“6 Things To Help Manage BPD”

(Last episode for season 1)

Link to Podcast! https://s-ssl.wordpress.com/i/spotify-badge.svg

Season 1 Episode 9:

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

Vision: 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.  

Crisis Helpline: I want to also make listeners aware of help that is available. Call 988 to speak to a crisis operator or text “helpline” that is H E L P L I N E to 62640 .

Stoicism says not to worry about the elements of your life outside of your control, that the only thing you can ever really control is yourself, or rather your reaction to those outside elements that you “feel” are affecting your outlook on life. I posed the question a couple years back, “can a person with BPD be a stoic?” It was interesting for me to consider that the rule was so simple, yet so foreign for someone at the mercy of overly reactive chemicals to external stimuli. To even consider that someone could have this type of control over their responses to the world intrigued me… and so I researched stoicism for a bit. It was super difficult for me to resist the urge not to react to everything outside of my control. 

I’m still working on some level of a more controlled response to the world. I am still wondering if someone suffering from this brain disorder has the capability to become a stoic? 

This next portion I will be sharing is a blog post I made about Stoicism and BPD in March of 2020. 

Here is a previous blog I wrote about stoicism and BPD Can An Individual With BPD Become A Stoic?

  So I came up with these 6 things after responding to a comment someone posted on Reddit.   I will omit their comment, as it was the response that triggered this episode anyway.  Sometimes we don’t know what we have learned until someone else needs to know what you know in order to get through something troublesome.

MY RESPONSE:   “I’m going to sound like a b-word when I say what is required of you to “feel” better. I just need you to know, nothing will ever change If we aren’t honest about what is required to get out of your own way. BPD is a brain disorder, chemicals have hijacked YOU. Every BPD person has unknowingly given these chemicals an all-access pass to control emotional responses.  We have always been at the mercy of these chemicals. 1st and foremost – stop making excuses 2. Stop justifying your avoidance to seek understanding of BPD. We must relocate from victimhood. 3. Claim your autonomy, and immediately start working on self-awareness. 4. Embrace the emptiness until it’s gone. 5. Decide that being present is more important than anything contrived in a fantasy. 6. Get active. These are not fail-proof instructions, but it’s been effective enough for me to stay present a lot more than before and focus on things that mean something to me.”

After responding to this person, I noticed that I may have some more things to share with listeners about managing their borderline personality disorder. With no real answers or cure to Borderline we must all  focus on managing ourselves, until we figure out the issues causing the symptoms. 

#1)  If we are at the mercy of chemicals responding to our environment reactively and without permission, how likely is it that a person with BPD can control their emotional responses?  Don’t chemicals just have a way of doing their thing without asking permission?

(Definitions found on newharbinger.com)

Cortisol- a chemical released during stress that helps to break down carbohydrates and proteins in order to increase the supply of glucose and oxygen in the muscles, heart, and brain. But high levels of cortisol over a prolonged periods of time lead to an increase in blood pressure and an increase in sugar levels, both of which lead to unhealthy fat build-up in the abdomen, thinning of bones, and prevention of collagen formation. High cortisol levels also suppress the immune-system response and cause the body to age faster.

Serotonin- plays an important role in the regulation of mood, sleep, and learning. It is found throughout the brain and the digestive system, and has been implicated in depression, suicide, anxiety, and appetite regulation

Opiates- are released (under ordinary circumstances) by the brain to dull pain in response to body-tissue damage

Just knowing cortisol can affect in a negative way… traumatic events and high stress situations…  you can control your actions to help alleviate some of those environmental triggers. 

#2)  Avoiding responsibility or competency of your disorder?  Are you a “manager” or are you a “victim”?

I still catch myself saying “If you would just be nice to me, I wouldn’t have these episodes.”  while this may be true.  It is no one else’s responsibility to make me behave appropriately.  It is my responsibility.  Understanding my weaknesses, helps me manage this brain disorder.  When I am feeling unloved, invisible or misunderstood, I should seek to understand the reasons this is occurring and not just try to “feel” better by any means necessary.  I know that even our defense mechanisms tend to happen automatically, but if you work at maintaining a mindful existence, you will see the unhealthy ones and realize they aren’t truly helping you “feel” better, they are only interested in making the pain go away and to survive.  Living a good life is much more than just surviving.  




#3) You are an autonomous being with unique characteristics and specific attributes that make you, YOU.  Awaken to who you are.

I am a work in progress.  Honestly, I am still getting acquainted with who I am. This introspection has been motivated by a series of events that had to happen in order for me to understand I was “surviving on autopilot” and not really living the life I would want to live. Since arriving at that understanding of self I embrace that I am a strong person that has already accomplished many things, even with a disorder that creates more self-inflicted pain than living without BPD. Embrace this strength. 

#4) Healing is feeling, and sometimes that means embracing the emptiness until you have squeezed every bit of it from those special compartments you like to hoard painful & unpleasant moments.  

Imagine running water from your kitchen faucet,  take a rag and soak it with water, then ring it out.  Does it feel dry, after ringing it out once? Probably not, because no matter how much you ring it, the rag will remain damp, until you lay it out flat in the sun.  Our pain is similar to a damp rag, if we wad it up and stuff it deep down inside of us it doesn’t ever go away.  Especially when we just keep it under a running faucet.  If you want to get rid of the pain, you will need to lay it all out and with time let the light (personal insight and acknowledgement) dry it up.  You may need to do this process several times.  It is worthwhile work. 

#5) Being present, and not caught up in some fantasy, is the only way in which you directly affect your overall mental health.  There is no escaping this fact!

There are several moments throughout my day that I see people using technology to escape reality.  I am wearing headphones right now listening to the Top Hits on Spotify and I am doing this to block out distractions, to help me focus on creating my podcast notes.  Well, my family escapes reality by playing video games and watching youtube videos or any social media platform currently available.  It is ok to escape for a little while, but if you are constantly seeking the escape, maybe you need to take inventory of what is happening around you that is inspiring this desire to escape and do what you need to do to make your reality more comfortable for you to exist in peace.

#6)  MOVE your body and be physical.  It helps battle the negative chemicals by releasing the good chemicals that your brain is desperate for, and the physical benefits of being active aren’t so bad either. 

I can tell you since starting kickboxing and pushing to do this multiple times a week has helped my mental state in a big way.  You don’t need a gym, take a walk, or buy a jump rope.  Do some pushups or sit-ups and log your workouts.  This activity will help you “feel” better. 

BYTE OF INSIGHT: 

It is so easy for me to describe to people the ways in which they don’t show their appreciation for me, and this usually looks like some sort of adolescent tantrum.  The reason this expression looks like some sort of teenager not getting their way, is due to my lack of self-awareness.

In the past, I expected everyone to understand that my unloading was the only path for me to find any level of peace again.  I would only offer this “explosion” as the necessary path they deserved to take with me after they so selfishly and consistently offered me their inconsiderate behaviors. Instead of halting the inappropriate talk or behaviors as they occurred, I would expect them to choose not to do those things, out of some sort of expression of love and commitment to me.  I would then by way of silence, allow them to continue their behaviors towards me that I did not approve of,  and this would then create an ugly pattern of  behaviors and treatment that weren’t  acceptable, but allowed. 

I now know that this “explosion” can be avoided by establishing timely & appropriate boundaries, however this awareness took me a very long time to establish boundaries for myself and my family members and friends.
I have found the closer you are to someone the harder it will be to set necessary boundaries.  I think it might also be relevant to state that this realization means that the person dealing with BPD has the hardest time setting boundaries for themself.  I am able to justify just about any type of treatment I “feel” like justifying.  Instead of letting my “feelings” tell me what is appropriate. I have now designed boundaries that say “Will this behavior/communication express how I feel about this person honestly?”  If the answer is no, I would only be trampling all over myself and my authenticity. Which is the last thing I want to occur. I have been working hard at understanding myself and all the things that make me, ME. Beyond that… I want those that I love, to feel that love and trust my love.  I want the people that I care about, to know that I hold their future and their feelings as a personal priority.  This has helped me quite a bit on my journey to healing the relationships I have thoughtlessly injured in the past.


So even though I have in the past unloaded whatever it was I had been “containing” directly on to my loved ones, I was doing this to somehow attack their behaviors.  But what I was actually doing, was informing them that it was ok to communicate in this way.  I had just demonstrated what I accept as appropriate behavior & an appropriate method to communicate.  Even though it is not how I want to communicate.  It helped to create an ugly and emotionally abusive cycle. I now choose to show love and patience and seek understanding, all while hoping that I will also receive the same.  


I was showing people with my own actions and expressions that this response was normal or “appropriate”.   So Instead of burying the hurt or dismissing the moments I felt disrespected, I should discuss these things or events in a healthy way. Knowing that  I would not treat them this way, and would like the same consideration from them, and that if they can’t show this type of consideration for my feelings, then maybe they do not hold one of the places I have reserved for my closest relationships.  I should not rely on my ability to bury things, in order to keep a relationship. 



Challenge:Stoicism and controlling yourself! Change your responses to the people close to you.  This has been trying for me at times.  When I dish out honesty it is served alongside an attitude that says “I’m right about this, you are just too ignorant to see it from my personal perspective.”  I despise trying to appear like a “know it all”, because well… I know I don’t know everything. Before when I would start speaking my truth or opinions about something, I would expect everyone to just accept it as their truth as well.  That will not always be the case.  I have been working very hard at accepting that the rest of the world, especially those closest to me, do not experience or see the world as I do.  I must first try to see their perspective then express that I understand their point of view before offering my own, and there may even be times where the other person doesn’t even want to hear it.  This has been challenging for me most of my life, but since opting to try this method of communication out I have already seen positive responses when communicating my wants and needs, or when I am expressing my raw feelings about certain things, to my friends and family. 

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 that 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.I believe this will also be the last episode of season 1. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and wish you all a very Happy New Year! Until next time choose truth, goodness, and love.

Season 1 Episode 8

Self Awareness continued

Link for podcast:https://open.spotify.com/episode/1XrZtuJAdGayala84IBzjs?si=RUwQKqfKTyWOYdLUsiszGg

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.

CRISIS HELPLINE: I want to also make listeners aware of help that is available. Call one of these numbers or text them to find help.

Text “helpline” that’s H E L P L I N E TO 62640

Or dial 988 for crisis operator.

Announcements: N/A

Topic:  (SELF-AWARENESS CONT.)

We began talking about a study that identified some areas that might be of some interest for those suffering from BPD.I know it did catch my interest.  What the study showed is that even very early environmental interaction can affect an individual that is highly sensitive to their environment & that the lack of interaction from the parent or caretaker helps to create BPD, and it also instills a lack of self awareness. What we are finding out as we search for Borderline Personality Disorder and the relation to self awareness, is that there’s not a lot of information out there.But self awareness is key when trying to manage this disorder. 

So armed with this information from the study I went to have a conversation with my caretaker, my mother.  I asked her, “Were you depressed or was anything serious happening when I was an infant?”  she responds with “The year you were born was the year my dad died. He died 8 months after you were born.” 

Now I’m not entirely sure because the study doesn’t just blatantly say what age an infant has to be.  When I asked my mom about this she was clearly upset that she had lost her dad she immediately started trying to hold back tears and she failed at that so she began to cry I leaned over and gave her a hug and put my hand over her head I could sense that she was truly upset and that she missed her dad.  Now imagine 40 years ago, when I was just a baby how upset she must have been. I do believe that my mother suffers from borderline as well… just undiagnosed.  So that emotional, overwhelming event kept her at bay, from me when I was a baby. It’s important to remember in any relationship that you may create that other person has issues, and pains & things about them that may not help you, and I had to make that realization about my parents, in the past few years. In recognizing that I was able to forgive them.  I am still processing the pain because I really don’t like being controlled by this disorder. So I do my best everyday to work on self awareness.  

So why is self awareness so difficult for a person with Borderline? I have literally been thinking about this in the back of my mind all week. What I have come up with is that because a borderline is constantly looking at facial features and emotional feedback, body language. Little microscopic things that tell us we are pleasing or accepted is what we rely upon in order to function. To be in reality and to have your brain constantly over-analyzing every unspoken response and trying to dictate what your next words or movement action behavior whatever it is to have that be appropriate in that moment makes it quite difficult to dive into who we are and to give an honest response, because our number one fear is to be rejected and then abandoned because we were not pleasing or appropriate 

So in my search for self awareness I realized that the absolute number one thing you have to do is start being honest. You have to pull from deep within yourself. Being deceitful comes very easily for the borderline because were literally telling the people what they want to hear but when you are honest and you get to tell someone what you actually think or how you actually feel makes you aware of you. This is gonna take some practice.  Here are some of the strategies I personally use to make an honest effort of being self aware.  

If someone is having a conversation with you and you start to zone out on things happening inside your head, stop them, interrupt them if you must, and say “I am so sorry, could you repeat everything that you just said?” & Truly listen and & truly give them honest feedback.  

The other thing that I have been working on is time.  I use different times throughout the day to take care of myself,or to take care of my classroom, or I have to schedule certain things, so that I am making myself. I’m putting forth all of my energy on tackling specific tasks.  

We’ve all heard that “truth hurts,” but we’ve never heard of why it hurts. It mostly hurts our ego, but we can learn from the truth, and if we are always being honest then we will learn ourselves as well.

Sometimes creating pain in others is inevitable and sometimes having pain inside yourself is inevitable. So I’ve started to accept the pain and abandon the suffering. If I feel the pain and let it go then that is all it has. It is just a moment of my time and attention. When I let it go it no longer resides with me. I can move on and live life. Being self aware means that you are aware of who you are and while I still struggle with that, here are some things I do know; I am a woman, I am a strong woman, I am a courageous and strong woman. I like adventure sometimes, I like to rest sometimes, I do love to spend time with my kids, and love talking to my class about life, and I am happy that I am a mother, and that I was able to be a mother. And I am also happy to be managing bpd and trying to help other people and encourage them.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do on the podcast today, because there is very little information out there about bpd and self awareness. I do have this one hope that some of  my honesty today… Me just talking to you reaches someone and helps them work on self awareness and helps them manage their bpd just a little bit better because ladies and gents I do know how difficult it is and i wish it weren’t that way and the more I learn about borderline is that there is a reason for all of this there is a purpose behind it and we just have to become self-aware and understand what our purpose is, what our truth is, and then go out and be that. 

BYTE OF INSIGHT: sharing information that is good information

(Found online at optimumperformanceinstite.Com) 

“MANAGING BPD

Coping with borderline personality disorder can seem daunting, however help is available. It is not a life sentence, and it can be managed. Some of the following have worked to help people manage BPD in daily life:

  • Learning coping skills for raging emotions
  • Expressing emotions via creative outlets like drawing, painting or writing
  • Performing relaxation exercises
  • Active problem-solving behaviors
  • Setting attainable and realistic goals
  • Seeking comforting surroundings
  • Listening to music that is opposite of the strong emotions felt
  • Taking a warm shower or bath
  • Setting a stable schedule
  • Calling someone to talk
  • Talking to people about triggering events or situations to help avoid them
  • Engaging in a physical activity or outlet
  • Learning about the disorder
  • Being patient and understanding that symptoms may improve gradually

Understanding the signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder can go a long way toward healing. By identifying that these mood swings and intense emotions are not intentional, one can learn to recognize the warning signs and learn to cope.

Challenge: I write every day! Whether it’s a response to something that happened or an idea that I had I tend to enjoy jotting those things down, however I’ve also found that writing about my feelings takes the bad seasoning out of my responses should I need to verbally respond to someone about a particular issue. It’s also a good way to keep track of my thoughts and feelings, and it helps me identify how different people or events change my opinion about them if their expectations aren’t what I had hoped. My challenge to you is to journal not at random but about situations that may arise this week that make your temper flare or break your heart or spirit. Instead of giving an immediate and impulsive response… write it down, then, when you have calmed down you now have something to calmly refer to if the discussion needs to happen. 

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 that 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.

Thanks for your time! Happy holidays to each reader/listener! Peace within ✌🏻 is achievable! 🥰

Season 1: Episode 7

Self-Awareness

Link to listen to the podcast: 

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.

Announcements: (none)

Topic:  (SELF-AWARENESS)

Alright…  Welcome back everyone, this is episode 7 of the first season of The World in Black & White!  I am going to try and knock out 11 episodes total, for Season 1 before the start of 2023, so wish me luck!

This week’s topic is very near and dear to my heart, SELF-AWARENESS!

I don’t know the percentage of Borderlines that deal with this issue, but I am sure it is high. 

 If I were put on the spot to give 100% honesty on whether or not I liked something I would respond with a neutral type of response, still being unsure of what the appropriate answer might be for the given situation or I’d be worried about the response the person asking me the question is seeking. I’d probably just say “umm sure, it’s good” 
For starters, I do not like to offend but the closer I steer towards being authentic and honest, the more I realize that there will be times where my wants and needs may not be the same as others, and that my opinions and beliefs may not match their beliefs.I just need to remind myself that this doesn’t make me offensive. (because In my head, offensive people aren’t well liked.)  and because well, answering with an agreeable answer is less troublesome. 

but I have found that the moments where I have abandoned my opinions, beliefs or values to be agreeable for someone or something are also the initial moments that create conflict in my life. I know now that I must redirect my responses towards honesty and steer clear of always being agreeable. 

This amnesia of self may be one of the most destructive behavior patterns for PwBPD. 

I have made a lot of progress by bringing my focus on being present, really tuning in, consistently seeking my inner voice, and presenting the truth to others about the thoughts that are awakened or my true feelings when situations needing my input may arise. //

CRISIS HELPLINE:
  I would also like to let listeners know 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.

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


Are you able to make good decisions in a timely manner, or do you waver a bunch and say “well what do you want to do? Or what do you think we should do?”

I always thought this behavior pattern of mine to be a considerate personality trait. I was offering the decision to be made by someone else, to give them an opportunity to experience any level of joy out of that decision.  But in doing so, I have lost the ability to make my own decisions based on what I truly think or believe.  However; I think one of the only times we aren’t indecisive is when something causes us to “feel”. I am curious to find out if this need to “feel” happens because so many people with BPD actually function in their own lives  in a numb and apathetic way.It appears we have discovered some kind of mental switch for autopilot. 

However; this default in my brain to avoid making decisions for myself stems from my inability to see who I really am and what I really want.  This also leaves me with the inability to be decisive.  I rely on many other people to help me make good decisions. Why should I trust others and their decision-making over my own?

Well, I think that’s a good question!. I think I have stumbled upon something that will help us understand a little bit better why people with BPD have such a hard time with self awareness and understanding who they are, what they think ,and what their beliefs are//

BYTE of Insight:
Lately, I have been struggling a ton with not being able to see myself.  I don’t mean I need to buy glasses or clean my bathroom mirror.  I mean, I’ve noticed that I’m lacking in the area of self awareness and understanding my own identity. I am working at getting a better understanding of all the things that make me, me.

This may sound silly to some listeners but I do believe that this is a big issue for someone battling textbook BPD.

Not having the slightest clue of how others see you may directly berelated to that inability to see/know/or understand myself.  

I bet if you have BPD you are bothered by this just as much as I am.  

We have already learned that splitting occurs, as well as other unhealthy defense mechanisms when the PwBPD is threatened and that this happens on a subconscious level. 

I am now constantly telling myself, there is no threat Michelle.  Or reminding my brain that everything is ok, because I don’t want some unhealthy defense mechanism hijacking my mind or my behaviors.//

STUDY OVER SELF:  Alright what I’m about to read is an abstract from a study
Link:

Mentalization and embodied selfhood in Borderline Personality Disorder – PMC (nih.gov)

ABSTRACT:  Aberrations of self-experience are considered a core feature of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). While prominent etiologic accounts of BPD, such as the mentalization based approach, appeal to the developmental constitution of self in early infant-caregiver environments, they often rely on a conception of self that is not explicitly articulated. Moreover, self-experience in BPD is often theorized at the level of narrative identity, thus minimizing the role of embodied experience. In this article, we present the hypothesis that disordered self and interpersonal functioning in BPD result, in part, from impairments in “embodied mentalization,” that manifest foundationally as alterations in minimal embodied selfhood, i.e. the first-person experience of being an individuated embodied subject. This account of BPD, which engages early intersubjective experiences has the potential to integrate phenomenological, developmental, and symptomatic findings in BPD, and is consistent with contemporary theories of brain function.

“disturbances in self and other mental representations are fundamental to borderline psychopathology” (p.514). Similarly, Kerr et al. (Kerr et al., 2015) calls for a “reconceptualization” of BPD as “a disorder of self and relationality” (p.346). Interpersonal symptoms can include confusion about self-other boundaries with identity diffusion, projection of difficult affects onto interaction partners. One person with BPD evokes a bodily experience of this confusion (italics added):

(So this is from one person and what they have said but it hit me 100%!)

When I’m around other people, I can feel their energy. I can feel whether they’re happy or unhappy. I can walk into a room and feel whether there’s tension in the air or if everyone is getting along… Having my own identity issues makes it even harder to be around certain people. I feel other people’s emotions so strongly that sometimes, I believe they are my own (Mae, 2017).


PLANS For Next Episode:  
So I am thinking I will go further into this study and talk about it more on the next episode, one of the last things they talked about in the study is that while bpd
“ remains in current classification systems and can be reliably diagnosed. A considerable body of research on self and BPD has accrued, including a recent profusion and confluence of neuroscientific and socio psychological findings. These have generated supporting evidence for a supra-ordinate, functionally constituted entity of the self ranging over multiple, interacting levels from an unconscious, ‘core’ self, through to a reflective, phenotypic, ‘idiographic’ and relational self constituted by interpersonal and sociocultural experience.

  I am listening to many people that have been diagnosed with BPD on reddit and other websites that focus on psychology or mental health.  I ventured to one site called themighty.com and found an interesting article entitled “25 PEOPLE SHARE THE WORST SYMPTOMS OF BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER”

 




One of the responses from James said that his worst symptom was this…

“No sense of self. I went through so many majors in college and I am constantly second guessing myself. Do I really want to do this with my life? What about this instead? This looks better let’s do this. It’s tiring for myself and everyone around me. I’ll finally settle on something and then something better will come along and I jump ship.”(quote from Themighty.com)

I believe people that are highly sensitive to their environment look externally for the correct response, because we were the ones to keep environments from becoming too chaotic during important moments of development.  We weren’t given appropriate space and time to figure out the things we like/dislike, or what we really feel.  We were more than likely always told how to feel, or “to get over it!” 

Challenge:

The challenge that I would like to put out for this week is to use TRUTH as much as possible, rely on yourself to make those decisions, stay present, focus on listening to yourself,  make a list if you have too.  But the challenge is to be honest about what you want, and what you need.  And I think that is a good challenge for this week and I think it will pull you to a better place of SELF AWARENESS.

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 Closing:

Season 1 Episode 4

Season 1 Episode 4

listen to the podcast below

https://anchor.fm/michelle-clonch/episodes/Lightning-Tree-e1p8ohj

“ Lightning Tree”

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 hope is that this podcast will bring hope to all individuals that may be overwhelmed by the challenges mental illness creates when trying to navigate life in a positive and successful way. I hope to help others by teaching forgiveness and self-awareness.

ALRIGHT… Thanks for joining me today, our TOPIC is SPLITTING & this will be a two part,this is part 1 (PART 1) 

I have discovered that there are many parts to this topic, so I am breaking it down into smaller morsels; bite-sized bits of information are sometimes easier to understand and retain. Today we will go into the definition of splitting and dive into why BPD persons feel the need to use this and other defense mechanisms in order to survive their daily life. . 

I do love to start with definitions and force myself to truly understand the definition before advancing into further discussion on the topic. So here is the definition of splitting. 

Borderline Personality Disorder (splitting) *I jacked this from Verywellmind.com

Splitting is considered a defense mechanism, by which people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) can view people, events, or even themselves in all or nothing terms. Splitting allows them to readily discard things they have assigned as “bad” and to embrace things they consider “good,” even if those things are harmful or risky.

So what I am hearing in this definition is that a person with BPD may always be on the defense.  So let us look into what a defense mechanism actually is? Why does the person with BPD need to rely on defense mechanisms so often? So the question we must answer first is, what are defense mechanisms?

Here is a chart of 12 defense mechanisms according to Sigmund Freud. //

According to Medical News Today, and mostly just regurgitating other medical journal information into my own loosely constructed definition, an individual presenting healthy defense mechanisms can show normal development, so people use defense mechanisms naturally, it’s human. And although the BPD may utilize healthy defense mechanisms, it is more common to see them intuitively fall back into the use of unhealthy defense mechanisms. I believe this happens because the BPD brain gets stuck when faced with high levels of stress, it’s like the brain we can compare it to an engine that is idling and when an event occurs it begins revving and revving but not shifting into any productive gear, the brain of the bpd is simply trying to keep the engine running, and it does this from a primal place, not from an evil place.  Having lived on both sides ( a daughter of a person with BPD and having caused trauma to my own family) I have witnessed the destructive nature of the BPD person. I understand the way a BPD can struggle to gain control of their own actions when encountering highly stressful events. I guess I should talk a moment to discuss what I mean about highly stressful events.  We aren’t talking about one single event.  The person with BPD more than likely hangs onto every bad act of rejection or slight someone has made the BPD feel.  When that “emotional bank of bad” gets full, the BPD tries to either escape it by using easy to activate defense mechanisms, which for the BPD feels like an innate and natural response.  If they can’t escape the pain they may try to ignore the pain, or substitute the pain with something that makes them feel good, finding an effective  high.  I’m not talking about drug use or drinking, I’m talking about something that makes them feel better.  It could be shopping too much, it could be exercising too much.  I’m telling you it could be a list of things.  When the stress hormone is released (or the engine is revved)  the brain reverts to a particular pattern of thinking that relies on certain defense mechanisms. (I also feel dissociation occurs simultaneously at this point, and the BPD goes into survival mode- auto-pilot) they are not particularly interested in providing realistic solutions, they are only interested in staying alive and feeling good about their decision to survive.  So for the BPD to save the brain from actually dwelling on an uncomfortable event it may automatically find a defense mechanism that has been effective during past traumatic events. 

I said I wanted this podcast to be about finding forgiveness and peace, I do hope that we are able to find that for both the person that has survived the destructive consequences of a borderline, and also for the Borderline. 

  Ok so this is for the borderline listener, are you aware of the defense mechanisms your brain naturally resorts to when confronted with high stress situations? Have you asked yourself why your brain keeps reverting to a specific defense mechanism? What defense mechanisms are you naturally inclined to use when times get more stressful than normal? If you don’t have the slightest clue what defense mechanisms your brain resorts to… Maybe you could check out this quiz.  I took mine.  

I took a quiz to see what defense mechanisms I use.  That quiz can be found at 

Defense Mechanisms: Test Your Unconscious Coping Techniques | Psychologia

Here are my results.

Your scores for each defense mechanism can be found below. The higher the score, the more you use it.

Regression: 80

Displacement: 30

Denial: 10

Repression: 40

Intellectualization: 10

Reaction formation: 30

Projection: 20

Compensation: 30

Alright here is our BYTE OF INSIGHT  

The BPD person must ask themselves what they are defending themselves from? Is this physical or emotional pain? If it is physical pain, remove that toxicity from your life, no one deserves to be beaten.  If it is emotional pain, is it perceived emotional pain or is someone seriously beating you down with a psychological wrecking ball. Both aspects of abuse have to be taken care of.  I have begun to reign in the things that I felt weren’t producing a healthy environment.  I know that BPD is considered a brain disorder now, but maybe some people are just not good for your emotional health.  You let them know that they upset your peace by communicating your feelings in the moment.  It is ok to be honest with others about the anxiety and distress you go through during their toxic unloading.  If they don’t understand or appreciate this they will naturally eliminate themselves from your life.  You don’t need to be pleasing to be loved.  I suffer from that same belief and have most of my life.  You can disagree with people and have your own way about you and those that truly appreciate who you are will still be there for you no matter what and those that find you aren’t meeting their emotional supply anymore can find the door.  I feel it is healthier and more peaceful to approach this as a journey of seeking peace and forgiveness now rather than battling something I honestly can’t stand about myself.  I was created like this for a purpose and at some point in my life I hope to achieve that purpose but I know that both physical and emotional abuse exist, don’t agree to it for your life.  You deserve peace.  I am trying to establish peace  in my life by establishing better boundaries and not subjecting myself to that type of environment.  I have to literally tell myself “you deserve a good & healthy space.  And honey, You don’t have to fight so hard to survive. Remember to breathe and also take in these moments, they are the only ones we get.”

Lightning Tree POEM

Weekly Challenge- Last week we were challenged to get back in touch with someone you have lost contact with.  This week.  you should take the defense mechanism quiz to see what defense mechanism you naturally rely upon and we will look into the 2nd part of BPD and splitting next week.

Season1 Episode 3: Poorly Constructed Play

Listen to the podcast here: https://spotifyanchor-web.app.link/e/I80RqYPbvub

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 hope is that this podcast will bring hope to all individuals that may be overwhelmed by the challenges mental illness creates when trying to navigate life in a positive and successful way. I hope to help others by teaching forgiveness and self-awareness.

What causes BPD?

There is not one single cause that produces BPD in an individual; it is a combination of factors that most people who suffer from BPD have little to no control over.  The first factor is genetics.  One or both of your parents can pass down this disorder, and you would not be aware that your parents suffered with this disorder, if it was not necessary for them to see a mental health professional.  The possibility of passing this disorder on to your children is approximately 46%, according to recent medical studies.  This disorder is now being described as a brain disorder, the problems experienced by the BPD individual are a direct result of the neurotransmitters in the brain. www.NHS.UK “The neurotransmitters are messenger chemicals that transmit signals between brain cells.  Altered levels of serotonin have been linked to depression, aggression, and difficulty controlling destructive urges.”  The study revealed that many people with BPD show that 3 parts of the brain were either smaller than usual or had unusual levels of activity. 

*Amygdala

*Hippocampus

*Orbitofrontal Cortex

Photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.com

I am currently seeking a doctor that will do my  MRI imaging to help explain what is going on with my brain. The company I am currently looking into is the AMEN CLINIC, they have a facility not too far from me, so that may be what I endure next to try and fight this disorder.  This will not be cheap, apparently they don’t accept insurance and the entire package will be over $5,000.  I do feel that it will be worth it.  

I think it is important to note some of the recent emotions and internal struggles I have been dealing with lately.  I have been experiencing depression more frequently as well as memory loss, low self esteem (more than usual) experiencing major fear of being abandoned, higher anxiety and overall fatigue.  I was hoping to grow out of this, but I guess if it is truly a brain disorder it will not matter how much I want it gone, it returns.  So I suppose, it is not something I will just grow out of.    

This audio clip was recorded on October 27th around 12:00 cst.  [VOICE RECORDING 10/27/2022]

Environmental factors that must be figured into the equation, might be any of the following:

Victim of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse

Exposed to long term fear or distress

Neglect by one or both parents

Growing up with another family member who had a serious mental health condition, such as bipolar disorder or a drink or drug misuse problem.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Unresolved fear, anger and distress from childhood can lead to a variety of “distorted adult thinking patterns” such as

Idealizing others ( you might regard someone as perfect or put them on a pedestal.)

Expecting others to parent you. ( ex. My husband has said at times he feels he is raising a teenager, when dealing with me.)

Expecting others to bully you. ( I have social anxiety, because I catastrophize social interactions, and have canceled on many friends, because I make myself believe that they don’t actually want to hang out with me, but just feel sorry for me.)

Behaving as if other people are adults and you are not. ( At work this has forced me to play the role of the adult in the room, but in other areas of my life I see this aspect of the disorder play out.) 

There is an unpredictability from me in any relationship, I either want you or I want you to leave me alone. It’s this “go away/ please don’t go” attitude.  I wish I was better at controlling this. 

Black and white thinking (dichotomous) the world for BPD is either all perfect or all terrible.  This distorted thinking leads to splitting, and that will be the topic for next week so tune in. 

Byte of Insight: Borderline’s do not like the difficulties they experience.  They don’t want to be alone, it is one of their greatest fears.  The brain is a complex organ and controls our actions.  The person suffering from BPD is the puppet while the chemicals in the brain are the puppet master.  I know that people with apparent brain disorders would most likely be forgiven for their mistakes, but a person suffering from BPD can be high functioning, intelligent, compassionate, competitive, and lovable people.  They are just highly reactive to their environment and at the mercy of their mind that doesn’t function normally.  This shouldn’t be an excuse, but a way to conceptualize the problems brought on by BPD.  I have often felt like my actions weren’t mine when looking back at some of the self destructive things I have done in the past.  I have owned up to them to step into my truth, but at least now I see that I had little control over my actions then.  I wasn’t educated on the depths of this disorder.  After working a great deal on self awareness I have become better at monitoring myself and my impulses.  I still shop too much, but my boss said, you are a woman… that is expected! 🙂  

Challenge for the week: I tried to focus on three things and I wish it would have helped my brain this week and at times I feel it did.  I noticed at the moments were I made myself get up and do some sort of activity it raised me from a lower state.  If you start feeling really sad, do some sort of physical activity.  This will help your brain by releasing endorphins, and it may just be exactly what you need. I listened to my favorite music/sounds which currently are binaural beats.  And my favorite sight has been talking and actively listening to my kids when they tell me things about their day.  My daughter is quite imaginative and my son has a heart of gold.  Enjoy those you have been blessed to guide and look after.  This week was really a hard week for me dealing with my mental and emotional state and other family things, but my hope remains to get rid of these issues.  I want our challenge for this week to be reach out to an old friend.  Let them know that you think of them often or maybe even reconcile with someone you have lost contact with, and wish you hadn’t. I do know that maintaining relationships is one of the most difficult things from the person dealing with BPD.    

When we begin to unravel this disorder we will be able to locate who we really are and I think this gives us a good starting point.  

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

I will end with the reading of my poem.  “Poorly Constructed Play ”

Poorly Constructed Play

Thanks so much for tuning in, 

What did you learn?  Who can you share this podcast with?  If this resonated with your spirit or perhaps made you think of a certain someone in your 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.  That is one of the main reasons I chose to bring what understanding I have about this disorder and other complexities to this platform.  

Alright folks, until next time… Choose truth, goodness and love!

Season 1 Episode 2- Podcast Notes

Title of Episode :Monsoon Kind of Pain

Link to the podcast below.

https://anchor.fm/michelle-clonch/episodes/Monsoon-Kind-Of-Pain-Season-1–Episode-2-e1p8ohf/General-INTRO-a8n8g9j

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 hope is that this podcast will be a platform that delivers hope to all individuals that may be overwhelmed by the challenges mental illness creates when trying to  navigate life in a positive and successful way. I hope to help others by teaching forgiveness and self-awareness.

What does BPD mean?: My personal definition of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder.)  The person with BPD will not always look at things from a logical plane.  They will however; always look at situations by the way the situation makes them feel. A person with BPD is very perceptive of everyone’s emotions, as well as their own.  Meeting new people or being in large groups can be exhausting, as they are intercepting all of the emotional data from everyone at once.  This is  not intentional, it has been wired into their brains as means of survival.  The person with BPD, will more than likely do 1 of two things at gatherings, they will stand out from the crowd or retreat entirely.  This of course depends on the feedback from the crowd.  One on one conversations are the preferred method of communication for the person with Borderline.  The person with BPD has problems with impulsivity, self-destructive behavior, setting boundaries, and self-awareness.  

The technical definition of Borderline Personality Disorder as listed in the DSM-V is 

Borderline Personality Disorder

Diagnostic Criteria 301.83 (F60.3)

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects,

and marked impulsivity, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts,

as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. (Note: Do not include suicidal

or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.)

2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternat-

ing between extremes of idealization and devaluation.

3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.

4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex,

substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). (Note: Do not include suicidal or self-

mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.)

5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.

6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria,

irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).

7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.
8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of

temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).

9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms._______

An analogy I came up with for any person in a relationship with BPD person… 

   Borderlines are amazing people, and I am not here to only discuss the negative aspects of living with BPD.  BPD people feel EVERYTHING, they want to love everyone or at least help everyone, and they will be some of the most fun-loving & charming people you will ever encounter.  They can also fit in with almost any type of crowd. 

    On the flip side, they are very cunning creatures as well.  They are capable of convincing “their person” to open up old wounds, this then allows the person with BPD to apply care or a temporary band-aid to the wound.  A little while later (could be days or weeks), the BPD person will rip off the band-aid and pour salt on the wound.  While pouring salt on the wound they will also desperately want to hear the other person’s undying commitment to them. They may need to hear some phrases of validation like; “yes, I love you” or “I will not ever leave you!” 

I can say from personal experience, both the person dealing with BPD and the other person will not like this part of the relationship, and it will happen periodically. But even though the person dealing with BPD knows this interaction makes them hard to live with, it ultimately leads to real & unfiltered conversation and intimacy. If you prove to the BPD there is no depth that you will not dive with them, you have earned a place as their most trusted person, however it will not exclude you from proving your loyalty time and time again. Sounds like the worst kind of initiation process, doesn’t it? Well, it is hard for the individual trying to be in a relationship or friendship with the person living with BPD, but even more disheartening for the borderline. This often leads them to a place of self-isolation, convinced that they can trust no one,and have no one to lean on, very seldom will people stick around to complete this initiation process, I mean… would you?

If you or someone you know has experienced this please message me your experience. I’d love to get feedback from others on this particular topic. 

Byte of Insight: On behalf of BPD sufferers everywhere, I can say in their defense. While the constant need for validation is exhausting for both people invested in the relationship this behavior shown by the borderline is originating from a place of fear. Most BPD sufferers do not want to be abandoned. This fear even trumps their fear of death. It trumps all fears, really. That fear becomes a puppet-master, as well as a self-fulfilling prophecy, and the preferred method that the borderline will use to find validation will send most logically-based individuals running for the hills. It will not be until BPD individuals become completely aware of their dark traits and tendencies before they can begin to reroute the brain’s pathways, and begin to repair their relationships.

*If you look at the BPD as an orphan, you will start to observe the emotional elements they desire from a partner/friend and are actually pretty easy to provide.

Now I’m speaking honestly cause I live with this disorder, not as a doctor, but as a patient that has been working on myself daily for the past 5 fears. So symptoms and behaviors may vary but this is my list…

The Borderline wants to KNOW unconditional love! 

A place to call HOME

Another person that is CONSISTENT and RELIABLE

Last but not least, A person that is DURABLE and STRONG. 

Challenge for the week: Take a look at your life right now and choose 1 thing in each of these categories that you really love, not what you have chosen to go along with to be pleasing, but 1 for each area. Focus on an activity you love to do. The second thing, A sound or playlist you love to hear. And third thing, A sight or person you love to see.

I will focus on these things as well this week and I will report on these things next time.

When we begin to unravel this disorder we will be able to locate who we really are and I think this gives us a good starting point.  

I will end with the reading of my poem.  “Monsoon Kind of Pain”

https://michellefightsbpd.com/2020/09/23/monsoon-kind-of-pain/

Thanks so much for tuning in, 

What did you learn?  Who can you share this podcast with?  If this resonated with your spirit or perhaps made you think of a certain someone in your 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.  That is one of the main reasons I chose to bring what understanding I have about this disorder and other complexities to this platform.  

Alright folks, until next time… Choose truth, goodness and love!

Life Is A Winding Road

There will always be things that take you by surprise. I found out quickly at the beginning of this month that the scariest times in life aren’t when you are personally in danger, but when your child’s life may be in danger.

It actually started the last weekend in July, my baby girl said, “I have a really bad headache!” We gave her Tylenol and a cold rag and figured that would correct the problem. Then she threw up, we gave her some medicine for her stomach. We took her to the emergency room because she was also running a fever. (My son and I had just tested positive for Covid so we thought maybe she had it too.)

The ER doctor told me, she tested negative for Covid, Strep, UTI and that they were able to bring her fever down with correct dosing of meds (they gave her both Tylenol and Motrin at the same time!) then they sent us home early in the morning, a little past midnight.

Day 1- Trying to find out what’s wrong. just after 106.3 fever…

Later that same day, her fever returned with a vengeance, 106.3!!! I had never dealt with such a high fever, I quickly grabbed her and walked her into the shower and ran cool water over her head and body as she cried, knowing that she must be feeling completely miserable. Mom’s Pajamas now completely soaked. We managed to get her fever down to 102, I changed as quick as I could, and then we loaded her back into the car and drove back to the ER. I don’t think we even made it 12 hours at home, before returning her to the ER.

I checked her in and told the lady at registration that I wanted her seen as soon as possible that she now has a high fever of 106, and I wanted her checked for MISc. ( multiple inflammatory syndrome in children) the article I read that lead me to believe this told about an 8 year old girl that had shown symptoms similar to the symptoms my daughter was experiencing. That link is attached below.

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/coronavirus/patient-stories/morgan-deitz.html

The ER doctor took blood and checked her for inflammatory markers, they said they were concerned about the markers for her heart so they would be transferring her to Children’s Hospital. Their facility would be better equipped for the tests they would need to run on her. I let my husband know that they would be transporting her by ambulance and that I would ride along with her, and that they would need to go home and pack things for us as we were unsure how long this stay would last.

My husband and 14 year old son rushed home, packed and headed up to the hospital, my daughter and I still waiting for the ambulance to take us to the other hospital. The ER doctor started her on antibiotics and IV, he said that her most recent UA showed that she did have a urinary tract infection. Ok, weird she had no symptoms of a UTI. I was relieved that they may have found the reason for the fever though.

Once they loaded her into the ambulance and I buckled myself in… I took a deep breath and prayed. I prayed for her health and that we would make it there safe. An ambulance moving at 90 miles an hour would make anyone say a few prayers, but I was seriously upset for my child. We made it to Children’s in no time.

Once we were at Children’s, time seemed to stop. We were first wheeled into the ER, they ran an EKG and said her heart looks good but they still wanted to admit her because they wanted to see how her blood panel looked in a few days. My mind was constantly thinking of what could be causing this and how they were going to make her feel better?

The doctors came in and said they would continue the IV antibiotics that were started at the original hospital and that they would continue to do tests. Then there were pokes, lots and lots of pokes. Her veins were being difficult, and the place where they managed to set two IV’s weren’t giving blood like they needed either. They did a chest X-ray, some small spots on lungs, could be pneumonia, could be nothing. Current antibiotics should help. Then an ultrasound of her abdomen, nothing standing out. Then a CT scan of her abdomen, there is an indication of something going on with her kidney. Doctor tells me over the phone “that despite her inflammatory markers, they are leaning more towards pyelonephritis.” I asked “what is that and how do you spell it?” She responds with “kidney infection.” Wait, what? A kidney infection. I’ve had kidney infections, they cause pain in the lower back . It didn’t make sense to me. But after two weeks of antibiotics she improved and the fever had finally dissipated after 7 days on IV antibiotics. Sounds like a serious kidney infection, right?

We still aren’t convinced that it was just a kidney infection, as it doesn’t explain all of her other symptoms, but we are taking her to a specialist soon for her kidney, to make sure they are functioning properly. we are just so grateful that our baby girl was able to start 3rd grade today and that we are back home, safe and sound!

My baby girl! 2 weeks after being released from hospital!!
Happy Mommy! I know how blessed I am to kiss her cheek today and everyday!

The Ozark’s of Arkansas #myannualbdaypost #finally40

The birthday, that says to the world “over the hill!”

I do take things quite literally, so I laced up my hiking boots, traveled to the Ozark’s of Arkansas with the fam, and we hiked their mountainous trails. First of all, what stunning scenery.

INDIAN ROCK HOUSE TRAIL

I can truly say that getting to this point in life isn’t really “over the hill.” I now understand I’m mid-climb, and I also know I’m still climbing! The point of living is knowing there is still so much more to climb, and the beautiful discovery of self is in realizing the unique gifts God has given to you during the strenuous parts of the climb, not only to ensure that you make it to the top, but to bring as many people with you along the way. Which means to me… don’t get in anyone’s way, don’t intentionally hurt them along their personal journey, lift other people up with encouragement, and guide them and make them stronger with truth.

Things I’ve learned in this last stretch of my climb…

Loving God is really important!

Loving yourself is really important!

Loving your spouse is really important!

Loving your children is really important!

Loving your neighbor is really important!

Loving honesty is critical for growth!

Loving peace is critical for your soul!

🏔🌟🌟🌟ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL 🌟🌟🌟🏔

When you ACCEPT His blessing, His mercy, His forgiveness and ultimately His LOVE, you can truly start to utilize the gifts he has created in you, for you and for others on a daily basis.

You are a gift to the world!

This acceptance brings profound meaning to your climb. I know it has brought much meaning to mine. The instant that you realize you haven’t been climbing to reach the top for yourself, but to show others the way is the moment your steps become less heavy, the weight is shared among all of God’s people. We were meant to help one another… not cause each other to sink into the burden of sin. The Lord has been working on cutting away the parts of me that aren’t working for His will, and I am certain that following God’s way is the only way! 🦋

I’m praying many find this narrow road!
🥾🥾Forest Trail #1🥾🥾

If I were to look at the rest of my life as a downhill coast… I believe it would lead to an early grave. I’ll keep my aim on high places. The mountain I’ve been placed on may peak at a greater elevation point than the hills most people my age complete by 40. Lord knows I’ve been climbing. I’m not done yet! Hallelujah!

40, feels fine… A little bit like 39!”~ M. Clonch

20X2 or 40 🤣