artistic expression

ART3

(2013 – BorderlineMusings)

So this is the piece that I have been working on for the past few days. Be gentle lol but I would love any and all feedback/criticism on what might make it better 🙂 I’ve got SOOOOO much left to do with it but I actually think it has real potential to be awesome. You can’t really see all the tiny tiny details I have spent hours doing but believe me it is there 🙂

I have had a pretty good couple of days – I had group yesterday and there were only 3 of us so again I couldn’t shy away from sharing but this time I didn’t mind it as much and it was okay. I have to admit doing this other group is a great chance to keep practicing the skills and have an outlet to bounce thoughts and ideas off of other people who are similar to myself. Plus it is always nice to see how someone else handles things and see if there is a way to apply what they have done to my own situations (or things to avoid in my own situations). We talked about how I used ‘non judgmental stance’ in the past week and I really had a chance to use it this weekend as I contemplated the possible change with my job and how it was so nice to look at the facts and not let my emotions get in the way – that by being able to do this I was actually able to find the positive in the situation which I never ever would have found 6 months ago.

I think this is the longest time I have gone without falling down the rabbit hole – I tend to have a week or so of “good” days and then I crash and when I crash…I crash HARD. I feel clear, awake and dare I say…alive? Very rare for me and things at work are going okay. My boss checked in with 2 of my co-workers and they said that it was like a 360 – that I am doing amazing (inter-personally) and that they are thrilled that I am finding my balance. It was nice to hear such positive feedback so soon and it also shows me the amount of work that goes into constantly checking myself (and how fucking exhausting it is) is paying off and working. THAT is what makes me happy – that the work I am doing on myself is actually showing some slight results. Now don’t get me wrong I know this won’t be how it ALWAYS is but a part of my journey is instead of worrying about when the crash will be I want to enjoy the good while I can. This is far, far harder than I thought it was going to be when I made the commitment to myself but this outlook I think is helping in my mood (well that and the prozac I am actually remembering to take).

I will also say I have become addicted to Homeland and Breaking Bad (as if I needed another TV show to get into) but Homeland actually shows a character that suffers from a mental illness (bi-polar disorder I believe) and although I haven’t seen enough episodes to know if it is being done in a positive light vs a negative light but I think having mental illness being portrayed is a great step forward and I hope that more and more shows choose to bring mental illness to the forefront and instead of making those who suffer from it out to be “bad guys” or “the crazies” but strong, smart and independent will help begin to eliminate the stigma of mental illness.

Well off to work more on my painting 🙂 Have a wonderful night (or day wherever you are) everyone!

 

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self-soothe weekend

So on Friday when I was sitting down with my boss and having a conversation with her it was also brought up about the possibility of changing up my job. At first I was extremely scared that I had done something terribly wrong, then I was worried that they didn’t want me to be a part of the ‘team’ anymore (hello BPD paranoia) and eventually I asked her the simple question of ‘Why Me?’ and now I won’t get into her answer because a) I don’t want too much about my job on here and b) because there was a lot that was said that meant a lot to me that I want to keep to myself but needless to say I left work on Friday with a LOT to think about and process. Nothing is set in stone with my job but it is something she wanted to know was on the table and for me to think about.

On Saturday I chose to do something VERY out of the norm for me – I went to the local diner and had breakfast all by MYSELF. I have huge food issues and always feel like people are judging me. I brought along the book ‘The Art of Happiness’ by HH Dalai Lama & Howard C Cutler to read as I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and some eggs benedict. I have only done this ONE other time and that was MONTHS ago and I want to try and break out of my comfort zone when it comes to food and I am slowly making this progress.

I spent most of the weekend thinking about the convo I had with my boss and how I feel about the possibility of not doing the job I do right now – mixed emotions but 6 months ago it would have sent me down a terrible downward spiral of thoughts that I wasn’t good enough, that they hated me, that I didn’t belong…but I was able to actually look at it objectively and I think whatever the final decision is will be the right one. My boss hired me and I know she trusts in my hard work, dedication and almost insane attention to detail and if she thinks that the move is what is best for where we work AND for me? I trust her 100%.

I did however get some painting done this weekend mixed in with watching season 1 of American Horror Story on Netflix. First off: American Horror Story? that show is FUCKED on so many levels but I will say that it seriously kept my interest and sometimes when I watched it, it almost felt like I was watching a movie. The production value on that show is amazing and I typically shy away from blood and gore (although a psychological thriller is one of  my favorites to watch) this was very well done. Now I hope Netflix puts up season 2 soon. It’s one of the few downfalls of not having cable lol. As for my painting – I found myself a little uninspired until today (I am doing my best to not force the creative juices) and eventually I got this idea for a tree on top of a hill with long flowing branches that almost look like hearts on the end. It’s got this pretty dark blue and purple sky with white and yellow stars – and eventually I hope to put one shooting star in there. I might get brave and show you what I have done once I get a little more done with it. It has potential to be good but the inspiration has dissipated so I am leaving it be until the urge strikes again. I must have worked on it for 4 or so hours today (watercolor and acrylic) so I am pretty impressed with myself.

I just got done doing laundry so I am gonna relax on the couch and watch an ep of It’s Always Sunny and crash for the night. Until tomorrow…

 

is this the beginning?

It has been a few days since I have posted – on Thursday I saw E for one of our weekly sessions and it actually went okay, I have been seeing things with a clearer lens lately and shared with E the changes I decided to make with stepping back personally with my co-workers. She and I discussed if it was the right time for me to do that, my plans for doing it and all that kind of stuff – I think she was impressed that I had come to that decision on my own and after the hour we both agreed that what I had done was the right thing for me.

Along the same lines I also had a really productive conversation with my boss – I sat down with her and expressed some of my concerns and she listened and validated some of my feelings and I think we came to a great compromise. A year ago I wouldn’t have been able to handle any type of conflict, I wouldn’t have been able to find the words, I wouldn’t have been able to handle it. I feel a slight bit proud of myself for choosing to handle this the way that I have. To admit that…that is no small feat.

I find myself staring at what feels like a blank slate…is this what it means to have a fresh start? is this the beginning of a new chapter? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared shitless because lets face it handling change isn’t something I usually do well. Coming to the conclusion that I don’t need everyone to like me, that I don’t need to be buddy-buddy with people, I wish I could explain how it feels both liberating and incredibly scary all at the same time. My entire life feels like I have been trying to please everyone around me and throwing that aside and basically saying “if you don’t like me that is okay” well that is fucking scary as hell. Most of my identity is tied up in what others like or wanted from me and now I am going out into the world as me? I don’t even know who me IS yet.

I finally gave in and turned the heat on in my apartment – the winter has been SO cold and if my toes were so cold I needed a pair of socks AND slippers it was about time to turn it on lol. Of course I looked around my apartment and it is a total shit show – I need to clean I need to be more organized. That is my plan for the rest of today – besides doing a little distracting and self soothing with watching Netflix and doing some art.

I should mention that I am NOT an artist – I consider myself creatively minded but not an artist- I use art as another form of therapy. It was what I started doing before I started seeing E. I used it to find another outlet and a better way to try and deal with what is going on and a better way to handle things besides self destructing. Maybe one day I will get brave and share a piece or two on here – I dabble in everything from charcoal to acrylic and my latest obsession is decoupage.

I already stepped outside my comfort zone today by going out to a diner and having breakfast alone and now to sit back and take some real time for me because although I don’t always think I deserve it I know I do. I spent so much of my time involved with my work that I go months on end without taking a day off – I have taken a big step and requested several days off in the next couple of months. HUGE step but one that is needed…no matter how big or small each step is one step further on my journey to recovery.

finding the balance

I think anyone who suffers from BPD might find themselves struggling with how to find a balance both in personal and professional lives. That we can be so good and talented at somethings and in the next breathe be just down right TERRIBLE with dealing with other people. I find I am in a constant battle with myself as I learn and grow trying to deal with people inter-personally.

I read a book called ‘I hate you, don’t leave me’ and it really hit home for me and helped me have a deeper understanding as to why I do these things and it isn’t just due to how I was raised and being brought up in a very invalidating environment but also its biological. It doesn’t make it an easier pill to swallow (like the prozac that I need to be better about taking regularly lol) but it does give you a little comfort in knowing that it isn’t something you could always control. Don’t get me wrong – you still need to take responsibility in life for the outcome of whatever fall out happens (personal/professional/otherwise) because by using “I have borderline personality disorder” as some kind of excuse is just not acceptable but moreso because even though it may be biological it can be controlled…it just takes a LOT of practice and a LOT of hardwork…it isn’t right or fair that those who suffer with BPD have to seemingly work 10 times harder than most people at the most basic of interactions but shit if life ain’t fair.

The part I have the most difficult with is see other people handle and deal with situations with such ease and grace because what comes naturally for others is hard and tiring work for those who suffer with BPD. I wish I could sit here and tell you how once you do DBT and have an inkling of the skills that you will somehow magically not suck at interacting with people – alas it really doesn’t work that way. I wish it did – fuck, to be able to interact with people without the constant paranoia, worry, fears that I face every single time I talk to someone? jesus that would be fan-fucking-tastic. If that were true I wouldn’t be in another DBT type group so quickly after the last one just ended and i wouldn’t still struggle with feeling like a total failure as a person on a daily basis.

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take a deep breath and jump

So after several days of thinking, meditating and painting I have decided to make some HUGE changes in my life.

I guess I need to start out by explaining that yesterday I needed to meet with E and then go to another psychiatrist in a neighboring town to TALK about doing another group. It was an extremely exhausting day emotionally and mentally and it really gave me pause to think. After seeing E and then going to this other appointment I was feeling a little defeated – here I am fresh out of 30+ weeks in DBT group and now I am in need of starting another one ASAP. It is hard to put into words how it feels to think in your mind that you have made extraordinary progress and in reality you are still a mess and in need of help.

I met with the other psychiatrist, who was really wonderful and did her best to put me at ease. My anxiety level was at like a 20 (out of 10 and I couldn’t stop shaking) but I knew I was doing the right thing, I knew E was right and that I have made progress and the only way to keep on that path is to continue with another group so I can keep the skills fresh in my mind so I can practice them, work them and find ways to have them (almost) seamlessly become a part of my thinking.

I have issues with things moving to fast especially when it comes to big changes (hello adjustment disorder) and so when I was put on the spot and told I needed to decide right then and there if I was going to do this group I thought I was going to puke – How was I supposed to answer that? I wanted to wait a week to do more pros/cons over this, I wanted to talk it over with E more and yet here I am being told to make a decision (btw did I mention the group started THAT day just several hours later???!!) and in the  end I know I made the right choice but it didn’t make it any easier – and that choice was to say yes.

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tackle that anxiety…

I think for some it is hard to understand when people say they have ‘social anxiety’. For me, it is that I have this intense fear of being around people and looking like an idiot, saying the wrong things, not being pretty enough, nice enough, etc and it manifests itself into this panic induced state when faced with the task of going to hang out in a social setting. I almost always get a headache, I get this pit in my stomach and I instantly want to run and hide. Sometimes I will avoid going out and sometimes the panic and anxiety literally makes me so sick to my stomach that I can’t go out. It’s hard for those around me that have known me for a long time to think that I suffer from any type of social anxiety because once I settle and the panic falls away I can usually loosen up a bit to be a little more relaxed.

Part of my issues when it comes to social situations is that I typically think alcohol is going to make me more attractive to people, funnier, more relaxed, more fun and even though I FEEL like it does that and even though in college a lot of people seemed to  like me a lot more when I was drunk the reality is that self medicating with alcohol, for me, is dangerous and I do stupid things. When you are almost 30 alcohol is a typical part of going out and when in a downward spiral I don’t care how many I have, I don’t care if I drink and drive (which is beyond fucking stupid) and I don’t care if I die. I have to learn to regulate and set limits for myself but I can’t always seem to do that. When drinking I become more relaxed, I loosen up, I find people tend to talk to me more, laugh at my jokes and feel comfortable with it – it’s almost as if people like me more and so I keep doing it hopes that people will like me without actually knowing the REAL me.

My therapist wants me to expand and challenge myself (don’t they all? lol) and make friends outside the small circle of people I have really learned to lean on and trust since moving back home and beginning the daunting task of therapy. My co-workers have been the biggest source of inspiration and importance to me since starting on this journey but it is becoming more and more obvious that I rely on them too much and that because I feel comfortable with them and they know about my diagnosis and what I struggle with daily it makes me feel safe and protected from judgement. It’s hard to think about expanding my social horizons when I feel so content with the ones I have – but I also know that isn’t fair to those around me.

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so is this where I begin?

Primary diagnosis: Borderline Personality Disorder.

Yep.

When you see that in your chart it can feel like a kick in the stomach. Maybe I was a little behind the times when it comes to research on mental illness but the only basis I had for BPD was the movie Girl, Interrupted – and it isn’t like that was the picture perfect vision of what suffering from borderline is like.

I should probably start off by saying my original primary diagnosis was ‘Depressive Disorder’ , ‘Generalized Anxiety Disorder’ followed by ‘Eating Disorder NOS’ with borderline personality traits. After my latest downward spiral I think my therapist made the right choice by changing my primary diagnosis. Isn’t it odd though that we don’t get much of a say in our diagnosis even though it IS ours? That isn’t to say that I don’t agree with mine because I practically fit it to a tee but it definitely doesn’t help when there isn’t a TON of information out there on this versus some of the more common mental illnesses.

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