If only it were that simple


I was surfing a popular social networking site I belong to (no not Facebook), and I saw his quote

Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change!

I became very uncomfortable as I read the quote several times and the best answer I could come up with was

If only it were that easy

As someone who lives and breathes BPD, and the daily struggles of wanting to understand and process being in the present, being mindful, being accepting, seeing that quote above made me feel as if the quote was making a jab at many who suffer with mental illness. The classic “aw you can push through it; it’s not so bad” attitude.

Every Tuesday for the last 9 weeks, has been the first time I’ve strictly worked on this diagnosis. Not bits of pieces of areas surrounding depression, anxiety, chronic pain, the list I’m sure could go on and on for many of us. The first few sessions, my head was a haze as I processed the first real opportunity to work on what is really at my roots. I realize and recognize now that there is a possibility that I could overcome this, and live a free life with BPD in remission. Unfortunately there is no cure for mental illness. What there is, is education, understanding and hopefully connection. I’ve been at this “healing” for so long, I’ve always questioned whether I will ever be normal. That when I wake up each day, that my mood won’t change as often as it does. There is no guarantee.

When I read quotes and comments like I did today, some really hit me hard, and some make sense. Yet today without even knowing it, the quote hit a spot with me. It hit an area of really wishing there was a way to get people to understand that simply stating to change the way you look at things were really that simple. Sure it is a recognition and I do recognize that when a person chooses to make change, that only then can change start. But I also recognize that for some people, it really isn’t as simple as that.

“They were not perfect, but they were my friends. Some I’ve seen… Some, never again. But there isn’t a day my heart doesn’t find them.” ~Susanna, Girl Interrupted

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The Bitch is Out


I don’t understand and doubt I ever will. Her moods all over the place, not helped by the fact that our weather has been more inconsistent and wet than I ever recall. How do I own what I am supposed to? Am I a bitch? Yep, can own that one. Am I bored, yep can own that one too. Yet, just as I said in group last week, I don’t seem to care much about consequences or anyone else’s feelings anymore than I am to care about my own. 

It feels anger related, a festering wound bubbling under the surface. I recognize that irritant, it feels the same as when I watch peroxide bubble as it sterilizes. Yet, my anger doesn’t feel like a wound, I don’t really know what precisely it is directed at. If I had to guess I’d say it is many emotions rolled up into one; the expectation to figure out specifics and label where specifically the emotion goes to…. futile. 

At times to push through the emotions can be as simple as a “talk therapy” other times it feels like a shard of glass slicing down my chest, splitting down the middle, jagged like my soul. 

The Bitch comes out, when words can’t be found. She comes out when her needs aren’t being met. If you ask her what those needs are, she will most likely not know, other than simplistic thoughts, lack of sleep, no sunshine, sadness, but anything more and chances are she will clam up and go away. 

The root of the emotion, is not always know. I just know that when The Bitch is Out even I wish I could get out of me.

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The Pathological Critic vs. the Compassionate Response


Yes, my thoughts exactly! This was yesterday’s topic in therapy.

Ever have one of those days where you walk into your therapy group and the topic you swear was written just for you!?  That was me for this particular session.

The Pathological Critic  is negative self talk that attacks and judges you. Everyone has one but people who self harm and have low self esteem have a more vicious and vocal pathological critic.

What Does It Do

  • It blames you for things that go wrong
  • It compares you with others, e.g. achievements and abilities
  • It sets up impossible standards of perfection and then beats you up for small mistakes.
  • It keeps a record of failures
  • It degrades strength or accomplishments
  • It calls you names, e.g. stupid, incompetent, ugly, fat
  • The critic reads others minds and convinces you of what they think
  • It exaggerates weaknesses, e.g. ALWAYS says stupid things  ( I say this!!)
  • ALWAYS screw up relationships
  • NEVER finish anything on time
  • The critic’s voice can be male or female, your mother or your father’s voice or perhaps your own voice.
  • The critic is almost always believed no matter how negative, distorted or false.
  • It puts your self esteem through the wringer
  • The critic is always with you – judging, blaming, finding fault

THE CRITIC HAS WEAPONS

  • Your values and rules of living you grew up with
  • The more rigid and fixed your values and beliefs are, the more the critic can use them against you. There is no room for flexibility or mistakes (e.g. “a marriage should last forever” calls you failure after divorce. “A real man supports his family.” calls you a loser when laid off. “The kids come first” calls you selfish when you want a night off to do something for yourself.

THE COMPASSIONATE RESPONSE is an alternative to critical self talk directed at yourself.

To develop a compassionate mind, it is important to make a commitment to a different way of thinking. The old way was to judge and then reject. The new way requires that you suspend judgment for a few moments and substitute compassionate beliefs such as:

  • Understanding of the need you were trying to meet with the action at the time
  • Understanding of the pain or hurt that influenced your behavior
  • Accepting yourself as a human who has faults and makes mistakes
  • Recognizing you did the best you could knowing what you did at the time
  • Trusting in your worth, that you are deserving of compassion
  • Letting go of the burden of past hurt and pain
  • Letting go of guilt and remorse and the need to condemn yourself
  • Developing an openness to the belief that you are a “work in progress” and have within you all you need to grow as a person
  • Recognize that you can learn from your mistakes and gain strength from them.

The Week of June 3 – June 10, 2012


Its been an interesting week. I’ve been doing a lot better with getting outside to use the yard for my bathroom. Mama and I have been working on a word “bathroom” and when she says that to me, I go to the door and we go outside.

Earlier in the week we went to spend the night away from home with one of mama’s friends. He was a nice man, kinda scary at first. Mama wondered if it was because it was a new place and a different smell. Before long, I was listening to mama’s friend and he even let me off my leash to go outside! Poor mama! She was nervous and scared I would run away…. but I didn’t. Mama’s friend J called my name twice I came right in and he gave me lots of love and pets. I was so proud!! I even got to go on his bed! Mama said that was a “big deal” because J doesn’t like pets on his bed, not even his cat! *snickers, silly kittty*

I’m still not crazy about going for walks past our house. It just seems to scary with cars that are coming home in the neighborhood as well as other pets.

Did mama tell you that I now know what a squirrel is!! My word I gave a run for the barks with Blaze LOL. Look here’s a picture!Image

This morning mama noticed that my spot where I had my surgery is infected! It hurts so bad too, I keep licking it and mama doesn’t want me to. She put this stuff on it to help clean it out, she said it was hydrogen peroxide and then she put a towel on it and wrapped me up in my thunderstorm jacket. I felt snuggly and warm so I went to bed and slept for awhile.

She wrote a letter to the people who helped get us together and attached a picture of my tummy.

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Well for now, we will leave it this, mama says we will do another entry maybe later tonight or tomorrow.

Woof!

The cats and the blinds


We have been working on Triggers weekly. Once a week, a group member can decide to work through their trigger that they have chosen. This week, I decided to work through mine.

I felt embarrassed to suggest the topic I did because my cats have been driving me nuts! Ella, has a very bad habit of  pawing the blinds in the kitchen and in the addition. She does this as a means of getting our/my attention. I often don’t respond right away, because I don’t want to get up at 4am to feed her, and I don’t like being controlled by my animals. 

I have found that since my partner has gone out-of-town, it feels like all 3 cats have been getting on my last nerve, to the point that I scream at them and I even threw something in the kitchen at them! 

I brought this trigger up in my group and the trigger sheet is an 11 x 14 sheet on the left is the negative side and the right is the positive. 

So I start naming my negative thoughts; things like pets @ home are doing it on purpose, not competent, they want to be in control & I won’t let them. I am useless, I am ineffective, I hate it when C is gone. “

Then we name what we feel Physical and Emotionally.

Physical Feelings

tight muscles, not in stomach, headaches, body aches, stiff joints, over-tired

Emotional Feelings:  Sad, Calm

Intensity: 9 out of 10

Self-Harming/Self-Defeating Behaviours:
x Yes  or  No

I have been using Self Defeating Behaviors.

At this point I am starting to see some things I hadn’t seen before. A few of my fellow group members were also helpful in their suggestions and comments.  I had begun to realize that I wasn’t really angry at the cats, I was angry and frustrated that C had gone out-of-town, and that I need him more than I am wanting to admit, because in the past I have had trust broken.

We now move to the right side of the page to these topics:

Self-Support Statements:

Understanding The Trigger: (Until I did this myself with everyone, I was having troubles figuring this one out)

The cats represent something about my relationship with C.

The cats push a button about my ineffectiveness

Understanding My Thinking Twists:

This topic is where I have to figure out if my thinking twists were Jumping to Conclusions, Catastrophizing, OverGeneralizing, Black & White Thinking. I had come to realize that my thinking twists were Jumping to Conclusion, OverGeneralizing and Black & White Thinking.

Understanding my Feelings:

It’s scary to allow myself to need C. I’ve had trust broken in the past (no wonder I feel resentful). This is the first time we’ve been apart since living together. (naming my feelings & understanding them, I notice lowers the intensity). 

Understanding Myself:

I’ve been independent in the past. With living with C, I’m need him more than I want. Allowing myself to be sad allows me to know myself better and what I need.

Physical Feelings:

Calmer, Posture better, less of a knot

Emotional Feelings:

Sad

Intensity: 4 out of 10

Life-Enhancing Behaviors:

1. Deep Breathing

2. Maybe I need to phone a friend

3. Grieve

I learned a lot from this session and the next day I found myself calmer, when it comes to Ella smacking the blinds, or when Jingles decides to deliberately knock things off the table, or when he opens the cupboards looking for his treats. I realize I could go on, but I know I get the idea.

Namaste

Mood Stabilizers


There have been a few things I have learned this past week, one of which was yesterday at my doctor’s appointment. We are going to put me back on a night medication for my mood. I had told my doctor that my moods have been really all over the place, and I don’t like it. I never know when I wake up how I will be, I also am not a fan of feeling stuck inside my house constantly. I don’t stay because I want to, sometimes I stay because it feels safer at home. 

I took my new medication last night/early this morning. Yea, that’s the other thing I’m having issues with right now; sleep or going to bed at a decent hour. I’m really lucky if I am in bed before 1-2am lately. I have wondered if this is also a contributing factor towards me not wanting to do much, other than my scheduled appointments and weekly therapy appointments. 

I noticed this morning when I did wake up for the day, that I wanted carbohydrates; the very thing that being on Serequoel did to me and I gained weight while on it! I am right smack in the process of losing weight, as of 2 weeks ago I had lost 20 lbs, I’m about 17lbs lost at this time. I am on a break right now, I saw that my body had plateaued and so I am giving it the break it clearly needs, otherwise it thinks the weight I am presently at is “ok”, which it isn’t. I would like to finish my goal of losing another 20lbs to be closer to my “normal” weight before my surgery and before I gained the post medicine weight. 

My moods lately have felt flat, then anxious and then angry. I think the anger is triggering from my weekly group sessions, I know it is because of learning new ways of thinking and my mind feels like it is split in half – one way thinks one way and the other side wants to try out the suggestions. Not so simple~!

I will give the mood stabilizer a chance, and I will definitely keep an eye on the carbohydrate craving. I simply cannot regain the weight I just have lost. 

Namaste