Borderline Personality Disorder

Crazy

You’re not crazy. You’re pain is not a pathology. Your pain makes sense…You’re a human being with unmet needs.
Now This Op-Ed video about depression

Crazy.

“She’s just crazy. I’m done.”

“That’s just crazy talk.”

“How crazy is that?”

“What are you, crazy?”

Crazy.

How often do we throw that word around? We use it as a throwaway label for people and situations we don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to try and understand. It’s mostly a word which people who consider themselves as “normal” use to explain away and dismiss the abnormal.

Guess what? It’s ableism.

What is Ableism? According to The Urban Dictionary, “Ableism is the discrimination or prejudice against people who have disabilities. Ableism can take the form of ideas and assumptions, stereotypes, attitudes and practices, physical barriers in the environment, or larger scale oppression. It is oftentimes unintentional and most people are completely unaware of the impact of their words or actions.”

This definition isn’t only about physical disabilities, it also counts for those experiencing mental health issues due to atypical brain structure and neurochemistry.

Bipolar Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder
PTSD
Anxiety disorders
Addiction
Compulsive Behavior disorders
ADHD
Asperger’s
Autism Spectrum Disorder (high functioning)

These are but a few examples of things which people with non-neurotypical brains and brain chemistry experience.

Crazy

It is a word which holds a strong stigma. The thought of being “crazy” often causes people not to seek help for symptoms and behaviors which make them feel mentally and emotionally out of control. They don’t want to be labeled as “crazy.” WE don’t want to be labeled and dismissed as being “crazy.” We don’t want to be treated as defective or dismissed because having atypical brains makes us “less than.”

I say “WE” because I have a Bipolar brain which has been affected by ongoing and varied trauma experiences. Four and a half years ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Type 2, and PTSD. Around the same time, my youngest child was educationally identified as having “High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Recently she received the official diagnosis of Autism AND ADHD.

These things cause us to think, react, and act differently than those who have neurotypical brains. We aren’t “crazy,” we aren’t disabled. We are neurodiverse and differently abled.

The thing about the word, “crazy” is that it’s such an inherent part of our American vernacular that even those of us who have been affected and marginalized by the term frequently use it ourselves.

I’m not going to “go off the deep end” (another phrase often used instead of “crazy”) and call out everyone, every time I hear the word used. However, I will start with myself and maybe those closest to me. I haven’t figured out what to say instead, but, I’m working on it. I’ll keep you posted.

Maybe you’ll think about it the next time you hear or use the word.

In case you’re wondering, the August Scrawls Day 3 word is “atypical.”

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Blog for Mental Health 2013

Blog for Mental Health 2013

Blog for Mental Health 2013

Does it seem like I’m blogging for too many causes?

In November, it was Bloggers for Movember. Last week I learned about and joined Bloggers for Peace. Now, I’m also joining the Blog for Mental Health 2013 project.

It certainly wasn’t my intention to become an activist with my blogging. However, in light of the journey of growth, healing, and recovery that I am on and have been on for significant portions of the past twenty years in my own life, which began with a diagnosis of depression and suicidal ideation in my teens and twenties, all of these things tie in together.

Bloggers for Movember

Bloggers for Movember started as a movement to raise awareness for men’s health issues, specifically prostate cancer. Somewhere along the way it came to include raising awareness for Male Mental Health issues. There is almost a cone of silence around those issues in men. Many men who wind up in the penal system and/or homeless experience mental illness in one form or another. Many men who become domestic violence abusers, as well as substance abusers with destructive and compulsive behaviors have mental illness as a factor in their behavior. Yet, bringing the topic of Mental Illness into conversations regarding these things is often dismissed, ridiculed, and treated as a poor, pity me excuse for bad behavior and that bleeding hearts are making excuses for them. So, the ones experiencing the problems first hand self-medicate, act out, and operate in denial, while their symptoms and actions wreak havoc in their relationships and in the lives of the people around them. Because I have had many men in my life; family, friends, and acquaintances, who have dealt with (or not) these things I have been affected and witnessed the effects on others.

Click this badge to join

Click this badge to join

I see the Bloggers for Peace movement as an opportunity to work toward peace and reconciliation regarding the ostracization and stigma people who are labeled as different or other because of mental illness diagnoses and associated behaviors experience and suffer from at all levels and in various ways: personal, professional, educational, governmental, and societal. People who may have unrecognized or undiagnosed mental health issues often operate and function in ways that make them targets for bullying, hatred, intolerance, and diminished opportunities for self-realization and advancement. All of these things are disruptive to the most fundamental place where peace begins, in the inner self.

When I saw Cate’s post on her blog, Infinite Sadness or Hope, and read these words:

Being part of this project is important to me, because I know how hard it is to live in this society where mental illness is not seen as okay. I want to do my bit to spread the word that it is totally okay. I not only want to make life easier for other people who have mental illness, but I also want to contribute a message that prepares our world to be more accepting of mental illness in the future. May the next generation not have to fight with stigma. May they be able to find the acceptance and peace they deserve.

I knew I needed to be part of this project. It is important and it matters. It is an action toward peace. It is an action toward increasing awareness, which can and will lead to understanding and acceptance.

There are three steps to becoming a participant in the project:

1.) Take the pledge by copying and pasting the following into a post featuring “Blog for Mental Health 2013″.

I pledge my commitment to the Blog For Mental Health 2013 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma. ~ I, Kina Diaz DeLeon, do so pledge.

2.) Link back to the person who pledged you.

I did this earlier when I referred to Cate’s post. You can consider this an open pledge, so feel free to link to Human in Recovery and this post!

3.) Write a short biography of your mental health, and what this means to you.

I was first diagnosed with depression as a teenager. I had the not quite vague idea that depression ran in my family. At that time, it was believed that my mother had committed suicide, died of depression, when I was 12 years old. My legal guardian self medicated with marijuana and toxic relationships. My grandmother showed signs of dementia by the time I was in my early 20’s but no one recognized it. I thought she was a bitter, angry, paranoid, and unstable old woman. For the last 17 years I have been in a chaotic and toxic relationship with a man who I believe experiences undiagnosed and untreated Borderline Personality Disorder and possibly unrecongized and undiagnosed learning and developmental delays or disabilities. Other family members have dealt with depression, PTSD, substance addiction and abuse. Many friends and acquaintances have been diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder. I have worked in the Adult Foster Care system for behavioral and developmentally delayed persons who experienced multiple diagnoses and had been severely abused, neglected, and marginalized by their caregivers. There has never been a time in my life where the stigma, ignorance, and effects of mental illness did not affect or impact my life in one way or another. I’m pretty sure I am not alone, but it has almost always felt like I was alone, especially when surrounded by those who were unaware and dismissive of their own potential mental health issues. It has been devastating in so many ways.

However, I am finally seeing hope, healing, growth and progress. All since I began blogging in December 2011. This is why I am joining the Blog for Mental Health 2013 project.

Step 1 Powerlessness: Peace Like A River

The previous four days have been completely wrought with high emotion, deep distress, and life-changing events. Most of the stress and conflicted thoughts and feelings centered around my co-dependent qualifier, Keith, whom I sincerely and honestly believe experiences Borderline Personality Disorder. A significant amount of his symptoms, especially the anger, were triggered by my son’s treatment of him when we attended his wedding on Saturday, cementing the rift between them.

Another potentially triggering event was that LaLa once again needed to leave where she had been living, bring some of her things here, and stay here temporarily, on the same day he came home. Those of you who have been following for a while may recall how badly that went the last time it happened.

Thankfully, LaLa has grown and matured, as have I. So, she was more cognizant of the role her own actions and choices have in contributing to conflict, especially with Keith. She’s doing the work on her inner self that she needs to do. I’m so proud of her and was grateful to have her around.

I think the most difficult thing about my life’s choices and the resulting consequences and turmoil is the realization that I don’t have the power to change my past decisions and their outcomes. Another difficult thing is being able to see and appreciate the good that comes from what seems and feels so bad. The latter difficulty appears to cancel out the former difficulty.

A friend posted this today:
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I may regret the pain and sorrow my two oldest children experienced as a result of my relationship with Keith. I may wish we had been less toxic with one another and had found our path to functionality and healing sooner. Our present difficulties may trigger feelings and thoughts that try to feed my inner fears and demons. Yet, none of that means I regret Keith’s existence, because without him, Luna would not exist.

After examining myself and facing my inner truth, I know that regardless who my partner in dysfunction was, I would have been the same me I was and my oldest kids would have suffered from that, regardless who I was in relationship with.

Because it was Keith, we have Luna, who is the love and light of not only her daddy’s eyes, but the thread of love and joy that connects us all, even though the rift between her father and brother is so deep and wide it currently seems unnavigable.

I am powerless to heal that rift. I can’t reason or explain away the anger, resentment, and deep wounds that exist between them. I can’t control or dictate when, if, or how they are going to interact, forgive, or work through their damage.

I just know I can’t and won’t close either one of them out of my life and my heart.

As we were driving away from the wedding on Saturday and Keith continued to rant and rave in overwrought anger because he was so hurt by the rejection and ostracization he experienced by my son, all I could do is close my eyes and breathe.

It hurt me deeply to hear what he was saying: I hurt for him, I hurt for me, I hurt for Luna, who was hearing her dad, and I hurt for my son. I had no ability to intervene and stop the flow of words, thoughts, or feelings emanating and overflowing from Keith’s side of the car.

I felt my pulse pounding, my heart skipping beats, an explosive pressure building up in my head, and the constricting, choking sensation closing my throat and causing my breathing to come in short, incomplete bursts.

I began thinking of an old hymn, actually one phrase, “Peace like a river.” I closed my eyes and began praying and hearing the hymn inside my mind. As I did, I began recalling the story of the lyricist. This man lost so much and went through incredible hardship prior to writing the words to this song. His tale was a modern (in his time) story of Job.

The realization came that if a man who has gone from the height of socioeconomic and familial success to the overwhelming loss of it all in uncertain times, can experience and write about such profound spiritual and inner peace because he experienced it, then I can too.

My peace cannot continue to be dependent on people or circumstances, relationships or the approval of others. My peace has to become founded on the knowledge that regardless of what is happening in or around me, “it is well with my soul,” and my story is still being told.

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Join Bloggers for Peace at Everyday Gurus

Bloggers For Movember: I think I’m committed to someone with BPD

Borderline Personality Disorder Source:PubMed Health

People with borderline personality disorder often have difficulties controlling their emotions and impulses, and find it hard to keep relationships. They can experience feelings of emptiness, suffer quick changes in mood and they may harm themselves. Problems coping with abandonment and a rapidly changing view of other people can form part of their difficulties. All of these things make it hard for them to engage with any treatment they may be offered. Those who are able to engage often find it hard to stick with the treatment and leave before the end.

Symptoms
People with BPD are often uncertain about their identity. As a result, their interests and values may change rapidly.
People with BPD also tend to see things in terms of extremes, such as either all good or all bad. Their views of other people may change quickly. A person who is looked up to one day may be looked down on the next day. These suddenly shifting feelings often lead to intense and unstable relationships.
Other symptoms of BPD include:
Fear of being abandoned
• Feelings of emptiness and boredom
• Frequent displays of inappropriate anger
• Impulsiveness with money
, substance abuse, sexual relationships, binge eating, or shoplifting
• Intolerance of being alone
• Repeated crises and acts of self-injury, such as wrist cutting or overdosing

Women who present with these symptoms are often referred to and characterized as crazy b****es. Men get characterized as abusive stalkers. All get treated as if they are social lepers and personas non grata. I know this because this is what living with Jerry has been like for the majority of the past 17 years.

I’m a crazy woman of the cyclical depressive, self-sabotaging, co-dependent, crisis junkie variety, who has brief and usually very minor manic peaks. The perfect life mate to a man with undiagnosed and untreated Borderline Personality Disorder. We are a match made in the DSM IV.

It makes a whole lot of sense that someone who is dissociated and disconnected with difficultly forming healthy attachments and bonding would be attracted to someone who is unnaturally clingy with abandonment issues and zero tolerance for being alone.

It meant he was the one doing all the emotional work in our relationship and the one with the overt behavior issues. I could be the heroic single-mom “making good” being victimized and dragged down by the big, bad, DV abuser. We were both just replaying the adult versions of our childhood roles.

PubMed Health: Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The causes of borderline personality disorder (BPD) are unknown. Genetic, family, and social factors are thought to play roles.
Risk factors for BPD include:
• Abandonment in childhood or adolescence
• Disrupted family life
• Poor communication in the family
• Sexual abuse

Based on that list and some of my own personal history, I probably fall somewhere on the BPD spectrum myself.

Many people consider risk factors for people diagnosed with behavior and personality disorders to be mere excuses for people who don’t care about anyone other than themselves. So they turn away from them, ostracize and vilify them. All very easy things to do if you’ve been flattened by their personality tornado or psychologically and emotionally gutted by desperate grasping interspersed with their porcupine offensiveness.

Sometimes, it becomes necessary to distance yourself and those in your care from someone like this. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself and your loved ones, but, please try to do it with compassion, understanding, and forgiveness because more than likely the one who harmed you is hurting tremendously living with the knowledge he or she caused you pain and pushed you away, against his or her own inclination and will.

This is part of the Bloggers for Movember campaign to raise awareness and funds for Men’s Health issues, specifically prostate cancer and mental health issues. If you still haven’t donated but would like to do so, please follow this link to donate to the Canadian Bloggers for Movember team and this link to donate to the US Bloggers for Movember team