Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder – Healing Takes Time

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, 💛

2019 - Petra, Jordan - The Treasury
2019 – Petra, Jordan – The Treasury

Healing Takes Time

In my last therapy session, I spoke of how I felt a bit overwhelmed with the many techniques Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) offers to help those with BPD navigate life with better success.

My therapist reassured me that I am still relatively new to adjusting with my diagnoses, and it will take some time to settle in.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy – Mindfulness

In my last blog, I celebrated how the Hulk uses Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and introduces DBT to his newly transformed She Hulk cousin to manage her anger.

Screen Shot - She Hulk - Attorney at Law - Dialectical Behavior Therapy
Screen Shot – She Hulk – Attorney at Law – Dialectical Behavior Therapy

I am still very much at the beginning stages of DBT – as this therapy is rigorous and has many layers to tackle the complexity of Borderline Personality Disorder.

I currently am focusing on mindfulness and the very difficult process of being aware of my thinking and labeling it the kind of thoughts they are.

If I am swirling in self-doubt thoughts, I become aware of it. I “pop out” of the thoughts (Calm‘s Jeff Warren uses this term) and label them as self-doubt. The goal is to not get sucked into the thoughts and the stories they are creating.

Easier said than done when my body physiologically responds in a variety of ways such as tightness in the chest and an overwhelming fear to get reassurance I haven’t done anything wrong, or lethargic with sadness and shut down or push myself to clean or organize everything to find a sense of order, comfort and control.

As well, I am having these thoughts for a reason. I created this style of thinking many years ago as a way to protect myself when I didn’t feel safe in my surroundings.

Therefore, this is my work: to use mindfulness to have control over my thoughts rather than my thoughts having control over me.

For almost three years, on an almost daily basis, I listen to Calm’s Daily Trip by Jeff Warren and Tamara Levitt’s Daily Calm. It’s taken that long for the mindfulness vocabulary and meditation skills taught to seep into my BPD hardwired consciousness.

That is why mindfulness and meditation is called a practice!

Dialectical Behavior Therapy – S.T.O.P

I also try and keep this DBT acronym close at hand.

Not always easy, especially with strong BPD emotions like anger.

But, just like the above use of mindfulness, this STOP skill also takes awareness and practice.

Photo Credit – Pinterest

Honoring My Values and Beliefs = Confidence Building

Dr. Jennifer May, in one of her videos – I can’t remember which one right now, talks about how honoring my values and beliefs builds my confidence.

I sometimes, well a lot of the time, defer to others that they are right and I must be wrong. Or I seek approval to make sure I am doing something correctly so that I will not “get into trouble”.

Again, I created these behaviors a long time ago to protect myself when I did not feel safe.

These behaviors indicate a younger ego state, and that I am in my emotional mind.

In DBT there are 3 states of mind: emotional mind, wise mind, and rational mind.

DBT Wise Mind
Photo Credit: Camskids.com

As mentioned, I am in emotional mind when I feel others are right and I am wrong or I am fearful of getting into trouble.

Stepping into wise mind involves the above skills of mindfulness and STOP.

Then, I can empower myself to move forward mindfully to honor my values and beliefs – not someone else’s.

Again, remembering to do this can be difficult when life gets busy and/or I am HALT.

Hungry.

Angry.

Lonely.

Tired.

When this happens, I come back to another difficult skill – gentle self-talk rather than judgmental self-talk – to remind myself that all the above skills are a lifelong practice.

S, 💛

Owning and Unraveling Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder

2 Comments Add yours

  1. dovalpage says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! It’s been very helpful!

    1. Wow!!! Thank you SO much!!!! 💛💛💛

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