Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Taste the Thrill of the Day

By request from MJ Fan Girl, I am posting a photo of the awesome cake my friends got me for my 34th birthday in December of 2011.


L.O.V.E.!

Bonus points to anyone who knows where I got the title of this blog post.  Hint:  It's Michael Jackson related.  Aaaaand, go!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

So, What Is Borderline Personality Disorder Anyway?

About eleven years ago I was diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety disorders.  This was not really surprising to me.  For as long as I could remember, my moods were not like other people's.  I'll get more into this in future posts, but today I am writing about my "What's this you're telling me?" diagnosis:  Borderline Personality Disorder. 

Before I was diagnosed with BPD about three and a half years ago I don't think I had ever heard the term before.  If I had heard it in passing, I certainly didn't know what it was or what it meant.  I didn't have much more of an understanding of what it was after learning that I had this ailment.  When I would share with those closest to me my new diagnoses and they would ask what it was I would say, "It's ... ah... like a form of... um... Depression and Anxiety.  Mixed together.  Or... something."  It wasn't until this past spring when I was hospitalized for the second time that I realized that if I'm ever going to get better, I need to learn about the conditions that I have, especially the complex Borderline Personality Disorder. 

Borderline Personality Disorder isn't a form of Depression and Anxiety, but those who suffer from BPD often also suffer from other illness such as Depression, Anxiety, Bi-Polar Disorder, etc.  I think that the condition has a big scary name, which may lead to some misconceptions.  Is the personality disordered?  What is the personality on the borderline of?  Crazy?  Mental health experts are calling for an updated and more accurate term for the illness to be used: "Emotion Dysregulation Disorder." 

So, what is Borderline Personality Disorder?  A person with BDP experiences much more intense emotions than other people do.  These emotions also last longer than they do in the average person.  The results can be positive as well as negative.  The Borderline is exceptionally idealistic, loving and loyal.  However, we get overwhelmed by negative emotions, such as feeling intense grief instead of sadness, humiliation instead of mild embarrassment, rage instead of annoyance, and panic instead of nervousness.  The Borderline is especially sensitive to feelings of rejection, inadequacy and perceived failure.  We also have an intense fear of abandonment. 

Splitting is a typical characteristic of the Borderline.  Splitting is, in simple terms, "black and white thinking."  By default the Borderline is unable to join together positive and negative attributes to form a cohesive set of beliefs about others or oneself.  As a result a person may be seen as all good or all bad.  A friend or family member may be put on a pedestal by the BPD sufferer, but if that same person hurts the Borderline's feelings he or she may then be seen as a terrible person.  On the same token, if the Borderline feels judged, misunderstood or that someone is upset with us, we may feel that we are hated.  The Borderline may view oneself as "good" in one moment and as "bad" in the next. 

Which leads us to lack of sense of identity.  The person with BPD doesn't have a clear sense of self.  We might take on some of the characteristics of people around us in a subconscious attempt to feel "normal".    The Borderline's interests will change drastically; we may be passionate about something at one point in time, and then come to be completely uninterested in it -- or even deeply dislike it -- within a short matter of time.  Due to the absence of clear sense of self, even everyday decisions can be overwhelming for the Borderline. 

BPD sufferers experience chronic feelings of emptiness.  Some Borderlines describe a physical sensation of "hollowing" in the abdomen and chest area.  Borderlines often experience episodes where we feel separated from other people, even if people are physically around us.  We may feel that we are "not real" or that something vital to our existence is missing. 

Self-harm and suicidal ideation are core diagnostic criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder.  The Borderline doesn't necessarily want to die, but rather does not want to live their life the way it is. 

This is (in a nutshell) what I have learned about Borderline Personality Disorder.  In future posts I will go a little bit deeper into each of the characteristic points and my own personal experiences with the illness.  I've come to realize that there is a lot to learn about this condition, and I will be continually learning.  I hope with this blog that as I come to understand BPD, Depression and Anxiety, I can help others who suffer from these illnesses and their loved ones understand them as well.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Moonwalking

So yesterday I discovered the genius that is Bitsrips, and I cannot stop playing with it.   Here is one of my favourite creations with it, my little homage to Michael Jackson:


I have been playing with this thing almost nonstop today, so you'll probably see more of my little Bitstrip cartoons.  This is the kind of thing that I do for fun.  

Saturday, November 02, 2013

NoNoWriMo

I have decided not to participate in NaNoWriMo this year.  I really considered it.  Being a NaNoWriMo winner in 2009 was one of the best feelings in my life.  Buckling down on a novel (Who's Your Daddy?) and getting so much of it written was probably my greatest writing achievement ever.  It's something that I would like to repeat and NaNoWriMo is such a great opportunity for that every year.

I started NaNoWriMo in 2010 with a novel called Cold Blood.  But early in November I got depressed over some stupid boy who effed me around.  The smart thing to do would have been to channel some of that emotion into my story, but instead I got weepy and ditched the writing altogether.  Perhaps it would've helped if the story had anything to do with some stupid boy, but alas it didn't.

In 2011 I didn't participate in NaNoWriMo at all.  Perhaps I was too busy falling in love with the man who is now my husband.

Last year I began writing a novel called She Tells the Best Lies for NaNoWriMo.  I was doing very well, until the morning I woke the whole house up at 4 AM with my full-on ugly crying.  My now husband -- then fiance -- came out of the bedroom to find me sobbing on the couch in front of my very dead laptop.  I had been working on my novel when my laptop went black and would not turn back on.  And I had no backup.  All of my work on my novel was gone, all of the many hours of work on my photos for my portfolio, gone.  All of my wedding plans, family photos, address book, gone gone gone.

The next day we brought the laptop into the Geek Squad, who charged us a big toe just for them to look at it for about an hour and then tell us that it couldn't be fixed.  Turns out the Geek Squad aren't all that geeky.  My daughter's ex-boyfriend's mom swooped in and saved the day by offering us her husband's superior geekly powers.  He took the laptop and hooked it up to some magical machine which scanned it for like four days, no kidding!  It took quite some time, but he was able to save everything on the computer!  I am forever in their debt (I would offer them my firstborn daughter's hand in marriage to their firstborn son, but it seems that our offprings have moved each other into the "friend zone", booo).  By the time my computer was back up and running NaNoWriMo was over.

So I thought about doing NaNoWriMo again this year, but ultimately decided against it.  The year I won I put a lot of work (and lack of sleep) into it.  With all of the things that I have on my plate right now it would be straight up crazy to add yet another thing to my plate.  I think it would be a good idea to not add any more crazy to my life right now.  Hopefully next year; the NaNoWriMo, not the crazy.