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My Recovery Wake Up Call (Featuring S.K. Bosak from Borderline Mama)

sloth speed recovery borderline mama www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com www.borderlinemama.wordpress.com my recovery wake up call

With the challenges of everyday life, it is easy to dismiss and forget about our inner troubles. Sometimes a life altering event is the kick we need to wake up to the reality of our illness. Mustering our own inner strengths and all of our courage, we may all see an end to the torment. We must be resilient, and brave. Only then, do we truly start our journey to recover from BPD.

Sloth Speed Recovery has partnered with S.K. Bosak from Borderline Mama to bring you our two incredible stories of self-discovery and journey into recovery.


S.K. Bosak:

I was diagnosed with BPD during my stay in rehab. As a result of all the medicine I had to take, I couldn’t really concentrate on anything and I didn’t feel like myself. I never thought about my diagnosis, but my doctor never went into detail about BPD either. So I just viewed the illness as the cause of my emotional pain and left it at that.

When I was discharged from rehab, I was a fragile mess. I wasn’t ready to go out and live my life, so my parents encouraged me to study from home while I had monthly therapy sessions. It was a lonely ordeal and I hated it. Within a year, I completely forgot about having BPD. My medication made me feel numb, so my therapy sessions weren’t really much help. But I wanted to get back on my feet so I could escape my isolation.

Things started to change when I came off my medication. I began to feel my emotions again. I was able to think more clearly, and remembered my diagnosis. I did a little research on BPD, and finally understood that the illness was why I couldn’t control my emotions and why I behaved the way I did. But I wasn’t ready to recover yet. As a result, my BPD symptoms flared up as I fought to be free from my loneliness.

When I met my SO, I left the country to go and live with him. My BPD symptoms were badly out of control, but I finally wanted to recover. I didn’t like how it made me behave around him. But ended up focusing on our relationship instead on recovery. It was only after I became pregnant, I started focusing on recovery. I didn’t want to be a bad mother.

After our daughter was born, I made a promise to her. I promised to fight my illness so I could be a wonderful mother. My daughter is my motivation to recover.

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Sloth Speed Recovery:

My wake up call was my own self destruction. Nothing was particularly done to me, but I was messing my life up.20160320_14585256861027

I was first homeless a month after my 16th birthday, wanting to get away from home after being physically violent with my family and having the police called on me several times. I was out of control and would use violence to express my inner torment, which turned my family against me. I was partnered with a company that would help me leave home when I turned 16.

I met a boy in the homeless shelter who took my world by storm. I laid my eyes on him and he swept me off my feet. Every interaction we had was lovely, comedic and romantic, until he really hurt me. Within one week of us officially being a couple, he cheated on me. I wanted to die; I wanted the pain to stop. I remember laying on the beach, hoping the waves would drag me in and I could drown. But I was stupid and continued my relationship with him.

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A few months passed and I found out he cheated AGAIN with a girl who was 4 years younger than him and with another girl who woke up, terrorized, to find his hand in her pants.

8 months passed. I had been living with him for 5 months, we had been scrapping pennies, and we did everything together. We were sexually involved with other couples and had rules around that. The night of June 30th, 2015, I went to my friend’s house after a week of suicidal thoughts and pill popping. We went to her boyfriend’s house, and I just wasn’t in my right mind. There had been sexual tension between the 3 of us, with my boyfriend refusing to have sex with them. My boyfriend at the time was with his friends and wouldn’t answer my calls about me feeling aroused and having desire to play with them. Stupidly, I engaged in some sexual activities with them and told him what happened. He was displeased with me, with reason.

Upon my return the next morning, he was furious, and though we led a deviant lifestyle, he had no right to hit me. I was slapped across the face, bringing me to the ground, and received a kick in the lungs. I stopped breathing and ran to the bathroom. (To be clear, I had had physical altercations with him. I did try to attack him once when I was drunk, and smacked him when he had a bottle of pills I was going to OD with).

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It was mid October. Our relationship was falling apart and I was utterly depressed, practically never leaving our bedroom and skipping at least one day a week of school. I was terrified about the result of breaking up with him, and in response, chose to down alcohol with sleeping pills during a Halloween party my roommates were hosting. I was ill with one of my roommates asking me what I did and he put me to bed. Upon my boyfriend’s arrival, my roommates harassed him about what I had done. I was unconscious. He came into the room, kissed me, and LEFT to go party. May I repeat that he LEFT his suicidal girlfriend in bed after an overdose mixed with alcohol. I was asleep for 14 hours that night, and though I’m lucky I woke up, it wasn’t for sure that I was going to.

He left me there, without care that our bed could’ve been my death bed.

About a week passed, and I told my school social worker about the time he hit me and she urged I leave him. That night, I came home and insisted we go one break. We discussed rules and he said he would remain faithful, but that I could see other people. Well, he ended up cheating on me again. I packed my things and left the day it happened.

I enrolled in the Out of Control program in my hospital for DBT and CBT, and was broken. I tried so hard to recover but I was destroyed.

Barely two months passed, placing us in December. I had just celebrated Christmas with my family, and an argument broke out. Well, apparently I shoved my mother and next thing I knew, I was homeless again.

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I moved to Toronto with the help of my current boyfriend into a youth shelter. I was in a city I didn’t know, with people I didn’t know, trying to get on my feet. I enrolled in a new school, started seeing a youth worker, had a school social worker, and worked at a restaurant. I was getting on my feet, but I was miserable and terrified.

I lived there for practically 4 months, witnessing fights with knives and fists, theft, had schizophrenic roommates, sexual harassment and STDs. I decided to patch things up with my mother, begging her to pick me up and take me back home. I needed my family back and I couldn’t live like that anymore.

My mom forced me to re-enroll in the Out Of Control Program, I chose to start working on my recovery and managing my emotions, I graduated high school, joined an employment program, started this blog and I’ve started my own secret project (coming soon!). I have not displayed violent behaviours since December, my self harm is farther and fewer in between, and I am in control of myself and my emotions.

I still have a ways to go with my recovery, but I’m almost there. Everyday is a battle and my BPD really gets to me sometimes, but I understand now how much talent and what capabilities I possess. Recovery is a lifetime lifestyle, and I’m going to get there. So can you.


What was or will be your wake up call?

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9 Things You Need to Understand About Borderline Personality Disorder

9 things you need to understand about borderline personality disorder bpd www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com sloth speed recovery

It is necessary to state that not all diagnosed BPD patients are the same. Most statements will resonate with the majority of diagnosed individuals, but not all. Every experience differs, and all of our pasts and paths are diverse. These are very common and basic statements about the disorder.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder, otherwise known as BPD, is a serious mental illness characterized by the inability to regulate emotions. Some common traits or symptoms borderline-personality-disorderinclude:

  • Fear of abandonment
  • Unstable interpersonal relationships (with idealization and devaluation)
  • Identity disturbance and low perception of self-worth
  • Impulsive behaviours (risky sex, drugs, overspending, etc)
  • Self harm and suicidal tendencies
  • Reactive and difficulty controlling emotions, especially anger
  • Emptiness
  • Paranoia and disassociation

Borderline Personality Disorder has acquired plenty of negative connotations over the years, with some mental health professionals reluctant to treat it based on the intensity of the patient’s threats, reactions and, sometimes, lack of desire to get better. Some people who have associated with individuals diagnosed with BPD may not understand and, within discussions regarding the topic, furthering the stigma.

As diagnosed BPD individuals, we are not perceived positively. People tend to avoid us because of our intense emotions and emotional episodes. As much as we may try to explain ourselves, we are often misunderstood  or not taken seriously. We may desperately try to express our distress to you, without knowing how to go about it. Some of us don’t quite understand our disorder yet and may not know that our explosive or sensitive reactions are distinguished in this disorder, thus having no capabilities to explain ourselves to you.

Explaining our behaviours by stating we have Borderline Personality Disorder is an explanation, not an excuse.


I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me

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We find it very complicated to be in a stable relationship, seeing as our life patterns demonstrate someone loving us, remaining for a while and then abandoning us. We push and shove in response to our overwhelming emotions, trying to abandon you before you are able to abandon us. We constantly fear being left by the ones we love and we find it more beneficial to our emotional stability if we do it first. We convince ourselves that the blame cannot be put on us, even though we recall our behaviour later on and blame ourselves for causing you to leave.

We cannot live with you or without you, and it is a constant battle in our minds. We try to deduct whether it’s more beneficial to have you in our lives or not. At times, we think we have our mind made up, until we realize we want the opposite minutes later.

Think of the old concept introduced to kindergartners; “boys bully you because they like you.” (Extremely sexist, but wait for it.) BPD can sometimes make us act like those little boys. We do not have the means to express our affection to you, nor do we comprehend it, thus we violently lash out. We get the most violent with the ones we love and appreciate the most. It’s awful to say, but if we are treating you like this, we probably love you very, very much. We blame you for the potency of our emotions, and being loved is out ultimate fear. In response, subconsciously, we will cuss and push you away until you leave.

 

 

Emotional Instability, Intensities and Outbursts

A main symptom of the disorder is emotional instability and mood swings. As much as we may try to control our emotions, they always seem just past arms’ length. We go from ecstatic to depressed in moments, and it can leave us utterly exhausted. We struggle with the maintenance of any particular long term emotion; contentment can last a few hours and it can be followed by exaggerated anger.

In response to the ferocious mental storm, we violently react with outbursts and painful statements. We can become physically abusive as well as emotional and mental, trying to spike you with similar pain that we feel. Our outbursts can be brief or elongated, lasting up to a few hours. The extreme emotional implications can even lead us to self harm or a suicide attempt.

 

Sensitivity and Overreacting

It is no secret that we are on the more sensitive side of the spectrum of people. A comment you make that someone else could  disregard or be caught off guard can drive us into a frenzy. Our sensitivity is heightened along with our emotions and, though what we are hurt by may seem silly to you, it is very real and traumatizing to us. There are events and situations that we will not forget because of their extreme sensitivity content and the overload we felt.

An empty comment can be spun out of context with our skewed perception of reality, assuming you’ve observed a trait in us you don’t like, or we aren’t attractive enough, etc. and even if what we heard is not what you had said or what you intended, we create our own reality to make it true.

In retort, we may lash out or bawl, taking an extreme stance, and though it may seem like overreacting, it is valid to us and comprehensible. We felt so hurt by something and our only ability to cope is to lose it in one way or another.You may perceive it as unnecessary but it is our process for coping and we require love and support. In these times, we are in need of an apology and comfort from you.

 

Boredom and Emptiness

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Borderline is often unstable, with periods of highs and lows, and some switching quickly between the two. It keeps us very busy, I’m sure you can imagine. We are so encompassed in this constant whirlwind that, when it calms down, suddenly we are hit with boredom.

Boredom often gets misinterpreted in our minds as depression or sadness, and can evidently lead to self harm and suicidal behaviours. The stillness leads our thoughts in a negative direction, and the self-deprecating notions become repeated in our minds, woven one over the other. (“You’re useless.”, “You’re lazy”, “You never stop wasting your time.”) When nothing is going on and we are chaos free, we are unsure as to what we should do with ourselves, and we can sense a great deal of emptiness and dissatisfaction. Without being kept busy with a hobby, we misinterpret the boredom and the intensity escalates until we lose control and have an episode. We want to have that time and those feelings filled with activities that work our minds and keep our thought process busy. Without occupying the thought process, we can quickly become consumed by our own self hatred and low self esteem.

 

Relationship Struggles

The inability to maintain a stable relationship is very common. These relationships can be family oriented, friendships and romantic or sexual relationships.

A thing to remember is the sensitivities and intensities felt by an individual diagnosed with BPD; any comment made gets held to heart, whether it’s kind or mean. Your opinion is held at high standard and can make or break the individual’s day/week/month/year.

Being in a relationship, we often assume we will be left, being a common pattern we have been exposed to. We assume it is a life pattern that will always follow us, and instead of riding the waves, small or large with you, we subconsciously push you away and leave you before you can leave us. In our mind, it is a way to break the pattern; “you can’t leave me if I’ve already left you”. Any stillness in the relationship is perceived as boring and can somehow be misinterpreted by you not meeting our needs or not understanding us, or even not loving us enough. We have not been exposed to much relax and thus, do not have much experience with coping with it, but we do know chaos and roller coasters. In our inability to cope, we will take you for that ride down the slope.

We desperately want to have a happy relationship but we are not always in control, and to be loved. We face episodes where our mouthes and emotions completely disconnect from our morality and usual conversations. We do not want to hurt you, but we are terrified of being loved. It’s a foreign concept in our minds. We try to keep ourselves together but we loosen at the seams and become explosive. And at times, in our angry episodes, we want you angry too, because then we aren’t alone and you, too, are taking the roller coaster ride with us.

Despite the chaos and rides we will take you on, and as silly as it may sound, we do it because we love you.

 

Skewed Perception of Reality

Though reality is altered from one person to the next, most people are still living within the facts or slight exaggeration of them. With BPD, our reality is concentrated on emotions and fears. For example, if we are scared you will abandon us, we will act as if it is current and live in that chaos. Or, let’s say we feel ugly, we may assume that our loved ones believe it and torment ourselves to not feel this way. And if our fears aren’t real enough, we create them and make them reality.

Our perception of reality is often skewed and can confuse our surroundings. Though we may not be psychotics, we may have delusions and paranoia. They may not be the commonly known heard voices as seen in schizophrenics and patients with psychosis, but they alter our sense of reality and fog the facts.

Our assumptions can go from being just that and escalate to being “reality” as we associate clues and events to our prejudged conclusion. All of our clues, though inaccurate or unrelated, soon become the full reason or description for a situation.

A misheard sentence from your mouth can make us frantic; you may claim you said one thing but we heard another, and it wasn’t a good thing. Suddenly, we believe it; we have proof and evidence that it is all true and you meant what we thought we heard.

 

Identity Crises

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We lose touch with who we are in the process of understanding our disorder, mental illness and wanting to be someone entirely different. We may label ourselves as BEING the disorder or change from one type of person to the next. We act like chameleons and study our peers to be accepted and wanted by them. We perceive fitting in as a sense of validation and self worth. Some individuals will be entirely different when they are at home, compared to work, compared to with a romantic partner. We study and dictate what we want to put on show for specific people, trying to find a way to integrate and not be left.

We discern our being as unlovable, dictated by the demonstrations in our past, and we cannot imagine anybody loving us for our true selves, not to mention the chaos that is this disorder. We will hide behind as many masks and in as many costumes so that you may not break that barrier and unleash us out of our comfort zone. We would prefer putting our best traits on display.

 

Self Harm, Suicide and Threats

A common lead to diagnosis is self harm and suicidal tendencies. Many adolescents get diagnosed before they are deemed able to be diagnosed because of this, mixed with unstable teenage emotions that worsen in stages of puberty.

Self harm is our expression of the overwhelming emotions that overtake our bodies and minds. It is our way of physically creating our pain; painting it out, if you will. Self mutilation is not just the act of cutting, it also includes:

  • Burning
  • Starvation/Bingeing/Purging (Disordered Eating behaviours)
  • Scratching
  • Suicide attempts
  • Overdoses
  • Illegal and recreational drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Trichotillomania/Dermatillomania (and other Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviours)
  • Etc.

Some of us do it to feel alive, others for control, on impulse, or to scare. (Whether a person is doing it to scare or for any other reason, it is still valid and still dictates a problem, just a different type of problem. In the end, it is still self mutilation, which is unleashing physical pain onto ourselves to cope with emotions.)

It is important to not judge the individual for this expression. It is a maladpative coping strategy and eventually grows to be addictive, as the acts release endorphins, tricking our brains. For the time being, it does work. It isn’t healthy, nor is it worth it, but the individual may have not come to that realization yet. Without desire to recover, it is still recognized as functional by the one self mutilating. Prying and trying to stop the behaviour can worsen the outcome, leading them into intense emotions where they feel they may have to do it again to find release.

Trying to be understanding and supportive, offering positive coping strategies,  hobbiesroutine and helping to create a coping kit with them can guide them on the right path. It will take a lot of time, but the diagnosed BPD patient must eventually learn to self regulate and should be granted years for this process.

Though we may not be trying to kill ourselves by using these negative coping strategies, they can have negative repercussions. The beahviours can become quite severe and may require medical attention, which is important to seek out when needed. The emotions we feel can escalate drastically, requiring us to get stitches or getting our stomach’s pumped, and should be supervised. It is important to ensure all wounds are kept clean and are covered to avoid STDs and other blood transmitted diseases.

Suicide attempts and threats should be taken very seriously, but it is very crucial to note that mental health professionals prefer to avoid hospitalizations for us and so, we can be left on our own. Many of us do not properly use hospital stays properly, often getting involved in other people’s problems or becoming aggressive with staff, feeling the assistance is unhelpful, and disrupting other people’s stays. It is a very sad truth, and we may be turned away when requesting to be hospitalized for these reasons. (It is also very important to recognize that being turned away can spiral emotions downwards, and skewing their perception of reality. They may think “Well, if they don’t think I’m suicidal enough, I’ll prove it.”, and this can be a very dangerous thought process. Ultimately, it is preferred to avoid trying to get hospitalized, which will lessen the trauma.)

The threats can be made to express great deal of distress and serious desire to take one’s life, and it can also be to scare and receive sympathy from loved ones and medical attention. The emotions are intense, and we may threat when they have escalated passed our capacity of withholding them. To us, it is very real. We truly believe we are ready to take our own lives, and though it may be a threat and we may not fully act upon it, our feelings are serious and can lead to the act if overwhelmed.

They will need extra support and will require professional attention from a counselor or therapist who is knowledgeable in  Borderline. Offer support, do not fall into stigma and try to be understanding of the chaos.

 

It is a Disorder but we are NOT Hopeless

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Though this is a long lasting disorder, we CAN recover. The recovery path consists of self regulation and understanding. We must practice mindfulness and positive coping strategies to keep ourselves in line. We are not entirely in control of the behaviours; they are just learned patterns. The treatment of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy will offer us the tools to acquire that content and stable life.

A popular choice for those who cannot afford, nor find a professional or service that specializes in DBT can look into the Out of Control; DBT CBT Workbook, which offers diagrams, activities and simple explanations to many, if not all, common Borderline Personality Disorder behaviours. The tools must be continuously practiced, or relapse is inevitable to occur.

Many will give up on us, but I can assure you that if you stick around to watch us get better, you will not regret it. One day, we will know peace, stability and even happiness, as long as we work hard at it.

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“Trying is the First Step Towards Failure”

As an avid fan of The Simpsons, I know this quote all too well. It airs in the 1997 episode Realty Bites; Homer is cutting into his food as he speaks with Marge and, slips himself into his plate, splattering his delicious mashed potatoes and peas all over the table. It was an iconically funny scene and this quote gained popularity on social media platforms and within the fanbase. The image above actually was slapped onto some Nintendo DS cases, and my brother had one!

But, is trying really the first step towards failure? The honest answer… Yes. But, it’s also the first step towards well being, health and anything else we want to accomplish in our everyday lives. This action can lead us to many different roads of happiness and fulfillment; bringing us into a new outlook with confidence in ourselves. Trying can lead us to success and failure, though the rewards from our successes and lessons from our failures are much too valuable to discard for often-used maladaptive coping strategies, and temporary relief. We are lost in the overwhelming nature of our negative thoughts. If I don’t try, I will never fail. Accurate. But you will also never get your driver’s license, never buy a house, never earn a promotion, never earn enough money for a fancy dou-dad you’ve been drooling over… Nor will you ever be satisfied with yourself and the outcomes of your decisions. Not to mention maintain any of these you’ve already acquired.

We may believe that things were/are, in some sense, easier when we were off the recovery path. We were practicing old but “effective” habits that were destroying us in entirety.  They worked quickly, though temporarily. Our problems spiraled and they worsened, causing us to develop addictions and dependencies we thought we would never get ourselves out of unless we were no longer a being. Family and friends were pushed away by our negative behaviours, leaving us to feel alone and lost. Some of us are scarred up, have damaged organs or brains, no longer have somewhere to live, are unemployed, etc. These coping strategies caused us emotional and physical disorientation.

We face recovery with fear and believe that if we do try, we will ultimately fail. We do not consider that, through those failures, there will be more instances of prosperity. We are in a state of dismay, in case we let ourselves down and end up relapsing; being worst off then we were before the “recovery”. So, what do we do? We turn off our rational mind and we decide that continuing down a self destructive road is what we feel is best. We don’t want to let ourselves down, so isn’t this the best option?

No. It’s not.

All you have to do is try www.teenlifequotes.com

All you have to do is try. source: http://www.teenlifequotes.com

We had enough courage to even consider recovery and that was astonishing. It was a step in the right direction to our human desire of finally being happy, and being free from our self-destruction. We decided to neglect this idea because it’s too “far out”, we didn’t find ourselves deserving or able, or “we just aren’t ready”. Considering recovery is being ready. Maybe not in our full form of comfort but we have already begun the recovery process and we have a belief it will work. With trying comes a positive result.

And if we have faith in this recovery, yet are hit with a heavy situation that knocks us down and makes coping very complicated, we may want to relapse. Wanting to relapse is a very natural thing in recovery, but those who keep working at it that will see success. We, in the moment, no matter how intense or calm, are in control of our actions and behaviours. We MUST remain in control at all times and not lose focus of our goal.

Evaluating the situation in question can also help us learn to deal with things in a healthier manner. We can assess, by considering all factors of the boulder that’s landed in front of us, whether this was self-induced or a natural life event that was out of our control. Being cheated on and having someone you know commit suicide is not your fault, but becoming homeless because you didn’t pay your bills, couldn’t maintain income due to neglect, lack of proper maintenance or loss of job is something you have control over.

Why try? Because life GETS GOOD WHEN WE TRY and EVEN BETTER when we KEEP TRYING and REFUSE TO GIVE UP! The SOMETHING that happens that destroys our life is OUR DECISION TO RELAPSE. The THING that REALLY BREAKS US and causes us to bottom-out emotionally and spiritually is a BROKEN PROMISE to ourselves… the promise we made at the start of recovery.

Out-Of-Control DBT-CBT Workbook, Melanie Gordon Sheet, PhD. (Chapter 3 – Pathways To Recovery. P 82)

Learning to maintain our life when times get tough is extremely important to keep things from falling apart. In the Out-Of-Control DBT-CBT workbook, written by Melanie Gordon Sheets, PhD. helps in teaching recovery maintenance by concentration on utmost priorities that take place in our lives. We can expect ourselves to maintain  decent hygiene and fulfilling life’s daily requirements, attending our therapeutic events (which we will need in this time), though we will not overwork ourselves by putting our energy in the extras, and having everything topple over, leading us to yet another relapse.

In crisis, where relapse feels right at your finger tips, you can employ many simple but potent coping strategies to bring you out of that state and continue on the recovery path. Utilizing a coping kit or deep breathing techniques are popular choices, though, you can practice hobbies, go to positive social events (tea, bowling, etc.) or craft on your own in solidarity.

(see Coping Kit On The Go https://slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com/2016/06/15/coping-kit-on-the-go/ )

Though we may have days in which we are down and feel as though we cannot keep working at this recovery, that it is tiring us out, we should never give up on it. By giving up, we bring ourselves further from our goal and we will let ourselves down, lowering our self-esteem. You are capable of recovery, just like the thousands of others that have accomplished it and are living happy lives, despite their past circumstances and experiences.

Trying is to first step towards a long and healthy life.

Be mindful and ask yourself, “What will best help my recovery right now?”