All posts tagged: Ask a BPD

Ask about BPD: Dissociation, Derealization and Depersonalization

Does anyone else feel like life almost isn’t actually happening? Like you’re a part in a movie, playing out a role, following a script & switching to different “characters” based on your mood? To answer your question briefly, yes. In fact, many of us face these feelings at some point in our lives. The feeling that you can’t possibly be living out the current situation in ‘real life’ is actually more common than you might think. Oftentimes, this happens when the reality we’re faced with disagrees with the reality we hope for. If you’re a fan of reading subtitles for the entire duration of a movie, Guillermo del Torro wrote and directed a brilliant portrayal of this very premise with his 2006 film Pan’s Labyrinth. Without giving up any spoilers, the basic premise is that a young Spanish girl named Ofelia finds herself escaping to an eerie fantasy land to play out the part of a legendary lost princess. Even though these feelings of derealization and depersonalization are often brought on in response to trauma …

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Ask About BPD: Self Medication

Ask About BPD: I have a question… why is the only thing that seems to make my son seem half normal to self medicate. When he is stoned he seems to manage so well and seem so at peace and able to cope.. but as soon as his buzz wears off he is crazy angry again ;-( It’s a lose lose situation it seems ….   I’m assuming that the drug in question is marijuana, so I will base my answer on that. Self medicating is not uncommon amongst people suffering from any number of the many varieties of disorders that fall under the depression umbrella, especially those of us living with BPD. Nearly half of those diagnosed with BPD have histories of substance abuse disorder, a shockingly high number, though slightly less surprising when you consider that one of the most common characteristics of BPD is a lack of impulse control.   Why Cannabis: One would seem to be hard-pressed to find a high-strung marijuana user–not to say that they don’t exist (I work …

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Ask About BPD: Mental Illness Jokes

“I saw a post on a friend’s Facebook page. She posted a picture about OCD then ‘tagged’ a friend of hers followed by a laughing smiley emoticon. Obviously saying that her ‘friend’ was ‘so OCD!’ It infuriated me! And although I felt offended I didn’t comment. I have never seen this sort of thing actually posted by a friend of mine…but if it was related to a physical illness, surely there would be an outrage?” Mental illness as an adverb used to really infuriate me. This anger would inevitably lead me to post a verbal rant that was so strongly worded it would make anyone take notice. But when one of my outbursts led to the loss of a friend I sat myself down and asked, “Why is this such a trigger?” The answer was simple: When I see these “jokes” I feel invalidated and that others see my struggle as laughable. My struggle is not a joke. It’s real and it’s messed up! I wish we could have these people spend one day in …

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Ask About BPD: Suicidal Ideation

Today’s question: Hi. I’m struggling to help my partner who has a diagnosis of BPD. He’s expressing suicidal thoughts and he won’t allow me to be there for him, when that’s all I want to do. I was wondering if you could possibly give me any advice on how to help him? It would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your question. Perhaps one of the most confusing and frightening aspects of BPD is suicidal ideation. BPD is the only personality disorder to have suicidal ideation as a criterion for diagnosis. 70% of us will have at least one serious attempt on our live and 10% of us will be successful. It is important to take all threats seriously, but sometime talk is just talk. A lot of times we really don’t want to die. We want someone to listen and understand. You can do this by validating the pain he is in, validating his thoughts, and reminding him that although all thoughts are valid not all thoughts are real. The most common warning signs …

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Ask about BPD: Is BPD Real?

Today’s  question: Is BPD real or is it a matter of being too sensitive and living through a lot of stuff? What is BPD? Borderline Personality Disorder is a chronic mental health condition that most noticeably disrupts emotion regulation in the people who have it. The DSM-5 (the most current edition) defines it as: “Typical features of borderline personality disorder are instability of self-image, personal goals, interpersonal relationships, and affects, accompanied by impulsivity, risk taking, and/or hostility. Characteristic difficulties are apparent in identity, self-direction, empathy, and/or intimacy, along with specific maladaptive traits in the domain of Negative Affectivity, and also Antagonism and/or Disinhibition.” A big part of BPD is a fear of abandonment. It might be real or might be perceived. People who have BPD suffer from chronic feelings of emptiness, markedly impoverished self-esteem, unstable relationships (love/hate), suicidal ideations, and usually some type of self harm or substance use. Suicide attempts are incredibly common, though aren’t present in every person who has BPD. Origins Developing BPD is mostly the result of some sort of childhood trauma …

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Ask About BPD: Self Gaslighting

Dear Ask About BPD, I have been in recovery for a few years now, but I still struggle to trust my own emotions. I often feel like I am gaslighting myself. Any tips on how I can learn to trust myself and my emotions?  One of the most difficult things in BPD recovery is learning how to trust ourselves and our emotions. For many of us we went from having extreme emotions, to no emotion, to confused emotion. Integrating our emotional selves means letting go of the fear and doubt we have. What is gas-lighting: The term gas-lighting comes from a movie of the same name where an abuser tries to convince his wife that she is crazy by manipulating their environment in little ways, especially with the gas lamps in their home. He attempted to alter her perception of reality for his benefit by making her question her own sanity and perceptions. Today, the term is defined as a form of mental abuse in which information is distorted or selectively omitted to favor the …

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Ask About BPD: Relationships

One of our page followers asks: “Is it possible for someone with BPD to have a normal relationship? If their partner can’t get what’s inside their mind…“ First of all, I have to say that “normal” is a very subjective word. I am not comfortable using the word here because there really is no such thing as a “normal relationship”. Every relationship has its strengths and weaknesses; it is how you deal with adversities when they happen that governs the health of your relationship. “Normal” vs. “not normal” can also be a judgmental way to view ourselves; the idea that we are “not normal” already plagues many of us. There are healthy relationships, unhealthy relationships and a whole spectrum of relationships in between the two extremes. Some relationships are closer to the “healthy” end and some are closer to the “unhealthy” end. Those of us experiencing BPD symptoms don’t have the market cornered on unhealthy relationships! Relationships can be very tricky to navigate, even if you don’t struggle with regulating your emotions. All any of us can do is strive …

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Ask About BPD: Blackouts

  Today’s Ask About BPD question is: My son has blackouts very frequently after he has a violent episode. He sometimes doesn’t remember it either. He tells me when he is raging he looses his eyesight and hearing too and sees only black and hears only ringing in his ears. Can you explain this? First, I would like to say thank you for asking a question about this very important, yet rarely spoken of, facet of BPD. There are a few things that occur when we have these types of episodes and your son may be experiencing one or more of the following: Flight or fight response that may be disproportionate to the situation Panic attacks/Panic disorder Episodes of dissociative amnesia. I will explain all three. The Fight or Flight Response. Most people know of this response as our body’s primitive, automatic, inborn response that prepares the body to “fight” or “flee”. This response is often caused by feelings of excessive stress either from internal or external circumstance. The fight or flight response bypasses our …

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Ask About BPD: Self-Medicating, Medical Marijuana and Borderline Personality Disorder

Disclaimer: Cannabis, both medical and recreational, is very controversial and illegal in a great deal of the US and world. The views I express here, unless otherwise indicated, are my own. My experience should not be taken as anything but that, my experience and mine alone. It is not an endorsement of cannabis or any other drug. Only you can decide what helps you feel your best. One of our readers asks: “I have a question… why is the only thing that seems to make my son seem half normal is to self-medicate? When he is stoned he seems to manage so well and seems so at peace and able to cope… but as soon as his buzz wears off he is crazy angry again? 😦 It is a lose/lose situation.” This is what the experts have to say on the issue: “…individuals with BPD may turn to psychoactive substances to self-medicate. The self-medication hypothesis is a psychoanalytically informed theory of drug addiction. This means that it includes the emotional and psychological dimensions in viewing …