Jade S.’s BPD Story


I am slowly learning that Borderline Personality Disorder is not as bad as I thought it was…and I believe BPD is one of the worst illnesses to exist.  It has affected my life in so many ways I hardly know where to begin.  Beginning at the beginning, my experience with BPD began at age 17, after a psychological examination gave a doctor my diagnosis of BPD, ODD, and other disorders.  However, my experience had really begun years before when my relationship with my family began to fall apart, depression hit, and my habit of self-injury began to manifest itself.  When the doctor gave my parents the long list of problems with me, BPD was just one of many.  We didn’t know anything about it, had never heard of it, and the doctor didn’t explain any of it to us.  He was the first, but not the only, doctor to ignore my diagnoses, thereby threatening my health and my safety.  This didn’t bother him at the time, apparently.  I wish he could see me now.

My symptoms simply increased from there.  After dozens of visits to therapists, a long residential stay at a program for teenagers, and years of cutting and emotional turmoil in college, my parents took a second look at this BPD diagnosis and decided it was the perfect fit for me.  I resisted at first.  I didn’t want to be labeled as anything.  I was rebellious.  Yet after reading the paperwork they had printed from the internet explaining the disorder, I began to realize: this was me.  There was finally a title to my problem.  So began a long and close relationship with BPD that unfortunately may never end.

The ending isn’t so grim.  After graduating from college and having yet another emotional breakdown, my family sent me to see Dr. Leland Heller in Okeechobee, Florida.  He was unlike any doctor I had ever seen or met, and he seemed to know exactly what was wrong with me and how to fix it.  I started on new medications and started down the road to recovery.  Since then, I have improved dramatically enough to be able to take on intense therapy, an internship, and blogging for a magazine, just to name a few of the responsibilities I have been able to take on.  The medicine and Dr. Heller and the therapist he works with have given me a new hope and a new life with Borderline Personality Disorder, one which I don’t have to end with suicide or treat with drugs or self-harm.

Dr. Heller’s treatment is based on a model of BPD as a form of epilepsy in the limbic system of the brain.  Inappropriate firing of neurons requires a treatment of anti-seizure medication (Tegretol) and Prozac, a drug he has worked closely with and swears by, along with antipsychotics for dysphoria.  Dr. Heller also agreed to treat all of the co-morbid disorders, such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder and OCPD, which often accompany BPD.  He convinced me that it was important to treat the worst symptoms first, before I tackled therapy to retrain my brain to think positively and to regain some of the self-confidence I had lost from years of living with this disease.

I began group therapy and recovery came in leaps and bounds.  Mindfulness, anger management skills, positive self-talk, repetitive affirmations, self-monitoring skills, etc. have all served to help in my recovery.  I am now free from the worst symptoms of BPD, such as rage and terrible mood swings.  I am able to function relatively normally and I can handle relationships and responsibilities and stress with my medications and skills.  My recovery has truly been a miracle.

And….that’s my story!

Sincerely,

Jade S.

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Let’s Donate!


Hey everyone,

As some of you know, I was planning on raising enough money to make On The Borderline an official (501(c)(3)) non-profit organization. However, I’m too busy at this point to make that happen. We have had several donations from people and have made a couple hundred dollars. Since I won’t be using that money for this organization anymore, I thought that I could donate the money to another cause– but I want your input! Here are the options:

  • www.tara4bpd.org : “The Treatment and Research Advancements Association for Personality Disorder, TARA APD, is a 501 C3 not-for-profit organization whose mission is to foster education and research in the field of personality disorder, specifically but not exclusively Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD); to support research into the causes, psychobiology and treatment of personality disorders; to support and I encourage educational programs and endeavors targeting mental health professionals, consumers of mental health services, families and/or the community at large in order to reduce stigma and increase awareness of personality disorder, to disseminate available information on etiology and treatment and to lawfully advocate for accomplishments of these goals.”
  • www.borderlinepersonalitydisorder.com : “Formed in 2001, the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA-BPD), is a non-profit organization staffed by volunteering consumers, family members, and professionals. NEA-BPD seeks to “Advance the BPD Agenda” by raising public awareness of BPD, providing education, and promoting research about borderline personality disorder through a variety of programs. For example, with partial funding from a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), NEA-BPD has hosted over 30 conferences worldwide, featuring internationally recognized BPD researchers and scientists. All NEA-BPD conferences encourage attendance by professionals, family members and consumers alike.”
  • www.buddhaandborderline.com : “The Buddha and the Borderline is the first ever  memoir to describe the recovery process utilizing these new, cutting edge treatments and Buddhism.  Kiera Van Gelder’s finely-honed literary talent  offers us a stunning and intimate look into a  life-threatening condition that has been a shameful secret even among those with mental illness.”
The next option is not a BPD organization, but I think it’s a great cause to donate to. I know they’re trying to raise money to become a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and I’d love to help them out:
  • www.facebook.com/defeatdepression (new website, ddepression.org coming soon!) : “Helping teens and young adults with mental illness since 2007. Defeat Depression was started to help teens and young adults who struggle with depression/mental illness overcome the everyday obstacles.”
Which organization would you like to see the money donated to? Please take our survey here.
“Voting” will be open until Friday, May 13th, 2011.

You’re The Bad Guy


I’ve had a lot of problems in relationships: friends, boyfriends, acquaintances, etc. As someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, I experience narrow judgement on the opposing person, based on the last thing they did. My impression of them is always based on my last memory of them, rather than the whole ‘first impressions last forever’ saying. Someone offered me lunch, they were good. Someone else got into an argument with me, they were bad. There is no middle. It’s one or the other. Opposite ends of the pole.

Someone could be my best friend. We could have talked for hours on the phone, borrowed and lent out money with each other, gone clubbing together. But if we get into an argument, I immediately become scarred. I constantly remind myself of the last event. And everything else just looks like a very distant past that was forever lost.

I can’t be hurt by someone I was attached to and see them as a ‘good’ person. Even if I’m aware of my feelings being irrational and distorted from my BPD, I can’t change the way I feel about it. It kills me. I become scared. Literally, like a small animal, bewildered at a bunch of humans trapping it in a corner. I fear for myself, and I see them as the ‘bad guy.’ Maybe it is part of regression to get stuck in such a undeveloped thought process, but thats how it is with me.

This is a good YouTube animation on BPD: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iraGmA7-9FA

BPD Videos


I’m looking for videos made by people who are living with Borderline Personality Disorder, or even someone who has a loved one with BPD. I will be uploading these videos to On The Borderline’s youtube channel.

You can either make the video with a webcam or use images and words.

Please upload your video to megaupload.com and then email the uploaded video’s link to contact@ontheborderline.org, and I will add your video to our channel!

Let me know if you have any questions! 🙂

Angry Rose


red roses

Image by paparutzi via Flickr

NOTE: This is something that I wrote on July 4th, 2007. Keep in mind that this was written during one of the most difficult parts of my life, and it may be triggering.

Angry Rose by Lauren

Terror is as terror does; an angry rose has many thorns. Don’t rub me the wrong way. Your skin will break and I’ll feel your blood; thorns cut flesh. Take me tonight, don’t make everything all right. Tie me up, these bonds can break. Rules can break, fools can break. Bonds broken by fools. My poison rushes through your veins, there’s no escape. Cut me once; I’ve lost all feeling. Rub me the wrong way, it has no meaning. Take me tonight, don’t make everything all right. Tie me up, leave me to die, I’ll use my own poison against me. The poison wasn’t you, it was me. Bonds can break but poison flows forever.

Commitment


Solid facts seem very fleeting to people with BPD, or possibly just me. But I know that things like ‘happily ever after’ and ‘forever’ are nothing close to their meanings. I can fall in love with the love of my life, but the ‘true love’ would only last a week. Or maybe one day, and then never the next, but the day after that and so on… In my head, I could amplify my adoration for the said person, wrap my mental arms around them, claim them as mine, the way a child clings to their blanket; but if a day goes by when I haven’t talked to them, it’s as if they are completely out of my life. Or worse, they ceased to exist. I could either become upset and cry over the perceived abandonment, or I could show the complete opposite – apathy, complete detachment, avoidance.

The next day, if  they ‘came back into my life,’  I would instantly idolize them again. The gaps in between, make things like ‘consistancy’ and ‘commitment’ very confusing and frustrating.

BPD and Self Harm


I am sure most people know what self-harm is, but here are just a few lines of what it is, just incase.

Self-harm is a way of expressing very deep distress. Often, people don’t know why they self-harm. It’s a means of communicating what can’t be put into words or even into thoughts and has been described as an inner scream. Afterwards, some people may feel better able to cope with life again, for a while. It can be referred to as self harm (SH), self injury(SI), deliberable self harm (DSH).

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So now my whole idea of this post was linking BPD and self harm, as one of the common and distressing symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is Self harm. (SH)

There are many methods of self harm, which I don’t want to go into too much detail, but commons methods involve, cutting, scratching, burning and over dosing (without suicidal intent ). When constantly overwhelmed by emotional pain or anxiety, the act of cutting may seem like a welcome distraction. Additionally, self-harm can result in the release of endorphins into the body, which act as natural pain killers. Oddly, then, causing oneself pain can be seen to help relieve it; in reality, of course, much more harm is done than good.

There are some ways of trying to reduce or stop self harming,  by:

Thinking things through – when you are aware that you are feeling the impulse to hurt yourself, take time to reflect on the reasons why, and to think about what will actually come about as a result.

– Putting self-harm off – instead of diving straight into an act that will cause you harm, make a concerted effort to spend five minutes debating the idea first. The next time you find yourself in the same situation, you could try to wait ten minutes, and so on. Over time, you might find that this period of self-reflection helps distract you from what would usually be an impulsive and immediate decision.

Doing something else instead – everyone has perfectly harmless activities that they enjoy doing, and so instead of harming yourself, perhaps try going for a walk or watching a film instead. You may find that this – much safer – activity gives you positive feelings that self-harm wouldn’t have provided.

These are just some of the techniques that might help to overcome.

www.samaritans.org.uk

www.nshn.co.uk

www.bpdworld.org

www.scar-tissue.net

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People with BPD often act very impulsively – be it through alcohol or drug abuse, gambling and over-spending, or promiscuous behaviour – and self-harm is one of the most excruciating expressions of this need for instant gratification. To those untroubled by mental complexities such as BPD, the idea of self-harm might seem excruciating, bizarre or even pointless; however, to many who feel overwhelmed it can seem like a logical and effective way to momentarily relieve the pain that they feel inside. In reality, however, self-harm only adds to and deepens existing problems; unfortunately, the need to deal with the immediate physical threat posed by self-harming behaviour can distract from the complex problems behind it.

I wish that I could give more advice on self harm,  but I am not in a good place and haven’t been for a long time. I have self harmed since 2004, and I got diagnosed with BPD about a month ago. I don’t blame that I self harm because I have BPD, but for me the reasons why I self harm, it used to be to cope, but for a while it’s been to feel. Because I constantly feel empty, so I SH to feel, but the only feeling I get out of it is pain. But I also like my scars.

I am not promoting Self Harm in any way and I am not going to say,’ make sure you clean your wounds and sterile equipment,’ because I know if someone says that to me, I don’t like it, but just take care!!

I use this website, http://www.scar-tissue.net/forum/index.php, you may or may not find it helpful but it is a support forum for people who suffer with Self Harm.

I hope you many find this helpful in some way

xox