BPD Is A Bitch Archive

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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New Therapist

Posted January 17, 2019 By kmarrs

We’ll start with the old. I saw my old therapist, Cindy, off and on for some 12 years. I was pregnant with my middle little when we paired up and I started DBT. It was right before I got pregnant that I was diagnosed with BPD. And he’s turning 11 in just a few days so almost 12 years seems pretty on the nose.

And Cindy was/is great. She specializes in BPD and DBT and I adore her. I would not have the skills I have now, if not for her.

But I’m at a point in my life where one of the primary things I want to talk about in therapy is my identity of being queer. (Which is how I choose to sum up my sexuality and gender identity.) And Cindy is not afraid to talk about me being queer, but she has no experience with it personally or with people in her life so she had no practical advice to offer. She had great listening skills, but I need a little more.

So I did a literal google search for trans therapists that are local to me and I found Ruby. I don’t know if she herself is trans. I honestly can’t tell even after a session with her (which is fine) but I do know she has a Master’s in Gender Studies and gender queer people in her life, beyond her own experience. (She did say she is queer. It just hasn’t been defined out. Which again is fine. I don’t need her life story beyond the generalization that she’s qualified in this topic and issue.)

Additionally, she’s also fully versed in BPD a lot like Cindy is. So I’m not completely sacrificing whatever help I need with BPD, just to have someone whom can relate to gender issues.

Anyway, as of now I’m going to start seeing Ruby every Monday after work. My first session was this past Monday, the 14th of January. And I want to talk about it. Not the details of what we talked about, though I will sum it up, but instead the general feel of it all. Why Ruby is the perfect fit for me.

She was just coming in from being outside when it was time to start our session. So we go into her rented office and she starts going around the spacious room and turning on a dozen floor and table lamps. No harsh overhead florescents. Nope. This isn’t a sterile office, this place has a living room feel. There are comfy places to sit with an abundance of pillows and blankets. Rugs on the floor. A play area for children. Huge, wall conquering book cases filled with books. This place just immediately felt like home. Which, as nervous as I was, it put me at ease.

After she turned on all the lights, she sat in her own comfy chair, bent down, and took off her boots revealing fun cat socks. Like. There are just no words. I picked her off this long list of therapists that I found because she was friend shaped. I was delighted to discover that she specialized in what I needed her to specialize in. But the initially what made me go to her website, off the list, was that she just looked warm and friendly. Warm. So warm. So to have her kick off her shoes, which is honestly my person aesthetic, was revoltionary. I didn’t know therapists could do that! From now on, any new therapists I try out, if they don’t kick off their shoes, then they just aren’t for me.

The office. The no shoes. I just felt really safe.

Moving on, though I could spend another 5 paragraphs talking about the no shoes and fun socks…

I’m pretty secure in my gender identity now so while I wanted someone who specializes in it, it won’t be the main focus of therapy. We talked about that some. Most the session was just a brief outline of who I am. Standard first session shit. But we did discuss the goals.

My main objective is to deal with my anger issues I’m finally admitting I have. I… when I’m frustrated by my kids or spouse I turn red with anger and before I even realize I’m doing it, I start yelling. All the fucking time. I don’t want to yell anymore. I need to replace it with something, I don’t know what because the kids don’t listen. But I don’t want to yell anymore. It’s just not how I want my home life to go. So over the next however many weeks and months, Ruby is going to help me learn skills to stop the yelling, and parenting skills as to what I can do in place of it to get the kids to listen.

Cindy probably could have done that for me. But now, with Ruby, when gender issues are on the forefront of my mind, I can bring them up and we can tackle them as a team. It’s not the primary objective of therapy, but it’s still a thing that can coexist.

So every Monday at 4 I’m in therapy with Ruby, who works out of what could easily be a living room, if not for the insurance agent across the hall, and who kicks off her shoes to reveal relatable socks. I’m… it’s a good way to spend my Monday afternoons.

I should have kicked off my own shoes. Next time.

And then after therapy I have a standing dinner date with my dad. Which will make for a long day, but it lets me avoid rush hour traffic in getting home (therapy is on his side of town, my house is decidedly not) and I really should spend more time with him anyways. So this is good. I get home 10 hours after I left it and exhausted, but that’s just how it is sometimes.

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Like I went to bed last “night” at 5 AM and was up by 1 PM fully rested.

On work nights I no longer have to be asleep by 10PM in order to be up by 9AM, and dragging.  If I’m still awake at 11 or even midnight, I’m mostly ok.

I’m still very much a spoonie, and always will be.  I still have fibro to contend with.  Even if I’m in complete remission from my mental health issues, the full long list, fibro is an energy sap.  But like I’m doing better.

This is a huge sign I’m doing better.

Also, I’m reading for fun again.  Even though I’m still in classes.  See if I spend less time hiding from my depression on tumblr, I can find the time to read.

But like for so long, as much as I love books, I couldn’t find the interest in reading.  That’s how I knew it was time to change my anti-depressant, btw.  That was many many many months ago.  But it took awhile to climb out of the hole I was in.  Stress from school doesn’t help.

So in my down time, my main hobby was depression scrolling Tumblr.

I still spend a lot of time on this site.  But now it’s mostly to talk to my many friends.  That’s not depression.  That’s living.

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Downward Spiral

Posted March 10, 2017 By kmarrs

I seem to be on a 4 year cycle.  At the cusp of the 4 years I spiral downhill fast into a really bad year.  Then I claw my way back out of it and have a couple of years of really good mental health and then a fourth year of decent enough but edging towards the cusp mental health.  Then rinse repeat.

I hate predicting it, because it’s like I’m making it true, but the pattern holds.  Every 4 years I enter a romantic entanglement as a means of escaping and trying to feel better, and in the process sabotage my relationship with my husband.  We separate.  Near divorce.  And I spiral further down.  The romantic entanglement blows up in my face, because it’s not a health relationship to start out with, and I fly back to a confused and hurting Patrick who eases my pain.

This time will be different.  First, I know my pattern and there will be no romance.  Even if there is, as Pat and I are now in an open relationship, I don’t have to sacrifice anything.  I can be open and honest with him, and trust him to guide me through treacherous waters.  I know this sounds unfair to him.  But it’s something we’ve come to together.  It’s far healthier than the alternative, and he’s wanted an open relationship for years.  So this isn’t just me.

As far as my spiral goes, I’m trying to head it off.  I’m in a healthy, low pressure job.  I’m kind of stuck in school, can’t take a term off, but the routine might be beneficial.  Also the shrimp project and the fish keep me mellow.  And the learning to crochet gives me distraction.  So I’m using my DBT skills.  So I think I’ll be ok.  It would be nice to make it through the next year without landing in the hospital.

Because I’m drawing ever nearer to the cusp.

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School

Posted August 16, 2016 By kmarrs

So I’ve learned vicariously through another that financial aid and loans will only really pay for one undergrad degree. Not the 2-3 I was hoping for. Which makes sense, I will confess. I was just dreaming big.

The problem is, the current degree I’m working towards… It’s at the school I really want to be at. There is nothing about this school I don’t like. It is exactly what I need as the disabled, working, mom of 3. Evening classes that are only 6 weeks in length so I can take 2-3 in a term and never have to take more than one at a time.
(Ok the odd class is 12 or 15 weeks but that isn’t the norm here.) That is like the perfect set up for my mental health and stability.

However, the degree I’m working towards is not the degree I want the most. The degree I want the most is psychology and I can’t get that at Franklin. I have to go to OSU or a school like it. Mind you, OSU has one of the best programs for psychology in the country so it’s nothing to turn my nose up at, but I’m not sure what level of mental health I can maintain at a traditional school.

So it comes down to following my dreams or letting my mental health get in my way.

I’ve applied at OSU. I have to at least give it a try. I can’t just shrug my shoulders and wave goodbye to my dreams. But oh boy am I scared.

In other news this means I’ll also have to find a new job. To work a work-study you have to be going to the school your working for. I’ll be able to find another work-study at OSU I’m sure. I don’t know that it’ll pay as well as this one does. I don’t know that it’ll be as perfect for me as this one is. But it’ll be an option. I won’t be unemployed for any real length.

So I’m doubly scared. This is two big changes coming up in the summer. Both at the same time. And I hate change. And while this might ultimately be me following my dreams, I’m still… I’m rocking a boat that I’m working really hard to keep afloat to begin with.

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