A Positive Psychiatrist Consultation
As I’ve recently moved to a new area I have just seen a psychiatrist here for the first time. I couldn’t believe it when he spent a whole hour and 40 minutes with me- way more time than I’ve ever spent with a mental healthcare professional before.
He was an extremely good listener and would ask my opinion about things regularly during the session, which was so refreshing. I felt like a human-being! It’s hard to believe I’ve not felt this way before with other psychiatrists. He pretty much re-diagnosed me and confirmed Bipolar II, but also threw Borderline Personality Disorder traits into the mix, which I’ve suspected for years.
For more on Borderline Personality Disorder click here.
Borderline Personality Disorder
The Borderline Personality trait aspect of the diagnosis has had a mixed effect on me. I feel a huge sense of relief in that there is a reason I struggle all the time with various aspects of life, not just during bipolar episodes. It explains so much and has helped my understanding of my behaviour and intense emotions.
On the other hand, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) has a stigma attached. My psychiatrist assured me that this is much more true of the past, and that views and opinions are changing. My own reading on the disorder has instilled in me a view that BPD patients are difficult to treat, manipulative, prone to attention seeking, rage and aggression. All sounds lovely! But like I said, the psychiatrist was quick to dispute this.
The parts of the Disorder which apply to me are (unfortunately) episodes of rage (a few in my lifetime), difficulty maintaining friendships (not so much with romantic relationships), emotional reactivity and hypersensitivity, dissociation, impulsivity, binge eating and compulsive spending to a smaller degree, and a difficult childhood.
Even when I don’t appear to be having a bipolar episode, I am prone to quicker changes in mood that only last an hour or two, maybe a day. For the psychiatrist to have picked up on this made me relieved. At last an explanation for why I just can’t hold down a job, and why I struggle being around people and with friendships in general.
The Positive Side of High Sensitivity
Last night I came upon a website- Eggshell Therapy– which painted a picture of emotional intensity and giftedness, and that when not handled well in early years by parents, or when the child is experiences trauma, can develop into BPD/Bipolar in later years.
It was refreshing to see that actually the problems I’ve been experiencing have a more positive side and that emotional intensity can be a gift. The website author points out many aspects of giftedness including high creativity, high intuition, high empathy, as well as a high capacity for spiritual experience and rapture- music, art, beauty can have a “profound emotional impact on you”. Also inter- and intra-personal giftedness: an ability to understand the emotions and motivations of the self and others.
I would highly recommend reading the website. It really gave me a lift to think that even though I find my high intensity challenging, it also has many gifts with it. All the articles on the site were very helpful and the following pages particularly so:
This is the best way I’ve found of receiving a diagnosis: it’s great to have acknowledgment that there is a genuine cause for difficulties experienced, but also to acknowledge anything positive that may come from being so sensitive.
So much has changed in the last 18 months it all seems a little surreal!
It was a scary move. I’d been in the relationship for 11 years and had become so comfortable having our own house, living in a lovely area, and with our beautiful dog- who I was heartbroken to leave. Despite the unhappiness between the two of us, we did try to make it work, and we still care about each other, but as friends. I regularly dog-sit, so I still get to see my gorgeous girl.
It was a really tough decision and I still can’t believe I was brave enough to do it. I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do.
My happiness now has really made me realise how important it is to be true to ourselves, even if it means sacrificing other things.
Binge Eating & Counselling
My binge eating has definitely worsened since the move. I think this is because I feel like I don’t know what to do with myself when I don’t have someone else’s needs to consider, and a dog to look after. I’ve spent too much time in my life trying to look after other people’s emotions, and not enough time looking after my own. So, as I posted back in May, I took the step of getting counselling for my disordered eating and body image.
I feel I’ve struck the jackpot with my counselllor- she is fantastic, and it feels right.
She’s really helping me to work on identifying how I developed such low confidence and self-esteem, and how I can nurture and parent myself. This is most definitely going to be an ongoing process.
The most uncomfortable I have felt so far is dealing with other people’s reactions to increasing my assertiveness. Having grown up a people-pleaser, upsetting others is extremely scary! But she’s helping me to see I’m not responsible for their reactions when I’m creating a boundary- so I don’t allow myself to be walked all-over.
I’m beginning to realise that there is a healthy level of selfish-ness!
Binge triggers have been relatively easy to identify so far:
I think the main reason I binge eat is to stuff down the emotions of the past. I’m grieving for my inner child and the things I went through at that time. I’m a little scared of my inner child though, as she is very very angry and likes to have temper tantrums!
I’m learning to manage that anger in a healthy way.
It’s not about losing weight.
It’s not about losing weight- I can’t stress this enough.
I am not on a diet.
I am focusing on managing my emotions and my own needs. The healing comes through this, not through calorie-counting.
I am learning to love my body the way it is. I can still walk and be active and function pretty well! That is something to be profoundly grateful for.
I am really grateful also for the counselling that I am receiving at low cost. It is providing much-needed support. The universe is looking after me- and I am thankful!
Visit the new sister site of Emotional Wellness, The Light Sanctuary– a website dedicated to spirituality.
Spirituality and working with energy have helped me so much to manage my Bipolar symptoms and high sensitivity that I wanted to dedicate a completely new blog to the topic.
Since I posted on Saturday I have been meditating to ground myself. Only a few minutes every few hours. It’s worked so far!! I feel more at peace with myself, though am still working with a few things.
I’ve used food for comfort since I was a kid. A dip back into pretty bad depression over the last 6 months has led to an increase in my food antics and a fast 16 pound weight gain. My knees have definitely noticed! My BMI is nearly 39, which is not good.
I think I’m at my limit now, where I say “Right, that’s enough now. No more.” There is no more denying the effects of what I’ve been doing, and the fact that it’s making me feel worse, not better.
Jacket potato & baked beans
Eggs & salad.
Even a salad sandwich and some soup.
I know I can do this. It’s just a case of re-programming my brain! Lol!
I don’t want to eat in secret, feeling so guilty and ashamed. I need to replace the buzz of shopping for binge food and guzzling it with something more loving and nurturing to myself.
I need to remember my dreams are important, so use these as a replacement! If I want to draw, I will draw. If I want to sing, I will sing. If I want to write a silly story, I’ll write a silly story!! I will resist the urge to tell myself there is no point in doing any of this, and remind myself that theses things are important- they are part of BEING who I am. I believe that we are all expressions of God’s spirit- being who we truly are (from the highest perspective of unconditional love) is what we are here for!
I’d like to reconnect to the childlike joy I used to feel when drawing and making up little stories, and dancing and singing. Joy brings light to the world!
Slow, but healing.
It’s definitely a slow day today too. Slow thinking, slow walking.
A very interesting observation was made by the psychiatrist Dr Russell Razzaque, author of Breaking Down is Waking Up. He took up mindfulness meditation for his own personal development and whilst on a retreat noticed something curious. During mindfulness exercises the participants were aiming to slow their thinking and their walking, to observe themselves. He connected this with what happens in depression- our thoughts and movements slow down. Could it be that our minds and bodies are actually healing us through depression? I definitely like to think so!!
So with that in mind, I will trust that I am on the right track, and to listen and act on my intuition, rather than dismissing it as airy fairy.
Sometimes I just want to scream!!!! Doesn’t everyone at some point?
I feel like such a rubbish human being sometimes.
I’ve been through CBT, Mindfulness Therapy, counselling and have been working on personal and spiritual development with my teacher Dawn for a good 4 years now. I feel like I’ve done so much work on trying to improve myself and my life, so why isn’t my life perfect? Lol!!! I think I might be expecting a little bit much of myself!
I feel like I know what I should be doing to improve things for myself: walking in nature, meditation, eating healthily, journalling, talking to friends, going to choir, playing the piano, drawing. So why don’t I do any of it?!!!
Angry & Annoyed!
I get annoyed with myself when I get bored. I’m not working at the moment, so I beat myself up about that. I’m living off benefits.
I find regular jobs so tough to hold down- I end up depressed and anxious. All I can do is sleep in between part time shifts. I get so exhausted that I can barely walk- I’ve always seen this as psychomotor retardation, my thoughts become very slow too, I can’t look people in the eye, I become a shell of a person.
Right now, I know I’m going through feeling like a victim and I know I’m not really. But I think I just have to get these thoughts written out.
Even though regular jobs don’t work for me, I still fight with myself: “why aren’t you working? You should be working, you’re so lazy.”
And I know these thoughts aren’t productive!
I know how to change my thoughts. I know how to look for the things I’m grateful for in my life. I know how to foster and nurture this emotion to bring back the loving, joyful, abundant state of mind. So why do I feel so rubbish right now?!! Knowing and doing are two different things! Lol.
But maybe I feel the need to wallow for a few hours. Maybe wallowing and allowing these feelings, of “life’s not fair” and anger with myself, just to be in existence for a little while will help to process them.
I think I deny the darker feelings as much as I possibly can sometimes. My mind chews over and over- “I shouldn’t be thinking these things, I must get rid of them quickly”. When really I need to allow them to be.
So this is what I’m doing right now: allowing my thoughts and feelings to be.
Where did my peace go?!
Last Friday I had two teeth taken out. The injections were a lot more painful than I remember in the past. The needle went very deep into my jaw. I wasn’t prepared for the pain. Now one wound is infected and another tooth has been aching and I’ve had a temporary filling put in. The extraction seems to be causing me to clench my jaw and I’m having facial, head and neck pain due to this. I guess that’s going to make me feel a bit fed up!
I feel angry with myself for letting it get to me and angry with life, I guess, for not letting my inner peace last.
The challenge I’m learning is to keep the inner peace and love, return to the state, even when I’m feeling out of sorts, even when life is throwing me curve balls. To return to the love and peace in my heart. I know it’s there. I know writing like this helps to get my irritation and frustration out, to a place where I feel less overwhelmed and can get more perspective.
I’ve done really well today so far! I’ve started my new sleep schedule over the last few days (bed by 11.30pm, wake up at 8am) which I’m keeping to and I went for a short walk this morning and did about 20mins yoga and some meditation.
So why am I down on myself all of a sudden?
I’m scared of the thoughts that are creeping in, and feel anxious about them. This is the sequence of thoughts once I got out my sketchbook and pencils:
1. “I can start to do this art work, but there’s not much point as everything I do is rubbish and it’s not like I have a career out of it.”
2. “I have nothing else planned for today. I must do something productive or the whole day will be wasted.”
3. “I could go and get some biscuits and chocolate and watch some movies/tv, then sleep off the sugar hangover. (Feel excited by the prospect).”
This is when I decide to blog first. Writing out a conversation with myself yesterday really seemed to help pick me up.
I’m going to respond to the first thought, as it seemed to trigger the others:
Why do you feel this way do you think?
I’ve never studied past GCSE level (high school). I’m behind everyone else my age. Nothing ever looks the way I want it to. I don’t enjoy it anymore.
If you don’t enjoy it, maybe you don’t have to do it?
This voice, could it be your inner child?
Yes, I’m certain it is.
Why don’t you want to let her speak?
Because she can be scary and out of control. That same part of me that wants to create, my inner child, she has had major tantrums before and can be completely out of control.
This is what young children are like! They know how to express themselves! But adults teach them to suppress these ‘difficult’ emotions, usually because they can’t handle them themselves. Sometimes children aren’t taught to deal these feelings in a healthy way.
What is a healthy way to deal with feelings of anger, disappointment, shame, etc?
Well, let’s look at how you feel now?
Ashamed that I can’t function like a normal person.
Ok., so how do you think you ‘should’ behave? What do you see as being ‘normal’ behaviour for an adult?
I should have a job and be earning my own money. Not scrounging off the government. I have heard so many working people express anger and resentment at having to pay taxes, so that others can have benefits.
Ok. So how much income tax actually goes towards benefits? It is 20%. (UK) Therefore the working population are taxed 80% for many more things. Why are you so worried?
People will hate me and ridicule me. I feel so ashamed at not being able to support myself. I know I have more potential.
It is highly unlikely anyone will bat an eyelid about you being on benefits. Other people are wrapped up in their own lives. Any ill-wishing you receive from them is their karma, not yours. It is time to start releasing the need for the approval of others, a little bit at a time. It is safe for you to be you! It is safe for you to express your feelings and to paint and dance and make a mess!! Please don’t expect for this healing to take place all at once. It is likely to happen gently over a long period of time, so that you are not overwhelmed.
What do I need to do?
Be aware. Be aware of when you are trying to please others or gain approval. Be aware of when you are putting their needs before your own. You are your world. You do not need to make others feel safer or be responsible for their fears and insecurities. People are generally living their own lives, and aren’t too concerned about what others are doing, as long as it doesn’t affect them.
Why do you feel you should have a job like everybody else? Why can’t you do the things you love and make money that way?
Because it’s standard and acceptable to society. It’s easy to go with the majority. It’s difficult to forge my own path. I don’t know how I would start! Having a mentor would be very helpful. I don’t believe I’m good enough. I don’t believe I’m worthy of earning money for doing something that makes me happy!!
But you are worthy and you are good enough! Other people are doing it so why shouldn’t you?! Why do you feel so unworthy?
I don’t know. It still feels too childish. I want to feel deserving of earning money by being my childlike self and drawing or painting, writing, or creating in some other way. Or helping people! I feel if I’m earning money then it should be by directly helping others. Being creative feels selfish.
You are worthy. You are good enough. You are talented and deserving of using this talent and nurturing it. By being creative you are shining your own light into the world and making it ok for others to do the same. You are forging a path through which others can follow. You are making it easier for them! Therefore you would be helping others by being creative! You would be helping others to shine their love and light into the world!
It still feels difficult to draw or paint. I still feel a resistance to it.
It will take time, patience and practice. Start slowly- maybe even 15 mins of doodling at a time. Opening up to your creativity, it will be very healing and open many new doors for you! Allow yourself to feel worthy! Allow yourself to receive from the universe- be it financial gifts, or spiritual ones!
Thank you for the guidance and for caring enough to sit and listen to me.
So I don’t feel loads better. But I am grateful for the guidance, whether this is from my higher self or a spirit guide. I am grateful to myself for writing, rather than running to the chocolate straight away. I am grateful to myself for at least trying to overcome unhealthy habits. I am doing my best in these circumstances with the tools that I have.
I love and approve of myself just as I am.
I am worthy of living as my true self.
I am worthy of expressing my true self creatively!