Archive for the ‘Attention’ Category

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Diagnosis: Help or Hindrance?

November 22, 2011

I’m writing this by popular request of twitter.

Often people question whether a mental health diagnosis is a good thing. Personally I think it is a good thing aslong as it isn’t misdiagnosis and has been well thought out. To treat an illness you must first know what it is. Unlike many with a BPD diagnosis I was relieved when I was told what was wrong because I already had my suspicions. It meant I had a name to my “crazy” behaviour and could work on conquering. If you use your diagnosis constructively, it can work for you not against you. The only scary diagnosis should be one you haven’t heard of before. Because knowledge is power. Knowing what an illness is and how to fight it is the key to recovery.

On the other side being diagnosed with a mental health problem can mean that stigma is suddenly chasing you like a wild dog but then the only difference between you before diagnosis and after is that someone has told you what is wrong. Whether you are told what you have, not having a diagnosis doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

A diagnosis of a mental illness can sometimes feel daunting and scary and can often worsen symptoms because, hell, nobody wants to be ill. My dad will often use his diagnosis as a crutch by saying “But I can’t do that, I’m Bipolar aren’t I?” he’s someone who blindly follows the doctors and hopes the pills will make him better. He doesn’t actively take part in improving his mental health or changing his situation. So for someone like my dad, it probably wouldn’t matter what diagnosis he had, he would take the pills and be on his way.

It depends how you approach it. But it shouldn’t leave you feeling hopeless. It should leave you feel that there is hope. No, there isn’t always a way to “cure” it but there are ways of coping with it. When you get a mental illness diagnosis, don’t think it’s the end. It’s the beginning of a rocky path to a stable future.

Once people become less ignorant about mental illness, I know that a diagnosis will seem less scary. There will be less of a worry that other people will judge you and be scared of you. When there is more acceptance of mental health problems in society, more people will feel comfortable with getting that all important diagnosis.

I think one of the real problems is self diagnosis, once you’ve been diagnosed with one thing you can start thinking but I’m also this and this Oh! and this one. But generally recovering from your main diagnosis or controlling the symptoms of it will probably control the other attributes you’d find in other illness too. The main diagnosis is the important one and will usually take the others with it. Multiple diagnosis isn’t uncommon but then mental illnesses don’t like to be alone. I’d say I have Borderline Personality Disorder, Social Anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder yet I just say I have BPD because the social anxiety and PTSD are part of my BPD. Don’t cover yourself in diagnosis. You may have many diagnoses but there will always be one that sticks out and that has to be focused on first.

So that’s my two cents. I think it’s a help, but what do you think?

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Control

November 10, 2011

I have none. I really don’t. I watched “The 8 year old Anorexic” yesterday and I was shocked by it but my unstable mind was mostly thinking things like this:

“I wish I had that much control.

Look at all the attention she’s getting, maybe If I starved…

I wish I could starve myself, It’s so extreme even exciting.

I could be emotionally and physically unstable, then I would get looked after forever.”

Although having BPD can be unbearable at the same time to recover from my illness means not having reasons for people to look after me. If I’m ill I need help from people.

Now back to the self control, I write myself a note yesterday it said:

NO BURGERS.

NO PIZZA.

NO CHINESE.

Eat fruit.

Drink Water.

STOP EATING.

I was completely determined to do this, as I am every time I try and start something like this. But then my biggest addiction is food (after sex). It makes me feel so good and I can have it any time (unlike sex) I can just go into the kitchen and stuff my face and it feels so so good. The feeling I get from eating some delicious is euphoric. When I feel stressed or anxious (99.9% of the time, the 0.1% being after I’ve eaten) I eat but it’s not just simply eating it’s gorging myself until I feel sick. And it feels wonderful. I get so determined sometimes when I see anorexia programmes to just not eat and I make a plan but then I get hungry or I feel down and J will say I need to eat something and he’ll tell me that I’m allowed and I’ll use any excuse to stuff myself again. The thing is I feel so determined not to and then when it comes to it I really can’t stop. I can not eat but the days that I don’t I have a hell of a lot that I have done in that day so I have been too distracted to eat. It shows that I can do it I just need more distraction, like writing. I’m not craving anything right now because I’m distracted by this but as soon as I stop I know I’ll want to get some take-out. Although we do need to do food shopping today and I’m going to order loads of fruit because although fatty foods is very pleasurable, I had an apple yesterday and the sweetness was so delicious. So I think If I live off of apples, water, salads and sandwiches I’m not being too dangerous but I’m still tricking my brain into thinking I am by not eating loads of food. This isn’t about hurting myself as such, it’s about satisfying my mind into thinking I am because it is adamant on doing so.

People never think food is an addiction but it really is. Like anything can become an addiction. They just think people are fat and should stop eating, they don’t think that maybe this person is eating to stop all the hurt that is controlling their head. It’s such a stereotype to see a picture of a girl who has recently broken up with her boyfriend eating a big tub of ice cream. Food is a beautiful comfort. It used to just simply be for survival but with our over indulgence nowadays it’s normal to eat too much food just when we feel like it. I do get upset that I’ve put on two stone in a couple of months, I do but then when I feel shit I don’t care. I really don’t. Who cares If I’m huge, I want to eat, it’ll make me feel better. But then I know if I carry on like this by the age of 25 I’ll be so big that I’ll fall into a horrible depression. Then I’ll die. So I have two options, eat feel good, kill myself because I’m obese. Stop comfort eating, find distractions, potential of depression becoming more apparent due to not having comfort eating, kill self with depression.

At least the not eating has only a potential of suicide, right? Maybe I should try that one. Now I know there is one thing that could potentially balance the two things I would want. Eating food as much as I like but then not gaining any weight and abusing my body. But then after having a brief affair with vomiting numerous times a day and not eating a thing, I lost a tooth and losing my teeth is something that would cause any even worse depression than being fat. I can’t get my teeth back. It’s sad though because after I did all of this, I loved my body. I was size 12, I had never been size 12 before, I felt really feminine. It seems strange with the fact that I have constant stress and anxiety that I don’t lose weight but then it shows how much I do eat. I don’t go out a lot, which limits exercise but I do have a very high constant sex drive so that’s my majority exercise.

The reason behind BPD’s high sex drive and lack of self control is the extreme want of that thrill, that excitement to alleviate boredom and give pleasure. It takes you away from everything. The pleasure may not last as long as we wish but it’s something and if we can access it easily then all the better. Food is easy to get. Sex is easier to get if you’re in a relationship but then BPD promiscuity is of course a big issue in a relationship or not. I wouldn’t say it’s “sex addiction” I would call it simply addiction to things that make you feel good. Which with BPD is very limited. Simple things cannot please someone with BPD. I must say here again I am not promiscuous and I am faithful to J. But as a woman with a high sex drive, he can even  get frustrated with it. So I eat instead. When you’re so used to being ignored by parents as a child and often neglected you realise as you get older that sex can be a very good tool for attention. Again, I say this here that I know I’m started to sound like I sleep around and try and get men’s attention with my body but I’m only referring to the what I do around my Husband. My father loved my mother but only ever really wanted sex from her, so at a young age I learnt that men just want sex. Which, isn’t true but it is a dominating part of their lives. I won’t lie, I know women who when they feel a little neglected, walk past their partner in the nude and it usually get the desired result. Although I know that my husband doesn’t want JUST sex from me, it is so much easier to get his attention and time from offering it. It’s more enticing that sitting down for a nice chat. I just need to control it, I will use innuendos without noticing it and sometimes I just wish I would stop but then I’m so desperate for full attention that it just happens.

It’s sad to see how my father treats and looks at women because to a young daughter it teaches her to feel the need to degrade herself for a man to love her. I remember in the earlier stages of mine and J’s relationship and I would try and act a way that wasn’t me and he knew it. He would say to me, “you don’t have to do things like that to make me love you” and I was baffled. What was this? It had to be a trick. How could he love me if I didn’t take my top off. Was this what real, genuine men were like? It still confuses me and I’m still learning that J doesn’t just love me because I have breasts. My fathers view on women has really shaped the idea of who I am and his ideas are WRONG. We were be watching motorbike racing together and he would always say, “Look! You could be one of those starting line girl who wear mini shorts and hold up a sign”. He had some good future plans for me, he did. I know my dad was always a “lad” but then it doesn’t help your daughter to have any respect for herself. I never wore revealing clothes or caked my face in make-up. I had a lot of respect for my body and that was mainly down the the church I was in. But now I am not a part of it, I’m not AS strict as I was then. I still don’t walk around with my breasts out but If I want to wear a pair of shorts I will. J doesn’t like me wearing revealing clothing but he’s not one of those controlling men who will force me to change if I did. He just doesn’t want other men seeing me half naked.

Yes, I did completely steer off the subject but I always do.

I have learnt many dangerous things from my parents and this means that I do find it hard to have control over my actions because I know extreme actions get equally as extreme reactions. I would only get cared for if I was dying so sometimes dying can be very appealing. Not being dead, but dying. I want to be begged to stop harming myself. The fall that comes with that though is often with these actions, if you do them too many times, the person who has to experience what you’re doing can often just start to block it out. They think well you do this all the time and I give you the reaction you want yet you do it again so telling you I care doesn’t seem to help. As with everything, validation is temporary.

When being told to recover from BPD, it mean unlearning that bad things mean you get looked after. It means unlearning that para-suicide and suicide is the way to go when things get rough. It means unlearning that addictions will keep you going forever. But then it means learning that my husband does love me and I don’t need to keep asking him again and again and again whether he really does love me. It means learning that I have to look after myself sometimes and accept that everyone can’t look after me for me. It means learning Independence. It means you can’t just kill yourself when you miss the bus because you don’t want to have to feel any negative emotion. It means learning that food will help in the short term but in the long run your problems won’t just dissapear.

Both paths are hell but only one can lead to potential recovery. But then do I really want to recover. Not right now.

The reason I don’t go out much, why I study with distance courses is so I don’t have to be around people. Because the horror stories I hear about people with BPD  and how out of control their actions become scares me a lot. And I know I have a lack of control with sex, food and money and to put myself into the world gives a greater risk. I mean If I can have those problems when I don’t get out much what could happen if I were out there. I’m not willing to risk it.

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Celebrity Worship Syndrome

November 7, 2011

I searched this knowing that I would find some kind of mental illness attached to it. I didn’t know it would be so in depth though. The reason I’m writing this is for one reason. Merrill Osmond (who I will call MO in this article) of the Osmond Brothers is retiring. So what? You say.

Well when someone in your family has CWS and their celebrity obsessee is retiring, you will worry.

Let me give you a few wiki excerts about CWS:

“Psychologists in the U.S.A. and UK. created a celebrity worship scale to rate the problems. In 2002, United States psychologists Lynn McCutcheon, Rense Lange, and James Houran introduced the Celebrity Attitude Scale, a 34 item scale administered to 262 persons living in central Florida.[4] McCutcheon et al. suggested that celebrity worship comprised one dimension in which lower scores on the scale involved individualistic behavior such as watching, listening to, reading and learning about celebrities whilst the higher levels of worship are characterized by empathy, over-identification, and obsession with the celebrity.

However, later research among larger UK samples have suggested there are 3 different aspects to celebrity worship;[5] John Maltby (University of Leicester), and the aforementioned psychologists examined the Celebrity Attitude Scale among 1732 United Kingdom respondents (781 males, 942 females) who were aged between 14 and 62 years and found the following 3 dimensions to celebrity worship:

Entertainment-social

This dimension comprises attitudes that fans are attracted to a favorite celebrity because of their perceived ability to entertain and become a social focus such as “I love to talk with others who admire my favorite celebrity” and “I like watching and hearing about my favorite celebrity when I am with a large group of people”.

Intense-personal

Intense-personal aspect of celebrity worship reflects intensive and compulsive feelings about the celebrity, akin to the obsessional tendencies of fans often referred to in the literature; for example “I share with my favorite celebrity a special bond that cannot be described in words” and “When something bad happens to my favorite celebrity I feel like it happened to me’”.

Borderline-pathological

This dimension is typified by uncontrollable behaviors and fantasies regarding scenarios involving their celebrities, such as “I have frequent thoughts about my favorite celebrity, even when I don’t want to” and “my favorite celebrity would immediately come to my rescue if I needed any type of help”. ”

Now I would say that most of us experience the first one. We have a favorite celebrity and if something of theirs comes out to buy then we’ll buy it, this one doesn’t seem to be a large problem. The second one sounds like a lot of the fans who say “Justin Bieber is my life” and they are usually quite young. They generally grow out of it as they mature. Now the 3rd one shows some mental health problems, delusional thoughts about someone they don’t know personally.

My mother is the majority intense- personal but can be borderline-pathological.

“Evidence indicates that poor mental health is correlated with celebrity worship. Researchers have examined the relationship between celebrity worship and mental health in United Kingdom adult samples. Maltby et al. (2001) found evidence to suggest that the intense-personal celebrity worship dimension was related to higher levels of depression and anxiety. Similarly, Maltby et al., in 2004, found that the intense-personal celebrity worship dimension was not only related to higher levels of depression and anxiety, but also higher levels of stress, negative affect, and reports of illness.”

People who become obsessed with things generally have a problem. They have holes in their lives that they fill with things, routines and people. It’s normal to want to do it but sometimes it can go too far.

Celebrity Worship syndrome I would say is one of the main causes of my BPD. My mother’s obsession lead to me feeling lesser than MO and less loved than he was by her. She would pay and still does hundreds of pounds of items of his clothing or stupid items he had touched. They hang on her bedroom walls along with thousands (literally) of pictures and posters of him. She turned the marital bedroom into a shrine and my dad now has his own room. She has no money and numerous credit cards. She works to so she can see MO while my dad worked for me and mum. Everything she did and does is for him. She would leave frequently to other contries to where he was often leaving me with a very mentally unwell father. My feelings of abandonment come from my mother leaving me for MO more than once a year, without telling me beforehand so as not to upset me. Although not being told meant that she would leave unexpectedly and it made like seem very unpredictable. It often reminds of the Strange Situation I started off as the secure child, crying when she left, happy she was home but the more and more it happened the more I became Anxious-resistant insecure, I would cry when she left and when she came home, I would be resistant and not want to see her and accept her holiday present with reluctance. It was a difficult pattern and when your parent has CWS you start to hate the Celebrity more and more. She believes that MO can solves all of her problems, he can cure her sorrows and troubles. She won’t listen if you tell her that he will never fall in love with her and that he isn’t interested in making her life better because he has his own life. He may recognise her when she goes to see him but when she pours out her soul about all of her problems, he can’t do anything about it and he knows it’s not his place to. In ways he has crossed boundaries because he is such a nice person and does want to help but then she sees this as him loving her and wanting to save her from her misery. I remember when I met MO it felt very strange, he was so lovely that I wondered why I hated him in the first place, then I realised I shouldn’t have been directing my hatred towards him because it’s not his fault he’s alive. Then it started turning more towards my mother. She believes she is in love with him. But infatuation and obsession is not love. It’s not love at all.

Just thinking about it is reducing me to tears. She always loved him more and she still does. Dad has even said it too, she loves MO more than both of us. Now MO is retiring at the end of next year and I’m scared mum is going to die. She always told me if anything happened and she couldn’t see him again she would kill herself. If I died she wouldn’t kill herself because she would still have MO in her life. Surely it should be the other way around?

How am I supposed to deal with that? How as I child was I supposed to deal with that? Knowing you aren’t as good as some strange in your mothers life.

Edit: I remembered I had this picture that I took of a list I found written by my mother.

If you can’t read it, it says.

List of blessings that I am grateful for!

Merrill.

My hair.

A good pair of working eyes.

My beautiful cat.

Microwave.

Savannah (I scribbled out my real name on paint to protect anon)

I was last on her list and in a different pen to everything else, meaning I wasn’t originally added but was thought about at a later point. Sure I’m on the list I guess but to be below the microwave and her hair…

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Protected: I’m not ill.

October 20, 2011

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Why do we always want things we can’t have?

October 18, 2011

I have always been like this with almost everything in my life. I’ll want something so much because someone said no and then if I do get it, I get bored of it and no longer want it.  I don’t know whether it’s part of the childish attributes of BPD. I think that’s why consistency and commitment are so difficult because when we do get what we want we no longer want it anymore or it isn’t as amazing as it used to be. It feels like nothing is ever enough and never will be. It’s difficult to write this because I don’t want to upset anyone in my life who reads this.

All I want them to know if I am trying so hard everyday to not be like that. To try and appreciate things that I do have instead of always wanting more. I know J feels that nothing he ever does is good enough because that’s how I make him feel. And in all honesty I know my expectations of him are beyond what any human being could give and that I don’t appreciate him enough. My parents never taught me to appreciate, they taught me to want want want. My mother in her debts and my father in his sexual endeavors and potential marital rapes. I have never felt good enough meaning that I tend to treat others like they aren’t good enough because then I feel better about myself. If they are good enough then why aren’t I? I can be a bully. A horrible bully and yet it seems to only be to the closest person in my life. And I know why I do it. I know he loves me and I know that no matter what I did or said he would still love me, so I abuse that. I know anyone would leave and not put up with me. But he knows that I do it because I hurt and that I don’t mean any of it. He understands why I act the way I do. And no, I’m not saying he should put  up with it but for people with BPD, someone who will stick with you through the awful things that go through you and out into the world, is rare.

I called this post what I did because I was just thinking of how much I pined after this boy at church for 3 years knowing he didn’t like me yet a few seconds of getting to know other people and I found the person I would marry. I spent so long trying to live in a fantasy world of what I couldn’t have that I could have missed the most important person in my life. I often wonder what would have happened if I stepped out of my fantasy world maybe even a year earlier? Or even earlier than that, I mean my now husband was there just as long as this other boy I was just too stupid to notice. I know if my best friend is reading this she will definitely agree with me there! It was like the fact that he didn’t want me made me hold on longer because it was more exciting that way. But then someone who wanted me and I wanted too was so much more wonderful. I didn’t have to live in a fake fantasy world because it became real and that was when I realised that the other boy was immature and a bully because he laughed at me with my new choice of happiness because I was no longer interested in him so all he could do was mock me.

I remember only ever liking 2 boys a lot before my husband, both of whom were my friends first and I knew didn’t like me in that way. Yet in a way it was a comfort that I couldn’t have what I wanted because then I couldn’t lose it. I think that’s one of the things that is behind wanting what you can’t have because if you want something you do have and you lose it, you get hurt. If you want something you can’t have you can enjoy wanting it and the anticipation of maybe getting it with the comfort of not being able to lose it. I imagine that if either of those boys did like me back, it wouldn’t have lastest because it was just a fantasy and if they really wanted me then I would have probably avoided them or gone into it and then realised I just enjoyed the fantasy of what things would be like. Of course it would never be that way! I was a teenage girl full of romantic ideas for goodness sake. The difference with J is that it didn’t start off with pining of one person to another. It started with mutual affection so we both shared the same lovely idea of what it would be  like to be together so we were able to settle into a relationship together without years of imagining the wonderful, perfect life we would have (it is far from perfect). We could start off together and build things together instead of making up all these fantasy stories beforehand!

But of course because I’d gotten what I wanted it caused problems. I had/have high expectations as I said before and as it was my first relationship I didn’t have a clue what to expect or how I would behave in a relationship. Now, I am chaotic in a relationship. I’m jealous, controlling and a bit mental. But then I am very affection, protective and will do anything for him. Most men/boys run a mile at the thought of a controlling woman. But neither of us knew I was like that until we were in a relationship so he was able to see my family and the way they were and the way I was brought up, so when I became chaotic or controlling he already understood why. It was all very strange for me and he was very clingy, well at least I think so, I have nothing to compare. But I guess I thought that because I don’t have affectionate parents and as an only child with distant parents I was used to being alone. Cuddling was comforting but awkward, I wanted to love it as a child would from a parent, feeling safe and loved but as my experience of love and affection went, it never lasted long and was often met with hostility soon after for no known reason. So I was very anxious. My best friend often said to me how I would sometimes push him away if he was holding me too much or being too close. It was my way of being defensive I guess. But I’m still learning. I love cuddling now and feel eased with how clingy he can be. I don’t call it clingy anymore because I noticed how when my parents would be unpleasant to me, it was then that he become more “clingy”. It wasn’t clingyness, it was protection. He could feel my vulnerability. He does feel my vulnerability. It is very hard for me when I am upset with something to be hugged because I have always dealt with my emotions alone and I am unable to let someone get too close at such a vulnerable time. Usually I will cry on my own, stomp around, maybe scream a little or sometimes cut and then when I have been able to be alone in my pain I am able to let J in and let him hold me. but it is still very hard.

I always digress, back to the point, this new thing called a relationship was very anxiety provoking. I broke up with J numerous times because I just didn’t know how to be a couple AND an independent person. I felt if I had to have my own life path I couldn’t also have a relationship because I can’t be both me and a relationship. I still struggle with this. The jealousy and paranoia I felt was making being in a relationship hard so sometimes it was like the lesser of two evils. Be in a relationship and suffer paranoia, anger and jealousy or leave him and feel like a little bit of you just died. Of course I decided to suffer for love and just work on myself. Yes I still struggle being in a relationship but I know that I won’t always. I sometimes get bored of being in a relationship because I have it but then remember that when I didn’t have a relationship with him anymore I wanted and needed it a lot more and that boredom will come with familiarity, that’s why relationships need constant work and change. Ups and downs are normal and breaking up isn’t the answer to making me want it anymore. I need to learn to want the things I do have instead of craving what I don’t because if I don’t I could ruin a lot of good thing I have which, BPD is generally associated with. Sabotaging the good things in your life because you feel you don’t deserve it or convince yourself you no longer want them because you want more to fill that hideous hole inside.

We want what we can’t have because we don’t appreciate enough what we already have.

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Protected: I want to…

September 1, 2011

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Children’s movies and bright eyes.

August 28, 2011

I often notice my inner child come out with I’m with my husband. He allows me to be a child and not feel embarrassed. I can watch children’s TV and cuddle a toy and he will stroke my hair and let me feel comforted. It may sound strange but my therapists have all said for me to have some time to be a child.  I don’t have many cuddly toys but my therapist told me to buy one special toy to have as a comfort. He is a wonderful penguin and he is a great healer and comforter. When I’m feeling upset my husband always brings him to me. It sounds strange even reading it to myself. I really am quite emotionally immature.

People with borderline personality disorder do have the emotional intelligence of a child due to things that may have happened to them. We may lack understanding due to confusion when we are actually children. Personally for me I had two very contrasting and chaotic parents, one parent is sex obsessed and lives on porn and the other thinks anything sexual is bad and wrong, for example. What does a child believe? Now imagine that happens with a lot of other life lessons, contrasting views, where each parent may change their view from one second to the next. Your mind gets scrambled and when you grow up you try and think what you believe but then you aren’t so sure. And with parents like that it is almost impossible to ever be a child. You have to be the adult and I was the only adult in my household. I took care of them.

Most of my family would think it weird or stupid if they knew J indulged in me acting like a child. But it’s not like I go out in public in children’s clothing and wear a dummy, I just allow myself to regress into a childlike state to experience the comfort from J that I never got as a child. When I’m in that state of mind I love watching children’s movies and my eyes light up with excitement when I see a pretty princess or a talking turtle, I sometimes even point and say “look darling that turtle talks!” almost in a child’s voice. It’s such a wonderful feeling. It can also block out the things that are happening around me because I’m a child so they no longer concern me. These behaviours have never worried me because they’ve never lasted for an extended period or to a worrying extent. I’m just able to enjoy being young. Surely when you’ve had no childhood it’s natural to try and be a child when you are out of the situation that took your childhood from you. I have a nice balance though because I am always very adult any other time but as soon as I get to watch a good cartoon or kid’s movie I have the childhood I wasn’t allowed! I hope to watch a turtle’s tale later 🙂