All posts tagged: DBT

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Melanie’s Voice: What My Hair Taught me about BPD

Hows is hair like BPD? I have curly hair. Most people don’t. Society says people with curly hair are messy, scattered, and untrustworthy. So when I was a child I tried everything to have straight hair: Sleeping with it pulled back tight in a braid. Gels. Mouse. Straightening shampoo. Hot irons. Cemical processing. The products worked, but you could always tell my hair was not quite straight. By the end of the day it would frizz out. The products and heat dried it to a lack luster brown. Then I became a mom. I had no time for anything, let alone caring for my hair, so I let my fro fly free. Wash. Brush. Ponytail. Done. It was long and unruly and I was sick. One day I got tired of it and shaved it off. Short hair was the ultimate wash and go look. But, honestly, I looked like a cancer patient. I guess that’s what I wanted, for everyone to see I was sick and connect it to something they could relate to. I …

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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: Parenting

Does anyone have any advice for being a BPD parent? I’ve only been able to find stories and information from the children of BPD parent not info about ways to help when you have BPD and are raising a child. Thank you for your question. It is a tough one. Not because I don’t know how to answer it, but because the answer is so very complex and so I am going to apologize in advance for the very long article. I will start by saying that having a parent with BPD is both a blessing and a curse. Parents with BPD are known to be loving, involved, self sacrificing, and overall amazing. The trouble comes when a parent has undiagnosed or unmanaged BPD, not from the BPD itself. I am a trifecta of sorts. My mother has undiagnosed BPD, I have diagnosed BPD and my oldest daughter has BPD traits. I knew growing up that I did not want to belike my mother, but I didn’t really understand what that meant. I wanted to …

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Ask About BPD: Toxic Co-worker

Today’s Ask About BPD Question: There is a guy who sits next to me for 8 hours a day and he brings my mood down to a massive low. He complains how he can’t cope at work anymore, it’s just constant bad news out his mouth. I’m really struggling to cope with it. He is also the most selfish man I’ve ever met. I need some advice on what to do? Nobody likes his attitude so it is noticed, but he leads me to self harm a lot. I think most people can identify with a toxic co-worker, but when that person sits next to you and you have BPD it can be a recipe for disaster. I know this because it happened to me at my last job. I was in a toxic work environment with toxic people. It wasn’t until after I left could I see the damage it had done. Toxic Work Environment Toxic work environment are more common than we want to believe. There are competing egos, office drama, people (like …

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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 …

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Ask about BPD: When others do not understand

Ask about BPD Why is it so hard for people to understand what a nightmare BPD is? How it affects your everyday life. With major depression as well. It’s a total nightmare. Given up on psychiatrists, they don’t help and medication doesn’t work. No wonder people self medicate. Thanks for listening, Frustrated Thank you Frustrated, It can be frustrating to experience the stigma and misunderstand that comes with BPD. As we struggle for wellness we want people to see how far we have come and encourage us to continue on our journey. Unfortunately, some people do not, and will not, understand your battle. They are unable to understand we have a recognized, yet invisible, debilitating disorder. Inability to Cognitively redefine a person: When we begin our path to wellness we must understand that others may be unable, or unwilling, to cognitively redefine us. People with BPD often go for years undiagnosed. In that time our family and friends have learned to define us by our actions and mis-actions. They have hard wired their definition of …

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Ask About BPD: Splitting and Forgiveness

Ask About BPD – Splitting Dear Ask about BPD, If you’ve been diagnosed with BPD you know what splitting is and how it is something that is prevalent. How do you avoid letting it happen? And once it does, is there anyway to bring yourself around to forgiving the other person? Thank you, Split Dear Split, I can sense your frustration with the feature of splitting, but if you will bear with me a few paragraphs I am going to explain the feature to those who may not know what splitting is or why it happens. Splitting it is where a person divides the world into a polarization of beliefs by focusing selectively on either their negative or positive attributes: black and white, all good or all bad, everything or nothing. Splitting is a very common defense mechanism. It diffuses the anxiety that comes from our innate human inability to comprehend the complexities of a given situation. Splitting compartmentalizes a situation in ways that make it easier for our brains to process. Everyone has something …