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Thursday, October 15, 2009

if nothing changes


i took a class on recognizing and working with people with borderline personality disorder today. it was engeging at the very least. this is an extremely personal subject for me. and as i look back on my life, i recognize the ambiguity which revolves around bpd is very similar to the hazy lines around bipolar disorder. there is no blood test. there is no definitive examination. the symptoms are assesed and a diagnosis is really a conclusion based on behaviors and coping skills.

for bipolar disorder, the trademarks are depression with periodic undulations of mania. the condition rests in a class of disorders known as mood disorders-characterized by dichordant moods that create social problems.

borderline personality disorder is classified as a personality disorder because it is based upon coping skills developed by the afflicted that create severe difficulties for them and the people around them. they are typically thought to have abandonment depression and their lives revolve around the reliving and avoiding of abandonment. the coping skills typically honed by someone with bpd are that of a master manipulator who ia slways trying to get someone else to take care of them and not leave them. but their hot and cold interactive tactics usually drive everyone around them away. two examples of persons with bpd given today were "fatal attraction" and "what about bob".

working with someone with bpd has proven to be challenging at the very least. it is hard not to have my buttons pressed, and the savvy manipulating bpd's understand this and work it to their benefit whenever they can. the most challenging aspect perhaps is staying focused on helping someone when one feels that they are playing one like a flute. i always tend to feel dirty not helpful. but that's my stuff.

it's must be challenging for persons with bipolar disorder or bpd to understand a diagnosis that is based upon opinion. so much of medicine is based on science which requires chemical tests, or blood tests, or obvious symptoms. but to be diagnosed by a stranger's impressions, and hunches, and deductions must seem a bit wiccan. i understand it very well now, but it certainly took me years to even remotely buy in to the idea that i act a certain way therefore i must have a certain condition. naturally, i rebelled against that for years.

over the years though, i have learned that i must have something. everything i tried to make life work would stall somewhere. usually around the same thing- my own self medicating. that brought me more heartache and problems than any boyfriend or supervisor ever did.

and i understand this is true from many persons with bipolar disorder. even though it seems they are suffering, they have honed the maladaptive coping skills they have, and it is not an easy journey to let them go. the pain of the familiar can easily outweigh the fear of the unkown. and often times it does. but the reality behind that is that if nothing changes, nothing changes.

today's sound choice is ce ce peniston with "keep on walking"






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3 comments:

Java said...

This is so relevant to much of what's going on in my life, both academically and personally. We have been studying mood disorders in my psychology class. As you describe borderline personality, I realize some uncomfortable similarities in my young and troubled son. You present much for me to think about. Thanks!

steinbeck said...

This is a very good post and provides real insight into the difficulties endured by someone with the two disorders you discuss. A good way to learn about the real-world ramifications of such problems, in particular bipolar disorder, is via the medium of literature; in this case I refer to my recently released biographical novel, Broken Saint. It is based on my forty-year friendship with a bipolar man, and chronicles his internal and external struggles as he battles for stability and acceptance (of himself and by others). More information is available at www.eloquentbooks.com/BrokenSaint.html or authorautobahn.webs.com/bookpeek.htm.

Mark Zamen, author

Sheria said...

What a cohesive and coherent explanation of both disorders. I've heard the terms a lot but I was never clear as to exactly how they differed. You do a good job of explaining each of them.

Your discussion made me recall a piece by Plato called "The Cave" in which he describes how people who are chained so that they can face only one direction eventually no longer need the chains to keep them in place, and start to believe that the shadows that the see are in truth reality.

Interesting new look to the blog.

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