Tag Archives: Emotional Intensity Disorder

Russell Brand on Addiction

What a breath of fresh air Russell Brand is…………….I have to say I am so grateful that he said what he did……….it is time to treat Addiction as an illness instead of a crime……..absolutely.  It is an illness, it is not only a physical one it is also psychological and spiritual one.  Russell goes on to say that what really needs to be addressed are the symptoms of the illness, the route of the problems.  Once these are addressed, with good quality, supportive and compassionate treatment, the chances of recovery are greater. Sadly, even after almost 33 minutes, the government people on this clip still seemed to be missing the actual point!

This is so very true and something that seems to be missed all over the place.  Punitive, punishing approaches have been the way to deal with most things of an emotional nature over the generations as a rule, and lets hope that in the not too distant future we will see the wind of change.

Below most addictions, if not all is, as Russell says, is a lonely, sad, unhappy and detatched person who uses drugs or alcohol, or both, or food or anything else they can to stop the emotional pain.  The real problem comes in my humble opinion, when the addiction is addressed and the addict is left with the emotions, the reasons why they use whatever it is they use…………….that is where the real work is and where compassion is essential for anyone to get well.

I was horrified the other day when talking with my NHS Psychologist, she told me that new evidence has shown that Compassion is the new kid on the block, so to speak, when I said it is not rocket science……….I was told it is in the NHS………compassion for oneself, most of her clients have no idea of how to be compassionate to themselves……..and I am one of them, although I am getting a lot better than I was at taking care of me………the reason for this in my opinion is simple………to be compassionate towards oneself, one firstly needs to know what that is, what it looks like and then why they are not able to do it, and the worst thing of all, what is missing because of the lack of it.

As babies and children, we learn how to treat ourselves by how we are treated, we internalise it and then do it to ourselves.  If we have had a compassionate carer, we are naturally self compassionate…………….and the same goes for if we are treated badly.  I believe this is a social epidemic. Love and compassion are the way forward and they always have been………we have just lost sight of it in the crazy stressed out world we live in.  I salute Russell Brand for his candid honesty and hope that the government finally begin to listen to what the real issue is.

Borderline Personality Disorder/Emotional Intensity Disorder…what’s worse? Week 6

What a week I have had……….it has been like the big dipper at Blackpool amusement park, on the highest ride of all.  I have found fellow suffers, blogs, videos and so much out there, now I am finally focused on what the issue at hand is.  I have had difficult decisions to make, but made them and in the midst of all that, I feel like my heart is breaking……………the grief is overwhelming and then I tell myself who really wants to read all about that? Surely they all want positive nice and fluffy stuff, then I decided that maybe you would like identification and one day may be good, the next bad and the next utter crap!! That is how life is for me at the moment and I think and hope that it is that authenticity that you will actually want to connect with.

I am finding this STEPPS course so difficult and even wondering if is for me, seriously.  I actually need some support as well as the course on a regular basis from someone who is aware of the course and helping me to deal with what is coming up, and that is not happening as yet and I am finding it very very hard to manage without it.  This week we did Challenging, challenging the thoughts that are in your head, the thoughts that come up that are not real!! Well, what if you actually believe they are real?  As some of you may see, I am on the road to recovery, and it feels like a very long road at the moment! At the same time when I am going through the questions on the sheets to answer how could you challenge this particular thought, for example, ‘it is wrong to have your feelings’ ……..I am struck by grief and rage at the fact that if I had been allowed to have my feelings I would not be in this position, I cant seem to just answer the question………each and everyone of them is bringing up more and more stuff that is not anything to do with me really, it is all their crap that they have put onto me and now I have internalised it and am doing it to myself……………its a process, and one thing I am grateful for is I am feeling my feelings!

I have found two resources that are helping me to not feel so alone and help me to connect with my feelings. I would like to share them with you.  One is a video and the other is an article, all things I have discovered as I research my tribe.

I hope you find them helpful whether you are a sufferer yourself or helping someone who is.

This video is one of the most beautiful and clearest descriptions of how it feels to be me. Although I am not in as bad a place as I was regarding the more severe behaviour, the feelings are there.  Sometimes words are just not enough.

I have also found this article so helpful and what an inspiration Marsha Linehan is.

Thankyou for reading my post, I hope you will continue to follow my progress!

Penny

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? Introduction

This is another one of those moments when I feel like I am about to take a huge leap of faith, and am about to share yet another part of who I really am.  What will you do?

Will you laugh? Will you leave me? Will you understand? I have to be brave and not worry about what you think if you don’t get it, and hope that someone out there will really get it, and will understand.  My friend Matt called it ‘Finding Your Tribe’ and I guess that is what is so cool about being true to who I really am, I will continue to find my tribe.

At last, I have had my diagnosis!!! In one way it is such a relief and another it leaves me with great sadness that it has taken so long and caused me and others so much pain.

I have been into two re-habs, assessed by a Psychiatrist, and still, no-one knew what was really wrong with me.  I was told in the last re-hab that I did not have any signs of Borderline………….and thank God one of the support workers suggested I did not leave without connecting to my local Community Mental Health Team…………….although it has to be said, they have taken almost two years to get their act together due to lack of funds, staff cuts and all the other chaos that is around the mental health support at the moment.

I was offered this label as a possible reason for my problems way back in around 2000, when I had researched and saw that I was possibly bi-polar as my mood swings were so up and down and no matter how sober I was, my head was playing havoc and I was really mentally unwell.  That was one of the worst things about getting sober, the lack of booze to sooth my mind was leaving an even bigger issue, my mind was not right, only I had no idea until I put all the substances down.

So, in April 2010, I come out of re-hab, no money for follow up and on a waiting list so long that it took months to see a psychologist.  In the meantime, I was seen by a psychiatrist who did not understand addiction and offered me Lituium, just in case I had bi-polar or borderline, while I wait to see someone…………….no thanks.  Then, I finally see someone, the failed attempt at a form which I found ardeous and far too painful to complete and not enough time to go over the questions it all seemed horrendous and unsupported, then, she left as her job had been cut, and I was left high and dry, in the midst of an emotional turmoil which I found so hard to manage. It is because of this that I have such gratitude to my friend who pays for me to see a therapist, because without her, I actually do not know where I would be.

Now, months and months later, I am finally called in, told they would like to assess me, I get 9 out of 9 of the questions right and I am now on a course called STEPS, designed in America to help people who have Borderline Personality Disorder, or as they like to call it now Emotional Intensity Disorder.  I will be blogging as I go through this, it feels like my world as I knew it is not going to be the same.  What I thought was normal I am being told is part of my illness, that to me is very odd indeed, because it is who I am I thought!

One of the symptoms is the use of at least two of the following potentially self-damaging behaviours, eg: sex, spending, substance misuse, including alcohol, binge eating and reckless driving………….It makes me wonder just how many people have this and don’t even know it.

It stems from childhood, and whilst this is not to blame my parents, hard as that is cos I really feel like it and somedays I actually really do blame them, I am not there yet with that.  It stems from the level of abandonment trauma in childhood and this sets up a pattern of real or imagined experiences as we get older.  I know it has with me.  For example, I think everyone is going to leave me and never ever come back, it is agony and I find the world a very painful place to be.  It also stops me expressing myself sometimes fully because of fear of abandonment and rejection, all this has a devastating effect on my life and those around me and I am going to do my best to learn all I can.

I hope to hear from anyone who has anything to add to this and look forward to learning all about myself.  I have always found the world a very difficult place to exist, I battle on a daily basis and I hope that I will learn some tools to help me. I am a bit worried that it might be a bit of a plaster job but lets hope that emotions are encouraged to be expressed!!