1hy does this happen to people with BPD all the time? it's really confusing.

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by AsphyxiateOnMisery, Dec 1, 2011.

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  1. AsphyxiateOnMisery

    AsphyxiateOnMisery Well-Known Member

    * sorry for typo in the title. I meant why *

    I have BPD. When my husband does something to offend or upset me, it makes me so angry that I feel like ending the relationship or kicking him out of the house. And at the time that I'm feeling this anger, its so intense, it feels like it will never go away. I feel like a defused bomb about to explode. Sometimes I just scream out curse words and can't stop. But then he apologizes and it goes away 2 seconds later just like that. Its so confusing because I never know if I should act on my anger or if ill regret it soon after. I know its called idealization/devaluation or black and white thinking. But what I'm asking is why does it happen? What goes on in the BP's brain to make them feel that way? And how can I fix it?
     
  2. Silverchair

    Silverchair Member

    Hello StrangAsAngels. I am sorry that you have to deal with having BPD, it can be a very stressful and difficult struggle to live with. As for what causes it, as with most mental illnesses, there is no definitive cause, we can only guess at it. As for BPD, there is some evidence that it has a biological cause because it seems that mood disorders are very inheritable. It has to do with your neurotransmitter system. Neurotransmitters (such as serotonin) are chemical substances that transfer nerve impulses between nerve cells. We have these nerve cells (neurons) all through our bodies and they transmit messages to the brain to tell us how to "react." Think like this, if you touch a hot stove eye, your finger initially feels the pain right? Well, from your finger, your nerve impulses travel up through your hand and arm all the way to your spinal cord where the message reaches your brain. You brain interprets the message as "ouch!" so you pull your hand away quickly, like a natural reflex. It is simply amazing how quickly this process happens. When discussing mental disorders, we are focusing more on the neurons in the brain, which are highly specialized to control our senses, moods, and feelings.

    Scientifically, it is thought that mood disorders come about partly from there being either too much or not enough of specific neurotransmitter. This is supported by the fact that medications that alter these transmitters also relieve the mood disorder. There needs to be more research on this to find their exact role but it is highly believed the neurotransmitters are very key to the cause of mood disorders. Of course, there has to be consideration given to environmental causes, and we can never pinpoint what they are because there are way too many variable to consider. Some researchers think that stressful life events can bring on BPD. What can be very manageable for some people may be crippling for others. Some think environmental causes alone cause mood disorders while some think that the environment brings it on, and once activated, your biological setup keeps it alive, even if your environment changes.

    I am not sure how your BPD presents itself, as everyone is different. In my opinion, your fits of anger sound like mania to me. I am sure you are familiar with mania since it is such a key symptom of BPD. Everyone experiences it differently. Having a manic episode doesn't always mean you go for days without sleep while doing really dangerous stunts. It could simply be that you go into a manic episode when you feel a certain emotion...and you find it hard to control it. It sounds that way with your anger. Certainly, it is normal to an extent to get angry at a partner for doing something that offends us but depending on the situation, most people can determine just how strongly to react. For instance, if you get offended at a light hearted joke, then simply saying you are offended should suffice to calm you down. On the flip side, if your husband were to slap you or commit adultery, obviously those are much bigger offenses and most people would probably react strongly to that (such as kicking them out of the house). People who have manic episodes don't appear to have this mechanism however. They react strongly to anything, even if it doesn't call for it. When they experience anger, they do feel just like you said, "they are going to explode" because the feeling comes with such intensity. Those who get manically depressed do this too. They can become depressed at seemingly nothing and can feel suicidal over the slightest upset...because they feel sadness more intense than most people do.

    I have OCD myself, and speaking from experience (having a Psychology degree and working several patients with mild to sever mental illness, and suffering through a mental illness myself) I don't think there is a way to ever fully get over a mental illness. There are a million reasons why that is and we can never know for sure. The best case scenario is to find a way to manage it well enough so that we can live productive lives. Are you on any medications for BPD? It sounds like it is worth looking into if you haven't already. I am not a fan of psyc meds myself, especially if the patient can find a way to manage without them but in some cases, they are simply needed if you find yourself out of control and cannot manage it on your own. My worry is that in your fits of anger that you may do something you will regret. You said you don't know if you should act on your anger or not and I am telling you NOT. Now, logically, if your husband abuses you, then you should take action. Take action by having him removed from the house, not by physically harming him or doing something extreme. You have to ask yourself what your husband did and how worth it it is to you to "act on it." You have to think of the consequences that would happen to yourself if you "act on it." Believe me, if your husband says something to make you mad and you end up assaulting him for it, he might call the cops on you and the cops aren't gonna care about your BPD, you will get charged with assault. You have to try really hard to think of these things. Also, maybe you and your husband could use some counseling if he really does things often that upset you like this. Surely he knows about your disorder and it seems illogical for him to do things over and over that he knows will send you over the edge. Maybe he just doesn't understand and needs some help dealing with this. I wish you the best of luck. Just always remember to stop yourself and think twice before you act. Take care!
     
  3. AsphyxiateOnMisery

    AsphyxiateOnMisery Well-Known Member

    Silverchair, thanks for the response but I have Borderline Personality Disorder, not Bipolar. I guess I should have specified. The only med that I sometimes take is Klonopin, but it ends up causing me GI issues sometimes and most of the time doesn't work anyway unless I haven't taken it for a while (due to tolerance), so I try not to take it very often. None of the depression medications work for me. My problems go way beyond a chemical imbalance. I need CBT or DBT the most probably because I have very unnatural cognition. I haven't found a therapist yet that has been able to help me, however.
     
  4. Silverchair

    Silverchair Member

    I am sorry for misunderstanding, most of the time, people abbreviate bi-polar disorder in the way you did. Regardless, most of what I said still stands. Borderline presents a lot like a mood disorder does and has some of the same suspected causes (neurotransmitter dysfunctions). As far as environment, most people that I have met with borderline have a history of being abused or neglected as a child. This may or may not be your case. I understand what you are saying about medication, I am VERY on the fence about them which is why I chose not to go further with my degree, especially toward Psychiatry. I see psyc meds do more harm than good the majority of the time. If you are finding no consistent change or relief from taking meds, then I agree that what you are dealing with goes beyond a chemical imbalance. That is when you get into environmental causes. I assume in therapy you have covered a lot of your past upsets that could have possibly been a precursor to your disorder. Therapy is tricky, it is looked at in general as going to someone who is going to "fix you." Therapy simply cannot do that. Therapy is way more about the patient than it is the therapist. The therapist is simply there to guide you through what you are feeling and help you discover parts of yourself that you may not know are there. As far as treatment, therapy is supposed to help you treat yourself...forming more productive thoughts, regulating your feelings, etc. CBT can be very helpful for that as it is based upon you challenging your irrational or defeating thoughts. Personally, in my OCD, my mind is FULL of irrational thoughts and even with my education and all the therapy I have had, my disorder is still quite bad. Is it more livable, yes, mostly. I can't say I would be better off if I hadn't gone through therapy but I have learned to accept that OCD is just a part of me I am going to have to live with. Like you, no therapy method or therapist have been able to fully help me. What it did help though is to help me identify the things in my life that have shaped this disorder in me, and knowing that alone, helps me to cope and to stop blaming myself. Does CBT or DBT help you at all? If so, maybe you just need to keep shopping around for a therapist that is a better fit for you. Believe me, they are not all created equal. If the medications really do not help you, or even make it worse, the best thing would be to stay off of them. My mother has borderline and my relationship with her has and probably always will be terrible. In her case, she mainly has a hard time forming relationships and bonds with people..especially her children. She gets herself into trouble all the time and does really foolish things that greatly impact her life. She was a very emotionally neglectful and dysfunctional mother to me and it has messed my life up more than you can imagine. Why am I telling you this? Well, she has been on every medication under the sun for this and it did not help her one.single.bit. She actually ended up getting very addicted to prescription drugs and having severe withdrawals even if she went without them for a few minutes. She ended up having to take more and more pills everyday because they weren't working anymore. She has quit a lot of them now and at the age of 50, her body is so broken down and unhealthy from this. She has horrible high blood pressure, heart problems, mild diabetes, osteoporosis, and a slew of other problems. Even if some severe cases may call for medication, I have seen more than once it doing so much harm with such little relief.
     
  5. AsphyxiateOnMisery

    AsphyxiateOnMisery Well-Known Member

    I agree that it pretty much is a mood disorder, but it's very different from other mood disorders. My psychiatrist decided that it was a good idea to put me on bipolar mood stabilizers, since in his eyes Borderline PD and Bipolar are pretty much alike. Yeah. Not exactly...

    The causes of most personality disorders are environmental. Unfortunately, I can't change society. So I'm stuck feeling this way for the rest of my life probably. Statistics do show that for many people BPD starts to subside in their 30s-40s..but I can't really see that happening for me. I wouldn't be shocked if I kill myself by 30, really.

    I know I need a better therapist, but I don't know where to get one. My last 4 therapists were like 10 times worse than my current. Yes, I do know the things that caused me to develop the disorder, I know various forms of distorted thinking (black and white, catastrophizing, should statements, mind reading, etc), and I know certain coping skills. I'm a major in psychology as well, and I've learned a lot on the subject both from therapy and textbooks. But it doesn't seem to be enough for me to get better. Or maybe it is and I just can't seem to put any of those things into action. I don't know. But I'm stuck in the same behavioral and thinking patterns. Especially thinking patterns. Those are what kill me because I can somewhat control my actions but I can't for a second control the constant self-defeating thoughts that lead to them. Until I got out of high school, I was constantly bullied about being overweight, and not just by random people but by my own family as well. And even though I lost 40 pounds since then and people say that I'm at an average weight now, it doesn't feel good enough. I still feel horrendously fat. And about a week ago, everything just seemed to trigger me. Seeing skinny women on TV, for instance. It made me randomly break out crying about how ugly and fat I was and my husband said I was overreacting. Instead of comforting me, all he had to say was "Why are you crying? Nothing is wrong. You're acting crazy." I hate that word. I can describe myself as crazy, even people I don't know can and ill take it as a compliment, but when he does, it hurts. So I told him why I was crying, and he just said I wasn't fat. Well, he may not think so, but that doesn't exactly convince my brain into thinking so. And by saying I was overreacting, it just made me feel like he was calling it ridiculous and stupid. Then my BPD rage came out. "I hate you. Just leave me already. You don't care about me. You're going to leave one day anyway, save yourself the time." Basically, my usual. He's been with me for 2 years now so he's mostly used it and just tries to ignore it. Then 10 minutes later comes the regret. "I don't hate you, I'm sorry I said that. Don't leave me." I'm a piece of work, what can I say.

    I mean, what can help with that kind of crap? I don't like being like that. I need like a set of steps to follow and remember in my head or something whenever situations like that happen. I'm sorry about your mom being neglectful. Mine was and still is pretty emotionally neglectful. She's always done her damndest to make sure all my physical needs were met, even as a single mother. But emotionally, I just never learned much from her. Like your mom, I, too, have a substance abuse problem (opiates). I'm not a full blown addict. Being an addict consists of a very strong mental addiction as well as physical...but for me it's just physical. I don't want to get high most times, I just don't see any other choice. Also, I engage in other impulsive, textbook BPD behaviors like binge-eating, inappropriate sex, spending money, etc. I'm getting help for the physical addiction currently.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2011
  6. Silverchair

    Silverchair Member

    You sound very enlightened about your issues. I swear, it is like looking into a mirror. So many times I have though to myself "for crying out loud, you have a Psychology degree! you shouldn't be like this!" I feel so ashamed sometimes because I feel like someone as educated and emotionally intelligent as me shouldn't have a mental problem. But really, that is the wrong way to think. We are all just human at the end of the day and humans have it really hard in this world. It's easy enough for someone without a mental disorder to want to commit suicide. I mean, the world is so full of hatred, suffering, unfairness, and sadness. It is really really hard to keep your head up, especially with the way things are with the world today. I too have found that my psyc education and my thorough knowledge of my disorder didn't help me much at all. Bi polar and Borderline are not one in the same and if I implied that, I am sorry, I didn't mean to. They can have similar triggers is all I was saying. Your therapist should not have given you bi-polar meds at all. You have to remember, when it comes to pharmacology, it's all about the dollar, not the patient. Keep shopping for another therapist. It is worth to continue trying because you will continuously get a constant set of fresh eyes on your problem and that can be really valuable to you. Is the impulsivity what causes you the most problems and distress?

    I can definitely relate to you about the negativity you recieved from your family and peers growing up. I grew up around my mother's family mostly and they are dysfunctional in every little sense of the word. I could go on all day about the hell I have been through with them but I won't wear you out with it. Anyway, one of their biggest hangups were about appearance. They constantly criticized me about my weight, skin, breasts, everything. When I hit puberty, it wasn't generous to me. As an adult, I am only 5ft tall and I barely wear a 32 A. I am super petite. Growing up, in addition, I also wore braces on my teeth for 4 years because I had horrible looking teeth and I was also quite overweight. I was not textbook pretty in any sense of the word and didn't have a lot of friends or interest from guys. I spent my whole adolescence depressed and with low self-esteem. Through the years, I have cut my wrists, developed an eating disorder, and made myself vulnerable to abuse by past boyfriends. I am 23 now, and I am at a much smaller weight than I used to be and I am very active. I take a lot more pride in my appearance than I used to. I am even going into my second season of ballet, which was a lifelong dream of mine. I no longer cut and I no longer starve myself. This may sound confusing but really, I blame my family a lot for my OCD...and the OCD is the blame for all the dysfunctional things I have done in my life. Growing up with people like that just messed my head up and I was always so confused and insecure. I had very little support or guidance so yeah, I made a lot of bad decisions too. When I started distancing myself from my family and only being around people who had faith in me, that is when I started to feel better about myself (not perfect, just better) and having enough to confidence to try new things.

    I will always have OCD, always. What I have learned though is to add enough wonderful things to my life to still make it feel like it is worth living. Try not to think of needing to get rid of the disorder, think of living around it, if that makes sense. I figure if I am going to suffer either way, I could lay down and wait for a cure that never comes...OR I could try to do things that make me happy, even if I still have these problems. Your personality disorder doesn't have to go away in order for you to find some sort of happiness, really it doesn't. I have helped myself greatly by distancing myself from my family in a big way because they were poison to me. They will suck the life out of me if I let them and I am no longer willing to let them take things from me. They have already taken enough. So, you are around any negative influences that contribute to your symptoms, then I suggest telling them to get on board or cutting them out. As far as your husband goes, I really think he means well. He sounds like he really doesn't understand your illness, and that happens. Even very well meaning people who love us have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. I get called crazy too by my father (who I love more than anything in the world) and I feel so hurt by that because it is such a simple and cold term to use. But I know that he just doesn't understand, and maybe is incapable of understanding. Are you familiar with emotional intelligence? You sound like you have a high degree of that, as do I. It basically means that you are really in tune with your feelings and very self-aware. That sounds like a great thing but really, it makes it really hard for any treatment to work on you and it makes you bunt heads with a lot of people too. You are almost too "wise" for anything to reach you because there is nothing anyone can say that you don't already know. I noticed in internships, the people that CBT really worked on were people who were very simplistic and very low functioning...so basically, their minds were easier to "trick" into thinking in a new way. That very well may be why therapy doesn't do much for you because I run into that problem with myself. That is a very good reason why you get frustrated with your husband as well. It is hard to comprehend that someone else doesn't understand the illness like you do, but you know what, they really can't. I wish I could give you more advice on how to fix this problem, but so far, I haven't found a solution.

    I also want to add, you are not a "piece of work." You feel guilty when you blow up on your husband and you are on here and out in the world trying to better yourself, you are a very caring person to be doing that. So don't be so hard on yourself, you sound like a really good person who has been through some difficult stuff. As long as you are actively trying to help yourself, you are doing the best you can.
     
  7. Tea_at_Four

    Tea_at_Four Staff Alumni

    Dear StrangeAsAngels and Silverchair,

    Thank you both so very much for this thoughtful and insightful thread. I'm glad to be part of a community which includes compassionate humans such as you, and am helped and encouraged by your stories and struggles. :heart:
     
  8. AsphyxiateOnMisery

    AsphyxiateOnMisery Well-Known Member

    Wow. It's not often that I get a reply on here that actually tells me something I didn't already figure out. Actually, I don't think that's ever happened... But anyway, yeah, it makes sense what you said about why I don't get anything from therapy. I never thought of that before. So, I guess as long as I'm too smart for my own good, I'll probably be unhappy. Though, stupid and easily manipulated is not what I want to be either. I guess I have to fight for some middle ground...to be smart enough, yet satisfied. I'm not sure if that's really possible, but I guess I don't have any other choice but to try. I can probably help myself some by doing DBT on my own, but I really should find a good DBT therapist who is used to dealing with people like me and would know what to suggest. I know that people around me have an extremely hard time understanding and, believe me, I try my best to keep that in mind. Sometimes the illness takes over me though and I forget all things logical. I guess the reason why I'm so enlightened about my issues is because I've noticed that other people can't and won't understand. So I took it upon myself to try to understand so I could explain it to them. Unfortunately, they still don't get it, whether I explain it or not. My stupid psychiatrist diagnosed me with BPD a year ago, and then a month or so ago when I had to go to court for something and asked him to write my diagnosis so I could bring it in - he wrote: "Dysthymic Disorder and Social Anxiety". I was like, really? What the fuck is Dysthymic Disorder? So I look it up, and it reads "mild to moderate depression". I felt like punching him in the throat. He really thinks that the BPD he diagnosed me with just magically went away and now I only have mild/moderate depression? Is he completely insane? And around that time I was actually planning to commit suicide and getting my plan together, but yeah I'm only mildly depressed. No biggie. Hell, if my BPD went away that fast according to him, then I should be in the fucking Guinness Book of World Records. I don't care anymore though. I've noticed that trying to keep up with what my diagnoses are only ends up pissing me off because when I sit in that chair and pretend to be well so that I don't get sent off to a mental ward, the damn doctor ends up thinking I'm better. Whatever. Screw it. I know what I need to help myself with. The rest is irrelevant.

    And no, I wasn't trying to say that you implied BPD and Bipolar were the same thing. I was saying my doctor implied it by giving me Bipolar meds. I really don't think any meds can help BPD though. Only therapy stands any sort of chance.
     
  9. AsphyxiateOnMisery

    AsphyxiateOnMisery Well-Known Member

    Thank you Tea_at_Four, and if you ever need someone to talk to, feel free to PM me.
     
  10. Sais

    Sais Well-Known Member

    I go through this too. If in the "right" situation, I always do stuff that's I'm ashamed of later.
    And God! I can think of the worst ways to react! And the worst words to ... scream.
    But thanks, I haven't made the connection between this and BPD, I thought that it was just the hysterical me.
     
  11. AsphyxiateOnMisery

    AsphyxiateOnMisery Well-Known Member

    Sais - Well, that's really just a couple of symptoms: anger and impulsivity. BPD has quite a few symptoms in total and I believe you have to have 5 or more to be diagnosed with it according to the DSM. So, you may want to do some more research on it before you assume you have it, and if you feel like you do, a good idea would be to try going to the doctor and see what they say.

    Oh, and Silverchair, I forgot to answer your question about whether it's the impulsivity that bothers me most. I would have to say that yeah, impulsivity is one of the worst. But really, most of the symptoms are pretty bad. It's kind of hard to say which one is the worst. I would say that the anger, impulsivity, fear of abandonment, and wanting to commit suicide are probably the worst as far as symptoms go. But then again, that leaves idealization/devaluation, episodic dysphoria/anxiety/irritability, feelings of emptiness, paranoia which are basically the same thing.

    Idealization never feels like a bad symptom because when I idealize, I'm content and in love. Devaluation happens when I feel angry. Dysphoria happens when I'm suicidal, anxiety happens when I'm afraid of being left alone, irritability is the same thing as anger. Feeling empty or unsatisfied goes with depression and being suicidal. And paranoia is anxiety. So 4 of the symptoms are the same thing said in different words. The only 2 symptoms that I don't really have (that I know of) are unstable self-image and dissociation. Unstable self-image actually means that you frequently change your beliefs, friends, career goals...basically the type of person you are. And I don't think that's me. I think my beliefs and personality are pretty much set in stone at this point. And as far as I know I've never dissociated while I was sober.
     
  12. Sais

    Sais Well-Known Member

    I read a lot about it in the past, I always suspected myself of having it.
    I'm currently working on another thing at therapy... getting there.
     
  13. AsphyxiateOnMisery

    AsphyxiateOnMisery Well-Known Member

    Getting where?
     
  14. Sais

    Sais Well-Known Member

    To the BPD diagnosis.
     
  15. AsphyxiateOnMisery

    AsphyxiateOnMisery Well-Known Member

    Okay, well I hope that it helps. I don't know how long you've had your symptoms, but I've had mine ever since I started getting into relationships at 16, so 6 years ago now. And I can tell you that I've definitely gotten really upset that I haven't seen any truly noticable progress in that amount of time, but don't let that get you down okay? BPD may stay with you for many years or maybe your entire life, but that doesn't mean that you have to have a horrible life just because you have it. As Silverchair was saying to me earlier, you have to find a way to live around it. If you think you're not making progress, keep trying anyway. Don't quit therapy. You may be making progress that you don't even realize you're making. But even if its not helping, if you quit going, you're a lot more likely to...I want to say relapse...but that's not really the correct word. You're a lot more likely to show your symptoms in worse ways than before without any sort of help or support in your life. If you keep going to therapy at least you know that if something bad ever happens, you have someone who will be there and help. I also want to suggest buying a self-help workbook on Borderline PD or DBT. I've done that, and I think it has helped in some ways.
     
  16. Sais

    Sais Well-Known Member

    Thank you! I got used to BPD symptoms in a weird way, I guess I always had it, but coping meant not being around people that much/at all which lead to severe social anxiety disorder. This one really bugs me.
    Not giving up on therapy, just started it. Hope it will help. My doctor gives me the kind of books you mention. Problem is I'm scared of reading it, using the info... anxiety attacks and all. Anyways. I think I'll manage, at least today I do..
     
  17. AsphyxiateOnMisery

    AsphyxiateOnMisery Well-Known Member

    I can definitely relate to having severe social anxiety. I've had social anxiety for most of my life...way before 16 even. Now, I can't eat in front of people, I can't call and make my own doctor's appointments, I can't ask someone for directions if I get lost, I can't order my own food at restaurants, can't pick up my phone if a number I don't know calls me (and most of the time it ends up being one of my doctors), I can't even type up any homework for school if my husband is sitting right next to me when I type. Unfortunately, the only real treatment for social anxiety is slowly facing your fears. I haven't been able to bring myself to truly start my treatment for that yet though because the BPD affects me a lot worse. As for the social anxiety, well, I just avoid people as much as I can and it works for me. The BPD manifests itself in my relationship and even when I'm alone so that's the one I'm focusing on for now. That, and my addiction. Do you mind sharing why reading books gives you anxiety? That's great that you feel like you'll manage today. It's important to live your life day by day and always in the present instead of the past/future. However, if you ever feel like you can't/won't manage, my PM box is always open. I'll always listen and try to help.
     
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