I am the luckiest girl in the world

Hey, I know they all say that, but I really feel it, and that’s all that matters.

Everything is going so well with James, and with him in my life, I feel as though I can cope with anything that life is going to bring my way. I have slowly opened up to him, and a couple of days told him about BPD and about this blog. I didn’t give him the address, and he didn’t ask for it. I don’t want him to read it, simply because it is personal to me. I know that sounds crazy since nearly 40k people have read these pages, but they are people that don’t know me in ‘real life’ so it isn’t the same. Also, I have talked about him on here and I just don’t think it would be appropriate for him to read that.

I told him what I now believe, that for a period of time, I met the criteria from the DSM-IV for Borderline Personality Disorder, but I no longer do. I came to this realisation recently, and I believe it has been through hard work and determination I have been able to work on each criterion and develop methods of coping to stop them from affecting my life.

These are the criteria from the DSM-IV:

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5. I no longer am controlled by these thoughts. I accept that I am going to experience loss throughout my life and I understand that although difficult, I will be able to continue my life with the support of people around me and that loss is a natural and normal occurrence. I am not worried that people are going to abandon me, and do not make extensive efforts to maintain friendships/relationships above and beyond what would be considered ‘normal’ for that relationship. I understand that I cannot please everyone and in simple terms, I should just be myself.

Things that have helped me come to these conclusions:

  • The support of friends and their continued love and affection for me, despite my crazy emotions/thoughts/behaviour has shown me that I am accepted as I am, not as what I think I should be, and that people are not going to leave me if I make mistakes.
  • DBT Skills from the Core Mindfulness Module – allowing me to relax, observe and be aware of reality rather than my imagination.

2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation. For the most part, I no longer have unstable relationships. This point is one where I could say I still meet the criteria to an extent as my relationship with James, and my friendship with Jen are both intense. However, the ‘pattern’ described here has revealed itself in my earlier years by the idealisation/devaluation aspect – I would wake up one day during an intense relationship and suddenly want nothing to do with that person. This has changed – I still have no answers as to why it happened but it hasn’t happened with Jen or Kim, and it hasn’t happened with James. Things that people do no longer have a deep effect on me as they did before. For example, I could hate someone because they made a nasty comment to me, and the next minute love them because they smiled at me. This no longer happens – the way I feel about people as a baseline is not affected by day to day trivia.

Things that have helped me come to these conclusions:

  • DBT Skills from the Core Mindfulness Module – These skills have helped me to start to observe, describe and eventually understand how people feel, and how their trivial ‘day to day’ actions normally have no bearing on their actual deep rooted emotions. For example, someone can love me, but make a nasty comment. Before, when that would happen, I would assume they didn’t love me any more. I now understand that their nasty comment may actually be because THEY are having a bad day, or some other outside influence.
  • DBT Skills from the Interpersonal Effectiveness Module – mainly the acronyms GIVE (used in maintaining relationships) and FAST (maintaining the self respect) and DEARMAN (Getting what you want). These skills have all helped me to improve relationships with people, hence making them more chaotic. In general I am a much more laid back, gentle and accommodating person too, after being on this journey of self discovery about the person I want to be.

3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self. This also links in to my journey of self discovery and learning about who I am. I have been through the ‘lesbian’ phase so now know that I am straight. I have been through so many hair/clothing styles that I now know what I like. I still sometimes have a clear out and try to re establish my image, but then I think that may be more of a ‘girl’ thing than a ‘Borderline’ thing. I know where I am heading in life, and I know where I eventually want to be. I also do not allow myself to be led/manipulated and stick to my own values a lot more than I used to.

Things that have helped me come to these conclusions:

  • DBT Skills from the module ‘Interpersonal Effectiveness’: FAST (Used to maintain the respect for yourself) and therefore not allowing myself to be influenced and allowing myself to stick to my morals and values
  • Experience – being through situations such as being with Jean and learning from my mistakes (knowing I am straight or knowing I am not a goth etc). This was my journey of finding out about myself and cannot be done in a short space of time.

4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behaviour covered in Criterion 5. This no longer happens. I still get urges but I do not act upon them. I observe what I am feeling and give myself the time to think about the consequences of my actions. (Spending – I will struggle to pay my bills, Sex – I could get pregnant/ill/ruin my relationship (I don’t have any urges to have sex with anyone other than James so this one isn’t really applicable), Substance Abuse – I am so far removed from any thoughts of substance abuse you wouldn’t believe – it just doesn’t fit in with my new ‘healthy’ lifestyle – reckless driving – I think of the consequences of damaging my car and not having transport. The only small part I still struggle with is Binge Eating. It is no-where near the extent as before because I now do not allow myself to purge, therefore living with the consequences of binging (putting on weight). I like to think for the most part I am totally in control of my behaviour. I also do not allow myself to take any substance that will mean I am no longer in control, for example, excessive alcohol. 

Things that have helped me come to these conclusions:

  • My new ‘healthy’ lifestyle – I eat lots of fruit, drink lots of water and exercise. Substance abuse, excessive drinking or binge eating would destroy all my hard work to become a healthier, fitter person.
  • My new home – I have a mortgage and I am not willing to lose it by impulsive or excessive spending meaning I would not be able to fulfil my responsibilities of a mortgage and bills.
  • James – I would never cheat on James and have absolutely no inclination to sleep with (or even look at) any other man

5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior I still have self harm urges, but do not act upon them. I am strong enough to fight back. For reference, I probably think about self harm once per fortnight, and it is a fleeting thought rather than a serious one.

Things that have helped me come to these conclusions:

  • DBT Skills from the ‘Distress Tolerance Module’ – Wise Mind ACCEPTS (Distractions), Self Soothing (all of the skills in the module really help) plus some from the Core Mindfulness Module
  • The amazing support of family and friends
  • Increased respect for myself and my body
  • Inner strength developed over time

6. affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days). I no longer suffer from this. When I am tired I can get down, but I think this is fairly common, and as soon as I have slept I feel better again.

Things that have helped me come to these conclusions:

  • DBT Skills from the ’emotion regulation’ module
  • Exercise
  • The constant support of friends
  • Learning to ‘let things go’ and maintain my baseline anxiety without meds

7. chronic feelings of emptiness This no longer applies to me

8. inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights) This no longer applies to me

9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms This happens, but rarely, and I can normally control it (They are not severe, they are controllable). 

Things that have helped me come to these conclusions:

  • DBT Skill ‘Core Mindfulness’ has REALLY helped for this one.

So, as you can see, out of the nine criteria of which you need 5 to be diagnosed with BPD, and at a push, I would say I meet 1 and maybe 2, but neither fully. What does this mean? Well it means there is HOPE. I always thought BPD was something I would have to live with for life, but it doesn’t seem that this is the case for me.

I am still waiting to hear when I can start the MBT (Mentalisation Based Therapy). It is a big commitment but I think this will be the thing which will really cement by recovery and make sure I do not regress back to my old ways.

I really, really love James. I never want to be apart from him, but am mindful that he may not feel as intensely as I do, so do regulate myself. We have told each other we love each other and I love spending time with him. I never thought I would be lucky enough to have a relationship like this, and I am not even panicking about the future and what might happen – I am just living in the moment and loving it.

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3 comments

  1. So exciting! I’m glad things are going well!

  2. whitewarriorprincess · · Reply

    I’m so happy, pleased, excited, glad for you! Well done sweetheart! You deserve this :)) bpd or no bpd makes no difference to me, your friends, those that love you – we are still here. I knew you were having a fab time over Easter I just knew it cus there weren’t posts coming up which I know from my experience means you were probably out there enjoying every minute, as you so deserve to do!
    I’m thrilled for you & I know what affect loving someone so deeply has on life in all aspects, it’s so much more fun having someone to share it all with isn’t it!?
    Keep up the fab work honey, always here for you & cheering u on-do keep in touch via your other contact with me when I reopen my profile (took a break) I miss u!
    So glad to hear you fughting for your worth & needs &happiness :))
    Hugs xxxxx
    Ps. What happened abt that nasty postman cus it really pissed me off & I wanted to punch him for you!!!?

    1. Thank you sweetheart. I miss you on fb. The postman situation is ongoing but I am living with it!

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