Borderline Personality Disorder depression after a manic phase

Borderline Personality Disorder depression after a manic phase

Having borderline personality disorder (BPD) and dealing with depressive and manic phases is a constant battle and something I have come to accept that I might have to live with for the rest of my life. I was diagnosed in February this year with the condition, but looking back now it is obvious that it has controlled me since my teenage years. I have learnt a great deal over these last few months and have can now understand and manage my condition better, even if it is still a work in progress.

I can usually spot the spiral as it is happening, sometimes I can stop, sometimes I feel defeated and unable to battle it. There are certain stages to it, but it often comes out of the blue and unexpectedly. Often the depression and downward spiral will happen after a manic phase, where I have lots of energy and able to undertake many tasks at a time, whilst trying to complete them with urgency that is impossible to maintain. I burn out and the downward spiral begins. I am often convinced that I am cured during a manic phase and am childlike and carefree, but I pay the price after trying to get back to a normal level again between the mania and depression. It’s a constant emotional rollercoaster that leaves me defeated and exhausted.

  • The first stage is usually brought on by trying to manage too many things in one go and spreading myself to thin. The anxiety and worry to manage my life stops me from sleeping first, which always impacts me negatively and makes me heightened to my emotions.
  • The next stage is me reaching out and being needy. I start to rely on people too heavily and become extremely scared of being abandoned and being on my own. I understand I can be a huge burden on people.
  • I start to get paranoid about people talking about me and judging me, whilst having overwhelming fears of abandonment which then makes me cling onto people even more.
  • What usually follows is the most dangerous stage to me and that is to disassociate. When I disassociate I shut down emotionally from anyone around me and I get caught in my own head. I can self-harm, engage in dangerous behaviour or even attempt suicide. This is the stage I do not remember, it is like I have no control of my actions and I am numb from feeling anything.
  • After I get back to reality I am left with the mess I have left, the apologies to make, scars to hide and the guilt. I promise myself I won’t go back to that place again, I will not hurt the people around me and I try to build myself back up again.

1 in 10 people with borderline personality disorder will successfully complete suicide, so I share what I can to help lift stigma and raise understanding knowing that I will always be judged by this condition.

What does help me through this condition is friends who have tried to understand my condition so they can understand me better and Dialectrical Behaviour Therapy. DBT is a talking therapy, which helps me accept who I am and helps me make positive changes in the way I think and deal with things. I am still at the early stages of therapy, but have found it incredibly helpful and with it being a group therapy I feel comfort in knowing that it isn’t just me. I can get better with this disorder, I just need time and support.

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The worry that my own mental health problems have damaged my daughter

The worry that my own mental health problems have damaged my daughter

I have struggled with mental health problems for years without even being aware of them. Well to be honest I did know something wasn’t right with me, but I just believed I was a bad person and my anger and depression was my own fault. Depression and anxiety have dominated me and effected me all of my adult life and after having my second child two years ago and my postnatal depression came to a head and I realised I needed to fix me. I was scared that in this process I could further hurt myself and I was right. To finally move on from my old life I needed to deal with my past to some extent and it was painful. I sunk lower than I ever went before and worried that by dealing with certain things that had happened that I would never feel happiness again.

Having to deal with my own mental health problems with a baby and small child at home was tough and not ideal and it was impossible for me to shield them completely with what I was going through. My daughter Jasmine saw me cry too much, not able to look after myself and many specialists coming into our house trying to help her broken mother. This is not what I wanted, but I either tried to heal at home or leave my family all together and go into hospital. Jasmine grew up quick and learnt what to say to help me, to encourage me and she was my strength when I had none left.

Things have been steadily improving over the last few months and I am in a much better place mentally. I am working on being the right role model to my daughter and I am a much better parent than I was six months ago. I am certain my mental health problems have affected my daughter and that’s something I do feel guilt over. I didn’t want my daughter to see me like the way she did, I tried to hide it as much as I could, but I know my child and she is bright and was picking up on the problems going on and it was affecting her too. Jasmine came home last February with her dad, for them to find that I had taken an overdose. Jasmine doesn’t remember what happened as she was sent upstairs and missed the police and crisis team taking me to hospital, but I’m certain she knew something was wrong

Children are more perceptive than we give them credit for and at times I feel like she is punishing me or that our bond has been damaged for what I had to put her through. Her concentration at school has suffered, her behaviour and even her sleep have been affected. My little girl gets frustrated and angry at times and I understand her frustration and it’s something we are always working on. I don’t want my girl to grow up angry with the world and I want her to continue to flourish and not become who I was as a teenager.

All I can do now is keep encouraging her, showing her my strength and dedicating my time on my own daughters mental health. We are working on yoga and mindfulness to help our bond and our mental wellbeing and I am seeing an improvement. I just hope she knows how hard I am trying for her and that everything I do is for her. I don’t want her to grow up with the same problems that I had and I hope she doesn’t grow up resenting me for what I put her through.

My bond with Jasmine was affected through my battle with mental health, but we now have a more intense kind of bond. My daughter has shown me such compassion through my struggles, I have seen so much of my self in her, that it has helped me understand myself and her better. She really was a blessing for me, my savour and my strength.

Jasmine I am sorry for expecting too much from you at such a young age, I am sorry for not being strong enough at times to be a mother to you and I am sorry for resenting you when I was struggling through my PND. I love you more than you will ever know and will spend the rest of my life making it up to you. I will always be there for you, no matter what. I love you.

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The real struggle of living with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)

The real struggle of living with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)

This isn’t a post for attention or even pity, it is a post for understanding, making sense of my own thoughts and also helping others understand about different mental disorders, the one that less than 2% of people suffer with. I’m having a bad few days, and when that happens I try to force myself to write as it is more important than ever for me to make sense of my emotions. Having BPD (borderline personality disorder) can be very intense at times and often if I am struggling with BPD my anxiety and depression will be heightened too. I don’t get in this frame of mind often, but when I do it can be pretty dark and very scary. It will sneak up on me when I least expect it.

I have been feeling a bit out of touch with reality and have disassociated myself, which for me is normal when I’m in this state of mind. It’s not that I want to be left alone it’s just I feel unable to interact with the outside world. In truth this is when I do need people around to connect me, encourage me, but I struggle to let people in. My life can begin to spiral out of control and I have no power over it. It’s like I’m just there for the ride. I get frustrated with myself and hate having these thoughts and feelings, but feel so powerless to do anything about it.

You are 70% more likely to be diagnosed with BPD if you are female. 7 out of 10 people with BPD will attempt suicide and this figure does not surprise me. Even more frighteningly is that around 1 in 10 will succeed. 75% of BPD sufferers will engage in self harm. It’s a scary and confusing place to be in when you feel all alone.  Something else that often goes along with this is self harm, it isn’t just something a teenager does, it’s something many people do, especially BPD sufferers do as a coping strategy.

When my BPD is bad I struggle to trust many people, I have paranoid thoughts and I feel like I am being a burden to them. It’s a mentally and physically draining and I still always worry that one day BPD will win. I don’t want it to win, as I love my life and just want happiness I just want rid of this black and white thinking and these intrusive thoughts that try to ruin my life. I am trying to control it with the use of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) a form of the better known cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), but it’s a skill and I am having to relearn my thinking patterns., which will take time.

The thing is BPD isn’t always this way and I have episodes of being happy, organised, motivated, but then with little notice it can come spiralling out of control again back to the dark place where I feel vulnerable and alone. When I am in one of these episodes I withdraw from contact, this includes my own children, I feel flawed, I will even engage in risky behaviour and try to escape reality. I can see myself sabotaging and falling apart, but once in motion I cannot stop it. I am trapped in my own dark mind and don’t know how to make it right again, it’s my own version of purgatory where I am unreachable

One of my biggest fears is abandonment when I push the people l closest to me away. I have been incredibly lucky to have support people around me, but I do worry that eventually they will just have enough of me and leave. My biggest fear after that is that I will eventually commit suicide I know this is morbid and something many people cannot understand, but I do worry that one day when I am not in control that my demons will win. The truth is I want to live so much it’s just my brain that’s stopping me.

Each new day is new start where I can make a difference and shape my future for the better. I am doing everything I can to hopefully recover, which is a possibility with a BPD diagnoses. I have just got to try to stay positive and keep with the DBT classes.

 

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Mental health awareness month - Borderline personality disorder

Mental health awareness month – Borderline personality disorder

Last month was maternal mental health awareness week and I got an amazing response from my blog post of my battle with postnatal depression, maternal mental health awareness week is part of mental health awareness month so I thought I would share my experience with borderline personality disorder (BPD). BPD is still not really talked about and still has a massive stigma attached, people often don’t understand it and it’s something people don’t like to admit that they have. Like everything on this blog I am open about my personal struggles, but I do struggle to write about BPD myself, so I will try to do it justice by being open and honest.

BPD has affected me since my teenage years, but was only diagnosed in January after a suicide attempt. It is thought that around 1 in 10 people diagnosed with BPD will complete suicide, many more will attempt suicide. People really don’t like talking about this and it makes people very uncomfortable. For me I just wanted to end the pain I was feeling in that moment not necessarily end my life, but like most stuff BPD related I act on impulse. Many people who suffer with BPD also self-harm and it’s something that has effected me mildly on and off since my teenage years, again this is something I find very difficult to talk about and so do others.

Since I can remember I’ve had a real fear of abandonment and have taken extreme measures in relationships to stop that happening, which has made things worse and often left me alone. My emotions can me very intense from very happy to very sad and can change quickly. I can start the day feeling elated and end the day with negative, dark thoughts. It’s like being on an emotional rollercoaster and I struggle to predict my own moods. Antidepressants do seem to have made this much more balanced than it used to be, but the dark, intrusive thoughts do creep back in.

BPD affects people in different ways and sufferers usually have problems with impulse control, there are continuing studies into why this part of the brain seems to be wired differently with BPD sufferers. Often PBD sufferers will have an eating disorder, for me I binge eat, I binge so much I physically feel sick, I know if I could be sick I would force myself to be, but I am unable to (I have a strange phobia of being sick and am sick very little even with a sickness bug). My impulse doesn’t stop just at eating it also is a problem with spending, which I am learning how to control. Often drug addiction and alcohol can be become problems for BPD sufferers and it’s something I am very aware of, I did have a mild problem with prescription drugs and have used alcohol in the past to numb emotions, luckily I don’t actually like the taste of alcohol.

With PBD I feel lots of paranoia, this is constant and even amongst good friends, I am forever trying to rationalise these thoughts and worry about what others think of me, It’s pretty exhausting, but I’ve made good progress at coming to terms with this. Questioning these thoughts has helped me understand them better.

Many people still think BPD is a lifelong mental condition and there is no cure, I know I did when I was diagnosed. Luckily with so many advances in treating mental health over the last twenty years there has been a talking therapy developed to help BPD suffers called dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), which is a form of the better known cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) that is specialised for BPD patients. I started DBT recently and have found it really helpful, I hope to write a blog post once I have learnt more.

Unfortunately many people with BPD often feel empty and alone and I think the fact that this disorder like many other personality disorders are not talked about just makes the problem worse. Don’t be scared by someones condition, be mindful, open and always caring. People with BPD usually always have great empathy which to me is my greatest personality trait. I understand people and appreciate people for who they are and am great at listening and trying to help people.

Many people with BPD are also diagnosed with another mental disorder at the same time like depression, addiction, eating disorders and anxiety. It might not seem like it at the time but having more than one mental disorder can help work out what care will work best for you.

I hope I have been able to describe how BPD has affected me, but my experience may be different from someone elses, to learn more look at the Mind website  for a full list of symptoms. Keep spreading the love and do everything you can to help mental health awareness month be as powerful as it can be.

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How i'm learning to accept my personality disorder

How i’m learning to accept my personality disorder

Recently I’ve been asked how I’ve been able to be so accepting of my borderline personality disorder diagnosis. I’ve sat back and thought openly on why I have accepted it and why I haven’t let it destroy anymore of my life. The answer is I have accepted it as for me a diagnosis was almost a relief to know why I acted this way, why I was so emotional unstable and why I was so impulsive. I’m not saying I love this diagnosis or I am happy to be like this, but finally in my life I feel I’ve learnt to understand a big part of my personality.

Borderline personality disorder has ruled my life since I was a teenager, but like many people I was unaware, I just assumed I was just a really emotional person and even at times I was a bad person. The thing with borderline personality disorder it’s not always bad, I feel emotions really intensely the good and the bad. At times in my life I have felt such overpowering, wonderful emotions of happiness and love. I have at times cried happy tears and have felt so happy, I feel euphoric and like I can do anything I put my mind too. The other side is that at times I feel the lowest of the low and have intrusive and suicidal thoughts, but now I know that I have borderline personality disorder I do know that these mood instabilities are only temporary and they will even back out again.

Like most people with BPD I also deal with depression and anxiety. These disorders are all separate, but are strongly linked together and play a big part. Before I was diagnosed with postnatal depression after the birth of my second child my anxiety had already been causing massive issues for me throughout my pregnancy. Once my son was born it was quite apparent that the PND was making my borderline personality disorder worse. At the time I had no idea that I had borderline personality disorder, but looking back I was emotionally very unstable and would sit holding my son feeling a rush of love and crying with happiness to then feeling resentment towards him and complete detachment. It was an emotional rollercoaster and it all came to head this January when I tried to end my life. I have now started to recognise my triggers, which unfortunately I cannot avoid, but I  can understand a little better why my symptoms of BPD are getting worse at times.

Most people also assume like I once did that BPD was for life and that you could never be treated for it. Only twenty odd years ago BPD was thought to be a lifelong condition with no treatment. BPD sufferers have a high suicide rate, around 1 in 10 people and for someone who suffers with it I can see why that number is so high. The most effective treatment for BPD is dialectic behavioural therapy (DBT) which was created in the late 1980’s. DBT works in a similar way to cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) which works well for anxiety and depression. DBT in a nutshell is about accepting yourself as you are and making positive changes in your life. I won’t go into much more detail because if I am honest I really don’t know enough about it yet, as I am yet to start sessions. Knowing that there is a form of treatment does give me hope.

BPD has been a large contributing factor in me sabotaging goals in my life and that is why I have to write about it, as it is such an important therapy for me. Not only does it help me deal with my feelings, it potentially helps someone else, raises awareness and also keeps me focussed on a goal. So yes, I am accepting BPD as I have hope that one day I can say that I no longer have it and that I have overcome it.

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The little lost girl and finding herself through postnatal depression

The little lost girl and finding herself through postnatal depression

I have grown up always feeling like the little girl lost. I sometimes wonder if it’s through the way I’ve grown up, my personality or is it because of my borderline personality disorder. I spent my teenage years constantly trying to fit in and be some body I wasn’t, which I think is normal, even if it doesn’t feel it at the time, but as an adult I thought one day I would wake up and know what I was supposed to do. All minds are complex as our emotions, but my own mind I have struggled to understand and my emotions have always be chaotic and sometimes just unpredictable. Some days I have woken up not knowing what personality I will be that day.

I have bobed along for so long and done what I thought was expected of me. I have been happy, sad, excited and suicidal. I have loved life and hated life. I have had my heart-broken and I have loved with all my soul. I have understood the meaning of unconditional love and felt the pain of losing someone too young. I have lived, sometimes just surviving and I have been so lost of who I really am. Any dream I had ever imagined had always been crushed and I eventually learnt it was best not to dream.

I have always been good at seeing both sides of the story and can empathise with people whole heartedly. But at times I still feel like I should just follow the path that’s expected of me and not push past into the unknown. Since Mr T was born and having postnatal depression it has made me see my life in a new light. Going through hell and back I have questioned many things about life, my beliefs, my values and have worked hard at self-improvement. I don’t want to be the person I was programmed to me and want to be able to give more and get more out of life.

I am blessed to have met a husband who understands me and accepts me for all my flaws. He makes me stronger as I make him stronger, we are so different, but have the same ideas about life. He has opened my eyes and made me see things through a different perspective. He is the only man in my life who I have complete respect for as I know he has always had my best interests at heart.

Growing up I feel I haven’t been able to channel my energy well which left me as a teenager rebelling badly. I wasn’t just a naughty teenager I was off the rails for a few years. Into my adult life I continued to be reckless and often put myself in dangerous situations. I was just lost in life and didn’t know what to do with myself or what I wanted out of it. I was always desperate for a family, but besides that I had never looked at what would happen after that.

Getting pregnant with Miss J was the moment it all changed for me. I had always wanted the family life, the husband, the house, the children and the cat. I got it, I had what I had always wanted, but with the birth of my second and my tendency to self-sabotage anything that goes well, things started to become testing and I lost myself for a while. Postnatal-depression made me reevaluate my life and eventually figure out who I needed to become.

Mr T is almost 2 years old and I have now learnt how to be the mother of two children, have a work/life balance and let go of the expectations of me. I have learned to appreciate my children, not stress about the small stuff and to always have a dream. My dreams and goals may have changed a little over the years, but they still involve the same people and I am now certain that I can make these dreams come true.

I was lost for so long and now I am found. My story has many chapters left and I dream endlessly about the outcome. Postnatal depression sent me to hell and back, almost killed me, but it also woke me up to life, taught me to appreciate how precious every moment is and how we should not just exist and waste time. Everyday is a new day to grow and learn and I am thankful for that, I am thankful for life.

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little moments of happiness

Little moments of happiness week 1

When dealing with depression it’s easy to look back through a week and think that you’ve done nothing and nothing has made you smile. This last week I’ve been writing down little things that have made me smile so I can look back through and realise that there is always something positive to reflect on and moments of happiness to cherish.

Here is a little list of things that have made me smile this week:

  • Miss J sitting and doing row, row, row the boat with Mr T. Whenever I see these two do something sweet together it makes me so happy as it was such an adjustment for Miss J when she became an older sister.
  • A trip to Ikea. I love a good shop around Ikea and buying things to make my house seem more organised always makes me feel a bit better. Meatballs always help too.
  • A visit from a friend and her son. One of my old work friends came over with her son in the week which was great to have a catch up and lovely to watch our boys play together.
  • Sleeping. Besides last night with Miss J waking up many times in the night I’ve actually slept well and stayed off my phone at night.
  • Reading a book that I enjoy. I decided this week I needed to pick up a book and have a read before bed that wasn’t a self-help book. I looked through my bookcase and picked a book out that I’ve had for around 8 years and only ever read the first couple of chapters. The book is called Harvesting the Heart By Jodi Picoult and is about a young lady struggling through the demands of having a young family to look after. This book couldn’t have been more appropriate for me to read right now and I think it’s amazing how I picked it up out of a full bookcase with no memory of what it was about.
  • Reading to my children. I always read to my children every night separately, but a couple of nights ago I managed to get both my children on my lap and read them both a story. There was no shoving and they both sat still and listened. These moments when they get on are sometimes few so I know when to cherish them.
  • New clothes for Mr T. I love dressing Mr T up, but now he’s almost two I’ve found the clothes on offer a bit blue and boring. I went to John Lewis and managed to find some lovely bits for Mr T which have got me excited about the prospect of spring around the corner.
  • A walk to the park. I didn’t want to go out and leave the comfort of my home, but I was forced to go to the park and feed the ducks. It started off stressful with Mr T having a tantrum and not walking the right way, but eventually I learned to relax, enjoy the sun streaming through the clouds and I was able to embrace my children, covered in mud enjoying life and full of happiness. Mr T was a complete dare-devil on the slide.

Yesterday I hid away all day and felt pretty sorry for myself so this week I want to focus on getting out for walks and remembering to take my camera with me. Join me next week for my moments of happiness.

 

 

 

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borderline personality disorder

Is my personality broken?

I am even more muddled than I had previously thought and after being under the care of the crisis team AGAIN I got to see a psychiatric doctor for the first time. After pouring all my problems out and leaving myself feeling pretty vulnerable and bare I was asked what seemed like a million questions, I could tell she was getting at something when each thing she asked got me to open up more and I could see she had figured me out, which is a first for anyone. Last week I was diagnosed with something new, not only have I got postnatal depression and anxiety I know have a new diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.

The words echoed around the room and I wasn’t sure what they even meant. Was my personality broken? Was I neurotic? Was I an attention seeker? My only ever experience of knowing anything about this disorder was from watching girl interrupted as a teenager, which I don’t believe was a particularly accurate depiction of the disorder.

It’s taken a few days to settle in and a fair bit of googling to understand what it really means. As always I have ordered way too many books on my kindle and spent every evening devouring the information so I can understand this disorder as best as possible. The more I have learnt the more I have been able to see that this diagnosis fits me well and is something I have struggled with for a number of years. In a way it’s been a huge relief that I finally know what is actually wrong with me and why I am so impulsive, why I throw things in without much thought or consideration, why I am so self-critical and why I feel my emotions so intensely.

With the diagnoses of borderline personality disorder I’ve had the worry of if I should tell anyone, would I be cast out and judged or could I do what my personality does so well and be impulsive with it and just say fuck it. So here I am borderline personality disorder and all. I plan to get to know and understand this new part of me and break the stigma as well as I can. Now mental illness is such a big part of my life I feel helpless to really blog about much else, seeming as it impacts every aspect of my life.

My personality is not broken, it loves so deeply, feels pain so ferociously, acts impulsively and punishes itself so vengefully. Just like anything else in this world it will make me stronger and I will do it justice in being honest with how it really is.

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