Archive for the ‘Awareness’ Category

The criteria and signs and symptoms have already been discussed in the “What is BPD?” section of the website.
I’m going to talk about how recovering so much that you no longer meet the criteria for BPD, but then relapsing badly so that you do re-meet the criteria.

This is what is happening for me.

It’s a horrible feeling, when I realised that I was relapsing and it seemed impossible to stop the relapse. I know all the tell-tale signs and the skills that were giving to help me to recover but everything seems to have gone out the window and it’s almost as if I’m are starting all over again.

That realisation, especially when I know the stigma with the diagnosis and how the professionals seem to treat you when you have the diagnosis of BPD. It makes me feel a failure to myself and to those who love me and care for me, as well as to the professionals who did help me to recover.

I’m desperate to keep the few friends I’ve have made, When my friends and do something together (which they are allowed to do) my mind starts telling me they don’t like you, you’re not wanted, they don’t want you around. It’s hard to put rational thinking into the equation. But because I don’t want to lose them completely instead of going off on one, I don’t text, I avoid, staying away so that I don’t get hurt (imagined) anymore. Any thought of trying to talk to my friends about how I am are thinking and feeling would be disastrous as I believe that they will think of me as a complete freak and that I’m too needy and will actually reject me.

I do try to tell myself that my friends do have other friends and that they don’t have to be around me all the time. I know this, I know that even I myself would get fed up being around the same people all the time, it’s nice to have a break and see other friends. I used to be mad on Facebook in regards to how many friends I had. I used to have everyone I knew on my friends list, now I only have a select few who I want on my friends list. Having many friends isn’t the be all to end all. I realise that now.

I put people on high pedestals so when they don’t reach my expectations I don’t like them anymore. I can hate people one minute, to the point of never wanting to speak to them again, to them saying something and that’s it I’m back liking them again. I feel I am weak in that sense because I can be with the wrong people and although I want to say things, I’m scared they will reject me but also hurt me physically. I’m scared of being punched and beaten up, this is why I don’t say anything to people who I am friends with or acquaintances. People who I don’t know and pass in the street, I will say things too but still fear I will be beaten up and physically hurt. Yet sometimes my mouth gets the better of me.

My anger is out of control, I am taking medication for it but I can still fly off the handle at times, I’ve got a sharp tongue and will say hurtful things especially if I feel people are going to reject/abandon me, I want to make them want to go. I imagine conversations in my head on how certain events could turn out. Most of the time these imagined conversations never materialise and that it’s just my mind in overdrive. I’m on hyper-alert and feel I need to protect myself against the worst. But of course if something good happens and this event that I thought was going to be bad, actually turns out to be good, I’m stunned I don’t know how to respond so end up there looking bewildered because it wasn’t what I was expecting.

I am reckless with my spending and it has got my family into financial difficulty. I am addicted to Bingo sites and I will spend and spend, at first it is like I’m playing for fun, but then I start losing and I know I need to re-coop my money so put more on to try and get my money back and it sometimes works but most of the time it doesn’t, before long I’ve spent up to my quota for the week and nothing to show for it.

I have this urge every now and then to want to run away. I don’t know why, I am happy with my family and life and I want to stay at home, yet these thoughts appear and I start to fantasise about doing it, what would happen and what I would do. I wouldn’t actually do it but the fantasy is still there and can get quite strong. I try to imagine it like a story idea when it gets too much.

Alongside this thought, when I get distressed and suicidal, I have fantasies about going places. I try my hardest to just ride these thoughts and so far it has worked. It doesn’t help when the news describe someone’s death so graphically. It’s a trigger for me and can make the situation worse.

I have beliefs that occur fleetingly that people are out to hurt me and that I’m going to hurt others. I become wary of people and avoid everyone I can. I still have to go out and things but I’m continuously looking over my shoulder watching people around me, I become suspicious of people around me, especially those who seem to be following where I am going.

My mood is all over the place. I am up and down, and around and around. I’m like a yoyo. I can wake up feeling happy and go to bed depressed. In between those I can have a mixture of moods. My husband calls it “getting stressed” where I take things out on others and see no wrong in my behaviour. I can be an embarrassment to be around when I get into that sort of mood because I don’t see no wrong in my behaviour and won’t take responsibility for my behaviour.

Every had that moment where you suddenly don’t feel attached to the world, like you’re just floating there and not able to connect with anything around you. It’s uncomfortable to say the least and when it happens I tend to pinch myself, have some sort of sensation to touch my skin so that I can become reattached to the world. I zone out too, but can seem rude to others but I can’t help it, again I used senses to help to bring me back to the here and now.

I’ve done DBT therapy and I know the skills, and I do use them alot now that I know I meet the criteria again.
I’m not diagnosed yet, but I know that when I talk to my care coordinator and psychiatrist that they will re-diagnose the disorder instantly.

My current diagnosis is Bipolar and to a certain extent I can see the diagnosis, but I know that not everything is due to the Bipolar. I am taking a mood stabiliser and an antipsychotic to help with the Bipolar, I just don’t know what to do in regards to the BPD, there isn’t much my mental health team offers anymore due to cuts.

Why don’t I have any friends?

This is a common complaint from many people with BPD. They feel rejected and get themselves into the mind-set of negative conclusions. If one friend has rejected them whether they actually have or perceived then all of their friends have rejected them and they have no one. The idealisation and devaluation thinking plays a part here too.

People with BPD are very quick to push everyone away if they feel that friends/family are going to leave them, even if one friend walks away from them they believe that everyone else will. Despite having a circle of friends once that one friend walks away, the person with BPD then forgets about the other friends who haven’t done anything. “I have no friends, no one is ever going to like me, and I’m always going to be a loner” these are typical statements from a person with BPD.

Even when trying to make new friends outside of the circle they are in now the fear of rejection is so strong so despite the desire to want new friends the fear holds them back and they fail to make new friends.

So what happens when a person with BPD publically displays their belief of having no friends in front of friends who had done no wrong?

I have personally asked one friend how she felt when I said I had no friends and she said that she felt upset and hurt that I had said that and that I felt she wasn’t a close enough friend to me for me to realise that she is here for me no matter what.

Other friends have turned around and said well sod you then and distanced themselves from me, at the time I did not see that this was BPD behaviour but now I am learning what is BPD behaviour and what isn’t, I am becoming more aware of the BPD thinking styles and how distorted they are.

Now that you are more aware of the BPD behaviour what are you doing to challenge it?

When I feel I have no friends I take a step back from the feelings and look at myself from a different perspective, that helps me to realise that I do have friends and that although I may not speak to them daily or even weekly it does not mean that they are not my friends anymore it just means we all have busy lives, but with some friends when we do get together we chat as if there had been no gap between our get-togethers.

Being in a crisis.

There are a number of basic support networks available in every part of the country for when a crisis arises, A&E, crisis teams, duty at cmht, cpn, out of hours and hospital.

Places of help and support

Usually the person diagnosed with BPD will present themselves at one of the above, are then assessed and if needed referred to the crisis tea the crisis team will then assess again and decide on the best way to treat. Mostly this is community based intensive care, visits and calls everyday. If there is a significant risk to life then hospital is usually used, but only as a last option.

Police help and section 136

Some people diagnosed with BPD become so distressed that they don’t want help they want to go through with their plans and some times this is in a public place. The police are usually called and if they deem the person to be suffering from a mental disorder as defined in the Mental Health Act they have the power to take the person to a place of safety under the provisions of section 136. Usually the person is taken to a 136 suite at their local psychiatric unit, if that is unavailable then A&E can be used or the person is taken to cells to be assessed formally by two section 12 doctors and a AMHP.

Difficulties with a crisis team.

When a person diagnosed with BPD is seen many times by the crisis team they relationships between certain staff members and themselves are stretched, especially if some staff don’t really want to speak to you, tell you to distract and use DBT skills if they know you have done the program.

My experiences with the crisis team.

Personally i have been under the crisis team in my area more times than i care to remember for suicidal thinking and for psychosis. I found when they were treating me for psychosis they gave me more compassion and understanding, when i was suicidal they weren’t as nice and treated me rather poorly. In 2008 i made an serious attempt on my life, the few days prior my husband had been asking them to admit me because i was not safe and i was going to do something but they didn’t think i was in considerable danger. The afternoon after i had taken an OD they arrived and were rather curt with me and treated me really poorly. After i was treated by ICU i was seen by the crisis team who finally admitted me. Hospital in my area was a dismal place, thankfully the unit i was in was closing and a new one was being built. Ive had some bad experiences with the crisis team and now refuse to be placed under their care as i don’t feel they will help me.

What you can do in a crisis

Work with your teams, if you are placed with the crisis team be honest with how you feel, be honest with how you think they can help you. If it helps write a letter to them detailing all the things you’re not able to say. If you’re admitted to hospital, work with the staff, if you’re having a particularly difficult time then ask for some extra help, prn to help you through, go to ward groups, not only do these curb the boredom that occurs on the ward but can be beneficial too. Lean out for support within your personal support network. You don’t have to go through a crisis alone.

Why people diagnosed with BPD self harm

How self harm behaviours start
– Many people diagnosed with BPD start self harming as a way to cope with overwhelming emotions, usually starts with scratching leading on to more significant cuts and wounds. Some may have discovered the idea through someone else. For example going into a psychiatric ward for the first time and finding other patients who have self harmed. Self harming starts as a means to reduce the intense emotional anguish.

Why people self harm – many cut because it takes the mental pain away and provides physical pain, which they can actually feel, it can also be to take away the numbness feeling that many diagnosed with BPD can experience, self harming makes them feel more alive and not a robot.

Being addicted to self harm – With self harm at first a few scratches or wounds give the desired effect at first then more are need then more. Many become dependent on it to cope through difficult situations and find they experience severe anxiety if they are unable to self harm.

Giving self harm up – Giving up self harming can and is a difficult task for some they are addicted for others it’s the fear of what happens when they stop what’s next, how will I cope, what if I start doing well then relapse what then, what if I can never give it up. Giving up self harm is a personal choice and only one you can make by yourself, no one can force you, and if you’re not ready then you’re not ready.

Coping once stopping self harm behaviours – It’s hard and there are days when it is difficult to fight the urges to self harm and to want to relapse just to make the pain go away but using the DBT skills these urges can be beaten that will reduce the urges and temptations.

My story

I started self harming at 22, I thought it would help me and take the pain away forever but it didn’t and soon I was self harming every day several times a day, I needed more to give me the same release, I used different methods when one wouldn’t do it for me. I have required treatment for my self-harm and have been lucky that when I’ve had this treatment the medical staff have been wonderful towards me.

I have been self harm free for many years now, I have fought with those urges all throughout and still fight them today I don’t think they will ever go away completely however I do think they will get less and less as I learn the skills from DBT and cope with them better. I made a promise to my son that I wouldn’t self harm for him and so far I have kept that promise it’s been hard but I won’t break a promise especially to him.

A survivor of self harm and BPD and an advocate for the use of DBT.

I started self harming at the age of 17, I found myself placed in a children’s home, feeling alone, rejected and angry. One day, hurt and sad but unable to cry, all of a sudden I grabbed an object and scratched my arm. I thought id found the perfect solution. Little did I know I was to become addicted to it. My self-harm became more serious, as like with drugs, I had to hurt myself more and more to get the same release.

In the end it had accumulated in 5 years in hospital. DBT has been a lifeline; it has taught me other healthier ways to cope, like being given key to a room of light, leaving the darkness behind. I have been self harm free for nearly 2 months and without DBT this would never have been possible.

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