May is Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month

If it’s not obvious, BPD has a high level of stigma associated with it, which is why – with much trepidation – I’m raising awareness with this post in hopes a few may be open to learning more about it. You could help by sharing any of the links listed at the bottom of this post. Thanks!

I could write for ages about the topic of BPD and mental illness (or health), and psychology forever, but it’s not my idea of fun. Instead I’ll share posts, articles, memes, and videos that I feel say it for me. My disclaimer is that I usually don’t agree with everything said on these topics. Sometimes I’ll point that out, and sometimes I’ll let it go.

bpd 3rd degree burns

Marsha Linehan

There are so many areas where all of us need more awareness. I don’t consider this particular issue more important than others. Since I happen to be living with it, I feel obligated to raise it up for examination. And believe me, that is at great risk. People with mental health issues are frequently discounted; ridiculed; abused – especially by people in positions of authority; passed up for jobs or other opportunities; and generally overlooked socially. I’ve had people tell me I shouldn’t disclose my mental health issues because of this. I also have enemies and predators like most people do, so to expose this vulnerability is an act of courage.

I’ve learned to cope better than average with many characteristics of this disorder. A lot of that comes with age and work. I’ve also learned to deal with some of this in unconventional and sometimes unhealthy ways – most of them being rooted in isolation. At mid-life, it’s becoming a very spiritual endeavor to manage life with these challenges. In a world (or a mind) where everything seems so very separate and isolated and “getting myself out there” has not cured it, I gratefully have learned to create or become aware of the rich world of connection and wholeness that is always there.

I’d prefer my life to be perfectly fulfilled; abundant in health, love, beauty, service, creativity, and all the needs of daily life; comfortable, safe, and secure. I’ll notice when these intangibles are in my life. That is gratitude and it is the greatest tool. While life isn’t perfection for me (or for anyone else), I’ll do the best I can and try to remember that this is my contribution to the world — even though many others won’t ever see it that way.

My struggles don’t all fall under this label. This is a label along with multiple other labels that I’ve accepted — not as limitations, but as a means for support. Support of some kind is needed by everyone, even if it ultimately comes from within. As much as I’d like to think I could survive on a desert island (I almost said dessert, you know where my head is at), we all need the knowledge that we are not alone. That in and of itself is support. I think about this every time I’m in a public space.

I’m conscious of others who don’t approve of labels, the term mental illness, using the words depression or anxiety, or the field of psychology (or psychology as practiced). Hey, I’m not in total agreement either. Uniquely, I’ve had less experience with the faulty field of mental health for these reasons:

  • simply because I lacked funds or insurance to seek out care
  • but also because the stigma kept the adults in my childhood from helping me
  • also because growing up in my environment, I was acutely aware that I could end up in foster care if I brought my problems up outside my home and that foster care could make my life all the more complicated
  • and finally because I had seen my mother go in and out of mental wards with no success and come home with horror stories and derision to share

This is not to say that I haven’t had negative experiences with mental health services. I have, but that would be a long, unpleasant write as well.

I know people who have claimed victory over their mental health struggles through the mental health system (or outside of it) and who either want to put it behind them, want to focus on the pitfalls of the mental health system rather than an immediate source of help for those who are still suffering, or feel it should be dealt with excluding mental health diagnoses. I do and have certainly gone outside the confines of the mental health system for managing this set of symptoms (or characteristics).

Still, I stress that labels and services were likely intended to help and do to an extent. I hope people would support any means available to help people suffering, while working on better means of support. (That extends to everything really.) In a proverbidiom, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Terms and ideas change over time for the good, but there is a period of growing pains and people still need support while that is happening. Psst, Trump & alt-right, if you think any one of us is on this planet or in the cosmos to do anything other than love and support one another, you are missing out. This is bigly, the bigliest!

Now I have to say I hate the term Borderline Personality Disorder, but since it is the mainstream term right now, I’ll use it. In the meantime, I’ll be promoting a more positive name change because the current label smacks of stigma and paints a picture of permanent defectiveness, poor character, a dangerous person, etc. The term I currently like best is Emotional Intensity Disorder (EID).

This leads me to say that many labels I identify with have traits similar to the symptoms of BPD/EID. Is there one reason for anything? I think there are many contributors (genetic, environmental, socio-economic, karmic). If there was one reason for anything, I’d say it was a deficiency in love — malnutrition on a metta scale. I do think these traits could use support whatever the individual living with them chooses to call it…

  • Highly Sensitive Personality (HSP)
  • Indigo Child/Crystal Scout
  • INFJ
  • Pisces
  • Addict
  • Empath
  • Clairsentient
  • Co-dependent
  • Survivor…

And by the way, the world would be in a lot better shape if people of all personalities, abilities, socio-economic backgrounds, genders, colors, origins, sexual orientations, just everybody (ok?!) were loved, supported, and honored.

Thanks for hearing me. ♥♥♥♥

eyore love

Links/Resources:

  • Video Series – Borderline Personality Disorder
    • I listened to the first video in this series and it was on point. Seems good for anyone who wants to help, understand, or be in relationship/family with someone with BPD/EID- Emotional Intensity Disorder. Anyone with BPD/EID is very lucky to have anyone in their life who cares to learn instead of dismiss or walk away.
  •  Schema Therapy for Treatment of BPD: Domains and Their Schemas – HealthyPlace
    • I used a schema therapy book for a while and I think it’s integrated in to my therapy, which includes EMDR. I didn’t like the language of the book, so set it aside. I did find that I have most of the schemas to various degrees. I’ve also used parts work (family systems).
  • Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month: What BPD is Like – HealthyPlace
    • I can relate to a lot of what this author describes and the symptoms. One of the several symptoms that has improved over the years is identity issues. I know I’m a good person. I know I’m bisexual/queer/pansexual. I know what I believe (and I also know that beliefs are no more than that). I have to disagree with the “mood swings” lasting a few hours. They can last 4 or 5 hours, or a day, or three days, or two weeks. They certainly swing though. I can feel ok in the morning, then like hell in the evening, and feel good the next afternoon. When I reach out for support, by the time friends get back to me the mood has often passed and I’d rather not re-hash it. One thing I wish people understood is how intense the emotional pain can be. I often feel so alone when in it. The trouble is none of us can feel what another is feeling. That is why I love NVC (another topic).
  • Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month: Facts about BPD – Borderline Personality Treatment
    • The best treatment for most with BPD/EID is a formal DBT program, which is available in limited areas and out-of-pocket.
  •  BPD Awareness Month: Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms and Treatment – Borderline Personality Treatment
    • #8 (anger) is the only symptom that isn’t a consistent problem, but I can remember at least four instances of rage in my life. A (male) sous chef I worked with back in 2003 told me I had anger management issues. The topic of discussion was lack of insurance through my employer. (It’s not always the illness that’s the problem. Sometimes it’s patriarchy or the healthcare system that’s the problem.)
  • About BPD
    • The basics of BPD (EID- Emotional Intensity Disorder) are on this page. Please read the paragraph on the bottom about medication. Going med-free is not for everyone, and I don’t point this out to offend anyone who benefits from medication. I have tried going with and without meds and had more complications with them. I’m tired of the mainstream assuming everything can have a med thrown at it.
  • BPD Awareness Month
    • The author describes much of my experience with BPD (EID- Emotional Intensity Disorder).
  • DBT Self-Help
  • Borderline Personality in 60 Seconds
    • Interesting. I am probably not the only one with Emotional Intensity (Borderline Personality Disorder) who has long forgone desperate attempts to avoid separation, and instead chooses to live in a way that there is no one to lose.

      Strange how so much of the information on the web about this condition fails to point out any physical issues other than serotonin deficiency. Defects (faulty wiring) in the pre-frontal lobe of the brain have a lot to do with this.

      There’s an anecdote I read in a book about this condition describing the behavior of a man who had survived a spike going through his pre-frontal lobe. He experienced the same emotional intensity those with BPD experience.

      Some people with BPD (not many) have had perfectly good childhoods, but something went amiss in their brain. I wouldn’t be surprised if findings emerge that trauma and neglect create changes in the pre-frontal lobe. Some say it is a combination of being born this way along with the addition of trauma that causes BPD.

  • The truth behind (arguably) the most misunderstood personality disorder of our time
    • This post was well put on many points. Of course I will voice my differences with it as well…

      It focuses on the typical outward behavior of the person suffering with the condition and in turn makes that the actual problem. The behavior is not the actual problem. The extreme emotional pain and how that affects the individual’s ability to thrive is the problem.

      I wonder if there are any people with BPD out there like me who learned that being a good girl, adhering to all the proper manners, staying out of trouble, and excelling in school would protect you from harm and from negative attention. When I had the rare outburst, it was met with more misunderstanding and punitive remarks. It is possible to have BPD and not be outwardly emotional. It does not feel good to keep it all inside either.

      The author says it is only apparent in social situations and that someone with BPD on a deserted island would be fine. This is absolutely not true. It only means the person wouldn’t affect anyone else. The person would still struggle with intense emotions.

      On a more positive note, I have found other techniques to stress this “middle way” approach to healing in the Sedona Method, EMDR, yoga nidra, and other meditation forms. DBT has some very Buddhist characteristics – see The Buddha and the Borderline.

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A Poem for National Poetry Month

Hi! I’ve noticed folks are going crazy posting poetry. Maybe that’s because I tend to follow the blogs of poets, but I think that April being National Poetry month has a little more to do with it. So one hour left to the month and I will share one of my poems with you.

I’m choosing the poem, Tulip Fest, because I was at the park yesterday and found the tulips out full force. Spring is in full force too. It was a grey and slightly chilly day, but people were all over the park enjoying it. Nature definitely is a balm for depression. The lilacs, violets, and magnolias are out. I made sure to bring samples home.

The Halfmoon Market was going on as well at the Lake House. I was drawn by the sound of a woman singing in French, like Edith Piaf. When I got there, the music was gone, but there were all kinds of neat crafts and foods made by hipsters. It’s cool seeing people getting back to the Earth, even if it is still capitalism. I’m reminded that I might want to keep some of my diy secrets under wraps in case I decide to capitalize on them.

Perhaps this poem needs a little background for non-Albanians. There is a Tulip Fest in Albany every year – something started in an attempt to impress a Dutch Queen I hear, or maybe it has something to do with the Dutch heritage of Albany. Anyway, it draws a lot of people and it sometimes has a bit of a festival atmosphere (like the modern use of the word festival – which includes drunkenness, pot smoking, and pathetic attempts to attract attention). I’m sure they’re having fun too and many stay sober.

Does anyone else hate wordpress’ inability to keep the intended format?! Imagine this poem without the extra spaces.

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Tulip Fest

tulips that look like roses

tulips that look like fringe

white tulips

black tulips

pale peach tulips

bright coral tulips

brassy red tulips

butter – cream – tulips

 

Tulips look better without the crowds.

 

sea of people with nothing to do,

but stare at each other

buy some grease

and a trinket or two

 

Buy a bonsai.

Don’t let it die.

 

food

bad food –

lots!

 

sloppy drunks

Men – staring at my tits

declaring, I must pay them attention!

 

Yes– I’ll take your photos–

happy, young, sweet couple.

That’s what odd old gals like me

are for.

 

sweet babies

in their strollers

sweet babies

in the grass

puppies and babies

in the grass

 

grass wafting in the air

 

tiny dancer in the grass

Pure joy!

That kid can feel the music!

 

The colors are beautiful,

but I’ve had enough.

I go – in gratitude.

 

© J. Rae

 

 

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Quickie Review: A Chill in the Air

This poetry by Howard Kogan touches my heart through stories. I can’t get the image of his mother’s salami sandwich tossed into the gutter out of my head — of all things. Although it is out of my realm of experience (Jewish heritage, marriage, parenting, senior years, homing pigeons), nothing is foreign to people when it comes to family, loss, awe, fear of death, aging, the dark side of human behavior, experiencing the natural world, and the desire to understand life. There are even a few poems for the writer to chew on. If I needed only one word to describe this book, it would be reverent. He is also quite funny. I enjoyed ‘Dick and Jane’ because even I read these books in class.

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Quickie Review: Works and Days by Bernadette Mayer

I loved it. Her writing is clever, fun, elegant in simplicity, appreciative, nonchalant, casual, bold, honest, environmental, socialist, and thought-provoking. Her writing gives me a sense of pleasure and ease and of not being alone in thinking — what-the-fuck people!? To me, her work repeats that everything is so simple and we’ve made it so complicated.

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Quickie Review: The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav

I was frustrated with the outdated lingo and a wee lack of gentleness. With patience, I finished the book. I think it has/is shifting me in a tidal erosion sort of way, rather than a volcanic shift. Grateful for it!

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Quickie Review: The Places the Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times

Anything by Pema Chodron is nourishing! The chapter on the Spiritual Friend was very helpful. Pema takes the teachings of the spiritual masters and distills it into something easily digestible. I love her!

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Quickie Review: Music for Chameleons by Truman Capote

** spoiler alert ** I love his descriptiveness of characters, his honesty, and rawness. Delicious! His commitment to writing is inspirational. The murder story, which I gather was a draft of In Cold Blood (and based on a true story) was interesting – but disturbing. I try to stay away from that sort of stuff. In the preface, he wrote about getting flack for dishing on his friends. I’m glad he did though. Loved to read about Marilyn. Thoroughly enjoyed his escapades with the housekeeper.

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Quickie Review: Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

I think he’s wonderful. Reading this is almost like reading a religious text for me. The racist language of the time is a bit disconcerting. His love of all people is apparent. I want someone to read Song of Myself to me on my deathbed. Yes, I know that’s a little morbid – but I can’t think of a better way to go out except maybe to also be propped up in front of a forest waterfall and a nice warm fire. Did I say I was morbid yet?

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Quickie Review: Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

I wish I had read this when I was 11. Seems like required reading whether you are a poet or just want to be an artist at life.

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