Tag Archives: dual diagnosis

Borderline Personality Disorder/Emotional Intensity Disorder…what’s worse? Week 5

I hope you find this week’s entry informative and helpful. I have really been struggling this week, trying to put the pieces of what sometimes feels like my shattered mind together.

I found the group this week hectic. Digesting what is happening is still very difficult and I am wondering just how much theory one can actually process when things are so emotional, not a lot, it seems for me.  I need the middle bit, the bit that embraces my comments and not a theoretical answer. One thing I do know, I am learning what I need, and what I don’t need and having my thoughts about what I already know reinforced and actually speaking up.  But sadly, somehow I feel that the missing bit for me is not really happening.  The bit that addresses the part of me that was so left behind and not listened to and is still screaming out to be taken seriously and empathised with in a loving, soft and gentle way.

I am even wondering if I will share anything because it can feel too re-traumatising to open up and then not feel supported in the way that I need to be supported……….I am feeling very confused, and I am sure that that is not really the purpose of it all.

One of the things that is becoming more and more apparent to me is that this illness stems from childhood trauma, lack of support and something happening.  One of the facilitators said that one of her clients told her that when she was not with her she may as well be dead, as she could not hold her in her thoughts, it is exactly like that for me and it is excruciating.  That is why one of my therapists told me that being with me is like groundhog day, I can’t hold onto people being with me even if they are away.  I am realising more and more what I have already known, this is because when I was a baby, my mother did leave me, when I was a month old, for hours at a time and never came back. I had nannies, one after the other and I did not have a care taker who was attuned with me and therefore, nobody came when I actually needed them, therefore my needs were not met, therefore I cannot hold onto people.  It all happens in the first few years of life.

I thought it would be useful for some people to know what the charity, Mind, have said in their booklet about what can cause Borderline Personality Disorder, together with  putting the actual definition of Borderline Personality Disorder on this blog, together with a list of the requirements needed to join this very special group of us.

Mind have said in their bookelt Understanding borderline personality disorder:

What causes borderline personality disorder?(in my own words)

Many people diagnosed with BPD have had traumatic experiences in childhood.  This could be the loss of a parent;  sexual, emotional or physical abuse or neglect. It is said that the problems associated with BPD can often become worse after a stressful experience, situations like loosing your job, your relationship or something else that you personally find stressful.

It is for this reason I really believe we need to take good care of our children, the fact that so many parents are under so much pressure does not help the whole situation when it comes to the nurturing of our children.  I really believe this illness is far more common than we know.  It is a natural response to the impact of child abuse and neglect and the pressures that so many children are under today.  I believe it really is time to change.

According to the American Psychiatric Association (2000) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, this is what our illness is made up of.

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects (mood), and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more0 of the following:

1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. (Note: do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behaviour covered in criterion (5)

2.  A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterised by alternating between extremes of idealisation and devaluation.

3. Identity disturbance: persistent and markedly disturbed, distorted, or unstable self-image or sense of self.

4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (eg: spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).

5. Recurrent suicidal behaviour, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behaviours.

6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).

7. Chronic feelings of emptiness

8. Inappropriate, intense anger or lack of control of anger (e.g.,frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).

9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

I hope you have found this helpful, I  know I did.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2012 – It’s Not All About The Food!

A reporter friend of mine, Sara-Jayne Kirk has done two great interviews this Eating Disorders Awareness Week.  One with ED Specialist Ann White and another with Gregory Szanto, the Founder of The Sussex Eating Disorders Clinic in Eastbourne.  Both of these interviews give such insight into the depth of the problems for those suffering from Eating Disorders. They also highlight very clearly, that Eating Disorders have very little to do with the actual food and much more to do with emotions.

As well as being helpful and empathetic with the sufferes, these interviews also highlight the gaping whole in the NHS provision for people with this problem, which I know personally only too well. I hope you will find them useful and please do pass this blog on to anyone who you think might benefit.

For some people this is their only addiction. For others, like me, it was found buried under the carnage of alcoholism, drug addiction, sex and love addiction, not to mention all the other ways I had  learnt to avoid my feellings.  Franetic activity, workaholism, never ever being able to be alone and all to try and fill a huge emptiness in my soul. It is also on the check list for those with Borderline Personality disorder, along with other addictions, such as alcoholism and sex.

A friend of mine told me recently that it is to do with ‘mother love’, lack of love, lack of connection, lack of attunement or rejection or abandonment.  For me, this has always made perfect sense, and this is not a blame game, it is fact for me…………and it is for many other people I know.

Fortunately, I eventually had treatment for my compulsive overeating, binging, bulimia and undereating, I have a food plan, do not eat white flour or sugar and have lost a lot of the weight I put on over a very short period of time. But it never ever goes away and I have to watch myself every single day.

If I feel upset, rejected or unloved, it is the very first place I can go………….and sometimes without even knowing it.  I diluded myself the other week when I brought a very small bar of dark chocolate from the ‘Free From’ range. I had barely got through the door, promised myself that I would have it with a cup of tea, but it was gone before the kettle had boiled.  I know why, and it scared me. I felt so rejected by someone and there it was! Thank God it was just that one bar.

In 2008, I hated what I had become, I felt utterly miserable and hated life.  Slowly I am recovering.  I ate on feelings, and still have to watch it, as I have already said, when it is really bad it can still catch me out.  I would always eat on feelings that I could not express, but now, what is different is I have people and places to go where I can express them and someone bothers to listen without telling me I am crazy or making it all up for attention.

For that I am truely grateful.

Borderline Personality Disorder/Emotional Intensity Disorder…what’s worse? Week 4

I would like to start this week’s entry by thanking the people who have taken the time to contact me personally and share their experiences and to encourage me to keep going.  Thank you so much for your kindness and support, it helps me not feel so alone.

This week our lesson was Communicating………….when you are in a really chaotic place! Well, at the moment, this is not going to be possible for me, something else for the tool kit!  I have been really struggling with this course to be honest.  I find it very hard to be so detatched from my emotions to be logical about them. I also find it very hard that we are so rushed, there is little time for exploration of how we actually feel and that the facilitators are so target focused that we are basically ticking boxes to say how we feel, and barely have time to talk about it. This taps right back into the reason I am actually on the course in the first place…….my feelings not being heard and validated!  They do try, I have to give them that, but there are at least 5 out of 9 of us who really need some extra support.  Fortunately for me, my friend pays for my private therapist, without that I would be in a very, very different and very scary place.

I have challenged my Psychologist about this problem within this model of treatment for those with Borderline Personality Disorder/Emotional Intensity Disorder, neither descriptions are particularly palitable, only to be told that this provision is cheap and that the funding is not really available for therapists to support us whilst we are going through what can really only be described some days as a living hell.

Distancing, communicating and expression are not on my radar when it comes to me feeling like my whole world is falling apart, I just need a hug to be honest.  All this head stuff is really counterproductive in so many ways, when it is on its own. I spoke to someone on Friday who very beautifully put it that it is my little girl who is stuck and needs support, love and nurturing to come out….that is what they call my illness! When I share my pain and am dismissed, invalidated, because someone is rushed or doesn’t know how to help, I feel shut down and it is excruciatingly painful for me.

I had a really good example of how this effects my life and I have realised a lot from it…………this week I had arranged to meet a friend at 1pm……….she was still not at mine by 1.20pm and I was really in a bad state, I had to hold onto the sofa and was sweating so badly, I felt so totally disorientated for a good 20 minutes. The pain in my head was almost unbearable. I  eventually calmed down and called her and was pretty passive aggressive, which is not helpful.  When she arrived at 1.45 I said that I really understand that she has lots to do etc but please would she call me to let me know she is going to be late………….I got the most beautiful supportive response, ‘If that is important to you Penny I will do my very best, I know I am a bad time keeper etc etc!!!  This is the difference, someone who takes responsibility and who I matter to.  It was a huge risk for me, I was scared I would loose the relationship, that she would shout at me and tell me to shut up and what is my problem, she is here now……….totally invalidating my feelings and that would be it.  I had that my whole childhood.  My mother was always late and I would wait for her for hourse, sitting on the stair, no phone call nothing.  When she arrived I would say I have been waiting for you for so long and was really upset, the response………….I am here now, what’s your problem!  That is why I am so ill, terrified of speaking my truth and splitting off.

One thing I have learnt, it takes two people to heal and I am so grateful that I have that support around me today, because it has taken a long long time.

Borderline Personality Disorder/Emotional Intensity Disorder………….what’s worse? Week 2

It has taken me almost a week to process the information from the session on Tuesday.  We discussed Filters, which somehow put so much into context for me.  I have talked about it, thought about it, made a video talking about it and yet, the understanding still seems to come and go.  When it comes back, it feels like I have learnt it all over for the very first time.  In summary, filters are our view of the world, based on our childhood and earliest experiences, that is what the world is.  It seems to be that the level of negative experience in early childhood has a far more reaching impact on our lives than I first knew.

The last week has felt like a great big metal ball on a chain swing, rather like they use in demolition of buildings, has come along and smashed down a great big thick brick wall inside my head, from the inside out.  I am on the inside of the wall, in the corner wondering what the hell is going to happen next.  I feel more vulnerable than  I have been in a very very long time. I am having to put one foot very slowly in front of the other and my response to things is very very slow………………for the first time ever……….I just don’t know. I really do not know and it is scary and exciting all at once.  It feels like I have just woken up to be told that everything I have ever known is not at all as it is, that actually it is anything and that my view of the world is all it is, my view, and that where that has come from is why it is my view!

Really realising that all my reactions are down to childhood abandonment and very early levels of trauma is a huge amount to take in.  I am grateful for this opportunity to do the STEEPS programme,  and I am begining to see what the great teachers talk about when they say, change the way you think and you will change your life…………..!!

The video below is one I made on this subject, it really does take time to get to grips with all of this stuff