BPD Blog Article Archive

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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We all go through life hearing many things about ourselves.  Telling ourselves many things about ourselves.  These little facts.  These little truths.  These little half truths.  These little falsehoods.  These statements that shape how we see ourselves and how we feel about ourselves.  These words are adjectives.  And sadly, all too many are negative.

People will take the time to tell you that you are: annoying, stupid, ugly, fat, crazy, failing, etc.  Whether it’s actually true or not.  (We usually believe it either way.)

How often do people take the time to tell us the good, great, amazing things about ourselves?

Those adjectives, especially when meant, are called validation.

And validation is really fucking important.

I have decided to raise my kids on validation.  Oh, they are by no means perfect, as no one is, but they are still going to grow up hearing all the amazing things about themselves.  They need to know that in an imperfect existence is still beauty, that isn’t even hard to find.

Also, I am known for a temper that I take out on those I love, so they at least need me to counter that with a ton of validation.

So all three of my kids, whether they roll their eye or not, get a regular dose of validation.  Some days I even make them repeat it back.

You are smart.

You are pretty/handsome.

You are silly/witty.

You are special.

You are important.

You are loved.

You are valued.

Of course, that sometimes bites me in the ass.

Like the time Sambam wanted some treat or such there was only one of, meaning her brother would be left out on.  I informed her she wasn’t special (opps mom!)  She called me on it and informed me she was too special!  So I paused, took a deep breath, and agreed that yes, she was special, but no more or less special than her brothers.

Children with Borderline Parents

The Sun Shines Out Her Bum

Also, there was this gem from tonight that while vain, tells me she is at least listening.

Me: See you tomorrow baby!
Sam: See you tomorrow momma
Me: I love you!
Sam: I love you too
Me: You’re beautiful!
Sam: I know

It has to be noted that lack of validation in childhood and the young adult years can be a huge factor for someone developing Borderline Personality Disorder.  I can’t help but be aware of the gene pool my kids were born into, but I can counter it the best I can.

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Stigma

Posted May 8, 2013 By kmarrs

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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Choices

Posted September 22, 2012 By kmarrs

Team Kids when Adults fight marital strife BPDBeing 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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