I have registered for the NAMI Walk. For anyone who doesn’t know, NAMI stands for National Alliance for Mental Illness. I’m trying to raise money, and all of it goes to NAMI! As I don’t know a lot of people in real time, I thought that I would reach out to those of you who followed my blog. All of you would understand the toll mental illness takes on the person suffering and the surrounding friends and family members. You don’t need to pledge much to sponsor me. Every little bit helps! If you’re willing to donate to this awesome cause, please visit my NAMI sponsorship page HERE. Thanks, everyone!!
**There was some kind of issue with the link to my new blog. I’ve fixed it, and wanted to repost this with the correct site.
After a lot of careful thought, consideration, and prayer, I have started a new WordPress site. I said that I would share my site with the followers of strugglingwithbpd when, and if, I made the decision to start a new blog. I may still blog on here from time to time, but it will be rare.
My new site is GOD’s Beautiful Sovereignty. As I’m sure you can tell, it will be about GOD/religion/Christianity/the Bible/etc. I will be discussing the active role that GOD takes in our lives. Feel free to check it out if you want. If this doesn’t sound like something you’re interested in, no worries!
Thanks to everyone who has followed my crazy journey the past two years plus years on this site. I may still have a thing or two to post about recovering from BPD in the future.
I woke up this morning and made sure I had a good attitude. I affirmed that it would be a good day, and that I was excited about the upcoming possibilities. Sounds hokey, but it made me feel pretty good. Every time I’ve thought through that affirmation, I smile. I was grinning from ear to ear on the way to work. I’m sure I looked like a fool. I know I didn’t care.
I really am amazed at how well these silly sounding affirmations work. Yesterday evening had the potential to be disastrous. Instead of thinking, “Oh no! This is going to be a crappy, stressful night. I think I’ll stay late at work to avoid it.”, I ran through positive affirmations. All afternoon and all the way home from work, I was repeating to myself “All is well. Everything is working out for my highest good. Only good can come from this situation. I am safe.” After a few minutes, I wasn’t anxious about the upcoming evening. This affirmation can be used for anything, but seems to be good when one is worrying or anxious. Now, I don’t know if I yet believe that we create our experiences based on our thoughts, but I know that I FELT tremendously better than I would have if I was worrying and anxious all afternoon.
I think the whole idea is that how we THINK is really what shapes an experience. If we are constantly thinking negative thoughts, we will have a lot of negative experiences. If I went home last night with the thought in my head that it was going to be a difficult evening, I probably would have walked through the door on edge. If I had been edgy, that would have made the entire situation precarious, and, most likely, explosive. I went home thinking that everything was going to work out for my good (which is a Biblical principle, so not a huge stretch for me), and I had a very nice evening. This morning I started the day stating that I was excited for what could possibly happen, and that I would have a good day today. I know it’s not quite one o-clock, but so far a great day! I’m not feeling stressed, and the silly office bullshit I have to deal with isn’t bothering me in the slightest.
I know I’m not changing events with the power of my mind, but I am continuously surprised by how running positive thoughts through my head all day keeps me out of the low, angry moods I’m prone to. Bad things are going to continue to happen, but I don’t have to let them affect me like I have in the past. After all, it’s not what happens – it’s how we react to it.
This may all seem like a stretch, and I thought it was completely ridiculous when I started reading “You Can Heal Your Life”. However, constantly repeating to myself that I love and approve of myself started to turn my mood the very same day. I have a desire to feel stupid and silly while talking about all this positive affirmation stuff, but I can’t deny that it works. Read some of my many negative, angry, struggling past blog posts if you doubt me.
“I choose to feel good about myself. It does not matter what other people say. What matters is how I choose to react and what I choose to believe about myself.” – affirmation from “21 Days to Master Affirmations” by Louise Hay
You know how some people will ask how you’re doing, and when you start to tell them honestly, they respond in irritation with, “Everyone’s got problems!” Whatever the context, I’m quite sure all of us have heard this from time to time. Either directed at ourselves, or someone else who can’t seem to keep it together.
I was pondering this the other day. Yes, everyone has problems, but why do they seem so HUGE for some, myself, at times, included? As I type this, I realize the answer is obvious, but it seemed novel to me at the time. Yes, everyone has problems, but not everyone is equipped to deal with their problems. Not everyone has the tools to solve their problems and keep them from returning.
Up until recently, I thought it was impossible for ME to learn to use these tools on a regular basis. I knew that the way I was raised caused me to wrongly react to things, but I also thought that I could sit back and blame the way I was raised. I was not taught how to deal with many situations. I was not taught how to act in interpersonal relationships. I was taught to be critical and negative so as not to become disappointed. That doesn’t mean I can’t change any of that, though. Yes, I had a screwed up childhood. No, I do not have to have a screwed up life.
When I started reading “You Can Heal Your Life”, I was depressed and angry. I was considering starting to self harm again. I thought there was no way out, and nothing I could do to change anything. I had tried desperately to change what I said and how I acted. All I managed to do was frustrate, become angry at, and blame myself for not being what I thought I “should” be.
As I began reading, though, my outlook started to change. I realized I had the ability to change what was going on with me. The author says that one has to change how they think about themselves before they can expect their lives to change. I thought it was a lot of touchy-feely-sit-around-a-camp-fire-naked-and-cry-while-singing-koom-by-ya kinda thing. It seems silly that just being nice to yourself and liking yourself is going to change anything. It seems IMPOSSIBLE to me, as a borderline, to even begin to show self-love. The entire concept seemed foreign.
It starts off with baby steps, though. Not being critical of yourself, not having negative views about yourself, only telling yourself nice things, repeating affirmations, etc. If one goes through life thinking they are shit and don’t deserve happiness, they will never obtain happiness. If one thinks that everyone is out to get them, that is what they will see in their life. What you view about yourself will manifest in your life. I KNOW this seems crazy, but it really seems to work!
Think about it, though. If you believe, deep down, that you will never be happy, how will you be able to LET yourself be happy? Letting yourself be happy would go against everything you truly believe! If you believe everyone is out to get you, that is all that you will see in each interaction with people.
Conversely, if you tell yourself you deserve to be happy, it will come. If you tell yourself that you love yourself, you will not see a need to be overly critical. If you forgive other people for their faults, you’ll be more able to forgive yourself the faults you possess.
I have been repeating affirmations to myself over the past week. “I completely love and accept myself.” “I deserve to be _____, and I accept it now.” “I am willing to release the need to be unworthy. I am worthy of the very best in life and I now lovingly allow myself to accept it.” I think you get the point. I have seen a difference in how I treat myself since I’ve started doing this. I have been showering on a daily basis, and using smelly bath stuff. I have been using lotions. I have been exercising some. I have been eating better. I have been sleeping better. It’s like I finally convinced myself that I am WORTHY of being treated well, and I am doing that for myself. The above things have been difficult for me in the past because I never thought I was worthy of anything other than pain and misery, and that’s how I treated myself.
I have also been treating other people better. I do not get as frustrated with my coworkers, and I have not been lashing out at Crazy Jay. I do not look for the negative in everything and find ways to tell others that they’re wrong. I am not as critical, and am more willing to over look things others do that bother me.
Here’s something else COMPLETELY CRAZY: Crappy things have happened this past week, but I am not really bothered by them. Jay and I have had a tiff or two, but it was quickly nipped in the bud, and I didn’t brood about it all day. I am not as stressed out at work, even though there is a HUGE invoicing mess that I’ve been dealing with. Everything seems to roll off my back much easier than it ever has in my life. Maybe this is what my unconventional therapist meant when she told me to “be an observer”. It’s like the bullshit that other people throw my way doesn’t even touch me.
I guess maybe I should have started with this next part. Then maybe people would have read all the way through. I am not struggling and straining to “get through” each problem that comes my way. I do not have to bite my tongue or deeply consider what I say. Because I have changed my outlook on things, and the way I view myself, it’s not hard to be nice, because I FEEL nice. It’s not hard to contain my frustration, because I don’t FEEL it anywhere near the same level I used to. It’s not hard to “act” happy, because I AM happy. I am not trying to twist my mind into doing something that it doesn’t want to do. I am in the process of retraining my mind so that it wants to do what I want it to do, and not just react to things that trigger childhood memories. I changed my fundamental beliefs about myself and my life, and I have seen an almost immediate change. It helps that Jay is going through the same book as me, and is seeing things the same way. Even if he wasn’t, though, I think I would be ok. I think I am going to get through all this. In fact, I can see it as I look over my shoulder, getting smaller in the distance. I AM going to have a full, happy life. I AM worthy, and deserve good things. I AM lovable and capable of showing love. I AM willing to release the negative patterns in my mind. Holy shit…I think I can do this thing, after all.
Who is this girl in the photo? Not me.
She looks ahead. Innocent eyes. Wide grin.
She is ignorant of events to come.
She has not been broken. Used. Defiled.
She does not yet know the world hates her.
Still so full of hope and expectations.
Wide open. Still trusting those in her life.
Not knowing the hurt and pain they will cause.
They wouldn’t do that. They say they love her.
She hasn’t yet learned the horrors of love.
She will soon find that love morphs to evil.
Everyone uses love as a weapon.
Trying to beat her down. To make her bleed.
She will soon feel worthless. She is trash.
She won’t recover. Her soul feels dead.
She’s condemned to a life trapped by her past.
But not yet. Today still carefree. Happy.
She’s not me. I’m not her. Impossible.
Crazy Jay and I met with our therapist last night. I’ve been calling her “new age therapist”, or something like that. I think I’m going to change to “unconventional”, instead. Anyway, we were talking about how a lot of the issues Jay and I both have now are a result of things done to us throughout childhood. Unconventional Therapist was telling us that we need to go back and heal our inner child so that our adult selves can be healed. Now, this is the kind of thing that I used to think was complete B.S. “Heal your inner child”? Gimme a break!! What kind of mumbo-jumbo is that? Just be an adult and deal with this!!
Of course, that could be (and probably is) the voice of the fuckers who raised me. They didn’t believe in therapy. They weren’t convinced of the legitimacy of They looked down on people with mental disorders, telling me that if I was depressed, it’s because I “wasn’t trusting God enough”. That’s nice. And so helpful. Way to make a person who already feels shitty into even MORE of a failure.
I think Unconventional Therapist is absolutely right that Jay and I need to heal our inner child. I mean, the way we react to things now is directly related to our experiences in childhood. Jay tells me all the time he feels like a financial burden, even though I keep telling him to shut his whore mouth. I have never thought of him as a burden, and I hope I don’t ACT like I think he’s a burden. It clicked for us last night, though, that Jay’s father always made money an issue when Jay was growing up. His father was constantly talking about how much things that Jay needed cost. No wonder he now sees that he is using money and not putting any in the kitty, so he equates that with being a burden.
My distaste of being touched stems from my childhood sexual abuse. I feel hands on me now and essentially think I am a child, being abused and touched against my will. Of course, that is not a conscious thought, but that is why I don’t like hands on me now. The thoughts, feelings and ideas we have reinforced as children come out when we’re adults. I have so many more examples of how things in childhood shape my thoughts and actions now, but I think I’ve made my point.
Jay told Unconventional Therapist that he didn’t know how to heal his inner child. That he didn’t even know what this looked like. I’ve had several weeks to digest the “heal your inner child” thing, but this may be the first time Jay tried to apply it to himself. I told him that his inner child and my inner child (Little Jay and Little Meg) should have a play date this week. Do something childlike and silly. I suggested going to a playground and swinging. The teeter-tooter would be fun, too! Unconventional Therapist suggested we may like to try some art projects since we both thought coloring in coloring books would be enjoyable. Art projects may be too lofty of a goal, but I could sure mess around with some Play-Dough!!
This week Jay and I are both going to focus on “going back” and taking care of Little Jay and Little Meg. Unconventional Therapist said our goal is to “go back”, “pick up” our little inner selves, and tell him or her that we will protect them. That we are there to take care of them. We aren’t terribly sure how to attempt that quite yet, but apparently the first step is doing activities our inner child would enjoy…hence the play date. It was also suggested that we go to the children’s section of the library and check out some kid books, but then that would entail brushing elbows with ACTUAL children.
I’m looking forward to letting out Little Meg. I think this could be fun. It will be nice to focus on small enjoyable activities throughout the day instead of the many stresses of life.
I just found a very interesting article on The Daily Mail. It’s titled “How Many Women Find Street Harassment Flattering: None”. Women talk about walking down the street and feeling threatened and violated because men think they are being complimentary. A website has been established to spread awareness of the sexual harassment that takes place on a daily basis in the most benign of places.
This was actually a HUGE problem I had while living in Little Rock. Guys thinking they could talk to me, proposition me, harass me. It was constant every time I walked out the door. It’s no wonder I have such major anxiety issues. It’s no wonder I was crying in my car, unable to even go to the grocery store because I was afraid of the aggressive men. They never said anything to me when Crazy Jay was around, but I read stories in the above article with women saying that it doesn’t matter if they are holding their boyfriend’s hand, they will still be verbally sexually harassed.
And that’s exactly what it is. It is harassment. Harassment is defined as “threatening or tormenting behavior”. I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel threatened when I walk past a group of men (or one man…or boys) and have to listen to them make noises at me, comment about my body, and proposition me. Because of my experience in Little Rock with the constant sexual harassment, I now carry pepper foam (Not a spray – FOAM to stick to your eyeballs!) and a keychain I like to call “Punchy”. Punchy looks like a bulldog. Upon closer inspection, one realizes that the fingers slip through the holes where the eyes should be for a nice solid grip, and the ears are actually solid, pointed plastic that will puncture a person’s neck in a second. I accidentally knocked it into my thigh when I was shutting my car door once. I was bruised for over a week. Imagine what it would do with some guided force…
The world today is not doing much to try to stop this unwanted behavior. In fact, the media, television shows, movies, and even many other countries portray men as beings brimming with so much sexual energy they just can’t contain themselves. I’m constantly seeing movies with men drooling and transfixed over a female, and it seems they can do nothing but stare. They just can’t help themselves when they see a pretty girl. It seems acceptable that men are so overwhelmed with the desire to have sex that they can’t keep their mouths shut when a female – any female – walks by. The article mentioned that it doesn’t matter the woman’s age or appearance, she is likely to be subjected to verbal harassment by men who do that sort of thing (not all men do). Other cultures and countries punish the female if she is raped. They say the attack was triggered by her clothing, her words, or even her gestures. They say she didn’t try hard enough to stop the attack; even if the female is 11 and the attacker is a grown man. Some cultures make women cover up from head to toe to avoid being objects of lust by the men who can’t seem to control themselves.
The article ended by saying, ‘We shouldn’t face a battle when we go out in public, hiding our bodies and averting our eyes. . . I wish I could understand why these men feel we would respond to their attention.”
For those who missed it at the top, here’s the link to the article. Definitely worth a read, male or female.
I have not been doing too terribly wonderful lately. I’m sure that could be ascertained by my lack of posts recently. I have been involved in a lot of stressful situations the past couple months. I feel like I’m being attacked from all angles. Add to that the difficulty I have had sleeping. I keep waking up in a panic, scared and crying. It takes a while for me to calm down, if I’m even really able to. I have been talking in my sleep, too. Things that disturb me quite a bit. I must be having upsetting dreams, but I can’t remember ANYTHING about them. I have also been dissociating to the point of wondering if there isn’t someone else taking over my body. Jay has told me some things that I have done recently that I have NO MEMORY of. It actually took me a while to believe him. What he was saying was so far fetched to me, I thought he was trying to play a joke. Not to mention all the conversations he tells me we have that I can’t remember to save my life. Makes me think Mara is making a comeback.
I am seeing a new therapist on Monday. She apparently works very well with people who have borderline personality disorder, and also with people who have been the victim of sexual abuse. This therapist is at the same office as Jays “Friendly Federal Agent” therapist and was recommended by her, so I think she may be able to help me.
I do know that things will get better. I have been slipping slowly downward, but at least this time I KNOW that it isn’t hopeless. I KNOW that I don’t have to crash and burn. I KNOW that I can stop the cycle and enjoy at least a period of improved mental health. Things seem bad NOW, but NOW is not FOREVER. I will come through this, and I will be the better for it. It just sucks going through it right now.
Crazy Jay told me this morning that he had arranged for his therapist (who is also a Federal Agent) to see us as a couple on Thursday evening. The more I think about it, the more anxious I am about it. This woman is Jay’s therapist. I haven’t even MET her. I just know that I’m going to go in, and it’s going to be an intervention. Therapist Lady will say she’s learned from Jay that I’m addicted to bitchiness, and I need to cut it out or seek help.
Seriously, though, I do feel like I’m going to get ganged up on. Two people to tell me how I’m failing at everything I try. How I need to do better, despite the fact that I honestly feel like I’m doing the best I can at the moment.
I also feel like I’m going to have to PROVE myself to this woman. I’m going to have to PROVE that I really have the issues that I KNOW I have. I’m going to have to give her details about my diagnosis and my past abuse. She’ll question me about self-harm, and then give me a nice long lecture. I am going to have to explain why I think the way I do and why I act the way I do and why I say the things I do.
I know that this session is not about ME, and it really sounds like I’m making it about ME. I know this is about US and how Jay and I can better communicate and have an awesome marriage even with all the baggage and crazy issues we bring to the table. I’m just nervous. And anxious. And scared.
Not to mention that I have to go meet a new person! I have to talk to her! I have to seem engaging and smart and funny and nice. I have to be able to speak in coherent sentences. I have to go act for an hour. I am going to have to pretend that I am not completely uncomfortable and freaking out as I sit in her leather chair, looking at her across the desk. This is going to be an exhausting hour that I am not looking forward to.
I spoke to my supervisor about the unwanted contact this morning. She was appropriately horrified and disgusted I was nervous to let her know what happened to the point of almost working up to a panic attack. I have been fired in the past for complaining about sexual harassment. She told me to send him an email, blind copy her, and then if it happened again, he would be fired. Works for me!! My letter is below. I know it’s going to be awkward when I see or speak to him again, but I also know from experience that if I keep my mouth shut about unwanted contact that it will continue. I will no more stand for being touched when I don’t want it to happen.
“Creepy Guy’s Name:
I didn’t mention anything to you this morning when it happened because you caught me off guard, but I did not appreciate you putting your arm around me and leaning your head to touch mine. I do not like my personal space being invaded, and I would ask that it please not happen again. I don’t know you very well, and we are in a professional environment, making that kind of contact inappropriate. Thank you for your understanding, and I look forward to continue interacting with you on a professional basis.”