Mental Health Araweness Week; Day 7: Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) & Recovery

It’s Day 7 of Mental Health Awareness Week. That means it is the last day and I struggled with what I wanted to discuss today. I really wanted to discuss another diagnosis as well as recovery. With much discussion and consideration with different people in my life, I have chosen to not only talk about Recovery but Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) as well. I chose these two topics because I at one time was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and because I have worked so hard in recovery I no longer meet the criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). So you can see the topics of Recovery and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can go hand and hand for me.

I will discuss Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) first. From here on out for the remainder of this blog, Borderline Personality Disorder will be written as BPD. The following information on BPD I got from National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website at nami.org.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness that can be challenging for everyone involved, including the individuals with the illness, as well their friends and family members. BPD is characterized by impulsivity and instability in mood, self-image, and personal relationships. The treatments and longer-term studies of BPD offer hope for good outcomes for most individuals who live with BPD. Ideas to name the condition in a manner that better describes the patter of concerns (e.g., Emotion Dysregulation Disorder) have been advanced but no name change to the condition is planned for the release of DSM-5.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and how is it diagnosed?

Borderline Personality Disorder is diagnosed by mental health professionals following a comprehensive psychiatric interview that may include talking with a person’s previous clinicians, review of prior records, a medical evaluation, and when appropriate, interviews with friends and family. There is no specific single medical test (e.g., blood test) to diagnose BPD and a diagnosis is not based on  a single sign or symptom. Rather, BPD is diagnosed by a mental health professional based on patterns of thinking and behavior in an individual. Some people may have “borderline personality traits” which means that they do not meet the criteria for diagnosis with BPD but have some of the symptoms associated with this illness.

Individuals with BPD usually have several of the following symptoms, many which are detailed in the DSM-IV-TR:

  • Marked mood swings with periods of intense depressed mood, irritability and/or anxiety last a few hours to a few days (but not in the context of full-blown episode of major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder).
  • Inappropriate, intense or uncontrollable anger.
  • Impulsive behaviors that result in adverse outcomes and psychological distress, such as excessive spending, sexual encounters, substance use, shoplifting, reckless driving or binge eating.
  • Recurring suicidal threats or non-suicidal self-injurious behavior such as cutting on one’s self.
  • Unstable, intense personal relationships, sometimes alternating between “all good,” idealization, and “all bad,” devaluation.
  • Persistent uncertainty about self-image, long-term goals, friendships and values.
  • Chronic boredom or feelings of emptiness.
  • Frantic efforts to avoid abandonment.

Borderline Personality Disorder is relatively common – about 1 in 20 or 25 individuals will live with this condition. Historically, BPD has been thought to be significantly more common in females, however recent research suggest that males may almost as frequently affect by BPD. Borderline Personality Disorder is diagnosed in people from each race, ethnicity and economic status.

What is the cause of Borderline Personality Disorder?

The exact causes of BPD remain unknown, although the roles of both environmental and biological factors are though to play a role in people who develop this illness. While no specific gene has been shown to directly cause BPD, a number of different genes have been identified as playing a role in its development. The brain’s functioning, as seen in MRI testing, is often different in people with BPD, suggesting that there is a neurological basis for some of the symptoms associated with BPD.

Neuroimaging studies are not clinically helpful at this time to make the diagnosis and are research tools. A number of hormones (including oxytocin) and signaling molecules within the brain (e.g., neurotransmitters including serotonin) have been shown to potentially play a role in BPD. People who experience traumatic life events (e.g., physical or sexual abuse during childhood) are at increased risk of developing BPD, as are people with certain chronic medical illnesses in childhood.

The connection between BPD and other mental illnesses is well established. People with BPD are at increased risk for anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, eating disorders, and substance abuse. BPD is often misdiagnosed and many people find they wait years to get a proper diagnosis, which leads to a better care plan.

Many people with Borderline Personality Disorder have a first-degree relative with a serious mental illness (e.g., bipolar or schizophrenia). This is likely due to both genetic and environmental factors.

Now that I have bored you about BPD, I want to thank you for reading to this point. Again, I got the following information from NAMI’s website at nami.org.  I will now continue on with the next part of my blog.

The next part of the discussion is Recovery. According to the Webster’s dictionary Recovery is defined as following: noun: The process of combating a disorder (such as alcoholism) or a real or perceived problem. Now that you know the definition of Recovery, I can tell you how recovery looks to me especially when it comes to BPD.

Recovery has been a long and difficult process for me. In fact recovery is a lifelong process for people with any mental health diagnosis. For me, my recovery process in regards to my mental illness (not the eating disorders I struggled with) started 11 years ago this month (October or 2003) when I went into a two year intensive outpatient Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) program. When I was in DBT I learned on ways to learn how to deal with my intense emotions. Most of the emotions I was dealing with and still deal with on occasion, I learn as a child to hold them in. So, holding in my emotions I ended up self-harming by cutting myself. I’m getting a little off topic, when I was in the DBT program I learned the proper skills or tools I needed to express my emotions appropriately. Because I learned how to express my emotions in an appropriate manner I was able to hold down a job at the same employer for 9 1/2 year as well take the training and examination to become a Certified Peer Support Specialist (aka Peer Counselor). Not only was I employed at the same employer for 9 1/2 years I was able to quit that job and become  Consumer Aide with Peer Counselor responsibilities at a mental health agency.

Yes, after I graduated the DBT program I continued with my previous job as well as sought out a new therapist. I have had my current therapist for 6 years this December. My current therapist Diana (pseudonym) and have worked endlessly with the pain of my past. She is the one that encouraged me to get my peer certification as well getting my new job as a Consumer Aide. Diana and the DBT program I graduated from in November of 2005 have played a key role in my recovery. In fact I have come to rely on myself as well as my friends and a select family members as well as people I consider family more than I do my own treatment team. Diana, my current therapist, is the one who declared me a recovered Borderline. As of the summer of last year (2013) I know longer meet the criteria of Borderline. My natural support system will see to that I will never get the diagnosis of BPD back. In fact my natural supports are a key to my recovery.

The reason why they are key to my recover is because like I said earlier recovery is a life long process. See I deal with other mental health diagnoses like the ones I have shared with you this past week. In fact I struggle with a few other diagnoses and will continue to educate you on those tomorrow. Going back to the topic, most mental illness’s are life long. Most of the personality disorders are the only mental health diagnoses you can eventually no longer meet the criteria for and Borderline is one of them. Yes, I will most likely struggle from time to time with my other mental health diagnosis however I have great friends and family as well as a therapist that are all invested in my recovery. They wont give up on me nor will they allow me to give up on myself.

Now that I have practically written a chapter or two of a book I better let you all go. I will continue to keep educating you on different diagnosis’s. I will continue with the ones that deal with. Have a great rest of your weekend I hope that I have educated you all on mental illness during Mental Health Awareness Week. I hope you all will continue to read and/or follow my blog. I hope I was able to convey to you this week that I was hoping to and hope to be able to convey more to you all in other blogs. Thanks for reading. Please do not hesitate to share my blog on social media site just as long as it is done in a respectful manner. Again thank you for reading. It means a great deal to me that you read my blog.

I should really let you go. I will blog again tomorrow and yes I will be blogging about another mental health diagnosis. It will be one that I have been diagnosed with. Again, thank you for reading. Peace out and enjoy your weekend.

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It’s Been A Couple Of Days

     Happy Friday!!! If you are a follower to my blog or a regular reader you are aware that I haven’t blogged in a couple of days. I haven’t blogged for a few reasons. One reason is I wasn’t sure what to blog about another reason I didn’t blog is because I’ve been so busy with life that I exhausted myself and have been too tired to blog.

     Wednesday was the day I had my interview. Thankfully, they didn’t have to reschedule with me again even though it almost got rescheduled again. When I showed up and a couple of the program managers at the agency realized that it was going to be the third time they just interviewed me with anyway even though it wasn’t the right set of interview questions. They felt that if I had rescheduled twice before that the interview should happen anyway. One the interviewers said that if I don’t get the job with program I applied for that they will find the funding for me to have job with there program as a peer and not a consumer aide. So it looks like either way that I might have job. I am hoping that I get the job as a consumer aide.

      I had a listening in shift with the Warm Line on Wednesday and well it was an “unusual day” for calls at the Warm Line. First of all they only received three phone calls that were not hang up calls. Second of all; all three phone calls ended up suicide calls that needed to be transferred to the crisis line. I only listened in on two of those calls. They want me to do another listening in shift so I know what a “typical” shift looks like. A shift usually isn’t so slow nor does it get “crisis” calls. I’m just waiting on when my next listening in shift will be. I guess I will be getting three listening shifts instead of two and that is cool with me. I am looking forward to September when I start being a call taker on the Warm Line.

     Speaking of volunteering, I am looking forward to Wednesday when I volunteer at the homeless shelter. I love my volunteer job at the shelter. The clients at the shelter are known for being difficult to serve because of the severity of their mental illnesses and/or addictions and I love the challenge. If I get the job as a consumer aide I will be a little sad because I cant volunteer and be an employee at the same time with the agency that runs both the shelter and the program I applied and had the interview for. Yes, I want the job however I will miss the clients at the shelter. Again if everything works out the way I hope it does I will be starting the job as a consumer aide the same time I officially will be a call taker on the Warm Line. I know I shouldn’t be getting my hopes up so high but I really want the job even though I will miss volunteer at the shelter.

     As some of you know Fridays are my Mondays and that means I worked today. Today was just a shitty day at work. A day that made me realize I want the hell out of my current employment. Working at grocery store with the same employer for the last 9 years has made me realize that I am meant to be in the mental health field. I don’t like having people yell at me for something I have no control over. Working in a grocery store is NOT my cup of tea.

    Speaking of tea that reminds me that I need to take time out to take care of myself. I am going to go and have a cup of hot tea. Yes, I am having tea on an 80 degree day. Why not? It is a way to take care of myself. I better get going. In all honesty, I hope to blog again tomorrow. Have good weekend everyone. Peace out!!!

Tuesday Night Rambling

     Today was another beautiful day in the neighborhood. Before I go on about my ramblings I want to tell you about my celebration last night regarding 1,000 day of being out of an inpatient unit. Well it turned out that roughly 50 people showed. Some of the people that were there came as a shock to me because I didn’t realize that cared. It is nice to know so many people care about me and my recovery. The best part was that my own dad was there. It was nice that my dad is supports me in my recovery process.

     Something I did today in regards to recovery was start training for a peer run Warm Line. A Warm Line pretty much always run by Peers. When I say peers I mean people who are in recovery from a mental illness and/or co-occurring disorders. A Warm Line is designed to help others struggling with a mental illness and/or co-occurring disorder. The training for the Warm Line is 5 weeks long at 2 days a week and 4 hours each day. If you do the math that is 40 hours of training before you are a call taker on the Warm Line. I love being of service to people and if being of service to people means volunteering then I am more than happy to volunteer.

     I unfortunately am not going to be able to go to my volunteer job at the homeless shelter tomorrow because I have an interview with another program at the agency that runs the shelter. I don’t like missing my volunteer shifts at the shelter for any reason because I really enjoy volunteering in the shelter. At least missing the shift is for a good reason which is for the interview. My interview is 10 o’clock in the morning and it will last about two hours which why I am not going to make it to my volunteer shift. I wont make from my place and back in time because I would want to change and I take the bus. I really hope I get the job even if that means that I have to quit my volunteer job at the shelter. See I cant be a volunteer and a employee at the same agency even if its in a different program because of conflict of interest and L&I laws. Even though I will be sad to have to quit volunteering at the homeless shelter if I get the job, I really want the job. If I get the job then the volunteer job at the Warm Line couldn’t have come at a better time. I really want this job because its time for a career change for me. Wish me luck with the interview.

     Well, I should get going because I want to be well rested for my interview as well as being as prepared as possible tonight so I am not rushing tomorrow morning. I really don’t like feeling rushed. Its one of the worst feelings one can have.  Anyway, have a good night everyone. Enjoy the rest of you Tuesday night. Peace out!!

It’s Been An Interesting But Good Wednesday

     It’s been an interesting but good Wednesday. Today didn’t start out all the pleasant. I woke up with a nightmare. Waking up to nightmares sucks big time.

     Shortly after I woke up from a nightmare this morning I got a call from a childhood friend. My friend ended up calling me at 4:30 in the morning pacific time. She forgot that she is three hours ahead of me. That means it was 7:30 her time. Anyway it was good to talk to her. Its always good to reminisce. She updated me with her life as I updated her with my life.

     As I told you all yesterday, I applied for a position as Consumer Aide. Well, I got a call this morning asking if I could come in for an interview tomorrow. The thing is I got the call for the interview 23 hours after I sent the email. It’s extremely rare to get call back for an interview so soon much less get an interview 48 hours after sending in a résumé’ and cover letter. I am a little nervous about the job interview but I am confident that it will go well even if I don’t get the job. I know that a Consumer Aide isn’t exactly a Peer Specialist position but its a start in the right direction. Maybe it will help me eventually get a Peer Specialist job in the future. I just  hope that I am not getting my hopes set too high. I am just frustrated that I’m in a job that I don’t like and am eager to move on to another job. I really hope I get the job because I’ve been employed at the same employer for nine years now and it getting a little old and boring at times. The cool thing is that I already know what I am going to wear to my interview because I have an outfit that I wear to most of my interviews.

     Enough about my job interview. I volunteered today. I told the staff at the homeless shelter that I have an interview tomorrow and they wished me luck. If I get the job I will have to quit my volunteer job because the agency that runs the shelter  runs the transitional/supportive housing site I applied to. That’s okay because I believe in what the agency does. The staff are happy for me and the hope I get the job even though it means I will not be able to volunteer at the shelter. If I get the job I will miss the clients in the shelter but I know that I will get to know and enjoy the clients at the transitional housing site I might be employed at. Part of the reason why I got the interview is because I volunteer at the agency and have been employed at my current employer for nine years. I really enjoy working with the homeless population. I was able to talk with one of my favorite clients for about a half an hour today. I know we aren’t suppose to have favorites but its kind of difficult not to at times. I really enjoy volunteering at the homeless shelter.

     Speaking of volunteering, I start training for another volunteer job in about two weeks. Its for a local peer run Warm Line. I am looking forward to it. The training is two days week for four hours each day for about six weeks. They want to make sure we get the proper training if we are going to be taking calls for a peer run Warm Line. Talking with people who struggle with mental illness is not an easy thing especially if there is the potential that the caller might be suicidal.

    Anyway I need to get going. My boyfriend is barbequing for a goodbye party for one of my elderly neighbors who is moving in with one of her children in a different state. My boyfriend said he would be willing to come over and barbeque for the going away party. I need to help out before others start showing up to say goodbye the elderly neighbor.

    I hope to blog again tomorrow and tell you how my job interview went. I really hope I get the job. Like I said I hope to blog again tomorrow. Peace out and enjoy the rest of you Wednesday evening.

Hmmm….Just A Saturday Evening Rambling

     Its another beautiful day in the neighborhood. My boyfriend is barbequing steaks as I am watching the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Texas Ranger game. Right now its in between eighth and ninth innings and the Angels are up 5 to  2. I of course am rooting for the Angels since I am originally from Anaheim. I miss California. Tonight’s game happens to be in Texas.  

     Well, I worked earlier today. I actually had a good day a work today. I worked with one of my favorite checkers today. The checker I worked with today is like a second father to me. He has taken me under his wing. The cool thing about this particular co-worker is that he is very non-judgmental of me and my mental health issues. He can usually tell when things are acting up without me even having to tell him. When things are acting up he makes sure that I get my breaks because I usually don’t take my breaks. I take my lunches but not my breaks. Its always nice to have people that have your back. My schedule for this next week is okay. I only work 15 hours but I work Sunday which means I get Sunday pay. That’s a good thing. After my shift on Friday I will be on vacation again.  

     I will be going to see my little brother on my vacation. It just so happens his birthday happens that every year his birthday falls the same week/weekend of the local fair in his town. I will treat him to the fair like I always do when I happen to be around on his birthday. I love him so much. My boyfriend will be going as well. My boyfriend and brother get along great. I’m looking forward to going the rides, playing the rigged games and most importantly the fair food. Oh how I love fair food.

     The Angel vs. Ranger game is now over. The Angels won 5 to 2. I am proud of my Angels. Its a four game series and the have won the last 3 games against the Rangers and have one more game against them tomorrow.

     Now back on to my brother. I am looking forward to seeing him and spending time with him. Its hard to believe that he is going to be 24 years old. I am proud of him and everything that he is accomplishing in his life.

     As I have told you in earlier blog entries I am reading a psychology text book to better myself as well as to educate myself. I figure since I cant afford to go to college at the moment I might as well as buy and read text books from a used book store. If you know where and when to buy a text book you can get them pretty cheap. In fact you can usually get them under $20. I love educating myself. I love it when I shock the hell out of people when I know what I’m talking about especially when its on a subject that you have to go “to school for.” People assume when they look at me that I don’t know what I am talking about but they soon realize that when I know something I know something.

    Well, my boyfriend is almost done with the steaks and I should get going. I am love meat. I love food. I need to help get the rest of the food out and on the table. My boyfriend and I are going to eat on his patio because its another beautiful day out. I love hot weather like today.

     I best be going. Have a good rest of your Saturday evening everyone. I hope you have a good weekend. Peace out and have fun.

 

Nightmares Suck!!!

     Good morning Thursday! It is 1:46 in the morning pacific time and I am awake from a screaming nightmare. Waking up from a nightmare is not very fun. I am tired as hell. Waking up my boyfriend from my nightmares is not my idea of fun. He is helping me through this difficult moment of waking up from a horrific nightmare. PTSD is a daily struggle. In fact it is a nightly struggle as well. If it wasn’t for his support or the support of my friends when my nightmares act up I would have some pretty lonesome nights. I choose to depend on my support system to help me through difficult moments like my nightmares.

     Another way to help myself through rough times like these is read books such as A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles  Dickens. Most of the time I end up reading a comic book. Mainly I read Wonder Woman comic books to get my mind back on track so I can get back to bed. Sometimes watching comedies like The Cosby Show helps me relax enough to get back to sleep. Sometimes I watch comedy movies to help make me laugh. Laughter make me relax to where I can calm myself down enough so I can eventually get some sleep.

    If it wasn’t for the love and support of my boyfriend supporting me right now I would be dealing with it by myself. I also get support from friends when I ask for it. The hard thing for me is asking for the help. So accepting help from my boyfriend is a major accomplishment for me. Depending on your natural support system is a major sign of the recovery process.

    I think it’s time for me to try to go back to bed and get some sleep. I do have a doctors appointment in the morning regarding my burned fingers. They still hurt like hell. Have a good night sleep all. I will let you all know what my doctor says about my burned fingers after my appointment. Peace out and have a goodnight sleep.