Deep Down To My Core Archive

BPD and Drinking, bad mixI’ve thought a lot over the past decade, and especially, the past year, about my alcohol consumption and I want to talk about that with you all now.

Full disclosure: I’m currently sipping on about 2 oz of rum in a fruit punch kickstart as I type this Monday night.

So over the past, oh, 8 years especially, I’ve seen a pattern where I do my most drinking when I’m depressed. (Or the 1st of the month working at the bank.)  This isn’t good.  I know that there is nothing wrong with alcohol in moderation, but when I’m at my worse, there is no moderation.  I proved this about a year and a half ago.

Then my sister got sick.  Really sick.  Alcoholism isn’t the sole cause, but it certainly exuberated the problem that was there. (Something genetic, and autoimmune related, we don’t know what but the doctors agree no amount of drinking could have killed her liver this bad that fast.)

Over the past year I’ve warred with myself over whether I should stop drinking altogether, just better monitor and limit it, or leave it alone since I’m always safe with it (in my own home, not driving) and not an alcoholic.

Those suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder tend to have addictive personalities.  Meaning, we are a lot more prone to abusing alcohol and/or drugs.  I’ve always known this and even at my most depressed where rum and vodka are a nightly escape, I’ve always recognized when it’s gotten out of hand, as I watch for it, and I always stop before I lose full control.  I never question the glass of wine on special occasions, but I’ve been careful with drinking for the wrong reasons.  I allow myself a few nights of wallowing in misery, but much beyond that, I recognize where it’s going and stop it before it becomes abuse.  This is a conscious choice I make.

Now… I start to feel bad over even thinking about drinking.  I think the emotion I’m looking for is guilty.  How can I choose to have a drink, when my sister is literally dying from drinking too much?

Well, because I’m not my sister.  I still hold the power within me to choose when too much is too much and stop with ease.  Both in an evening and in a pattern of evenings.  Because I have no medical reason I can’t enjoy a glass of wine on occasion.  Or destress with a shot of rum after an evening of my daughter being particularly 3.

Because really, I have nothing to feel guilty about, I remind myself.

Will I drink in front of my sister?  Well, at least not anytime soon.  But after she gets her transplant (we hope) and it’s all behind us, wine might again get passed around on Christmas, just not to her.  Or it never will again, and that’s ok too.

Will I ever get drunk again?  Maybe, but it’s lost any and all appeal.  Not only does escaping my depression via drinking not actually work, but the thought actually depresses me even more.  I’d rather sleep it off, or lose myself in a book or movie.

Will I allow myself tonight’s shot of rum guilt free?  Well, I’m working on that.  It’s not for the best reason, but it’s literally only 2 oz, and it’s been a long time now since I’ve had a drink.

I may decide in the future to never drink again, but really, as I’m teaching my 11-year-old, who is currently very anti-alcohol as he watches his beloved aunt maybe die because of it, there is nothing wrong with alcohol in moderation.  Special occasions, or limited amounts even frequently.  Red wine is good for the heart, and I think most can unwind after a long week/day with a single drink and not have it be a problem or abuse.

If you do have problems with alcohol, please get help for it now before it becomes too late!  My sister is all of 28 so there is literally no such thing as being too young for complete liver failure.  What can you do for me to comfort me in my grief?  You can get help if you need it to not die of something very preventable.

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A Loving Mother

Posted March 20, 2015 By kmarrs

Narcissistic Mother and Borderline Personality DisorderI thought I should balance out the negative of the, what I assume to be hurtful to my mother, news of her having narcissistic traits, and being invalidating in many ways, I would list as many of her good mothering qualities as I could.  These are in no order, just as they come to me.

  • I have never doubted her love for me.  She has never given me reason to.  Even when she’s being hurtful she’s loving enough that I know it’s there and real.
  • She is one of the strongest women I know.  In the past year and a half she has lost her sister and a brother, and now she faces losing a daughter.  I don’t know how she keeps going, but she does.
  • Anytime I leave her house after dark, she makes sure to tell me to text her once I’m home safely.  That’s the love of a mother.
  • Chicken crescent squares.  My favorite meal that she makes when I need it the most, on special occasions, and sometimes just because.
  • She is a very loving grandmother.  She is very involved in their lives and openly adores my kids.
  • She has always complimented my veins.  This one came up in the hospital while visiting my sister, as my sister is severely anemic and having trouble offering up good veins to the nurses for them to poke.  Anyway, my mom has been a med tech for decades now and has always complimented my veins.  As weird as that sounds, from my mom that is a high compliment.
  • She always compliments my math skills.
  • I have mad budgeting skills that my mom gives props to.  I can go into a store with a list and a fifty dollar budget and spent 49.99.  It’s a gift.
  • With all that is going on with my sister, my mom has kept up-to-date with all appointments and every single individual detail of everything in my sister’s medical life.  She’s also very proactive in getting my sister healthy and is organizing the search for a donor list that will take her.
  • Mom has never been one to say no to books.  Parents can’t say yes to everything their kids ask for.  Even if they can afford to, that’s how you raise spoiled brats.  My mom, like all moms, said no her fair share of the time.  However, when it came to books, I heard yes a lot more often than I heard no.  It was my mom’s way of validating what really mattered to me.

That list could and should go on but I got distracted by a dying sister and watching my mom’s shining strength in a horrid situation.  I am confident that if I were the sick one, and my sister healthy, my mom would be doing the very same for me.

I can’t say my mom is emotionally neglectful.  Not fully.  You hear all these stories, including from my readers, and that just isn’t and wasn’t my mom.  She says hurtful things and she struggles to validate.  However, it’s worth pointing out I can be very closed off, so it is possible the problem isn’t all her.

When I had that conversation with my mom, it wasn’t in therapy like planned.  It was sitting in a hospital cafeteria the day before that post went live, because it was the best we could do in the chaos around us.  It was looking like mom wasn’t going to be able to make it to the therapy appointment, for valid reasons, and so I just got it out-of-the-way.

I had already typed up what I wanted to say.  My words offered validation to my mom while still sharing the observation I had made.  I made it quite clear I’m not accusing her of anything, because I’m really not.  I didn’t offer up more than one example as to how she is hurtful or invalidating, because I didn’t want this to be about all the things she did wrong, and a huge mudslinging debate.

I instead asked her to consider my words.  I asked that I be allowed to write about it.  I asked that she be willing to consider a filter between brain and mouth, with assurances it isn’t all her, and I’m working on mine.

I listed and validated that I am a very closed off person in many ways and I see I may not have been easy to validate or that mom may not have known how to, but I still put forth that isn’t the full of it, and she accepts that.

She isn’t emotionally neglectful, she is lacking in skills on how best to approach.  There is a huge difference there.  At least to me.  The difference being that she wants to learn how better to validate.  She wants to learn when she’s being hurtful so she can not do it again.  We’ve even agreed on a “safe word” of sorts where I say “relationship”, when she’s said something that could hurt our relationship, and she will reflect on what she just said and try to learn from it.  She can’t get mad at me for using the word, and I will try to be patient with the learning curve.  Because she wants to learn, and I want to teach.

As I lose my sister to a horrible disease, a disease where her days are literally numbered, it has made us all the more aware how precious relationships really are.  My mom is not this big horrible figure of pain and agony from my childhood or even now.  No, she isn’t perfect but she’s willing to learn.  And even when she is being hurtful, she still in her ways is able to show her love.

Yes, her narcissistic traits have helped shape my BPD, but I am able to say without a doubt that she didn’t create that.

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An Invalidating Childhood

Posted March 18, 2015 By kmarrs

Narcissistic Mother and Borderline Personality Disorder This is hard for me to write.  Mostly because I fear how my mother will respond.  So it’s worth saying I’m not accusing, but instead suggesting a possibility, and it’s effect on my life and mental health.  If all has gone as planned, I have already had this conversation with my mother semi-privately, in a joint therapy session where she got all the validation she could be offered as to how she is a good mother, and the many things she has done right.  She has done many things right, and nothing is specifically or generally her fault.

But the fact remains, my mother is not the most validating of people.  She in fact has a wide spread history of saying things that aren’t just hurtful, but are also downright cruel.  There is every indication, though no confirmed diagnosis, that my mother is in fact a narcissist.  This is by no means her fault, or her choice, just as Borderline Personality is neither my fault nor my choice.

The reason I bring this up?

It took me a long time to realize this about my mother.  For years I thought I was a rare case of Borderline Personality Disorder with a great upbringing.  And you know?  It was a great upbringing.  I wasn’t abused.  I wasn’t neglected.  There was no lack of love.

I just wasn’t validated.  Even as an adult, I hear a lot more about what I do wrong as a daughter, mother, person, that what I do right.

As it turns out, a lack of validation goes a long way towards encouraging someone towards BPD.  I will always argue that because of my DNA, I would have been mentally ill either way, but I’m finally willing to face the fact that my mother’s inability (as I don’t think it’s a choice, but a skill she can’t help but to lack) doesn’t help.

And who knows.  Maybe finally sitting down and talking this through with her will have gone a long way towards helping to make her aware of the problem.  Knowing there is a problem, and admitting it to yourself, is half the battle of fixing it.

What do I want from all this?  That’s exactly when my therapist asked when I asked her for the joint session with my mother.

Well, I want to be able to write about it.  Writing about my experience with BPD and not writing about my mother to some degree, would be like writing about lung cancer and not owning up to 30 years of smoking.

I also have hope that my mom cares enough, as I know she does, to take this knowledge and use it to help her think before she speaks.  A skillset we all need.  But now she’ll know why.

I love my mom.  I don’t doubt she loves me.  I have hope this can better our relationship and not bring it harm.

A side note:

For the rest of you with mothers like mine to any degree, I highly recommend reading Will I Ever Be Good Enough by Dr. Karyl McBride Ph.D. as it is far more than helpful. It’s 9 dollars that helped my open my eyes, gain insight, gain courage, and start to heal.  And no, I was not paid to tell you that.  That comes from my heart.

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BPD, Asexuality, and Open Marriages

Posted March 13, 2015 By kmarrs

Ok so I’m asexual and yet I need an open marriage?

I’ve touched on this a couple times, but I might as well complete the series with this.

See, when I fall, it’s for who a person is.  Their personality.  Character traits.  Inner being and beauty.  As such, I tend to fall for my closest friends, especially if I white knight them.  Now, as I’ve gotten older I’ve done this less and less because I’ve learned that more often than not it’s a BPD reaction, and not true love.  Oh, I mean I truly love the friend, but I’m not in love with them.  However, when I’m caught off guard, and I’m not happy with Pat, which happens in a marriage with two mentally ill people, I tend to deny to myself that I’m only white knighting someone, and throw my marriage to the dogs to try to be with them.

By opening the marriage, I’m less apt to sacrifice what I have with Pat, and more apt to listen to his logic and reason.  The logic and reason of someone who knows me all too well and isn’t emotionally attached to the person I think I love.  If I do fool around some, it’s within the guidelines of the marriage.  Though, this happens less than you think.  However, asexual or not…

I’ve never found myself to be much of anything.  So when someone pays me the right kind of attention when I’m at my lowest point, I tend to, I don’t know, want to please them.  And how do men want pleased?

There is one, and only one, noted exception to this.  One case that is true love and not BPD love for me. (Besides Pat, I mean.)  And while the rules of the marriage being open are actually a case by case basis, this person will always be the exception.  He is the man that… when I think of him my chest tightens.  I can’t breath.  He is this man.  He was a close friend I really did fall for.  True love because he is beautiful.  The most beautiful soul you could ever hope to meet and trustworthy with a fragile heart. He cares about me more than just about anyone ever has, and it’s always been for the sake of caring about me, not to get anything out of it, except maybe mutual caring.

Aside from him, really, I don’t know that I care to be out there with my heart or sex life.  I don’t feel the need for an open marriage on my end, because no one else outside of my marriage can compare to “him”.

Meanwhile I’m also participating in an open marriage because in the event of Pat’s lady being in town, I honestly want him to be able to be with her.  I recognize that she can take care of some of his needs that I can’t.  Being asexual and all.

Either way, this isn’t all so I can sleep around.  I don’t do that and never have.  I have no opinion on others who do/have.  It’s just not who I am and therefore not why my marriage is open.  I’m too asexual for that.  But I’m also too BPD to not need an escape hatch that doesn’t cut me off from my marriage.

I’m done hurting my marriage for stupid ass BPD white knights when Pat would rather I just flirt and get it out of my system anyway.  Besides, for all the white knights I’ve had, I’ve only slept with 2 of them in 31 years. (This isn’t counting Pat whom wasn’t BPD love but was indeed my only other documented case of true love.)  The other one I actually dated for a couple of years before Pat and before I realized what an ass he was.

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Sexuality marriage and BPDI, for so many years, have known my husband and me to be a complicated mix of male/female with neither one of us fully subscribing to our assigned gender. It’s one of the reasons I’ve always gone back to him when I’ve left: I know no one else can complete me like he does.

With the post on my sexuality still pending, I had him read it and then asked him to expand upon what he thought his gender alignment to be. After a long talk it came to the agreed up conclusion that the old joke that “he is a lesbian trapped in a man’s body”, was not far from the truth.

You see, he really is at this point transgender. He was assigned male at birth, but relates more to the female gender. He’s not going to bother with a sex change, though, because he’s never seen a point, and he has a wife who is happy to let him be his inner woman. His sex organs are what they are, and as for “he/him” as his pronouns, he’s too lazy to bother caring or try to get us to change it.  Also, he doesn’t consider it insulting.  Never the less, he doesn’t really like being called a man, but he keeps that battle inside, and is glad “Pat” is so androgynous.

Should he have gone through the change, he would for sure be a lesbian. And no, that does not just make him a straight man. True gender is in the heart, not the parts.

Meanwhile there is me who doesn’t really feel like a woman, but doesn’t really feel like a man either. I’m not agender.  I’m just me; a mostly woman with definite girl parts, but both male and female feelings and character traits. I’m just me; a panromantic, asexual, demi-girl, and I love my lover no matter the parts or pronouns.  Because Pat completes and complements my gender in a way no one else could.  We were able to give each other children.  He is strong where I’m weak.  I’m strong where he’s weak.  Put us together and we are whole and one in a million.

For any number of things could have preventing us from meeting at that LARP game that Friday night. Instead, the stars aligned, the heavens took over, we met, we became friends, we feel in love, and we became what each other needed in a lover.

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My Mountain: BPD and Stress

Posted March 5, 2015 By kmarrs

Borderline Personality Disorder BPD and stress
See that mountain over there?  That mountain is the state of my mental health.  At the very top of it sits a cabin called recovery.  A cabin I would very much like to live in all my life, or at least most of it.  At the bottom is a hospital.  The hospital being the lowest point I can get.  It’s where I end up when I’m as far from the recovery cabin as I can get.  I can live there too, though gratefully for less time than I do in the recovery cabin.  Sadly, though, I don’t get to spend much time in the recovery cabin.  Not if you count the past 31 years as a whole.  Most time is spent at various points in between.  Oh, sometimes I’m half way between.  Sometimes I’m in the snowy area, just shy of the peak and cabin.  Sometimes I’m basically on the roof of the hospital.  That’s really probably the worst place to be.  That is the point of needing to go ahead and drop down to hospital admissions, but not realizing it, or more accurately, being in denial about it.

Where am I now?  I’m about 1/3 of the way up the mountain.  It isn’t a horrible spot.  I’m wise minded enough to know I’m in rough shape.  I’m still working on medication combinations.  I’m still working on the energy and desire needed to self sooth in healthy ways like writing and reading.  The fact I’m writing so much is actually a good thing.  I’m actively fighting to get better.  I’m just not in the snow yet.  I still have a way to go; and much further to go, to get to my recovery cabin.  But, at the same time, as long as I’m careful, I’m in no immediate danger of landing in the hospital.

The problem is, as hard as I’m fighting to climb that damn mountain, the weight of stress is bearing down on me.  It isn’t necessarily pushing me further down the mountain, but it sure as hell isn’t allowing me to climb up to recovery.  The thing is, there is no medication to cure stress.  Self medication or otherwise.  Medication and mental health coping skills allow you to handle it better, maybe, but some stress is beyond that.  Especially when the meds aren’t perfect or close to perfect yet, and you’re too jumbled from the lack of oxygen from mountain climbing, to use your coping skills properly.

What is this stress?

  1. Money – Oh a lot of that weight is about to be relieved.  The tax return is hitting any day now, as well as my BIL’s school loan money.  It’ll allow us to catch up on bills and buy the necessities we really need.  We’ve barely been able to get much beyond toilet paper and garbage bags recently.  However, while we’ll be able to catch up right as disconnects are happening, what we really need is to be ahead of the game.  That is essential when you are on a fixed income where most of it hits once every 4 months.  Only one things is allowing that get ahead to happen:
  2. School – I really need this semester off but it just can’t happen.  Not if I want to prevent things like electricity being shut off and using my books for toilet paper.  It’s a sick trade-off.  A horrible trade-off.  The loan money overpay I will get will allow us to pay enough ahead that the stress of money will improve, though not be completely gone.  In trade I have the stress of trying to learn and keep up a grade when I’m in a mental state that barely has me functioning all 7 days of the week.  Not that I could avoid functioning during the week because:
  3. House full of kids – I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, to be honest, but I have taken on the responsibility of watching 4 additional boys after school.  Plus all days on snow days and national holidays and teacher work days and other breaks.  I love these kids dearly and I was their father’s only option, because no one else would step up to the plate, but this literally means I spend my evenings, and sometimes full days, watching 7 kids when I can barely handle 3.  Luckily I have Pat’s help but even when he does most the work, the fighting and general chaos and noise is enough to slam me down the mountain, if not for the fact I’m using sure force of will, love for the boys in question, and refusal to bail (causing their father to have no one to help him out) keeping me in place.

I think I’ve basically super glued myself in place on that mountain.  Strapped and roped myself in, refusing to fall any closer to the hospital.  However, being roped in place means I’m not getting any closer to recovery.

Plus, I’m not sure, but I think I feel what was apparently a thin rope in charge of keeping me in place, starting to snap.  And if it cuts in two, I will fall so hard and fast into the hospital, that there will be a hole in the roof from where I landed, and the force kept me going straight through to admissions.

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