This is a book for those diagnosed with BPD to give them knowledge and hope.You can do it!
(Periodically, you will see a warning that a chapter might be a trigger for some people. This means that the content contains personal negative experiences that might be a trigger to a BPD patient that can relate. WARNING: This chapter might be a trigger for some people. You may skip over it if you feel it might be or if you start to get tense reading it).
A fellow Author on Twitter commented on how grounded I seem with what I have been through. The truth is I’ve changed in the 2 ½ years since my diagnosis. I struggled almost on a daily basis trying to keep my emotions under control while going to work where I developed negative relationships with my co-workers. I worked this job for 15 years and everything came to a head that September 2017; I lost the job. This is when I received the diagnosis of BPD with latent onset CPTSD, and MDD.
I lost the very thing I lived for aside from my daughter. I was devastated! I wrote over two hundred pages of situations that happened that led up to the event from that year to figure out where I was wrong. I wasn’t sleeping and I wasn’t eating. I was living in fear and a feeling of hopelessness engulfed me. The feeling of rejection and loss was unbearable. It was made worse by the paperwork that I received, which contained all my work records and some of the untruthful things that were written by a person (I knew the handwriting well) who took the statement down of a person who could not read and then had the witness sign it. The witness was the woman I was trying to “defend”. The written statement directly contradicted what both myself and the woman I had the final altercation with had written. Both the woman and I basically had the same thing written and I was very surprised with her truthfulness of everything that happened minus the intent being untruthful (my own perception as I do not know what this woman was feeling inside her that made her say what she said in the manner it was said).
The very person I adored the most at my place of employment. A person I highly respected and thought the world of was directly responsible for one those things written that was completely untruthful. I was let down and the rejection I felt tore me up inside. This turned her into an enemy almost instantaneously my eyes. Remember the black and white thinking comes into play here. Many people that I sought out for reassurance and comfort, I felt, turned on me in the blink of an eye and mostly all perceptions that were written down only magnified how evil and bad I was as a person.
I was triggered that day into an emotional flashback by my CPTSD, due to my own perception of a person being really nasty and condescending to another co-worker in front of me. The BPD magnified my emotions. I couldn’t bare the look on the face of the woman that was the target of the insulting behavior and I, in my reactive state with no filter and no control, used a colorful filler-word when I made a comment about the situation to where I was trying to make this co-worker feel better.
The lady who perpetrated the situation to begin with wasn’t even in the room when I said it. She over heard it while waiting for an elevator in a different area. She flew back into the room and screamed in my face. This made me retreat and revert into myself even further. I sought out someone else to handle the situation. Everything seemed to center around the colorful-filler word I used instead of the condescending manner in which a co-worker treated another co-worker in front of me.
I went home that night with the days events playing over and over in my head. I called out of work the next day and was out on a medical leave of absence due to my triggered CPTSD: I had been granted by the State of Connecticut an intermittent leave of absence to where if I needed to take time off due to my medical condition, I could and still be reassured that my job would be restored to me when I was ready to return to work. I could not sleep for three weeks. The more I thought about it, especially at night, the more my brain created a "what if" situation that never occurred. That situation being that after the lady yelled at me she would hit me. This never happened, however, for some reason my brain was literally placing the fear of GOD into me that this woman posed a physical threat of violence even though that was not the reality of what occurred. She displayed extreme displeasure with how I felt in the days preceding these weeks and the consequence to that action of me speaking how I felt was her screaming at me two feet away from my face. I didn't know what she was capable of. I needed to get this under control if I was going to return to work.
When I did return to work, in the same week, the day I was scheduled to work with the woman I was told she was working in a different department than I. I figured it was OK and I put on my big girl pants and proceeded to do my job. I did my job for two days prior to this without incident, except for being told I was being written up for abusive behavior towards the co-worker who screamed in my face and not the other way around (I calmly told her, which surprised me,she needed to stop yelling at me three times) and I was very angry about this consequence for using a filler-word not even directed in that woman's direction, however, the woman was scheduled to be off those days. I figured I could do it by just going the other way if we were going to meet up in the hallway. That was until I was in the situation to where I had to directly walk two feet in front of this woman I feared to get out of a locked down unit. I was trapped. The only way to get out was to go by her. She held one door open for me (they were double doors). I saw this and I panicked. I literally did not know what to do. Instead of placing myself two feet in front of the woman I decided, for myself, the safe thing to do was to use the other door instead to place more distance between us. I put my head forward, didn't look at her, and headed in a normal fashion out the other door rather than the one she held.
She became insulted and called down to where my boss was and told her what happened. In turn, when I got down to the area my boss met me off the elevator, took me into my work area closing the door so it was just her and me, and proceeded to tell me how wrong I was to not take the door that this woman held for me. This incident, yet again, triggered me. The consequence for me not doing something this woman expected me to do was to get me in trouble this time with my boss. None of them, nor anyone that witnessed me taking the other door, knew exactly what made me do those things. I tried to communicate my fear of her, and at one point a statement was made, "but I thought you were ready to come back". In all honesty I thought I was. No one was understanding nor accepting of what I told them I was feeling. They all assumed they knew what was inside of me. Again consequences are had. The more they didn't seem to accept, the more I had trouble communicating, because I was doing something wrong, again.
With my BPD I have trouble articulating what I am attempting to communicate when I am in a triggered state. The worse the trigger the worse my communicating abilities are. When I tried to communicate, the more I spoke, the more seemingly rude others became so by the time I got pulled into the office to be sent home I couldn’t even think. I did at one point ask to make a phone call. Instead of the individuals involved in the meeting allowing me to make the phone call, I was asked who I was going to call.
My therapist was who I was going to call. To calm me down. Instead of allowing me that phone call or a chance to calm down they kept making statements to me and asking me questions which worsened the situation inside me. As soon as I got sent home, after walking to the bus stop, there, I made the phone call. My chest hurt, my head pounded, I was having trouble breathing, and I couldn’t think straight. Furthermore, I was highly embarrassed at the bus stop waiting and breaking down in tears.
Every job I’ve had was basically ran on the same theme with the only difference being the players. The feelings of rejection and worthlessness were unimaginable. My social skills were lacking so much that the relationships and what my co-workers thought of me over shadowed the work I did even if it was excellent.
The job before this one I had for 5 years. I was a Certified Optician attaining my American Board of Opticianry Certification (ABOC) through the company. Another job I liked however carpal tunnel was setting in and I worked with the eyeglasses directly fabricating the eye wear start to finish. There were fabrications of the truth in those meetings as well.
The other job, my first long term job of 7 years, ended when I imitated the behavior of one of the boss’ that was not such a pleasant action and with that job they were nice and to the point. Again, I didn’t get along with my coworkers in this job either. They gave me the choice, either I quit or they were firing me. That was embarrassing as well. I basically started out doing entry level mail and ended fabricating eye ware in particular marking the optical center in lenses among other odd jobs in the back room.
The first job I had was at a cable making place. I didn’t get along with the other workers there either. I ended up dating the son of one of the ladies that worked there. He also worked there. This job only lasted a year. The son ended up going after me to hit me when I told him he wasn’t taking my car and he locked himself in it and I proceeded to pound on the driver’s side window to break it to get my keys away from him. I called out of work, even though I had already taken too much time off, because I did not want this person taking my car on me. Again, I lost this job.
Do you notice the pattern here? The first job started in 1990. I graduated with my class in 1987 (I am proud of this achievement). Borderline Personality Disorder was only an ‘official diagnosis’ for ten years. In 1980 The Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel for Mental Disorders 3rd edition (DSM-III) listed BPD as a diagnosable illness for the first time1.
Basically when I first started seeing a Psychiatrist to find out what was wrong with me which occurred in the 1990’s (I do not remember the exact date) this diagnosis was relatively new. My psychiatrist was extremely brilliant however didn’t look at BPD as a possibility. In his defense, the article sited does state, back in that time, it was extremely difficult to diagnose BPD.
I mentioned to this particular psychiatrist, who picked up on my husband’s abuse way before I acknowledged it, that it seemed weird I was in his office breaking down for an emergency appointment the exact day before I would get my period almost on a monthly basis. It was like clockwork.
While I have been doing my research for this book I actually happened upon a very interesting research paper that deals exactly with the effects of perimenstral worsening of BPD symptoms2. I add this here to show you how important knowledge and searching for this knowledge pays off to help you not only understand your mental health condition but to be able actually feel like things make more sense than they did all the years you didn’t have this diagnosis.
Remember I said not all people diagnosed with BPD will have the same co-occurring diagnoses? I have BPD with CPTSD and MDD. Some are diagnosed a little differently maybe as BPD with Bipolar Disorder, panic disorder, depression, or any other mental health condition you can think of. Now with the thought knowledge is power, as another example, I happened upon another study that makes complete sense with a symptom I personally display with my BPD. The symptoms can differ too. No two BPD diagnoses are the same. This gave me another “Aha, that’s why,” moment concerning my own behavior with the diagnosis of BPD with CPTSD3.
I’m not going to sugar coat anything. Healing takes place on several different planes at one time. It’s work. However, the work is well worth it in the long run. I told you my experience with my jobs. That is only one plane of existence I live on. I have the plane where I was married. Another plane of my existence is when I became a mother. Still another plane of my existence was my education. The latter one still counts when I do independent study of my mental health condition as I put in the work to understand myself on a more profound and deeper level.
It is hard work. Honesty is a necessity for healing. Another thing I have been learning these past two and a half years is looking at the facts and not the feelings. I am continuing to learn how to separate the facts from the feelings. This is not easy to do when I am in the middle of an emotional crisis. I just went through a crisis the months preceding my decision to write this book.
If you are not willing to work hard on yourself, your thinking, with being completely honest to not only yourself but to those around you, and, if you refuse to give up the fear of judgment, letting other’s down, and failure. If you are unwilling to let the anger and the idea no one understands you go, then you need to close this book now and open it when you are ready to do those things.