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, please respect my privacy by checking with us before reading any further. This obviously doesn't apply if one of us has given you the link!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sanguine Saturday Falling On Sunday

No blather today. Hope everyone's well and happy.

Success Stories:
Two full weeks alcohol free.
Finally got hold of one of the two people I've been trying to get hold of, and although the conversation was difficult, I asked for what I needed and I kept asking despite the other person's misinterpretation of what I was asking for.
I continued the work on my anonymous report.
I was very honest with Carol last week when I was doing the form with her and it actually led to things that could well go very positive places.
I took part in Brisbane's Reclaim The Night march, and this year I even chanted/shouted some too, and was very brave about the police presence.
I have worked hard to challenge thoughts and feelings and to not act on destructive urges.

Gratitudes/things that make me happy:
NaNoWriMo (at least for the next half hour.. :P)
Crafts and craft supplies
Dressing up in costumes

Cheer-leading statements:
I am safe.
I have the right to ask for what I need. I have the right to ask for what I want. I have the right to ask for clarification when something is unclear to me.
It's okay that I exist.
Even when it feels as though I have no control over my thoughts/feelings, I am still, at the very least, in control of my behaviour.
However I feel is okay.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Trusting My Intuition

Intuition. Going with your gut. I wonder if that's a concept that others with Borderline Personality Disorder commonly struggle with, as well. I can see how it could be tied into various aspects of living with BPD; the lack of belief and trust in yourself, the lack of (knowledge of) a self to trust in... I can see that.

If you'll forgive my segue into something that may (at this point) seem completely unrelated, I remember once reading that people who have Borderline Personality Disorder are particularly sensitive to the moods of others. By that, I hasten to add, I don't mean in terms of the well known Borderline hypersensitivity to rejection; rather, in terms of recognising general emotions in others, and being able to identify when others are being false about their emotions. I wish I could find that article again because it was fairly interesting, even if, at the time, I disagreed with a lot of what was said. I mention it now because a recent situation in my life has given me cause to really ponder some of the ideas behind that.

You see, when I came back from Canberra, I sensed that things in my circle of friends weren't 'right'. Something felt off. I told myself that I was just being paranoid; that I was misinterpreting the situation and that I was being silly.

My friends started doing more and more things without me; things we had previously done together. I felt excluded, but I told myself that it was just that they had made the plans when I wasn't there, and just hadn't thought to let me know/invite me; or that they were preparing for my intended move; or that they were giving me time and space to prepare for the move.

When we did hang out, I felt waves of dislike coming from my friends, and especially from one friend in particular. I told myself over and over again that I was just projecting my own dislike for myself onto my friends. I told myself that they wouldn't invite me to hang out with them if they didn't like me, if they didn't want me there. I tried to talk over the top of the little voice in my head that suggested that maybe I was right, maybe something really was wrong in these friendships.

I spent three months in this daily fight with myself, trying to drown out that "unhelpful voice" that was telling me that something wasn't right. I wasted three months. Eventually, something happened and a conversation occurred between one of my friends and I. I told her how I had been feeling, she told me what had been going on. It turns out, you see, that I wasn't just paranoid. My initial thought, my recognition that something wasn't right, turned out to be spot on. Something really had been going on in my friendships, and I had wasted three months telling myself that my recognition of that was wrong, that it was the unhealthy and unhelpful voice of paranoia.

Things with some of that group of friends are back on track, now. They're not back where they used to be, but I'm more okay with how things are. That first friend I talked to, she apologised. I apologised. There were a lot of miscommunications; a lot of misunderstandings and, yes, plenty of mistakes... on both sides of the coin. And the day we started to talk about it, we both began to heal those wounds. It was not an easy day for either of us; but (and I speak here for myself, only, I cannot say whether these words ring true for any other people) I think it was certainly a worthwhile one.

I wouldn't wish for it to happen again, but there was value in that experience. I learned some very important things that I would not otherwise have learned yet.

Not only did I re-learn the importance of honesty and clear communication in my friendships, but I learned that my "unhealthy voice of paranoia" is my own intuition; insistent but unpracticed and generally unrecognised. I learned the importance of trusting that intuition and of acting on that in responsible ways.

I also learned that maybe there is something to the idea that, as someone with BPD, I might be more sensitive to mood changes in others. It makes sense, after all. As a child, my survival depended on being able to judge a situation or a person's mood, it makes sense that as an adult, I am still able to tap into that skill; however unintentionally or subconsciously I do it.

The trick, then, in understanding how such a concept might work, came in recognising for the first time that being able to detect changes in another person's mood, means just that. It doesn't mean I'll get it right every time; it doesn't mean there won't be misunderstandings. In fact, it is probably this sensitivity that leads to those misunderstandings, such as in the following scenario:

We are walking together and as we walk, we chatter. Suddenly, you see a car go past that reminds you of your ex-husband's car. Your mood drops.

I notice that your mood has changed, but I might decide that it's because I've said the wrong thing, or that you are wondering why you hang out with a loser like me. My intuition has recognised that change ... but my disordered thinking has misinterpreted the facts.

I can trust my intuition! It's necessary to remember not to blindly act on the specifics of it, but if I sense something change, if it's important, it's okay to trust my intuition and check in with the other person! In fact, it's more than important, it's downright essential.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Keeping Up With Sanguine Saturday

Today it is a real struggle to try and get words together. My body feels restless and full of energy; but my brain feels sluggish and confused. Disoriented. I have little recollection of much of the past week. I do believe this is mainly fallout, this is my brain and my automatic coping mechanisms protecting me, and I am trying to be okay with that. It does mean, though, that I'm not keeping up very well with all the blogs I usually read - I am reading, but commenting seems beyond my ability just now. I'm still here, but I'm somewhere else, too.

Success Stories:
As of waking up tomorrow morning, I will be able to say that I have not touched my alcohol in a full week.
I faced my fears yet again, in relation to an ongoing situation.
I have been chasing two people I need to talk to about something that is very difficult - and in both cases, the fact that I haven't talked with them yet is out of my control.
I allowed myself to be vulnerable in front of my alcohol counsellor.
I took the first step filling out an anonymous report for the police, about the assault when I was 15.
I have accepted an offer to sell the 'epic dreamcatcher' I made for CASV's art exhibition, and even more significantly, declined the one that was less money than would pay even for the materials used to create it.

Gratitudes/things that make me happy:
Small moments of beauty
Coca cola
Precious friends

Cheer-leading statements:
I am only responsible for my own thoughts and emotions, not anybody else's.
I have the power to choose the path I want to walk down.
I am an adult, I am safe, and unless I tell him, he will never know what I have done unless I choose to tell him.
It's okay to feel what I feel.
It's okay to accept money for my art/creations, and to place value on the things I produce. It's okay to say "I made this thing and it has value".

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I did something pretty scary today, but I'm too all over the place to write about that just now, so instead, here are some statements from the little affirmation-y type cards that my counsellor shared with me today.

* It is safe for me to speak up for myself.
* I stand on my own two feet. I accept and use my own power.

* I am not responsible for other people. We are all under the law of our own consciousness.
* It is no fun being a victim. I refuse to be helpless anymore. I claim my own power.

* Everyone in my life has something to teach me. We have a purpose in being together.
* As I change my thoughts, the world around me changes.

* Each day is a new opportunity. Yesterday is over and done. Today is the first day of my future.
* I know that old, negative patterns no longer limit me. I let them go with ease.

* I have the strength to remain calm in the face of change.
* I am in the process of making positive changes in all areas of my life.

* It does not matter what other people say or do. What matters is how I choose to react and what I choose to believe about myself.
* I take a deep breath and allow myself to relax. My whole body calms down.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Learning Experiences: Lies and Omissions

Lately, life seems to be throwing a whole bunch of pretty big learning experiences my way. They're not always pleasant; in truth, most of them have been very unpleasant; but viewing them as learning experiences makes it easier to bear the uncomfortableness.

I've had the opportunity to learn about life, people, and most of all, to learn about myself. Today I'd like to explore something I started to write yesterday...

Is it ever acceptable and okay to lie? Certainly a large part of me doesn't think so, but my instinctive reaction isn't always in accordance with that. Case in point, this morning. I got up and got myself ready at the dawn of stupid o'clock, ready for my morning appointment. As I was leaving, my mother saw me. Once I had confirmed to her that I was headed to the hospital, my mother followed it up with, "done it again then, I take it?"

I won't go into all of the thoughts and feelings a comment like that brings up for me (that would be a post all on its own, I think); but I will say that before I'd even properly taken in the question, before I'd even properly understood what she was asking, the word "no" was already on my lips.

I ask myself again, "is it ever acceptable and okay to lie?", and this time I begin to speculate about abusive situations. What do I really believe? Is it okay to lie if you're going to be abused if you don't? Is it okay to lie if telling the truth endangers your life? I'm still not sure.

I read The Kite Runner not so long ago, and one particular paragraph from that has truly stuck with me:
"There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft....When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness."

I don't feel okay about lying to my mother. Technically I told her the truth; I had my appointment when I did because that was when the OTs would be working. I also omitted a large portion of the truth - I had "done it again", (although it was three weeks ago). I didn't lie for gain; I lied for my emotional well-being and her protection... but that doesn't make it right. Is stealing someone's right to the truth really any better than stealing someone's right to be safe? I still don't know.

So now I ask you, is it ever acceptable or okay to lie? How much (if any) omission makes something a lie?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sanguine Saturday Has Come Again

Some of you may notice that I've added a little bit on the side with three links. After some encouragement, I decided to open a crafting blog (Little Bloo Creativity) and a photography blog (From Another Angle); and the third link is my Writers Cafe profile. The new blogs are, obviously, new, but I invite you to check them out if you're interested.

Anyhow, house-keeping aside, it's that time of the week again! And this has been another eventful one, that's for sure.

Success Stories:
Getting my room tidied in time for the house inspection.
Getting my exhibits in on time for the art exhibition at CASV.
Doing some work towards a long-term goal of mine.
Going to the Mental Health Week 'celebrations' by myself until my friends arrived.
Talking with one of my friends about something that's been going on for a long time. Two down, one to go?
Attending the opening of the art exhibition and forcing myself to talk with a few people (though I regret that I wasn't brave enough to start a conversation with any of the 'strangers').
Crying in front of Carol. (Doesn't sound like an achievement; didn't feel like one, either; but I'm recognising it as one because it shows that I chose not to avoid something that was incredibly difficult to talk about.)
Lighting my candles last night for the Wave of Light (pregnancy and infant loss awareness day). It was hard, as it is hard every year, but I am glad that I honoured my son and my daughter (and a few other children that were lost too soon).
Spent some time yesterday scrapbooking so that I wasn't sitting around feeling bad all day. Although they're pretty simple layouts, I'm pretty okay with them (especially since I've not been scrapbooking very long).
I'm learning to accept compliments.
I've had a couple of alcohol free days, no major binges (10+ drinks) and I've managed to keep track of how much I've had every day.

Gratitudes/things that make me happy:
My new blogs!
Making my sanguine Saturday post every week.
Art and craft.
NCIS (especially Abby).
The opportunity to honour my children.

Cheer-leading statements:
The only way to find out what's been said and what the motives were is to go to the source.
It's okay to feel the way I feel, whatever I feel.
Feelings are not facts.
Not self harming doesn't mean I'm not hurting, it just means I'm choosing to make healthier choices for myself.
It's okay to be proud of something I did, even if others don't think it is "good" or "worthy".

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sanguine Saturday With A Question

I need this so much right now that I'm doing it even though I'll probably need to go back and fix it (check things and add things etc) later.

Success Stories:
I get up every day.
I've had some days where I've chosen not to drink, and some days where I've simply chosen to drink less, and I've agreed with Michele to at least be aware of how much I am drinking. (Who knew a single serve of vodka was so little?)
I did the right thing and showed the hospital the new burn.
I went to the candle lighting. I read my poems. I stayed (mainly) present for the whole thing.
I talked a little with Carol about some sensitive subjects and made a plan to talk to her next session about my son (because the candle lighting bought up a lot to do with him).
I supported a friend who needed me.
I talked with someone about an issue that's been going on for a long time and made a plan to talk to others next time I see them. Not only is this facing fear, avoiding avoidance and using my GIVE skills, but I DEAR MANd (kinda).
I've been getting work done for the exhibition I've entered some work into.
I've been practicing my mindfulness even more.

This week I'm grateful for:
My new blue shirt with a giraffe on it.
My camera.
You. (And a couple of other people who don't read this, as well.)
Craft and beading supplies.

Cheer-leading statements:
Even if it's true, she's not disapproving of *me*. (Thanks, Kate!)
Just because 'the crazy' says something, it doesn't make it fact. I can choose not to listen to that voice.
It's okay to feel the way I feel, even if it doesn't seem that way.
Other peoples' judgements of me do not define me.

This week I'm going to leave you with some questions that came up for me with my cheerleading statements: if other peoples' judgements don't define me, what does? How do you define yourself? How would you teach someone else to define themselves? Are they the same?

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Lighting Of The Candles

Every year, as part of their Sexual Violence Awareness Month (SVAM) campaign, the Centre Against Sexual Violence (CASV) runs a Candle Lighting event to honour survivors.

Last year was my first time attending it, and although it was very powerful, it was also a very difficult experience. I had been invited to include some poetry to be read by my ex counsellor, and by the time the poetry reading occurred, I had completely dissociated. TJ, I believe, saw far more of the event than I did. I do remember lighting the candles towards the end, one for Myki' and one for "all survivors", but most of the day is a blur to me.

This year, they held the candle lighting at the centre. It was a much smaller, more personal, gathering, and (despite recent misgivings), I am in a more stable place with regard to this sort of topic.

This year there were two survivors who gave a short speech; another woman who gave a longer talk and spoke about how she came from being a victim to a survivor to a "thriver"; a poetry reading by me (!) and two young ladies who performed a song they had written. There were also speeches given by the CASV staff and Margaret Keech, the Labor state member for Albert.

For me, there are no words for the experience of hearing another survivor share their story. It is both heartbreaking and inspirational, and the courage of all of the women today astounded me and gave me hope; for myself and for every woman who experiences SV. That said, it is hard to hear. There were tears. I did dissociate some. It did bring back memories of my own. But it was worth it.

And, d'you know what else was worth it? Standing up there, facing my fear, and reading my own two poems to that room of people. It wasn't the public speaking part that bothered me - if I didn't have to write it, I could fairly easily deliver a speech. That taps into my love of performing, reminds me of dramatic readings done in English in early high school (and I always performed well). But to stand there and read something that I wrote? Who wants to hear that? And, the biggest thing for me:

Reading my own poems about SV meant announcing, albeit indirectly, that I had experienced it.

I was terrified. I doubted my ability to do it. I was so afraid that people would think I was pushing my writing on them when it's not really all that wonderful. I was horrified at the idea that everyone in that room would know my "dirty laundry", and I was frightened that word would get back to my abusers. (Actually, to be honest, I'm still afraid of that!) I was afraid that this room of people wouldn't believe me, and I was afraid that they would.

But I faced those fears. I prepared myself as best I could and when Rachel got to me, I walked to the front and stood at that microphone. I opened my paper and I read the words that I had written. I read the way I had written, from the deepest part of my heart, and I read well. (That's not me big-noting myself, that's what I was told afterwards! The words "confident", "composed", "powerful" and "commanding" were also used.)

True, as soon as it was over I practically flew out the door to get some air, but that's okay. I gulped at the air like it was... well, air, but for a drowning person.

Later, when we lit the candles, I said quietly to myself,
this candle is for my friends, and this is for all of the survivors everywhere, but most of all, this is for you, Myki, and for that little girl who wasn't ready to be your mother.

(For those of you who haven't seen them, these are the two poems I read):

At Least It's Not A Revolution

On your first birthday you reached
forward, you used to tell us,
leaned forward and held on
though the candle burnt your fingers.

Your father comforted you
but he wasn't interested in his sons.

By the time you were 3
his hands were turning the nights to secret places
and painting you into a desert.

It was in that year your Daddy walked away
and you knew (in the way that children always know),
the glue that was you wasn't enough.

He wasn't interested in his sons,
and that, too, was down to you.

Where are you now?

When you were 18,
on your niece's first birthday,
she reached forward,
leaned forward and held on
though the candle burnt her fingers.


Your body on the bed, his silhouetted,
above. Your only avenue for escape
is this - pull back.

Slide away, let the scents recede,
disappear. Forget the terror -
leave it behind when you go. You are
no longer the girl on the bed.

Unattached, you are genderless -
no longer a girl, a woman, you are

You are not what you were, you are
something but nothing; you
are that speck upon the wall.

Strange to see the detail in
the husk beneath the silhouette;
blank, unfeeling.

Strange to feel nothing, but those
are not your wounds, anymore. Those
are not your limbs, are not your breasts,
are not your bruised lips.

When it is over you will return to that body,
you will scrub away the skin left behind. You
will turn yourself inside out trying
to turn yourself whole.

Let yourself return. Let yourself feel
what it means to have a body
again and maybe,
just maybe, you will slowly reclaim
what it means to be a woman.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Another Sanguine Saturday (Anyone else get Cat Stevens stuck in their heads after that?)

Hey look, it's Saturday again. I've been having crazy mood-swings today. It's interesting. With the way things have been in my head the last little while, crazy mood-swings are an improvement because at least with those there have been ups!

My 'count' of success stories this week is drastically low, but I was very physically unwell at the start of the week, and have been in extraordinary amounts of physical pain, so I'm going to be gentle with myself over this.

Success Stories:
Again, I've had a couple of days alcohol free. And days where I've chosen to drink but have been aware and careful about how much alcohol I've consumed.
I sought medical attention for things that needed it.
I sought medical advice when I wanted to confirm whether I was only suffering from an infected wound or if there was more to it (turns out, there was).
I rescheduled two appointments in order to look after my physical needs, but I was careful to not cancel the one with my alcohol counsellor.
I asked mum to get some juice with the shopping so that I'm not just drinking Coke/soft drink.
I did a few things I was avoiding.
I got in contact with some friends I haven't really spoken to in a while.
I did some DEAR MAN.
I've spent some time doing craft and I did some reading for Carol.

Gratitudes/things that make me happy:
Skyping with my best friend.
Craft and my epic dreamcatcher.
Soft and fluffy things.
Pictures of raccoons and squirrels.
Little teeny tiny monkeys!

Cheer-leading statements:
Feelings are not facts.
It's okay to feel the way I feel.
It's okay to ask for what I need.
Moving is a big thing. It's okay to feel a lot of feelings in relation to that.
Not everybody is going to react like my mother does.

Take care of yourselves until next time, and may we all find our own small fences along the way.