Mother Nature Articles

Borderline Personality Disorder: Healing in Bali

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

The difference between my young Borderline self and my older, somewhat wiser Borderline self is that I may still have the same intense feelings of rage, paranoia and injustice, but I now sit in those feelings and try to discover what they mean to me and channel them into a different, more positive direction. Instead of hating civilisation and its discontents I embrace the suffering, look inward and transform it into a learning opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. Part of that was learning to love what I already had instead of seeking out what didn’t belong to me and never would. The Buddha said, “Suffering is inevitable.” And it is – sometimes. It is what we do with that suffering that counts. I had to learn to lie down beside the Borderline bull, embracing her lacerating horns at a level we were both comfortable with.

After fifty years of eating disorders, lap bands, a small bowel obstruction, kidney cancer, malnutrition, metabolic syndrome and diabetes type 2, I was further diagnosed with a lump on my ovaries in August 2012. So I went to see my disease-free, de-toxed, slim, fit, healthy, yoga-inspired, meditative, free-range, organic, body-centred clinical psychologist who advised to me to do what she had been advising me to do for the past 17 years. Look after myself, be kind to myself, be gentle with myself and start to eat and exercise accordingly. What would you know about life? I thought, as I threw my last sugar binge in her outdoor bin before taking off on holiday with my husband.

Bali for me is usually one long, eating/drinking self-indulgent binge punctuated with cheap shopping sprees in and around Kuta – buying clothes I never wear and items I would sneer at back in Australia. This time we stayed at Lovina Beach and Ubud and I made the epiphanous decision to eat organic vegetarian, drink detox blends and spend as much time as possible being mindful at the Yoga Barn. I also relished the idea of torturing myself by hiking 500m almost vertically down (and back …

When Borderlines and Narcissists Collide

Friday, March 30th, 2012

When Borderlines and Narcissists clash, it makes When Worlds Collide look like two butterflies locking wings together in a mid-air prang. As someone diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder I had the misfortune to run up against a Narcissistic Personality Disorder and I would describe the experience like running full speed, head first into a brick wall without a helmet.

For me, it is exceedingly rare to come under the microscopic scrutiny of a dangerous and mentally unhinged person who appears to be made out of concrete in such a manner that a nuclear bomb would be unable to dislodge their black and white thinking. For this person it was either night or day, there was no pearly pink twilight or early misty mornings.

This person was highly and appropriately right and I was incredibly stupid and wrong. I know this because it was hammered into my skull at every given opportunity.

Mental Health Day: Borderline Personality Disorder: Email and Text Addiction with your Therapist

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Emailing and texting your therapist can be (for some) more addictive than cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.  The reward neurotransmitter dopamine floods your brain and motivates you to do more of the same. This is the same neurotransmitter secreted when you snort cocaine.  Even a simple email exchange can do this for some.  It’s not what drug you take, it’s the effect that drug has on your brain.

Until recently I had full email privileges with my therapist which led to gross feelings of narcissistic entitlement.  I haven’t seen her in therapy since April and I still expected her to be available electronically 24/7.  I would get upset when she didn’t reply within 12 hours.  If she did not reply immediately, I would get rude and hostile and she would apologize.

This relationship was not healthy for either of us.  We were merged and sometimes not in a healthy, nurturing, supportive, way.  Partly because of her availability, I would lurch from one crisis to another expecting her to resolve my life with a few words on an electronic form of communication.  Eventually she emailed that this had to stop and that I could email her, not every day, but every once in a while, and not to expect an immediate reply because quite frankly she was feeling overwhelmed.  She also said I was welcome to come back to therapy any time I wanted to.

Tattoos -vs- a PhD

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

I wanted my first-born son to get a PhD and instead he decided to get a tattoo.  I was horrified.  I told this man-child, who not only towers above me but is also turning 18 next month, that the answer was an emphatic no.  Under no circumstances would he ever be allowed to defile his body.  It was a slap in the face of motherhood for me.

I have two boys and a girl and they are so different from each other that one of our close friends remarked in jest that they must have had different fathers.  No, they didn’t but as any mother will tell you, no two children are alike.  My youngest son is academically inclined and my daughter is a qualified chef and her boyfriend is studying for his Masters degree.

I value education above all else and my family are more than aware of this. What mother doesn’t want the best for her children and I saw higher education, good manners and strong standards as part of being the best.  A tattoo is a symbol of rebellion and defiance and I would be ashamed of having a son with a tattoo.  Tattoos have no place in my perfect family.

Mental Influenza: Borderline Personality Disorder with Acceptance and Mindfulness

Friday, August 5th, 2011

For someone was has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, it can take a long time to recover from the anaphylactic shock of raging, damaging emotions that are coursing through our blood when we experience an attack on ourselves.  During this time many physical symptoms of post-rage illness are experienced and this I like to call “mental influenza.”

Even though one can have much insight into the “who, what, where, when, why and how” of the scope, breadth and dimension of these rageful feelings and/or attacks you can still be left with the shocking after effects of the toxic flooding of your system; the blackness and physical feelings that leave you with a sense of vertigo, numbness, breathlessness and weakness, the sensation of lightheadedness and giddiness where you think you are going to pass out.  These feelings simply don’t diminish as quickly as they should and days later they can still be hanging around at the same intensity level as when they first happened. 

My Mother -v- My Therapist: Acceptance and Mindfulness

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

I have two older women in my life who have both had a major influence over me.  One is my mother, the woman who gave biological life to me; and the other is my therapist, the woman who assisted in my spiritual birth, growth and maturation.

My mother loves me.  She cooks me dinner, buys me Christmas presents, takes me shopping, goes on bike rides and walks around lakes with me, swaps family photos, lends me books and CDs and takes me across town to the doctors where she has to wait for two hours before taking me out to lunch and paying for me.  My therapist is very fond of me and I pay her $150 for a 55 minute structured conversation during which she very kindly makes me a cup of tea.

I can ring my mother any time of the day or night and speak to her for as long as I want.  I can visit her any time; I do not have to make an appointment, where I am the three o’clock slotted in between the 2pm and the 4pm.  I can ring my therapist any time as well, as long as it is not too often, within business hours, and for a very brief period of time.

Wallow, Reflect, Transcend

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

There’s nothing like a good wallow in the confluence of the sticky mud and muck of our past history and current circumstances.  It’s familiar territory for me whenever personal emotional disaster strikes and I dive head-first and bury myself in the warm, dark underbelly of self-hatred, self-sabotage and sometimes self-destruction.  I slither and slide, turning cartwheels and backflips until I am so immersed in the experience there is almost nothing that can draw me back up to the surface again.

At this point I need instant validation of my pain and suffering.  I think we all do.  The reason for the suffering, whether self-inflicted or inflicted by others is immaterial.  For me to be told my suffering is valid and reasonable gives me the invigorating courage to draw myself up out of the murky depths to my full height and start to soldier on.  When someone witnesses my story of pain, abandonment and rejection, the underworld does not feel as enticing as it did beforehand and I start to reflect from an observing ego level or a perspective of emotional distance, that this is old familiar stuff.  I’ve been here before and I’ve let go and moved on many times.  In fact I’ve even managed to transcend the situation several times before descending back into chaos again when life goes pear-shaped.

Reflection, meditation and sometimes just mere background pondering leads me to being able to rise above the situation and see it for what it is; something that happened in the past when significant others let me down.  Nothing on earth, not even Superman can turn back the world and change what happened back in 1975.  I have to live with that history, incorporate and integrate it permanently into my being.  I am not the sum total of what happened to me.  No-one is ever that.  What happened is a mere small part of who I am.  It does not reflect my strengths or my achievements.  It does not define who I am.  It does not make me a victim.  It is simply a minor part of my lived experience.

My therapist …

The End of Therapy and the Beginning of Life

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Letting go of the fantasy of a post-therapy relationship with your beloved therapist means you are ready to move on from the transference.  When your mind starts to shift from an enmeshed relationship with another to a singular meaningful relationship with yourself where the focus is now “me” and not “we” it signals a profound shift in cognitive thinking.

There is much self-examination and reflection and untold pain that comes with this.  Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living and I have explored every possible nook and cranny of my inner life.  Letting go of someone you love is the hardest part and this creates a vacuum which needs to be filled with something that is just as meaningful.  Never take a crippled person’s crutch away from them unless you have a replacement that is equally as effective.  But before you do that, you need to reach into all corners of transference options and the therapist who is willing to explore every aspect of your attachment to him/her and their own considerable counter-transference issues and/or attachment to you is doing themselves and their client a huge favour. 

Turning Shit into Gold

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Recently I had to rearrange my headspace and lifestyle because I was getting bent out of shape because of what someone else was doing.  I wasn’t happy with the information I was receiving and it was causing untold grief and obsession within my life.  Luckily for me I was reading “Destructive Emotions,” a dialogue with the Dalai Llama narrated by Daniel Goleman, one of my three favourite Daniels (Stern and Siegel being the other two).

According to the book, when you have had enough of the shit in your life you can do one of three things: 

Dancing with Ducks

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Life is all about perspective.  It’s not what happens to you or what you do but how you react to it and deal with it.  That is what is important.

Nineteen years ago I had a row with my in-laws just before we went down South for four days before Christmas.  It ruined my holiday.  I could not concentrate, focus nor appreciate the beauty of the scenery, enjoy my husband and our (then) thirteen month old daughter.  All I could think about was exacting revenge.  I could not move on, put it behind me, have a fabulous time and resolve it when I got home.  It was beyond my capabilities.

Since then I have learned that life is not fair, people are not logical and living peacefully with this dilemma is called life.  Some people and family will love you, some will hate you and the rest will be totally indifferent. 


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