Tag Archives: BPD

Identity Disturbance…

Identity Disturbance is a relatively and equally fascinating new term to me and since I haven’t researched it to my satisfaction to be able to write about it, I thought I would begin here by re-blogging this article from The Bernard Bert-A Borderline Adventure.  This author did a great job of streamlining and breaking down the components of this condition.  Hoping this continues to shed some light on the many shades of mental illness and reduce the stigma attached.~~Thanks!  Little L~~

broken heart

 

Identity Disturbance, November14, 2013

Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self image or sense of self.

“Identity disturbance has many different aspects/features making it a very complexed issue even if it is a lone problem, but with the added factor of other BPD symptoms, it can be an overwhelming and complicated thing to understand and deal with!

In a 2000 study of patients with identity disturbances, Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, and Drew Westen identified four types of identity disturbance:

Role absorption (in which patients tend to define themselves in terms of a single role or cause),

Painful incoherence (a subjective sense of lack of coherence),

Inconsistency (in thought, feeling, and behavior),

Lack of commitment (e.g., to jobs or values).

A stable sense of identity means being able to see yourself as the same person in the past, present, and future.Identity is quite broad, and includes many aspects of the self and is probably made up of your beliefs, attitudes, abilities, history, ways of behaving, personality, temperament, knowledge, opinions, and roles.

A healthy identity includes the ability to choose an appropriate avenue for industry, achieve intimacy with another, and find a place in the larger society by having developed a sense of continuity over time; emotional commitment to a set of self-defining representations of self, role relationships,and core values and ideal self-standards;development or acceptance of a world view that gives life meaning; and some recognition of one’s place in the world by significant others.

“Who are you?”  – If asked this question, many people with BPD would be unable to answer and will only be able to reply with – “I don’t know”, “I’m not sure” or “It depends on who I’m with.”  This uncertinaty makes them feel empty and lost, confused and lonely.

Considering that identity is comprised of stability, continuity, understanding and acceptance of ones self over time, it is painfully obvious to see why this doesn’t happen in the self identity of someone with BPD.Nothing is stable, everything is changing and totally reactive; all that is left is a fragmented self left with a chronic feeling of inner emptiness caused by the inability to integrate into a coherent sense of self identity.

These unanticipated changes can range from relatively minor things, such as changes in appearance, to aspects central to the life of the individual, such as gender, sexuality and life goals.

People with Identity disturbance may experience:

Experiencing frequent changes in sense of self-worth.

Difficulty committing to roles and occupational choices.

Feeling conflicted or unsure about own gender or sexuality.

Feels as though he or she is a different person depending on who they are with.

Does not know who own self is.

Tends to feel empty inside – hollow, something ‘missing’ and a desire to fill the void.

Who they would like to be are unstable and ever changing.

Views & feelings of self change rapidly or unpredictably .

Has memories only available under certain states sometimes feels unreal.

Tends to feel like a “false self” whose social persona does not match inner experience.

Some of the noticeable changes for those who know the person with the identity issue are:

Lack of consistently invested goals, values, ideals, and relationships.

Their personality changes dramatically periodically.

They are “chameleon-like” depending on who they are with.

Values tend to change frequently / does not seem to have a constant set of core values.

Difficulty choosing and committing to an occupation.

Beliefs,actions and behaviors often seem contradictory.

Has trouble committing to long-term goals or aspirations.

As a way to ‘fit in’ they may:

Identity seems to revolve around a “cause” or shifting causes.Defines self in terms of a label that provides a sense of identity.Depend on relationship to a charismatic other. Tends to be in the orbit of a strong personality.People with BPD can be very “chameleon-like” in an effort to integrate.

The tendency to confuse one’s own attributes, feelings,and desires with those of another person, especially in intimate relationships, means that when a breakdown in a relationship occurs it can lead the person with BPD to fear a loss of personal identity.

The large inconsistencies in behavior,over time and across situations, lead to difficulty integrating multiple representations of self, a lack of a coherent life narrative or sense of continuity over time;and a lack of continuity of relationships that leaves significant parts of the BPD’s past “deposited” with people who are no longer part of the individuals life , and hence the loss of shared memories that help define the self over time.

One contributing factor to borderline identity disturbance is dissociation.  When we compartmentalize our experiences rather than integrating them into one meaningful whole, our sense of self fragments causing  us to feel lost, empty, and confused.

As this empty feeling and loss of inner self becomes more problematic and chronic (in some cases) a refuge world or fantasy self can at times take the stage by means of dissociation from the painful reality the BPD is forced to live in if they remain in their current state consciousness/awareness – making it similar but not the same as DID  – Key points of difference are that those who suffer DID (dissociative identity disorder) usually remain unaware of their other fragmented selves (referred to as alters) which are more concrete, unique individuals, accompanied by blacked out memories/loss of time, whereas BPD’s remain more coherent through their changes in persona.

Identity disturbances in individuals with BPD usually reflect efforts to preserve a sense of self-worth in the presence of interpersonal turmoil.

Because of the inconsistencies in what the person with BPD is doing and saying, non BPD’s may accuse them of “faking it” “Lying” or “putting it on” but this really isn’t the case, they just may not be aware of it and by saying these things to them may actually hinder their progress in changing thier behaviour by making them doubt themselves,their worth and their relationship with you and others.

Other issues that may arise are eating disorders, substance misuse or reckless/impulsive behaviours, (these may also a seperate issue for people with BPD regardless of whether or not the have identity disturbance); all which may feel like a form of control over their lives that they are lacking in other areas.

If you have the associated,emotional instability,impulsive behaviour and black and white thinking of BPD you may have difficulty forming a coherent sense of self because your internal experiences and outward actions are not consistent. In addition, many people with BPD come from chaotic or abusive backgrounds which may contribute to unstable sense of self. If you determine who you are based on others’ reactions to you, and those reactions have been unpredictable and/or scary, you have no framework for developing a strong sense of identity.

However, it’s not all bad, on the positive side of things not knowing who you are allows you to start from scratch, experiment, explore and to build yourself up into the person you want to be!

So how do we tackle this issue and find out who we are?

Treatment/therapy with a trained professional is the most highly recommended way to deal with these issues as they can help to guide you through the process of self discovery; but there are also things you can do yourself too.

One way is by observing your own emotions, thoughts, and feelings, in addition to others’ reactions to you.

Questions and reflection on things like:

How do I want to be seen by others?

What are the things most imporant to me?

Who do I admire and what positive traits do they possess that I respect and could incorperate into my own life?

What am I passionate about?

What talents/attributes do I have?

Another way is to try and work out which areas you would like/need to focus on by writing a list which includes:

Intimate

Relationships

Parenting

Family

Friendships/Socializing

Education/Personal

GrowthCareer

Recreation

Spirituality/Religion

Physical Health

Helping Others

Goals

Values

How would you like to act/react to each section? What can you do to make this possible?

These are the things that help to give us identity and allow us to form a more stable sense of self. Due to the complexity of the issue, the road to ‘finding yourself’ is a life long journey of discovery and one which may take you to some upexpected, intense and even pleasurable places emotionally!

No one can tell you who you are, they can discribe you but ultimatly it is up to you, you are the one who can make the changes, the one who can decide as to how you act and what you believe and stand for.  Who/whatever you decide to be/do, remember that you are worthy of love, to be treated with respect and to live a life that you want and deserve.

I hope that this helps explain a little of what and why we feel this way and, fingers crossed, we can start to finally build the jig-saw of ourselves that has been in so many pieces for so long! ~ Emma.”

The Bernard Bert

 


my shattered voice mends slowly….

21bb59a4c8d0d5e07fe1d9b2cfe2d516I’m keeping this short today.

Too often, I write with frustration and angst of not being able to do something.  Either I can’t write an outline, function as a “normal” person, protect my ultra sensitive self from the world or in the case of today, I’m struggling with my writing voice.

It isn’t frustration that I feel today, its more raw.  The tenderness that precedes healing.  There’s a hint of cohesion and acceptance.  I continue to look at the work that I’m doing with Warner Coaching and my first instinct is to beat my head against the same wall that I’ve beaten a rut into my entire life.  I don’t want to do that now and I’m sure she doesn’t want me to either.

Here’s my question that I’m pondering and hopefully, re-outlining and writing upon.  How do we access and write about memories so cellular that you experienced as a small pre-verbal child?  They are there but yet they aren’t.  How do we assign words and streams of sentences to an experience at a time when the child didn’t have words?  There are fragments.  Shattered, shards of splintering pictures that I, as an adult, must name and tell.  The abused, disassociated child must come together enough to write her story.  The process of sweeping those fragments out from under the rug, identifying and cataloging them is proving to be tougher than I ever imagined.

I’m painstakingly applying glue to delicate, tiny pieces of psyche.  I keep telling myself not to rush it for I want to slap the glue on and hold up my prize proclaiming it as my finished art.  But the glue isn’t dry yet and all the pieces aren’t in place.

My Novel Writing Winter may have evolved into more of a journey into my core viscera.  “Remembering is not something we do alone….. negotiating an account of the past is a fraught, dangerous process. Memories can be weapons as well as instruments of persuasion. And memory has only a part-time interest in the truth. It deals in scenarios, real ones and imagined ones, making and remaking the self from the partial, damaged information available” from Creative Memories in Harold Pinter’s Old Times by Charles Fernyhough.

So its acceptance that I must practice.  Radical acceptance.  My story will happen and in its own time.  I’m stretching myself in an unchartered direction. I’m learning and rebuilding from the ground floor up, setting a pace for myself that I’ve never reached for before. Marsha Linehan, DBT creator, defines radical acceptance, “As a practice, acceptance is highly important in working with impulsive, highly sensitive, and reactive clients. Validation is an active acknowledgement, often offered as an antithesis or synthesis to a distorted expectation or belief. It jumps the tracks of demand, soothing or defusing the emotional arousal associated with failure, feat, shame, unreasonably blocked goals, or a variety of other stimuli.”

I reach for the loving support of my family, friends, writing coach and virtual writing pals.  These gifts combined with prayer will suffice for the day. Soon I will know what to do and how to proceed.

Suggested reading:

Cast Ashore http://throughthehealinglens.com/2013/01/24/cast-ashore/

 


I’m the dissenter….

Recently I read a conversation on Facebook where a friend was crying out in pain due to her family shunning her.  Her pleas were confused, angry, sad. By her standards,  she’d been loyal and loving in her gestures toward her family over the years but they had chosen to ostracize her for reasons that they wouldn’t share with her. This challenged many feelings inside her.  She questioned her reasons for staying true to herself, thinking maybe she should have been softer with them, perhaps even more enabling.  Many times she’d reached out attempting to find a common ground with them, something to build a new foundation upon, to no avail. But the bottom line of her pain was that she missed them.  Terribly.  Her emotional loss visits her often.  And I felt her pain even from where I was sitting 1000 miles away.

If you change out the players and setting, you have my exact family situation.  Since my friend and I feel many of the same feelings towards ourselves and our families is probably why we’ve stayed close.   It’s also why this post struck so deeply.

As hard as I try to maintain contact with my family, they just aren’t motivated to return my gestures.  As I’ve grown and learned more about myself, I’ve been able to temper my anger toward our abusive upbringing that we all were subject to.  I, above anyone else, know the deep wounds etched in our young psyches.  I guess I always figured that this fact would make me safe to them.  I understood. I got it.  I was one of them.  Yet somehow, sitting in one of my many therapist’s offices over the years, I convinced myself that if I healed, worked hard, found the solutions for us and held up the light of illumination that they would somehow follow me along that hallowed and healing path.  My fractured reasoning combined with a dogged and desperate approach to enforce my fractured reasoning would result in many, many failed attempts and lots of heartache.

For a while, I was just plain pissed.  After all, I was one of them, how could they turn their backs on me?  I had gone through divorce from an abusive partner, poverty that left me selling my possessions including my car, a child to care for and a tender spirit that had given so much that she’d lost herself completely.  They turned their heads, they wanted nothing to do with me.  When the anger began to wain, the depression ensued, medications were taken, anxiety filled my days with my child.

This was a painful, painful time and the healing took the form of one minute after another, one hour, then one day.  My trust eventually extended to several women friends who gradually over time replaced my family of origin.  We created our own family gatherings, raised our children and moved on piece by piece.  But this was hard, hard work.  And dammit…I didn’t want a replacement for my sisters, nieces and cousins, I wanted THEM.  They were the ones that my heart stayed attached to, they were the ones whose blood my body recognized simply by standing close by or thinking of them.  What I realized is that there aren’t enough curse words, things to be broken or tears to be shed that will make another person return to you if they don’t want to or simply can’t.  And it was in this last phrase that I finally took another step toward healing.

My family can’t be around me.  They just can’t.  And they don’t.

I don’t exactly know why or do I have any explanations as to my conclusion but have had many possibilities given to me by loving friends, sponsors and therapists.  One thought is that I am the one person in the family that left.  I am the dissenter.  Like the little girl in the photograph, she’s the one who is standing up, preparing to separate herself from the circle.

In their eyes, I chose to honor myself, putting my individual needs over the group’s needs, get the hell out making sure that my life and my daughter’s life would never reflect that stagnant, cesspool upbringing that I had.  I had left the cult and the cult like thinking that defined us. Following this line of thinking, my family then shunned me as a religious community might shun those who no longer follow the thinking of the group.  So maybe, we were really just simply a sociological~philosophical~anthropological~spiritual textbook example? That’s the cunundrum, its all of these truths but  it. is. not. simple.  Have I overthought and personalized a situation that perhaps historically has happened throughout time?  Believing I was not unique actually made me feel a bit better.

I search for reasons behind the fact that they can’t be around me.  My friend and Inner Bonding facilitator, simply states that they are too wounded.  Their inner child feels too wounded to be able to give any love back to me at this point and maybe never.  But what does that mean for me?  That I never know them again?  That years go by and people die and new babies are born and the children get married and I’m never, ever a part of this?  I was wounded too but found a way to free myself, why can’t they step up and do the same?  We could lift each other up instead of giving up and staying so stuck, perpetuating the same cycles over and over.  They have the same ability that I did to throw off the blinders and go out into the world and experience other ways of life outside the cult commune.  Wow, look who just showed up!  The angry cheerleader strikes again!  I want to inspire them with my chosen set of values, yet when they don’t respond, I’m pissed.  Hmmm…..

Actually, I’m hurt and sad.  I miss them and I want them whole and happy.  I want to see their children and have them know my daughter.  Then, I’d like to throw in a family reunion where we all have T-shirts printed the same, with a rainbow overhead, while we frolic the day away proclaiming our undying familial love for each other.  Insert my family as interesting, well read, politically moderate and non-racist individuals who love themselves and perform altruistic work for a living preferably with an environmental flair.  And you can see where this goes….off into fantasy land. But since this is reality and the previous scenario is not going to happen, I learn there is absolutely nothing to do about it.  Except to pray for their peace.  And well, there is that acceptance part.

Using my best  DBT (Dialectal Behavior Therapy) skills, I stay as centered as I can and allow the feelings to wash over me.  My mantra being that I must accept myself and my family for who they are and what they can give.  Just accept….with compassion….the place where we are at this given moment.  Send them love.  Send me love.  Breathe.

My niece responds via text  “damn, I miss you”.  She has read the quarterly upbeat newsletter type thing that I do.  Actually she confesses that she received it a week before but looked at it with dread for days before opening and reading it.  That puzzles me but I let it go.  My newsletter is similar to what families send out around the holidays, updating family and friends that they don’t see in person throughout the year.  I’ve chosen this method of communication by default.  Since we don’t have family reunions or holidays together or even Facebook connections, it is my safest, best and most creative way to stay in touch.  The subjects are benign and safe.  This issue was about the dogs in our lives.

Here’s the other thoughts that I try to release from my heart….How can you miss someone and let that be the overriding feeling?  As in, I miss you so much but will do absolutely nothing about it.  I will simply choose to sit here and miss you and deny myself the experience of trying to work things out or even let myself think that I deserve a chance at happiness?  I’m going to tell you just enough to let you know I still think of you,  making the move to reach out and give you a quick, elusive, snippet of love and then yank it back so fast that you won’t even really know it was there.  An illusion, a wisp, a fantasy that can be denied.

I mailed out 12 of my newsletters to my family a month ago and to date, I’ve received one text of  “damn, i miss you”.

Breathe.  Breathe.  Give yourself love and compassion and then extend it to them.

Related articles:

6 Steps of Inner Bonding

Dr. Margaret Paul,  Do you chase when someone withdraws?


PAY ATTENTION

she is lost again.

and i’m the only one she can speak through.  i am her voice and her vessel.  i carry her and speak for her.

hurled into the swirling spiral by the Dreamtime, no earthly choice just the mystical presence that puts her in that place between worlds.

the animals were there again: bear, turtle, owl, wolf, skunk.  each bringing a forceful message of  PAY ATTENTION! to the signs we give you.

she frantically hurled herself through the streets of this in-between world, trying to speak to strangers but her words weren’t understood, her language was foreign to each passerby, she couldn’t hear them either no matter how hard she concentrated and tried, though their mouths moved, the roaring in her head didn’t let their sound in.

the bear appeared growling, reared up on its hind legs and she quickly changed her path.

the skunk met her at another intersection to quickly alert her of its reputation and she turned and fled again.

she flopped in a grassy spot under a tree to rest, to find herself, wanting the path toward home. she felt her body relax until the wolf’s howl pierced the night and snapped her back into alertness.  PAY ATTENTION!

next to her she sees the spotted arc of turtle’s back and reached for her.  to her horror, the turtle shell cracked in half revealing the soft underbelly of the creature inside.  the girl knew instantly that she hadn’t been protecting herself.  she wept for her and blessed the turtle for its gift, sending her home to the Mother.

the cracked shell…a message…from the in-between….PAY ATTENTION!

leaning against the tree, she closed her eyes and was transported to the sacred spiral again. this time landing on a beautiful, gilded carousel.  eyes wide shut, she feels the hard, unyielding exterior that she had wrapped her small arms around.  she feels its slow, mechanical bobbing, resting her head upon its plastic mane willing herself to open her eyes.

finding courage to peer out through the spinning of the carousel, she spotted familiar faces in the surrounding crowd .  her sister, her mother, her husband and daughter.  each of them slightly turned so as to not meet her eyes, almost with their back to her.  they know her but wish they didn’t. they don’t like her when she’s in-between worlds.

spinning. swirling. bobbing.

then…all noise stopped in her head. silence. purposeful quiet. so the sounds coming through can be heard clearly and distinctly.

first a faint groan, followed by the slightest pop.  then picking up speed, the cascade of

splintering

SPLINTERING

SPLINTERING  the air.

the tree that stands alone in the forest, heavy with age and stress, fulfilling its time and finally surrendering to gravity.  the crescendo ending in a deafening thud as it has just split itself in half.

PAY ATTENTION!

she snaps back again. back to the carousel.

under her she feels the surface turn warm and pliable. energy radiating, coming to life.

living

breathing

snorting horse breaks the shackles around its legs and she grabs on tight.  unsteady at first, she synchronizes to its rhythm.

fear turns to joy.  heartbreak falls away. 

she feels the wind on her face as horse gallops her through the people, through the fields, to the ocean.

free. alive. wild. joy.

leaving all the people behind, leaving the in-between, she doesn’t look back.


the shadows behind my eyes….

these types of posts are the most demanding of any type of healing writing that i do.

these posts take me often to a place i don’t wish to go but am compelled by my body and unconscious to please visit, please get to know me, don’t be so afraid.  i’m trying to understand and dissect a part of myself that i barely know exists.  its existence revealed in the last 5-8 years in a hellish, tsunami wave that engulfed me, holding me under, no matter how hard i fought until i could barely breathe.  i was let up for a frantic gulp of air then plunged back under, over and over and over.

as much as i fight it, as much as i wish it wasn’t true, it is.  there is a part of me that lurks in shadows behind my eyes.  i feel it now although i didn’t feel it earlier in life.  it was there but i was: busy, in denial, ignorant, driven to keep going in order to outrun the demon.  back there somewhere it lives in the dark, giving a sensation occasionally so i don’t forget it.

to understand it, i must first sit with it.

we take the absolute and almost exhaustive measures for safety before i will begin to take a look at the shadows.  the doors of the house are locked, drapes drawn.  i’m sequestered to my bedroom atop several comforters, propped by pillows in strategic places to give the feeling of support and presence.  all facets must be respected.  earplugs in place and all people and dogs are on another floor of the house.  finally i feel able to look.  finally i feel safe enough to look.

there are facts by the millions stored in my unconscious.  there in those shadows are factual accounts of all the incidents that were put upon me as a child.  every man who molested me.  every man who lied to me and said we were playing a game.  every screaming instinct i had that something was very, very wrong. every adult who looked the other way.  its all there; stored, sealed, double wrapped, sunk to the bottom of the sea.  turned into shadows with a protective coating as thick as the July humidity.

but with any old wound, aged with gummy tape cracked and barely holding it together, one must remove the layers so very gently.  if one rips too fast, you will lose the integrity of the item, a scab getting ripped off too soon.

my eyes send me messages constantly.  there are tears that live behind them, ready to flow at the slightest provocation.  tender eyes that feel everything.  every injustice and societal hurt causes screaming pain.  the images of life too strong to be uncensored, they must be limited to those that nourish, ones that will heal the wounds.  my eyes spoke to me this week by dilating one pupil more than the other.  i feel it coming on, vision goes blurry on one side, the heaviness creeps in cause it to droop, tears flow in that eye only.

the AMA calls it Horner’s Syndrome because they like to study and describe situations.  they feel relief once its labeled but i don’t.  a name doesn’t provide relief.  it is neurological in nature and there are no actions to take to manage it.  i don’t go for their opinion after the first time it happened, now i just sit with it, because they can only help with the physical attributes of what these shadows manifest.  but its the emotional component is the key.  and that i figured out myself.

other messages come in a flip of a switch.  the light could stream across my field of vision in just the right way to access a memory.  a harsh tone or aggressive move by a person can send me sailing.  the oppressiveness of the summer heat can wrap itself around me so tight i fight for a breath….

i can best access the feelings from the shadows when the other senses are dulled.  sitting in silence with my ears plugged and my skin covered and unavailable,  my typing fingers will speak for me if i keep my eyes closed.  all outside stimuli must be stopped, the layers of protection increased to the maximum.  i remind myself to breathe and stop tensing my shoulders, its okay, its okay, breathe.  my eyes fly open at even the slightest muffled sound and i jerk to attention.  hyper vigilance doesn’t even touch the acuteness of this feeling.  its ingrained to every cell of my being, it has its own pull, a mind of its own.  it does what it wants and it wants to be crazy, OCD, and alert all the time.

but here’s the interesting thing….once i obtain the quiet and tune into the vibration of what is back in those shadows, it usually is fine.  in fact, i can’t think of a time when it wasn’t.  so i don’t know why i don’t go there more often because the actual act of ignoring this vital, motherboard of traumatic information causes so much distress.  my hope is that the more i sit with this, the more the shadows and i will integrate.

my husband says i have such a Stephen King morose streak to me, that i love the dark side and should just embrace it.  i argue that folks don’t want to hear about the dark, that most want to hear perky shit.  i do know that i continue with one mission and that is to shed as much light on PTSD, sexual assault and child abuse, mental illness, BPD.  the victims of these conditions have to cope daily with the ugliness of the situation put upon them and probably don’t even know what is happening and why they feel so miserable and unhappy.  my hope is that someone, somewhere will see themselves in the descriptions and know that they aren’t alone, that there is hope and that life can still have meaning even with these conditions present.

this alone continues to drive me to look as lovingly as i can at the shadows and am determined to make friends with it.  its really just part of me, just speaking a different language from a different time.


awww shucks, another award…

I absolutely love the concept of supporting each other’s healing and creative journeys expressed through our writing, blogging, art, music.

And though I don’t know who originated the idea of giving blogger awards to each other, I think its brilliant.  We, as recipients, know that they are small albeit genuine affirmations created to spread the word of our blogs/art form and raise awareness of the issues close to our hearts.  In my little corner of the world and especially for those of us who are crawling out from under a rock of mental illness, anxiety disorders, depression and chronic illness, these awards make you feel like a rock star.

I’ve had the honor of being nominated for the Inspiring Blogger award from Fringewalk, a very intricately woven blog simply stated as ” A few stitches in the global human tapestry”.  She is as complex as the many issues that she addresses which she does so beautifully.  I always enjoy reading the words from her angle, from her perspective, from her corner of the world.  Thank you, I’m so honored.  Its so cool to feel that people crawling around on the internet have not only found me and my blog but find it inspiring.  Not sure it gets much better.

Rules of the award:
1.) Thank the person who gave you the award with a link to their blog.
2.) Tell them 7 things about yourself.
3.) Nominate 7 other blogs for the award.

Now that I’ve officially thanked Fringewalk for her love and support, I’m moving on to the 7 blogs that I want to nominate.  This is a a bit of a challenge for a bona fide blog-a-holic but here goes….These blogs are ones that I find myself drawn to over and over.  For one reason or another, they inspire me.  And if the recipients aren’t as geeked about these awards as I am or simply can’t find the room on their site to post them, that’s okay too.   I’m just flat out giving them, in no particular order….and letting each of you decide what to do with them based on your situation.

Bone Sigh Arts

Where do I start?  This awesome, woman owned business, produces the most beautiful cards, prints, books, daily quotes, and e-cards imaginable.  But its the sentiments layered on top of the colors that really cinch the deal.  And even more than that, its a forum for friendship, solace, comfort and humor.  And…yes, there’s more…. Terri’s diverse and inclusive nature will draw you in and steal your heart.  Truly a remarkable place.

Wholly Jean

This woman just oozes sweet Southern, honey dripping charm.  She’s a writer, artist, fellow blogger who has provided much needed words of comfort across my computer screen combined with a straight spoken fierceness of a woman who doesn’t compromise her beliefs. Log on to her site, it will be quite an adventure.

Walking in Beauty

Joss, AKA the Crowing Crone, simply radiates love.  When I visit her blog, it feels like coming home to an old friend who has a cup of tea waiting for you.  The beauty of the way she conducts her life and writes of her experiences has given me comfort at some very difficult times. But don’t let the pureness of her heart fool you….she’s a tough lady who has transcended some tough times.  Her book, What I Know About Fibro is a very good case in point of a woman who has turned her life around.

Healing from BPD

A very honest and informative site for survivors and others struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder.  Debbie’s blog is upbeat yet real when it comes to the challenges presented by BPD.  There have been many a day that her posts have been timely and comforting to know that someone out there really understands the issues surrounding this illness.  She promotes acceptance, understanding and coping tools and does a fabulous job of removing the stigma of BPD.  

Raising My Rainbow

I do not know this woman or her son, as in I have never really corresponded with her as I have the others I’ve listed above.  But I’m a regular lurker on this beautiful, creative “mommy blog” about the “adventures in raising a fabulously gender creative son”.  Her words, not mine.  One cannot read this blog without having CJ steal your heart with the credit going to his mother for portraying him in such an incredibly, fiercely loving way.  I suspect that she is nominated for many awards and so she should be.  She is addressing some really tough issues surrounding LGBT children with pure love and acceptance.  And besides that, she is flat out hysterical.

Canopy in the Sunlight

One of my first pals that I met through the Bone Sigh Arts forum, Illuminary is a bit of a willow-the-wisp.  She’s a self admitted kind of a hermit who seems to prefer the sanctity of her studio and musings.  I’ve found her to be witty, concerned and incredibly self reflective. While she may post only occasionally, they are well worth the wait as I always find her words comforting and thoughtful.  

A Heart’s Whisper

I have learned so much from Jackie over the last year.  I must look toward women like her who are consistently graceful and gentle especially during times where my emotions are all over the place.  She is grounding and constant and pure love.  I would encourage anyone wanting to journey farther into themselves to check out her writings.  This is an absolute safe place to be.

PS~~Julie Catherine….You already had this award but I wanted to sneak you in here anyway because I love your stuff too!

And finally….7 things about myself.   This was BY FAR the more challenging task.  Not sure what noteworthy tidbits you all would want to know but here goes….

  •         I feel incomplete without a really cool pair of earrings which is about the only jewelry that I wear.
  •         I prefer the company of animals to most people.
  •         Had my daughter at home with a midwife attending.  Celebrated with a few friends, champagne and ice cream and took a hour   long bath with my new baby.  Probably one of the grooviest experiences of my life.
  •        Got to fly to Washington DC with 30 magnificent women to participate in a march for reproductive freedom. 
  •        Almost got kicked out of the local beauty pageant during high school because I wouldn’t remove my POW bracelet.
  •        For a day and a half, sat with and sang my mother from this world as she passed to the other side.
  •        Consider myself an emotional empath as I’ve always felt emotions stronger than most.  This is a gift and a curse.


Thanks for hanging in during this very long post….but I wanted to play by the rules and give credit to these fabulous new friends that I’ve had the good fortune to meet.  I’m humbled by this award and am so glad to be here in such great company!


“the hole” revisited…

she wakes from a long and tormented sleep to the all too familiar darkness with the circle of light far above her

it takes minutes to transition and orient herself to “the hole” that she’s visited so many times before

the cavern is so quiet, silent, her thoughts racing are the only noise

the sensation of cruel dampness that once penetrated her clothing, her skin, has been replaced with comfort

she looks down, her eyes now adjusted to the darkness, she sits upon a soft, downy quilt and wonders how and when?

its then that she sees the faint glow in her periphery…she blinks to make sure she’s seeing right

there is no fear, no anxiety, safety and warmth surround her

an angel moves to her, summoned by a mere prayer from a friend, has been watching over, providing comfort, releasing the fear from her soul

she is luminous, breathtaking, the unblinking eyes of an innocent fawn

the girl beholds her in awe as she wraps her arms around her

nestled against the divine being, she relaxes for the first time in days as her breathing slows…they look at each other for a long time

her eyes no longer retain the trauma driven focus necessary for survival, her gaze extends to her surroundings, noticing the quiet beauty for the first time

fireflies dance, filling the darkness with their radiance

shimmering crystals glisten from the walls

a beautiful humming seems to come from everywhere around her but no place in particular

the animals have crept to her, encircling her while she slept, each bringing their gift to aid her during this troubling time, unafraid to penetrate “the hole” like the people were

the owl shows her how to adapt her vision and see through the darkness, easing her into the shadowy world: cool, feminine, moist

the girl glances over to see the regal stance of the wolf and knows her lessons immediately

the hawk circles overhead, dipping once before soaring out of the opening into the sunlight….piercing the air with her message to look at the entire situation, there is always a way out

she isn’t alone at all

they’ve all come to help her remember that she’s been here before, “the hole” has beauty and purpose often unrecognized and the girl weeps with joy at her connectedness

with reverence, they all move to the center, forming a sacred circle…animal, human and divine to begin their prayers of gratitude


the letters in my life….

Recently my life has been a world salad.

My family and I have recently been throwing around letters of treatment modalities combined with prospective and already assigned diagnosis.  In an effort to be an well informed consumer as well as keeping our minds and hearts open to whatever ensures that our family and I are getting the most help, we’ve tried many therapies.  Some more interesting and helpful than others, we’ve journeyed down the road full of letters and abbreviations designed to add brevity to a complex and confusing situation.

These recent conversations in our home were very timely accented by a thread on Facebook where Terri, owner at Bone Sigh Arts, asked  her audience what therapies helped the women survivors….I feel compelled as always, to help my fellow woman survivor and this is a partial list from that thread with some of my own thrown in…

  • EFT ~ Emotional Freedom Technique ~ Gary Craig
  • NAET ~ Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique ~ created by Dr. Devi Nambudripad
  • DBT ~ Dialectic Behavior Therapy ~ created by Marsha Linehan
  • Energy Medicine ~  created by Donna Eden
  • Herbal remedies for physical and emotional conditions
  • EMDR ~ Eye Movement Desensitivation Response
  • IB ~ Inner Bonding ~ created by Margaret Paul 
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Cranial-Sacral Therapy ~ John Upledger

Homeopathy, acupuncture, massage therapy and the list goes on of top notch healing modalities….

Now here are some of the letters attached to me….SA (sexual abuse) survivor, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), DID (disassociative identity disorder) , CFIDS (chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome), LD (Lyme disease), EBV (Epstein-Barr) and the recently suggested but not confirmed BPD (borderline personality disorder).

I prefer to think that these letters will set me free instead of inducing more confusion although the process of maneuvering through them can be confusing.  I am putting this post mostly for reference, there aren’t any conclusions here.  I have found that the technique is as almost as good as the practitioner.  For example, my NAET practitioner is excellent.  She is kind, intuitive and skilled out the whazoo.   The woman who did EMDR for me was just okay and I didn’t pursue working with her.  One has to follow their instincts strongly here and find a practitioner that you can trust implicitly when doing this type of work.

Next week, I begin working with a woman (who was a fabulous fit by the way) who will be teaching me DBT.  It’s high success rate makes it not only a perfect technique for those with BPD but for many less labeled individuals.  We begin our work even without the controversial label of BPD which actually is one reason I agreed to see her.  She isn’t interested in the diagnosis just the outcome.  That sealed the deal for me.

Just to cover all the bases and to shut some people in my life up, I saw my MD/psychiatrist who yawned and scratched his face when I told him of my plans to start DBT and did he think I had BPD.  He didn’t really answer me but asked me if I had a firm, concrete plan for my suicide to which I replied no.  He handed me some anti-depressant samples and told me to come back in a month.  My answers hadn’t compelled him to jump to any conclusions nor hospitalize me.  I can’t say that I was disappointed by his lack of conclusion because it was pretty much the way I saw it too.  His apathy may have done me a favor.

That doesn’t mean I don’t know that things are amiss with me sometimes.  One can’t go through this type of trauma and not come out with swiss cheese for a brain on occasion. My family and I have been through times of hell that forced growth and compassion on us whether we liked it or not.  DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) has as one of its cornerstones the concept of radical acceptance which I immediately latched on to.  It feels really kind to learn to accept myself for exactly as I am and because of what I have been through.  What a beautiful thought to understand the strengths and limitations brought to me by this situation, accept it and go on to be the best person I can be.  And of course, my hope that my family and friends also learn the concept of radical acceptance but its not required for my success.

And by the way, this work takes time.  One of the mantras that I hear over and over from sensitive practitioners and support people is that it took a lifetime for us to get this way so be patient with the recovery.  Its so true for me that being gentle with myself has been one of the most important approaches to these life changing therapies that I would place very near the top.  That and a good dog.

This post touches on many, many topics.  Digest them slowly, stay informed and be gentle with yourself.  Otherwise you may find yourself drowning in word salad.


Are you isolating yourself?

Silhouette of a woman in a cave looking at her...

I get this question a lot.

Probably because I spend a great deal of time alone, in some people’s minds too much. Its not that I want to be isolated, I just find that I am.  In fact, I’ve become an expert on non-isolation techniques, as in, I have figured out how to participate in life beyond my physical and emotional disabilities.

I love being with people. I always have. I see the same traits in my daughter, she loves being around her friends and gravitates toward busy jobs brimming with people.  The best job I ever had was at a women’s clinic where there was this awesome nest of women, all shapes and sizes, backgrounds and beliefs….it was heaven.

Then, came the losses to an already compromised emotional soul, each taking their chunk of me until I resemble a slice of swiss cheese.  The holes are huge and deep and gaping and oozing and I work every day at keeping myself from seeping out all over the place.

Isolation comes when one’s body breaks down, keeping you from your work, livelihood and friends where one begins to fade into the distance. The old adage…out of sight, out of mind is true.

Isolation comes when your family can’t look at who you are anymore, your emotional disease gives them plenty of reason to hate you and not come around, after all, being in pain isn’t pretty no matter how hard you try to gloss it over.

Isolation comes to visit again when faced with your child rejecting who you seem to be and not seeing who you really are.  On most days, I can still pray for her and our broken relationship while reframing the unrelenting ache of how much I want her in my life.

Isolation comes when your partner looks at you differently because the toll of you has surpassed what he expected and what he believes he can handle.  The look isn’t completely devoid of love; resembling more a doggedly loyalty and disappointment as to how life isn’t fair for him.

Its odd how the question of “are you isolating yourself” is presented to me.  Its almost as if I haven’t already climbed the tallest skyscraper to have a full and functioning life.  And it seems that its overlooked that I’ve walked across hot coals and  practically begged myself into different groups of people in order to keep that phobia at bay, forcing myself to hurdle over the fear/anxiety/warped thinking that wants to win and plunging straight into activities that sometimes work out and sometimes don’t.  I know what brings me joy and being acknowledged for who I am and invited to join an activity makes my heart soar.  Especially if it comes from any member of my family.  And that doesn’t sound like someone who tries to isolate herself.

Now here’s the tricky part.  This is where the psychiatric world has been called in to address my pain and isolation.   Its been decided that my love for people is an attachment of a pathological form.  Something I feel as a warm glow from my heart has been labeled as an aberrant way of avoiding my extreme fear of rejection of course, stemming from my childhood abuse and neglect.  My desire to love and not be isolated is now a bad thing.  Its now being presented, rather callously I may add, that I have borderline personality disorder to which in some parts I don’t disagree with.  The message has some merit but the delivery so far has sucked.

Wikipedia defines borderline personality disorder as “prolonged disturbance of personality function characterized by depth and variability of moods”.  It seems to be one of the scariest, time consuming and all around unsatisfying diagnosis for the psychological/psychiatric profession to deal with.   Joke among therapists… “How do you get rid of the annoying, troublesome patient from your caseload?  Tell them they are BPD and they will become so angry they will leave!”  Apparently even the non BPD want to be labeled BPD.  While some people laugh at this, I find this profoundly sad.

Wiki goes on to say that there is concern about social stigma; “the severe disapproval of or discontent with a person on the grounds of characteristics that distinguish them from other members of a society”.  Apparently some members of the profession get that this particularly disease tends to ostracize the very people who are more than capable of doing that to themselves.  Hmmm….I’m getting some irony here….Wouldn’t it make sense to surround these people with love and acceptance for who they are while not enabling the disease.  Aren’t we back to the last post where I ranted about separating the person from their behavior?  Love the person, hate the disease?

Thank the universe for Marsha M. Linehan who has led the field in therapies for the BPD patient and added a whole lot of humanity to their situation.  Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is proving to be not only the best choice for recovery but accessible to those therapists choosing to change their elitist views on treating the sickest of the sick.  Marsha herself was/is a BPD patient subject to the most inhumane and cruel treatment at the hands of the psychiatric profession.  She schooled herself, becoming a PhD and led the way toward a kinder, gentler way of viewing the sick.

Those closest to me have learned to scorn me in a very obtuse sort of way. If they find me hurting and difficult, they leave.  If others see me alone too much, they say I isolate too much.  If I am anxious about an upcoming separation where I will be completely alone for several days, they tell me I am too attached and fear rejection.  If I object to and confront a situation that feels wrong (even though I’m told to take care of myself and my boundaries), then I’m labeled hostile and aggressive.

And as always, I reflect continually, my behavior, my nuance, the energy I project and constantly wonder….Am I really the crazy one?


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