This blog is part of my recovery, and I would like it to remain a safe place for me to share parts of myself and my life that people close to me may or may not know.
As a result, while I'm not going crazy with privacy settings, I do ask that if you find this on your own and suspect you may know me or my partner, please respect our privacy by checking with us before reading any further. This obviously doesn't apply if one of us has given you the link!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Diagnostic Criteria take 2

Oh look, I'm still here. ;)

I thought it was time to take a look at the diagnostic criteria for BPD again, especially now that the criterion themselves have been changed. This is mainly for myself.

A. Significant impairments in personality functioning manifest by:

1. Impairments in self functioning (a or b):
a. Identity: Markedly impoverished, poorly developed, or unstable self-image, often associated with excessive self-criticism; chronic feelings of emptiness; dissociative states under stress.
b. Self-direction: Instability in goals, aspirations, values, or career plans.


2. Impairments in interpersonal functioning (a or b):
a. Empathy: Compromised ability to recognize the feelings and needs of others associated with interpersonal hypersensitivity (i.e., prone to feel slighted or insulted); perceptions of others selectively biased toward negative attributes or vulnerabilities.

b. Intimacy: Intense, unstable, and conflicted close relationships, marked by mistrust, neediness, and anxious preoccupation with real or imagined abandonment; close relationships often viewed in extremes of idealization and devaluation and alternating between over involvement and withdrawal.

B. Pathological personality traits in the following domains:

1. Negative Affectivity, characterized by:
a. Emotional lability: Unstable emotional experiences and frequent mood changes; emotions that are easily aroused, intense, and/or out of proportion to events and circumstances.

b. Anxiousness: Intense feelings of nervousness, tenseness, or panic, often in reaction to interpersonal stresses; worry about the negative effects of past unpleasant experiences and future negative possibilities; feeling fearful, apprehensive, or threatened by uncertainty; fears of falling apart or losing control.

c. Separation insecurity: Fears of rejection by - and/or separation from - significant others, associated with fears of excessive dependency and complete loss of autonomy.

d. Depressivity: Frequent feelings of being down, miserable, and/or hopeless; difficulty recovering from such moods; pessimism about the future; pervasive shame; feeling of inferior self-worth; thoughts of suicide and suicidal behavior.

2. Disinhibition, characterized by:

a. Impulsivity: Acting on the spur of the moment in response to immediate stimuli; acting on a momentary basis without a plan or consideration of outcomes; difficulty establishing or following plans; a sense of urgency and self-harming behavior under emotional distress.

b. Risk taking: Engagement in dangerous, risky, and potentially self-damaging activities, unnecessarily and without regard to consequences; lack of concern for one's limitations and denial of the reality of personal danger.

3. Antagonism, characterized by:
a. Hostility: Persistent or frequent angry feelings; anger or irritability in response to minor slights and insults.

C. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual's personality trait expression are relatively stable across time and consistent across situations.

D. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual's personality trait expression are not better understood as normative for the individual's developmental stage or socio-cultural environment.

E. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual's personality trait expression are not solely due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., severe head trauma).

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sanguine Sunday: A Look Back On January

I have been a busy girl lately, with lots going on in my life. Some good, some bad, some neither. This is a bit of a wrap up of what's going on here at the moment, what I'm involved in & what I've been up to (with links).

Sanguine Saturday has now moved to Sanguine Sunday and evolved (yes, again) a little. I admit, the new title is slightly less impressive in its alliteration, but makes up for it by being the very end of the week, and a perfect day to look back on what I'm achieving. I think, too, that rather than being a weekly look, I'm going to make it a monthly one.

* I've worked really hard on setting a couple of new routines that, while still not solid, are beginning to improve. [Health +1]

* Made it to a friend's 30th birthday party earlier in the month. It was terrifying, but also fun, and I had lots of practice talking to strangers. [Social +1, Emotional +1]

* Coffee (well, alright. Milkshake. And not the kind you get in the UK, either. A real, proper milkshake.) with my support worker once. Nervewracking and I didn't have to even order it. Next time I suspect we're stepping it up so that I do have to order myself. [Social +1, Emotional +1]

* Since my volunteer work with Peninsula Animal Aid, the nearest animal shelter to me, hasn't worked out due to the distance (among other things), I've begun volunteering over Facebook for an entirely volunteer run organisation that helps to reunite lost animals with their owners. If you're an Australian on facebook, take a look at Lost Pet Registers in Australia to find your local LPR. At the moment I'm coordinating/helping out on several pages in Queensland and New South Wales. [Social +1, Emotional +1]

* Poor old Sid, the car, has cracked it again, and requires yet more work. The mechanic's full up with vehicles at the moment, so we're still waiting to hear what's happening with that.

* Unfortunately, because the car's broken, I had to contact the man who was supposed to be selling me my puppy (30th birthday present), and he has sold her on to someone else. (Actually, the way he replied made it seem rather suspiciously like he was already planning to sell her out from underneath us!)

* A silver lining on not having been able to get 'my' puppy is that I was available to overnight foster a pup in an emergency situation, and it has reignited a spark in me for fostering. Without a car, getting my own dog isn't really much of an option, but some of the shelters etc here do offer transport for fostering, so after confirming with my housing guys, I've applied in several places. My first official foster dog, a Jack Russell cross Mini Foxie should arrive early next week and I'm very excited! [Social +1, Emotional +1]

* My deviantArt account, bloodawni, continues to grow, and I'm even beginning to make some friends on the site. Feel free to check it out and +watch me, fave something, or just leave a comment. If you have your own dA account, definitely share your link! [Social +1, Creativity +1]

* Since I'm participating in NaHaiWriMo, I went looking for a group collating entries together. Since there didn't appear to be such a group, I created one myself. If you're taking part, or if you just like haikus, please feel free to join or watch #NaHaiWriMo. [Social +1, Creativity +2]

* Over on From Another Angle, I've not done so well at regular photos, but I have at least made another entry, and have already worked out what to put up next week. [Social +1, Creativity +1]

(Social: 7
Emotional: 4
Health: 1
Creativity: 4)

Have a great Sunday, everyone!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Wild Weather

Here in Queensland, we're once again having some pretty wild weather, but January is definitely the month for it, so it's at least not entirely unexpected. Two years ago, the majority of the state was under water -- including our capital, Brisbane -- due to extreme flooding, and although the pollies are assuring us all that we are not facing that situation again this year, things aren't looking good.

We've an ex-tropical cyclone heading down Queensland and into NSW, and in addition to the usual havok that causes, we're actually having mini tornados appear along the coast. Yesterday, several mini tornados hit the Bundaberg area, and really that's why I'm writing my post today.

You see, when I was a kid, my dad took us kids camping on Mon Repos beach in Bundaberg (before they closed it off as a turtle sanctuary). Shortly after that, he bought a block of land in a small town known as Burnett Heads, which is about half an hour north of Bundaberg. At first he just had a tin shed on the land, but eventually he and his wife had a house built so we could all stay there on holidays, which we did so often that I have a lot of nice childhood memories of the area.

Yesterday, 2 of the 5 (or it might even have been 6) mini tornados to hit the region occured in Burnett Heads. Since I don't have contact with my father, I haven't heard whethr his holiday home was one of those destroyed/damaged or whether he was up there and is one of the injured people.

And part of me hopes so. Part of me thinks, that's karma!

It's a pretty small part, to be fair, and there's a much larger part of me that feels guilty for even thinking that way, let alone how unfair that would be for karma -- after all, what about all the other Bundy citizens who didn't deserve it? But I'd be lying by omission if I didn't admit to those thoughts.

I'm shaken by the idea that only two years after the massive destruction the floods caused, Queenslanders are in for another rough time. I'm shaken that places I know and love are suffering such damage, and that this extreme weather is so close to 'home'. In all, I think there have been 6 or 7 confirmed mini tornados over the past 24 hours, and one of them was only about half an hour away, though we were lucky not to see any damage from it here.

Mostly, I'm stirred up about my own past and my thoughts, and I feel pretty alone in it.

Friday, January 4, 2013

2013: "Connect" - goal breakdown.

This started out as a response to a blogging friend, Tracie at From Tracie, on her One Word post for 2013. I was probably halfway through my comment when I realised that I may as well take part in One Word this year myself.

But, since I'm me and can't ever seem to manage to do things quite exactly as intended ;) (you'd think I'm a trend-setting, boundary-breaking, rule-bucker or something, if I did it on purpose), I'm going to actually detail what I see my word as meaning for me and my goals this year. Don't misunderstand though -- these aren't resolutions by any means, merely goals and 'directions' for 2013.

My word for 2013, based on the goals I've been setting in place with my support worker and other personal goals I've decided on lately, will be "connect". Pretty much all of my goals fit with the word "connect" in some form, even if not in the most obvious way.

Not only do I want to grow by making connections between past experiences and current behaviours/thoughts/reactions (and then working to change them), but I want to build friendships and connections with people as much as I can this year (especially building up a local friendship base). I also want to strengthen my connection with myself, by doing things that I enjoy and that are good for me.

So, because pinning goals down makes them more achievable (for me), let's look in more concrete terms about what that all will mean for the next year, and what my goals actually are. (Plus, this way I'll be able to revisit them more easily and keep myself on track for following them!)

Social Connections:
  • Build friendships in my local area. This is one my support worker and I are working on together, and we're still ironing out the details, because it seems that meeting people isn't the problem - it's moving beyond "you're a 'stranger' I chat to" into "you're a friend".
  • Build/maintain social connections outside of the local area. This one's got several parts to it: making sure I'm using my energy wisely and connecting with the 'right' people (those who add to my life); committing more fully to blogging again (posting and replying); and building social networks in some of the places I frequent online (more on this one further down).
  • Connect with my chosen family. I would hope I strive to do this anyway, but an extra reminder to myself can't hurt. I want to get back into regular "date" activities with Bumface, exploring the local/semi-local area, and as our family grows & changes, so will the ways in which we connect.

Emotional & Health Connections:
  • Connect with the positive things in life. Not only do my blogs (and my general nature) help me do this, but Bumface and I are keeping a "2013 Positive Experiences" Jar (thanks Pinterest!). I already added my first entry. :D
  • Deal with the past, the present, the future. We're working towards getting me into DBT again, and perhaps after that maybe back into some specific sexual assault counselling.
  • Work towards sorting out my teeth.
  • Work on being able to eat in public/around people. (For those who don't know, I have a bit of a weird thing about eating in that I'm fine with complete strangers or those I know extremely well, but am usually otherwise uncomfortable to the point of avoidance.)

Creative & Self Connections:
  • Read more. I intend to read at least 110 books in 2013.
  • Add to my DeviantArt collection with works both new and old. Get back to posting to both my Photography and Creativity blogs. (Photography blog was updated yesterday, in fact.)
  • Be more creative: make more cards and experiment with old and new artforms that I enjoy.
  • Spend more time exploring things and places that inspire and uplift me.

The first two categories are the main part of my focus this year, but I certainly don't intend to neglect my "for fun" group either!

How about you, do you have any goals or resolutions for your 2013? Are you trying the One Word idea, or something totally different, or nothing at all?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

From a Once-Ghost to a Now-Ghost

My support worker suggested that I might find it helpful to write a letter to my 12 year old self whose mother sent her to live with her (abusive) father after a fight.

Everything in the letter below is true and accurate as my perception of the events (and I'm fairly sure, true and accurate as to the facts as well), although I did take slight creative licence on the ages as I won't actually be 30 for another two weeks. My niece, though, really is 12, and does shout the same thing I told my mother.

This is, at this stage, still a first draft. I promised my support worker I wouldn't edit the original minus small rearrangements until after she had read it, and I find that after such an emotional outpour, I'm reluctant to reread and edit just yet. I wanted to share it, anyway, though.

You are twelve years old, a ghost and a memory, but that doesn't stop you being here with me. You view me as a wisp, an ethereal image hazy with what might be but I can see that you are a stamp of yesterday as indelible as octopus ink. You are in my eyes, and under them, in the depths of who I am. You will be changed, soon, by a moment that falls heavy around your shoulders even as it darts away.

When it happens, you will know that nothing will ever be the same, but you won't know how much this moment will become part of you. You won't know that for another 15 years, when you will revisit this moment in the hospital, undressing yourself and folding the adult part of you on the chair for later. Nakedly you will tell the nurse how it feels to be vulnerable and left to his mercy.

You will remember what you shouted, and you will remember slamming the door. You will remember the first time you ever heard her swear was that day, and she was calling you a bitch. You will remember the terror you felt when you realised she was calling your father, and you will remember begging her not to send you away. You will remember that you heard your little brother plead your case, and though you won't remember her reply, you will remember the tight way she speaks, and the sinking of that balloon of hope in your chest as she gets on the phone and tells him to come and get his daughter.

Unaccountably, you will remember the day when you were small and one of your brothers had placed a sandwich into the VCR. You will remember another phone call, to the Police (or so you still believe), and the certainty with which she tells you all that they are coming to fingerprint and take away the guilty party. You remember knowing it wasn't you, deducing it was one of your brothers and not knowing which. You remember you begged them each separately to confess, that you would not be torn through the middle; two magnetic poles no longer touching. Years later, when you remember that other moment, you will remember this one, and you will also remember that picture in your mind, of a small face peering out the back of a terrifyingly large vehicle. In your dreams, that face will be yours.

You won't remember whether it all happened slowly, as if you are stuck in time; or if the inevitability of it all sped you through to its conclusion. You won't remember what this fight was even about, but you'll remember that you didn't mean what you shouted and you both knew it.

You will remember her giving you a bag and telling you to pack your things, and you'll remember only that you sat stiffly in the car, cradling your stereo, and that you cried the whole way to your father's.

Years from now, you will remember, also, some of the aftermath as well, like the day your mother tells you she has antidepressants now. By the time you are 14, you will know this is your fault, and she will confirm it.

By then, you won't remember whether you gave any thought to the friends you left behind, but you will discover that when you return, most of them will remember you. Some of them will reclaim you, but Kylie, with whom you shared a birth month and with whom you were close, will never forgive you for leaving her behind. You won't mind because you aren't the same girl anymore, but you will regret the bullying that follows as she gradually steps up the levels of violence.

Still, you will survive and you will believe you are mainly unscathed. You will believe for many years that your mother is the good one. You will believe that all of this will disappear, fade into the background of who you are. You will believe that it is all your fault.

You will believe it, but it won't be true.

You are twelve years old. Twelve. You don't know it now, but when you are 30, you will have a 12 year old niece, and you will see in her the same streak of independence you had at her age. You will hear her shout those same words to her father, to her mother, to her grandmother... to you. You will see past them and know that they are words that come from a place of anger, but mostly from a place of hurt and confusion.

You will know that if anyone tries to send her away, it will not be her fault, and it will not be a reflection on the value of that 12 year old girl trying to make her way in a world that is often confusing and scary. You will know beyond any doubt that she is beautiful and amazing and wonderful, and that even when she makes mistakes, she is still all of those things.

You will know that no matter what the world throws at her, she will always have value. At 30, you will begin making connections between that 12 year old and the you that was 12. You will write yourself this letter, and in the writing, you will begin to let go of the shadow that has followed you for 18 years, because you will begin to see that at 12, you are still a child. At 12, you are a child who cannot be responsible for the actions of an adult. You are not the cause of your mother's illness, and though you may have exacerbated it without knowing or intending that, it is still not your fault.

You are twelve years old, a ghost and a memory, but that doesn't stop you being here with me. You have been changed by this moment, and you will be changed by many more that are to come, until you become the 30 year old writing this letter. You will look in the mirror one day and though your hair is greying and your skin wrinkles like unironed sheets, you will see, still, the stamp of who you were; the stamp of moments; lived, loved and regretted; all over the solidity of who you are.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dichotomous Christmas

I know I'm now too late to wish you all a Merry Christmas, but I hope everyone had a wonderful day yesterday, whether you celebrate Christmas or not.

My day... was a day of firsts, and a day of tradition. It was a day of great happiness, but it was a day edged with grief and regret. Unusually for me, it was also a day of healing and growth - though I don't expect to see concrete results of that any time soon. Finally, it was a day of learning. Most of the things I learned were small things, it's true, but small things add up and gradually become bigger things.

Although Bumface and I began dating shortly before Christmas last year, I spent most of the day with my biological family, only meeting up with him at the end of the day. Normally, we would go to my brother's for Christmas, but this year I made the decision early on that I wouldn't be doing that. Bumface isn't comfortable with my family (and given the way they've treated us both, I certainly understand why), and I didn't want us to be apart for Christmas, so we decided to have it here -- that way, too, we could invite Baby Bear to join us, as well as any other friends/chosen family with nowhere else to go. We did invite my mother and Jerry, (her best friend who has been like a father to myself and my brothers) especially as it's the first Christmas my younger brother hasn't been here for, but they declined to join us. As a result, not only was this my first real Christmas with my partner... it was my first Christmas ever without a single member of my biological family.

This year, I pulled together some of my favourite Christmas traditions from my childhood, and I made a few changes where appropriate, to create a Christmas that would work for us. I decorated, with the help of Baby Bear and her friend. I put together 3 stockings (one each for myself, Bumface and Baby Bear). I made my favourite Christmas recipes (minus the trifle which I'll be making once we've eaten some more of the food we already have left over). Baby Bear joined us and we enjoyed plenty of nibblies as we exchanged gifts. After a brief rest, we had my family's traditional salad lunch. All my favourites from my childhood were there, and a few others I've picked up through the years were added as well.

It was a good day, but there were still things I missed. Mostly, I missed my nieces and my nephew. Without them, the chatter of children was missing, and the magic (and the laughter!) that brings to Christmas was a small wound in the day. It left me aching a little for my own little girl and boy.

I didn't miss calling my father and wishing him a Merry Christmas, but I wish I could say I didn't feel guilt over it.

This year, I learned, as I learn over and again, that some wounds don't heal. I learned, as I learn over and again, that family is about so much more than who gave birth to whom. I learned, as I wish I'd realised earlier, that coleslaw dressing and caesar salad dressing are not interchangable (worst coleslaw EVER). I learned, as I think we all wish I'd learned before making the pasta salad, that regular peas should be shelled. I learned, as I learn over and again, that just as there can be sadness in the midst of beauty... there also can be beauty in the midst of sadness.

This year, I was shown that there are some truly amazing and wonderful people in my life, and I am blessed to know them. I was shown that there are some people in my life who maybe don't deserve the amount of time and love I offer them, as they are unwilling to offer much in return... but there are some who deserve everything I can give and so, so much more.

I hope I do enough that those people know who they are, that they see I understand and appreciate just how much they enrich my life and how deeply grateful I am for all they do for me. They are my chosen family, and although not all of them could join me physically for Christmas, they were all in my heart yesterday, as they are every day, and are ever welcome at my table.

Happy Holidays, my friends.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Even A Knife-Wielding Maniac Can Illustrate Growth

Yesterday, I went to an event held by Open Minds, and came home expecting everybody to be out. After I turned around and locked the door, without even having a cursory look around the room, I turned back to discover a "knife-wielding maniac" standing right in front of me.

Confronted with a similar situation a week ago, the 18yo daughter stood still and screamed. And darn near wet herself. I would have expected that to be my reaction as well. Instead I stood stock still with quite a surprised look on my face and just froze. Completely and utterly. And then my eyes adjusted, I saw who it was... and I laughed.

Since the "knife wielding maniac" was, in both instances, Bumface, I posted about the prank on Facebook as I internally processed all the positive things I had learned from it. Unfortunately, some of my friends seemed to feel that because they didn't find it amusing, I couldn't (or shouldn't?) have, either and I now have a lot to process around that.

But.. between the prank and the Facebook fall-out, I've learned and cemented a few new/emerging thoughts and truths for myself.

1. My eyes might be getting worse and I should probably have them tested. To be perfectly honest, I didn't even *see* the knife until after I recognised Bumface. :p

2. I have grown so much, emotionally, over the last year. I knew that, but this prank really illustrated to me just HOW much, and I'm so proud of that in myself.

3. Despite this growth, in an emergency situation, my instinct is still to freeze. This is probably not the best plan in most situations, so I need to practice forms of self defense (or at least fleeing!) enough that they become second nature as much as freezing.

4. Some of my actions when I believe I'm alone put me at risk. It is a good practice to be aware of my surroundings when I enter a room, to at least make a quick check that everything is in order. I don't mean a paranoid examination of every corner of the house, but a cursory check that there isn't a crazy man less than two feet from me is probably a smart move. ;)

5. I have a great deal of deep trust for Bumface. Not many people could stand in front of me, holding a knife, and still make me feel safe once I recognise them.

6. I don't believe in "if you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all" - but I believe in something that (I feel) fits that grey a little better. "If you can't say something constructive, then you shouldn't say anything at all" because, let's face it, sometimes it's necessary to say something that isn't nice. If your best friend is dating an abusive jerk, you should probably tell her you can see that he's abusing her and you're there for her. Now, that's probably not the nicest thing to say -- but better to say it than let her think what he's doing is okay because everybody's seeing it and nobody's speaking up!

7. I don't need other peoples' approval as strongly as I used to. I am still deeply hurt by the disapproval and rejection I felt/feel about reactions I received to my post, but there is not so strong a sense of "well, maybe I did something wrong" - now it's a sense that I'm sad that people can't just be glad that I'm in a relationship that makes me happy, is good for me, and has allowed me to grow so much. Still, out of pond muck, lillies grow.

Most of all, I cemented that this relationship really HAS been very good for me over the past year. I didn't doubt it, but it is still nice to have solid confirmation of the ways in which he has helped me to grow. I only hope I've been as good for him as he has for me.

(And that I can come up with a damn good retaliation prank...)