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Friday, February 15. 2008
Shape of Days says he has a Borderline Personality Disorder. He discusses his difficulties in life at length, in his links. Quotes:
Editor's note: Heartbreaking, and so sadly self-consumed. And so talented. You want to say to him "You suck - compared to whom? Don't flatter yourself." But you know that won't help.
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This is sad. The article mentioned that the person was getting therapy. I think that's wonderful. An extra large can o'whoop ass next time he goes off will either straight jacket him or perhaps simply give him a new perspective. Jumper cables might work too.
What's his value to society?
BPD is one of the toughest roads out there, and whatever good people can wrest from its grasp is a testament to their character.
Doesn't the excerpted part in the post describe pretty much anybody who introspects a bit too much?
I think it is the nightmare form of introspection, not the usual form of self-criticism.
...but still a matter of degree, rather than of kind, right?
nightmare form yes and simply put it is an irrational way of thinking and you just learn to live with it and try to stay inside the medians when you can. I do , however , feel very sad for the people who are close to the person with BPD because it is very tough to live with those irratic mood swings. Life is never easy but it is so worth living and one hopes that all the people suffering from mental illness will come to feel that way. Good post.
I guess what I'm trying to get at is, if BPD sufferers are the bad end of a continuum, then perhaps they should have more hope -- thru behavioral work, say -- than if they are actually behind a line, inside a corral, imprisoned for life inside the self, as the writer above seems to see himself. If he could see himself as not 'different', but just in a bad place -- perhaps temporarily -- well, maybe that's how many sufferers cope -- it seems.
i mean, i realize the guy is engaged in graphotherapy, but since all i know of him is what i read above, i have to, based on that, ask him, if you can write 'i do bad things' then can't you make it different, can't you work to a spot where you can say 'i'm proud of how hard i'm trying to do good things' -- ?
well, now after actually reading the link, i see my comments above are pretty inane --
Not inane at all Buddy... a good logical response. But logic, reason are not applicable in this particular instance. After all... I can self identify with that excerpt... that fellow is doing the best that he can given his boundaries of perception. He is at least attempting to be honest, with himself and with others. Shall we count the ones who never make that attempt.
Six billion people, six billion stories. Some of us just do the best we can.
right you are -- cope first, worry about sunshine & daffodils later --
personal opinion -- Jeffrey needs to consider giving the lonely, introspective writer's task a one year breather -- it may be the very unhealthiest thing he could be doing -- and do some heavy hands-on volunteer work with the needy -- not to judge or blue-nose about helping others, but to topsy-turvy this path into the dark interior -- and maybe save himself from the downward spiral -- blah blah blah i know --
Venues for forgetting self, depending on circumstances, can be limited. What works for one is excruciating for another. No general fixes. Life just goes on...
This gentleman just made the decision to write about it. Making it a temporary discussion point for blogs. But when it all settles down... he still lives with himself.
You're right about that, Buddy. Just back from Lenten small group tonight with church friends (dreadful study materials but we were united in our disgust with curriculum and delight in good company and dessert despite it) St. Francis knew it, in giving we receive. The only thing that heals is God and He always calls those whom He loves to serve others, and in so doing to find at least the owner’s manual for their own salvation....
BPD is a condition that has tormented numerous members of my family, so I was glad to see the post, tho ready to smack “anonymous“ upside his/her middle school boy obnoxious head! People don’t like borderlines, and think they are just willfully choosing to act wacko or bad, and this is part of what makes it so hard for them to get better.
Anonymous should realize that tho very sick, many BPD types are extremely accomplished and make plenty of contributions to the lives of others. They are not all parasites, not all whiners who drag everyone down. Many pass for nomal in many areas of their life. Many artists, dancers, musicians, writers, academics, not just boozing sluts or pain in the ass jerks threatening suicide at most inconvenient times for their nearest and dearest….
Doctors, meds are necessary but not sufficient. They can keep someone with BPD alive long enough for God to get back to work in their life, they can help bring them thru daily walks thru the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Completely unaminaginable to "normal" people or the happy sociopaths who "succeed" in our society.
God begins the work, the spark is fanned sometimes by patient care (usually only by a doctor or minister--family and friends get fed up, often become abusive, give up on the person), but reaching out to others does more good than anything. To be useful, to bring comfort to someone else when nothing can ease one's own angst, that can remove some of the ugly tarnish on a borderline heart.
The guy is brave to admit he has it. One of the most stigmatized diagnoses. Most of the books written about BPD are by psychiatrists who despise and despair of BPD patients getting better (the few who earn a living treating them write patronizingly about them, pleased with themselves for being wiling to treat patients most clinicians refer out ASAP, or else by relatives who detest them ).
Whilst there are all kinds of appealing and flattering things written about bipolar people by the people who earn their living treating them, books that a doctor can safely send a bipolar patient off to read, it is not usually advisable to direct a recently diagnosed BPD patient to the clinical literature as it is so hideously unflattering. If they didn’t already want to kill themselves, the literature would drive them to it. They find it anyway, and it greatly increases their distrust of their clinicians, terrifies them that their families will turn on them and abandon them, and increases their desperate overvaluation of the few ones who treat them with even a modicum of compassion and respect.
There is a whole raft of books written by exes of BPD patients (mostly guys formerly involved with hot babes who turned out to be demons in human form…er….BPD). The advice given to relatives mostly follows an even more vicious form of tough love than the most vindictive counsel in AlAnon about not enabling alcoholics by caring for them or covering for them. This perhaps is understandable given that most people with BPD self medicate with drugs and or alcohol at least in youth. By middle age, those who have survived often sober up and do somewhat better. But if you felt as awful as most of them do most of the time, you’d want anesthesia too.
To be fair, it is so difficult living with someone with BPD that the people around them come to hate them at least some of the time, usually feel guilty for this, so don’t dare admit it, but jump with glee on bandwagons that stress tough love as this gives them the chance to get their whacks in under the guise of “helping” the patient by providing accountability and structure.
I will never forget going to a workshop for family members and there bumping into a member of the clergy from our large and overstaffed former church who was positively terrified of being outed, and who swore us to secrecy and said “of course, I cannot possibly do anything about your family’s pastoral needs so don’t come looking for support from me ever”. Even tho, as a family member who knew himself the dreadful toll BPD takes on family life, the clergy person knew the need for his pastoral care. But refused to give it.
Personal history of abuse (which causes the dissociation) is part of the cause of BPD and usually not touched with a ten foot pole by shrinks unless their patient is rich enough to afford several times a week (which many warn against by those who believe the BPD patient will fall apart under the rigors of it).
Here’s a fairly straightforward summary of the condition: http://www.narsad.org/dc/pdf/facts.bpersonalityd.pdf
Here’s an abstract on one of the reasons so many borderline patients need better therapy rather than callous advocacy of shock therapy by the unsympathetic (I am not aware of electroshock ever being recommended for this condition, tho it undoubtedly helps many intractably depressed people, and most borderline patients are depressed all the time, some times more extremely so than others)
If you are still with me, there is a wonderful Kay Jamison quote about what it is like to receive a stigmatizing diagnosis of a condition that will make most people either afraid, contemptuous or patronizing towards one. It was about how she felt being diagnosed bipolar, but it could just as well apply to someone being told they are BPD
“The endless questioning finally ended. My psychiatrist looked at me, there was no uncertainty in his voice “Manic Depressive Illness.” I admired his bluntness. I wished him locusts on his lands and a pox upon his house. Silent, unbelievable rage. I smiled at him. He smiled back. The war had just begun.” Kay Jamison “An Unquiet Mind” (1995)
I just wanted to thank you for your comment it was beautiful.
No one knows I have this dx, I've kept it hidden from my husband and friends (I have no other family) for a decade now. I hid behind my other dx of dysthymia (in the good times, melacholic depression in the worst). Lately after yet another setback I've been feeling particularly hopeless. My self imposed solitary confinement is getting harder and harder to maintain.
I'm successful in my field, but I work alone so as to keep the stress levels down to a minimum. I like people, but I'm afraid of anyone seeing me on a bad day.
Twice I've done therapy - it was successful in giving me the strength (though mostly through guilt and shame) to ensure that I suffer in silence. Over the years I've come to realize to what a degree my nervous system is on red alert. I get by with meds for insomnia, but incredibly painful states of dysphoria still come and go. It's so hard to maintain the facade of "normality" at times. And yet I'd rather die and publicly come out and say I have BPD. There's too much hate out there. I've often wondered if my life is worth living, I don't need the world to collaborate in telling me that it's not.
I really needed a bit of understanding and someone else's strength today. I found it in your comment. Thank you.
I have been reading Jeffrey's blog for a couple of years now and he IS a talented writer. His stuff is often rather twisted, but it is well done.
It seems that the biggest tradgedy in his life is his inability to make and keep friends. It seems that his problem presents too much of a load for the friendship.
I have had a couple of private email exchanges with him and he is quite intelligent and articulate.
Perhaps this ADDer (ADHD patient) can relate, because it is maddening and quite out of your control. Drugs and coping behaviors help - but they do not fix.
that's shocking. in fact it's revolting. watt's the matter with you? you ampere to be a totally negative person. you should switch to positive, before you get charged with battery.
currently appearing in off broadway production of "Wire We Here?"
It's all the result of our ant hill societies. The hunters/fishers/gatherers had no such problems. Back then they'd just send him on a vision quest in a sweat lodge, or out in the brush.
Disconnect, Buddy. Sit cross legged, stare at your nose, and say your Ohms.
life is what it is. for some bad,not so great. for others good, too great. If writing about it helps this guys kool. but there are six million stories in the naked city. lets hear about the sunshine and not some unfortunate guy with a screwed up disorder.
show me buns and guns,birds and flowers, lets spend our time doing that for hours, for ours is not to fix this guy, it just wants to make you cry.
Is this the same condition the shooter at NIU had?
R: I feel sorry for your family and will say a prayer for you. I know it can be very difficult to love someone with an emotional problem. And, if they are a close family member --it may seem like a lifetime conviction. HOWEVER, please do not ask me to give up my right to self protection with the handgun of my choice, because some folks have difficult emotional conditions to deal with--and, that is where liberals are trying to take this situation--to the next stage of gun control. I do not know, or have any suggestion as to how to keep someone like this from walking into a gun store and purchasing a weapon. But, I do know I don't want this guy's problem interfering with my right to self defend. God Bless, R.
Hear you, AP. The besetting sin of all politicians (not just liberals) is to come up with simple answers to complex problems. Re: guns, I believe absolutely in a citizen's right to bear arms, etc. I love hunters and gun collectors, have been mugged, have lost people I love to criminals' attacks, believe that an armed citizenry is a good reservoir for national defense (bring back the local militia!) and a check on government tyranny.
I just can't have guns in my house because of the temptation to suicide that they would afford to family members afflicted with what Churchill described his own recurring depression as, "the black dog,"
Fine for Anonymous to want to click past to the babes and the toys. Whatever floats his boat. I do the same thing with the appeals to wear red for this disease or to agonize about the disease of the month. Eliot reminded us that "humankind cannot bear very much reality". Daily life is a struggle, and hard work, and we are all entitled to focus on things that amuse or inspire or enoble us. To enjoy what we can without guiltily brooding about the starving kids, etc. Most of my friends haven't a clue about mental illness and freely grumble in front of me about wackos, boozers, head cases, unawares that they are insulting close to home.
It's only worth making the effort to understand such conditions because there is more and more discussion of crimes committed by people with diagnoses, and this is leading to a very dangerous logical fallacy that others at Maggie's could summarize better than I. Assuming that all people with complicated mental disorders are dangerous and to be avoided and viewed as potential shooters, etc. because a very few do wicked things. Correlation does not mean causality is part of it.
Very interesting (and confusing). Have known a couple of people who are like this but do not know much about the actual diagnosis. Is his self diagnosis valid? Suppose so. He seems to know himself very well. Seems to me we all share the same feelings, i.e. anger, love, joy, sadness and a couple more. I have had the feelings he describes but never recall being unaware of my actions and if I do not like how I feel at the moment, I can wait or walk it out. Feelings change. They come and they go.
Also, am very lucky to have an Aunt and Uncle who, despite our lives many turmoils and dramas, NEVER have given up on me or my siblings and cousins, no matter what. Got this email today from Aunt Sal. Odd advice, coming from her, but she passes along ALL those 'pass it along' emails. Not saying it is great advice or even applicable for most situations. Just something to think about.
EVERYONE CAN'T BE IN YOUR FRONT ROW
Life is a theater so invite your audiences carefully. Not everyone is holy enough and healthy enough to have a FRONT ROW seat in our lives. There are some people in your life that need to be loved from a distance. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you let go, or at least minimize your time with draining, negative, incompatible, not going anywhere relationships, friendships, fellowships and family.
EVERYONE CAN'T BE IN YOUR FRONT ROW
Observe the relationships around you. Pay attention to: Which ones lift and which ones lean? Which ones encourage and which ones discourage? Which ones are on a path of growth uphill and which ones are just going downhill? When you leave certain people, do you feel better or feel worse? Which ones always have drama or don't understand, know and appreciate you and the gift that lies within you?
EVERYONE CAN'T BE IN YOUR FRONT ROW
The more you seek God and the things of God, the more you seek quality, the more you seek not just the hand of GOD but the face of GOD, the more you seek things honorable, the more you seek growth, peace of mind, love and truth around you, the easier it will become for you to decide who gets to sit in the FRONT ROW and who should be moved to the balcony of your life.
EVERY ONE CAN'T BE IN YOUR FRONT ROW
You cannot change the people around you, but you can change the people you are around. Ask GOD for wisdom and discernment and choose wisely the people who sit in the FRONT ROW of your life. Remember that FRONT ROW seats are for special and deserving people and those who sit in the FRONT ROW should be chosen carefully.
Don't let someone become the priority in your life, when you are just an option in theirs.
Relationships work best when they are balanced.
A successful person is one who lays a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.
I'd say Aunt Sal did a good job passing that along. Thanks Patina for doing the same. I'll not say which one, but one line in particular just happens to be something I needed to hear.
my favorite clue was the fifth sentence in the second 'everyone can't be...' para: feel better or worse for their company? dunno how it works in the realm of 'worry' tho ---some you care so much about (ok, the young ones) that you worry over them in your mind -- is this to feel better, or worse?
How about feeling worse for worrying but better at having done so. There, that makes about as much sense as life does at times.
right -- not like we have choices in the matter, anyway--
R: This issue touches my heart perhaps in a way you cannot relate to: someone most dear to me; someone who wanted most of the time to be the one most closest to me; someone, who at other times wanted to pretend I did not exist. When I was 16 (many, many years ago) three doctors in a clinic told me that even though I was young I had to escape--. For the next forty years I hoped, I tried, I loved, I hated. But, always I tried--only, I did not have sufficient knowledge, or information. She maintained so well--never a day without a job--never smoked, or drank, or even swore. She is gone now and I miss her every day.Oh how wonderful it would have been if I could have the information today that you have!
Patina, thanks for the great thing from your aunt. Very wise! I can particularly relate to paying attention to how does one feel upon leaving the company of particular people. Is one lifted up, or floundering on the beach like a sick whale...
My beloved but somewhat erratic and flighty late motherinlaw used to infuriate my husband by refusing to spend time with people who weren't positive (she claimed that it depressed her). WHile her sense of duty and commitment was distinctly underdeveloped, I appreciate her point of view more as I age.
AP, regrets and lost opportunities haunt us,m don't they?! All I do with them is at least vow to try not to make the same mistake again...We all know the thing about fool me once, fool me twice....But the less common flip side of that is how often when we reach out yet again (when people say "why bother!?") to the unloveable or dangerous or tiresome or people my church encourage each other to be kind to despite their being "extra grace required", we find a human being immeasurably better than "the world's" assessment of them. Most of us have been loved and touched and cared for far more than we deserve. When we are able to do the same for someone else, it is so rewarding. The delinquent who finally shapes up, given some constructive work, discipline and faith they can improve. The drunk who stays sober at last. THe shelter dog tamed to kindness. What shrinks sneer at as rescue fantasies are realy no more and no less than our human longing to share the redeeming love of a God who accepts us and works with us to improve us every day that we let Him.
buddy larsen - halfway back:
I would suggest the same thing to this writer if he sought my advice. I shudder whenever we admit a BPD who says she (it's usually she) uses "journaling" to cope. I find that it is usually a form of marinating.
With most pathologies (I am including all of us here - it is Lent, as retriever notes), the time comes when you can no longer expect to see anything new by looking at something directly. We train ourselves into blind spots. We in effect play chess against ourselves. Better at that point to strike out in another direction and hope to see things out of the corner of our eye.
that's a great remark, about playing chess with ourselves, because you really can do it -- but only if you sort of select the real you, and play that side a tad smarter.
Practically, the only way to do that is to give the one side the benefit of more time, to think an extra move ahead, to in effect make the other side relatively impulsive & impatient.
Of course the first problem is knowing which you you want to win the game.
Masterbating , chief.
It means she's developing journaling (read: masterbating) to high art.
Do y'all get paid for this?
BPD = above average extraversion + high desire for approval ("feeling" vs. "thinking") + low conscientiousness (or impulse control) + abuse or abandonment suffered at a critical time in the subjects emotional development (?)
..or interchange the "abuse or abandonment.." variable with attachment disorder?
I hate to say it, but I'm totally INtroverted with a dx of BPD with "avoidant traits". I'm a loner and I would rather die than call attention to myself or make any "frantic efforts to avoid abandonment".
Just my humble opinion, but I think that CC's description is a lame stereotype for an enormously heterogeneous disorder.
I'd exchange the quick list for BPD to
1) intensely painful dysphoric states, often cycling rapidly, that range from dissociative feelings of unreality and intense depersonalization to overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, sadness, shame, guilt, fear, panic, and yes, at times, anger.
2)most often stuck in a very traumatic past, which is not the same as - and should never be confused with- being fixated on oneself
3) recurrent major depressions or other axis I diagnoses
The world should know that there are a lot of people out there with a dx of BPD because they are struggling with a complex constellation of overwhelmingly negative feelings in times of emotional stress, cognitive deficits and a nervous system stuck on red alert.
1) many are hardly or even not at all impulsive nor do they show any important narcissistic or histrionic traits;
2) many only turn their anger inward against themselves and have grave difficulties expressing any anger or even annoyance towards others;
3)most do not have the coping skills to ask for help in constructive ways and therefore are erroneously seen as manipulative;
4) many (like myself) are in long term marriages and keep their friends over many years
5)many are very intellectual and not particularly "emotional" at all - the problem is that they cannot handle negative emotions when they arise.
A "high desire for approval" has nothing to do with "feeling" over "thinking". That's absurd. Positive feedback can temporarily alleviate the painful self image that all BPD sufferers have of themselves as defective, incompetent, unlikable and damaged. (This is indeed a disorder of the Self). Wouldn't you look for more of whatever might make you feel better?
We are people who have severe trouble keeping things in perspective under stress. However I can not get over to what a degree the "outside world" so often responds to this disorder with an equally notable lack of nuanced thinking.