Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Every Cloud Runs Out of Rain

A lot has happened over the past few days, and luckily it went from bad to good. Saturday I had a pretty bad reaction to Pete not wanting to go to a club with me. I won't get into details, but I ended up doing something pretty stupid. I'm safe now, but a lot of people were worried. No, he didn't do anything wrong, I just once again prove that relationships and my fear of rejection/abandonment are my biggest downfalls.

Then on Monday I got fired, again. It's really discouraging getting fired from a job in your field. What's even more frustrating is I pretty much got fired for doing something I was told I wouldn't get fired for. I guess in the end it's probably better, I was struggling there and instead of helping me or putting me someplace I'd do well, they let me go.


I changed therapists a couple weeks ago, and had my second appointment the same day I got fired. We ended up making a safety plan that included giving all my sharps and pills to Pete, checking in with emergency services that night, and then calling my therapist the next day. That night I ended up going to western MA and hanging out with my friend who also has BPD. We walked around and talked, and it was great to be able to talk openly to someone who understands. After I went and spent the night with T.

Today was one of those days where everything was perfect. I woke up cuddled next to a gorgeous man who kissed me good morning before he left for work, I did some hardcore job searching, had lunch with my Aunt who I have not seen in a while (she's part of a writer's group I'm going to attend), visited my Dad and; got laundry done , had dinner, and went to the library, and finally since I was close by I took a trip to the Salem Willows where I; collected seaglass, found a cool skull thing, got popcorn bars, and of course salt water taffy!

I learned some new DBT skills. Let's just say I'm going to be using ice a lot more. I also put the emergency services number in my phone. I really need to get better at using it.

Finally, I picked up my checks today (I got a severance) and I will be able to pay a whole bunch of bills, and I think I can still collect unemployment.

Pete said I handled getting fired really well. Of course I did, getting fired doesn't involve relationship stuff ;)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Ripple Effect

I want Pete to come to a club with me next week, but he's still on the fence. Why? Because he's afraid of something going wrong, he's afraid of triggering me. Of course he feels this way, I've given him plenty of reason. As he says he's my "kryptonite". He is afraid to go because he causes me anxiety and angst, but in reality he doesn't. I explained to him that while  he is the "source", it's not him causing me anxiety, it's me. It's me and my BPD brain. The way I think has nothing to with him, it's all me. He's done nothing wrong, I just have a hard time controlling my emotions.

I hate this. I hate that I make people feel this way. What can I do? Nothing. All I can do is tell him I will do my best not to be triggered, but that's not even a promise I can make. I'm difficult, I'm unpredictable. My actions have caused him to assume I'm always going to have some sort of melt down if we go out.

This is why I'm trying to go outside my comfort zone. I'm trying to talk to him about things he's had to walk on egg shells with me about (there is still one subject off limits). I want to be able to promise that nothing will go wrong, that nothing he says will trigger me. But, I can't. Because I still have trouble if it comes on suddenly. It's like a switch flips in my head.

We talked and talked about ways we can deal with this. Being more open, him talking me through it. I really don't intend on being caused angst and anxiety or being triggered. It's my black and white thinking, it's my problems with relationships. It's me, it's not him. It's my problems, my issues

In a related issue I realize that when I compare myself to him regarding work I'm doing it in a a very black and white way. I thought about things today and realized, he was there longer and he knew more kids. But still my brain keeps going to that black and white. Thinking he's better because he has an easier time with adolescent girls. Thinking that if he came to my work he'd win them over like that.

I'm so jealous of him. I'm jealous he is able to be so "calm" and "cool". I'm not like that. It feels awkward for me to be "chill". That's why I work better with younger kids. He even says I do really well with younger kids.

I'm upset now :(

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

On Body Image

Those who know me know that one of my biggest struggles is my body image. I've come a long way with it. For example, I used to make myself throw up. I wasn't bulimic since I didn't binge and purge and I wouldn't do it at every meal. Maybe bulimic traits? Anyway, I've manager to deal with these feelings to the point they are few and far between. This is one of those times.

My brain likes to tell me illogical things. For example, if I change my eating habits in anyway I am going to balloon to 200 pounds. If someone in the same situation is gaining weight, so will . I'm talking specifically about my job. We get to eat with the kids, and I've noticed some of them have been gaining weight. So, obviously I am too. Except, I'm probably not, it's probably my imagination. These kids are there all the time (except home visits) and eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Plus they snack a lot. I eat dinner with them and sometimes lunch.

I've been doing my zumba work out, but if I eat more is it enough? Am I even eating more, or am I eating enough? I don't really like to eat much. It's this back and forth that goes on in my head. Maybe I'm getting my period and I feel bloated, who knows. I just know that right now I think I look like I'm pregnant and that I'm flabby, gross, and getting fat.

What's interesting is in the book, "Get Me Out of Here," she deals with the same issues. She'd pinch imaginary fat, feel guilty for eating, and she'd think if she skipped a day of working out and had a piece of cake she'd gain 50 pounds over night.

It's even worse when people I'm close to decide to lose weight or are. I assume their losing weight means I'm going to get fat.

I'm frustrated because I've been doing really well with my body image. I just look at my stomach now and I'm disgusted. To me it sticks out. I'm sure it's my imagination.

I need to stop writing, I'm getting too upset.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

No Alcohol.

I sit at a table just to the side of the dance floor. I'm enjoying the music and atmosphere when suddenly a man I've never seen before is standing in front of me.

"Hey," he says, smiling.
"Hey," I reply.
"Can I buy you a drink?"
"No thank you," I politely decline, "I don't drink."
"Why?" he inquires

It's a question I have gotten many times. "Why don't you drink?" I could just say it's because I'm straight edge, but that would be lying, and I don't like to lie. So I tell part of the truth. It's too expensive, not my thing, I only drink on certain occasions. I explain that I have 3-4 drinks during the entire year, each one designated on a specific day of my choosing. Always one drink each time.

I used to drink more, but in a very specific way. I've never been a bar drinker. I hate the bar scene. Though I have on more than one occasion gone to a bar just to prove I could get a guy to buy me a drink. I've never  been a home alone drinker. That was always too expensive for me. No, I was what I like to call a, "drink to impress" drinker. It started with a college party, then Rocky Horror parties, a few parties exes took me to, and finally house parties my roommates threw at the apartment I lived at in Beverly. The upside to all of this (if you want to call it that), is that it wasn't a nightly or even a weekly occurrence. I can probably count the number of parties I went to in those days on less than 2 hands, maybe 2 at the most. However, as you can probably guess by my description I would drink to impress people.

These people are so cool. What the hell is this? How many shots? Is it okay to drink a shot of rum, whiskey, scotch and gin in rapid succession? Better not say no. Fuck, what the hell was I just doing? I can't remember 10 seconds ago. Things are happening. I'm naked. Don't say no. I want them to like me. I hate being around people. Just take whatever drink they give you. Impress them, get them to like you.

When I moved to western MA in 2008 I didn't drink as much, but I still engaged in drinking to impress. This time it was with my new Rocky cast. You know what's interesting? Being naked and drunk in an outdoor hot tub in the middle of January. I also might have had one at the club here and there, or in later western MA years at a friend's gathering (a lot more low key than the wild house parties I was used to).

Why don't I drink? The reasons I gave were true. It is too expensive, I do hate the bar scene. I don't go to parties anymore, so I don't have to worry about that. But here is the real reason, or at least the reason I don't tell people. I feel that deep down I am an alcoholic waiting to happen. It's not because I have a family member directly related to me who is one. Though I heard it is hereditary. It's not because I'm Italian and have grown up around wine my whole life (my Dad's been a wine manager/connoisseur since I was about 8 years old). It's not even because I picked up some bad habits from my early to mid 20's that stuck with me. No, it's none of that. It's nothing that has even happened, it's what I know would happen.

The other night I was talking to a friend, and he mentioned having a rough day at work. He said he was going to have a couple of drinks at his house. I told him that sometimes I wish I could do that. It sounded nice, relaxing at home with a drink to knock off the edge. But that's not how it would go for me. The day before I talked to my friend I was having a rough night. Nothing specific was triggering me, but I was feeling anxious and sad. For a moment I thought about what it would be like to buy a bottle of Whiskey and drink the whole thing in one night by myself. I'm not even sure I like Whiskey, but making a White Russian is just too damn tedious when you want to quickly make the demons in your head shut up. What's scarier is no matter how drunk I've been I have never had a hang over (and yes, I am your stereotypical lightweight. Some Italian I am.) I didn't buy a bottle of Whiskey or even Green Apple Smirnoff (which was always one of my go-to's when Kahlua wasn't available.) I still have the good sense to know I'd probably be mad if I spent my money on booze.

I don't drink because I'm afraid if I decide one night to have those couple of drinks after a rough day, that one night would turn into two, then three, then a week, and so on. I'm afraid I will use those couple of drinks every time I'm having a hard time. Fuck the couple of drinks, I'll just have the bottle. The other night instead of Whiskey I took two Seroquel and an Ativan. I took it knowing my doctor told me not to take the Ativan with the Seroquel, I took it knowing it would knock me out. I didn't care, that's what I wanted. I just wanted to sleep through the night, dreamless. If I break my alcohol rule I fear drinking will become my Ativan.

It doesn't have to be booze. I have an addictive personality, it's just one I mostly manage to control. I don't buy weed not because I like mooching, but because if I did I'd be smoking every night until I passed out. It takes everything I have to continue not to cut. Because if I did, I wouldn't be able to stop. I'd be doing it every time I felt pain. Physical pain to take away the emotional.  Let's face it though, alcohol is probably the cheapest and easiest vice to get.

Alcohol is easier to acquire, more accessible, and if you're good easier to hide than scars on your arm.The reality is, I'm fighting against a lot. Genetics, temptations, always being around it, and the fact the DSM explains I'm suppose to be impulsive in two areas. I guess I'm lucky that my two areas are/were sex and spending. If you want to call that lucky. The point is, despite my past, I've never had a bona-fide problem or addiction with drugs or alcohol.

But the fear is there, the fear I could become that addict. I play it out in my mind, what I'm sure would happen if I abandon my "almost-no-alcohol rule." Some may say that I am setting myself up to fail, that I'm being too negative. Maybe they are right, maybe I could be sitting next to a bottle of alcohol and have no desire to touch it. I don't want to test it, I don't want to wave the temptation in front of my face. I especially don't want to do it knowing my decision making drastically changes depending on my mood. While I may turn the other cheek to that bottle when I'm in a good mood, I can't promise the same if the demons took over.

That's why I don't drink, but that's just too complicated to explain to people. Especially in a short amount of time. So, I just stick to cost and plain ol' not being interested.

After all, I have to stay uninterested or else I'll become too interested.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Outside My Comfort Zone

Change is difficult for me. Bad change, good change, change in others, change in myself. It doesn't matter what kind, I struggle with anything that interrupts my status quo. This reflects most strongly in relationships, and it manifests by me becoming clingy and dependent.

The other day I was talking to Pete, and I was emotional over some information he gave me. Later I got upset at something totally innocent he said. Pretty soon he pointed out that he feels he needs to be careful what he says around me. He was right, I was making him walk on egg shells. Don't talk about this, don't mention that, make sure it's the 2nd night of the full moon on a Tuesday to talk about the other thing.

I have always known that Pete was someone who would not always be around the corner from me. That, however, did not stop me from fretting and worrying about him someday moving away. I would secretly wish that he'd always stay close, and if he mentioned future plans I would become distraught. Imagined abandoned.

Abandonment/rejection are my biggest BPD struggles, especially when they are connected to relationships. I realize I need to go outside my comfort zone. I talked to Pete today and I told him that no matter what he does in his future, I will support him. It is selfish of me and unfair to him that I make him feel like he can't talk to me about certain things. Of course I will enjoy him in the moment since he is still here, and doesn't have any permanent plans.

All of this, though? It's nothing new. When T stopped talking to me for over a year, I survived. When M stopped talking to me out of the blue, I was confused and angry, but now I could care less. When J broke up with me, I thought it was the end of the world, now I barely give him a second thought.

It's also not a new thing for me to be jealous of another girl. When I was crushing on my boss Chris, it was his ex Liza he still had feelings for. When I dated J, it was Chelsey in CA. When J and I broke up, it was Emma and then Miranda. When I had a crush on my friend MC, it was his ex Christy who he was still in love with. When I dated T, it was N (and that made it hard because I loved that girl).

 I know these things, I know I'm always okay, but it's the moment. It's the moment of feeling like you're dying, like you're never going to be okay. It's hating goodbye, it's fearing that you won't be prepared. If I'm every going to learn I need to step outside my comfort zone. I need to stop making people walk on egg shells. I need to learn to cope because life is full of changes and goodbyes and I'm going to have a hard time if I keep trying to hide from them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Struggles

Despite how far I have come I still have my moments. I've been having a rough couple of days. Of course it all revolves around my abandonment/rejection issues. I was spending time with Pete and a subject I said I wasn't going to talk about because it was distressing for me came up. And just like every other time, I began to dwell on it. Then he mentioned possible future plans that included him moving very far away. Immediately my brain went into overdrive, and I started to panic and have an anxiety attack. It doesn't matter that the plans may not happen for at least another year, if at all. All the my brain says to me is, "this is rejection, this is abandonment." I know deep down it's imagined, but it's too late the emotion mind has taken over. I'm shaking, crying, and I can't breath.

He holds me. He tells me that my BPD wants me to feel this way, that it wants me shaking and scared. He tells me feel how still and calm his body is. My breathing slows. I think I'm okay, but then the shame and guilt set in. I felt so ashamed that he saw me like that, that I couldn't control myself. I then start desperately trying to get him to acknowledge that I've been making progress. I hate myself, I hate that I work hard to over come things, that I do so well when I'm on my own, but then I "slip" in front of someone who doesn't know how much progress I've made. They only know me from the point they've met me. I try to tell myself that no one can judge my progress but me, but it doesn't matter. I'm distraught, I'm upset, I feel like a failure.

That night I have night terrors. About her, about him leaving. Our "relationship" ending. Rejection. Abandonment. I hate it. I'm depressed the next day (today). I'm still dwelling on things a bit, but I'm able to process things. I see him again, we talk. I end up bawling again. I feel so frustrated by things I've said in front of him. I want him to see me as perfect. I don't want him to see me struggle. I'm trying to work on my own self-validation, but I feel like it doesn't count if I don't get it from certain people.

Imagine you are traveling. As you walk along you meet various people. One person needs a tire changed, another lost their keys on the dark road. As you keep walking the combination of meeting people and the dirt and dust start to wear on you. After walking for many miles you come across another person who decides they want to travel with you, but they look at you and see that you are dirty.They just judge you by your appearance, they have no idea what you've been through. This is what it's like having mental illness. No one knows exactly how far I've come, just I do. Everyone only knows me from the point they meet me. Pete doesn't see all the times I overcome my thoughts and emotions. So when I have a melt down I feel like I'm just seen as weak. When I say something I've worked hard to not say and to get over, but I slip up, I desperately try to get the person to see I am different.

I hate this disorder sometimes.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Condensing

I've been really busy lately, so I have not had much of a chance to give a real update. Things are going pretty well for me right now. I have a job I really like, I'm dating two guys, I have a car and apartment, I'm able to pay bills, I'm doing a bunch of volunteering, and I am about to start with a new therapist where I will also be able to attend groups. My last appointment with my former therapist went well, and I was able to see just how far I've come. I've also been trying to do more reading, and get through my TBR list.

Of course I still have my BPD moments, but it seems like I am at a point where I can at least condense it down to a main focus. That focus? Relationships. I am dating two guys, but one I only see once a week and the other lives two hours away. Both of these have their benefits, the main one being it is less likely for me to be clingy. Of course, when one didn't want to see me about a week ago, I still managed to end up in hysterics. That's my downfall, my vulnerability. Relationships. Abandonment and rejection issues are definitely what I need to work on most.

I have been getting better at "riding the emotion like a wave" as they say in DBT. I've been allowing myself to feel the emotion, and then letting it go. Last night my brain seemed to want to remind me of every little trigger, and I ended up crying out of frustration. I went to bed listening to rain and woke up feeling fine and barely remembering I was upset. I guess my ability to not dwell on things has improved greatly. I continue to struggle with certain thought. How long will things be good? When will the next change come? How much time will  have with my two guys? What will the future be like? All of these, of course tie into my fears of being alone, rejection and abandonment.

I still have a lot of BPD traits, obviously. Technically I still fit all 9 categories. I'm just getting a lot better at controlling them, and them not being as noticeable. My old therapist even told me it may not be vital for me to be in DBT, at least as much as it was in the past.

I know to some people it may seem that I'm still a basket case. That is why I am the only person allowed to judge my progress. Also, comparing me to me is important.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Disconnected Thoughts

This post has some disconnected thoughts....so apologies ahead of time.

I was recently asked to be a mod for a different BPD group I'm in (not on FB) because I am, "active, intelligent, passionate, you seem to be well rounded.

I feel like I've come a really long way in the past 5-6 years.

I used to self harm a lot, I made a lot of stupid choices involving sex (I won't go into detail), I had bulemic traits (I never binged and purged, I just sometimes purged), I had out of control rage (I still sometimes have trouble with anger, but I get over it quicker, a lot of it is mild annoyance), I felt empty/worthless a lot, and I was very unstable.

I had my last appointment with my therapist yesterday before switching to my new one. We went over my progress notes, and while they were hard to read they also provided concrete proof of how far I've come. My therapist mentioned that she thinks I am at a point where I may not need DBT as much as I did in the past.

I have definitely come a long way. Right now the main thing I struggle with is relationships (my therapist said they are my vulnerability). I've been doing well with self-confidence, I haven't self-harmed in almost a year, my body image issues have improved, and I feel like I have purpose in life (I don't feel empty/hopeless as much as I used to). Don't get me wrong, I still have my moments, but they are fewer.

Recently I've been getting a lot better at living in the moment, as well as riding emotions like a wave (not holding on to them, but not ignoring them). I've gotten through a lot of moments I would have had trouble in the past.

However, the second one of my partners tells me he can't see me when I really want to see him, I completely fall apart. Granted, I'm less "crazy" then I may have in the past. For example, in the past instead of sobbing hysterically I may have: Self harmed, texted increasingly mean things, driven to the person's house. Of course to someone who doesn't understand BPD, sobbing and being hysterical probably doesn't seem like progress....but, still...my fears of rejection and abandonment are my biggest hurdles.

The good part of this, is that my "borderline issues" are confined to one specific thing. Which, I guess will make it easier to know what to focus on in therapy.

In relation to my issues with relationships, I also have a really hard time saying no. I've gone on a date with someone I had no interest in because the thought of turning someone down to their face gives me anxiety.

I also have trouble standing up for myself (more if it involves someone I know rather some random internet person or even someone I don't like). For example, tonight I went to wake up my partner from a nap so he wouldn't be late getting to his parent's house and he snapped and said "fuck you." While I expressed that that wasn't cool and it upset me I did it interspersed between apologies . I didn't do anything wrong and I was apologizing.

My new therapist is a male. I don't know how I feel about this. I've always had an attachment to older men because my Dad emotionally abandoned me (jesus, how cliche is that?). I've become attached to boss', teachers, and other older males in my life.Relationships have always been my down fall. When I'm actually dating I tend to get clingy, and needy. My therapist thinks I date men that remind me of my Dad (though I can't always see that). What's interesting to me is that one of my partners does not trigger my BPD. It's weird. Well technically, it got triggered super bad when we broke up 6 years ago. Like, I had the worst melt down of my life. But other than that, he doesn't trigger my abandonment and rejection issues. My other partner does, pretty much every guy I have dated have.

I don't know what brought on this string of thought. But I think being able to recognize them, shows my progress.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Mindfulness Month Comes to a Close

I decided to not do the weekly recaps. Partly because it's hard to keep track of everything that happens during the week, and partly because there will be weeks where not much will happen and I will struggle to find something to write. This blog is suppose to be for me to mainly talk about my progress with my disorder, so I will continue to document "tough(ish) stuff" as well as times I was able to use my DBT skills.

However, right now, I want to share the rest of the "Daily Calm" quotes from May. I think it's important since May was mindfulness month, and mindfulness is a core part of DBT.

No longer forward or behind
I look in hope or fear;
But, grateful, take the good I find,
The best of now and here.
-John Greenleaf Whittier

You are only afraid if you are not
in harmony with yourself.
-Hermann Hesse

Each situation-
nay, each moment-
is of infinite worth;
for each represents
a whole eternity
-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

....the more clearly we can focus
our attention on the wonders
and realities of the universe about us
the less taste we shall have
for the destruction of our race.
-Rachel Carson

Let us not look back in anger,
nor forward in fear,
but around us in awareness
-James Thurber

Listening to the birds can be a meditation
if you listen with awareness
-Osho

You certainly usually find something,
if you look, but it is not always quite
the something you were after.
-J.R.R. Tolkien