I have good news!

My dear WordPress friends and readers,

I really needed an hiatus. Lost all the will to write for many months. I’ve been drawing like mad instead. It feels great because I didn’t want to draw for a while. It helps with my mood. It’s also very satisfying to draw and see the finished project. You feel like you made something with your bare hands.

I’ve also been doing a lot of work at home, in order to give my mother a break. It’s also good for me, as I find cleaning very therapeutic as well. The satisfaction of seeing everything clean, my cats taken care of, etc is enormous.

In the sentimental area there are also news: I fell in love with someone and we are dating. I wasn’t looking for anything, just enjoying single life. We started talking and, very naturally, started dating. He is American. We are planning to see each other soon. I can’t wait. He is a kind, funny and smart man. We have the similar goals and dreams. I love that man to death. I’m ready to love and support him.

It’s interesting how when you come out of a long relationship, where you suffered a lot for your boyfriend and his family, if might feel an absolute need to be alone. You don’t even want to think about dating. It seems like too much work and suffering. It took me about a year to date again. I wasn’t even looking, which is also a great way to find someone. I know, it’s counterintuitive but my best relationships happened when I wasn’t looking for anyone. I don’t judge who looks for love. Sometimes it works. But I hate dating apps and I went on just a few dates. Then I thought to myself: “Scarlett, you’re looking for connection, not sex”. So I thought I should better save myself for someone special.

When you have EUPD, promiscuity sometimes happens. Sex is like validation: validation that someone wants you, someone desires you, etc. But it’s fake. It’s just our condition. If you’re like me, on your thirties you feel kind of disgusted by some things you did. Not that they were degrading per se but you regret some of the men you’ve been with. In my 30’s I feel that casual sex shouldn’t be trivialized. This is something I learned by having EUPD. To take sex more seriously and only share my body with someone I love or at least that I have a good friendship with chemistry and connection. I’m not saying that this is the right way of doing things, I’m just saying how I feel. Promiscuity might change your outlook on sex and that was my case.

The antidepressants are working so I feel more energy and will to do things. Sometimes I have these urges to clean, that I didn’t have in a long time. I keep my rooms clean, though my work room is a very special organized chaos haha. But I always need my bedroom with everything folded and in the proper place.

I missed writing so much. It feels like a part of me that has been hibernating. I will never stop writing in this blog. It’s my baby, I have almost 1000 followers and one of my articles is number 8 in the Google search for BPD and Favorite Person. Every day, I get over 10 views. So if I keep the blog alive, it might climb a few spots. I’m so proud of that article, I feel like it’s well-written, concise and helpful. I miss writing articles but these last months I had no energy, as they are a lot of work if you do them properly. But with this new energy and desire to write, I want to write more articles and I have a ton of ideas.

I will be doing a “This week in music” today because I haven’t done one in so long. I feel like music is a good addition to a blog about EUPD (BPD), since it’s a good coping mechanism, it can helps us when we struggle and it’s also a great hobby.

Drop me a message so I will visit your blog and see what you have been to. I love you all.

How to improve your self-control

As I was doing that post about sleep procrastination, I realized that self-control was one of my biggest problems. I am impulsive, with self destructive tendencies. That is keeping me from evolving as a person, building a career and having more healthy habits. So I did a little research and discovered that self/control is something you can acquire with practice and being mindful of your actions. I also found that it is a finite resource, so we must be very aware of our choices. It is a genetic trait but as it is a skill, it can be perfected.
As I quit weed, I am now facing two self-control challenges: coffee and cigarettes. I have been smoking more and drinking more coffee. Both are bad for me and contribute to my alertness during the night. They mess up my sleep schedule even more. Luckily, I found this guide to build up self-control and delay gratification. A good thing to keep in mind is that, if you do things in moderation, you will be healthier and those actions will be more rewarding. Abusing things makes the action meaningless to you and harmful.

So we know it is possible to change your self/control, where should we start? The first thing to do is to define the goals. They must be specific and well defined. Writing these goals down, in the more specific way possible is helpful. Put a sticker on your workplace with said goals, so you remember them.

Now that you have defined your goals, do not force yourself to do things aggressively. That will deplete your self>control and, as it is a finite resource so it will affect other habits you have. That is why, when you are recovering from drug addiction and you smoke cigarettes, you should resist the temptation of quitting everything cold turkey. That will probably lead you to relapse and we all know how damaging that can be.

“To illustrate, in a now-classic 1998 study, participants sat at a table with two plates: one filled with freshly baked cookies, the other with radishes. Some were directed to eat the cookies, while others were asked to eat the radishes. Then they were given a puzzle that was, secretly, impossible to solve.

The folks who had eaten the radishes and resisted the cookies gave up on the puzzle in about 8 minutes. But those who ate the cookies–and therefore had self-control to spare–toiled away on the puzzle for almost 19 minutes, more than twice as long as the radish group.”

Changing your perception of the task can go a long way. As this guide states

“(The) 1972 “marshmallow study,” in which researchers sat preschoolers in front of a marshmallow. Each kid could have the marshmallow when she wanted, or, if she could exercise self-control and wait, she could have it and another treat in a few minutes.

Followups to the study found that kids who were able to delay gratification did better in emotional situations, were more competent overall, and even got higher scores on their SATs. This made the researchers wonder if self-control strategies could be taught.

So what worked? First, making the temptation abstract was helpful. Kids who were cued to pretend the marshmallow was just a picture, by imagining a frame around it, waited twice as long as kids who were asked to focus on a real marshmallow.

Second, encouraging kids to think about abstract, descriptive, “cool” features of the marshmallow, such as “how the marshmallows look like white puffy clouds,” were able to wait twice as long as kids who were encouraged to focus on the temptation–or the “hot” features, like “think about how sweet and chewy the marshmallows taste.”

Mindfulness can be very helpful with this. Thinking about it in an abstract way can help you distance yourself from it. Think about it as something that will be always available to you, so there is no need to rush into doing it. I have found this to be a powerful tip, that I have used countless times and it really helps.

When dealing with tasks, it is important to make them more appealing to you.

“A cross-cultural study found that American students often frame homework as a dreaded chore, whereas many Chinese students frame it as useful practice. If that’s a bit of a stretch for your task, you could instead think about how good you’ll feel when you’re done, that it will finally be off your to-do list, or that you can skip feeling guilty.

Or you could simply make your task more fun. A 2014 study found that when people listen to really good audiobooks only at the gym, they go to the gym 51% more often. You could do the same for housecleaning or yardwork.”

So, again, changing your mindset and adapting is very important. Think of the advantages of completing the task or delaying gratification. Focusing on the rational side of it will curb your emotional side. Ultimately, the outcome will change.

Another important thing to be mindful of is that your environment matters. I am not talking about feng shui, so it is not very complicated to do. It has to do with distractions and temptations.

” a 2006 study found that secretaries ate more candy when the bowl on their desk was clear versus opaque, and when it was on their desk versus 6 feet away. In the same vein, you could consider installing an anti-social media app on your computer, putting your smartphone in a drawer, or storing the Pirate’s Booty in an opaque container.

And environment modification doesn’t just work for M&Ms–it can apply to more high-stakes self-control situations, as well. For example, in several studies, environmental cues have been found to be the most important determinant of staying clean for individuals in recovery from substance dependence. Hanging around the old crowd or visiting one’s neighborhood bar is a Siren in a bottle or syringe for those trying to stay clean or sober–so much so that many recovery programs encourage moving to a new neighborhood.”

I do not browse Facebook on my computer for this reason. I want to be focused on my blog or other productive activities. When dealing with substance abuse, and you probably already know this very well, being with your addicted friends or going to places where you might find them, can be detrimental to your recovery. I have a friend who had very serious addiction issues. He went to rehab and relocated to that area for good. The town where you used to use is full of triggers so it is a good idea to move. Sometimes, it is not essential to move if you can avoid certain places and certain people. Avoid speaking to addicts, pretend you do not see them, do what you can to protect your recovery.

Self-talk is also crucial. Tell yourself why the temptation is negative, rationalize it.

“Talking out loud helps “facilitate metacognitive representations”–or in other words, helps you think about your own thinking.

So many of the rewards of resisting temptation are abstract, like better health, a strong work ethic, or a job well done. So hearing yourself talk about your goals can make them more real, and better able to compete with the concrete temptation of that jar of cookie butter.”

This has helped me a lot with addiction. Every time I think about using, I tell myself all the things I would lose by going back to my old habit. After that, I feel discouraged to use, as I remember all the negative consequences. This keeps me grounded. Thinking about the positive aspects of resisting temptation is also very helpful but I have found that thinking about the negative aspects is more helpful to me. It is up to you to find out which tactic is more helpful.

It is fundamental to keep in mind that we are only human and that failing is a part of the process.

Strong emotion, like anger or anxiety–or another task that takes willpower, like being on a diet or staying with demanding relatives–will strain your self-control. So forgive yourself a self-control fail (or five) when your competing needs are depleting your limited resources.

When dealing with substance abuse, relapses can happen. Relapse is a part of recovery but what you do after you relapse is very important. Try not to have the mindset of “yeah, well, now that I have done it, I might as well keep doing it”. Yes, you have caved into your temptation but you do not need to have a long relapse. Again, rationalize it, write about it, do what you can to pick yourself up and return to the road of recovery. You will be remorseful and filled with negative feelings but you can choose to stay in that path or return to safety.

In the end, if we follow these instructions, we will have a lot to gain. Keep that in mind and good luck!

Image by quangle, courtesy of Pixabay.

Addiction recovery and the benefits of therapy

I found this article about addiction. It talks about fear and freedom. I definitely want the freedom that comes with being sober. The freedom of having more money and better mental health.

Can’t we experience freedom with a drug of choice? On the contrary, that’s not freedom but numbing out, escaping, abdicating responsibility and surrendering to cravings and urges. When you’re free, you operate from a place of knowledge and choice. You choose what to do and what not to do. No one else does that for you.

I learned that cravings lessen with time and will disappear after a while. I have to know my triggers in order to avoid them. I will keep snacks for when the cravings come. I will try to be firm and reason with myself. I have to be happy to be over with this phase. I can be free of this. I am better than this. This is not stronger than me and it never will. I am in control of my life. I have to be. I don’t want to make the same bad choices every day. I want to write and go out more. Be with people that don’t use drugs.

I also found this article about addiction recovery:

The human brain is constantly changing. Our gray matter is responsive to music, mayhem, and medicine, adapting with exposure to these and other stimuli, including psychotherapy. Science has shown that many forms of psychotherapy, whether used in conjunction with medications or without, can actually cause physiological changes in the brain that result in better treatment outcomes for people with trauma, addiction, and other mental health disorders.

Through functional neuroimaging scans, researchers involved in more than 20 scientific studies have provided evidence of structural and functional changes in the brains of patients receiving psychotherapy for conditions such as depression and anxiety. These studies show physical changes in the brain that correlate to noticeable improvements in the patient.

Additional research studies have revealed that medications and substances of abuse also cause changes within the brain, altering the wiring within its reward center, thereby impacting levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin that are sent along the nerve pathways in the body. Studies also reveal that after cessation of medication or substance use, and with sustained abstinence supported by therapy, a person’s brain structures can eventually return to a normal state. When a client who has given up drugs in treatment starts to feel less anxious or sleeps better, it is the brain healing.

This article gives me hope. It goes on to say

While it may be hard to believe that psychotherapy is capable of producing physical brain changes that can be as effective as taking medication, the proof is in the gray matter. Scientists have demonstrated that brain changes resulting from psychotherapy are enduring, and crucial for long-term recovery from mental illness.

These findings challenge a longstanding “brain bias” that exists in the field of psychiatry — the view that the brain’s physical structure is unchanging and should be the primary focus of treatment, while psychological factors are secondary. Based on this bias, some will argue that medications provide the best results. But the latest scientific revelations indicate that, for those willing to invest time in therapy, the coping strategies and behavioral tools they learn will help manage life’s slings and arrows in the short term, while the brain’s circuitry works to catch up and affect lasting change in the long term.

The take-away message? Even if you are already taking medication that helps manage your symptoms, you can complement the medicine’s therapeutic benefits with psychotherapy. Find the psychotherapy that works for you and stick with it — your brain will adapt in ways that will enhance your healing, making you feel even better over time.

I really agree with this and it is a great thing. I think everyone should see a therapist from time to time. That would be very beneficial for humanity. We all need to reflect upon our actions, our past, and our future. With the help of a professional, we can heal from various things.

The brain is like the universe, always changing and evolving. We can rewire our brains which is great. I definitely think my talks with my psychologist really help. I can tell her anything. I cannot do that with anyone else. Some people know some things about me, others no other things but I do not disclose it all to anyone. The people that know me better are my parents, my boyfriend, and my best friend. It is important to have privacy in your life. To have secrets. You don’t owe transparency to the world. This very opaque and cloudy world.

I have to keep in mind that the last time that I stopped smoking for a day, I felt great and was overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings. I hope the same happens now. It was easy to go through the day without smoking. I will have to keep myself busy. I will be writing my heart out. Trying to overcome the difficult time ahead. Difficult yet somewhat peaceful. Since there is no need to get it or do it. I will try to exercise and to meditate every day. Exercise when I have a craving and then eat something to help.

I thought this infographic was interesting. Things to keep in mind.

I should also go to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. That would help me. There is one on Monday. I hope I find the courage to go. Even though I do not like it that much. It has helped me in the past.
This quote is also important:

I agree with this quote, without a change in your life, it’s impossible to recover. I need to make changes.

My therapist asked me if I knew someone who had kicked a drug habit and I said yes. She told me to ask that person how they did it. And I did. The answer was simple, it was work. Worked helped him overcome the cravings and ultimately he kicked the habit. More and more companies right now make candidates take drug tests. I am afraid of that. So I have to quit first, for a month and then start to look for work. Work or a course. I do not know which one yet. Something where I get paid and work or study. Whatever is best for me.

My cat is anxiously waiting for me to go to bed. It is already 5 am and she wants to sleep. I think I should call it a night, too.

Image by Westfrisco, courtesy of Pixabay.

These days

I have mixed feelings about Christmas and the end of the year.I like all the food, presents and holiday spirit (at least, the one in my house). My Mother gets very happy and excited for Christmas, I love to see her like that. My Father also gets into the holiday spirit but he is still his judgemental self. I’m getting used to it, he won’t change now or ever. It’s in his nature and I respect that, though it still hurts me a lot. I understand his side and the generational gap doesn’t help. He was always very respectful to his parents, like most people in his generation. He was appalled by my disrespect, he started to think there was something wrong with me. He never realized that he was very critical and invalidating. Right at the time when I needed him the most. I can’t blame him, he didn’t know better. Understanding what we couldn’t understand is a part of growing up. Accepting and tolerating, too. We now have a civilized relationship, though we exchange harsh words a few times a week. It never escalates. I don’t allow it. We have many similarities when it comes to personality and that is why clash. Maybe one day, we’ll get along better. Or not. Who knows?

When it comes to the end of the year, I’m having a deja-vu. I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything. I immediately started to criticize myself and hate myself. Sometimes it’s necessary, you can’t be too complacent with yourself. There must be some accountability. But I was overwhelmed. I relived how I felt this whole year. Like a failure, worthless and hopeless. I have 300 days to make a change. This year has to be different. I know it’s going to be different because I have started to take steps in the right direction, I have plans and ideas. I want to continue working on my blog, consistently. I want to continue to create art. I want to get a job. I want to start exercising.

The first decision, the one that will enable me to do all of this and more, is quitting weed. It takes away all of my will and energy. Addiction is so complicated. As Wikipedia states, “Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences”. So, I’m basically, in auto-destruction mode, if I don’t do anything about it. It’s extra-hard to do it on your own but I know I can do it.

I’ve been using a four-week plan hypnosis and positive affirmations to help me with this task and it’s helping.

An affirmation is really anything you say or think. A lot of what we normally say and think is quite negative and doesn’t create good experiences for us. We have to retrain our thinking and speaking into positive patterns if we want to change our lives.”- Louise Hay

This article is very enlightening and it shows how anyone can benefit from positive affirmations. A way to transform our reality is changing our perception of it. Words can really change the way we think and react.

Tell me what you think about this in the comment section, I would love to hear our thoughts on what I talked about.

Happy holidays and thank you for reading this.

Image by congerdesign, courtesy of Pixabay.

First day of my life

This is it, guys. My first day without smoking. I’m excited and feeling great (though my back hurts). I feel free. I don’t need to buy it today or tomorrow. It doesn’t interfere with my life anymore. I spoiled myself today (not too much). Positive reinforcement is very important. Associating good things to quitting.
A lot of things are going through my mind, mostly happy things but also plans for buying soon cross my mind. I have to argue with my mind, make it understand that I’m on the right path and that I must be strong and overcome this.
I’ve been listening to the Swans discography, all day. I have to say their first albums are very hard to listen, with some really unpleasant music but then there are amazing songs. So far my favorite albums are “White light from the month of infinity” and “Love of life”.
I drew a lot tonight, 4 A4 drawings. I’ll be posting them soon here, to accompany my posts.
I’m still a bit scared and it’s slowly dissipating. I hope this fear converts into courage. I need it.

Thank you for reading this.