BPD Blog Article Archive

Jennifer Scott has been experiencing anxiety and depression since she was a teen. She shares her journey toward improved mental health on her website, SpiritFinder.org. When she isn’t blogging, Jennifer loves to travel, volunteers at her local animal shelter, and rock climbs.

We’re obsessed with tech. The collective obsession with technology is so immersed in our culture that memes circulate the Internet poking fun at families who are enjoying a meal together or spending time in the family room – every member staring at his or her smartphone. The proliferation of technology is often criticized for reducing person-to-person interaction. In spite of this criticism, tech actually holds tremendous promise for people with mental health conditions. Here’s why:

Mobile Apps Offer Mental Health Support and Educationgirl on phone

An April 2015 report from Pew Research reveals that nearly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults own a smartphone. What’s more, “[nineteen percent (19%)] of Americans rely to some degree on a smartphone for accessing online services and information and for staying connected to the world around them,” making mobile apps an effective means for providing information to a large portion of the population. Among teens, these figures are even higher.

That’s why apps like Ginger.io are proving a viable means for offering support and tools to smartphone users who suffer from mental illness. The app offers users access to licensed therapists through video visits, tools and health tips, personal coaches and care plans, and even medication support by connecting a user’s Ginger.io care team to their physician to share information and determine medication needs. Ginger.io is not alone; Healthline identifies other apps that offer support for various mental illnesses or tools for relaxation, connections to communities of supportive peers, and more.

Even the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Promotes Technology

The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) “is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.” The organization’s AIR (Anonymous. Inspiring. Relatable) app is a free, mobile-based social network aimed at supporting those with mental illness and their families and caregivers.

AIR encourages anonymous sharing of stories for support and encouragement, providing information, and making connections between those with similar conditions or who have experienced similar struggles.

Mental Health Tracking is Becoming a Reality

We rely on technology to track our heart rate during exercise, the number of steps we take each day, and even our sleep patterns. Why not track mental health, too? While this is a more challenging feat, researchers and data scientists are running myriad studies and analyses to develop effective mental health tracking solutions by identifying linguistic clues that reveal insight into an individual’s mental health.

While apps like Ginger.io are already making use of such technology to some extent, the goal is to ultimately create a highly effective tracking application that would enable providers to proactively treat patients experiencing a change in mental health status with the hope of reducing negative outcomes such as overdoses or suicide. At the very least, it provides mental health providers with additional tools to better manage patient treatment plans, understanding triggers, and pinpointing key changes that indicate a need for medication changes or intervention.

Online Communities Help Eradicate Stigma and Provide Lifelines

You don’t have to be using a smartphone to take advantage of the mental health benefits of technology. Anyone suffering from or caring for a loved one with a mental illness won’t have to look far to find online communities and support groups for people who share similar experiences.

For those who need a bit of optimism, communities like Post It Forward on Tumblr are home to a plethora of uplifting images, inspirational messages, and positive encouragement from others who have suffered from anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. Love is Louder, “a project of The Jed Foundation created with actress Brittany Snow to support anyone feeling mistreated, misunderstood or alone,” is an online and offline initiative with a similar focus.

These resources, in addition to the instant connection to loved ones through family conference calls, text messages, and emails, makes technology a valuable tool in the battle against mental illness. Whether an individual suffering from mental illness is feeling isolated or does not feel like leaving home to socialize, those all-important social connections and critical emotional support is at their fingertips thanks to technology.

Image via Pixabay

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no
So.  Someone found my blog via the search term “The BPD Fuckbuddy” and my first response was “No.  Just… no.”  Then I thought on it more, and while my answer is still no, there is a wee bit more to it.

First off, using us because we can sometimes be easy lays, is just not nice.  It’s also unethical if you are conscience of what we’re doing.

Second off, may any god you believe in, be on your side when you try to end that relationship, because that won’t be fun for anyone involved.  I’m telling you now, we take the ending of any relationship rough.  And by rough I mean fire and brimstone upon your house.  And if there is awareness that you were simply using us?  You’re going to need a higher power to intervene on your behalf.

Even if we knew going in that their were no strings attached and it was only fuckbuddies with no future, there will still be hell come the end of things.

So no.  Just no.

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No one has said anything, but in some cases I can imagine the thoughts on my lizard and being broke.  However, instead of doing an individualized guilt complex for my lizard, I would like to look at the broader scope and not just offer up my validation for my pet, but maybe also some validation for all of us.  Us being defined in this case as those on a limited budget due to disability or limited due to limited real career options, but whom still have pets we technically can’t comfortably afford.

  1. This is ultra wide-spread – It is actually a documented fact that pets help calm the anxious, and add quality of life for those who are struggling to find any real quality.  This is so well documented, in fact, that doctors can legally prescribe mental health patients companion animals of most any, realistic kind, and these mental health companions are afforded all the same legal rights as, say, a seeing eye dog.
  2. In the event of families, pets are a way of feeling normal when funds are tight, in such a way that won’t cause bankruptcy.  In a world of poverty, there are so many things you can’t have or have to say no to, but a small pet doesn’t have to rack up the cost of living bill.  In the case of a cat or dog, you can adopt them free or cheap at the beginning, but if you have to pay extra on your lease, plus food, it can add about 300$ to the bills, even after a cheap start.  Some can be qualified as being in poverty and still handle that 300$ a month.  There are different degrees of poverty.  And we are all experts at cutting corners to afford what we really need and really want.  Then of course comes something like a snake, a lizard, a frog, fish, or hamsters.  After the cost of the animal plus the set up, you might be paying almost a grand out-of-pocket at the start (but hey, we get great tax returns), however, the month-to-month upkeep can be well under 100$ and most can work that in.  The impact of the quality of life, when you have a warm kitty purring in your lap, typically can help tip the scale in you pet owner’s favor as the cost versus benefit gets weighed out.

Mental Health Companion

 

As for my family: The lizard is my mental health companion, but she’s made Pat her human.  So my heart swells with love when I watch them together and he fusses over her.

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Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness (bpd)You know, when I was first diagnosed with this illness, right as I was getting pregnant with Lucas, I instantly became an expert on it.  I read everything there was to read and even now I can spit it back out at you.  The problem with telling you what Borderline Personality Disorder is, is that it is different for everyone.  Yeah alright, there are 9 criteria and you have to meet 7 of them.  Here, I’ll provide them for you.

This comes from the DSM IV – TR

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

(1) frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.

(2) a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation

(3) identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self

(4) impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, Substance Abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.

(5) recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior

(6) affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)

(7) chronic feelings of emptiness

(8) inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)

(9) transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

But even that, as defined as it is, is so open-ended. There are 9 criteria, 7 needing met (any 7) that makes 36 different combos! And that’s assuming someone only meets 7 of them. 9 more possible combinations if they meet 8. Plus, of course, those of us who meet all 9 that’s another 1.  Add that all together and you have: 46 people in the same room who all have BPD, but none of them share the same combination of symptoms.

Oh Hey!  It’s 5 now!  That’s even more possible combinations!  This room is getting crowded and none of us are alike!

Wow.  And that list defines BPD?  That’s ludicrous!  It diagnoses it, but doesn’t define it.  Doesn’t define us.

Then of course you have the nature versus nurture debate.

There are those who as children were abused, or neglected, or weren’t any of that, but suffered a lack of validation.  Then you have those who suffered no ill-raising at all, but yet, something in their DNA predisposed them to have this illness and there was no real preventing it.  Of course, most patients are a combo of the 2.

We are told we are the patients those in the field of Psychiatry dread.  We are difficult patients.  We have a limited success rate.  Yet there are those of us who are no different to treat than anyone else.  Surely I’m not the only one.  Granted, I have an amazing Psychiatrist that lets me use my knowledge of the disorder and my knowledge of myself to help treat me.  Not everyone does.

We are told we have the emotional growth of a teenager.  Oh, this is true, I suppose, but there are many ways this can play out just like there are many ways the emotions of a teenager can play out.  Emotions are extremely intense things and teenagers are at the phase where they are no longer just feeling them, but they can name them and target their trigger.  They are learning to be at one with them while the process them.  They don’t deny them.  They feel them.  They let them shape who they are and who they become.  “That man crushed my soul and made me feel vulnerable by being overly dominating.  I don’t like that.  I want someone who is more my equal or maybe I want to try being the more dominating one in my next relationship.”  Teenagers learn from their emotions.  If adults don’t at least do that much, then may I stay a juvenile in my processing of emotions forever.  I am at least adult enough to know there is a time and place for it.  Maybe not all with BPD do.  But then, there are some teenagers who do know how to save it for the right time and place.  I’d like to think it’s an even spread for both groups.

We are manipulative, I’ll give that. Some know how to use it for good.  Some know how to use it for evil.  Some use it for both.  Or some try their best not to use it at all.  We are capable of being self-aware.

We have addictive personalities.  I can’t argue that.  But not all are addicts simply because they aren’t.  And some know when they are picking up that bottle of vodka for all the wrong reasons and give themselves a couple of days to work through the negative shit, but then cut themselves off before it ever has a chance of becoming a real problem. Some can’t do this and are otherwise predisposed to suffer from alcoholism whether they are BPD or not.

This is all just the tip of the iceberg.  And just like the diagnostic criteria, there are so many possible ways this can go, so many people with BPD who aren’t all the same.  There is no one thing I can tell you that applies to all of us.  Other than it’s a bad idea to try to “train us”.  (Don’t ask, I came across a site that made me want to puke.  A lot.  From a mental health professional.  No I’m not linking.  She doesn’t need the site hits for her harmful hatred.)  We can be taught and many of us need to be.  What do we need to be taught?  To recognize our behaviors.  Coping mechanisms.  How to allow ourselves to heal.  Fine, maybe that is a training of sorts, but I assure you that is not what the hateful woman meant.

So I leave you this afternoon with the knowledge that if anyone tells you they can define BPD they are either defining themselves or the BPD patient in their life.  Perhaps they are reciting a text-book.  But I assure you, we are anything but text-book.

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Parenting with BPDYou are absolutely correct! I do! Why?

  1. I like and cherish the idea of showcasing that we, those who have BPD, can be normal parents.  Our kids typically won’t be victims of abuse/neglect/lack of validation/ shit like those who have BPD.  If anything we’re abnormally caring when it comes to our kids because we want to give them what we lacked.  I’ve read and seen a lot of examples where BPD mothers made the best mothers.  This isn’t always the case.  However, I would like to point out that in most cases, a person with BPD didn’t have a mother with BPD, and yet many still suffered abuse/neglect/etc.  Horrible mothers come from all categories.
  2. I can’t speak for the group, but Pat and I at least, as patients of mental health, are twice as diligent in the mental health of our own kids.  In our case, Luke ended up diagnosed as ADHD at a very young age.  Not because Patrick and I couldn’t handle a little energy, but because he was a danger to himself he was so hyper active.  Because he couldn’t sit down long enough to reach his full potential.  The kid, at 3, multiplied 4 and 2 and got 8, when he couldn’t consistently count to 8.  Also a sign that he’s on the autism spectrum somewhere; but guess what, many agree that ADHD is on the spectrum.  Frankly, I can’t tell you how many times different health care professions have told Pat and I that we are especially diligent and well-informed in the care of our kids; therapists and pediatricians alike.  We don’t mess around.  We know what happens when you miss the signs; and we know all the signs.  (We live them.  Between Pat and I we have most of the major diagnoses covered either directly or in our families.)

Those with BPD can make great and fantastic and loving and validating parents.  Everything our parent typically aren’t.  So for all the horror stories you’ll hear, I need to speak louder and Louder and LOUDER to get across that they aren’t the rule.  But then, the media only tells you about the mothers who stick their kid in the microwave our drowned all 4 in the bathtub.  The mother who helps at bake sales and never misses a soccer game, isn’t news.

BPD and ParentingBorderline Personality Disorder and ParentingBPD and Parenting

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Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) I did a fresh take on this subject over at BuzzFeed. It’s not too far from what is found around these parts, however maybe I worded it in such a way that it might resonate with someone? I don’t know, but you should go check it out and give it some love!

Why am I going crazy over there? If I get verified as having content worth paying attention to there, it might get noticed over here that I have content worth paying attention too. Which traffic for any site is good. HOWEVER if I can get enough traffic up here, I’ll look into setting up a community forum board for us. I want people to be able to create real friendships and give real advice in these parts. But I need to build the community first. The regular visitors.

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