD sufferer can have.

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I read a blog post that I’ll link to in a minute. It links to these:

http://www.psycheducation.org/index.html

http://www.psycheducation.org/depression/diagnosis.htm

But the blog post explains it best, and puts it into practice.

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Taking Hold of the Mind: “How” Skills

Non judgmentally

  • See but don’t evaluate. Take a nonjudgmental stance. Just the facts. Focus on the “what” not the “good” or “bad”, the “terrible” or “wonderful”, the “should” or “should not”.
  • Unglue your opinions from the facts, from the “who, what ,where and when”.
  • Accept each moment, each event as a blanket spread out on the lawn accepts both the rain and the sun, and each leaf that falls upon it.
  • Acknowledge the helpful, the wholesome, but don’t judge it. Acknowledge the harmful, the unwholesome,but don’t judge it.
  • When you find yourself judging, don’t judge your judging.

One-Mindfully

  • Do one thing at a time. When you are eating, eat. When you are walking, walk. When you are bathing, bathe. When you are working, work. When you are in a group, or a conversation, focus your attention on the very moment you are in with the other person. Do each things with all your attention.
  • If other actions, or other thoughts, or strong feelings distract you, let go of the distractions and go back to what you were doing.
  • Concentrate your mind. If you find you are doing two things at once, stop and go back to one thing at a time.

Effectively

  • Focus on what works. Do what needs to be done in each situation. Stay away from “:fair” and “unfair”, “right” and “wrong”, “should” and “should not”.
  • Play by the rules. Don’t “cut off your nose to spite your face”.
  • Act as skillfully as you can, meeting the needs of the situation you are in. Not the situation you wish you were in; not the one that is just; not the one that is more comfortable; not the one that…
  • Keep an eye on your objectives in the situation and do what is necessary to achieve them. Let go of vengeance, useless anger, and righteousness that hurts you doesn’t work.

Judging: Any labeling or evaluating of something as good or bad, valuable or not, as worthwhile or worthless. The essence of it is the valuing of things as more or less “good” or “bad”. Thinking of terms as “good” or “bad” can be harmful, may be an example of “all or nothing thinking”, and ignores that things and people have some “good” parts and some “bad” parts. It also is no necessary. An important mindfullness skill is not judging things in this manner, but to instead describe the consequences of what a person does. For example, “Your behavior is terrible” (judgmental) verses “your behavior is hurting me” (noticing consequences).

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Types of Cognitice (Thinking) Distortions

  1. All or nothing thinhking – You see things in black-and-white categories. If your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure.
  2. Overgeneralization – You see a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
  3. Magnifying the negative – You exaggerate the importance of a negative thins (such as your goof-up), or you pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively so that your vision of reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors the entire pitcher of water.
  4. Minimizing the positive – You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other. In this way you can maintain a negative belief that is contradicted by your everyday experiences. Or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny (your own desirable qualities).
  5. Jumping to conclusions – You make a negative interpretation even though there are no definite facts that convincingly support your conclusion. There are two types. Mind reading is when you arbitrarily conclude that someon is reacting negatively to you, and you don’t bother to check this out. Fortune teller error is when you anticipate that things will turn out badly, and you feel convinced that your prediction is an already-established fact.
  6. Should statements – You try to motivate yourself with “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts”, as if you had been whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. “Musts” and “oughts” are also offenders. The emotional consequence is guilt. When you direct “should” statements toward others, you feel anger, frustration, and resentment. It is important to note that this isn’t talking able basic “shoulds” like “I should brush my teeth”. This is instead talking about taking “shoulds” to the extreme.
  7. Labeling and mislabeling i This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself, such as “I’m a loser”. When someone else’s behavior rubs you the wrong way, you attach a negative label to him or her like “s/he’s a louse”. Mislabeling involves describing an event with language that is highly colored and emotionally loaded.
  8. Personalization – You see yourslef as the cause of some negative external event which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.
  9. Emotional Reasoning – “Because I feel it, it must be true.” without any other supporting evidence.

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