If we were having coffee…


If we were having coffee we would be enjoying yet more cold brew at home, it is quite delicious. I would tell you how great my therapy appointment went this week. I am in a stage right now where my emotions are more stabilized and, while they are still strong, they are in response to real life stressors outside of my head.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how appreciative I am at the positive responses to my last post. I was very nervous to post, afraid that my emotions would overshadow my points causing further bad perception of the disorder. But I felt it important to share, and am fine with potential negative responses in the future as even those are at least a sign that mental health is being discussed. Though I am glad of the fact it’s been only positive so far.

If we were having coffee I would give you hug, unless you hate hugs and I would give you a supportive high five instead. So many people I know have gone through surprisingly rough weeks lately, and I want to hug everyone and let you know I’m here in case you need a shoulder to cry on or a pillow to scream into. I have an adorable pillow pet who doesn’t mind screaming 😌

If we were having coffee we would sit and enjoy the day, maybe paint our nails with the beautiful new color I just got. I do sometimes convince my husband to let me paint his nails (as long as I know where the polish remover is lol). So don’t worry, you’re all invited to the nail party regardless of gender, and I have two bottles of remover at the ready.
Love you all, have a great week!

BB

Misconceptions about Borderline Personality Disorder 

My last post mentioned the fact of constant misconceptions of people with Borderline Personality Disorder. I mentioned a number of articles, but I want to speak to one in general that was extremely upsetting to me. This article appears on Forbes, a site I love to check out for business topics. It hits so many common misconceptions of BPD. And it is one of the first things Google recommends when you’re trying to research Borderline Personality Disorder in an office environment or leadership role.

Here’s part 1 of the article https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2016/03/26/bullies-borderline-bosses-and-narcissists-how-to-survive-then-thrive-part-1/#5bf52b127c9b

Here’s part 2 of the article https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2016/04/02/bullies-borderline-bosses-and-narcissists-how-to-thrive/2/#390559bc18fd 

Want to know the truth of BPD in the office? Here we go….


Misconception #1 – “we’re all a little bit borderline” 

Wait, what? No, it doesn’t work that way. This is actually stated in both parts of the article, so let me clear this up. According to the National Allince on Mental Illness (NAMI), to be diagnosed with BPD you must have at least 5 of the following 9 symptoms:

  • Frantic efforts to avoid being abandoned by friends and family.
  • Unstable personal relationships that alternate between idealization—“I’m so in love!”—and devaluation—“I hate her.” This is also sometimes known as “splitting.”
  • Distorted and unstable self-image, which affects moods, values, opinions, goals and relationships.
  • Impulsive behaviors that can have dangerous outcomes, such as excessive spending, unsafe sex, substance abuse or reckless driving.
  • Suicidal and self-harming behavior.
  • Periods of intense depressed mood, irritability or anxiety lasting a few hours to a few days.
  • Chronic feelings of boredom or emptiness.
  • Inappropriate, intense or uncontrollable anger—often followed by shame and guilt.
  • Dissociative feelings—disconnecting from your thoughts or sense of identity, or “out of body” type of feelings—and stress-related paranoid thoughts. Severe cases of stress can also lead to brief psychotic episodes.

– See more at: https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Borderline-Personality-Disorder#sthash.4eN5Me3a.dpuf

If you do not have at least 5 of these symptoms, you are not Borderline, not even a little. If you have some of these symptoms and they are of concern, then you may want to speak with your doctor or therapist about the possibility of a different mental illness. If you have none of them but have extreme moods during difficult times, then guess what, you’re human and alive. Congratulations. 

Misconception #2 – Categorizing people with BPD

Comaford actually pulls these 4 categories from the book “Understanding the Borderline Mother” by Christine Lawson. I have not read the book so cannot speak to it. But the Forbes article describes the same categories. The Waif, the Hermit, the Queen/King, and the Witch/Warlock. 

Yes, I took the quiz at the end, no I do not fit a single category. Everyone has their own path, their own personality, there own knowledge and experience, and therefore their own reaction to mental illness. My borderline is not the same as yours. People with any form of mental illness, or even physical illness for that matter, do not fit into a nice little category. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Misconception #3 – “true borderlines are not capable of deep long-term relationships and cannot be present during intense emotion”

That is a direct quote from the article. The entire sentence is wrong on so many levels. First, I am a person WITH borderline, not a “borderline”. My diagnosis doesn’t define me. Second, eliminate the word “true”. As established earlier, you either do or do not have BPD, there is no middle ground.

Third, why are relationships being completely ruled out here? I have been married for 10 years. I have had my best friend in my life for 29 years. I am close to both of my children, neither of whom notice my mental illness. Does that mean I’m not “true borderline” despite having 8 of the 9 symptoms listed above?

Fourth, yes someone with BPD can be present during intense emotion. In fact our whole brain is essentially intense emotion. So not even sure what that means.

Misconception #4 – Narcissism and BPD are the same thing

This is the most common misconception I hear. So let me set this straight. According to the Mayo Clinic, most experts diagnos Narcissistic Personality Disorder using the DSM-5 which lists the following qualities:

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcissistic-personality-disorder/basics/symptoms/con-20025568

Now compare this to the diagnostic list above for BPD and tell me how many traits match between the two…I’ll give you a hint, the answer is 0. 

Misconception #5 – A “borderline” is just someone to be dealt with

Having BPD does not magically make me an issue in your life that must be dealt with. I can understand where this comes from as BPD is difficult to diagnose and treat. It can therefore become more visible and disruptive than some other disorders. However this is changing. The American Psychology Association discusses how the use of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has gone a long way to helping people with BPD seek treatment, and stick with treatment. More and more people are succeeding because they have worked hard to stay high functioning despite their illness.

http://www.apa.org/monitor/mar04/treatment.aspx

I have spoken to the concept of “dealing” with a boss with BPD before as that has always been the most common search term that brings people to this blog. But the fact is there are so many people with Borderline getting treatment. There are so many whom you would never know have this diagnosis. And you are not just “dealing” with them. They are your friends, family, coworkers, classmates, and you enjoy time with them having no idea the daily internal battle of their mind.


I hope this article cleared up some of the misconceptions. I also ask that you please share this article. When someone with BPD does a google search similar to mine, I want what they see to be truth and hope, not Forbes articles spreading lies and confusion.

I have spent a great deal of time crying because I “can’t” be successful because of statements like those above. To anyone out there who has shed those same tears, I want you to know you are not alone, you are not hopeless, you are not just someone to be dealt with. You are an amazing human being who is incredibly strong as you have to fight your own brain every day. You are treatable, and have every chance to be successful. You can have stable relationships and good jobs. You are worth that success and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Having BPD does NOT make you a bully, narcissist, or psychopath 

I love to read and happen to be going through a great leadership book right now. It dawned on me though that there are no leadership books (that I’m aware of) specific to success in business for people with mental illness. There are great books for coping with mental illness, and great books on success in business. Why haven’t the two been merged? 

Of course I mentioned this to my therapist who said “you don’t have to read everything in a book” YES I DO. Well ok, I guess I can succeed without it, point to you Mrs Therapist. However, I’m likely not the only one looking for this, so point to me too. 

Of course I made the mistake of google searching BPD and office type keywords to see if maybe there was something. Boy was that a mistake. I found articles and blog posts galore about “dealing with the borderlines in your office”. Every single one mentioned borderlines as narcissistic, most called borderlines “bullies”. One even went so far as to use Borderline Personality Disorder and Psychopath interchangeably.

I think what upset me more than anything was that it wasn’t just random opinions and blog posts, but some of these were on well respected sites. Here’s one from psych central talking about a book that groups anyone with a personality disorder together and calls them vampires https://psychcentral.com/lib/emotional-vampires-at-work-dealing-with-bosses-coworkers-who-drain-you-dry/ notice the constant lack of the word “some”. Apparently we’re all the same.

Here’s one from Forbes, one of my go to websites for business information https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2016/04/02/bullies-borderline-bosses-and-narcissists-how-to-thrive/2/#390559bc18fd this is actually part 2, there’s a part one that is almost as sickening.

What gets me is that these articles classify people with BPD as “Borderlines”. I did the same throughout this post because that is what I was reading. But the truth is, the disorder does not define you. There is also a consistent lack of “some” throughout. Sorry I didn’t realize all us “borderlines” are the same. And then of course the constant misconceptions of the disorder dripping from all sides. 

So in the style of Forbes contributor Christine Comaford, there will be a part 2 to this. And I will speak to the misconceptions that I continue to see and hear.

I’m a liar and manipulater… apparently

My husband likes to listen to a podcasts when he struggling to sleep. He was listening to one this afternoon while we tried to nap and a chick was interviewing some dude who is a lie expert. Like one of the people who’s job is to detect if you’re lying I guess? I missed the beginning where she introduced him, sorry. 

Anyhoo, she was asking questions about situations where it might make it harder to detect. She asked at one point “what about people with mental illness like Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder who are constant liars and manipulators. Wouldn’t it be harder to tell as they lie so frequently and easily?” My husband and I got a good chuckle and some snarky comments in before hearing the dudes answer. “Well, there are a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration…” and listed off numerous things. He obviously didn’t see mental illness the same way she did, to him it was no different than looking at differences between left handed and right handed people (which apparently is a real thing in lie detection, weird). He also refused to categorize Bipolar and BPD with pathological liars. 

I learned a few things today as I heard that. One, my husband is wonderful and trusts me despite being both bipolar and borderline. Two, there are highly intelligent and vocal people in this world that still proceed to spread misinformation on mental illness. And three, there are highly intelligent people who know better than that.

Guess what y’all, I’m not a constant liar and manipulater. The closest I am to that description is a mask wearer. I wear a mask to hide my mental disorders because of the people like this women who speak to the horrors of my illness and spread the idea that I am not to be trusted. 

I shouldn’t be on Google

My husband had some abnormalities in some recent blood tests. The doctor has shown concern and is requesting a number of other tests, x-rays, and sending him to a specialist for further analysis. We both hang on to this unspoken fear of what will be discovered. We both have tried not to jump to conclusions. But it’s hard. When the symptoms and test results and future scheduled tests match descriptions of what happens when diagnosing some very serious illnesses, it’s hard not to google search for answers. To see if there are other less serious concerns, to see how frightened we should be.

Neither of us speak of our fears. We put no labels to the potential diagnosis we see. We continue on with life as normal, trying to put the concern and stress aside until the Doctor says more. I wish the tests would be done and we would have answers. I’m tired of the brave face needed while constantly assuring my husband “don’t worry, they’re just ruling stuff out.” But for now I wait. And try to stop myself from google search symptoms and tests. I doesn’t do any good, so I need to patiently wait for the doctor to speak.

Advice from my husband

Me: What do you do when I’m batshit crazy. More than usual I mean. Like if someone said “my spouse is batshit crazy, any advice?” What advice would you give them?

Hubby: If you love them it doesn’t matter. That said, hiding is a great option!

Me: Lol, I mean like you love them and want to help them fight the depression and lack of confidence. You bring me coffee for example to show love, but what do you do that maybe I don’t see?

Hubby: I try to give you space, and try to be understanding at the same time. I try not to feed your insecurities and yeah I like to bring you stuff. It helps a lot when someone knows you care. Oh! And humor! Forgot that one. It’s hard to laugh and be sad at the same time.

Habits in good times and bad

Engrossed myself in my computer so no one would question it when I didn’t speak. Waited for everyone else to leave so I wouldn’t need to chat with them as we left together. Walked around the outside of the building, through basically the entire parking lot just so I wouldn’t walk past people I knew would say hi as I passed their desk.

Sometimes even when you feel better, you don’t. The panic, the struggles, the monster whispering lies, they are all still there. They are quieter, less noticeable, less exhausting. But they are still there. But the way I see it, if my habits from rough times bleed through to easier times, then shouldn’t it also work the other way? If I will go out of my way to not talk to people during mild panic because it’s habit from times of strong panic, then I should be able to go out of my way to drink herbal tea and knit out of self care during strong panic because it’s habit from times of mild panic?

I will continue to build better habits, and to focus on increasing those rather than decreasing others. After all, who ever said I can’t occasionally put a great deal of effort into avoiding conversations?

If we were having coffee…


If we were having coffee I’d wish you a Happy Easter if you celebrate that, and a Happy iced coffee Sunday if you don’t. I am celebrating iced coffee Sunday with some of my cold brew, chocolate syrup and a pinch of half and half (I’ll bet you didn’t even know you can pinch half and half!)

If we were having coffee you’d probably laugh at the fact that I’m drinking out of a beer stein. I don’t use reusable straws for anything other than water and don’t want to buy disposable ones, so beer stein it is! Cheers! 🍻 

If we were having coffee you might mention that I’ve been very quiet lately. I’ve been spending some time on self care, trying to rebuild habits I lost when I went through my most recent depression. It’s going well and I will be chatting more soon. But this was some much needed me time, and I’m glad I took it. I would also mention that I want you to take some self care time too. Please remember that self care is NOT selfish, it is necessary. 

If we were having coffee we’d sit and laugh and chat for hours. If you are going to an Easter church service, don’t worry, I’ll wait for you. They best part of cold brew coffee is it stays sweet no matter how long it sits. Your coffee will be delicious whenever you are able to arrive. And if it’s not until night and you don’t want caffeine, I have tea as well. Anything for you my friend. 

Have a wonderful Self Care/Easter/Iced Coffee Sunday!

Love you all, BB

If we were having coffee…


If we were having coffee you’d be like “um, BB? Isn’t it a bit late for coffee? Isn’t it like the middle of the night?” And I’d be all “BLASPHEMY! IT IS NEVER TOO LATE FOR COFFEE” because, well, I’m on a coffee high. Because apparently my idea of “treating” insomnia is coffee and nachos. I’m smart sometimes.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you about how this is the first week in a while I’ve felt a great deal of release. I’m trying to get back in good habits of self care in hopes that it will stay strong next time my meds become a jerk again. I’d remind you that all things are temporary, so I am so glad to take this moment of happiness and share it with you. 

If we were having coffee I would ask you how you’ve been, and I would listen. Just sit and listen. I was trapped in my head too long, and I miss you. I want to hear from you. Please feel free to share your week with me in the comments 😘
With Love, BB

Hibernating monster

I’ve been feeling human again all week and enjoying this break from depression. But what’s interesting is I feel so much better in comparison, I don’t realize I’m still stressed. I carry my stress and emotions in my left arm. Why? No idea. But that is why it is more cut up than my other limbs, that is why I have to focus breath and release there during meditation, and that is why when I’m stressed it shakes.

So all week I’m feeling fine but having random moments where I can’t stop my left arm and hand from shaking. So I press it against the bottom of the desk while I type with my right. Hoping all the while that no one will notice. 

As irritating as this can be, it is still so much better than before. I tend to talk about my “monster” and how when my mental illness is getting the better of me, I am the monster. Or at least I believe myself to be. So feeling human except for just my limb makes me think perhaps my monster is asleep. And every now and then simply has a bad dream that stresses out my arm. Probably sounds stupid, but for whatever reason it makes me smile and relax just a little more. So I have a hibernating monster in me, and I can’t wait to see how long I can keep him asleep.