Tuesday, January 29, 2013

An open letter to my mom

Have you ever come up with this amazing idea, right before you fall asleep, and then forget it? I do that all of the time, especially with blog ideas, but last night right before I fell asleep last night, say to myself, "God, wake me up early tomorrow morning so I can write this," and at 4:59am, unassisted I woke up. The unassisted wake up is a miracle in it's own, because I hate mornings.  The only thing is, God apparently lives in another time zone, because I did NOT intend to get up this early, but I'm awake, and felt really compelled to write this.

My mom is an amazing lady, and I don't think she's give enough credit for what she's been through to get where she is in her self journey of life. We judge people on the surface, and forget about the journeys and the scars and experiences that bring us to this place in time.  If being an adult has taught me anything, it's that adults are just as confused, lost and seeking what they 'want to do when they grow up' that kids are, only they suddenly have a lot less time to do it in. I just want to let my mom know she's appreciated, and thought of, and loved. Even when I forget to call her, she's loved.

Dear Mom, 
I know our relationship has been tumultuous at times, but also know, that I love you more than words can express. I'm sorry for all of the times that I don't call, and I do promise that I'm not ignoring you on purpose, I just suck at calling people back.  I think about you all of the time, and have this childish hope that if I don't hear bad news that you're doing well.  I love calling you to update you on my life, and projects, and the silly stuff my cat is doing.  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Guest Blog! Beating the Social Stigma of Borderline Personality Disorder

Welcome to the New Year.  While I'm not one of those people to make a bunch of New Year's resolutions just so I can lose all motivation in February, I am someone who likes to look back, take account of what happened and use this time to look forward.  This next year I really want to concentrate on both the physical and financial health of my family.  I want to continue to learn about myself, my health, and set goals for myself that both challenge me but are motivators in themselves.

I'm really excited to have a guest blogger here today.  +Andrea Brooks  and I went to high school together, and she was more of a friend of my brother's than mine, but we reconnected on Facebook and it's been really amazing to see her journey for health this last year.  She was recently diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) which is a disorder that I knew very little about. The first thing I thought about when I read 'personality disorder' was 'multiple personality disorder.' I was very wrong!

Opening up about mental illness, something that society still tends to stigmatize and sweep under the rug, is a very challenging experience. When I was a teenager, battling with crippling depression, I never told anyone about my depression. It wasn't until I got to college that I realized that confronting your illness is the only way to treat it.  

I am so proud of Andrea for being able to have the strength and courage to start a blog and tell people about her experienced with BPD, while doing it in a really easily readable, and funny way. Also, I give her mad props for being on the ball and posting so frequently, which is something we all know that I am currently challenged with. And here is Andrea!

Most people have no idea what Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) really is. If you've heard of it, chances are you have heard some not-so-nice things about the people who have it.

Well folks, I am one of those people who happen to have BPD. And I am here to talk about why society should NOT be so quick to judge and label people like me.

People with BPD have a very hard time regulating their emotions. When we get mad, we become furious….even over the simplest of things. When we are sad, we get depressed, and at times suicidal. Being happy is a rare occurrence. I am often wary of happiness, because I know it will be short-lived, and the despair will soon be back. Most of the time we feel emptiness, or void of emotion. Not to be associated with being sociopathic. We most definitely feel emotions when we have them. It is really hard to explain how it feels to be “dead” inside. Rest assured that BPD sufferers aren't like this ALL of the time…..just on our bad days. Sadly, bad days can often outnumber good days. This lack of emotion is why a lot of BPD sufferers turn to self-harm or substance abuse. We get so desperate to feel SOMETHING, that even physical pain or an altered state of consciousness is welcomed.

We BPD-ers are often self-loathing individuals. Sure, everyone knows what low self-esteem is, but this is more severe than that. Can you imagine HATING yourself? For no apparent reason? Let me tell you, it sucks. Compliments from others are quickly dismissed. We often seek out abusive relationships without realizing it. In our mind, we don’t deserve happiness. Suffering is what we know best, and is almost welcomed.

How does one develop Borderline Personality Disorder? Most professionals believe that it is from abuse or neglect in childhood. Not necessarily physical or sexual (although that is often the case), but children who grew up in a house where their feelings were not validated often develop BPD. A sad child is told repeatedly “You aren’t sad, you are just being a brat….shut up.” Or when they are upset and need comfort they are turned away instead. Those children are taught that emotions are wrong, and are not shown how to properly deal with them. As we grow older, emotionally we remain children in many ways.

How is BPD treated? Just like every other disorder…..medication and therapy. Sadly, there is no BPD medication, and it can be quite difficult finding the right combination of prescriptions to help combat the BPD. Therapy like Dialectal Behavior Therapy is highly thought of to be beneficial to BPD patients, as it essentially re-teaches individuals how to handle their feelings and to regulate emotions.

Unfortunately, Borderline Personality is very VERY difficult to treat. A lot of mental health professionals do not like to work with BPD patients because of the level of difficulty, and the often defiant behavior we exhibit.

By now, you probably have some curiosity as to the life of someone with BPD. If so, you are welcome to read my blog:

Andy has BPD, The (not so) hidden side of me.

My blog is dedicated to my journey in life with Borderline Personality Disorder and my quest to manage my symptoms and have a better quality of life. I am also married with 4 children, so this undertaking is not just for me. On my bad days I strive to do it for them when I don’t care about myself.

I also like to dispel certain myths about people with BPD. Do we make good parents? Are we horrible spouses? Bad employees? What about being a friend to someone with BPD?

Please stop on by and check it out!
Thank you Andrea!  Please stop in an read her blog! 

I feel obligated add a disclaimer that neither of us are medical professionals or are trying to diagnose or treat anything. If you feel like some of these symptoms describe issues that you are having, PLEASE talk to a professional as soon as possible.  It is scary how many years people suffer, thinking that they are alone. You aren't! 

Do you have an experience with BPD?  Do you have it? Are you willing to talk about your experiences in trying to get help in the confusing field of mental health? We would love to hear from you.