I saw Therapist today. Following on from our last session, she asked me to read a couple of paragraphs from the DSM description of bpd (I’m going to highlight in red everything that applies to me, and in green things that thankfully are beginning to apply less):

‘Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder make frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment (Criterion 1). The perception of impending separation or rejection, or the loss of external structure, can lead to profound changes in self-image, affect, cognition, and behavior. These individuals are very sensitive to environmental circumstances. They experience intense abandonment fears and inappropriate anger even when faced with a realistic time-limited separation or when there are unavoidable changes in plans (e.g. sudden despair in reaction to a clinician’s announcing the end of the hour; panic of fury when someone important to them is just a few minutes late or must cancel an appointment). They may believe that this “abandonment” implies they are “bad.” These abandonment fears are related to an intolerance of being alone and a need to have other people with them. Their frantic efforts to avoid abandonment may include impulsive actions such as self-mutilating or suicidal behaviors, which are described separately in Criterion 5.
Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder have a pattern of unstable and intense relationships (Criterion 2). They may idealize potential caregivers or lovers at the first or second meeting, demand to spend a lot of time together, and share the most intimate details early in a relationship. However, they may switch quickly from idealizing other people to devaluing them, feeling that the other person does not care enough, does not give enough, is not “there” enough. These individuals can empathize with and nurture other people, but only with the expectation that the other person will “be there” in return to meet their own needs on demand. These individuals are prone to sudden and dramatic shifts in their view of others, who may alternately be seen as beneficent supports or as cruelly punitive. Such shifts often reflect disillusionment with a caregiver who nurturing qualities had been idealized or whose rejection or abandonment is expected.’

I cannot begin to describe how tired I am of all this. I feel like I’m just going round and round and round in circles, but getting absolutely nowhere. And here’s the clincher, the exact, textbook behaviour that’s been going on for the last two weeks – Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder may have a pattern of undermining themselves at the moment a goal is about to be realized (e.g…… regressing severely after a discussion of how well therapy is going……..). This one is so painfully true it actually needs to be flashing. 

And there it is. The problem with being so utterly predictable is that when she names what it is that might be going on, I react so totally and completely that it can’t but be true. I’m taken over by it, and it shakes me to my core, because I cannot stand to think that this is how I am. I’ve come a long way, but I still have so far to go. The DSM also helpfully remarks that after ten years of therapy, symptoms may have reduced enough to no longer meet the criteria for diagnosis. Ten years. Ten. I’m six in, and only dealing with bpd specifically for the last 12 months. While it’s good to know there may be light at the end of the tunnel, it’s far anough away right now to be of zero consolation. 
I don’t know what I’m at. I don’t know if I want to keep blogging, because I don’t know if in doing so, I’m spending too much time in my head. But, I also want to stop taking my meds, and stop seeing Therapist, because I’m back to thinking that really (despite all of the above) this whole borderline thing is just a crock of shit, something I’ve made up because…………ok I don’t why.
If my posts are gappy the next while, you’ll know why. If I decide to stop blogging entirely, or take a break, I’ll let you know. Mostly, I’m just very, very confused right now. 

This article has 2 Comments

  1. I strongly identify with all that you've written here. It's as if you have stolen my thoughts. I'm taking some comfort in knowing that I am not the only person who acts in self-sabotaging ways. Just two weeks ago, I read the first four chapters of a book on mindfulness and shared my success with my therapist. Then last week I didn't read a single page and now I'm angry with myself. My therapist asked if I just forgot but I had to be truthful with her. 'No, I'm just afraid to get better. And I often think I don't deserve to either'.

    I don't believe that it typically takes ten years to no longer meet criteria for BPD. I think I'd just give up if I allowed myself to believe it would take so long. I'm getting angry just thinking about it. Why are DBT programmes only one year long in that case?? Obviously personal experiences with therapy are going to vary hugely but has DBT not been proven in randomized clinicial trials to be effective over a one-year period?

    I would say that the single greatest impediment to my recovery so far as been my inability to accept the BPD diagnosis. I constantly, constantly doubt if its real and I'm tormented by thoughts that I'm just making everything up. I've been in intensive group therapy but I never meet anyone who struggled so greatly with this topic as I do. However, I'm beginning to accept it more just recently. I'm willing to share thoughts on this if you are interested.

    I've also put a huge amount of energy into a blog (not mental health related) but have since completely abandoned it. I'm not sure what advice I would give you about your own blog other than to say that you should do whatever is in the best interests of your recovery. You cannot help anyone else if your own recovery is being impacted too greatly. I find it very easy to wallow in my own problems (I used to write poetry for example) or compulsively watch YouTube videos on BPD (currently doing way too much of this for my own good). The only activity I've done consistently throughout my illness is to write in my diary. For me, it's a non-self-destructive release similar to blogging but without the pressure of having to meet other people's expectations or help others with BPD. That said, if you had not posted this blog, we could not have shared our common experiences with one another.

    As for confusion…that's a hugely damaging force in my life. It's so debilitating to a person's recovery. Like today, I feel much calmer than the last few days. So does that mean I just made up all those hard times? Or that I should be able to snap myself out of it?

    I've rambled on for long enough. Take care, C

    1. You say I've stolen your thoughts – in your response you've stolen mine! 'I would say that the single greatest impediment to my recovery so far as been my inability to accept the BPD diagnosis. I constantly, constantly doubt if its real and I'm tormented by thoughts that I'm just making everything up' – I could write a book about this one. Cannot tell you how many times I've had this conversation with Therapist, and how many times she's had to assure me that yes, it really is real. Sometimes I accept it, sometimes I absolutely don't. If you wanted to share thoughts on this I'd be more than happy to hear from you – sunnyscattered@gmail.com.
      Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it x

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