Today was better than expected -making the best out of a potentially horrible day

I woke up this morning  with very high levels of anxiety, 2 hours sleep and a f-ed digestive system. Like I felt physically destroyed and emotionally pretty tense. Still I went to work, despite considering several times not getting up. I even had breakfast (I usually do not care enough to make sure that I don’t feel like fainting after one hour into the day).

I drove to work and talked to J in the car. I remember the feeling getting out of the car and walking towards my office – so deeply depressed and dark. The weather was also very fitting. But I went in anyways (didn’t really feel like much of a choice). Then I was lucky to run into my coworker P early on and yes – it is actually a pretty nice thing to be welcomed in the morning knowing that they are happy to see you. P was also really kind listening to all these worries/problems I have in regards to our work environment. It helped to gain a little more clarity and feel a tiny bit less helpless and overwhelmed.

I even felt inspired to ask my team leader later for clarification about one of the things I struggle so much with. Unfortunately he confirmed what I had been perceiving non-verbally the whole time already – but still it feels much better to have clarity and have it explicitly pronounced – puts me a little bit back into my power when things are pronounced.

The hardest today was really managing to keep at least a minimum of productive focus. My brain felt like lead. But yes, somehow I had more determination (I am guessing that talking to J might be a factor in here – I often observe that I have greater determination and willpower when I talk regularly with J).

I drank loads of black tea – which is a pretty risky thing to do for me, since too much caffeine can give me panic attacks. But it seems to have worked out for today, I managed to be pretty productive for the extreme degree of exhaustion I was feeling – still I am thinking that it might be a healthier choice (emotionally and physically) to experiment with Mate instead of Caffeine in the future.

And then there were just a few things that were actually just really nice and coaxed a smile out of tired Me:

  • There were two people who asked me to hang – people where I am quite positive that I will enjoy their company (I have met them before). I only recently moved to this city – so making new friends is really important. I want to watch out for myself though – since both of them are guys and I currently only would want a platonic friendship from either of them. But since I am so shitty with my own boundaries, I will really have to watch out here. I could easily move into a relationship dynamic that I might realize too late that I am actually uncomfortable about.
  • Through the medium of my mother I have gotten in contact with a therapist friend of hers who is willing to listen to me once a week (which will be basically an even more intense version of my talks with J). We spoke briefly on the phone today – and I really hope that he might be a person who is capable of listening in a way that supports me and helps me overcome my crisis and find more stability and joy even.

After work – despite being extremely tired – I actually managed to take care of some really urgent chores – which in this case was definitely the best positive action in the moment. And I am a bit proud of myself, because usually I would have just wasted the evening on the couch, surfing reddit and feeling really depressed and hopeless afterwards.


Check-in: I am terrified

What to write about today? Maybe something really honest and raw?

I am terrified of tomorrow, because of work. I am terrified they will fire me. I am terrified I might not be able to work, if I am too tired, or back aches or my digestion fails me. I am terrified of explaining how I could be missing 6 hours of work that I claim I was working (but in reality spend deeply exhausted and depressed lying in bed). I am terrified of losing my job and becoming homeless again. I am terrified thinking that things simply will never get better. That there might be nothing I can do about that. That I will always – in the best case – be an under-achiever because of my extreme sensitivity and very low stress tolerance. I am terrified of being a hopeless failure, who will have to waste away the next 30 to 40 years, till I finally die after an utterly pointless and very painful life. I am very scared.

I so much pray that some time soon, I might actually experience the lightness and good ness of life again and if that is only for a day … I am very exhausted.

Thank you for reading.

More thoughts on Opposite Action

For the time being at least – I do experience writing these little, random notes in this blog as helpful for myself – gives me a chance to reflect and check in with myself. Like: Where am I? Where am I going? Am I on the right track?

In all honesty I am going through pretty bad times right now. I struggle with burn out symptoms related to my work. And it is still a really big uphill struggle to overcome this. I dont want to go into detail about this right now, since I want to sleep soon.

Just one thought: Since I have read up upon DBT recently and read about “Opposite Action”, it has been working in my mind. I have thought and experimented with this a lot. Of course I have used methods/approaches like that before, but did not name it that.

But yes, in a way I find it a helpful reminder to check in regularly with myself throughout the day and ask: “What action right now will actually contribute most to my overall well-being?” Often I have to answer: “I really dont know. It seems there is nothing I can do. I am trapped.” But still – even contemplating for a moment this “positive action” (as I prefer to call it), shifts my energy in a better direction and I end up doing something positive at least in 50% of the cases I would say. But certainly directly correlates with the degree of sincerity I have been asking myself the question…

Method: Talking to J. – part 2

As I promised, here is a transcript from a talk with J, that is about 6 weeks old. It will appear quite random and scattered. There are quite some stretches of silence in between as well, where the dialog is still going on but only in my mind.

There is quite some anxiety here.

I have been thinking how one of my greatest enemies is this passivity and inactivity, when I dont need it. I mean there are times, like yesterday, when I would be lying there and just stare at the sky and look into the landscape – this is important. This should never be … like this should never be considered something bad, but … but that sense of inactivity – for example, that M. does not know, that is what I don’t want.

Its a lot of things that need to be dealt with: The whole relationship topic. I wanna try this, so I can say I have dated. I really wanna try it.

And other than that I am overwhelmed just for the lack of… how can I say that? Of clarity?

The lack of clarity that exists here. I really wanna have carpets. … Lack of clarity. …

Im sorry … maybe the problem is only, that Im distracting myself here, maybe it is better if I just sit down on the sofa.

Lack of clarity – on which level? On the day level, on the one months level, and also even on the year level. Or rather its not so much year – its a two year level. What is on the 2 year level – there are things like: I realize i want more money than I have now, and I dont really know how to get there. …

Oh everybody is looking at me like: What the Fuck, why did she book a company? Definitely. I want more money, but I dont know where to get that. I am scared of asking for enough money. I really should do research into how much money as a junior developer I can make.

Yeah two months experience is not that.

Relationship – if I want that, I need to be clear: On what can I compromise. Because if I keep waiting for That, the likelihood is so low. I have to understand where I can compromise.

My sister talks a lot of bhagwaas. And in theory it makes sense, but practically the way she does stuff is not the way she says things are right. So …

But that ??? I should contact him.

Why so negative in the morning? Ill have to sit down with you J, after Ill have made the plan, because then I will have more structure and stuff to talk about and so on.

My stomach aches a little.

Well see what I really dont want: I dont wanna be fear driven. It is better to be fear driven than to be blocked. Sure. Not sure, but true. But I wanna be passion-driven, curiosity-driven, freedom-driven, desire-driven. But sometimes it needs to be fear-driven action in order to deal with the fear. Thats what I am saying here.

Keep my priorities clear …

Strong independent woman … yeah, Ive drifted off into thinking about the car. When do I deal with that?


Method: Talking to J

I really hope to get in touch and converse with others afflicted with BPD, so that we all can learn from each other and support each other in our healing processes.

I am still going through this really bad period. I am actually dealing with a sense of terror even, that I keep suppressed or disconnected. But from experience and instinct I know it is there, underneath. And that if I want to actually feel better again, I will have to pay the bill. I will have to feel and thereby release this enormous energy that is crushing my system at the moment.

A method that has helped me in the past quite often in such times to gain grounding and clarity is what I call “Talking with J”. J is my imaginary listener. And when I talk to him I basically take my ipod, set the timer on 15 minutes, and then start the recorder. And then I just speak to J – just as if I was venting and contemplating my emotions and worries with a real person. Somehow I need to feel that there is someone listening – that is why J is there.

What happens when I do this, is a trans-formative shift of my energy. I never know beforehand what exactly is going to happen – but to be honest I would even describe what happens there as therapeutic. This small incremental shifts I experience there, really feel real, lasting, new. It helps me deal with anxiety, pain of abandonment, confusion, helplessness, overwhelmment, and anger even (!). Anger is particularly interesting because to me it seems that anger is often a form confusion. And through speaking with J my anger becomes more focused and clear and thereby I feel more powerful, which does actually decrease at least the destructive impulses of anger.

Maybe I will transcribe for you one of these “Conversation with J”, so maybe you could get to sense the shift of energy there.

I have no idea if this method could have positive effects for others as well, but it might be worth a try for you. If you have any questions about this please feel free to ask!

Disrespecting my own limits

This will be a quick one. But I just have done it again. Gosh and I so much hate myself doing this. This definitely has to has something to do with the whole BPD complex.

I met a guy in the evening through CS. Which was all good and fine at first – but maybe after 1.5 hours I actually had enough, but for the fear of not wanting to appear like I did not enjoy his company and that I was being obviously rude since in my mind I imagined that such a meeting is supposed to be longer, I ended up spending 4 hours with him. Which was much too much too much too much too long. I am mildly dissociated now, exhausted, feeling numb, scared that I was so easily ready to do something like this to me. Why on earth can’t I take better care of myself in such situations?

This must be a BPD thing. I hate this so much. Why is what I imagine is expected of me so much more important in those moments than my own well being. It’s like I have no own will or something in those moments. The momentum is there and it drags me along, till it has run dry. Its like I have no own steering wheel. That is really a pretty good analogy. Like there is no way to steer while I have gathered any momentum.

Is that BPDish?

Morning Routine?

I have experimented with morning routines often in the past. And therefore I know from experience that for me any action (or non-action) and thoughts I do in the morning can influence my day greatly. Furthermore I definitely am a morning person as in: My brain is most fresh in the morning. It feels most creative and productive. Also I do love the morning energy – the time between the formless darkness and the shapefulness of the bright day. It is actually a secret that maybe not many people know: Awaking is a very gentle and kind process. True awakening. Awakening is a lot about listening into space and silence. Is about watching thoughts and the world taking shape before and behind my eyes.

I am lucky to currently have a balcony, that allows me some privacy while at the same time lets me look over a meadow and into some far. There is nature around me. Unfortunately there is also  the (pretty quiet, I admit) background noise of a highway in the distance. I personally actually prefer absolute silence.

Hmm, back to the morning routine. I will try to experiment with it again.

Problems that I foresee though are: If I am scared and stressed by a problem I have been avoiding (as of right now my feelings of terror as they relate to work and the fear of losing it), I can see myself easily not doing and/or not profiting from such a morning routine. Like my thoughts would constantly be catastrophising and I might even come to associate the beautiful, pleasant energy of the morning on my sweet little balcony with this terror. And I really don’t want that to happen.

With any routine really – it is always not a one-dimensional straight forward approach that I can take … in the sense of: “Just do it, no matter what – this will be good for you.” This is simply not true – and I actually wonder if that is something that other people with BPD struggle with as well. There certainly never is one-dimensionality to emotions and to circumstances – and approaching emotions for someone with the “Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder” with a one blueprint only, can really have harmful effects.

What it really needs much more – a wide range of methods, that help dealing with emotions / problems and the WISDOM to know which one works best in which situation. I wonder if developing this kind of WISDOM is not actually one of the biggest parts of the healing process of someone afflicted with this horrible Emotional Instability (avoiding the mental illness label again 😉 ).

As an introduction: I don’t really fit… as usual

I don’t even know for sure if I have BPD. 12 years ago a psychiatrist diagnosed me with a personality disorder – but he did not tell me about the diagnosis at the time and I learned about it only second hand later, so I am not sure if it was actually BPD. But on the other hand no other personality disorders really fit the bill here, so it was most likely BPD what he saw in me.

I made a second attempt to get another diagnosis some 7 years ago – but that also became rather unclear, since the psychologist first said “No, you certainly don’t have it.” in a first meeting and in a second meeting she was like: “I am leaning towards the fact that you have it now.” Both ways of being “diagnosed” were so apparently unprofessional, that I cannot really say I have an official diagnosis.

Fact is though, that I do not really care so much about the diagnosis as such, but about the actual problem complex behind it (trying to avoid the term >mental illness< here), which – for me – is contained in what people call BPD.

I am certainly not the clear-cut case. I don’t follow this stereotype of the seductive manipulator. Not at all. I am a pretty honest and sincere person, who experiences strong emotional discomfort when I have to do the tiniest lie (like telling someone I am happy, when I am not and things like that). I care terribly much about taking responsibility for my actions (I fail a lot according to my own expectations, but I really try hard to own up for what I do afterwards)  – I have enormous amounts of empathy for others. I love people who are vulnerable with their emotions and I love being open and vulnerable. All these are not aspects typically associated with people with borderline.

On the other hand I tick many of the boxes (unfortunately):

  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment MILDLY/SORT OF
  • A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships SORT OF
  • Identity disturbance MILDLY
  • Impulsivity MILDLY/SORT OF
  • Recurrent suicidal behavior SORT OF
  • Emotional instability VERY MUCH
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness NOT REALLY
  • Inappropriate, intense anger VERY MUCH
  • Transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts SORT OF