Life in a Bind – BPD and me

Borderline Personality Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and my therapy journey. Listed in Top Ten Resources for BPD in 2016 by goodtherapy.org. I write for welldoing.org under the name Clara Bridges.

About this blog

 

This blog exists for many reasons. It’s part of my ongoing recovery and part of my therapy – it’s a way of processing life, sessions, relationships. It’s a way of connecting with other people and feeling less alone when it comes to my experiences of mental illness. In the months leading up to and soon after my diagnosis, reading other blogs about BPD was crucial in terms of helping me to understand more about BPD, about myself, and about the way BPD has affected my life since I was a teenager. I still receive a great deal from reading others’ blogs, and by writing, I hope that my own posts can serve a similar sort of purpose for readers who come across them.

This blog exists to try and reduce stigma around mental health by helping others to understand BPD better; how it can affect people and their view of the world, and how this can lead to particular behaviours. I believe that for me at least, BPD means that some of my views and reactions are similar to those of people without BPD but taken to extremes; whereas in other ways my world-view is the complete opposite of many people’s default assumptions. I also believe that at least some of the stigma around BPD is rooted in interpreting the behaviour of those with the condition in accordance with ‘the majority worldview’, which leads to a fundamental misunderstanding of the motivations and reasons behind those behaviours. I hope that by trying to give some insight into my own thinking, feelings and behaviour and how BPD manifests in my life, I can help foster greater understanding of BPD and very importantly, much greater compassion for those with the diagnosis.

I try and post twice a week – a ‘smaller’ post on a Tuesday or Wednesday, sometimes comprising a song or poem, or a reblog; and a ‘larger’ post on a Saturday. I tend to post mainly about BPD and how it affects my life and my relationships (including with my husband and children); and about therapy and my relationship with my therapist. To a lesser extent, I also post about suicide and self-harm, and I include a ‘trigger warning’ at the top of a post, where relevant. I also share songs and poems that have meant something to me, and I reblog a number of other posts. I have organised my posts into the following categories, and sometimes a post will appear under more than one category.

Aspects of BPD: when I first started blogging, I found myself writing posts about how BPD manifested in my life, and realising after I had finished writing, that they were an expression of one or other of the DSM IV criteria for a BPD diagnosis. That is how ‘Aspects of BPD’ came about, and although not all of the posts relate to specific symptoms, many of them do, but in a very personal way. They are not general descriptions of those symptoms, but about how they are evident in my own life, and sometimes that comes out in slightly quirky ways (see my post on BPD and anger!). Writing those posts also helped me to realise that the definitions of those symptoms/criteria are much broader and more complex than I had originally imagined (for example, abandonment can be emotional as well as physical). This also meant that sometimes I realised, with surprise, that a particular symptom was very evident in my life, whereas previously I had believed it did not apply to me. I believe everyone’s experience is unique, and that none of us are defined by our mental health conditions. I have therefore tried not to generalise, but at the same time I recognise, through reading a number of blogs, that there is a great deal of commonality of experience. Forgive me, therefore, if I sometimes err too much on the side of generalisation!

Therapy: Ah, therapy. After a number of years, I still feel as though I’m ‘not doing it right’. Which is precisely one of the reasons I continue to need therapy! As anyone who has ever done it will know, it is immensely hard work. And it is messy, complicated, painful, emotional, joyful, revelatory, ordinary and interesting. And so many other things. For me it is crucial. At the moment, I cannot imagine life without it, or without my therapist. It is an absolutely necessary part of my recovery, and it is teaching me so very much. What it is teaching me, and how it is doing that, I have tried to capture in the posts falling under this category.

Self-harm and suicide: For me, self-harm and suicidal ideation began as an adult, even though I can see other symptoms of BPD in my life since I was a teenager. What I have come to understand over the last couple of years is that both self-harm and suicidal ideation are very complicated. The experiences of them, and the reasons behind them, are different for different people, but are also different for the same person at different times. I try to give a sense of what those reasons, feelings, and experiences are, but in a safe way, and also in a way that is completely accepting, but without being in any way promoting.

All about Jane: this was going to be the title of my blog, until I realised that there was another site with a similar title. Jane was my ex-therapist, and she gave me my first experience of psychotherapy, and ultimately, of complete acceptance. Although I saw her for only a limited time, I was immensely attached to her, and she had a huge impact on me. Our therapy was what encouraged me to finally start opening up about my mental health difficulties to a small number of people – until that point, only my husband and two friends knew anything about them. I don’t want to say too much here – I hope the posts speak for themselves. It’s a closed chapter of my life, but an immensely important one, and she will always mean a great deal to me.

Poems, quotes and music: Sometimes I share poems, quotes or pieces of music – always because they have a particular significance for me, or because they have struck me for a very particular reason at that point in time. Often, the pieces of music I share are connected in some way with therapy. Occasionally, as described in this post, a song that has had a powerful impact on me will become the subject matter of therapy, and will end up having great therapeutic significance. Occasionally, you may even come across a piece of music played by me, or a poem written by me!

Blogging: I have written a small number of posts which are in some direct ways and in some very tenuous ways (!) connected with blogging. I am honoured to have been nominated for a few blogger-created awards by fellow-bloggers, and my posts on blog awards describe my views on the matter, and my slightly contorted attempt to have my cake and eat it too…….

Reblogs: I have read, and continue to read, a large number of amazing posts by fellow-bloggers, and if I tried to reblog them all – well……my list of posts would be far larger than it is now! I tend to reblog those posts which, like the pieces of music or the poems I share, have had a significant impact or have come at exactly the right time for me. They speak into the situation that I am in, or echo exactly how I am feeling at that time. When I reblog posts, I always try and explain why I am doing so, and why the post has particularly struck me.

Memory Monday: this category started as a way of continuing to post during January, a time of year I find particularly difficult and which for the last couple of years, has been a month of deep darkness and depression. However, I continued it beyond that time, and still post now and again. In Memory Monday, I share posts from my archives, but they are ones that speak into the present moment and reflect where I am at the time. And as with reblogs, I always try and show how posts are relevant to the present time, and why they have come to feel significant for me again.

 

 

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