Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Catastrophizing – Exaggerating the situation, making it seem more catastrophic than it actually is.

This can be a scary experience for someone with BPD. Believing situations are worse than they are can cause anxiety. But also thinking that things like conversations are going to go terribly wrong and that the situation is going to result in an argument or that things are going to be said. Imagining the situation to go many ways, but focusing on the worst way.

An over reaction of the situation can cause those around you to react saying things such as “yeah what ever” “your looking too deep into it” “don’t be so stupid” “stop being so negative all the time” “gosh be positive will you”. Catastrophizing can take a lot of energy and time, as focusing on the worst means there isn’t any time to see the best case scenarios. This is exhausting for the person with BPD and the people around them.

The loved ones and those close to the person with bpd are often most attacked. Situations that arise that normally wouldn’t cause any reactions are blown out of proportion. Loved ones can be told that they are cheating even without any evidence, or just because their loved one spoke to someone of the other sex. Friends can be accused of ignoring the person with BPD and can come under attack because the person started off thinking that they are ignoring them, then that they don’t want to talk to them, then start texting said friend, without thinking of the consequences then thinking of what could happen in result of the text, then thinking oh god what if I’ve just ruined the friendship, and start thinking about rejection.

Catastrophizing can also come from small thoughts. For example, watching the news and someone got raped in a daylight attack, this can cause a person with BPD to then start thinking, one thought can lead to another which leads to another and before you know it, they believe that they are going to be raped, all within a few minutes. This can lead to fear and paranoia. Should I go out every again, and start judging every man around them. Even leading to shouting to all men, I know what you are and if you come near me I will scream.

Recognising a person with BPD that they are catastrophizing events and situations, that they are coming to conclusions that are very unlikely and quite possibly will not happen, is vital in helping them to deal with it with the support of those around them. Listening to their concerns and helping them work through what they are thinking, is it justified? If so then fine, but if not, work through the thought process without judgement.

Why is it that we feel guilty for doing something good about ourselves, whether it be doing something simple as getting bathed and dressed in the morning even pushing to put a little make up on, or whether it be going out with friends. This past weekend I went out with friends on our boat. I thoroughly enjoyed myself at the time. But now I’m feeling guilty.

We can accept all the negative emotions, everything bad, after all that is what we believe we deserve. But having something good happen to us and we are out of our comfort zone. How can someone be nice to us. We don’t know how to respond. Not being judged and being allowed to be ourselves seems a dream to us, so when actually that dream does come true your left thinking that its not going to last, and thus the rejection fears become strong.

Feeling emotions that are positive in nature can feel somewhat alien to ourselves. Its scary to feel something good. We know crying and sadness, but happiness and laughter, they can be strange. A day where we actually feel good about ourselves, we wish would stay but we know that the likelihood is that the happy feeling wont even last the day where our moods can be so volatile.

Taking some time to step out of the situation has helped me, so try to look at the situation through someone else’s eyes. Ask yourself why shouldn’t I be happy? I deserve to be happy. I am good, people do like me, I am a likeable person. In DBT this is part of cheerleading exercise. Thoughts are not facts, so next time your mind jumps to a conclusion do this exercise and see how it helps you.

What this represents to myself.

As many with BPD, I suffer with black and white thinking. I struggle to see the whole picture, at least not until its too late.

I put people on very unrealistically high pedestals. These people are then never going to reach my expectations and of course when the realisation of this occurs I am left feeling rejected, even though this perceived rejection is completely unfounded, the whole situation has been made up in my head. but I cant see that, not until someone tells me or I realise it afterwards.

So I’ve placed a friend on this pedestal. I think they are the bee’s knees, there is nothing they can do wrong…. oh but then they did, its something small in reality, but to me its the worst thing ever they could have done. Now I hate them, I never want to speak to them again. So I avoid all contact, ignoring them in every way possible. Then some how some way contact is made, and just simple words can change my whole perspective on the person… and now I back to liking them again.

What my reaction would be. I would tell said friend to leave me alone, not to talk to me. I wouldn’t reply to texts, calls, social networks. I would hope that they would just disappear.

So I’ve made plans with a friend but they’ve had to cancel… the thoughts are, they don’t like me any more, bet they cancelled on me because they want to do that plan with someone else better. I hate them, what can I do to make them see I am worthy of doing things with. Its because of me, they know that i’m mental so that’s why they don’t want to be around me. I can get angry too either they like me or they don’t, which is it.

What my reaction would be.. Well I’d kind of attack this person verbally, well via text, saying all the things I was thinking and how I was hurt and why wasn’t I good enough to go out with.

what would the reactions be of the people I’ve been talking about. One has quite simply put it as whatever, get on with your messed up head. I’ve had one friend call me a psychotic little bitch. Others have been more sympathetic, allowing me time to sort things out in my head. Or reacting in a nice manner, explaining things for me.

When I’ve had these thoughts and then gone through the whole black and white thinking and come out the other side if by some miracle I still have a friendship at the end of it. The words that they say to help and support me, result in me crying my eyes out and screaming inside, why cant I be normal, I don’t want my friends to feel they have to be like this around me. Usually crying comes after a lot of things BPD related. For me it is the number one go to reaction, whether I like it or not.

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.

The Chameleon Effect and BPD

The chameleon effect is also described as mirroring. Whilst in everyday life mimicking/mirroring can be a healthy behaviour, interviewees can mimic the interviewer copying body language etc is one example.

With BPD the person has a distorted sense of self; they don’t know who they are. They are so scared of rejection and abandonment that they will take on the characteristics of another person being chameleon like with their goal to be liked. They will change themselves depending on the situation and the person(s) they are with.

Many people diagnosed with BPD are impressionable and will follow the lead of another to fit in and to ensure that they are not rejected and will portray themselves to be like the people they want to be liked/loved by.

Ever had a friend who copied you? It’s flattering for the person being mirrored and usually it’s just minor copying sometime subtle. But when a person diagnosed with BPD mirrors they mirror everything from clothing and music taste to the way you speak and laugh, your mannerisms become theirs. When you are around them it is like you are looking in a mirror at yourself.

How the Chameleon Effect has played a part with my BPD

I personally have dressed the same, so wearing the same theme of clothing, dying hair to be same colour, listening to the same music, but only when these friends were around, in my own space I would listen to my own personal taste in music which did include some of their music but mainly music I had discovered on my own.

In the past I have gone from wearing typical jeans and t shirts to wearing gothic clothing and having that style to wearing combat trousers and t shirts all the time. I am now I’m back to jeans and t shirts/leggings and tops more fashionable clothing still trying to find my style. I have no idea about fashion, I look at some of the clothing combos that fashion magazines put together and tell us we can go and buy from the high street and I know I haven’t got the confidence to buy the clothes and pull of the same style. My weight issues play a part in that and to some degree I’m sure many women actually feel the same way I do.

Depending on the friend, depends on how I was around them. But I had let the chameleon slip with some friends after I had gotten comfortable with the friendship and trust the friend, I tested the waters to see if I can get away with wearing jeans and t shirts and sometimes it’s ok and the friends where supportive of my “new” style change others haven’t and I did revert back to the chameleon as the rejection fear becomes very strong at one point.

I struggled with friendships and being liked for many years. The earliest memory of the chameleon is when I moved junior schools and wanted to fit in with a group of lads (the girls rejected me so I tried to make friends with the boys) they wanted me to be initiated into their group and that required doing tasks I just wasn’t comfortable doing but I persevered for a few weeks before giving up, the school I went to welcomed deaf children and I became friends with one girl and wanted to be like her I tried to damage my ears so that I could be deaf like her, thankfully I didn’t do any lasting damage.

I found me whilst working on getting rid of the chameleon. I have my own tastes in music, clothing, and hairstyles/colour. I have my own likes and dislikes of celebs, TV shows, films, and hobbies. Being able to recognise that these are mine gives me great sense of self and gives me hope that I am finding myself and that I will no longer meet the criteria for the identity disturbance symptom of the BPD diagnosis.

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