Archive for April 19th, 2007

Goodness, my therapist confuses me sometimes.

So I just came back from therapy and I shouldn’t even bother blogging about it but I feel kind of silly bringing the whole BPD thing into the arena now. I’m just so damn unhappy with my life that I’m resorting to, yes, desperate pathologizing and looking for some answer anywhere for some sort of “solution” to my pain.

So in I wander looking (and feeling) like death warmed over. I should have come in wearing a black hooded gown, a skull type mask and carrying a scythe. She was surprised I even made the appointment.

So, we start talking and yes, I’m depressed and my life is chaos since the break up and move–as it should be, blah, blah, blah. So I meander off into issues of my relationship “problems.” Now she and I have covered this before but here’s the deal. And I may as well get into basically why ex-partner and I broke up. I suppose I’ll need to in order to illustrate some of my “issues.”

Ex-partner and I were probably only “just friends” ever since we met. In fact, I never wanted to even be in a relationship. I fought it from the beginning but I gave in and just went for it anyway. I probably shouldn’t have and there were some red flags from the beginning but I ignored them. I am impulsive and I (probably) made a mistake. Nonetheless, we stayed together for 2.5 years and it was pretty good but things started to deteriorate and ended up getting pretty bad over the recent past. My physical state and emotional state started to get worse and finally, it all came out about my/our feelings about it all just being a friendship and I suppose the relationship just couldn’t sustain itself any longer.

I do feel guilty about it, like I could have or should have tried harder or done something differently but I don’t know just what that could have been. It got so bad that we ended the relationship via email. So that’s basically that.

So back to therapy. Now much to my surprise, some time ago, it was learned that I have “intimacy issues.” I never thought this about myself. This was realized when ex-partner and I started growing closer and I started having all of these uncontrollable thoughts that she was going to die. I couldn’t explain them, they were incredibly intrusive and driving me quite insane with anxiety. I mean, I was seriously freaking out, needing to up my meds, crying all the time. Therapist simply concluded: Intimacy Issues. We worked through it…I got over it…ex-partner didn’t die.

Now, why I am like a crack addict. I have always had a problem being drawn or attracted to “unavailable” women. Unavailable can mean many a thing: emotionally, physically…whatever. Bottom line, I have a history of this. The relationships I have been in have always been with “available” women but they haven’t lasted and I haven’t *felt* anything for them. Save one who later turned out to be “unavailable” but I didn’t find this out until much later. The closest I’ve come is ex-partner but it still didn’t work and damn it…I still crashed and burned.

I’ve thought of many reasons–or tried to–why this may be. Dumb luck? Just haven’t met the right person? Bad Karma? The best therapist and I could come up with is my traumatic childhood and yes, again she and I talked about this before and we discussed Atachment disorder which she knew I was familiar with. Now that link speaks more about adopted children and what to look for in a child. But the basic gist of it is you are neglected by your primary caregiver (usually the mother but not always) as a child (usually an infant but not always) and before you know it, you’re pretty messed up when it comes to forming relationships.

Here’s something further from the neuro side of things:

Distortions in Thinking

As children, our brains organize relative to the environment in which we grow up – either safe and secure or scary and sad. Our feelings are stored in the limbic system or midbrain. On the other hand, our right orbitofrontal cortex performs abstract reasoning. One of the most common adaptive behaviors in which humans engage is “pain avoidance”. Thus, a child who grows up in a maladaptive environment (painful environment) organizes his brain in a maladaptive style that involves emphasizing survival behaviors rather than feelings of security and love. This organization of the brain results in intelligent adults with a maladaptive upbringing to have a tendency to function more from a reasoning place of denial of feelings (which is a function of the orbitofrontal cortex) rather than integrating the limbic system feelings into appropriate responses. In these adults with maladaptive upbringing, when the emotions residing in the limbic system are triggered, the frontal lobe jumps to attention with a strategy to defend or deny those feelings rather than integrate the limbic system feelings with their cognitive response. The two most common feelings triggered in these adults tend to be fear and sadness. Once these feelings are triggered, their defenses go into action to protect them from those feelings. Adults with attachment difficulties want to be loved and accepted but don’t have the “tools” to achieve that goal. Their cognitive distortions sabotage what they want and need. — Institute for Attachment and Child Development

Now my mother was nuts. Is nuts. When she had me, I don’t know exactly what was happening during my infancy (i.e. any postpartum depression…it’s possible) but I do know that when I was a bit older she kept me abnormally close to her and was very protective of me. Then she became severely ill (more so then she already was) and she was just “gone.” I mean, completely from my life. Well, she was there physically, in the home but as a mother, even as a person…nope. So to go from bizarre, clingy, no-one-can-touch-my-daughter to…now I won’t touch my daughter, well, I think that had to impact me. I think it actually screwed me up quite a bit. And beyond that, everything else in the house became so chaotic and ultra violent and messy…way too much trauma and drama. At least from my bare memories and from what I have been told by my older sister. It was bad and I was like a super-sensitive sponge. I took it all in and have been scarred.

So bringing this forward to me trying to actually have relationships. What does it all mean? Well, my therapist told me that my behaviour is certainly not uncommon for people “in my situation” or for those that have lived through such experiences. She likened my behaviour to drug addiction and being a crack addict. Oh dear. Simply because of the powerful force of it and that I seem to go a little out of my mind and lose all judgment where some of these people have been concerned.

But I said to her, how can that be good? Addictions are bad! And especially when it just seems like a lose-lose situation. If the person is “unattainable” then I will never be happy and won’t I just end up getting hurt? My therapist said that by hanging on to them, perhaps I am shielding myself from a greater hurt. Huh? Oh dear, again.

She asked me to think about my alcohol consumption and how many times I had used it to numb the pain. I thought about it and said, well, yes…many times. She said it was okay because many times, drug usage has actually saved people from bigger problems in their lives. That kind of blew me away because so many times alcohol use has gotten me into so many problems. And really painful ones. I can’t reconcile in my mind any kind of addiction as being beneficial.

I am still confused. Maybe because I am so messed up right now I just can’t see “The Big Picture” or “The Forest for the Trees” or something. All I know is she didn’t think I had BPD. That’s okay, I have enough labels/acronyms already.

Anyway, I’m trying to make sense of my head, my “self” and I probably just shouldn’t. I probably just can’t. I’m slipping back to a “place,” history is repeating (as it so often does in my life,) I am depressed (again,) I am feeling lost and without an “identity” (again) and am just…well, lying in bed trying to get out of it and not moving. I probably need some tea as this post isn’t even going to make any sense but I can’t even get motivated for tea! Now that tells you something.

Alright…I’ve had my tea, I’ve gotten dressed, taken kitty outside and it’s finally getting warmer and the sun is out.

I’ve been doing some reading, both on the internet and in some books. I’m searching desperately for some “answers.”

Identity: I’ve been looking been looking at some Social Psychology and the concept of personality and the self and behaviour and more specifically, ME and why–if I do this–mirror other peoples’ traits, characteristics and emotions. Do I lack a defined sense of self-concept? I have been like this my entire life. But I question it more when my life is thrown into chaos and my moods become dysregulated. But if I take stock, it’s an eternal question. I know I am intelligent, I have well-informed views/opinions about many things but when it comes to interpersonal relationships and dealings with others, it seems that things always break down. I seem to almost assimilate myself with others at times. Lack of self-esteem could have something to do with it? I can’t seem to find any answers.

Mirror Neurons: I decided then to appeal to science. You can read a little bit about Mirror Neurons here. Again, something interesting but yet somewhat hypothetical and still unproven? Maybe I have overactive Mirror Neurons and they seem too do well a job?

BPD: When I first began my “psychiatric career” one psychiatrist brought up the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. Now being the diligent little researcher I am, I went straight to work and read as much as I could about it. I read personal accounts, all sorts of literature. Both the psychiatrist and I agreed that I did not fit the criteria. But here are a couple of things that well, these days are making me rethink things. You can have a look at this and this.

Now in looking at the DSM-IV criteria in the first link, 1-7 are fitting, or have fit. 8 and 9, not so much. Well, maybe a little bit of paranoia but it has been situationally related and not too severe. But these things have been somewhat transient and what has predominantly been the first order of concern has been my Bipolar symptoms that can also overlap. Granted, comorbidity can exist?

Oh dear…the second link. The “History” section is rather…well, more of it rings true and the “Causes?” Welcome to my family. Interestingly enough, they have also linked it with ADD. Oh, now my brain is starting to hurt. What on earth is wrong with me?!

I have a book on BPD. Perhaps I should go and grab that too and try and read that as well. I don’t know if it will help.

Buddism: So I’ve been trying to also get back to my Buddhism to see if that will help me. Maybe some good old spiritual “Enlightenment” will help me get on track and help me “soothe” myself as apparently those with BPD have a hard time doing this? Am I too attached to things? Do I need to just let go and exist in the moment? Will that bring me some peace? *sigh*

Years ago, I became very interested in Buddhism and it seemed to help. I even became a vegetarian for a while! I would look at my cat and think–oh my precious (and all other living things!) I couldn’t bear it if someone ate you! I would also be so careful when walking, lest I stepped on an ant or any other “living” insect. I would meditate anywhere I could but soon, I stumbled off the path and just quit.

I am still struggling with Buddhism too.