Category Archives: self-love

Grateful for Gratitude

A few weeks ago I decided to start a gratitude journal.  Instead of getting caught up in the highs and lows of my bipolar disorder I figured I’d redirect my focus and look at the good things working for me in life.  There was just one problem; I didn’t count on something getting in the way.  That something is borderline personality disorder.

In addition to my bipolar disorder I have a daily struggle to keep myself balanced because of my BPD.   In short, having borderline personality disorder means that I have a hard time living a life of balance.  It is my disorder inside a disorder and it can make life very complicated for me.  BPD is the reason I often overreact to any given situation and have ongoing unhealthy relationships and thought patterns.  I typically only see life in terms of black and white not realizing that life is full of areas of gray.  I tend to fly off the handle at seemingly benign situations and my interactions with people are often based on pure emotion which, in and of itself, is quite detrimental to living life on an even keel.  Borderline personality disorder can also make it hard for me to balance my emotions and react appropriately to them.  For instance, I can get happy about something good happening to me and instead of just being content with the situation; I may go out and spend money that I really can’t spare as a reaction to it.  If something upsets me I may go into a deep depression and start toying with thoughts of self-harm or even suicide.  Often when a relationship is unhealthy or toxic I may still try to keep the relationship going because; in my thought process, some relationship is better than no relationship.

Earlier I said that this is my disorder inside of a disorder; let me explain.  Bipolar disorder is characterized by intense highs and lows, mania and depression, light and dark.  Well borderline personality makes these instances even more intense. I often suffer from extended periods of anxiety and I have trouble with major bouts of low self-esteem and overall self-loathing.  The mania and depression of my bipolar disorder are made more intense as a result of my BPD.  Already being overly stimulated, borderline personality disorder can make me appear like the Incredible Hulk when it comes to emotions.  One minute I’m fine and the next minute, after seeing a disturbing story on the evening news, I’m a wasted pile of tears and despair.  I know, this may sound extreme but that’s the nature of borderline personality disorder.  BPD is a constant struggle to maintain emotional equilibrium and avoid unhealthy situations and relationships.

I say all of this to make the point that starting a gratitude journal was more of a challenge than I ever thought it would be.  Because my view of reality is often skewed, it’s hard for me to be mindful and find things to be grateful for since I’m always in an extreme emotional state.  This being true, I was even more determined to be able to use mindfulness and find things in life to be grateful for no matter how small or mundane.  Even though mentally I tend to be in a state of flux, I have to realize that if I can compose myself and focus I’ll be able to see that there is just plain good in life.  I’ve decided that I will be grateful despite my diagnosis and I’m going to start that journal no matter what.

 

Image result for images of gratitude

 

 

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Back At It

Bipolar disorder can be a bitch, thus the reason I haven’t posted anything to my blog since last July.  I was doing great and the ideas were flowing and I loved seeing the results of my productivity and focus and then, BAM, without warning; nothing.  It was like all the potential and creativity that I had in me just dried up and flew south.  Frustrating does not begin to describe the feeling of sitting down in front of the computer all set to peck out my next great revelation only to find that all the thoughts in my head were a garbled mess of nothingness.  I wanted to write, really I did, but nothing would happen.  I would wake up in the morning with the mindset that today would be the day and, just as quickly as it came; it was gone, back to the endless chasm of emptiness.   I ranted, I screamed, I cried, I did it all from one end of up to the dark side of down but nothing would make the ideas or expression come to fruition before my eyes.  I couldn’t understand what was happening.  I had been on a roll and I was so proud of myself.  I had endless reserves of gumption and I enjoyed what I was doing, I had the upper hand against my mental illness.  I had ‘mastered’ bipolar disorder and I vowed bipolar disorder would never again keep me paralyzed and confused and lost in a sea of uncertainty.  Hell, just looking at my blog I knew that I could beat this beast.  Surprise, surprise I couldn’t have been further from the truth.  That’s not the nature of bipolar disorder and that’s really not the way it works.  Even with all my reading and researching I didn’t want to realize that I would forever battle with bipolar disorder.  For a minute I believed that maybe it had gone away to the furthest recesses of my mind to be stored as an afterthought.  No.  Bipolar disorder will forever be my Achilles heel and I’m going to have to get to a place where I’m OK with that.  Having bipolar disorder doesn’t make me any less of a person than anyone else and the pitfalls that come with it don’t make me a failure.  I just have to work a little bit harder at life than some people and, actually, that’s OK.  That just strengthens my character and enhances my already engaging personality.  All I have to remember is that I have bipolar disorder, it doesn’t have me.

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Just Perfect

(This post is for Day Nine of Blogging 101.  It was inspired by my visit to the blog miss-kris.com.  She’s such a beautiful woman)

I have struggled with my weight and my body image all my life.  I can remember being in grammar school crying in the department store when it was time to buy new clothes.  I was so hurt that my clothes were always purchased from the ‘husky’ rack; these were not the most attractive clothes.  When I wanted to look like a little girl all sweet and cute I had to settle for clothes that looked, for the most part, androgynous.  The only saving grace for me was that they couldn’t make dresses for boys.  Every day I envied my petite, girly- girl playmates as I tried to come to terms with the chunky frame I had to carry.

Things didn’t get any better when I entered the middle school years.  My classmates were getting taller and thinner and I was just getting taller.  I still had to deal with my not-so-thin body and it became very apparent to me that this was something to be abhorred.  Once again in my life I knew what it was like to be on the outside when it was time to shop for new school clothes.  Instead of this being a fun occasion it was filled with more angst and tears when, as a pre-teen, I was forced to move over to the misses’ section of the stores my mom and I visited.  I would sit behind my desk day after day wishing and praying that the body that had betrayed me would show some mercy and get rid of my unwanted pounds.  This never happened.

girl crying

High school was no less a nightmare than my previous academic career.  My height had finally plateaued but my body and my body image was still a major source of sadness for me.  It seemed like all the girls I looked at were ‘perfect’.  They didn’t seem to have to worry about hiding a bit of a muffin top or robust breasts.  They were the ones who had no hang-ups getting dressed in front of one another for physical education and who didn’t cringe from the thought of wearing a bathing suit when it was time for the mandatory two-week stint of swimming.  Outside of school they could wear the short shorts and bikinis that I could only dream of putting on.  I would spend hours in the mirror at home dissecting my body trying on one thing after another looking for something that would hide my thickness and make me look more like my female classmates.

At this time I also got hip to fad diets and so-called counting calories.  What this was exactly was me starving myself and then going through a period where I was bulimic.  I loved this because I was finally seeing results to what I was doing.  Binging and purging was paying off in my waist line but it was adversely affecting me in other ways.  My gums were bleeding, my throat hurt, my ribs were always sore from throwing up and I was generally in poor health; but I kept doing what I was doing because my body was getting, and staying, smaller…finally.

Throughout my college years I started feeling better about myself as I kept on starving my body in pursuit of the perfect frame.  I was often tired and consumed with how many calories I was taking in and worrying about being caught throwing up in the bathroom in order to maintain the body I’d been dreaming of all my life.  This routine lasted for the better part of my college years but after graduating my body began to betray me again.  All the years of doing the wrong thing to stay ‘thin’ and lose weight had caused my body to rebound to the other end of the spectrum; I started gaining all the lost weight back.

This was the worst period of my life.  Not only was I gaining weight I was officially plus-sized.  I had to actually shop in the ‘big girls’ department and I was internally mortified.  Oh I kept a good face and I would smile when I got compliments on my outfits; from women twice my age mind you, but I was just not happy with my body and this was affecting how I felt about myself overall.  Instead of loving myself and my body and reveling in my uniqueness I went to the opposite end of the spectrum.  Not only was I dressing from the plus-size department, I was over dressing.  Instead of figure and body flattering clothes I would wear clothes two and three sizes bigger in order to try and hide my assets.  Then I started losing weight again. Joy and rapture!  Ironically, this gaining and losing, losing and gaining would go on for a number of years.

All of this had finally gotten to me and a vowed that it could not go on.  About six or seven years ago I finally decided that I was going to embrace the body I’d been given.  I was tired of depriving myself of the foods and drinks I like, wearing too-big clothes that hid my true shape, hating what I saw in the mirror and hating myself.  I embarked on a journey to love myself at whatever size I might be.plus girl

Though it was slow in coming I began to see women like myself in magazines and on television.  I began to really look around me and see all the beautiful women who had actual shapes and filled out their clothes sexily.  Most importantly I gave myself permission to love me in all my glory and splendor; I would not hide behind bulky clothes and shapeless shifts. plus girl 2            plus girl 3

Don’t get me wrong, I still have those moments when I wish I could lose a few pounds for any number of reasons but I refuse to get caught up in this and slide back into the loop of self-loathing.  I’m perfect just the way I am.

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Making Diamonds In The Dark

I’ve got barely enough and I’m trying to make it there

the road is dark and lonely but I’m pushing through

alone

in the silence

wondering if anyone is out there

Is someone standing on the outside looking in

pulling my strings

controlling my universe while I use all my energies

trying to find daylight

I can feel it pressing in around me and the air is

thick and dirty brown and

the silence

the silence

the silence

is deafening

and

frightening

and I want to scream out but why am I apologizing

or begging for mercy

or looking for help that doesn’t come

this is all about me

or so it appears

an example, a challenge, a secret bet

on the outcome of a giving heart

that is only fully loved by itself

dying slowly as it gives to the point

where the soul is no longer connected

but lost to the place where it found peace

it only drips with skepticism and distrust

The road stretches endlessly before me with no

signs for direction

no

still

small

voice to guide

a whisper on the wind with an outstretched hand beckoning

come in from the cold

I’m running from myself and mirrors because I don’t like

what I see

and I don’t know where to find the

it

that I need

and all my questions seem to be rhetorical

answering

themselves before they leave my mouth

my mind pulls me forward on its own running

with reserves of memory of what used to be

and the comforts of imagined normalcy

I’m tired and willingly give in to the fight that never ends

I hear the voices all around me and the images bombard

my subconscious world tormenting me in the unrest that I can’t define

in worldly terms

every waking moment I shake from the bone-chilling frost stored

in my physical reserves where it waits for the moment when

my vulnerability is at its highest and it puts me on emotional ice that

cuts my flesh leaving lacerations that bleed the sick bile of loneliness

If I could touch this darkness with my hands

rip it apart with my fingers

throw it into the abyss

so it would be gone

but for now

this moment

it is my domain

Love and family 136

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