February 8, 2013

Lately, I’ve been looking at photographs (mostly artistic ones) of “flat-chested” beauties. I think I am one. heheh, but most of the time I don’t.

Barely there breasts are beautiful too!

rendezvous

Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are.

To be beautiful means to be you. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.


(Found written on a napkin under one of the tables, Kuang’s cuisine)

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Confrontation

September 15, 2012

Brunet Young went out of town this week, so I didn’t get a chance to have my weekly therapy session. She said she’d call to “check” on me or something along those lines, only she put it more gently. Overall, I’m feeling great though! I think the Lamictal has toned me down a bit. I don’t know.

Last Thursday (I’m seeing her Thursdays now), I confronted Brunet Young about the BPD diagnosis my Ex-Young Therapist had given me. I’d been meaning to ask her why Ex-Young Therapist was so hesitant about giving me the Termination Reports and why she said I couldn’t have the Evaluation Summary. It took a lot of courage to ask this.

****

“She wasn’t supposed to give you that,” Brunet Young replied.

What the fuck? I really like Brunet Young but I don’t get why she said Ex-Young Therapist wasn’t supposed to give me that form. I inquired about it, and she basically explained that: telling the patient he/she has BPD is detrimental to the therapeutic process. For me, the fact I now know this bit of information has given me a sense of validation. Isn’t an invalidating environment one of the contributing factors of borderline personality (BPD) development?

****

“I feel like all these years… all I’ve gone through has at least been validated.” My voice began to shake, “A name has been put to it. Now I feel like, like I’m not JUST an asshole.” I started chuckling.

“That makes sense, I can see why you’d feel that way. The thing is, we are required to give a diagnosis even when we think there is no reason or need to place one on the client. In some cases, we go with what only fits closest.”

Ok. Then what’s the point of categorizing certain behavioral attributes?

My hands trembled and I kept rubbing my aluminum water bottle. “I think I’m a pretty intelligent person… I mean, it’s not like I’m going to just throw my hands up in the air and say ‘Well, I have this and such and I’m doomed’. I’m no different than… than I was before I knew. I’m not going to put myself in a box! I’m not going to quit trying to improve myself and look for ways of recovering.” I went on telling her that what upset me was that I often talked about BPD in regards to online forums I visited and my friend Ryden who has BPD. I would mention how much I could related to people with that and yet, she didn’t say a word about it.

Brunet Young was silent for a moment. Then she looked up with gentle eyes and said, “I know YOU wouldn’t put yourself in a box or quit trying P, but many others with this would. That’s the thing.

She said she’d be sure to talk about why I “fit” the BPD criteria next time we meet, this coming Thursday.

“It doesn’t matter,” I replied nearly in tears. I don’t cry in front of people, so for me to nearly burst into tears was astonishing, to me especially.

“No, it does. It does matter. We’ll discuss it.”

****

I’m glad I finally asked. I can see why a BPD diagnosis can be withheld from a patient/client, particularly those who have more “anti-social” tendencies. For one, the patient might use it to justify for acting out of line, or they might feel discriminated against. I can see how it might conflict with therapy for SOME people to have that information disclosed. I figured perhaps my Ex-Young Therapist was afraid I’d base my entire identity around the diagnostic criteria for BPD, but I HAVEN’T. Have I?

I don’t think I have. I think too much outside of the box for that nonsense.

Yeah, I’ve researched and read a lot about it since finding out, maybe a little too much. And sure, I understand the implications behind such discretion. But as I told Brunet Young, I’m intelligent, and therefore, I sure as hell know that we are not the same (those with BPD) just because of a diagnosis. I told her I realize how arbitrary diagnosis for mental illnesses/disorders are in the first place.

Even among fellow BPDers (or whatever you want to call it), there is an infinite array of expressions of “symptoms”. I know the difference between a set of “criteria/symptoms” that BPDers share and the indefinite, individual minds–the being, the self, the person, and the personalities we hold.

We are not our labels.

In fact, I mentioned this when I found out. People are people regardless of their mental problems, illnesses, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, culture–I can go on and on. But it’s because this information was released to me that I feel more confident to talk about the darker sides of my experience; I’ve already told Brunet Young things I wouldn’t dare tell Ex-Young therapist like the overdoses; the day I threw a whole load of books at Monkey Man, rolled out crying and banged my head repeatedly at the side of his godfathers house; all those drugs we did together; and my mother’s suicide attempts. It’s because of knowing about BPD that I learned a lot from books/articles/blogs–like “The Buddha and the Borderline” by Kiera Van Gelder–that I no longer feel so alone.

****

I’m nervous about seeing her this Thursday. She said we’d discuss why Ex-Young Therapist wrote that on my Termination Report. The thing is, there’s so much I want to say and don’t know how. I feel mute when I roll into that room (though lately I’ve been talking fifteen miles a minute and typing three-hundred words per second). I don’t want to cry. I only cried when I told Ex-Young Therapist Monkey Man died.

I don’t know. I just feel awkward now.

But, I’m glad.

********

addendum: Today I swam like a champ! Would’a been cool if I swam like a chimp too. Can chimps swim alright?

OI Chicks Are HOT

September 8, 2012

I’ve been on Facebook a lot lately. heh. Very unlike me, then again I’m hyped so this is how I am when I’m hyped. I message everyone. One good thing happened while I was on Facebook, the other not so good.

I’ll talk about the latter first. So a friend of mine from high school is about to get married. We haven’t talked in nearly two years, beside occasional Facebook hellos. I’m really happy for him and his fiance. The girl is so cute! And they look soooo happy together. He’s also a musician and we both went to the same college for sound engineering/music production, only he started two years after I did. In fact, he started the program because of me (mainly because I told him he’d like it).

Anyway, this guy and I started flirting for a while back in ’06-’08 and even ’09. I didn’t even realize I’d been flirting until MUCH later. One time, when I was hanging out in his apartment playing his synths, he wanted to have sex with me but I rejected him, not because I didn’t want to. God, I really wanted to. He has the prettiest big blue eyes, curled eyelashes, curly hair, glasses and thick lips. He sometimes wore a goatee. I just felt it was IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to be attracted to me. I somehow thought it was a sick joke of his. I don’t feel as shy now as I was then, but I still am very insecure.

For me, it’s as if it’s impossible for anyone to find me attractive–so tiny, so angry and in a wheelchair, nah. Maybe that’s why I reach out so much for approval of men? Yet, no matter how much approval I get, I seem to want more. And when I get more, I still feel the void.

I really liked M. back then. We went to local shows together (most of which he performed in), he bought me drinks and dinner, he’d visit me at my parents house, bringing his entire synthesizer collection with him etc.. I realize now, he must’ve been really into me. At his shows, I used to get so jealous when he made out with this one bass player–a really short, cute gothic chick (she was drunk as hell though though, an even bigger drunk than me).

I kicked myself in the ass for sabotaging any kind of “romantic” relationship I could have had with him. I began to idolize him. He is quite possibly the most gorgeous guy I’ve been “involved with” more or less, but it wasn’t that. And oh god his heavenly hands! Long fingers, long strong hands–long pianist hands.

We clicked. He’s intelligent and funny, a bit geeky and really sweet. We are musicians, so we had that in common too. And though he’s a little on the “crazy” side, he wasn’t “mental” (as in he didn’t seem to have a severe mental disorder like most other guys I’d be involved with) and the best part, he wasn’t addicted to anything hardcore. Funy enough, he now works as an instructor in the same performing arts center we did the audio engineering program in.

Why did I reject him then? Why did I find it impossible to believe that he “liked” me? Why did I not care enough about myself to believe anyone could like me? I did the same damn thing with Jaque Cousteau, only Jaque was an insecure, immature punk (literraly, he had a mohawk when I met him). Ughhh. He was also a musician, the Cousteau guy. It’s just.. It’s just that seeing M’s pictures with his fiance on FB yesterday brought back some of those feelings. I guess I’m jealous. I don’t know. I know comparing myself to peers from the past (and present) isn’t good for my mental health.

It will pass.

Oh right, what’s the good news? The good news is I’m in this Facebook group for women with OI–“OI Chicks Are Hot”. OI is Osteogenesis Imperfecta aka Brittle Bone disease.

The group consists of all these “hot” OI chicks talking about… anything. It’s a private group, so I don’t care if you try to find it. Anyway, I think I still have that deep seeded insecurity about myself, BUT I’m more aware of how to control it now–or how to restructure my cognition–and hopefully I’ll learn to stop sabotaging myself so much. I still don’t trust any man, anyone for that matter (including myself) but I’m slowly learning to be more open. I hope. And groups like these are definitely a good thing for building up that self love.

In the group, I found some pretty amazing women. Here’s one of them (and yes, I think she’s hella hot):

Nadia Roberts interview in a contest to win a wheelchair <—- Click it, damn you!

She’s also been through a lot, much like I have.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview:

I began life in St. Petersburg, Russia and was born with Osteogenisis Imperfecta, (OI). I was bounced around hospitals and orphanages for the first 9 years of my life, and eventually given up for adoption was a challenging way to start life, including several surgeries under severe conditions such as no anesthesia…

mouse Love

NOTE: This is not to be taken as medical advice. I am not a mental health professional. I am only a mental. 😉 The guy in the video and myself, however, are well intentioned and know this stuff from personal experience. Also, May is Borderline Personality Disorder awareness month.

I really enjoy most of this guy’s videos (see below). I can really relate to his type of BPD though I can’t seem to make out where his accent could be from…

Anyway, I wanted to share this one in particular. What he describes in this video is what some BPD experts refer to when they talk about “splitting”, although much of the time splitting is only used to refer to the extreme black and white thinking patterns (aka cognitive distortions) someone with BPD tends to have. Now, everyone has contradictory thoughts. And everyone criticizes themselves and then tells themselves they’re good and that they’re no good, but the difference is intensity–extreme proportions, severity and severance of self–and the problems this severe severance of self creates in the person’s life.

Internal splitting dialogue goes something like this for me in regards to self-perception:

“I am a wonderful person. I am worth a lot. I’m needed. I am a horrible person. I am completely worthless. I’m a burden to my family.”

or

“No, I’m not a liar. Why would I lie about that? I don’t like to lie. I prefer telling the truth, no matter what. I’m a liar! I’m a fuckin’ liar. Just admit it P, say it, say ‘I lie and I lie and I compulsively lie’. It doesn’t matter if it’s about the little things. It can be the big things too. How do you know? One day I may lie about something big. I lie to myself already and I lie to you!”

or

“I’m so kind and loving. I feel so empathic. I love to love and help others. I do great things for others! I enjoy it. I enjoy bringing a smile to people’s faces. I feel so heartless. I’m so fuckin’ evil; I need to be killed before I seriously hurt someone! What if I kill someone?”

or

“Everyone loves me! I’m brilliant. They tell me so all the time. I know just what to say to make people feel good and they appreciate me for it. Everyone, hates me. Hates me. Hates me. All I do is insult people in the worst possible ways. I’m such an idiot. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Why else would he be criticizing you like that P? Because you’re fuckin’ stupid that’s why. You’re mean and stupid. How can you be so stupid P? How can anyone ever love someone this stupid? So mean!”

or

“I LOVE YOU ALL SO, SO, SO MUCH. COME OVER HERE SO I CAN GIVE YOU ALL A HUGE HUG AND A KISS. I FUCKIN HATE YOU ALL! FUCK OFF ALL OF YOU. AND FUCK YOU ON THE WAY OUT THE DOOR YOU FUCKIN’ FUCKERS!”

Once the punitive parent has her way with me, beating me ceaselessly, I crash on the floor and whimper and twitch and am lost like a puppy that’s been kicked; that’s my abused child. Afterward, I become completely detached, empty–the detached protector has taken over.

****

The borderline really believes these things though they are often contradictory and completely opposing thoughts–thinking patterns become ping-pongs bouncing in polar opposites. I am very much this way even though I restrain myself and am often aware of how ridiculous my thinking gets. BUT, I still somehow BELIEVE myself when I begin to think that I am this way and then that way. I do not allow for in-between in my self-view, my reflection. My world view gets tainted like a cup of water when a drop of blank ink is dropped into it. No grey areas in my view of situations come in when I’m having “an episode”. I jump from one end of the court to the next–no middle ground, no safety net.

The worst is that the beliefs do not go away; they settle all cosy in between my ears as I argue with them. They kinda just sit there and laugh. And I argue and argue. When that happens, the beliefs become so strong they turn into emotions; they become my Pretty Little Demons. And I end up feeling intensely like an open wound–so intensely that I just wish someone would shoot me just to end the intensity of emotions rushing through.

I imagine it’s worse than turning into the Hulk. At least the Hulk gets to kick some ass every now and then. Speaking of the Hulk, The Avengers comes out tomorrow! Wooop.

So splitting, I think you get it now. Kinda right?

Enjoy!

addendum: I find it funny that he places the “healthy adult” far off into the right corner. Like ole healthy adult don’t come out to play much. Also, he’s got pretty hands, don’t you think?

30 Days of Truth, Day 1: Don’t Believe P, She’s Flaky As All Fuck!

I’m not sure who began this project, it’s called “30 Days of Truth”. I’m not even sure why I’ve decided to take it up, but I’m guessing it has to do with my rampaging self-absorption brought on by my ego (brought on by a switch to fluoxetine aka the infamous Prozac, fuck, more drugs) thus causing a new found urge to tell truths about myself, or in other words, I suddenly want to reveal more of myself because I’m so stuck inside of myself. (Disclaimer: No body parts will be revealed during the posting of this post).

The first time I saw this little 30 Days of Truth blogging project was in Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars‘ blog. She was my first follower! Back then I didn’t know people could or would actually follow my rambling. So thanks Halfway! Also, thanks to Halfway, I ran into dozens of mental health (really just mental 😉 ) bloggers who were also doing this little truth telling challenge. It’s because of her links and their links that I’ve had the pleasure of cybernetically meeting so many amazing bloggers.

****

So, here I am! I’m jumping on the band wagon y’all! So unlike me to jump in. Or is it? (oh oh borderline identity disturbance in the process here )

Whatever. I’m gonna do it! Besides, National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) is over, and I need something else to live for. It’s also a good excuse for a blog topic.

Day one is to write about something you hate about yourself. Really? Why make the first one so hard? Do I have to choose just one thing? That’s so haaaard. And why you trying to get me to hate on myself when I’ve worked in therapy all this time not to? Hate is such a strong word too; I try not to use it in my trying-to-stay-sane vocabulary.

Man… pffft.

Alright, I realize now as I’ve grown older– and maybe, hopefully even wiser– that I no longer hate things about myself like I used to when I was say, a teenager. I no longer beat myself up about the fact that I was born with brittle and malformed bones, therefore, I no longer hate my body like I used to. I no longer hate the fact that my sternum sticks out like a third boob. I do however, currently hate the way this damn bell’s palsy has left me unable to make certain facial expressions the way I used to, but I’m working on it. I promise myself.

But has a lot of the other, non-superficial, self-hatred left me?

Sadly, no. I can still say I hate my short temper. I hate my angry, violent and aggressive ways. I can sit here and talk endlessly about how much I hate my depressive ways. I can talk about so many things but I’ll have to choose one, so I’ll go with my volatile flakiness, my indecisive and fickle ways. Can I combine those four just like that? Does it count? They are related, right?

****

Today is May first, not just May first, it is May First: International Workers Day.  <— (Click on the link, why won’t you?)

Why am I bringing this up for my first 30 Days of Truth?

Because it relates to what I hate about myself. Bare with me. No, no. May First is great! May First is the shit! I mean good shit! Not shitey shit! None of that stinky stuff. I love it. It’s got a wonderful history to it but I’ll refrain from telling it because I know this post should be about HATE and about ME, and general strikes for workers’ rights is something I LOVE, something to love, not hate. I do encourage you to look it up though.

So May First, aka May Day aka International Worker’s Day, is a day to strike for worker’s rights, this encompasses any worker rights and over the years has shifted directions, that being said, migrant workers are a big bunch.

Here in Houston, Texas, we–by we, I mean those actively involved in political movements–organize the strike into a march not only for worker’s rights but also immigrant rights because, often times, immigrants are the ones that are most abused at work, that have more work related abuses in this region. Wage theft, for example is a huge problem for the “illegals” or more correctly stated, for the undocumented workers. There is also a VAST immigrant population here, most notably Latinos/Hispanics (that’s a given), Vietnamese, Chinese, Nigerian and Indian. There are a ton more I’m leaving out. Anyway, the Latino/Hipanic communities are very much affected by the shifts in immigration laws. And I’ll talk about that later in another post.

Here’s where I get to hating myself. In the last three and a half years, I’d been heavily involved in organizations and activist groups, some of which organize the city’s May Day March. But because of my flakiness, my indecision, my fickle ways which stem from anxiety, identity disturbances (which further stem from self-esteem issues and self-doubt) and of course depression, people have gone from seeing me as a “community leader” within these organizations to someone they do not call to organize events with because I’m unreliable.

I know I may view this in a distorted way–black and white thinking and whatnot. I know that’s not always the case. I have been contacted this month, a little. I know that if I pull away from people and groups, I can’t expect others to include me in things the way they used to, right? It’s only logical. But the depressive, the bipolar or the borderline does not see logic in these cases!

The last two years I had been involved in the May Day March planning. Two years ago, in 2010, I came up with the idea of making t-shirts for a student group I was involved in.

“Hey guys! We should make shirts that read ‘NO PERSON IS ILLEGAL’ and sell them after the march to save up for our trip to Detroit!”

my t-shirt, i kept a small one for myself.

“Yeah P. That’s a badass idea!”

I smiled smuggly at myself for thinking up of such an idea, an idea people actually liked! And that idea turned out pretty good once we sold enough shirts, $3.00 to $5.00 a pop. The march turned out well too (even though a self-proclaimed Minuteman almost hit me with his American flag pole while screaming at my little group to “Go back where you came from! Go back home!” and I ended up having a panic attack, but more on that some other time).

Then, for last year’s May Day, I designed a banner for a non-profit that works with wage theft abuses as well as other worker related abuses (that’s the org that called me the week before last). I also designed a poster for another student group, this was a group I’d actually helped found. The poster was based on the ideas I came up with on these sketches I did.

mayday-amp-voice-1 mmm/paz 2011

© mmm/paz 2011

Last year however, I was in a deep depression around this time. And once I finished the posters, I sent them out to everyone and crashed. I did not return phone calls. I did not send anymore emails about the location and time of meeting. I did not coordinate with anyone to get a ride for the day of the march. I vacated completely, inside and out.

Vacating and emptying out completely is something I tend to do after I take on too much.

“Oh I’ll do this and yes, I’ll help out with that and don’t worry guys, I got that too!  And that! Ooooh, I wanna do that. Yeah, I’ll get it done in a week….” [two weeks later] “Guys, give me another week. I promise!”

I do tend to finish the bigger, important things, but all of the little promises placed in between get shoved around; I re-prioritized other things in the utmost illogical fashion and thus, I lose what I intended to get at in the first place. Those big things only get done with excruciating effort. I even go as far as making promises I know I should NOT make because trying to keep them all would be senseless, would only make my stress levels rise out of proportion and thus make my anxiety explode. All of a sudden, EVERYONE starts asking for favors. “P, can you do this? P, can you do that? Oh, yeah, just call P, here’s her number, she’ll design that for you!”

And I CAN’T SAY “NO” to others! Even those weaseling fuckers I don’t know. “Who are you? What’s your name again? Oh really, so-and-so told you I would design that for you? Ok.” Then I want to scream at everyone: “FUCK YOU AND YOU AND YOU. FUCK YOU ALL! FUCK, YOU ALL ARE JUST FUCKIN’ USING ME! ESPECIALLY YOU, YOU LITTLE UNKNOWN WEASELING FUCKER WHO’S NAME I DON’T EVEN REMEMBER! And on second thought, NO, I WON’T DO THAT DESIGN FOR YOU!”

Then I’m. No one will see or hear from me for weeks. I run from it all. I roll out of there as fast as my wheelchair can haul me (usually speed #5, if it’s fully charged). I leave myself with no other option left. Well, that or combusting in front of everyone, and no one wants P guts all over them.

****

Last year, when the day of March 1st march came rolling in, I got a call from Mansie, a friend from the Students Against Sweatshops group.

“We are renting a van and heading out. Do you want us to pick you up?”

“Yeah, sure thing! Thanks Mansie! Un beso!” I said. But I wasn’t feeling it. My anxiety was at a pain and vomit-inducing level.

“Ok, we’ll call you back in an hour. Try to be ready by then P.”

“Ok. I definitely will.” Note how I said definitely, of all things.

Here’s what sucks. I didn’t get ready. I didn’t answer her calls. Instead, I left a text that read, “I’m not going to be able to make it. No need to pick me up.” before she even had a chance to tell me what the plan was.

I was also angry at my group. The group I’d started and designed the flier/poster for. “Why did the Sweatshop kids call me and intend to pick me up but not my own group?”

What sucks is that I actually cried all afternoon after sending that text because I’d spent the entire hour debating on whether I’d go or not. What’s worse is I fell into a self-loathing moment of ,”Why do you have to be so indecisive? Why do you change your mind so much? Why do you drop out of events last minute? You let people down!”

And not only was I angry at myself, I was frustrated and hurt by the ones who hadn’t called, though it wasn’t their fault if I never gave them a definite answer, right? I couldn’t just simply be glad at the fact that the other group had offered me a ride with them!

I was depressed. I was flakey. And when I’m depressed it becomes ten times more difficult to decide on ANYTHING. Depression leads to low self-esteem. Anxiety leads to indecision leads to flaky, fickle ways, leads to self-doubt which leads to self-hatred which goes back to depression. Beautiful circle isn’t it?

mayday-amp-voice-2 © mmm/paz 2011

****

A few weeks after that, it was Mansie, Sweatshop girl’s, birthday. She invited me to her birthday party one day when I was over at her apartment. “Yeah, I’ll be having a party here soon, in a couple of weeks, and I want you to come!”

Well, she never invited me the DAY OF. I felt so hurt. Why did I need her to invite me the day of? Why did I feel hurt? Why didn’t I make plans to go? Did I want to go? Yes and no. And guess, what? Had she invited me again the “day of” I probably wouldn’t have gone anyway. Fickle. Indecisive. Flaky. Self-doubting. Socially anxious. That’s why.

*******************************************************************

addendum: Today was a bit sad remembering this. I hope this year’s march was a hearty one. I really should get involved again, which reminds me: This past November I was well underway helping establish a new group, community based. We’d been working at creating a scholarship fund for undocumented students. Up until last year I was also an undocumented student (I’m still undocumented), but I was an undocumented student that was fortunately able to go to university because of private scholarships–one church-related (funny story there) and another academic based–that didn’t fuss about immigration status, and those are VERY hard to come by guys. I can’t even begin to tell you how hard it is for an undocumented student to get any kind of scholarship and there’s no such thing as Financial Aide. Forget it, no FAFSA, no nothing. That’s what me and my friend and a few others wanted to give to our younger peers, so we started yet another organization. And guess what I did when the depression came hurling back mid-December of last year? Yes, I dropped out. The only things I’ve managed to do in these last months is create a basic site for our organization on WordPress. I haven’t kept any other promise except that one. Thank you WP! You helped me not be so flakey with them this time. You helped me keep at least one of my promises! Hey. 🙂

Have I scared off all of my non-mentally disordered bloggers? So soon? 😦

*********************************************************************************************************

May is Borderline Personality Disorder awareness month.

I’m on the border y’all.

Not only am literally on the border (Texas borderlands) but I’m also on the border mentally.

It’s “official”.

It’s set on paper with nice black ink–though not in stone or anything–but it was kept from me, KEPT FROM ME!

Kept from ME by my own therapist, my Young Therapist.

Guys I’m going to warn you. Before you go any further with this post, know this: I’m actually going to be serious for a moment and I’m going to be saying some things that are not easy for me to say. I’m going to say some things that may be triggering to some of you. AND, I’m going to be serious without cursing! (Yeah, I know!)

Here’s where I bore you to death or at least until you’re nearly as suicidal as me. *trigger warning*

********

Let me explain, I suspected it ever since Young Therapist let it slip that her dissertation/PhD concentration is on Borderline Personality Disorder. In fact, I suspected it long before then. I suspected it nearly two years ago when I started with her and she gave me these handouts on dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). When we began, I’d get packets–one after another. I’d get a new packet every week and now I have a damn book’s worth of packets in a folder. A chapter on mindfulness, a chapter on progressive muscle relaxation and diaphragmatic breathing, a chapter on DEAR MAN, another on Cognitive Restructuring of Mental Distortions and Distress Tolerance and the list goes on.

One day I asked Miss Young Therapist about this Dr. Marsha Linehan who was the author (you could read it on the fine print on the bottom of the handouts). Young therapist answered that Dr. Linehan was pretty much the mother of dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) which is primarly used on borderline patients.

“But just because I’m giving you these packets P., doesn’t mean I’m saying you’re a borderline patient.”

That was, until I had my last session with her on Wednesday this week. The first half hour or so we did the usual, “How are you doing this week? Wha’ts going on? And this and that.”

I’d brought my “release of information” form signed for her so she could send my files to the new therapist I’ll be seeing at the community clinic. I was waiting for her to bring up the termination thing and sure enough she did.

“So, this is our last session,” she sighed, “is there anything you want to say?”

“Yep, it is.” I looked intently, sighed, then looked away towards my wheelchair where I’d placed my folder. “Oh, I brought the release form signed. I went to the clinic and found out the name of my new therapist and got the fax number and everything here for you.”

I pulled it out of the folder and handed it to her.

I went on and told her that I’d like a copy of the two reports she’ll be faxing in to them–the “Termination Summary” and “Intake Evaluation Report”–because since it’s a community hospital she can’t just send it directly to the therapist. And I added that since it would have to go through the medical records office which can take over a month, she might as well give me a copy of each just in case.

“Yes, of course, I’ll give you a copy when we head out.”

I wasn’t lying about the medical records office. They’re terrible! But, I did do something with double intention there. I wanted to get a hold of my records without being too obvious about it. I know right? Why couldn’t I just upright and tell her I wanted a copy? Why was I so nervous about that? It’s the dynamics I tell you, and my own anxiety and hesitance.

We went on to discuss what I’d benefited most from and she asked what I thought I’d become better at handling. I mentioned some of the mindfulness stuff and managing my anger. She said that I was one of the most “committed clients” she’d worked with as well as one of the clients with the most extreme life stressors. “You’ve had to deal with more than most people. And you’ve done extremely well considering that, I think,” she said.  She went on with the whole patting me on the back, flattering, and good job thing. I don’t doubt she was being honest though. She genuinely seemed pleased with my overall progress.

When we went out to the front desk and I paid her my dues, she wished me luck with the new therapist again and said bye. I thanked her and then just stared at her for a minute.

“Yes?” she asked looking confused.

“Um, aren’t you going to print out the Termination Record so I can have a copy?”

“Oh, oh, right.”

I don’t know why, maybe I’m just overly critical, but I once again felt she was holding back on me. She could’ve honestly forgotten but I don’t know.

Anyway, she printed it out and handed it to me and said, “If there’s anything you have questions about, about what’s on here, feel free to call me.” She gave me this look I can’t describe. It’s was a sort of apologetic look.

“Ok.” I looked at the paper and said, “This is just the termination summary, can I get the intake evaluation report as well?”

“Uh, mmm, I don’t know, I’ll really have to ask my supervisor about this P. Sorry.”

Again, I felt a little put off. But oh well, I figure I’ll call in a week and ask for her supervisor and try to get it directly from him.

*******

When I was in the car I began reading the termination summary, and read something that shocked me a bit it. At the end of the report, it read:

Diagnosis:
Axis I
296.32 Major Depressive Disorder, Recurrent, Moderate

Axis II
301.83 Borderline Personality Disorder

Axis III
Disease of the Musculoskeletal System and Connective Tissue: Osteogenesis [Imperfecta] <–She’d left out the imperfecta part.

Axis IV
Occupational problems
Economic problems
Problems with access to healthcare services

Axis V
GAF Current: 75
GAF Long Term: 55

What shocked me was the Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis. But why? I had suspected it even though she never told me, ever, and even though I’m not big on holding to a diagnosis. What I mean is, I take a diagnosis with a grain of salt, a BIG grain of salt. They are merely there to draw a delineation the person’s major mental problems and a course of action.

BUT, then again, I contradict myself, because a part of me was and has been desperate, yearning even for some sort of label. With that I would have proof! I know, me wanting a label sounds shocking in and of itself! See I’d gotten a bipolar label after my monumental mental meltdown in 2008. That was the first time I’d seen a mental health professional in my life. And I got diagnosed only after the second session.

I’ll tell you though, getting something on paper felt like a relief then. It was a validation. I could no longer tell myself (even though I still do): “See P, you’re just making all this up. There’s nothing wrong with you. All of humanity is insane anyway! And you, you’re just weak! You’re just crying over nothing. Go on, cry like a baby over nothing. Always have! The baby you’ve always been. You can stop all this, you know? You’re just making it up anyway. They were right about you, your family and everyone! You and your antics and your dramatics. That’s all it is! There’s no such thing as mental illness girl! Yeah little, stupid, little selfish girl. You don’t need their help. You don’t deserve it either. Just straighten up and quit the crying! Quit it! Quit hitting your head against the wall and get that damn razor out of your hand!”

So you see, getting it in paper meant that I wasn’t just being dramatic as I’ve always been called. I’ve held my little BP label as a trophy even, in a sort of twisted way but I don’t think people can truly understand what I mean until they’ve been there in front of that psychiatrist or therapist looking like hell (oops, just a little curse).

Then, I didn’t stick around with that first psychiatrist in the spring of 2008.

“I hate them all! Nothing but drug dealers for the Big Pharma Co.s, nothing but pill pushers. They don’t care about you.” And then I caved and went back to another and then another and another all in the span of a year.

I eventually landed myself in one of the university psychiatrist’s hands by pleas and begging of my first therapist.

“Please go. Just try it,” she’d say.

So I went.

****

You? bipolar? I’m not sure. No se. Vamos a ver. I doubt it. But I’ll have to see more of you to be sure. Nos daremos cuenta con el tiempo,” he said.

He was an old Cuban man and I hated him the instant I saw him (not because he’s Cuban yall; I’m Colombian remember, so there’s a lot not to like there 😉 I kid). I just got a terrible vibe from him. I didn’t trust any psychiatrist then (am still hesitant) and I sure as hell didn’t trust some old mangy one covered in liver spots.

“I don’t think I’m going back there,” I told my first counselor/therapist, the one I was seeing at the university’s psychological services center (this is not the same place where Young Therapist works. Young therapist works at the College of Social Sciences in the Psychology  department).

“P. you really should go see a psychiatrist to help you stabilize those mood swings,” the counselor said. “Look if you don’t want to see that man, there’s this really good psychiatrist, just came back. She was going to retire but decided not to just yet.”

Needless to say she finally convinced me to go and I returned.

An awkward moment occurred when I went to see this new “good psychiatrist” and Dr. Cuban Liverspots said hi to me when he was marching with his coffee cup on the way to his office, right next to new “good psychiatrist’s”! Well, turns out this was the third or fourth psychiatrist (I honestly don’t remember how many I’d seen by then) and she said that I did not have bipolar (BP). But she didn’t say what it was that I did have. If it wasn’t BP, then what I wondered. I never asked though. I guess I can be passive in that sense. The only thing I knew, is when I went to the cash register to pay, the bill read, “Major Depressive Disorder” (MDD) and “Generalized Anxiety Disorder” (GAD).

At least I got my answer, I thought. That’s when the alphabet soup of my psychological disorders got spicy. I now had a gumbo soup of disorders.

Then this! This Borderline Personality Disorder. It sounds so macabre! So fantastical. So unreal. So STIGMATIZING! I’m sorry to break it to you guys, my dear BP internet buddies but my belief is that as stigmatizing as BP is (and it really is), the BPD label is ten times more. Why? I’ll explain in part two.

****

“What?! You got that borderline personality disorder!? What is that? Is that like when you have multiple personalities? OH MY GOD, you got multiple personalities P? You gonna go Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde on me P?”

“No! Come on! I don’t have multiple personality disorder, that’s not even called that by the way; it’s been updated by the APA. It’s now called dissociative identity disorder, Dee-Eye-Dee (DID). I’m just me, the one and only PAZ. I’m still the melancholically manic mouse, only now I fit the ICD and DSM and [insert random acronyms for other diagnostic manuals] criteria of a borderline meloncholically manic mouse. I’m a borderline melancholically manic mouse  is all. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a very unstable environment though my family was always tightly knitted and mostly very loving. Maybe it’s because I’ve had to deal with a lot of traumatic events, especially in my childhood so I’m somehow ’emotionally scarred’. Maybe I regress to childhood if you were to ask Freud, though the behavioralists wouldn’t agree. Maybe my brain does fire off too quickly, and if that’s the case, the pharmas are more than happy to hear. Maybe my limbic system has a malfunction and thus, my amygdala is hyperactive or hypersensitive; maybe it’s a genetic mutation like my malformed bones and that’s why I’m so quick to rage. Or maybe I was conditioned to rage by my mother’s rage and abuse. The behavioralists would agree with that one. Maybe I do have a shortage of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin or GABA or some other neurotransmitter. Maybe I don’t, but maybe I do, and maybe I have all of the above or none of the above. All I know is I have the emotional stability of a five year-old. I guess it fits my toddler height.”

Really, how do you explain all that? It just makes my alphabet/acronym soup spicier and more foreign than a crunchy Samosa plate served with dhaal soup.

Mmmm. Samosa.

********

Alright, some of you may know what this is already, this BPD and BP and Axis I and Axis II nonsense, but to those of you who don’t and are interested, let me explain what some of this is  (it’s a good thing I’m a nerd that’s into psychology and I have several books on it).

When I got home, you best believe I dug out those books from my book shelf.

First, the various “Axis” levels go like this:

Axis degrees are used as intersections of a person’s main mental problems in order to diagnose a mental disorder. Each Axis affects the overall diagnosis as each affects/intersects and correlates with the other.

Axis I: clinical disorders.    
Symptoms that cause distress or significantly impair societal or occupational functioning such as anxiety disorders, major depression, bipolar disorders, etc.

Axis II: personality disorders and mental retardation disorders. (now why’d they have to dump me in with the mental retardation folks? It’s just like they did when I was in PE class in middle school! P in PE with the retarded kids.)
Chronic and enduring problems that generally persist throughout life and impair interpersonal or occupational functioning.

Axis III: general medical condition.    
Physical disorders that may be relevant to understanding or treating a psychological disorder.

Axis IV: current psychosocial and environmental problems.    
Problems (such as interpersonal stressors and negative life events) that may affect the diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of psychological disorders.

Axis V: global assessment functioning (GAF).
The individual’s overall level of functioning in social, occupational, and leisure activities. (Now I’m not going to go into detail with this one but if you want more info go here. You probably won’t though since no one clicks my links. hehe

****

Then there’s the Borderline (BPD) diagnosis. I had already known about BPD but again, I thought if anything I fit more into the BP criteria (tell me if this is getting confusing). I could just relate to those who have BP, who I’ve  talked to either face-to face or in online forums. The BPD people folks though, I said to myself, are said to be manipulative and I’m not manipulative, no, no I’m not. Am I? No. I’m not.

I’m not going to talk about the major depressive (MDD) diagnosis because that was a given for me.

So a very, very short description of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is that it is essentially a disorder of extreme and pervasive emotional disregulation characterized by impulsivity and instability in moods, relationships and self-image. (Karen Huffman)

None of this is catch all, you see. We are still people with unique personalities and cultures, histories and separate though connecting lives. We’re individuals, even those like myself who now have had the personality disorder diagnosis slapped on.

****

I cried uncontrollably for about two hours Wednesday night. It could’ve been PMS and a thought about L. I don’t know why I didn’t get so worked up about the other diagnosis (Dx) in my past. Then it dawned on me the more I thought about it. Could it be that  it’s because I think it’s actually the most accurate Dx I’ve had to date? And then, could it be that this has made me subconsciously think about all of the things I’ve been through, all that I’ve done? All the extremes in my life? I mean, all the psychiatrists never saw me for who I was. They never saw me more than twenty minutes at most and once every month or two (again, at most).

Young Therapist did see me for who I was, at least partly. She saw me for an hour every week for almost a year, then every two weeks for another. And she had me do tests and talk about so many things which I never did with the others. Young Therapist actually saw me cry. I cry a river damn near ever day when I get depressed but I don’t cry in front of people! And Young Therapist saw me get shaky to the point of telling her I had to puke, to the point of having to put my arms down and sit on them. Young Therapist, if anyone, would know how to diagnose me. So maybe I cried because I got the sense that not only did I get diagnosed with a very severe, very misunderstood and stigmatized disorder (albeit relatively treatable), but I felt for the first time they got to the core of me. Maybe, I was also crying out of relief.

In order to qualify (ha,  “qualify” like a merit) as having BPD in America, you have to fit at least five of these within your problem scheme. Here are some of the criteria according to the damn (oops) DSM-IV:

  1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.

Ok this one got me. I don’t think I make frantic efforts to avoid any kind of abandonment. Do I? No, you don’t P. But maybe I fear it so much I’m in denial? Maybe P, maybe. Or maybe this one just doesn’t pertain to me. Remember, it’s not a catch all.

  2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.

Yes. Yes. Yes. That’s definitely me. Just this week I said, “Damn you WordPress. You suck! Why do I bother with you,” then, “Oh Dear WordPress. Don’t leave me. I love you. You’re the best. What would I do without you?”

  3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.

Yes. Maybe. Yes. No. Maybe. I’m the best! I’m the worst! I’ll talk about this later. What do you mean by this anyway? Of course I have an identity! It’s not disturbed. Ok. Hmmm. Maybe. I don’t know. I change my mind about what I think about myself, what I want to do with my life and many people do that right? Yes P, but not at such extremes. I doubt what my strengths are. Am I good at writing? No! But I love writing. I’m good at it. Yes? Should I stick with editing video then? But I want to write documentaries and dramatic films. I like to draw too. Could I write comics? Who am I kidding, I’m not an artist. Should I be a therapist? Yes. Yes! I’m so wise, so loving. I want to embrace everyone. No! You’re a misanthropic nihilist. Nothing fits. Am I splitting? What about the web design thing you were trying to do, and what about the multimedia journalism masters at UT? What about the Latin American Studies masters you’d thought about too P? What about your music P? What about your photography P? And what about your poems P?

Yeah, I’ll have to get back to this one later.

  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 behavior covered in Criterion 5.

Yes. I’m a highly reactive and highly impulsive person even though I tend to over-think things before I do them–so in that sense I’m not impulsive. I hesitate too much on doing them, say choosing a college degree or buying a flavor of yogurt or talking to someone I find attractive. My impulsivity in other aspects, however, has gotten me in trouble and put me in dangerous situations. I’ve done drugs. Many. I did cocaine with L. I was always a bummer, never a buyer. I bummed drugs off of people whenever they were offered, so I never considered myself a “real” user. I was a functioning alcoholic or as the AA people would say, I am an alcoholic in recovery.

I’ve also had phases in my life where I binge eat, particularly to deal with stress. People with BPD, especially young women tend also have a comorbid eating disorder, most notably bulimia nervosa. Though I’ve never been bulimic per se, I have always punished myself in some way or another after binging. My weight has also fluctuated drastically throughout my life. Right now I’m more on the healthy weight to slightly-underweight side.

Sex. That’s a difficult one. I was a shy, late bloomer, a wallflower. But I knew a lot about sex at a very young age. Growing up with an older brother and always hanging out with the guys, you find out about porn early on. Then I lost a close friend because of my impulsive sexual behavior. However, I’m still extremely shy, self-conscious and have issues about my body so I’ve turned down many sexual encounters due to the fact that I have terrible anxiety about it. I’m really short, have brittle bones (some of which are a bit disfigured), use a wheelchair and I always felt no one would find me attractive. I mean, really, who would find a girl in a wheelchair attractive, I’d tell myself. There are ignorant folks out there who still refuse to believe someone like me could have a thriving sexual life.

Who would find a midgety, malformed mouse attractive? So when I found out that I was found attractive indeed, when I was put on the spot, I often backed away. I’m very impulsive sexually though so there’s a tug of war going on in my head. “I can’t but I want to so bad”. Once I get comfortable enough, I’m very impulsive with sex so much so that L and two male “friends” of mine who used to called me a nymph. That’s when the alcohol and drugs come in to play as well.

Oh, and I’m also bisexual, though I mainly just identify as queer and don’t tell people I am. I guess I’m still in the closet about it.

  5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior

Triple yes. Though I’ve never really attempted and don’t think I make “gestures” of my suicidality to people. In fact, I try to hide it as much as possible. I don’t talk about my suicidal ideations or depression, the only exception being the therapist and even then I’m very vague about it.

As far as gestures… I don’t know. Maybe I make them and don’t realize it? There was, however, one time when I got in a huge fight with my brother not too long ago and I became a “maniac P., you’re acting like a manic! Chill! Chill! What are you…? Oh, f****, hi officer. No, no she’s alright. No, I don’t think I need to take her to the ER. She’s my sister. Yes. She just needs to sleep. I just need to get her to bed. No, I got it. Ok, yes, I’ll see if I take her to the nearest ER. I’m just getting to my apartment right around the corner. I will call them once I’m there, yes. Thank you.”

A cop had pulled us over because my brother wasn’t watching the road because he had to pull me back as I was trying to jump out of his car while screaming, “LET ME OUT”. Maybe that’s a suicidal gesture? I’m not sure. I don’t recall much of of it since I felt out of my body. I only remember sitting on the curb of some parking lot near his apartment complex that night crying and shaking uncontrollably and then, eventually, getting picked up by my dad who later said I couldn’t make a coherent sentence. Very impulsive indeed. Oh and that’s another thing with BPD. Borderlines supposedly have a tendency towards depersonalization  and derealization as well as transient psychotic or psychotic-like breaks under crisis situations, something I’m very familiar with.

Self-mutilation. Yes. I’ve never been much of a cutter, but when I have, it’s been extreme. I’m going to leave it at that. And I’d banged my head against walls ever since I was about ten or eleven or younger even. When I was in middle school, I got into the habit of scratching and slapping and punching myself and pulling bits of my hair. So triples yes on that one too. This is embarrassing guys.

  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).

Yes, it’s one of the things that got me the initial Dx for bipolar. There’s something that should be said about this one though, because unlike the criteria, I usually don’t just have these episodes for only hours or days thought that is the case sometimes.

  7. chronic feelings of emptiness

Not as much as years back. It fluctuates for me. The way I see it: I fill up and then I drain, I fill up and then I drain.

  8. inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)

Yes to the power of ten. I’m a recovering rageaholic too. When I was a kid, I threw a butter knife at my brother over a simple remark he’d made and smashed all the plates. It hit him in the forehead. Fortunately, it was only a butter knife and my weak hands couldn’t throw hard enough for a blunt force to seriously hurt him. And these types of violent outbursts were not at all uncommon for me. I have dozens of similar stories ranging as early as when I was four.

  9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

Yes. People are after me. I make terrible, mean comments on WordPress and that makes everyone get offended and so on and so forth. I have dissociation episodes galore. Where am I? Are those shadows moving? Are they people? Am I there and not here. I’m outside of myself!

********

Ok, I’m going to leave it here for now, but I plan to write more about BPD, what I think of all of this and all of the psychological research I’ve read about it as well as the co-morbidity of BP and BPD.

Hey? 🙂 You there?

See, I bored you to death. 😦

*Le mouse sigh*

***********************************************************************

Resources

Handbook of Personality, Third Edition: Theory and Research edited by Oliver P. John, Richard W. Robins, and Lawrence A Pervin

Psychology In Action, 6th Edition by Karen Huffman

PsychCenteral

Mayo Clinic

National Education Alliance Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA BPD)

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Institute of Mental Health

About.com, Borderline Personality Disorder Guide

Wikipedia, Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD Today – DSM-IV TR Diagnostic Criteria

Milk It

slice the skin.
shed my sin.
peel the layers
of pain
like
onions.

wring the tears.
see how deep
i go.

fury

burn burn burn burn
hot oven
to throw me in,
with the rotten
coven.

one two three four
let it go,
drop,
(red red red red)
flow–
milk my mind
milk my empty
milk my worry
hollow.

© Paz

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“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~ Siddhartha Guatama Buddha

NaPoWriMo Día 17: He

April 17, 2012

He

He, my muse.
I his.

His ease of inspiration
is thwarted by the need he feeds.

He, always
drunker than he lets on.

I will not.
I will not.

I, sallow,
now sail farther than my ship allows.

I am his muse he says,
his easel, his canvas, brush and paint.

HA! What will he do
when I’ve smeared off his page,

washed out, leaving it empty like
the glazed gaze washing over me now?

His embedded emerald eyes reveal
a touch of grey marble beneath,

a bit cracked like thunder
and clouded, darkened with the gods and demons.

All those deep pangs they release
on our frontal lobes when we elope.

I will no longer.
I will no longer.

I will not lie in
the blanket of his fever.

I alone hold enough fire to
light the darkest hour of night.

And damned be that evasive smile!
And damned be my indecision!

Voices echoed. Heidi calls again.
We, we, we, we, we. A screech!

Lost in his mental Minoan Crete.
He! He! Damned, depressed poet!

Glad to burn out his body
for a few years of continuous intensity.

I will not.
I will not.

He and his Dionysus
He and his courtesies

I must leave.
I will not. I will not.

I will not rot.

© PAZ

*****************************************************************************************

*********************************************************************************************************************

Is it cheating if I picked up and finished a poem I’d started and dropped two or more months ago?

BAGH. It’s all over the place.
Blegh, it still feels incomplete like it always will, like his fuckin’ life.

Today was a long day. Not bad, not good, just long.
*le sigh*

Buenas noches