Post traumatic stress disorder Articles

Borderline Personality Disorder: Social Survival Skills

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Borderline Personality Disorder is not just about mental illness and emotional distress, it is also about social skills (or lack of them), empathy, manners, conflict resolution and self-care. Most children learn these vital social skills early on at pre and primary school where they observe other children’s behaviour, learn a “theory of mind” or how other children think and feel (mentalising) and experience compassion and empathy for others. These things come naturally to them.

But some children, through no fault of their own, are unable to learn and remain totally clueless about how to survive socially in the playground. These are the kids who suffer social neglect, rejection and abandonment. These are the children who need a step by step guide or a “recipe” on how to learn empathy, how to be a team player, how to get on with other children, negotiation skills, conflict resolution, the rough and tumble of give and take and sharing toys with grace and dignity.

These kids need to learn that when this happens, this is the correct response. I was not one of those naturally cluey children; I lived in social Siberia most of my school life and became a library refugee.

Here are five survival techniques desperately needed when suffering from BPD:


BPD: Narcissistic Injuries, Madness and Mindfulness

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

When you suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder (or complex trauma) one person’s constructive criticism or negative response is another person’s life-threatening narcissistic injury. I received a narcissistic brain hemorrhage this week when my challenging and authoritative therapist decided it was not relevant to our therapy to watch a video link I had emailed her.

My borderline reaction went to DefCon One in less than a nanosecond and I thought my brain would implode.

To be fair to myself, my thoughts remained relatively mindful (she’s said no before for the same reasons and yet I continue to email her things; it could be said that an idiot does the same thing all the time and expects a different response. If that is the case, then I am that idiot) but my body was transported instantly back to the mid-seventies where school bullying and parental fighting had finely tuned my fight, flight or freeze response.


Borderline Personality Disorder: Is Your Therapist Dogged by a Dark Side?

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

At my last therapy session my therapist turned into a savage rottweiler; baring her sharp teeth at me, picking me up by the scruff of my neck and shaking the living daylights out of me. The doggone woman deliberately picked a fight about nothing, provoked me into a snarling row, called me a liar and then threatened to sue me for slander.

Interpretation of unfolding events is always a personal perception. I have been seeing her again for some workplace issues that need resolving. I was having problems accepting constructive criticism from the top dog in my organization. I found I was getting deeply triggered when told I was not achieving what I was supposed to achieve in the way she wanted it achieved and I was getting my feathers ruffled in a big way, getting upset, huffy and resolving the issue by fleeing or freezing.

So when within five minutes of arriving, my barking mad therapist activated every button on my panel and almost blew us both up, I almost called her a bitch, walked out the door and planned on brooding, ruminating and plotting impotent revenge against her for the rest of my natural life. Talk about an idealizing transference killer.


Borderline Personality Disorder: Living with Fear and Uncertainty

Friday, November 11th, 2011

 

When I listen to the eerie, haunting music of Sigur Ros, an Icelandic band, it takes me to a place of yearning, grief and loss and longing that I cannot identify and don’t understand. This is what my children would call Mum’s sad, weird, drunk music.  I used to listen to it in 2004 when I was not a well person.

How can you yearn for something that you don’t know exists?

How can you identify something when you are unaware of its existence?

How do you grasp onto something when it appears to have no substance?

If I discover and hold onto what it is will I be happy?

Do I really want to find out what it is that I am looking for?


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. 


Mindfulness and Mind Snaps

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

One of the nine symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling one’s temper.  It has been written many times that these symptoms seem to lessen or even disappear when middle age comes around, but my thoughts are sometimes they just get driven underground as we get older.  Sufferers of BPD can still feel these intense, angry feelings, they are just better controlled, especially the ones who have had therapy or worked on their issues.  It takes much mindfulness to get through emotionally intense experiences without having a meltdown.

I have learned over the many years of my therapy that although I am no longer the angry, rageful person I used to be, I can still surprise myself by having a one-off major brain-snap when conditions are ripe or the planets are misaligned.  Most of the time I control my outward actions; in fact I cannot remember the last time I lost my temper completely.  Mindfulness training, CBT, Buddhism, meditation, yoga and bush and lake walking has given me much peace of mind – but does a leopard truly change its spots or have they just faded away or changed shape?


Borderline Emotional Anaphylactic Reaction: Mindfulness and Acceptance

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Sometimes, the smallest things in life can cause the greatest pain and physical reaction.  A bee’s sting is almost invisible to the naked eye and yet can easily kill someone when they have an allergic reaction.  A mere critical stinging comment can just as easily send a person suffering Borderline Personality Disorder into “emotional anaphylactic shock.”

When a person has a life-threatening reaction to the poison from a bee sting, an ambulance is called and the person is taken to hospital where they receive treatment for their illness as well as respect and dignity but when someone suffering an emotional reaction to life circumstances presents at emergency, they are sometimes treated with rejection, intolerance and disdain.  People can die from a bee sting and Borderlines can “die” from their own personal rage and self-hatred.  If you present at emergency with a swollen face and throat unable to breathe with all your body organs shutting down, is some doctor or nurse going to say, “OMG, it’s a tiny bee sting, how bad can that be, look at you, get over yourself,” like they sometimes do when Borderlines present at hospital with similar symptoms.

Yet both types of people are in much pain and danger. 


Marsha, Marsha, MARSHA

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

At last, someone who is giving Borderline Personality Disorder a new image, a new spin, a positive focus and dispelling all of the myths surrounding this socially constructed disorder.  Thank you, Marsha Linehan, for coming out of the closet.  What a breath of fresh air you are!

I have read Marsha’s book on Dialectical Behavioural Therapy and since then I have been recommending this type of one on one therapy, based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, radical acceptance, Buddhist meditative practice and mindfulness with the adjunct of group therapy and inter-session therapist phone-calls, to many people.  It proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is life beyond this subjective, patronizing, ineffective, degrading and destructive diagnosis, generally given out by the psychiatric industry. 


Coming out of the Borderline Personality Disorder Closet (Without Hitting my Head on the Door Jamb)

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

Six years ago I was officially diagnosed by a psychiatrist in a psychiatric hospital as having…drum roll please…BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER.  He said it to me in the same way he would announce he had a plague of rats infest his kitchen, discovered I had a sexually transmitted disease or that he had just found out I supported Tea Party candidate Sarah Palin.  It was delivered with revulsion, disgust and contempt.

Today I proudly come out of the BPD closet and out myself as having one of the most reviled and hated personality disorders ever constructed by the most esteemed and eminent fundamentalist gentlemen writers of the Psychiatric Bible the DSM – Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.


My Hakomi Psychotherapy Journey, Part 1: High School vs. Hakomi

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

I remember my first day of high school in January 1975. I arrived in the old green MTT school bus to be greeted by a tough-looking older girl who ran alongside the bus shaking her fist at me. I knew it was me she was meeting and greeting as she was making firm and constant eye-contact, rather like a super-heated, vaporizing laser-beam. Quite a feat considering the bus was still moving rather quickly at the time. When I got off the bus, she collared me and said she was going to beat the living shit out of me at a time decided and designated by herself that I was not going to be privy to. It would happen when I least expected it. The strange part about this was that I had never met Vicki Emms before in my life but she apparently knew a lot about me from my so-called friends at primary school.

So last weekend when the Hakomi instructor at my three-day Hakomi Psychotherapy Mindfulness Workshop compared the first day of Hakomi to the first day of high school, I was already there, most mindfully aware of two people inside me attending Hakomi that day — my thirteen-year-old self and my current adult observing ego.


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