Tag Archives: bpd

Musings on emotions

It feels like this huge, crushing weight (grief does).

It seems like I’m feeling it too intensely sometimes… 

For some reason, it struck me today that some people have “sensory processing disorders” around emotions rather than sights, sounds, or textures… 

The same way loud noises  (or lots of sources of noise) can be overwhelming to someone on the autism spectrum, “loud” emotions can be overwhelming to some people… 

What if that emotional overwhelm they try to always pigeonhole as “borderline” is really just an autistic glitch around emotions as opposed to one of the other senses? 

What if introducing trauma/abuse/neglect into the mix early-on intensifies the inability of a person to deal with this emotional sensory processing disorder? 

We’ve all heard the theories that borderline is better explained by c-ptsd (which I totally agree with). What if we took it one step further and explored the possibility that “borderline”was actually in part an autism-like disorder? 

If you consider that one “symptom” of borderline is “feeling too intensley”, and you understand that even trained clinicians minimize the difficulty of dealing with extremely intense emotions (as they’ve been trained to do; “know that emotions come & go, like waves”), it’s easy to see the disconnect in effective strategies for clients. It’s something along the lines of comparing a stubbed toe to a shattered foot. Sure, you can probably take over-the-counter Tylenol for the stubbed toe & it will likely help, but doing the same for the shattered foot probably won’t make a noticeable impact. For such an intense injury, you need prescription-strength stuff. We should have something more than “Tylenol” to offer people. 

What if we understand that pushing someone to sit with intense pain (physical or emotional)  will likely lead to various ways of procuring relief… so you take a kid who can’t handle loud noises, and you tell them they need to sit through a rock concert. You’re going to get a tantrum and various, inventive ways to deal with the pain from the noise (think stereotypical autistic behaviors like flapping, screaming, hitting self, or attacking others). Now take a kid who feels emotions incredibly intensely, and ask them to tolerate those emotions. You pretty much get the same acting out in search of relief: self injury, tantrums, physical and verbal outbursts…

I’m a huge proponent for dropping the borderline diagnosis from the dsm. It’s an antiquated and “cop-out” diagnosis with way too much stigma attached. While there’s a push to remove the stigma, it’s still very much taught to young clinicians. Professors and supervisors alike instill fear and disgust around the diagnosis. Myths are perpetuated. Doctors do the same. It’s quick to be diagnosed (often inaccurately), and it’s near impossible to step away from even if it’s found to be inaccurate. It follows you and colors every other interaction with every other professional that sees the dreaded diagnosis anywhere in the file…

What if, instead of just working to destigmatize the diagnosis, we came up with more accurate understandings, and got rid of it completely. It was, after all, just a catch-all category for people who didn’t quite fit any of the other categories… 

What are your thoughts on this? Does it kinda make sense? Am I way out in left field? 


Feeling urgency

I’m not sure what it is. I’m trying to figure out the driving force behind this intense desire to see TM again and to try to talk about this again. It always kicks in. Once I open the door to starting to talk about anything vulnerable at all, I need to just be able to spill it. All of it. At one time.
I feel this desire to talk myself into exhaustion. It’s like all this stuff needs to come out of me and into… I don’t even know. Someone who can safely hold it? Someone who can throw it out? Someplace other than myself, but also someplace safe.
It’s not attachment related, because I have no attachment to TM at this point. (Actually, I think this need to divulge is stronger before I know the person… maybe. I’m not sure though, since I know this urgency is also there after I’ve grown to know and trust the therapist). Maybe it really is just related to a need to share this with another safe (neutral, non-judgemental, uninvested) human being, to not being alone with it all…

I find myself trying to think about history and diagnoses, and how this desire (though gods, does it ever feel like a need) fits into the puzzle. is it part of the ptsd, the bpd, the self esteem issues, the anxiety? What? Where does it fit? Is it legit to talk about and ask for? Is it just part of the human condition to need to be able to be completely honest with someone? I know there’s thoughts floating by that contradict one another right now. One questions if anyone would actually like me as a human being if they knew everything, every dark secret? Would I still be worthy of breath if they saw the real me? Another thought wonders if they may be more OK with the concept of me as a human being if they knew all the motivations and fears behind everything I think and do. One thought looks for validation while another thought is sure judgement will follow. Will I turn out to be the horrid person I’m afraid I am if you see everything that makes up “me”? Or will it give you a deeper understanding of all that appears to be random craziness and weirdness and awkwardness? Please don’t hate me, but please prove my fears right, and prove them wrong, and hate me, and…

There’s so much inner conflict around my self-worth. There’s all these years of that little voice saying I’m worthless and stupid, but it’s being countered by the voices of everyone who has tried to convince me I have value. It’s very loud and confusing. Sometimes one is winning, other times the other is. Right now, I think the voice that whispers “they will (should!) hate me if they knew everything” is the driving force behind the need for disclosure. I want validation that the voice is merely a fear, and not reality. And I need to find that validation. Right now, no one knows everything. No one has all the puzzle pieces with all the disconcerting revelations, so I’m not sure they wouldn’t hate me if they knew everything. But I’m also not sure I would believe they knew everything if they didn’t hate me (because how can you look at me, all my dark secrets and blackness and not hate me, not think I’m vile and disgusting and scary?)… I think I need people to prove I’m worth life, but I have a feeling I won’t believe them unless they say I’m worthless. It’s a wonderful little trap. “Please, please, please say I’m an OK human?” You’re an OK human being “Fuck you, you don’t really know me unless you hate me! (But gods, please know me and don’t hate me)”…


Happy Tofurkey Day!

1897012_10152868130329892_2569156459545851216_nHappy Thanksgiving to all my US readers. Happy Thursday to everyone else ­čśë

I’m trying to not break down in tears. I pushed myself to hang with friends this morning for “Friendsgiving”, which was good. I was able to laugh and be social. I was very ready to head home after about 3 hours however… The best part though (aside of hanging with friends), was that they set out colored pencils with a paper table-cloth so we could doodle. They are big into the Wicked Queen from Snow White, so I drew them an apple… I figured it went with the theme of the day, and with their decor.

Now mom and I made some of our own dinner, so there’s take 2 on food for the day (I swear this is more food than I eat in a week, all crammed into 1 day. Gotta love the tradition of gluttony with the excuse of it being a holiday). Just have to wait for the last of it to be cooked and I sit down for another round of stuffing myself…

___________________________

It’s just after 9pm, and I find myself cruising Netflix and hulu+ for movies that might trigger tears. The feeling of needing to cry has not left, and now I just want to get it over with. I want the tears to flow and the relief to come. I know even with the growing depression, at least some pressure would be released by crying, but it’s not happening. I can’t seem to let my defenses down long enough or fully enough to let the tears escape┬á(though they threaten at every turn). I really need the relief. I need the break in the intensity of the emotion.

I suddenly don’t know how to cope with all this. I don’t know how to lessen the emotional experiencing right now. The more I think about the implications of some of the BPD diagnosis, the scarier it gets. I keep being reminded that individuals with BPD experience things much more intensely. I keep being reminded that it’s never a matter of lessening the emotional impact of things, but more so learning to deal with it. The prospect of that is terrifying. If I have to keep going through life feeling things this intensely, I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to just learn to ride the crazy waves of emotion. I want to lessen the whole experience.

I’m not sure I can explain the intensity of the emotion. It’s more than just really sad, it’s debilitating. When anger hits hard, it’s more than just anger, it’s blow-out rage. When it’s really happy, it’s really incredibly happy. Yes, there are times when it’s not incredibly intense, but when it crosses that line, it leaps over the line and the next 10 lines after that. It’s like the difference between getting a paper cut and eviscerating yourself… Strong emotions for me are on the self-evisceration end of the spectrum, only I have no idea how to anesthetize myself for it. I know how to turn off the emotions completely, to block feeling them. I know how to put up walls and keep them at bay, but if they start to gush, I have no idea how to lessen the hurt. I have the theories and the intellectual skills, but it doesn’t help the emotions. All the learning in the world makes no sense to my emotional brain, the one that feels every emotion with the intensity of a burn victim. I know DBT and CBT are supposed to help with it all, but it doesn’t translate to the emotional side. It also doesn’t translate well to the kid inside who interprets everything as not doing good enough, not being good enough.

I’ve noticed the old “failure” tape has gotten louder and more insistent of late. It screams over everything. I’ve noticed that I need to apologize to TL when I write to her. I need to find a way to make up for being “less than”. I’ve noticed that I cannot bring myself to easily tell her that I need the weekly appointments even though I really feel like I need them. I feel this need to “be good” and muddle through the two weeks between sessions. I need to do this because I don’t want to disappoint TL. I need to manage within her boundaries, even if they are just my interpretations of her boundaries. I’m aware that a lot of this is a reflection of the transference I feel around her, only I’m not sure if I can or should try to talk to her about it. We have only about 3 sessions left at this point. If I wasn’t about to terminate with her, I might consider addressing all this, but I’m confused about the value of it if we are ending. I guess there would be value in talking about it at least in so much that then I could more easily talk to the new therapist about it (or it may be more easy to spot if I tell her about it? and easier to help navigate it?). I don’t know. I guess I should talk to TL about this. It’s really difficult though. It’s the battle between the old learning (the child inside) and the new learning. I struggle to quiet the child and make her feel safe so I can implement the new learning. It’s most certainly a struggle.

I’m realizing again that TL managed to afford me a measure of balance that I hadn’t found before. I can’t seem to allow myself to attribute the balance to any changes within myself, so I have to call it something with our interactions or how she relates to me… I don’t have enough faith in myself to believe I could accomplish something like that myself, it has to be the other person…


falling into the stereotypes (some of my internal processing)

I’m trying to figure something out, sorry if this post doesn’t make much sense…

Since TL mentioned termination last week, I’ve gone back and forth between putting up huge walls, and desperately wanting to talk to her again. As tomorrow’s appointment gets closer, I find myself having that regular anticipation of talking to her and happy to be seeing her because she represents a safe place and has been a relatively safe person to talk to until now. At the same time though, I’m wondering if tomorrow should be the last session because termination sucks and I don’t want to draw it out. Then I’m again bouncing back┬áto ignoring that she brought up termination at all.

I’m confusing myself and not explaining that well… I think I’m stuck between pushing her away and denial of the termination conversation… :/

I want to go see her because she represents a safer person. I want to talk about what this all brought up, but at the same time I feel like trust has been lost and it’s no longer ok to look to her for support with anything beyond logistics of possibly being hooked up with a new therapist.┬áI don’t know how to straighten that out in my head. Not sure how to proceed…┬áI think my hesitation with looking to her for more support comes from knowing that it’s opening myself up again to that horrid feeling of loss and being lost. I don’t like it, I don’t want it. It’s overwhelming and (again) way out of proportion for the relationship.┬áI have so much trouble with changes like this. I really don’t know how to handle it, and I have not been able to address it in therapy yet with any meaningful results (even after so many therapists and so many attempts at tackling all the issues)…

TL wasn’t clear on what exactly the time-frame is. She refused to answer when I asked how long she had left, and she again asked me how long I thought therapy should take… I don’t know for sure if she meant she was leaving next month, or within the next six months. I’m assuming she meant the next month because she had given one month as a reference point twice when asking how much longer I thought therapy should take.

I have a LOT of trouble with loss. She knows this, so I don’t know if she’s trying to ease into the termination conversation, or if we are just trying to tackle the loss issue. The thing is, my thinking went immediately to “f-this. she’s leaving so why bother dragging it out. no more talking, no more trusting. I’m done”. I know this is a cognitive leap, and that I’m throwing up walls without really knowing exactly what’s going on. Sometimes I can recognize this and think more rationally about it. Other times the emotions take over and I’m totally lost. I think that’s playing a huge role in the back-and-forth I have about wanting to talk to her about this more, and wanting to run away. I’m recognizing the diagnoses and history this all plays into/off-of.

I just can’t consistently figure it all out though. I don’t know how to be ok with it. I am not sure I want to take down any of the walls to open myself up to talking about this just to find out that I am right and she is leaving next month. My head goes SO dark if I try to let myself feel anything more or not take this total detachment right now. I don’t want to land back in the hospital. I don’t want to be the stereotype of my diagnoses, but at the same time, I’m finding I’m nothing but that stereotype…

Years ago, my records indicated I was hopeless and will struggle with this forever. As much as I hate the thought of that, I’m afraid they may be right. I think I live in a fantasy world that I can move out of this behavior when this stuff isn’t actively triggering me, but as soon as it’s triggered, I don’t know how else to react. I’m ashamed by it and frustrated beyond belief that I can’t seem to figure this out once and for all. I wish I could find a therapist that I could stick with, and that was consistent with the “you’re not hopeless” stance so they could remind me once in a while, but the way I fall back into all this every time loss comes up I doubt that will ever happen. It’s really crappy. I don’t want to be hopeless, but I think they are right. I think I really am. If I can’t learn to navigate losses, how the hell can I learn anything else? I think some things are just too broken to fix…


huge reality check

I just spent the better part of the day reviewing most of my medical files from social security. wow… I was (am?) really fucked-up. I’m seriously questioning 1) how I am still alive to this day, 2) why in the world my wife stayed with me, 3) if there’s ever a possibility of getting better for real… I mean, I can’t tell you how many times my records noted what a hopeless cause I was, and how I am destined to this struggle forever. And it wasn’t just one provider, it was almost all of them… I was hospitalized over 21 times (if my count is correct), 15 of which happened in the span of a year and a half. I’ve been tried on 30+ meds (with varying degrees of success or failure). I know some of the records are not consistent from page one to page two, but most of them concur on 3 major diagnoses (depression, bpd, ptsd), and my prognosis (utterly hopeless)… o_O ┬áI think I am the definition of a “lost cause”. I’m really glad I will be seeing TL┬átomorrow, though this wasn’t what I had in mind to talk to her about. I think it’s only fair to warn her how futile it all is though, so she doesn’t put much effort into this only to start pulling her hair out in a few weeks… wow… yeah. There’s still some records not included in their files, but it’s not much. The sad part is, I was dissociating for so much of that time. There are several hospitalizations I don’t recall ever occurring… now I’m sitting here a bit shell-shocked. I had known much of it was going to be bad, but didn’t realize quite how much of it, and quite how bad.


can’t get out of my own way today…

I don’t know how to do it. ┬áI can’t pull myself away from continually tripping on my own emotional mess. ┬áI can’t decide if I want to talk to anyone about it, or just ignore the world and stay in bed. ┬áI think ignoring the world would be best at this point…


clueless

and confused/conflicted. I suddenly feel ok to try to work. I think I can do this without falling apart. I seem to be able to reign in my depression with more ease… The walls come quicker and higher these days. I don’t want to be useless and jobless. Though I know I struggle with going volunteering even twice a week, maybe if I had the benefit of a paycheck, I could pull it together more often.

On Friday I had told De about feeling useless on disability. It still feels like a death sentence. I know my energy comes in spurts, but maybe if I HAD to function for a job, I would just force myself into it. I have always been taught that you have to keep plugging on. There’s no sick days unless you are on your death bed. Lately, all I have are “sick days”. I want to be productive and useful and have a purpose… I want to have something to say when people ask me what I do. De said I might need to grieve that productive life. It was on the way out, and I didn’t really get what she meant. The more I think of it though, the more I think I disagree on that point. If I grieve being productive and the life I had before, it feels too much like I’m giving up and will never get out of this space. I just need to keep looking at it like a stepping stone. (It’s funny that I say this all the while the little voice in my head is telling me not to worry because life won’t be that long anyway… I think only people who have battled depression and suicidal thinking can truly understand that little voice – even when things are going well, that nagging thought plays on repeat in the background. I used to think of it as an escape plan in case things got/stayed really bad. These days, it’s at once something I laugh at and something I desire with every fiber of my being. Once the little voice gets louder, it’s difficult to drown it out. Then I just have to wait it out, it has to sleep sometime).

I see De again tomorrow. I think on top of everything else I want to address (asking more about the art therapy possibilities, talking about the disability stuff, touching on my fears about the past coming to life again with this relationship, feeling overwhelmed by a lot of stuff…), I need to address the crazy mood changes and the background suicidal thinking. I can coast along just fine when distracted, but the minute the distractions stop, everything comes crashing back.

I don’t know what exactly to say. My head is all over the place even now, and I can’t hold a train of thought. I still can’t see a definite future for myself. There are things I want to accomplish, but when asked where I see myself in 5 years, the tears are triggered and my head answers: dead. The cycles are maddening. If my head will still be battling all this in 5 years, I sure-as-hell don’t want to be around for it… I love my life, but not my head. Does that make sense?