Season 1 Episode 6

Title of Episode: BPD Examples & Strategies

Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/7MnjV95DqMYh03cV5SvSgE?si=KONG6VeWRM24fP3xrYM9Iw

Intro: 

         Hello and welcome to “The World in Black and White”My name is Michelle and I’m the narrator and creator of this podcast.

Vision for the podcast:

My vision for this podcast is that it will bring hope to all individuals that may be overwhelmed by the challenges mental illness can create as a person attempts to navigate life in a positive and successful way.

        I want to also make listeners aware of help that is available  Call one of these numbers or text them to find help.  I pray you always find someone there to pull you up.   

You can call or text 988.

Announcements: 

There are no new announcements this week so I thought I’d share a fun and easy recipe. 

Happy “Everyone is eating Turkey Leftovers”Day!
My family has kept a lovely tradition of eating “Feast Sandwiches” on this day for the past couple of years… Find that recipe below! (Definitely not diet friendly) 

Take remaining ingredients from the    thanksgiving feast…

  • Shredded Turkey 
  • Stuffing 
  • Cranberry sauce or mild pepper jelly 
  • Brioche sliced bread 
  • Brie cheese (spreadable) 

Toast some French brioche bread, 

add jelly or cranberry sauce to toast, then cover with stuffing and turkey. Finally, top with Brie cheese crumbled *or try what I am this year and use the spreadable brie cheese for your top piece of toast, then place in preheated oven of 350* to warm up your “feast sandwiches” for about 10 minutes. 

If you don’t appreciate that incredible culinary treat you should consider giving your taste buds away, as you may not be using them correctly. (Humor-Defense Mechanism, just in case you don’t like the sandwich, you might still come back to hear bad jokes. 🙂 

Just saying! It’s an amazing f’n sandwich, sides may vary! 

Another helpline available through the National Alliance for Mental Illness is 800-950-6264 or text “HelpLine” to 62640

SPLITTING: 

      So today… The topic I’d like to focus on this week, is how to get a handle on splitting. I will discuss a Reddit thread I found that allows me to walk you through the experience of splitting.  I will try to explain how implementing better coping & self-awareness strategies will help the person with BPD to be better equipped in order to handle the emotional episodes that can be caused after splitting. And I will talk about some of the ways that those that are around people with this disorder can help create a better environment for all. 

  So we discovered just a few episodes before this one, that splitting occurs most often during times where the BPD feels that abandonment is about to occur or has occurred, that’s when it is most apparent. However; splitting occurs even when there is no threat of abandonment. Wow! Glad we created a narrow avenue for this defense mechanism to occur. (Humor/Sarcasm-most used defense mechanism) 

       I found a good example of splitting for those that are still unaware of how something small can end up being all that is required for someone or something to earn a label as “all bad” or “all good” . This labeling occurred after only a tiny bit of social interaction, which most borderlines generally crave.  (*Here is a little hint, we crave positive social interaction.)  

      So, since bringing this podcast into existence, I have given more intensity to my research time on Borderline Personality Disorder. This past time has been a ritual of mine since getting my diagnosis in 2017. Just so all of my listeners know… I am poor in the social media arena, meaning I don’t use a lot of social media platforms. I have my blog on WordPress, my podcast, and now Reddit. Washing my hands of most social media was a personal decision after realizing that having tiktok, facebook and instagram were just a huge time suck for me, but it wasn’t really good for my mental health. I do believe most social media platforms aren’t healthy for a person with BPD, but I will save that topic for another day. 

      I stumbled onto Reddit again a couple of weeks ago, and my previous and only experience with reddit was super brief. If I were to give it a relationship status, it would have just been a one-night stand. (Humor- Defense Mechanism)Why so brief?

      I painted the whole site “bad” after a negative experience on a subreddit. Now, after becoming more knowledgeable about all the places one can go in the land of Reddit, I have reassigned it from “evil” to “good” being that it is a treasure trove of information for the person dealing with bpd and other people that have experienced being in relationships with individuals dealing with BPD. 

How did my initial experience with Reddit become a good example of splitting?  

Well, here is that story…  

My first experience with Reddit made me feel like it was being run by a bunch of political bots. I had made one comment, on a subreddit for Oklahoma. The comment I made to the original post wasn’t political, but the reaction I received was the prefabricated response served to the public from the media, during that time.   My comment was then given a political meaning, even though I wasn’t trying to divide or hurt anyone with my comment. What was the comment you might be asking now?

  I said,  “We all need to agree that EVERYONE matters.”  I think you know what might have happened after making that statement.  If you do understand, thanks for comprehending that I just don’t want to live in a place divided by politics and personal choice and all of that.

      Anyways, I had stuck my toe into the water of Reddit, and for me, it was an icy cold reception. So obviously, being blessed with BPD, I didn’t interact with that “evil” site for an entire year. (There’s Avoidance) 

     The first response I had received after one comment was all the evidence I needed to paint that site as evil for nearly a year.  I am happy to report that I must have grown some over this last year, because I decided to give Reddit another shot.

 Now everyone is caught up with how I currently view Reddit.  

      I entered the letters BPD in the subreddit search bar and immediately came across a few accounts to explore.  The first subreddit,  r/BorderlinePDisorder, was ok, and I felt good here, nothing too extreme.  Nothing stood out to me saying watch out this place is toxic. Or anything, you know how it works, you push forward and dig a little deeper.  One of the threads that led me to my next subreddit, was a post that said “It’s very BPD of us to have so many different bpd subreddits.That is all. LOL” It was here, that I discovered a subreddit called, r/BPDlovedones. I am sure there are more levels to this, but I stopped on this one, because it can help to prove my point about BPD and the ways we choose to label something as “safe=good” or “unsafe=EVIL”

OK, so we have established it is a safe place where I can now go to read.  I’ll  read, collect any information I deem useful,  about this disorder, then I’ll think about it  non-stop about what each memorable comment might actually mean that I encountered during my browsing and try to understand it from their perspective 

I am a little angry that there are 66,000 people on this subreddit that agree that  it is ok to sweep all BPD individuals into the same pile and speak as if BPD means “Bad People Daily”

      There needs to be a major discussion about all the things that have to occur for a person to be diagnosed with BPD.  So many of these things can be prevented or helped.  It takes a more compassionate society.  I don’t know if the United States could achieve that level of compassion.  

We expect someone with the disorder to just be better. 

We are talking about genetic coding, absent or neglectful parents, abusive or toxic environments that grew these individuals. All of these things were experienced during their most critical times of development.  

The thing that bothered me the most about this is the word LOVED. 

If you are loved, what is there left to vent about? 

Most of what I read on that subreddit thread, could be summed up like this… “Please be normal so my life can be more comfortable and people can see me as the good person I am because I have to deal with your crazy ass.” (HUMOR- Defense Mechanism)  

      They want the BPD to just be better and get with the program. So then this question popped into my head.  

Would you expect a war veteran that had suffered a brain injury due to flying shrapnel penetrating through their skull into their brain, to just have a few days of R&R then get right  back into the battle?  Would you expect them to just get up after putting a bandage on it at the combat support hospital and go back into battle, to start kicking ass again? Or would you say.  “Hey, Hey! What are you doing? Here… Hey, let me help you.” (Intellectualization – this is a Healthy Defense Mechanism) 

      We often send people with mental health bandages, yet  leaving the scars and the shrapnel still lodged inside the brain.  If you want your BPD loved one to get better, you might need to be prepared for what that mental surgery might require.  This isn’t a “hey let’s go to counseling a few times a week and pretend to be better” situation.  This is a legit brain disorder.  Be kind to them and show that you have a genuine desire to see them healthy & that will make it easier for them to pull the wall down to expose their vulnerable self.  

So the person dealing with the brain disorder is expected to cure themselves? The doctors can’t figure it out, so you should just do it yourself?  So everyone feels validated by blaming the BPD for not getting better.     

Would you expect a dog that has been abused for years to just wag its tail and be a good dog after a few meals and a good bath?  That dog is going to need serious rehabilitation and a consistent and loving caretaker in order to change the way it sees humans, and the dog brain is smaller than ours, but has the same major components that humans have.Dogs have the ability to remember and learn.  I think based off of what I have seen from society humans are generally  more kind to the animal, after someone has abused it.  We are less kind to humans that have suffered similar maltreatment. We think they should be capable of going out and doing whatever they need to do in order to survive.  But the underlying issue for the abused BPD isn’t that they don’t want to get better, the underlying issue is that their brain is not properly delivering the message that they need to get better,

So just like that poor dog has learned through its experiences, so has the BPD.

For people with BPD, splitting may be a way to manage conflicting emotions.

Experts do not fully understand the causes of BPD, but research points to several different potential causes

Years of trauma, genetic design created a few severe problems in the brain. Minor and major character flaws arise because of the fact too many or too little chemicals are being released for them. They don’t fully trust anyone and are always on high alert waiting for the shit to hit the fan.

Why? That is what their brain does… the past trauma has taught them not to trust and anytime that trauma is triggered they are overwhelmed with too many toxic chemicals in the brain 

The person with Borderline  that you just want to be normal, are trying to be normal, they are trying to live in a place full of critics and judgment, that offer no real compassion.  Major things that the BPD is highly sensitive to.   They are trying to maintain some sense of  normal every second of every day.   They have nothing in their command center working normally. But yet, since they are expected to just be normal, they play that role.  This is not their fault, it is in fact due to faulty wiring and miscommunication with the chemicals being released into the body.  Based on what I have read, people with BPD more than likely are dealing with high levels of cortisol being released into their body as well. 

 I recently had a saliva test done to check my hormone levels.  My body was producing 3 times the normal amount of CORTISOL right before bed.  My levels increase throughout the day… they are supposed to decrease.  The doctor advised that I take a supplement called Cortisolv and I have noticed a decrease in my anxiety during the day, and that has been a blessing.   

Byte of Insight:I found this study to be interesting… 

Defense mechanisms are mental operations that disguise or otherwise modify the content of the mind and/or the perception of reality.” Such psychological techniques aim to protect us from negative and difficult emotions, ideas and motives. The study explains that the working of these mechanisms is generally unconscious or unknown to the individual as it functions effectively only if the individual is ‘unaware of the deception’. However, given the distortions involved, the development of defense mechanisms may conflict with the existence of the individual’s view of internal or external reality.

Strategy 1:

      A meaningful attempt at seeing it from the other person’s point of view, is actually trying to feel that, and then you notice those emotions in yourself.  It’s not that you’re not capable of feeling those emotions. It’s usually that you have such a rush of emotions, it’s hard to identify which one trumps the other. So it’s just a whole bunch of different feelings all jumbled together.

Strategy 2: 

    Think about that I am expecting people to just accept me with all this stuff I have to deal with. I’m like you guys just accept this, because dammit it’s good!! HAHAHAHA! We have that idea sometimes about ourselves and then ok, so I am expecting this forgiveness for everything and then you only give somebody two chances to get it right. That has kind of helped me understand when I am splitting… I need to,not leave myself wide open without boundaries…but say “Hey is it this bad, or is it kind of ok? Is this something you can live with? Is this something that you can forgive?”  That forgiveness part is so huge. Even if you don’t do everything correctly or you miss it, and you labeled someone as really really  good and they turned out to be bad, it’s ok! Forgive yourself. If you messed up,,, you’re not all bad. Ok? I feel like that needs to be said.  Just because we mess up does not define us. 

Strategy 3:

One of the other strategies I like to do is really ground myself in moments and I like to anchor it to past events. There are moments that I do kind of like come to, like 100% fully in the moment and I am just like “OMG, look at how much time has passed!” You know?  & So I’ve kinda been trying to make those moments happen more frequently, so I can really start to take advantage of my time. Because I feel like the main thing this disorder does and nobody talks about this, is the absence of the person. They are literally in their heads so much that they can’t interact on this very physical realm. Ya know so… I think I have been working on bringing myself to those present moments a lot more. 

The last thing I wanted to say, is for those people that actually have a loved one that has bpd… Ya know we are so thankful for you, and the love and the understanding and the constant forgiveness you have to bestow upon a person with bpd is extraordinary. It is extraordinary, and I say that just based off of my own life mistakes and my own relationship mistakes and my own parenting mistakes. I could  just keep going on and on with the list, because we’re not perfect, no one is! However incredibly difficult it is to express that love and appreciation for you, for that loved one. We are grateful that you are in our lives…  And you know, we love you and we are thankful for that compassion and that understanding. 

             CLOSING:  Thanks so much for tuning in… We have come to the end of the podcast. What did you learn? Who can you share this podcast with? If this resonates with your spirit or makes you think of a certain someone that has experienced similar issues in their life, please share this with them.  I believe mental health is something we are overlooking on a massive scale, and in order for people to heal we need to be able to speak about this openly and honestly.

…Until next time… Choose truth, goodness and love 

Want more understanding about living with Borderline Personality Disorder…

A Brief Look at My Life with Borderline Personality Disorder | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Mental Health Myth Busters: Borderline Personality Disorder | NAMI

Challenge: keep a journal, it helps! 

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