DBT Archive

Make Recovery Your Own

I always say ‘I’ve been in recovery for…’ and then either go on to say ‘Just about two months’ if I’m talking about my eating disorder or ‘Just about seven years’ if I’m talking about alcoholism. I’m not sure why. I guess because I have come to believe that recovery is only recovery if I’ve been ‘clean’ for a length of time. I’m not sure why; I do not hold others to that standard. I’m pretty much alone in that category.

As The Wheel Turns: New Diagnosis

Three years ago, when I FINALLY got some psychiatric help for an episode that was already almost a year old at that point (thanks for nothing), my then-psychiatrist diagnosed me with panic disorder/agoraphobia, OCD, Borderline Personality Disorder, depressive disorder, dissociative disorder, and Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. Believe it or not, I was okay with that. It gave me something to hold onto, because I couldn’t make sense out of what was happening to me anymore. By the time I got in to see him, it was already too late. The damage was done. I will never fully recover. It’s not pessimism, just plain fact. Too much has happened to me, and rearranged my brain and how I perceive things.

A Different Approach

Once upon a time, there was me. I was a drunk. I wanted to die. I couldn’t handle the way I was living anymore. So I went into a recovery house. I failed. I went to another one. Three years into sobriety I had a mental breakdown. Things have been fucked ever since. But through it all I’ve also had this eating disorder, see. So it’s not enough to try to get my life back from mental illness. I’ve got an eating disorder too.

DBT Skills: Emotion Regulation

This is the final installment of the DBT Skills series. I want to say a special thank you to Breyonne for her hard work in writing this series – I know it will be useful for so many of our readers!

When I first heard the words ’emotion regulation’, the first thing I thought was, Oh great. Another therapist trying to tell me that feelings are just feelings, they can’t hurt me, they can’t kill me, blah blah yadda yadda. And I’ve been to enough therapy, enough counseling, enough self-help meetings to know this, even if only theoretically. So I wasn’t prepared to learn a whole lot from this module. I couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Hysterical Woman Problems: Jealousy

One of the most common things people with BPD have in common is abandonment/attachment issues. Mine run incredibly deep & I feel that I need to warn people about in advance so they can give emotional consent about whether or not they want to invest in a relationship with me. I feel the need to warn them that I’m incredibly sensitive, have a lot of unexplainable triggers that result in dissociation (a whole other article!), and that I have problems trusting that people aren’t going to randomly disappear. And while I own these feelings, actively work on them & and try my hardest not to bring them into my relationships (often going as far as to isolate myself for periods of time when I’m feeling them), they still come up. They still permeate every single aspect of my life. With such BIG emotions, I have to ask for a whole lot of patience & understanding in all types of relationships. People who are diagnosed with BPD often have the tendency to either dive in way too deep or constantly prevent themselves from dipping their toes in the water at all, all due to fears of abandonment. Some of us are trying our hardest every second of the day to figure out some sort of healthy balance for our interpersonal relationships to the point where it gets super confusing. Many of us are very, very tired a lot of the time because of this. Sometimes, I sit around and think about how fucking un-cute that must sound to all of my potential dates and I feel really fucking defeated & lonely.

Naming Names – Putting Agoraphobia Into Words

I still don’t know how to talk about agoraphobia. I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain it to people since I was 16 years old, but I’ve been largely unsuccessful at putting it into words. I’ve mostly just stayed quiet about it and used vague “anxiety” euphemisms to describe why I can’t hang out / go to work / go to class / go grocery shopping / whatever, and have also spent a lot of time struggling to come up with “legitimate” ways to account for what I do with my time while NOT doing these things, especially since spending [lots of] time alone or in my “safe zones” is actually super positive for me. For almost 20 years, I’ve had no concept of how to talk about this enormous part of me that has both limited me in humongous ways and also shaped me into the wonderful weirdo that the people close to me know and love.

DBT Skills: Interpersonal Effectiveness

I have to admit that social interaction and communication are not my strongest points. This is a relatively new development for me, or so I thought. I used to think I was great at using my voice, at standing up for myself, at being in social situations. Today there are a number of barriers that prevent me from being effective in interpersonal communication. One of them is mental and emotional health issues. It’s really hard for me to connect with others when I don’t feel so great myself. Another is acute hearing loss, in both ears, coupled with tinnitus. And finally – and probably the most overwhelming for me, especially when it comes to asking for what I need and speaking up for myself, or saying no when being asked for something – I was raised in an environment that didn’t really encourage me to use my voice under any circumstances. In fact, it was preferred if I was invisible, or at least that’s how I translated it.

My Partner With Borderline Personality Disorder (Hanners)

It is my pleasure to introduce the newest series, “My Partner With…” to QueerMentalHealth.org. Relationships can be a challenge for anyone, though they can be especially difficult when they are impacted by mental health issues. It is my hope that we can help others understand how to approach a partner’s mental health concerns. I’m starting this series off by talking about the issues that come up for myself and my partner, who has Borderline Personality Disorder.

If you were to get all your information about Borderline Personality Disorder by going to online support groups for partners of people with this condition, you would learn the following:

  • Borderlines are always abusive
  • Borderlines are always in denial
  • Borderlines never take responsibility for their actions
  • Borderlines will love you one minute, and hate you the next
  • Relationships with borderlines are notoriously unstable

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – A Primer

Trigger Warning: Mention of self-harm and suicide

Approaching therapy without really knowing where you’re going or why you’re doing what you’re doing can be scary, and at times, feel thoroughly futile. I know – I’ve been there, and I’ve done that. My feelings about my therapy ranged from a desperate need for it to work, to a feeling that my problems could never be resolved, to now, the light of day as I find myself from time to time using the techniques I’ve been taught and working to control my emotions.

My Experience With Borderline Personality Disorder (Breyonne)

I am a 33 year old woman. I received a diagnosis about a year and a half ago of Borderline Personality Disorder. At first I didn’t really understand what it was. I thought, Isn’t what I have more serious than that? I was pretty sure I had something else, something more recognizable. Something I’d actually heard of, for instance. Turns out it’s serious enough. On top of the shitstorm of feelings and thoughts I have on a daily basis, professionals are reluctant to treat people with BPD. We’re notorious for being ‘hard to deal with’.