How to deal with impulsiveness when you have BPD

Today I messed up. I’m feeling remorse and guilt. Someone felt bad because of me. It is what it is. Sometimes I can be garbage. When things of this nature happen, I take a good hard look at myself. It hurts and you feel bad but it’s important to do it. Understand that you should never act that way again. That there is a consequence to every action. When you have BPD, impulsivity can be an issue. Sometimes you do things that you regret later. It’s never too late to learn.

I wrote an article on How to improve your self-control but I would like to talk further about this.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), impulsive behaviors are a hallmark of BPD. Impulsivity is broadly defined as actions without foresight that are poorly conceived, prematurely expressed, unnecessarily risky, and inappropriate to the situation. Impulsivity is associated with undesirable, rather than desirable, outcomes.

Source: https://www.verywellmind.com/impulsive-behavior-and-bpd-425483

Everything and everyone is telling you not to do it but you still do it. It’s like an urge that you have. It happens less and less these days. I feel very disappointed in myself when it happens. So I searched for ways to be less impulsive and this is what I found:

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New research shows that people can train their brains to become less impulsive, which could pave the way for new treatments for addictions to gambling, drugs or alcohol, as well as impulse-control disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

The study from researchers at the Universities of Exeter and Cardiff assessed whether asking people to stop making simple movements while in a simulated gambling situation affected how risky or cautious they were when betting.

Source:https://psychcentral.com/news/2012/06/16/brain-can-be-trained-to-be-less-impulsive/40192.html

They found that avoiding certain actions can lessen our impulse to do them. This is very important for addiction and, as the article mentions, impulse disorders. Easier said than done, right? It works to a degree but I believe that it would work with addiction. If you are a cigarette smoker and you avoid smoking for a while and then a little more afterward and gradually increase the amount of time that you’re not smoking, that the way to go. Some people can just say “I’ve had enough of this” and just quit in one day. They probably get in that mindset of quitting that it’s sometimes so hard to achieve. For some people, that day never comes.

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I often tell other people who are suffering with intense, extreme emotions and urges that no matter how intense, extreme, or strong it is, it will pass. Not only will it pass, but you also do NOT have to follow through on any impulse to act during that time.

Often when we are in a heightened state (especially when we are emotionally sensitive), the actions we feel like taking – those immediate fixes to quell the pain and calm our nerves in that moment – end up being things that hurts us – either physically or by sabotaging our relationships and life circumstances.

Source:https://www.my-borderline-personality-disorder.com/2012/04/emotional-sensitivity-impulsiveness-and-bpd.html

I think these two paragraphs are very enlightening and they come from someone who actually has BPD. The urge will pass and we will be rewarded by our behavior, maybe not in money or anything but in our conscience. That alone is something that contributes to the well-being of a person.

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Learn more about mindfulness practices. Becoming aware of your feelings, and learning to connect your impulsiveness to your thoughts, emotions and urges will help you better control your actions. Mindfulness helps by allowing you some distance from your impulses, offering you the opportunity to choose to act upon your impulses or not. When you notice an urge, articulate that urge mentally to yourself before acting on it. For example, “I am angry that my partner just said that, and I want to criticize her.” Follow this with a more constructive response, such as, “I can try to calm down.”

Mindfulness means to focus on what’s going on inside yourself, and it may take time to notice what’s going on in your body before you act impulsively rather than afterwards.

Source: https://www.wikihow.com/Be-Less-Impulsive

Yoga or daily exercise also helps. I find that when I was doing meditation every day, impulsive acts weren’t happening so often. I guess I have to go back to meditating every day. I notice that I am more irritable and that I have less patience which is somewhat good, in one or two senses. Having less patience is negative overall.

Understand how impulsivity functions in your life. Sometimes being impulsive can have positive as well as negative effects. For example, if you have a hard time making decisions, you may find yourself making last minute decisions as a means of avoiding the anxiety you feel when trying to make a thoughtful decision.

  • If you’re experiencing benefits from acting impulsively, try to find more effective ways of achieving this benefit.
  • Remember that you can still be spontaneous even if you’re less impulsive. Being less impulsive doesn’t mean your life will be dull and conventional. It just means that you’ll be more in control of what you choose to spend your money, time, and attention on.

Source:https://www.wikihow.com/Be-Less-Impulsive

Dissecting our problems, alone or with a therapist, is always a good idea. We need to understand how impulsivity functions in our lives. And that last part is very important. I notice that some people with BPD like having BPD. I’m not judging, it’s that I’ve always wanted to not have it and so do other people. You would still be a wonderful person without BPD. Same goes for impulsiveness. Even if it has positive effects on your life, try to avoid it. There are better ways to things.

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Engage in activities that will calm you down. Calming activities vary person to person, but might include listening to guided meditations, calming music, or doing deep breathing exercises. Getting more relaxed can help you avoid acting impulsively..

Source:https://www.wikihow.com/Be-Less-Impulsive

This is an excellent idea and I will definitely do this. Guided meditations are so helpful for so many different goals and situations. You just need headphones and your phone, tablet or pc. Find a quiet place, dim the lights or turn them off, get a cozy blanket and lay down on the floor, or a sofa or bed. Alternatively, you can sit down on a chair or sit on the lotus position on the floor, with your back straight. Deep breathing exercises are very good as well, though I don’t it often. Mindfulness or breathing meditations are my go-to ones.

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Consider cognitive-behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT, helps a person focus on connecting their thoughts and feelings with their behaviors. CBT is a common treatment for anxiety and impulse disorders, among others. The goal of CBT is to identify the thoughts that often result in impulsive activity.

  • Impulsive behavior is often the result of automatic thoughts, which are the thoughts that your mind produces as an immediate reaction to certain situations. These thoughts can be negative and may lead you to make poor decisions. CBT helps you to identify these automatic thought patterns and reframe them in new ways.
  • A therapist or behavioral specialist can help you explore the ways that CBT might work in your life!

Source: https://www.wikihow.com/Be-Less-Impulsive

CBT for some cases, DBT (which was based on CBT) for people with BPD. I found that DBT was very helpful and I was less impulsive at the time. If you don’t have the money to do DBT but you have enough for a regular therapist, you can ask your therapist to do exercises with you, by using a DBT book of your choice.  If you can’t really pay for sessions, try the book. There are used ones on Amazon that are cheaper and ebooks are even cheaper. If there’s a will, there’s a way. There are other options but you don’t need me to tell you, do you?

In the end, my advice is all of the above and an emphasis on meditation. There are many types of meditation so you should be able to find one that suits you best.

Are you impulsive? How do you deal with it? Share your tips in the comment section.

I hope you are all okay.

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How common is BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)?

Sometimes, we feel like we are alone. No one feels like us or struggles like us. There are many blogs about BPD and that suggests that it is not that uncommon.

A recent study on the prevalence of mental health disorders in the U.S. found that about 1.6 percent of the population has BPD. While that number may sound small, that means that there are more than four million people with BPD in the U.S. alone. Although many people have never heard of BPD, it is actually more common than many well-known disorders, such as schizophrenia.

So, you see, you are not alone and it is relatively common. Millions of people have it, all around the world. Furthermore, it seems that there are more women diagnosed with BPD than men. Correlation doesn’t always imply causation, so it unclear whether women are more prone to have BPD or if it has anything to do with the fact that it’s considered a women’s condition. Some men have BPD and are misdiagnosed as having depression or PTSD.

That 1.6 percent statistic may not be accurate because many people with BPD have not yet been diagnosed or they have been misdiagnosed. In one study from Brown University, more than forty percent of those with BPD had originally been misdiagnosed as having bipolar disorder. One hypothesis for this issue is that bipolar disorder is more easily treated through medication, so it is more commonly diagnosed so that symptoms can be quickly managed with a prescription.

Maybe you think you don’t know no one with BPD in the real world but you probably do.

 

The image is courtesy of Pixabay.

 

Why are people with BPD so often misdiagnosed?

For years, I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. One of my doctors said I had a form of bipolar disorder and only a few years later was I diagnosed with BPD. It seems that it is a frequent occurrence.

People with BPD typically also meet the criteria for multiple other diagnoses, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorders, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, and so on. These disorders, of course, are not independent of BPD, but are connected and related through shared psychological, social and biological pathways. However, when these other diagnoses are the focus of treatment, they can dominate professionals’ attention, preventing any significant focus on the whole pattern of difficulties, resulting in missed diagnosis of BPD.

This is one of the factors. It also doesn’t help that so many people keep important details about themselves a secret while being interviewed by a mental health professional.

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The fact that the diagnostics requirements are so arbitrary is also a reason why so many people go undiagnosed.

To be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, a person must demonstrate a number of core traits or symptoms, as identified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).But there is an inevitable degree of randomness or arbitrariness built into such standards. If an individual experiences just a few of these symptoms intensely or in a broad range of situations, their lives might be disrupted even more than someone experiencing even more symptoms at a manageable level. Nevertheless, they would not pass the diagnostic threshold for BPD, and if they had a BPD diagnosis in the past they might now be considered “in recovery.” If borderline personality disorder exists on a continuum with varying levels of severity, its rate of incidence may still be underestimated, given the requirement that a certain set of symptoms be detected before a diagnosis can be given. Should standards ever change to include those seriously impacted by fewer symptoms, the rates of diagnosis for borderline personality disorder could rise once again.

This is a major problem and something that should be solved by the mental health community. You can be severely affected by only a few symptoms and improve with DBT or medication for BPD.

There is also the myth that BPD isn’t treatable.

Some of the problems with diagnosing result from the fact that there was no evidence of effective treatment for BPD until the 1990s. The first published evidence for the effectiveness of Dialectical Behavior Therapy was by Marsha Linehan in 1991. Before then, many clinicians blamed people with BPD for not getting better, rather than acknowledging that professionals had not yet figured out how to treat people with BPD successfully, or trying to find more effective pathways for treatment. Today, unfortunately, many professionals continue to think that BPD is not treatable despite growing evidence that it is. This leads some professionals to avoid giving the diagnosis even when someone meets the criteria.

It’s a shame that so many psychiatrists and psychologists don’t know about DBT and how helpful it is for people with personality disorders like BPD. Though, according to my psychiatrist, every kind of psychotherapy can be helpful. If you don’t have DBT in your area, you can buy a book or ebook and do the exercises. You can ask a psychotherapist to do exercises from the DBT book. Some psychotherapists agree to it. Mine did. In my case, DBT was very expensive and now I’m doing therapy for a fraction of the price.

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If you feel like you have been misdiagnosed, find another doctor. Find one that specializes in BPD or personality disorders. Don’t give up. It happened to me and a lot of us. Be as descriptive as you can, take notes during the week to discuss with your therapist. This helps doctors and therapists to have a clearer picture of what is going on with you.

Sources:

https://www.bridgestorecovery.com/borderline-personality-disorder/common-borderline-personality-disorder/

https://nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/October-2017/Why-Borderline-Personality-Disorder-is-Misdiagnose

The importance of personal boundaries and how to establish them

What are personal boundaries

I made a poem that talked about boundaries some months ago (the poem is called People Pleasing). It was a habit I had, something that I developed and that somehow reassured me, while I wasn’t genuine. I couldn’t be genuine, I was so afraid of being rejected. Of being alone and lonely. So I wasn’t always honest and agreed with things I didn’t agree with. I wasn’t being myself. It was a pattern that I knew two things about:

The first thing was that I knew why I had that defense mechanism;

The second thing was that it could change.

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According to Wikipedia:

Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits. They are built out of a mix of conclusions, beliefs, opinions, attitudes, past experiences and social learning. This concept or life skill has been widely referenced in self-help books and used in the counseling profession since the mid-1980s.

According to some counselors, personal boundaries help to define an individual by outlining likes and dislikes, and setting the distances one allows others to approach. They include physical, mental, psychological and spiritual boundaries, involving beliefs, emotions, intuitions and self-esteem. Jacques Lacan considered such boundaries to be layered in a hierarchy, reflecting “all the successive envelopes of the biological and social status of the person”. Personal boundaries operate in two directions, affecting both the incoming and outgoing interactions between people. These are sometimes referred to as the “protection” and “containment” functions.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_boundaries

The way we create boundaries is by asserting ourselves and communicating to others our rules, values, likes or dislikes. The other person can then understand our limits in order to respect them. Communication is key. It allows us to have deeper and harmonious relationships.

Personal boundaries can also be important for understanding who should and should not be in your life. Some people understand boundaries very well and things go very smoothly. Others don’t. They may hurt you, take advantage of you, etc.

Boundaries are there to protect you. They define you, like an outline. They can change over time but they are our sensibilities, traumas, scars, etc.

Learning to set healthy personal boundaries is necessary for maintaining a positive self-concept, or self-image.

It is our way of communicating to others that we have self-respect, self-worth, and will not allow others to define us.

Personal boundaries are the physical, emotional and mental limits we establish to protect ourselves from being manipulated, used, or violated by others. They allow us to separate who we are, and what we think and feel, from the thoughts and feelings of others. Their presence helps us express ourselves as the unique individuals we are, while we acknowledge the same in others.

It would not be possible to enjoy healthy relationships without the existence of personal boundaries, or without our willingness to communicate them directly and honestly with others. We must recognize that each of us is a unique individual with distinct emotions, needs and preferences. This is equally true for our spouses, children and friends.

Source: https://www.essentiallifeskills.net/personalboundaries.html

Depending on who pushes your boundaries, there are different ways to react and defuse the situation. If it’s an older relative, you can ignore it and avoid them. But if it’s someone close to you, it’s really hurtful but you still have to react. Don’t overreact but be assertive.

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Deciding “I want this and that” and “I don’t want that and this”. Taking charge of your choices means taking charge of your life. It’s one of the most empowering things you can do.

Before, I feared saying “no” to some people and the consequences were not pleasant. When I started saying “no” to people, things started to change. I lost the fear of saying “no”. The fear of losing someone over a disagreement. It wasn’t meant to be, as many people say. You can believe whatever you want, just keep in mind that having boundaries is a natural and important part of life.

You start to understand that you were the source of the problem. Some of your choices weren’t the best and you chose the wrong inner circle. Being with people that drugs,  sadistic, unstable, almost psychopathic (or full blown psychopath, who knows?), antisocial, narcissistic, dangerous, toxic and other types of people you want to share your life with. Choose your company wisely.

Afraid or unafraid, go for it. Say “no”. You may lose the person. Keep track of the pros and cons of having that person in your life. If it’s manageable or not. Say “no” and see how the other person reacts. “I don’t want to talk about this” should be enough for someone to understand that you’re not enjoying the conversation, for example.

When you have boundaries, you start to not fear invalidation as much. You just react to injustice or something else that bothers you.

 

Types of boundaries

There are three types of boundaries: rigid, porous and healthy.

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Source: https://uhs.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/relationships_personal_boundaries.pdf

We usually have different boundaries for different settings. It can be porous at home and rigid at work, for example. There can be a mix of characteristics of the three types.

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Important facts about personal boundaries and how to establish them

-Everyone has the right to personal boundaries. You should take responsibility for how you let others to treat you. Boundaries are like filters allowing what is acceptable in your life and what is not. Without boundaries, our self-worth comes from others. In order not to be in that situation, it’s important to define strong and clear limits so that others will respect them and stick by them. Another fact related to this is that, usually, people with weak boundaries have a tendency to violate the boundaries of others.

-You should believe and trust in yourself. Deep down inside, we always know what’s best for us but sometimes we just do what feels better, without really thinking in our self-interest. Or to please others. You are a specialist in yourself. No one knows you better than you do. You always know what you want, appreciate and need. Taking responsibility for your boundaries means taking care of yourself and others. Once we understand what personal boundaries are, we are more likely to respect the ones others have.

-Define what is unacceptable for you. Communicate to other people when they disrespected you or acted inappropriately. Never be afraid to tell others when you need space. We all need space to recharge, from time to time. Be unapologetic about who you are. Define what actions you must take when people cross the line and use those strategies, whenever you need.

-And, most importantly, learn how to say no. As I said before, this is sometimes a challenge but once you understand the advantages, it’s really a life saver. Be assertive and stick by what you believe. We need to be selfish to a degree and put our needs first. As a former people pleaser, I tell you, it’s not the best way to live. We do things that are not good for us, for the sake of others. We let others control and manipulate us. Saying no can be liberating and save us a lot of trouble. Don’t be afraid to try it. It’s empowering.

 

How strong are your boundaries? How do you deal with your boundaries and other people’s boundaries? What is the importance of boundaries?

Much love to you all and I hope it helps someone. If it helped you, let me know.

When people with NPD(narcissistic personality disorder) and people with BPD(borderline personality disorder) are in a relationship

I have dated at least one person with NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) and it was a fatal attraction. It made me wonder if there is a reason behind that. It was the relationship that most impacted my life. So, I did a google search and it turns out that there is, in fact, a reason for that.

NPD is characterized by:

-Arrogance and being domineering

-Grandiosity

-Preoccupation with success and power

-Lack of empathy

-Belief of being unique

-Sense of entitlement

-Needs excessive admiration

-Exploitative

-Envious of others

https://howcanweknowus.weebly.com/the-9-characteristics-of-npd.html

Most people choose romantic partners who are their approximate equals with regard to understanding how to sustain intimacy.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/understanding-narcissism/201711/why-do-narcissists-and-borderlines-fall-in-love

It feels addictive to date someone with NPD. There’s an unusual bond and attraction.

We have the BPD woman, for example, who is emotionally volatile and has a fragmented sense of self. The NPD man, on the other hand, is emotionally numb.

It does not feel good for the person with NPD to be numb inside, so all that feeling the person with BPD provides is like nourishment for the person with NPD—it allows him (or her) to feel “something”—someone else’s intense affect. And the NPD provides safety and stability for the BPD.

If the person with BPD is a woman, she can’t blow her NPD man away or flood him the way she has all the more “sensitive” men in her life. He allows her to feel more secure and contained. BP Disordered people are often desperately dependent and their dependency can make NP Disordered people feel very important, which is necessary to them.

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapy-soup/2014/03/narcissistic-and-borderline-attraction/

The woman with BPD is attracted by the grandiosity and larger than life personality of the man with NPD. He seems cool and calm, it gives her security and stability. The adoration and charm of the woman with BPD is highly attractive to these individuals because of their need to be the center of the world.

It’s often an explosive combination: rapidly falling in love with each other only to find themselves trapped in an highly conflicted and ultimately disappointing relationship.

https://www.quora.com/Why-do-borderlines-attract-sociopaths-narcissists

My experience

Dating a narcissist is very challenging. The idealization phase of the relationship is very rewarding. We are showered with attention and gifts. The man is kind and flatters us. It’s all fake. Most people have a strong PR sense and narcissists excel at this. So, the person with BPD opens up and vents. This information starts to corrode the idealization. Then start the unkind comments and mocking, which are very invalidating. This invalidation leads the person with BPD to crave it more and more, always hoping that the person with NPD delivers.They tell you the sweetest things and then put you down, as if you were the worst person in the world.This creates the type of “I hate you, don’t leave me” relationship, that people with BPD know so well. This conflict can be addictive and rewarding, in a twisted way.

It’s a destructive type of relationship and you know that people with BPD can have self-destructive tendencies, so it can last for a while. In my case, it lasted almost 1 year and a half. I broke up with him twice. I was tired of being let down, of believing when he said he would change. He would cry and make promises, like some abusers do.

Living with him was a nightmare. Arguing, bickering, the whole nine yards. An experience that hurt me and affected me for many years. Maybe still a bit today but nothing compared with the past.

I still seek his validation but not as much. We share songs and talk once in a while. We may see each other soon, have a cup of coffee somewhere and talk. It would be good.

Don’t hate the narcissist. He has his own limitations and reality tunnel. He is doing the best he can with the tools he was provided. But don’t forgive him so much that you go back to him, unless you are aware of what you will deal with. Some people do it. I don’t know if they turn out fine or if the relationships last but I’d love to know.

BPD and FP (Favorite Person)

What is a Favorite Person(FP)?

When you think about who your favorite person is, you might think of your significant other, best friend or someone else. It just means that you love that person. It’s has a different meaning for people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

When someone with BPD uses the term “favorite person” to describe someone else, they are typically insinuating that this is a person they cannot survive without. For BPD sufferers, the favorite person is the person who is a source of emotional support and dependence. This individual has the ability to truly impact the BPD sufferer’s day in either a positive or negative manner. The favorite person to someone with BPD holds a critical role in their lives by holding the power to ‘make or break’ the successful navigation of daily tasks and struggles.

Source: https://mindcology.com/borderline/guide-bpd-favorite-person-relationship-dynamic/

One can have one or many FPs. People with BPD need constant reassurance, advice and help making decisions, among other things. We need to know we have someone we can turn to when things gets rough. Someone who won’t abandon us. We will shower that person with attention but will have problematic behaviors.

What to do if you’re someone’s FP

There’s a few things you should know, if you love and care for the person with BPD:

– Being someone’s FP is not a conscious decision. Basically, is like love. It just happens as a relationship develops (platonic or not).

– You won’t be told you’re someone’s FP. It will be recognized by their actions. It’s something you will learn in due time

– You will be a source of validation, approval, and advice. Someone with BPD has trouble with regulating emotions and having healthy relationships, so they will turn to you for help. There will be many calls and messages, that person will ask for help in many different situations.

– Be aware of jealously. People with BPD feel in a different way. They feel completely and utterly. So if an FP spends some time with other people or ignores messages, the other person might start devaluating the FP. Some people can become aggressive. In that case, it would be in your best interest of you would stay away from that person. There’s no other way to say it. That type of behavior is unacceptable and you should think of yourself first.

Other people will have a softer approach, sending messages when you fail to respond, asking for compliments or reassurance. If you are mad at them, etc. To be honest, it can get annoying and you’ll have to be patient. I find that when people love and support individuals with BPD, it gets easier. What you can do to manage this is to tell the person when you will be unavailable or will be having time by yourself. Communication is key in every relationship and it is crucial in this one.

– Lastly, don’t forget to put yourself first. You also have needs and, of they aren’t met, you might need help too; so take care of yourself. Define boundaries and be honest about what you want and don’t want to do. Again, communication is key.

My current experience with FPs

To be quite honest, I don’t think I have a favorite person now but I believe I did in the past. There’s really no one who can “make or break” my day. I live in a world of my own and it’s not hard to get away from problems the people I love the most cause me. I’ve been able to distance myself, almost detach from people. I only miss two people in my life. They are my sources of support and love. The thing is, something someone does can affect my day in the sense that they hurt me. It doesn’t have to be a person who is close to me. Acquaintances can hurt me. I don’t like to feel mocked. Thoughts about those occasions can affect my day but not entirely. I have this habit of pointing out that I have new clothes or new jewellery, so I can be validated for my look. I do that to the people I love and are closest to me.

I cut so many people off over the years, that I ended up with some loyal people. Cutting people off doesn’t come as easy now, as I don’t have black and white thinking anymore. I don’t idolize and devaluate people anymore. They are flawed and complex, there’s many sides to every person.

My past experiences with FPs

In the past, I had favorite people. It was usually a boyfriend or close friend. Some people could ruin my day or make me feel over the moon. I had love hate relationships, that could be tempestuous and unstable.

I remember going out every day with friends or a boyfriend. Then, all of a sudden, it would change. The person gaslighted me or started to ignore me. I would cut ties with that person and turn to someone else. There would abandonment feelings but I devaluated that person so much that I couldn’t have them in my life anymore. No idea of how many people I’ve known and loved. But I have loved intensely.

I could be aggressive, but only verbally. Hitting people is not a thing that I do but I could make a scene. Which wasn’t something I was particularly fond of doing but sometimes it wasn’t possible to contain it. All those feelings and emotions can take a toll on your judgement. They can be overwhelming.

In the end, having an FP and being an FP is complex and intense but it can be a wonderful experience. Your love or friendship with someone, how strongly you feel about them and how you see potential of growth in them. If you feel you can be progressively better for someone or if you can be a source of healing.

Remember, growth is your goal. It is possible to heal and overcome the obstacles you face now. Just keep going and make the best decisions you can for yourself.

Do you have a favorite person? How do you deal with it?

Images are a courtesy of Pixaby

Night thoughts

Peace and joy in me. Listening to Daughter’s last album. They are an amazing band that you should check out, when you can.

Procrastination is one of my issues and fighting it is important. I will write another poem based on a prompt from #OctPoWriMo. Just need to push myself and do what’s best for me.

I’m sorry if I haven’t been writing about mental health. Sometimes it’s better to focus on other things that make you happy. Writing poetry is very good for me and people are actually enjoying my poems. That makes me feel good and fulfilled. Expressing myself in that way is a good way to channel my thoughts in short and not so short poems.

Two days ago, I went to the supermarket near my house. It felt good and not so uncomfortable. It made me feel like this battle can be beat. When I was there, in the waiting line, there was an older lady before me. She was struggling to get her groceries out of the cart, so I helped her. She was very thankful and said “I’m more helped by strangers than my sons”. It felt like she was venting and it made me feel sad. How hard must it be to not be helped or cared for by your own flesh and blood. It must be so painful and heartbreaking. You never know what your kids will become. No matter how hard you try, they can always resent things you did with good intentions. They can be selfish and uncaring, like a relative in their bloodline. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t want kids but I’ll leave the rest of the reasons to another post.

It feels good to interact with people but I also like to be alone. It’s so pleasant to be alone that I don’t really miss anyone but my boyfriend and parents. It makes me feel like some sort of heartless, egotistical monster. I feel that it’s wrong to not miss my friends but I can’t help it. And it doesn’t mean that I don’t love them because I do. Everything seems out of reach when you isolate yourself. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s very true in my case. I guess that I only miss who I trust the most and those people give me enough love to keep me going. On the other hand, I’m scared of losing my friends. It feels good to know that you have like-minded people to hang out, to vent, to learn from, etc. Maybe I don’t feel isolated because I talk to many people online and one of my friends calls me every day and we hang out online almost every day. He is a wonderful person who is also isolated and we have interesting conversations. I don’t feel attracted to him, nor is he attracted to me so the friendship works well. I don’t think that people that are dating should only have friends of the same gender as them, when they are straight. We can learn a lot about the opposite gender and their input is important. It’s also good to know that men aren’t all the same, they are complex and exist on a spectrum, like most things in this world. And that variety is important for us to see others as having nuance and complexity. Knowing many people helped me see that not everything is black and white, there’s also a lot of grey and other colors. I guess that’s why therapists say that sometimes borderline symptoms diminish with growing older. In that sense, I guess being 30 benefitted me a lot. You’re not an inexperienced 20 year old anymore. You have seen many situations and different people. You have seen predictable and unpredictable things. Everything and everyone are not as bad as you thought. With age comes more peace and confidence. You also care less about what people think and live life on your terms.

For the people that work, tomorrow is Friday! Yay 🙂

I love you all.

Image by zephylwer0, courtesy of Pixabay.

On being judgemental

Like everyone else, I have inner monologues. I challenge my thoughts a lot. I know they are not who I am and I don’t agree with myself many times. Certain thoughts are just so judgemental. It’s natural, they are judgements and the way I interpret the world but I don’t have to agree with them.

For example, a few days ago, I was on social media and I saw a post by a friend. Something harmless that didn’t affect my life in any way. I thought “I don’t respect her for doing that”. I understand where it came from, it was something I wouldn’t do but respect is a strong word. I challenged my thought. I told myself “Why don’t you respect her? Have you thought that people also don’t respect harmless things you do and it’s not okay that they do that? I mean, it’s a natural reaction but it’s still wrong to lose respect for someone because of trivial things”. Now that I’m writing about it, I understand it even better. It has to do with BPD. We idealize people and put them on a pedestal. Then, on a whim, we lose respect. In the case of my friend, I came to the conclusion that it was not right or healthy to lose respect for her because of what she did. Again, it was trivial and it was good for her, so I had no good reason to judge her for that. That made me feel more rational and in control of my thoughts. That thought wasn’t controlling my perception anymore.

People with BPD should be mindful of their thoughts. Challenge and rationalize them. Ask yourself why you are thinking that, does it come from reason or emotion, is it useful or just judgemental.

In meditation, we learn to not judge our perceptions, just observe them. I feel that, because I have a lot of frustration due to my situation, I am sometimes very judgemental and I don’t like that. Since I’ve been meditating, I’ve been more aware of my thoughts and less judgemental. That contributes to my peace and well-being.

But let’s be honest: we all judge. We judge to assess people and situations. That is very important. It’s a way to keep us safe and a way to associate with better people. As we go through life, we notice patterns. We have values and we observe and judge people we interact with. Some we would like to know better, others we want to stay away. When we are younger, we don’t make proper judgements because of our lack of experience. We associate with people that are detrimental to us and we learn from that. We learn to not associate with people with certain traits. But when certain traits are harmless and, therefore, don’t affect us in any way, we make shallow judgements. Judging just for the sake of judging. When we are frustrated, we are judgemental to feel like we’re better than someone else, to make us feel validated. “I would never do that, what is he thinking?”. That’s not where we should get value. We need to cultivate our positive traits that will make us feel empowered and good about ourselves. Things that enrich our lives and make us better people but not better than anyone else. We’ll be just us, unique and complex, striving to evolve.

Image by qimono, courtesy of Pixabay.

Outside ( observation, modularity of the mind and personality)

I’m outside now. There’s a wonderful breeze, something I never feel at home. The sun is shining, lots of people our out. Patios with many people having a beer or a soda and enjoying the sun. It’s a pleasure to be out. I want to capture this moment and keep it in mind next time I don’t feel like going out. That’s one of the ways of being more in control of my fear. I feel secure and protected with my boyfriend.

The second thing that helps me go outside, when he’s not around, is music. If I take my headphones and listen to music, I feel more calm and walking doesn’t feel like a challenge. I let music take me places and indeed it does. It’s great company when you are alone. A friend of mine suggested this to me and I’m glad she did, as it is very useful.

Now we are going to watch a movie at my boyfriend’s place. I’m not a fan of action movies so I will just listen to it and keep writing.

We have arrived. I like to watch him watch movies. He looks so calm and attentive. I love feeling his presence, even if we don’t talk. It’s like being with my best friend, a best friend that I love romantically. Someone I respect and that treats me right. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I found someone like him. He has helped me heal, with love and compassion. He is very empathetic and kind. Most men are afraid of their emotional side but, not only is he not afraid, he is in touch with his feeling. Intuition is a trait he also has. He can guess things and make choices based on it. It has happened many times, he guessed outcomes of situations. At first, I would be apprehensive but then I would see he was right. In my opinion, being in touch with your intuition is a gift.

I had a cold apple cider outside. It tasted like heaven. I really like how it has some alcohol but it tastes like juice. I don’t like the taste of alcohol, I could never drink whisky or gin or other strong drinks. I don’t even like beer, unless it’s mixed with plenty of Sprite. It’s a good thing that I don’t like it, otherwise it could become a problem now that I stopped smoking. Drunk people annoy me a lot. Most drunk people become very irrational and hard to deal. I have absolutely no patience for that. As I’m always sober, they are in a completely different wavelength than me. People become stubborn and impulsive, total loose cannons. That scares me very much. I’m afraid of tough situations, fights, misunderstandings and awkward situations. I have humiliated myself many times, too many to count, so now I keep it low-key.

When you have untreated BPD, unless it’s quiet, you act out. There is chaos inside of you, that overflows and you do irrational things. I wish I had been diagnosed sooner but what has passed is past. I’ve come to terms with it. I know I’m not the person I was 5 years ago and I feel good about that. I’m not crystallized and I continue to evolve. That is very important to me, feeling like I’m growing. Knowing that I still have a lot to learn and not settling for less. Some people don’t have that awareness but I don’t blame them. There are so many mainstream myths about personality, people see it like something that is fixed when it’s not. The brain may be hard-wired to work in some ways but there is always room for change. You just need to acknowledge what you want to change and make an effort to re-wire your brain. The Buddha stated that there was no self and the modular theory of the mind come to that conclusion. It hasn’t been proven but it’s very interesting.

“Modularity of the mind is the notion that a mind may, at least in part, be composed of innate neural structures or modules which have distinct established evolutionary developed sources.

Source: Wikipedia “Modularity of the mind” article.

Every situation “activates” a certain module, they are sensitive to stimuli and they are meant to keep us safe, in order for us to pass our genes to the next generation. But now we live in a completely different time and our society is rapidly changing. For example, we crave sweets because they meant fruit and that was good for us. But now there are many processed snacks, which are not beneficial to us and that can make us obese. Another example of displaced instincts is road rage. Rage and anger used to be used to make a point in our tribe, when our ancestors were hunter-gatherers. We wanted to set an example and it was a way to warn others not to mess with us. Road rage is displaced energy. You are probably never going to see that person again and you still feel like you have to make a point. It’s completely useless and people still do it. People do irrational things because of it. We are yet to completely adapt to our new circumstances and I don’t know if we ever will, since society is ever-changing.

When I was about 20 years old, I started to notice how annoying and downright stupid some of my traits were. I came to that conclusion by observing others. People are like mirrors. You look at certain people and you see some traits you share with them. It is also useful to look at people, really look closely and understand what traits you would like to have yourself. I noticed that people who talked too much and monopolized conversations were too much to handle. Now I can have balanced conversations where everyone has a chance to talk and interesting ideas can be shared and thought about collectively. To me, those are the best conversations. People want to socialize but are not eager to talk, interrupting others and sharing too much. I value people like that and I surround myself with them. I feel so bored when people talk too much. There is no space for sharing knowledge and interesting ideas. I remember justifying myself a lot, I desperately wanted people to understand me and not judge me. But they would, ultimately. Then I would justify myself more and overshare, I would be even more judged. You don’t need to justify yourself to be understood and not everyone should know details about your life. You will find people in your life that won’t judge you and will listen when you need to vent. They will keep your secrets safe (but don’t tell them all your secrets, unless it’s your therapist, he/she can keep your secrets safe).

These are things I’ve learned in my 30 something years of life. I will share more of my thoughts of life spontaneously and I hope they can be of use to my readers.

The movie has ended, it’s now time to spend time with my boyfriend.

Can you share things you have learned so far about life and people? What are your views on personality?

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

After meditation comes investigation

Meditation is a complex and fascinating subject. I’ve been reading about it extensively and, the more I know, the more I want to know. I’m not looking for enlightenment nor do I want to become a Buddhist. I have found that such practice is beneficial for everyone, especially those with mental and physical conditions.

Though it is very beneficial by itself, there should also be investigation. Humans have many habits. Some are healthy and others are not. If we practice mindfulness meditation, we may release negative patterns of thoughts, actions and emotions. I say “may” because some habits persist even when we are mindful of them. This is where investigation steps in.

According to the Buddha, there are seven factors of enlightenment. They are:

-Mindfulness

-Investigation

-Energy

-Joy

-Relaxation

-Concentration

-Equanimity

The difference between meditation and investigation is their focus. Meditation is focused on experiencing the present moment, while investigation focuses on what is behind that experience.

Again, these are the factors of enlightenment (or awakening) but you don’t need to have it as your goal. You can simply seek refuge in some of the practices, as they can be very soothing for the mind and body. They can bring a sense of peace and tranquility to your life, and also be a catalyst for change.

Investigation is sort of being your own psychologist (I don’t recommend you to stop going to your appointments, this should only be a complement of your professional treatment). You sit in stillness and wonder why you do certain things that are not beneficial to you, analyzing your feelings.

“When mindfulness is thus fully engaged, then we have the capacity or opportunity for the second factor of awakening: investigation of the dhammas or dhamma vicaya. Vicaya means to investigate, to scrutinize or analyze. We can take this to mean an intellectual analysis, or we can regard it in a more meditative context as a non-intellectual scrutiny.

Depending on how we regard the analysis, the word dhamma here can mean something as precise as a very particular mental state, or can more broadly mean anything of significance in our lives.”

Source: https://www.buddhistinquiry.org/article/the-investigation-of-what-is-important-the-second-factor-of-awakening/

When an unpleasant feeling arises, sit in mindful stillness. Simply ask “what is this?”, without trying to fix or alter that feeling. Sit or lie with it and let it be, while being curious about it. Focus on your experience of this feeling and how it reflects on your body. See if any memories come up that could shed light on it.

This should be done in a very light way and with curiosity . Pressuring yourself to get answers is not helpful at all. Try to let your mind relax, that is the perfect state to receive whatever answer you are looking for.When you identify the underlying emotion, it’s time to accept it and to feel how it reflects on your body.

The Buddhist law of conditionality (or causal interdependence) is the most important of the Buddhist teachings. It states the following:

“The progression of causes and conditions is the reality which applies to all things, from the natural environment, which is an external, physical condition, to the events of human society, ethical principles, life events and the happiness and suffering which manifest in our own minds. These systems of causal relationship are part of the one natural truth. Our happiness within this natural system depends on having some knowledge of how it works and practicing correctly within it, through addressing problems on the personal, social, and environmental levels. Given that all things are interconnected and all are affecting each others success in dealing with the world lies in creating harmony within it.”

Source: http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/B%20-%20Theravada/Teachers/Ven%20Payutto/Dependent%20Origination/Dependent%20Origination%20The%20Buddhist%20Law%20of%20Conditionality.htm

With this knowledge and if this resonates with you, it is also possible to ask: “what is this dependent on?”. It is important to keep in mind that you might not get an answer instantly, so don’t worry too much about it.

It’s very useful to investigate our thinking and what motivates our actions. Once we realize why some thoughts and actions come to be, they can dissipate and you will have room for new (and healthier) ones.

As someone recovering from BPD, I have to say that this has helped me immensely. You have truly useful insights and it helps you grow as person. Understanding your emotional landscape and your actions are the key for change and improvement.

Image by qimono, courtesy of Pixabay.