I was reading Borderline32’s blog and saw she had what she called the “31 Days of BPD Challenge.” I really liked the concept/questions, so I’ve decided to try it myself and see what pops out. I will answer all of the questions, so if you read this and it isn’t complete, please check back. Questions and comments are very welcome, but please try to remember where I’m coming from mentally and be kind in your responses. You don’t have to kiss my ass, but please don’t kick it either. =)
November 13, 2014
Day 1: Think of the last time that you were really angry and why? Earlier this morning. Mom was supposed to have submitted a refill request for Sam’s Prozac, and she said she did, but when I checked to see if it was ready, she hadn’t finished checking out so it hadn’t been submitted. I told her this and she disputed it, saying I was wrong, and things escalated from there. It’s a stupid thing; Sam has enough pills left for a few days, so I shouldn’t even have said anything. I don’t know why I felt compelled to but once I did and she argued it was game on.
November 14, 2014
Day 2: Why did your last friendship end? I’ve always had trouble maintaining friendships — I’m talking way back to my teen years — because of my trust issues. In January 2011, my best friend had also been my girlfriend for a couple years and the relationship wasn’t working anymore. I wrote in my journal at that time: “We have so many secrets now … this isn’t a relationship, it’s the shell of what used to be something true.” And I felt like I was drowning. I had no boundaries, so something that started as friendship somehow turned into a romantic relationship I’d never meant to be in to begin with. I still don’t know how that happened. Even with all of my fears and misgivings, it took me months to break things off because I was afraid to be alone; afraid to let go; afraid of what she would do because she used to threaten to tell her therapist that I was suicidal and try to get me hospitalized. In the end, though it was hard, it was definitely the right decision for me. (And she did, indeed, threaten me in our last interaction. sigh.) I should mention that she also had borderline personality disorder + eating disorder AND — here’s the kicker — we had the same therapist. That was a toxic mix for sure. I haven’t tried to make friends since then. *edited 11/26/14: I just wanted to admit that I really did love her and sometimes I still miss her. But I don’t miss feeling bad or the extra turmoil.
November 15, 2014
Day 3: Do you self-harm? If yes how? Yes I do. I’ve tried to stop but I haven’t been able to completely. As for the “how,” I think that’s best left unanswered.
November 16, 2014
Day 4: Have you ever attempted suicide? Yes, I have — three times. And I’ve been told that my eating disorder/not taking good care of myself is a slow form of suicide, so I guess that would up the numbers.
November 17, 2014
Day 5: Have you ever written a suicide note? I have, but oddly, the times I attempted I didn’t leave a note. I went through a phase where writing suicide notes was basically my only activity during the day besides sleeping. I found it comforting.
November 18, 2014
Day 6: How’s your love life? I don’t have one. (unless you count the erotic short stories I write sometimes. ;))
November 19, 2014
Day 7: Have you ever dissociated? If so how often? I dissociate a lot, so I can’t even begin to get a fix on how often.
November 20, 2014
Day 8: Do you have any other diagnoses? Which ones? Bipolar disorder type I, bulimia/binge-eater/EDNOS, complex PTSD, anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
November 21, 2014
Day 9: Do you get mood swings? This is kind of an unfair question to ask someone with bipolar disorder, lol. I’ve had mood swings most of my life, even as a young child. I was called “artistic” and “passionate” when people were being kind; a “drama queen” (my mom’s favorite name for me) or “overly dramatic” when they were not.
November 22, 2014
Day 10: What kind of impulsive decisive decisions have you made? I don’t mean this as a cop-out, but there really are too many to name. One of the biggest was what I call “The Day A Sweater Turned Into a VW.” I was heading to the mall to buy a sweater; I drove past a car dealership along the way and saw a VW convertible and two hours later, came home sans sweater but plus a new (used) car. That decision led to many other poor decisions that sunk me in ways I am still dealing with today.
November 23, 2014
Day 11: Is there anything you do to keep yourself grounded? I keep a lot of tactile things around, i.e. I have several throws that are plush/furry (faux, of course) because touching them soothes me. I hug trees — literally hug them — because the bark is rough and “brings me back,” and also because it reminds me that this world is older than I am and many souls have traveled these paths before me. That thought comforts me.
One of my favorite movies is “Grand Canyon” (I still remember the tagline: “In the 80’s he brought us ‘The Big Chill.’ Welcome to the 90’s.”), and there’s a scene where Danny Glover (Simon) and Kevin Kline (Mack) are having a conversation about our place in the world and how tiny we really are to the Universe. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon and it was one of the most amazing visual and spiritual experiences of my life so this scene speaks to me on many levels.
Simon: [chuckles] Man, get yourself to the Grand Canyon.
Mack: Beautiful, huh?
Simon: Eh, it’s pretty, all right, but that’s not the thing of it. You can sit right on the edge of it, you know? I-I did that. I did everything: I went down in it, I stayed overnight there. But the thing that got me was sitting on the edge of that big old thing. Those rocks. Yeah, those cliffs and rocks is so old. Took so long for that thing to get to look like that… and it ain’t done either, you know? It happens right while you’re sitting there watching it. It’s happening right now while we’re sitting here in this ugly town.
[Simon finishes his soda and throws the can into the dumpster across the parking lot]
Simon: [sighs] When you sit on the edge of that thing, you just realize what a joke we people are. What big heads we got thinking that what we do is gonna matter all that much. Thinking our time here means diddly to those rocks. It’s a split second we been here, the whole lot of us. And one of us? That’s a piece of time too small to give a name.
November 24, 2014
Day 12: What’s your relationship with your family? The only person I have a relationship with is my Mother. My father and I haven’t spoken in years, despite my most recent effort. All of my Mom’s living side of the family is estranged as well. We’ve said since my Dad left the first time when I was 6 that it’s “us against the world” and that’s true to this day. (for better or worse, which changes minute by minute. sigh.)
November 25, 2014
Day 13: Are you a perfectionist? I can be, but not always. It depends on whether it’s something that interests me (i.e. I have several posts on here that I revised over 25 times because I felt like things weren’t right [they still aren’t]) or sometimes I just get caught up and can’t let go, even if it’s something I could care less about. I’ve been told I have OCD tendencies, plus having been lucky enough to have an eating disorder all these years … yeah, I’m probably more of a perfectionist than I even think I am.
November 26, 2014
Day 14: Do you ever become obsessive? I do and it manifests in many different ways.
November 27, 2014
Day 15: Have you ever changed your mind based on the other people with you? Yes I have. I struggle with who others think I should be or want me to be, and who I want to be.
November 28, 2014
Day 16: Does your style change a lot? Yes, because what I wear/what color my hair is/what I like changes with my mood and who I think I am that day. I went through a period where my hair color was 9 different shades in a two-week period because of this instability. I went to my hairstylist and my hair was so fried, when she tried to blow-dry it my hair wouldn’t move. At all. As I’m looking back (laughing, at the moment) I think that maybe some of this is good though. Maybe it’s just me learning about myself.
November 29, 2014
Day 17: What are 5 of your biggest fears? I don’t really want to answer this one. I’m afraid if I post it, it will happen.
November 30, 2014
Day 18: Do you worry what others think of you?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on my mood. Okay, the more honest answer is that I do care. Too much. And it interferes with me being who I want to be.
December 1, 2014
Day 19: What are some lyrics that best describe what you’re going through right now? There’s a singer named Poe who has the most incredible voice. She did an album called “Haunted,” and these lyrics are from the title track.
And I’m haunted
By the lives that I have loved
And actions I have hated
By the promises I’ve made
And others I have broken
If you can, you should read all of the lyrics or listen to the song. At the end, she finds her strength and banishes the ghosts. The entire album is really cool; in between tracks Poe uses audio from some of her father’s lectures, and there is also a connection to her brother Mark Z. Danielewski‘s book “House of Leaves” (a fascinating read). This album was released in 2000 and I still listen to it almost every day.
December 2, 2014
Day 20: How do you usually express yourself? The first word that came to mind was “ineffectively.” Anger is my go-to emotion; I’d rather feel that than hurt or sadness. I’ve been working on my communication skills though and I’m getting better at it. I think.
December 3, 2014
Day 21: How many people know about your diagnosis? Anyone reading this. 😉 My mom, my ex-gf. My ex-bf never knew I had a diagnosis, he just knew I was “going through some things.”
December 4, 2014
Day 22: What’s a random story from your childhood? When I was 7 or 8, my friends and I were running through a sprinkler in my front yard when my Dad got home from his shift at the academy. We all came running over and he asked us if we knew that he could walk on water. We immediately started laughing and saying that no one could do that (“Except Jesus!” yelled one of my friends). Dad kept insisting and finally he asked me if I believed he could. I said “No” and he asked me if I wanted to bet $1.00 that he could. So of course I took that bet. He proceeded to grab the hose and spray our driveway so it was wet, including making a little puddle. Then he walked all over the driveway, saying, “See, I told you I could walk on water!”
That memory still makes me laugh, because he was so proud of himself for being “clever,” and I was proud of him, and so proud to be his daughter, because all of us kids were blown away. Just telling this story, I’m smiling — but I have tears in my eyes.
December 5, 2014
Day 23: How do you think that others see you? Awkward. Ugly. Sad. Sometimes lively and bright-eyed. (Haunted.)
December 6, 2014
Day 24: If you could pick one year of your life to give back and start over. What year and why that year? God, there are too many years to choose from and good reasons to choose them, but ultimately I think I would go back to my 12th birthday. There are a lot of things I would tell my younger self, but there are two things I would say that could have made a huge difference.
#1) Trust my therapist. Let her help me. Tell her what’s really going on inside and don’t just talk about the superficial things. Convince Mom to let her hospitalize me so I can get the help I need now to be a healthier adult. (What I actually did was tell Mom that my therapist just wanted the money, blah blah, and Mom listened because she didn’t think I was really “that bad off” — and she didn’t want her daughter being admitted to a psych hospital.)
#2) Be true to myself. People are going to judge me no matter what, so I should do what makes me happy. I’m weird/odd/strange. I don’t see things the same as others do and that’s a gift, not a curse. I don’t have to conform. (And in actuality, I didn’t exactly conform … but I wasn’t my true self either.)
December 7, 2014
Day 25: What is one thing that you wish that non-borderline’s could understand? The difficulty of not knowing who I am, how much I hurt all the time, how hard it is for me to “hear” clearly. It’s so hard to explain … it’s like I have my own language and the interpreter in my mind doesn’t say exactly what you say to me. The “interpreter” is my borderline personality disorder and it feeds off my insecurities, fear and/or rage.
An example: When I was 22 I was a customer service rep at a pharmaceutical call center. I was having a really bad day — I had just started Paxil (beware!) and was feeling the effects in addition to being severely depressed. My boss came over after I had finished a phone call, put his arm around my shoulders, and said, “Sounds like you’re having a rough day.” When my shift ended half an hour later, I went home and took an entire bottle of ibuprofen mixed with sleeping pills. My stomach was pumped and I ended up on a 72-hour psych hold. So what happened?
What he said and meant in a concerned way: “Sounds like you’re having a rough day.”
What I heard in an angry way: “You’re doing an awful job.”
The sad thing is that Mark had never been anything but supportive of me. I consistently received high reviews and he had put me up for a promotion despite the fact I had only been there six months. But my “interpreter” colored what was a genuine concern for me because I was acting our of character, and led me to act impulsively.
December 8, 2014
Day 26: Name 3 famous people you can relate to?
December 9, 2014
Day 27: Do you have any bad habits?
December 10, 2014
Day 28: Do you consider yourself high or low functioning?
December 11, 2014
Day 29: If your mind was a house what would it look like?
December 12, 2014
Day 30: What is your “safe place” when your upset? (This can also be a person)
December 13, 2014
Day 31: Do you admire or look up to someone?