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: