Monday, April 24, 2017

Mandela Effect or Did I Selectively Ignore These Symptoms of BPD?

When did the symptoms of borderline personality disorder change? Was I too busy dealing with my roller coaster of emotions to notice all symptoms on the DSM borderline personality disorder list? Have there always been symptoms of BPD I wasn't familiar with?

I ask this because today I came across a tweet with this photograph that lists these as the symptoms of BPD:

Yet these are the symptoms I have always been familiar with along with chronic emptiness (which isn't on this list):

 My research show these are actually the full list of symptoms of borderline personality disorder:

When I saw these my reaction was:

Why? Because I honestly don't recall reading about transient paranoia and hallucinations in any of my borderline personality disorder books or seeing it any of the research I have done over the years.

So I decided to check my favorite book on BPD, Sometimes I Act Crazy: Living with Borderline Personality Disorder by Jerold J. Kriesman, M.D. and Hal Straus, to see if I was experiencing a Mandala Effect and these symptoms have always been listed. 

Turns out they have and I have a selective memory about them. It indeed lists the symptoms of "transient, stress related paranoia." The entire Chapter 10 of Sometimes I Act Crazy is about reality distortions, paranoia, and dissociation. I even have passages highlighted in this chapter yet have no memory of paranoia and hallucinations being part of BPD. So ironically, since selective memory is also a symptom of borderline personality disorder, my BPD literally prevented me from having memories about the symptoms of BPD. 

What exactly is transient paranoia? 
It turns out my lack of knowledge about these symptoms of BPD isn't unusual. Stacy Pershell in Psychology Today says this:

It wasn't until I read the diagnostic criteria for borderline personality disorder that I saw the word used in a clinical, nonjudgmental context. Criterion nine in the DSM is "transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms." At the time, this criterion was overshadowed by the more urgent and distressing criteria - the frantic efforts to avoid abandonment, the eating disorder, the suicide attempts. I took note of the word "paranoid," but I didn't dissociate, so I didn't give it much credence. I was more worried about whether the lover du jour was going to leave me.

I do have issues with dissociation but I never thought of my feelings that people are trying to intentionally emotionally hurt me as "paranoia." When I look back though, I realize this is indeed what they were. When in stressful situations I tend to believe people are out to get me. Just as the word "transient" implies, these feelings are only temporary and only occur under emotional stress. 

However in the last month, I have been dealing with a different kind of paranoia. I've been having feelings that people on social media are rooting for me to fail and even secretly working against me. These happen even when I'm not under immediate stress. I've never experienced anything like this before. At it's worst it was terrifying and I actually started to worry that I needed to add schizophrenia to my diagnosis. 

It turns out it has always been a symptom of BPD. Since I had never experienced this kind of thing before it never occurred to me to research paranoia. It's almost like I was meant to see that tweet about paranoia being a symptom. While I do experience the feelings of people being out to get me in personal relationships, this is always with people I know and during a fight or disagreement. I never looked at it as paranoia since I knew them. It wasn't until recently that I began experiencing the belief that complete strangers are secretly working against me and started to consider I'm suffering from paranoia.

What about hallucinations?
I decided to consult Sometimes I Act Crazy again. It says distortions involving all five senses may occur. You may feel frightening distortions in perception such as perceiving that you are poisoned, infested by bugs, or perceiving gas smells that aren't really there. Unfortunately this is as in depth as the book goes. However, Stacy Pershell's article in Psychology Today that I quoted from earlier, lists different hallucinations and distortions in reality that other borderlines have experienced. 

Personally I have ongoing issues with two things. I often imagine smells that aren't there and when driving at night I think people are flashing their brights at me when they aren't. To be honest, the smell thing is actually kind of nice at times. I'll be in a parking lot and suddenly smell cookies. However, sometimes it's not so nice. Yesterday I sensed the public library had the smell of sewage. It was so strong I was tempted to ask someone else, "Do you smell that?" but didn't because I was afraid it was just my BPD acting up again. 

I did some research on these hallucinations and found which Psychiatrist: Update which says:
Clinicians consider the perceptual experiences reported by borderline PD patients as’ hallucination like’ experiences or as ‘pseudo hallucinations’ there is limited consensus on the nature of these symptoms. It is generally thought that psychotic symptoms in BPD are short-lasting, less severe, and qualitatively different from those in psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

The way I understand the difference between a psuedo hallucination and a true hallucination is that during a psuedo hallucination is that you understand the hallucinations are fake and you know they are coming from you. A true hallucination is when you see a dragon chasing you and have no idea that it's not really happening. To me this is comforting because I've always believed you're only truly crazy when you don't know that you're crazy. So if I know my hallucinations are fake that makes me less crazy. (Actually it probably doesn't.)

I'm not surprised that information about paranoia and reality distortion in BPD isn't focused on. Borderline personality disorder is primarily viewed as causing issues with unstable emotions, rocky relationships, and fear of abandonment. However, for people like me this cliche is quite frustrating. Personally I don't fall under what is considered a classic borderline. I've never self harmed. I've never attempted suicide. I don't struggle with fear of abandonment. I'm a quiet borderline. Most of what I experience is internal and mental.

Who am I?
While I certainly have a roller coaster of emotions and anger issues, my primary struggle with BPD has been with my identity. To say I have an unstable sense of self is an understatement. This is the first time in several years that I have only had one blog, one Twitter, and one Facebook page. Before this I maintained several blogs on different subjects and even had different corresponding social media. I had a blogs, Facebook pages, and Twitters on feminism, politics, parenting, writing, book reviews. mental health, and spirituality. I was never pretending to be someone I wasn't. I just decided to compartmentalize those different parts of myself.

However, trying to maintain these different media outlets was time consuming and mentally exhausting. I was a chameleon. I was still me but I'd mirror certain aspects of the role while ignoring other parts of myself. For example, if I wanted to discuss something about parenting I would log out of my book review Twitter and log into my other account about parenting.

It got to the point that I couldn't say which one was mostly the real me. Am I the feminist? The writer? The mom? The spiritually minded hippie? The book reviewer?  I realized the only way to find out was to get rid of all these different blogs and social media and maintain just one.

Since I've just started this blog and social media, I don't yet know which of these different aspects are mostly the real me. It's an adventure of sorts. I think it's a sign that I'm reaching a healthier place when it comes to my identity. It also makes me more conscious about how I treat people especially since decided to use my real name. Tweeting an insult at someone feels a lot different when you're not hiding behind an anonymous fake name. But since I have BPD it's a constant struggle to react in a sensitive, mature, and polite way. I act like a complete bitch at times. I have a tendency to troll people I don't agree with. Those DBT skills really come in handy on social media.

I know I veered off topic towards the end of this post but that's something that is so frustrating about borderline personality disorder. There's so many different symptoms and issues a borderline has to deal with. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want To Read A Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is Top Ten Things That Will Instantly Make Me Want to Read a Book

1. I hear about a tv show or movie based on a book.

2. I see cozy socks. 

3. I see someone drinking a hot beverage especially coffee.

4. I'm at the pool.

5. I'm at the beach. 

6. I'm sitting at my patio table especially right before dark.

7. It's raining outside.

8. It's snowing outside.

9. There's books on the set of a movie or tv show.

10. I can't sleep.

My Self Help Journey: My Writing Career

I've been reading Mastery by Robert Greene which is a self help book that focuses on career and vocation. 

Greene writes that in order to gain mastery in any field one must focus on learning a specific skill first. For example, Mozart started as a piano player. Mozart had to master playing an instrument before he could start composing music. Da Vinci started out sketching. He needed to master being able to see like an artist before he could paint or sculpt.

So I asked myself, what skill do I need to first master? I want to write a novel so I thought maybe fiction writing. I also love to draw so I thought about focusing on those skills. But these didn't seem quite right. Then I started to think about what job title I would give myself at this particular moment in time.

Blogger! I didn't hesitate at all when I immediately thought I would describe myself as a blogger.

My goals are to be a popular writer and get paid for it.  I want to be a bestselling author. Ultimately I dream of winning a Pulitzer Prize and/or have my book chosen by Oprah for her book club. Making a lot of money would be awesome but for me, being recognized as someone influential is far more meaningful to me. That is what success looks like for me. 

This is getting a bit ahead of myself. Writing a book are skills I will need to develop however right now the most important thing for me to develop are my skills at blogging. 

Sure I can incorporate sharing my fiction, poetry and art into my blog but if no one is reading my blog, that doesn't mean much. The most important skill for me to develop first is to learn how to write a successful blog. I need to work on building a platform. I could be an awesome writer but none of this means much if no one is seeing what I'm posting. I want to do more than just have people read my posts though. I'd like to inspire people. 

Honestly, I feel ridiculous, vulnerable, and somewhat self absorbed for writing this post. I have a huge desire to delete this entire series that I've called "My Self Help Journey" and pretend like I never even started it. I don't because I know it's exactly what I need as a writer. I want to be challenged. I want to feel just a little uncomfortable and vulnerable. I want to write about things that are real for me.  Maybe that makes me kind of pretentious. I don't know.

What I do know is this. I've been doing a version of this self help journey in private for years. I've wrote pages and pages of journals and diaries about this very thing but there's something different about putting it on a public blog. It gives me accountability. If I spend the next year or so whining and complaining about my problems but never doing anything to change them, then whoever is reading this sees that. It's not another journal I can stuff in the back of my closet that no one will ever see. So even though I feel absurd writing this, I'm doing it for me.

Which brings me to a key issue about being a blogger. I want to have a popular blog that people read and I want to make money at it. But this blog is first and foremost for myself. How do I balance writing for myself and having a successful blog? That's what I need to learn, right?

Friday, April 14, 2017

My Self Help TBR List

1. Finding Your Own North Star by Martha Beck
2. The Bible by Various Authors
3. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns
4. The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers
5. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and It's All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson
6. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
7. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepok Chopra
8. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
9. The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler
10. Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
11. Creative Visualization by Shatki Gawain
12. Emotional Intelligence by Dainel Goleman
13. You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
14. Feal the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan jeffers
15. The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch
16. Tao Te Ching by  Lao Tzu
17. Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore
18. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy
19. The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
20. The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
21. Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins
22. A Return to Love by Marrianne Williamson
23. When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner
24. Passages by Gail Sheehy
25, The Quantum Self by Danah Zohar
26. The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav
27. The Secret by Rhonda Byne
28. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
29. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
30. The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz
31. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
32. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
33. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
34. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson
35. Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
36, The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
37. The Now Habit by Neil A. Flore
38. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
39. The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
40. Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood
41. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
42. The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner
43. Awakening the Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das
44. Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
45. Wishcraft by Barbars Sher
46. The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
47. The Power of Habit by Charle Duhigg
48. Mastery by Robert Greene
49. The Magic by Rhonda Byrne
50. Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman
51. Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
52. Sidetracked Home Executives by Pam Young
53. You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
54. The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker
55. He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt
56. The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
57. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
58. A Course in Miracles by Foundation For Inner Peace
59. Raise Your Vibration, Transform Your Life by Dawn James
60. Getting Past Your Past by Francine Shapiro
61. How to Be a Woman by Caitlan Moran
62. Six Pillars of Self Esteem by Nathanial Branden
63. The Spiral Dance by Starhawk
64. You Are Here by Jenny Lawson
65. How to Be a Bawse by Lilly Singh
66. Revolution From Within by Gloria Steinham
67. #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amuroso
68. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg
69. The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris
70. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up ny Marie Kondo
71. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
72. The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron
73. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry
74. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
75. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
76. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
77. Why Men Love Bitches by Sherry Argov
78. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon
79. The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney
80. The Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner
81. Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracey
82. The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight
83. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley
84. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
85. The Mindful Way Through Depression by Mark Williams
86. Change Your Brain, Change Your Life by Daniel G. Amen
87. Life Strategies by Phillip C. McGraw
88. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
89. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig
90. Organizing From the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern
91. Thrive by Arianna Huffington
92. Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer
93. The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau
94. On Writing by Stephen King
95. Succulent Wild Woman by S.A.R.K.
96. First Things First by Stephen R. Covey
97. All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum
98. Warrior Goddess Training by Heatherash Amara
99. Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley
100. The Darkside of Light Chasers by Debbie Ford
101. Take Time for Your Life by Cheryl Richardson
102. In the Meantime by Iyanla Vanzant
103. Dark Night of the Soul by Thomas Moore
104. The Money Saving Mom's Budget by Crystal Paine
105. Zero Limits by Joe Vitale and Ihaleekala Hew Len
106. Sacred Contracts by Caroline Myss
107. The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook by Matthew McKay and others
108. The Zen Path Through Depression by Philip Martin
109. Unstuck by James S. Gordon
110. Total Mom Makeover by Hannah Keeley
111. Goddesses in Every Woman by Jean Shinoda Bolen
112. The Goddess Within by Jennifer Barker Woolger and Roger J. Woogler
113. Goddess to the Core by Sierra Bender with Jeff Migdow
114. Frequency by Penny Peirce
115. The Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs
116. Excuses Begone! by Wayne Dyer
117. Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss
118. Time Management From the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern
119. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
120. The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Berstein
121. A Gentle Path Through the 12 Steps by Patrick J. Carnes
122. It Works If You Work It by Emotions Anonymous
123. The Heroine's Journey by Maureen Murdock
124. You Are a Baddass Making Money by Jen Cicero
125. Practical Intuition by Laura Day
126. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Do by Amy Morin
127. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

Monday, April 10, 2017

This Is Not That Kind of Inspirational Blog

When I created this blog I knew I wanted it to be about inspiration, motivation, creativity, self improvement, tips, life hacks, crafting, DIY, and spirituality.

I had one rather huge problem. I'm not an expert on these things. Not at all.

I'm a 41 year old blocked aspiring and still unpublished writer. I have a dream of creating art, crafts, and DIY projects. I'm a widowed single mother of five kids ages 4, 13, 16, 21, and 23. My late husband died ten years ago and I still haven't remarried. I'm about twenty pounds overweight. I haven't updated my wardrobe in a long time and rarely do things to make myself feel pretty. My house is generally a disaster. I'm constantly stressed out and never make time for spirituality. I struggle with depression, mood swings, and anxiety. Financially, I live check to check. I make enough to cover the bills and put food on the table but not much else. Instead of helping make the world a better place, I just complain about it on social media. Obviously, my attitude about life is pretty pessimistic. I probably could go on but you get the idea...

So why on earth would I think I should write a blog? I was tempted to just forget whole thing. Then I had this small seed of an idea. What if I blogged about my journey trying to improve myself? What if I read self help books, websites, and blogs and tried what they suggest then wrote about what happens? What if I read books about creativity, I tried Pinterest ideas, and took pictures of what I end up with? What if instead being like those other inspirational websites that show you how awesome they already are and how you can be just like them, I showed you how awesome I'm trying to be and what I'm doing to get that way?

I will also be blogging about all the things I love. This blog is actually an amalgam of all the blogs I have had in the last eight years. These were about books, writing, art, crafts, parenting, feminism, and Goddess spirituality. I know the blog is starting out as a hot mess as I try combining all these things. But like I described earlier, I'm kind of a hot mess.

I have no idea where this journey is going to take me. I'm excited and scared. You know what they say - a journey begins with a single step...or in this case, a blog post.