Friday, February 26, 2016

Beating My Kryptonite.

The past couple of months have been going really well for me. I've been pretty stable and have been lucky to finally have consistent therapy and support). On top of this I've been using my skills consistently, avoiding melt downs online, getting into wise mind faster, and managing my emotions more effectively. However, progress does not come without struggles and with Borderline there are bound to be struggles. I've talked before about how relationships (not necessarily just romantic ones)  are my biggest vulnerability, and that has been abundantly clear recently.

I tend to get attached to people easily and that attachment becomes stronger if I have a sexual relationship with them. Because I get so attached I because dependent and have a hard time doing things independently of them. Especially if it's something we were supposed to do together, but they had to cancel. When I was with Daniel there were times we had made plans to go out dancing, but he would cancel last minutes and while I was perfectly capable to going dancing on my own I wouldn't because I'd be so upset over him not going.

Yesterday I went to quiz. I had been planning to go to quiz for a while (I had not been in a couple of weeks). I decided the day of that I wanted my roommate (whom I have a sexual relationship with) to come with me. I texted him and eagerly awaited his reply, and the more I waited, the more excited and hopeful I got about him coming. When he came home, I went up to his room and asked if he had gotten my texts. He said yes, but that he had a rough day and didn't want to go out anywhere. Immediately I start pleading and whining and getting really upset. This wasn't fair! He told me he'd go with me sometime! Not my night was ruined! See, that's what happens. It didn't matter that I was already planning on going long before I decided to ask him to go. I went to my room and broke down crying. Now I was angry at myself. I felt ashamed, guilty, and regretful. I managed to get into wise mind, and was able to go back to my roommate and apologize as well as explain my behavior to him. I still went to trivia and had a good time. In the past I would have split on him and not gone out.

During trivia Green Lantern came buy and hung out with me. It was the third time he saw me this week, and while we didn't plan on that, he pointed out in conversation that seeing me three times was a bit much (he's not someone who likes to see one person consistently). He also said he was exceedingly enjoying my company. Still, I felt that twinge of regret. Even though I knew it wasn't my fault that we happen to run into each other multiple times. I was mostly upset because I've been trying hard to not be up his ass all the time.

After trivia Green Lantern, The QM (who I happen to have a huge crush on), and I were waiting for the train. Green Lantern asked The QM about his sexual escapades at a recent trip, and I instantly felt envious.

I haven't spoken to Daniel since the end of December. We agreed to talk again in March, but I tried calling him a few days prior. Her didn't respond and I couldn't help but feeling a bit disappointed.

1-5 years ago all of this would have had me self harming, freaking out on Facebook, having melt downs, splitting, and completely falling apart. I am insanely proud of how I've handled all of this. Especially because all of it happened within the same day. I struggled and the BPD hit hard, but I was able to use my skills, get myself into wise mind, and get through it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

DBT-Yeah, It Works

I've talked a lot about DBT in my blog, and at the risk of sounding like I'm part of some weird brain washing self-help cult; I can honestly say that DBT has saved my life. Prior to the creation of DBT (developed by Marsha M. Linehan in the late 70's), BPD was referred to as "the impossible disorder" because therapists literally had no idea how to treat someone with Borderline. Sadly even today there are professionals who will refuse to work with Borderline patients because of the unpredictability of the disorder. Fortunately with the development of DBT there is now a specific treatment for BPD.  So what is DBT exactly? DBT or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is,

-A therapy designed to help people change patterns of behavior that are not helpful, such as self-harm, suicidal thinking, and substance abuseThis approach works towards helping people increase their emotional and cognitive regulation by learning about the triggers that lead to reactive states and helping to assess which coping skills to apply in the sequence of events, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to help avoid undesired reactions. DBT assumes that people are doing the best they can but are either lacking the skills or influenced by positive or negative reinforcement that interfere with their ability to function appropriately.-

DBT combines CBT techniques with Buddhist mindfulness practices along with other practices for tolerating stress and regulating emotions. The elements of DBT are broken up into 4 modules: Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, Distress Tolerance, and Mindfulness. The full scope of DBT includes both a group, where members will learn about the skills within each of these modules (and usually get some sort of homework to practice these skills) and individual therapy (which includes things like Diary Cards and Behavior Chain Analysis).

The thing I like about DBT is that it isn't one size fits all. There are a variety of different skills and the individual can use the skills that works best for them (take what you like and leave the rest). I thought I would share a list of my favorite DBT skills and the ones I go to the most. Each is linked to give further explanation.

Mind States 
So, this isn't a skill, but I've found it's a really good way of simplifying how my brain works and how I want to get it to work.


Build Mastery

*Particularly activities, comparisons, thoughts, and sensations

*I have two self-soothe boxes

Pros and Cons

Radical Acceptance

Here is the most important thing I can tell you about DBT. You have to put in the effort, you have to want it to work for you. DBT doesn't end when you leave your therapist's office or when you walk out of group. I don't just use skills when I'm in crisis, I practice them daily. To the point they come naturally.

If any of you have any questions about DBT or want to chat about it feel free to email me at

Saturday, February 20, 2016

It's Not Always Roses and Rainbows

I've had a few things I've been struggling with lately, but all things considered I've been doing a pretty good job of handling it. Nevertheless, dealing with so many things at once has left me feeling drained and a bit overwhelmed. Here's what's going on broken down by bullet points (as I'm so known for doing).

  • A couple of weeks ago during group I kept overhearing a fellow member bad mouthing other members of the group. This person is not only a member, but a facilitator which means she is supposed to be a group leader. The group is supposed to be a safe space, and I felt very uncomfortable with what she was doing. I pulled her aside after the group and told her what she was doing was making me feel unsafe and asked if she could please not do it in front of me. She responded by saying, "well sometimes people don't get what they want. Have you ever heard of that expression?" The following week she decided to bring the incident up indirectly and saying I was aggressive and acting like a child (she didn't say my name, but it was obvious what and who she was talking about). I had already brought up the incident to the head of the group, but I'm just appalled that someone like that is allowed to facilitate a group.
  • Any time I do something that I've been looking forward to I am always over come with a sadness when it ends. Not just a, "aww that sucks it's over" sadness, but days of despair. This certainly was the case after seeing Hamilton this past Tuesday. Only, the despair didn't come until a couple days later, and it wasn't over the show being over, but rather what I didn't get. I was really looking forward to meeting certain members of the cast. I had been told by a few people that all the cast members came out, so when that didn't happen I was overcome with a great disappointment (and I even went back the next day after the Wednesday matinee to try). So, of course splitting happened and my brain wanted to tell me that because of that the whole trip was ruined. All or nothing. I wasn't going to let it, I wasn't going to let the fact I didn't get to meet people ruin seeing this amazing show, and everything would be fine if not for one thought. My friend is seeing the show in April, and there is a chance he'll get to meet them. How will I react? I had to ask him to block me from photos and statuses because I know I'll be jealous and not react well, and he doesn't deserve that.
  • Right now there is only one person in my house who likes me. The problem with most of my roommates is that know one wants to talk; everyone would rather be passive aggressive and then act like there is nothing wrong with their behavior. A few weeks ago I was in a really good mood and doing some cleaning. This was after being in a depression for a while, so I was thrilled to finally be out of it. I was apparently being a bit too loud, and bothering my roommate R. Instead of politely asking me to turn it down a bit, she screamed at me and slammed the door. I get triggered badly when yelled at and she sort of jolted me out of my good mood and caused me to disassociate. I had a really bad anger outburst and ended up calling her a cunt and throwing things. Obviously once I calmed down I felt really bad, and went upstair to talk to her. At first she didn't want to talk to me, but we ended up having a conversation and seemed to work things out.  My roommate, M, has had an issue with me since I moved in and has continued to be passive aggressive towards me. One of the things R and I discussed was being courteous to other people living in the house. One day M was in the kitchen playing her music a bit loudly and I asked her nicely to turn it down. This lead to us having a long talk that wasn't really a talk, but rather her talking at me then interrupting me when I tried to talk. She told me that she'd be considerate to me when I was considerate to her, yet refused to talk to me about anything that was bothering her. Okay? How am I supposed to know? For example, I have a heavy walk and apparently I'm the only person she can hear coming home; which is ridiculous because I hear everyone when they come in. Another example is she told me stop using her tupperware and said, "you think everything is yours." This was tupperware that was in our tupperware draw that she had seen me using multiple times before and had not ever said one word. Okaaaay, so how am I suppose to know? A and I had always gotten along and he informed me that he was staying out of any arguments; okay, cool. Something that had been bugging me was that people kept leaving lights on, particularly A. I asked him to please remember to shut the bathroom light on. I noticed shortly after he started to be a bit standoffish with me and I assumed he didn't like that I was asking him to do things. I figured maybe he had a superiority complex? He's lived here the longest, however no one is on a lease and we all pay the same amount of rent ad utilities. So, in my eyes we are all equals.  The other day we were both in the kitchen and I was attempting to engage in friendly conversation and he was being short and cold towards me. Finally I asked if something was wrong because he seemed to be in a bad mood and he said, "maybe you shouldn't have called my best friend a cunt." Really? He was holding a grudge over something he said he was staying out of? He then accused me of lying by omission to move in and said I didn't tell him I had BPD. That made me furious. I am under no obligation to disclose my private medical information to anyone. To top it off when I attempted to discuss things with him he said in a childish manner, "are you still talking?" He then told me I moved in illegally by not being on a lease, not putting money down, and living in the closet. I honestly felt like I had entered a twilight zone. First, no one here is on a lease. Second, I moved into the closet because A himself asked me to, and third I put down $500 when moving in. I'm sick of the whole moving in situation getting thrown back in my face over and over again. A screwed up and didn't communicate so he is now denying things. The agreement was I move in and pay $500 for November and December then start paying rent and utilities in January. When people complained suddenly it changed to him saying he said 1/5 of the utilities. I know for a fact that's not true. Why? Well, first when we met I vividly remember him saying the total for move in was $1100 and me getting confused and not realizing he meant the $500 plus $600 for Jan rent. Second, if he said 1/5 utilities I would have spent so much time figuring that math out to the penny and that's something I would have remember doing and I would have a record of, and I have neither. I have been nothing but nice to people in this house. I clean (mop, sweep, doing way more loads of dishes than I use, clear the toilet and bathroom), fixed the fire place, got light bulbs and am going to be changing the burnt out bulbs, got the landlord to fix the broken lock on the back door, buy stuff for the house, organize people's mail, and take out people's trash. I am not a perfect person, but I cannot imagine going through life holding a grudge and not trying to talk things out like an adult. I saw R this morning and gave a friendly hello. Know what I got? A dirty look. What? I thought we resolved things. But I'm sure she will not confront me like an adult and talk to me. Because it seems like no one knows how to talk these days. That's sad to me, it's sad that everyone has a problem with me yet I am the only one willing to be blunt and confront people and talk and not act passive aggressive and play guessing games. How does someone go through life like that? Am I doing it wrong? Is there some unspoken roommate rule that you're not suppose to talk about issues? You're suppose to just ignore them or magically know why people are upset? We are all adults here, sit down and have a discussion. It's petty to  hold a grudge and act passive aggressive. Especially over something someone said out of anger.
  • My friend got fired and I think I'm more angry about it than he is. It also means change, and I don't always like change.
As frustrating as all of this stuff as been, I think I've been handling it pretty well. I stood up for myself, recognized when my brain was splitting, chose not to react in a hostile manner, planned ahead (asking my friend to block me from the posts),  and continued to use my DBT skills. Given how I could have and would have react in the past, I'm pretty darn proud of myself.

Friday, February 12, 2016

My Spiritual Journey

I grew up Catholic. Went to Church on Sundays, went to CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, the Catholic version of Sunday School), counted my rosary, went to confession, and received all the sacraments through Confirmation. When I go to a church for things like weddings and baptisms I still make the sign of the cross with holy water and genuflect, and I still know and say all the responses. Not because it's what I believe, but as a sign of respect. If I were to go to a Japanese person's house I would take off my shoes. I am not Japanese, but it is their tradition.

You have probably figured out by now that I am no longer Catholic. I could go on and on about the things certain "Christians" spout or how the bible is full or contradictions, but really what it came down to was that I just didn't believe what they believed. I didn't believe in their god, the concept of the holy trinity, baptism, etc. When I was about 18 I started learning about Paganism and Wicca. I had friends who were Wiccan and based on what they told me and what I read it seemed that was best fit my beliefs. However, something was still off. Even though I was more comfortable worshipping a Goddess  or a polytheistic religion, some never felt quite right. My belief deities changed (God and Goddess, God in a horned and hooded form, Goddess as the triple Goddess, just the Goddess), but it always felt forced. I never challenged the thought. After all, this is what I was supposed to believe. Right?

One of the traits of BPD is identity issues. This is a subject that has come up recently for me during my month of a balance and centering. People with BPD have trouble knowing who they they are, what they want, and what their beliefs truly are. I reflected back and realized that my identity issues played a role in my beliefs. I kept believing in a God/Goddess because it's what I read, what friends did, and because it made things black and white for me. Maybe I wasn't Wiccan? Wait, though, I still believed everything else. Reincarnation, karma, connection with nature and the stars. I even felt a connection with the Sabbaths as long as the concept of "Goddess gives birth to the God" was removed. None of that felt forced, none of that felt  academic; all of that came naturally and was what I truly believed in my heart. So now I was confused. How could I be Pagan and not believe in the God and Goddess? Wasn't that the point? Maybe I was Agnostic? No, that doesn't fit. Definitely not Atheist. The problem was I was having trouble putting the words together to describe what I believed. I also didn't know if such a belief system existed, and I don't do well without labels. I know labels anger a lot of people, but for someone with BPD they can be very important as they help with our identity and help us feel grounded. So I kept researching, but this time I was researching something that fit what I truly believed; something that made me say, "oh! someone put my thoughts into words." I was not looking to turn someone's words into my thoughts. This is what I am, this is what feels right and what I connect with.

Pandeist Pagan

  • "Pandeism is a theological doctrine which combines aspects of pantheism and deism. It holds that the creator of the universe actually became the universe, and so ceased to exist as a separate and conscious entity."
  • I do not subscribe to the idea of a personalized, transcending, or anthropomorphic deity. However, I do believe the universe has a strong feminine energy. I feel most spiritual in nature, like a child in the arms of her mother. Because I believe nature and the universe *is* the divine.
  • I am a Dualist Attribute Pandeist. "Dualist Attribute, which can also be called “Neutral Monism” or “Dialectical Monism” says that there is only one substance but it has two attributes (or maybe more?) – Matter/ Energy and Mind/ Consciousness. In other words, rather than the fundamental building block of the universe being Matter or it being Mind, there is a third substance below both of these which then gives rise to either one as an attribute. It is this underlying fundamental substance that unites the universe and is therefore 'god.'" (note: I try not to use god in my language, but it was part of the quote).
  • "People who identify as pagans don’t all believe the same things. Some believe literally that gods or spirits exists, that elaborate ritual is critically important, or that magick can achieve real effects outside of the user’s natural reach. Most books on pagan beliefs and practices belong in this “supernatural pagan” category. This approach is accompanied by a whole panoply of products and paraphernalia, from crystals and cauldrons to chalices, daggers and tarot cards. But there are others – let’s call them naturalistic pagans, pantheist pagans or atheist pagans - who don’t believe in any supernatural beings, forces or realms. For naturalistic paganism, the pagan gods and rituals are not taken literally but as symbolic expressions of a reverential attitude to Nature, while magick is a kind of therapy or "soul-work" rather than a supernatural way of controlling natural events." 
  • I believe in reincarnation. I believe when we die there is a "waiting period" before our next life. This is when we are able to see our loved ones, how ghosts can visit us, or anything like that. This waiting period could take 2 years or 200 years. I do not believe our souls transcend, but rather exist within the universe.
  • I believe in a type of Intelligent Design. "the Pseudoscientific view that certain features of the Universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an indirect process such as natural selection." Many people who believe in ID, including myself, do not assign a personality to the designer. "In fact, the idea of pantheistic evolution is not even limited to that of Earth and its systems. Modern New Agers embrace the whole universe in some form of conscious cosmic evolution." Does ID reject Darwinian Evolution completely? No, "there are two fundamentally different possible causes for how humans have come to exist: blind natural processes (chance-law) or purposeful intelligent design. The two mechanisms are not wholly mutually exclusive." Basically I do believe in macroevolution, but I believe something helped it along.
All of this makes sense to me, and has helped a lot of my fears regarding death. None of it feels forced or like I am having identity issues. I feel calm, at peace, and no longer conflicted. I also realized that my beliefs don't need to make sense to other people, only me. One thing I like about Paganism is that it doesn't follow a strict adherence of rules. I rejected the confinement of Catholicism; pray to this specific god, do it in this building, worship this one book. My beliefs never felt cookie cutter, and Paganism allows for that mishmash of beliefs. I believe that's why it also felt forced when I used a book of shadows or made an altar. I always felt most connected and spiritual in nature, while meditating. Not while using inanimate objects. Perhaps that's why I like gemstones so much? While they are objects, they are objects from nature.

All I can say, is that I set out on a journey of self exploration; to find answers, and I got what I was searching for. No, rather, I found the words that matched my thoughts.