Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder – It Is Great To Be Back & The Hulk Uses Dialectical Behavior Therapy! Woohoo!

Introduction to This Blog Series

I was 27 years old when I entered into the realization that there was something wrong with me and one of the original diagnosis was Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD. 

I say something wrong with me because I was just not able to manage my life on my own and somehow knew there was something wrong with my mind.

Back then, not a lot was known about this horribly stigmatized disorder because BPD patients were considered impossible to treat or wrongly diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. 

Along with BPD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (DDNOS) were also added to my diagnostic mix.

ADHD was quickly debunked and over the past two decades most professionals leaned towards my having PTSD or a Dissociative Disorder – but something about these disorders never seemed to fit.

Add menopause to the mix and the confusion became even more confusing.

Anxiety

Here are past blogs I’ve written about my struggles with anxiety and what felt like PTSD or DDNOS:

Alcohol Addiction

As well, I have a history of alcohol addiction.

My Struggles With Alcohol Can be Read in These Blogs:

Present Day

When I was 52 years old I had a thorough psychological assessment by a seasoned psychiatrist. At long last, I was properly diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder.

This blog series called Owning and Unraveling Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder is my way of processing and understanding these complex personality disorders and how they manifest, interfere with and enhance my life.

And, as it has been said to me from friends who have family members with Borderline Personality Disorder, perhaps I can help dispel misconceptions and stigmas associated with these mental illnesses.

As well, perhaps I can shed some light and more personal information on what living with Histrionic Personality Disorder is like, for those who are also walking this path.

With hope,

Stephanie, 💛

It’s Been a While

My husband and I moved onto our undeveloped property this summer to start developing it and begin the building of our geodesic dome home. Our remote property unfortunately is located in an area that has terrible internet connection making the complexity of a blogging page impossible to open, let alone publish!

We’re now back in the land of Internet!

Home

Our property is on a large relatively undeveloped lake, steeped in nature. I spent a lot of time this summer marinating in the solitude and quiet of old growth trees, morning kilometer swims with loons, frogs and turtles, and kayaking along stoney shorelines…

Effexor

This summer, I also started taking Effexor for anxiety.

In the past, I have used medicinal CBD and THC for my anxiety and write about it my blog, Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder – The Pros and Cons of Medical THC & CBD.

I stopped taking medicinal CBD and THC for a few reasons. I built up a tolerance, and I also have addiction in my DNA. I started taking way too much when I wanted to escape uncomfortable emotions and this resulted in the escalation of my already intense BPD emotional response.

Not to mention, medicinal CBD and THC is not covered under my medical plan and is VERY expensive.

So, I found myself back on a pharmaceutical – that this time seems to be working. Historically, using pharmaceuticals didn’t work out for me during my years of misdiagnoses.

I significantly notice the decrease of anxiety that manifests emotionally, mentally and physically within me.

My last blog I wrote about was what living with BPD and HPD feels like. It has been five months since I wrote that blog.

I’ve been on Effexor now for four months and I notice a significant decrease in the volume of each symptom listed in that blog.

Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder – Everyday Noticing Of What It Is Like Living With BPD & HPD

And, I spent the summer steeped healing in nature, with a morning routine of watching a Dr. Jennifer May video (in my opinion, free DBT for BPD therapy!), journal writing followed by a morning swim in the lake.

However, this summer I once again came face-to-face with addiction. I’m not quite ready to write about this yet as I am just getting my feet back on the ground with it.

As well, summer break is over and I am back in the real world of work, people and triggering situations that were absent during the summer.

The volume of my emotional mind has increased.

Thankfully, I watched Dr. Jennifer May all summer long to reinforce Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to be prepared to use these skills out there in the real world!

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Even The Hulk Uses DBT!

On Marvel’s new She Hulk Attorney at Law, Hulk is teaching his newly transformed She Hulk cousin how to emotionally regulate using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – a real therapy created by and for those like myself with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Hulk and She Hulk practicing Mindfulness – The foundational skill of DBT

Photo credit: wired.com

I was thrilled when I watched this for a few reasons. DBT is shown as a way to regulate intense emotions like anger, as well as using DBT to manage Hulk sized emotions. Borderline Personality Disorder emotions feel Hulk like , wanting to “smash” when angry.

This is a perfect representation of how I used to feel when I was really angry. Effexor has helped calmed me, but I still want to “smash”!

Photo credit: tomsguide.com

I Can Do Hard Things

Recently, I ran my first half marathon. It was during this run, 3kms in, that I was suddenly faced with knee pain. I felt devastated that perhaps I would not be able to finish the race. I pushed through and purposely slowed down to breathe space into pain now in both of my knees and sudden pain in a foot that once had plantar fasciitis. The breathing technique worked on one knee and the foot pain. I was left with one knee that would hurt for the entire race.

I thought about the skill taught in meditation of observing physical pain and accepting it.

I did this, accepting the pain in my knee and then read my first (and one of many) inspirational signs posted along the running route. It said, Pain is temporary, race result are on the internet. I kicked it into gear – telling myself I can do hard things.

What does this have to do with managing my BPD and HPD?

The work of DBT – remembering the skills taught and using them in the real world – can be difficult as it takes a level of mindfulness and practice – rather than letting BPD emotions sweep me away and down a rabbit hole or reacting and making a situation worse.

Not as easy as it sounds. Remember Hulk sized emotions (calmed with Effexor) while surrounded by the real world.

If I can push through knee pain to finish a half marathon, I know I can consistently manage my intense BPD emotions using DBT!

My continued morning routine of watching a Dr. Jennifer May video helps me keep DBT skills fresh in my mind!

HPD – Wanting To Be The Centre of Attention

Over the summer I spent some time focusing on my HPD.

With my return to work, I was face-to-face with an HPD symptom that is not easy to manage.

As outlined in the DSM – 5, this symptom of HPD is:

A compulsion to be the center of attention that results in discomfort if unmet.

I prepared for this by asking Dr. Jennifer May for suggestions on managing my wanting to be the centre of attention at work.

Dr. May gave me the below list of questions to reflect upon on in my journal:

  1. If I am not able to be the centre of attention, what am I afraid of?
  2. How old am I feeling?
  3. What do I really need right now?
  4. What is a healthy way to accomplish what I need right now?
  5. What might be a middle ground between the centre of attention and disappearing into the crowd?
  6. How can I act in this situation that will help me feel proud and satisfied with myself, later?

I know! These are great questions! So helpful!

I can do these hard things – reflect on these questions and apply the knowledge!

Well, that is it for today!

Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Happy Thanksgiving to you…. there really is so much to be grateful for. Gratitude is not always easy to feel, and sometimes something as simple as the warmth of the sun on your face can bring gratitude to your heart.

Until next time,

S, 💛

Owning and Unraveling Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder

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