Borderline Personality Disorder Blog. Bipolar Disorder Blog. BPD. DBT. Cleveland. A Fragment in Orange.


I took Billy to a new vet this morning. It was a bizarre experience. First I'll say that it only cost me $77 which is kind of crazy with the amount of blood work they did. Billy's going to eventually have surgery to remove the growth on his leg, so I'm sure that will cost me, but, I'm used to a run of the mill vet visit costing about $250.

The vet spent a good hour and a bit with me. He showed me some bacteria from Billy's chin under the microscope. He drew me a complicated diagram of the relationship between liver function tests, epilepsy, phenobarbital and cushing's syndrome. After the first half hour I was thinking, what's this guy's angle? Why is he spending so much time on us? Is he lonely? Is he just generally long-winded? What does he want from me?

My point in writing about this? Well, it made me think -- why am I so suspicious when someone is nice? That's a fucked up way of looking at things. Am I the only one who does this? Are we so used to being treated badly by people? Is that our normal? Last week I was told that I should challenge my perspective. I should question why I view things the way that I do. Not to say that my viewpoint is wrong. But I have to wonder if my viewpoint is practical, or if it's a construct of my bias/judgment/self-judgment/tendency to think in terms of right and wrong/tendency to think in terms of black and white. It's interesting to question these things. Really, there is no wrong or right. It's merely perception. Where does this perception come from? Think nature vs. nurture. How much is due to genetics and how much is due to the events in our lives thus far?

So many questions. No answers. I dig that.


Borderline Personality Disorder

I'm posting the following information on Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) for a few different reasons: It is an excellent synopsis of what BPD is. I try to explain BPD to people and am often at a loss for what to say. I tend to forget some of the important things. And that's the second reason I'm posting it: To remind myself of what BPD is really all about.

The third, and most important, reason: Well, I've done a lot of hard work to overcome, or at least better manage, issues associated with BPD. I refuse to believe that this diagnosis is a life sentence. I refuse to believe that a person is destined to exhibit the characteristics of the personality they are born with. There may be certain personality traits that will always be mine -- weaknesses and strengths -- but I'm convinced that weaknesses can be identified, challenged and made, well, less weak. It is an ongoing process of introspection and behavior modification. So this post is to remind myself of the exceptional progress I have made in overcoming many of the obstacles associated with BPD. It is not only a reminder of my success, but a reminder of the work that I have yet to do.

I am not a disorder. I am not automatically destined to travel a narrow path that was decided at birth. The path I take is up to me. I am evolving.

Taken from:

The main feature of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image and emotions. People with borderline personality disorder are also usually very impulsive.

This disorder occurs in most by early adulthood. The unstable pattern of interacting with others has persisted for years and is usually closely related to the person’s self-image and early social interactions. The pattern is present in a variety of settings (e.g., not just at work or home) and often is accompanied by a similar lability (fluctuating back and forth, sometimes in a quick manner) in a person’s emotions and feelings. Relationships and the person’s emotion may often be characterized as being shallow.

A person with this disorder will also often exhibit impulsive behaviors and have a majority of the following symptoms:

* Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment

* A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation

* Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self

* Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)

* Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior

* Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)

* Chronic feelings of emptiness

* Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)

* Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

Details about Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms

Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

The perception of impending separation or rejection, or the loss of external structure, can lead to profound changes in self-image, emotion, thinking and behavior. Someone with borderline personality disorder will be very sensitive to things happening around them in their environment. They experience intense abandonment fears and inappropriate anger, even when faced with a realistic separation or when there are unavoidable changes in plans. For instance, becoming very angry with someone for being a few minutes late or having to cancel a lunch date. People with borderline personality disorder may believe that this abandonment implies that they are “bad.” These abandonment fears are related to an intolerance of being alone and a need to have other people with them. Their frantic efforts to avoid abandonment may include impulsive actions such as self-mutilating or suicidal behaviors.

Unstable and intense relationships.

People with borderline personality disorder may idealize potential caregivers or lovers at the first or second meeting, demand to spend a lot of time together, and share the most intimate details early in a relationship. However, they may switch quickly from idealizing other people to devaluing them, feeling that the other person does not care enough, does not give enough, is not “there” enough. These individuals can empathize with and nurture other people, but only with the expectation that the other person will “be there” in return to meet their own needs on demand. These individuals are prone to sudden and dramatic shifts in their view of others, who may alternately be seen as beneficient supports or as cruelly punitive. Such shifts other reflect disillusionment with a caregiver whose nurturing qualities had been idealized or whose rejection or abandonment is expected.

Identity disturbance.

There are sudden and dramatic shifts in self-image, characterized by shifting goals, values and vocational aspirations. There may be sudden changes in opinions and plans about career, sexual identity, values and types of friends. These individuals may suddenly change from the role of a needy supplicant for help to a righteous avenger of past mistreatment. Although they usually have a self-image that is based on being bad or evil, individuals with borderline personality disorder may at times have feelings that they do not exist at all. Such experiences usually occur in situations in which the individual feels a lack of a meaningful relationship, nurturing and support. These individuals may show worse performance in unstructured work or school situations.

Click here for links to BPD resources


Burnt match smell and I'm fully present. I open my eyes just a little and find you looking at me. I grin, a shy smile, and close my eyes again. These are the best times. Us in silence. Easy. Us less the roaring thoughts in my mind. Us less the questions. Less the anger. The storm.

I will stay like this for hours. Feeling your rough skin beneath my fingers, from across the room. Sometimes the not touching is the best part. Wanting your lips on mine, your weight against me, to feel complete. Sometimes the anticipation is the best part.


Breathe in and out

It's today now and I'm content unlike any time before. In my head I hear the ocean, the way it sounds at night, white noise, breathing in and out, in and out, consistent and expected like a heart beat. In my head I hear the forest, the way it sounds at night, the occasional twig breaking beneath the weight of an invisible animal, the flesh of the trees breathing in and out, in and out. In my head I hear the desert, the hum of heat rising in gasoline waves from the horizon, the white sun breathing in and out, in and out.

Last night I lay awake and thought of the broken child. Torn from within and torn from without. I lay awake, rolling from left to right and back again, searching for the cool spot on the sheets, watching the red numbers of the clock jump to 300. Thoughts of the torn child, a little girl, suddenly homeless. I took her in and gave her love, but no love was enough and she aged faster than she should, an old soul by sixteen. I lost her to her demons then. She ran and she ran and she ran, one day to return world-weary and docile, with three little babies sired by three hateful men. She had kept her shape: she relied on her body as a commodity, to be bought and sold, the price of keeping those little mouths fed. I still see that little girl with that gaping wound in a place where no blood should flow.

When 300 hit I turned my thoughts to the man with the mild manner and the crazy brilliant mind. I pictured us lying in bed together, me reading my book and him reading his book. Limbs entwined, physically one but mentally separate, searching for truth in words and inspiration in silence. I pictured us walking in central park, beneath a night sky brightened by snow, the flakes resting on his eyelashes for a split second before turning from white to invisi-wet. his glasses fogged up by breath hot with ideas, a brain burning furiously. I pictured holding his gloved hand tenderly, taking some of his darkness into me, giving him some of my darkness in return. Fuck existential loneliness I would think in my head.

And so I say hmm, hmm, hmm. Music is like a current running through me tonight. A river wild and beautiful, black rushing water and fluorescent white eddies, all through me tonight. Open the floodgates, he sings. Damien Jurado, Will Oldham, Sun Kil Moon, Townes Van Zandt, Gillian Welch, Dan Auerbach, Whiskeytown. Jason Molina haunted me today. A familiar ache rose up within me, and it was beautiful this time. I heard the sadness and it passed through me. Gut reaction was to cry, but tears of joy this time. This time is better. This time feels good. I feel it all. I let it come. I let it go. I am alive. I can think of no better thing. No better state of being. Content.

I sing love songs to the spring air that settles on my skin. I can barely remember the words so I make them up as I go. Nonsensical and light. A love song sung for me. Self-love. Funny that. I certainly don't mind pining for no one. Don't get me wrong -- I pine. But not for a person. Not for a person, place, or thing. I pine for freedom of the spirit. Continued ache. Pain gives rise to creativity. We suffer for our art. Or not. It's a noble thought, although not entirely practical or reasonable.

Damien Jurado -- Caught in the Trees. The soundtrack for right now. Sweet, dirty, raw. Like whiskey.

I want to scream expletives for the simple joy of it. What next will enter me? I am open to it all.


a poem for you

it's not that i don't love you
it's not that i don't care
but regrettably i've seen you
in your underwear
i've been better and i've been worse. goddamn motherfucking universe.

but . . .

i just got a land line home phone dealie for the first time in years and caller id shows about 15 telemarketing calls a day. only one real person has my home phone number. telemarketers are going to make me hate childhood leukemia in a whole new way.

unrelated to telemarketing (goddamn motherfucking teles, i came up with this idea my own damn self!), but related to leukemia -- this seems like a good idea: national marrow donor program. you pay a couple bucks, q-tip the inside of your mouth, send the q-tip to the people and you go on this registry. not the kind of registry like babies r us or target has. more like the kind of registry where you volunteer your bone marrow to some sick someone who is a match with you. not a match as in romantic lifetime soulmate match. but a match as in, hey, my bone marrow might help you out. yay. so the first thing people say is, don't they stick a long needle into your hip and it hurts like a motherfucker? from what i've read, it ain't all that bad. maybe 4 days of pain. pain you can survive. check it out here:

the dishwasher is awhirl and the back door is open and the mosquitos are coming in and my spiders are happy and there is bubblewrap in my kitchen and a tickle in my throat and no end in sight for the diet caffeine free pepsi in my fridge. it's a very, very good thursday.

i'm reading a good book. well, i'm not reading it now. i can't multi-task. the book is girlfriend in a coma by douglas coupland. i sat on the picnic table outside er this afternoon, reading my book and smoking my ciggies and someone asked what i was reading and i showed them the cover of my book and she said "girlfriend in a coma" and she had a blank look on her face and she said "you should read the twilight series." i said, "is it about vampires?" knowing full well it's about vampires and she got a blank look on her face and said, "yes, it's about vampires." end of story.

Angie came to see me today. I think we've met before, but I'm not certain. She kept taking her oxygen canula off. Then she would start coughing. A thick, deep cough. "Your oxygen is off," I'd say and she'd say "Oh" and put it back in her nose. A minute later she would absentmindedly pull it away from her face. I don't know how important these things are. Who am I to judge?

She left a puddle on my floor when she stood up. Not your typical puddle. Angie has congestive heart failure and all this random fluid in her body is ending up where it shouldn't be. So much fluid that her legs are thick and heavy, and her calves ooze the stuff. Hence, the puddle on my floor. She is younger than my mother.

The other lady, I can't remember her name, was not too thrilled to see me. "Hit her," she kept saying to her daughter. I was causing her pain. "Hit her, please." "I can't hit her Mom. She's doing her job." The lady looked at me and I understood this humor. She hugged me on her way out the door. Her daughter doesn't know when she's joking.

Dog wants to play. I must oblige.