Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Love your curves", Really?

I did not make it to kickboxing yesterday.  I haven’t made it to kickboxing yet!  I really, REALLY want to go.  Started boot camp classes, stopped after a couple of weeks.  Even though I have reasons for doing so and am planning on returning soon, it just enforces my own warped belief system that I will forever and always be stuck in this body that I HATE.  I don’t really remember when I started hating the way I look.  It had to have been when I was very young.  Up until I had my first child at 24, most would say that I had a “dream” body, but I never saw it that way.  My boobs and hips were too big, my legs too skinny, my ass too wide.  What this translated to were measurements of 34”, 24”, 36”…. Meow! Right? I hated it. The attention I received from men made me hate myself more, yet the power I had over them, was like a drug.  Talk about a love/hate relationship! Maintaining that level of va va voom was not as easy once I had my first baby. The eating disorder that I had sustained since my junior high cheerleading days was not going to be easy to keep going once I got pregnant.  Mainly because I wanted to eat, and I wanted to eat a lot! Throwing up was no longer something within my control because the baby was making the decisions for me now. Getting pregnant not only forced me to put my drinking into check, it diminished my ability to purge and it somehow curbed my desire to cut.  Something about mutilating myself with a precious baby inside of me seemed vile during this time.  Yet, I had to do something to deal with the emotional pain that I had kept at bay all of these years.  So, eating became my drug of choice. For the past 17 years, I have had a rollercoaster relationship with food and with that came the yo-yo cycle of my weight. I have fluctuated between 135 and 195 lbs for over 15 years. Yes, you heard me, “195”! Sadly I’m not too far below that number now AND if you knew my BMI, well… anyhoo…

So, here I am, 41 years old and I still hate my body, hate that I don’t have energy to really do the work it would take to get this weight off, hate how unhealthy I feel, hate that my clothes don’t fit, hate that I can’t BUY the clothes that I want, hate how it makes me feel less intimate with my husband and finally I hate that I can’t feel good about myself and my body at any weight.  Isn’t that what we try and teach our daughters, advocate to other women?, “Embrace your curves! Love yourself at any weight! Be proud of who you are and how God made you!”.  So, as with this entire journey, I will take it one day at a time.  I will work on eating healthier, but not lose my taste for the enjoyment of food.  I will find an exercise plan that works and stick with it.  I will lose 30 lbs by my birthday, OK 40 AND if I can’t do any of that, at the very least I. Will. Embrace. My. Curves! I can’t truthfully say that I believe any of that, but I can say that in the meantime, I am walking the dog today.  Yes, I will walk the dog and if that is all I can accomplish than that will be enough. I will try my hardest to not beat myself up; I will keep telling myself that I am beautiful no matter what my size and I will forgive myself for each stumble.

Besides, my husband still calls me sexy and in this case when he says it, I almost believe it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?


Today, I have had some time to reflect.  I am overwhelmed by the amount of support that I have received from my last post and re-launch.  I have heard the term, “courageous” several times.  I am grateful for this moniker but find it amusing at the same time, as brave is often the very last thing I feel.  So much of my recovery has been letting go of fear. Fear is a state of being that I feel the most comfortable in.  With fear comes survival and my instinct is always to survive no matter what the cost.  This has proven to get me in more trouble and damage more relationships than it is worth. But it is and has been my “normal”.  Stability feels as far from secure as one can get.  The less chaotic life seems the more I feel a loss of control.  I feed on chaos.  But, no one can really live when there life is constantly in disarray.  Instability breeds insecurity and insecurity will inevitably be the catalyst to one bad choice too many.

One of my main goals is too help others to understand as much as possible what mental illness is, how a person is affected by the mental illness and whether or not prognosis is positive.  Part of destroying the stigma of mental illness is to define exactly what my disorders mean. So, first, what is Borderline Personality Disorder? Without getting too clinical, here is the best definition I could find (borrowed from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001931/ ):

Borderline personality disorder is a condition in which people have long-term patterns of unstable or turbulent emotions, such as feelings about themselves and others. These inner experiences often cause them to take impulsive actions and have chaotic relationships. Genetics, family, and social factors are thought to play roles. Risk factors for BPD include:

·       Abandonment in childhood or adolescence
·       Disrupted family life
·       Poor communication in the family
·       Sexual abuse

People with BPD are often uncertain about their identity. As a result, their interests and values may change rapidly. People with BPD also tend to see things in terms of extremes, such as either all good or all bad. Their views of other people may change quickly. A person who is looked up to one day may be looked down on the next day. These suddenly shifting feelings often lead to intense and unstable relationships. Other symptoms of BPD include:

·       Fear of being abandoned
·       Feelings of emptiness and boredom
·       Frequent displays of inappropriate anger
·       Impulsiveness with money, substance abuse, sexual relationship or binge eating
·       Intolerance of being alone
·       Repeated crises and acts of self-injury, such as wrist cutting or overdosing

Many types of individual talk therapy can successfully treat BPD. In addition, group therapy can help change self-destructive behaviors. In some cases, medications can help level mood swings and treat depression or other disorders that may occur with this condition. The outlook depends on how severe the condition is and whether the person is willing to accept help. With long-term talk therapy, the person will often gradually improve.

So, yeah… chaos! But, outlook is good with the proper treatment, so I remain hopeful and inspired.  So, if I am to be called “courageous”, I will accept that.  Based on where I am at today, I know that I am just knocking on the door.  The true test of any courage I might possess is still yet to come. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

I am not afraid

On September 28th, 2011, I hurt myself…. Badly.  Purposefully.  I wanted to die.  In retrospect, I am still not clear as to whether my intention was to actually go through with something so final.  I wrote a message to my children asking for their forgiveness, yet I called and/or messaged two people who I knew or at least hoped would respond to my cries for help.  In the end, the intention regardless of the result was clear.  I have the scars on my wrists and the scars on the hearts of both myself and my family’s heart(s) to prove it. 

The immediate consequence; I ended up in the mental hold unit for about a week.  In that week, I missed one of my best friend’s weddings, I lost the trust of my nuclear family and I may have permanently lost my parents and siblings.  However, I did find something more important than any of those losses.  I found a piece of myself.  I discovered the how and why I operate and have lived the life I have lead.  And I recognized that my road to recovery was going to be the hardest and potentially the longest road I have ever had to commit to. 

My diagnosis: PTSD with major depression; Borderline Personality Disorder and Adjustment Disorder.  What does this mean?  This is the beginning of my journey to find myself and to understand my place with mental illness.  Some might ask why I am going public with this now.  My answer… because I have lived my life pretending to be something I am not, desperately trying to cling on to whatever it is that I think others are expecting from me.  I am a chameleon and my life and the reactions of some have proved, that no one, not even myself, has ever known who I really am.  The authentic me; The woman I now am and am supposed to be, free of those many parts that lurk within; that sabotage and destroy, manipulate and confuse.

Yesterday, I woke up and wanted to die.  Really die; for the first time since my attempt in September, these feelings overwhelmed me. Events that followed only solidified these feelings to the point where my husband had to enter into a safety contract where I had to promise with him and medical professionals that I would not hurt myself.  I am OK now. Today I am strong... but now more than ever, I am driven to publicly acknowledge my journey so that hopefully I can help someone, anyone else living with this.  

I have started this Blog before but without really knowing the true intention.  My intention now is clear.  I am going to share with all of you my journey on living with mental illness, the consequences of actions, the stigma associated with it and the daily battle to find some sense of normalcy in a world that does not fit or really understand the chaos within those struggling with these disorders.  

I have lived in fear my entire life; protecting this secret to my detriment.  I will no longer be afraid.  I am not afraid. I am not afraid.