Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Struggling is part of this game

Borderline personality patients struggle big time with intense and instable relationships. I’m struggling with a recent breakup. Even when I have my dark moments I can pat myself in the back because, yes, I’m depressed but I’m still fighting. For me the key point to keep myself afloat in this storm is to do what makes me feel a little better. Right now is hard to keep up with all the house cleaning, laundry. Is extremely overwhelming. So my little goal each week is to make the laundry and make the dishes. All the vacuuming and general cleaning can wait. If I see the whole picture I will feel overwhelmed, so I tell myself, today you will do the dishes, just that simple thing. When I finish the dishes I feel my goal for the day was attained. This past weekend my goal was to cut the grass, task that I really hate to do but I don’t want my neighbors complaining. I mowed the lawn and slept the rest of the day. Yes, I overslept but I accomplished the lawn. Eventually I will get more done.
Let’s think for a minute than instead of a mental health condition you were blind. There are certain things a blind person will have difficulty doing and nobody will pester them asking them to see. So the same with our mental illness, we certainly have days in which the chemistry of our brain plus life situations can put us very down and we have to realize that those days we will do less. That doesn’t mean we are losing the battle it means we need to slow down. I know for the people around us is very difficult sometimes to accept that we have a disability because isn’t that obvious, like being blind or deaf. I will never get tired of saying this is a disease like any other. We have to educate. We, don’t process emotional distress like healthy people do. We are not like other people, we are not less but we are not like other people, we are different. Frequently I tell myself why I cannot have more control over my emotions and I’m extremely hard on myself. But something I have to realize is, I have a mental health condition that isn’t going to disappear. I have the hope it will improve eventually with therapy, medications and self improvement but is there and sometimes it will affect me. Most of the days just getting dressed is a huge accomplishment nor to say I keep coming to work everyday. And isn’t because I’m strong is more because I don’t have a choice. I have a house, a car, insurance. I have nobody to back me up so I have to make sure I keep my job. In the past I had a very demanding job, now I don’t and instead of looking at it as I downgraded I see it like a good thing. I’m able to leave my work at the office. I don’t work weekends so I have the space just to lay in bed. I give myself the space to stay were I feel safe: my bed, my books, my magic comforter. I really will not know what to do without the public library books. When I cannot handle anything I just grab a book and that soothes me. Yes, is an escape but if is between reading Harry Potter and harming myself, reading is better. Is funny how excited I get when I’m at the library picking the books I will read. All those books and I can read them all. I’m reading everything I can because that gives me a break from all the pain I feel right now. I don’t pretend to keep running away but right now is the only relief I have. And this path is about that, about staying in the present, making sure I do what is necessary right now, and just that.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What Borderline Personality Disorder feels like...(TRIGGER)

This video is a great explanation on how we feel. This is not an easy disorder, sometimes it can be, as the video tells, a living hell.

Friday, July 10, 2009

"I want to die"-What to do to help somebody that is thinking about suicide

The murder-suicide of Steve McNair, 36, and Sahel Kazemi, 20 raised the topic of this post. Police indicates Kazemi shot McNair. Other news reports point that Kazemi told some friends her life was a mess and she was going to end it all. I had been in that same position, in which my emotional pain is so high, so excruciating that I just want an exit. I never thought about harming other people but I can identify myself in the position of complete hopelessness and death like the only solution. In those moments we (as individuals with mental health issues) are not thinking clearly, is like having a broken leg, you cannot expect us to walk normally. Therefore, in those moments we have a broken emotional state. So then comes the questions what you can do to help this person.
First of all, you have to take the commentary seriously. Never pass over it thinking the person is not capable of killing themselves, because you really don’t know. You have to contact a professional. Don’t try to fix it by your own. Probably you don’t have the tools to deal with this, so please don’t try to save anybody. If you have to contact this person therapist or ask for an involuntary hospitalization , do it. If you want to be supportive drive them to the therapy sessions, help them to find a therapist if they don’t have one. Remind them about taking their pills, help them around the house. I think, and this is very personal, a 302 is a good tool in the case they are a danger to themselves or other. But always rely in the help of a therapist.
One of the things that never helped me is the commentary of well-intention friends telling me “but you have so much, you are young and beautiful, why you want to kill yourself” People, this commentary just killed me, because it highlighted my inability to feel better at that point and then I felt worst. You can be a successful, a smart person but when the chemistry of your brain goes nuts nothing matters.
The Alliance of Support to Persons with Depression and Bipolar Disorder indicate if somebody talks about suicide advises:

• Keep yourself calm and take the commentary seriously.
• Call the therapist, doctor, police or 911
• Listen to the person, always mantain visual contact.
• Recognize the person feelings. Don’t criticize or argue.
• Emphasize that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporal problem. Assure them there is help available.
• Don’t promise confidentiality because probably you will need to talk with the doctor/police/therapist.
• Don’t leave the person alone until they are with competent professionals.

Other websites of how to help a person that is thinking about suicide:

Emergency/Suicide Hotlines
1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Monday, July 6, 2009

Suffocation and sucking it up

Some studies regarding borderline personality indicate that patients with this disorder have deep fears of abandonment. So when we finally find somebody that can gives us love or attention we do whatever is necessary so they don’t abandon us. With the result we suffocate and smother people…and people obviously run away. I wish I had a good advice not to do this but sadly I don’t. Sometimes I think for my own sake I should just focus into my writing, poetry, reading, going out with the couple of friends I have and simply quitting hoping for a partner. And I have to clarify I never look for nobody. I just find them in my course. I find them and then I think they are worth the try but when things get rough they just walk away. This reaction is normal, not everybody has the tools to deal with us. But is kind of hard to realize probably we will never find somebody able to see and deal with our mental illness. Right now I see the journey as a lonely path, nobody is holding my hand and I feel nobody will, even if I tried to the best of my capabilities to overcome the traits of my illness. The only people that probably will stick is your family, the people you grew up with and love you unconditionally and I don’t have that so I have to suck it up and keep going…and God knows how painful is.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Coping with Bipolar Affective Disorder

Coping with Bipolar Affective Disorder

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A dog can be an important weapon

One of my most useful weapons against my mental health issues is a black, hairy and active dog. Meche is a Schnauzer Lab mix, she has the wiry hair of a Schnauzer and the energy of both breeds. She is the ugliest dog I ever seen but has big brown eyes that can melt even the strongest anger.. Sometimes, especially when she chews something she wasn’t suppose to have or when she stoles food from the table I really want to choke her but right then she looks at me and I’m a lost case. Yes, I have to clean after her constantly but the benefits of having her are way more that the responsibilities. This is my list of why having a dog is a good weapon against mental health issues:

1. When I’m at my lowest and I don’t have the energy to get out of bed, having to take her out is a huge excuse to get up, once I take her out I force myself to nibble something in the kitchen and even take a shower.

2. I have the new rule that when I feel down and I’m ruminating negative memories I take her for a walk. Walking her requires attention so she doesn’t eat something in the street or jump over a kid, so my mind goes away from the ruminating thoughts. Since I’m walking her everyday I lost two pounds.

3. Some studies indicate that giving affection lowers you blood pressure and decrease the stress. I have to say that when I cuddle with Meche I feel much better.

4. People with BPD have issues with abandonment and required constant reassurance that they are loved and will never been abandoned. There is no human capable of filling up that need, but a dog can help us immensely to fill that void. Meche is always there, happy to see me even when I just step out for a few hours. She loves me even when I’m grumpy. A dog can give you the experience to bond with somebody that will never abandon you.

5. Dogs are a great companion. They don’t judge or pester you telling you what you have to do. They give unconditional acceptance. They make the journey with you in complete silence. I always know Meche is going to be there to lick my face when I’m crying or to stay in bed with me when I feel I cannot handle the world.

6. Since I have the problem of instable relationships having a relationship with my dog gives me something emotional stable. I don’t feel I’m walking on eggshells afraid she is going to abandon me or that I have to please her. So in some way I can relate better to her.

7. In many occasions I stop myself from committing suicide because I didn’t know if she was going to be okay after I died. I know her favorite treats, which route she likes to walk…and let’s be real, who else, if not me, is going to take care of such an ugly and crazy dog.

When I think nobody loves me, that nobody cares, that I will be better dead because I mean nothing to anybody I look at Meche, so happy, always there loving me and I know that I least I mean something to that dog, and sometimes that is all I need to keep going.

Friday, June 26, 2009

We are not alone

I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar disorder a few years ago and those who share this diagnosed know emotionally is like we have third degree burns that never heals. I guess I want to start this blog to share with other patients and families this journey. I know I have my low moments, my anxiety, my depressions, the self harm, the binge eating but I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Even when there is no light I'm willing to keep crawling until I find the exit. Is tough, people don't understand how it is, the fights with the insurance companies go forever...is real tough. Especially our love relationships. Many of us have dysfunctional families big time and maybe only a few friends. This journey can be a lonely one. That is why I want to share my journey. Because maybe another patient will read this I say if she can do it, I can too.
My first advice is seek help, have a therapist and a psychiatrist. Take yours meds even when you think you are at your best. I had so many hospitalizations because I will not stick to my treatment. Keep taking your meds even when you don't believe in it. It will not harm to do it. If you think the meds aren't working talk to your doctor to lower or up your dose. But never go without them. I been in those shoes and I know sometimes, too many to count I was so sure I was capable of being on my own, no pills but then the crisis will come and I will have to struggle to get back to my feet. And you reach a point in which you want out, you want the craziness to stop. The only way to stop is if you take charge and take advantage of all the tools you can reach.
Something that helped me a lot was going thru a year of Dialectical Behavior Therapy. It didn't cure my disorder but after it I have a better insight and I can catch myself going back to my old ways and someway stop it. Not everything is solved but I'm more aware of my patterns.
I keep myself away from the alcohol or drugs. I know that for me is easy because I never been hooked to any drug or tobacco. But I guess my drug of choice is sex and food. So I'm trying to keep myself away from those random one night stands. The food, well I'm trying to eat healthier and at least walking half hour each day. I'm not killing myself in the gym I just walk the dog half hour each day. In the way I'm knowing my neighbors...and the dog loves it.
Somedays I do great. Somedays I don't. But now I know those feelings of abandonment, of complete hopelessness will pass...and come again. Is how I'm wired. So many times I wished I didn't have this disorders or conditions. But the reality is I do. I cannot change that. I cannot change my shitty family relations or all the abuse I got thru the years. I cannot change all that but for the first time in my life I decided I was going to take my pills, go to therapy and try my best. Obviously the way I had been dealing with all my life before was not the best so I guess it was time to try other ways. I don't expect to have all the correct answers all the time but I expect to get better.
So this blog pretends to be a share of the journey. To show you are not alone in this and for me is a way to re-read what I wrote before and know I can get back into my feet. This shall pass too...I just have to ride the wave.