BPD Blog Borderline Personality Disorder

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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Therapy Update

Posted February 28, 2019 By kmarrs

We’re still in the early getting to know each other phase. But my first impression is holding true. Her office is really cozy and just feels like a safe space. Ruby herself is friend shaped and I feel really comfortable talking to her about anything.

Which is really great because a few sessions ago I opened up about the trauma in my life. The fact my step father was a bully. The bullying at school. My mom being a narcissist. The fact my first boyfriend was 8 years older then me, coerce me into sleeping with him regularly, and in all ways took advantage of my youth and inexperience and desire to please this older man whom was the first person to pay attention to me. We pulled words to what he was: a pedophile and a rapist.

Anyway we talked it all out and she is starting to piece together why I am the way I am.

BPD makes sense. Eve from a young age.

Being asexual makes sense. (Some asexuals are born that way. Some become asexual after trauma.)

The current project that I’m working on is tracking my emotions and recording what they do to me physically. Like how anger makes you tense up? Where do I tense?

I bought a little notebook and am planning to track for weeks beyond what she is asking of me. If I want to get rid of my anger response, for example, then I need to know what anger does to me so I can counter act it.

Also, I’m realizing, with help, that the 90% of my life that I feel stressed, the emotion attached to that is fear. Fear of failure. Fear I won’t get everything done. Fear I won’t have down time to just relax. My stress is a fear response and my stress is killing me.

So yeah. Therapy is going great and I really like Ruby. She is the best! I feel like that’s an understatement. But she is just really comforting and a really super effective therapist. She calls me on my bullshit. All with understanding and heart behind her words. And all while wearing fun socks, and no shoes.

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Love Revisted

Posted February 25, 2019 By kmarrs

About a year ago I wrote about having a girlfriend and being very happy in that relationship. She was everything I could want in a girlfriend, but it just wasn’t meant to be. There was no fighting or horrible breakup. It was calm and mutual based on distance and a couple of other factors that couldn’t be helped.

I will say she is one of my closest friends. Meeting her in person this past May (2018) was one of the best things I’ve done. It was nerve wracking to fly out to someone I’ve only known online. But sometimes you have to take chances like that and they pay off, usually.

Anyway, we’ve been broken up for awhile now. Less than I year, but maybe about 9 months? It’s no longer fresh. And it was about as healthy of a breakup as two people can have. We still adore each other. We send each other animal videos on Tumblr to show our affection. There just isn’t anything more to it possible beyond friendship. And that’s ok!

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My Life Plan

Posted February 21, 2019 By kmarrs

I know what I want to be when I grow up. As mentioned, I want to be the one who administers the tests and diagnoses people with ADHD and Autism. Especially women.

And that’s great, for a decade from now after I have my doctorate.

But here in August, I’m going to have to find a new job. I’m currently a work study and once I graduate I have to move on.

I also know I want to take 2 years off from school to concentrate on taking my GRE and finding the right grad school for me. That, and after the final push of completing my bachelor’s I could use a break.

But in those two years, I need to do something. I need to find a new job. I need to start looking in June.

And I don’t know what I want to do. At all.

I refuse to go back to retail or banking. I’ve had a cushy office job for 3 years now. I’ve grown used to it. I like being off in time for dinner. I like my weekends.

The closest to retail I’d be willing to do, is some sort of library job. It’s really tempting. It’s also a great way to have a set week day off, which I honestly need. But I just don’t know if I can go back to a service type job. It helps that there is no sales goal. And no register. But still, I don’t know that it’d be a healthy job for me. I’m currently really stable in my mental health and I don’t want to rock the boat too much.

But I need to find something. That pays well. And is hopefully at least 30 hours a week. So like Monday-Thursday. Or Monday-Friday with Wednesday off. You get the idea.

I just… I feel so lost. I don’t know what I want to do in the short term.

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School Plans

Posted February 18, 2019 By kmarrs

When I got really sick this past Fall and had to drop a class, I thought I was giving up on graduating this summer. But I worked the numbers, rearranged my planned classes, doubled up on course load for about 12 weeks, and I’m due to walk that stage this coming August.

I am NOT looking forward to the double course load. That will about do me in. However, I’m out of loan money so I need to go full-time anyway to get all my grant money and I need to graduate.

After I graduate this summer with my Bachelor’s in applied Psychology, I will take a couple of years off while I study for my GRE, take it, and then apply for grad school. During that time I hope to work a 9 to 5 as a receptionist or something. Maybe later hours. But still, something along those hours that isn’t retail.

Then the goal is to get accepted to OSU and study General Psychology for a masters, then for my Doctorate.

My end goal with all of that is to administer tests to diagnose, especially women, with ADHD and Autism.

So that’s the plan!

But first I need to survive about 12 weeks of hell. Though there is about 24 weeks of school total in my immediate future. Starting around now.

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Cinderella Tea Party

Posted February 14, 2019 By kmarrs

The district’s high school’s drama club is putting on a production of Cinderella in a few weeks. As a means of drumming up interest in the production, they hosted a Cinderella Tea Party for all the little kids in the district. It was on a Sunday afternoon and there wasn’t any real reason I couldn’t take Sammy, so away we went!

It was 5$ per kid (parents free) at the door, but that earned us unlimited access to the buffet of snacks and all the activities, so I consider it 5$ well spent.

The first thing we did when the doors opened was go and get her face painted. She wanted kitty whiskers and a black nose and it turned out super cute.

Then we hit the buffet! There was table after table piled high with snacks. Most of it was pure sugar and the kids were handed a plate, told to help themselves, and encouraged to pile them high. It was a sugar rush to end all sugar rushes.

After snacks, we went around to different activities. She crafted herself a crown and a magic wand. She ran an obstacle course. She played cornhole and bowled. She decorated a sugar cookie with pink frosting and sprinkles, then promptly ate it. There was also a little photo booth where it looked like she was sitting in Cinderella’s carriage.

She had a blast.

Then about 20 minutes before the event was over, the cast, who had been making rounds through the crowd the entire time, gathered and performed a few songs from their musical. They did a fabulous job.

I really enjoyed the quality time with Sammy. It got us out of the house and let her socialize with kids her age for awhile, outside of school. I got to see her at her happiest and playing with others. Turns out my kid is really creative and kind. She brings me such joy!

I took probably 3 dozen photos in all, but I narrowed them down to 6 to share with you. Please enjoy my daughter’s happiness!

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