January 24, 2021 at 9:32 am #373441
You are welcome. As to you not knowing how to make a brighter future for yourself, I believe that the first thing for you to do, is to greatly improve your emotional regulation skills. Becoming overwhelmed with emotion/ hijacked by emotion- has been the major factor fueling your suffering in life.
(I will be away from the computer for a couple of hours).
January 24, 2021 at 2:00 pm #373450
- This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by anita.
I can’t argue with that. I’m not doing any of the things I regularly suggest to other people right now like journaling, exercising, meditating, or talking to friends. I’ve been making efforts to eat healthier which has helped me feel physically better this week and have more energy.
The last time I had a week off work to myself in the fall, all I did was meditate, cook every meal, exercise, read, journal, and work on creative projects and I felt great. It’s been very difficult for me to relax working from home, I feel like I live at work, it much more demanding than being in person, and I have no separation of work/life which is keeping me uptight and anxious all through the week.January 24, 2021 at 6:18 pm #373461
I will read your recent post and reply in about 12 hours from now.
anitaJanuary 24, 2021 at 8:43 pm #373469
For whatever reason I can’t shake the feeling that I will be alone forever. I struggle to maintain closeness in friendships and can’t find/choose a good partner. Without love and belonging what is the point? I need to come up with some kind of plan to build relationships in my life.January 25, 2021 at 6:22 am #373479
“For whatever reason I can’t shake the feeling that I will be alone forever. I struggle to maintain closeness in friendships and can’t find/ choose a good partner. Without love and belonging what is the point? I need to come up with some kind of plan to build relationships in my life”-
– you are alone, and have been alone pre-pandemic, because that which you need the most (“closeness.. a good partner.. love and belonging.. relationships”), you also fear the most. It is not that every woman you got involved with was a bad-partner material, but that you intensely feared every woman you got involved with.
I mentioned earlier that at your core there is a fear of separation/ abandonment. That fear keeps you alone. The nature of this fear is the same as what is in the core of Separation Anxiety Disorder. A sentence you wrote yesterday indicates it: “Anytime I’m alone for more than an hour or two with no way to distract myself the despair sets in”. Separation anxiety in earlier life predates the development of Borderline Personality Disorder in young adulthood. You were diagnosed with BPD: “I was diagnosed with BPD as well. I fit the diagnosis very well”, Jan 8.
Your pattern has been to be alone for a long time-> feel very lonely and desperate for a relationship with a woman-> get together with a woman-> rush into intimacy with her-> panic that she is about to abandon you/ that you are about to be destroyed by separation from her-> quickly exit the very beginning relationship any which way.
How can you maintain a relationship when you fear a relationship so intensely, when for you, a relationship= abandonment, pain and devastation.
You mentioned coming up with a plan to build relationships. My input and quotes from Wikipedia: the plan should be based on your BPD diagnosis. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed by Marsha M. Linehan “to help people increase their emotional and cognitive regulation… Linehan developed DBT as a modified form of cognitive behavioral therapy in the late 1980s to treat people with borderline personality disorder…
“DBT has been used by practitioners to treat people with depression, drug and alcohol problems, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, binge-eating disorders, and mood disorders.. including self-injury… DBT combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques for emotion regulation and reality-testing with concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness largely derived from contemplated meditative practice… DBT.. is the first therapy that has been experimentally demonstrated to be generally effective in treating BPD”.
anitaJanuary 25, 2021 at 8:21 am #373482
Thank you for your response.
I am familiar with DBT. Much of the skills I have learned and practiced, and teach to others. I could be thinking about this wrong. But my issues isn’t lack of knowledge of skills, it’s finding the motivation to see using them as worthwhile. I haven’t been trying the past 3-4 days because i don’t see the point. When i do see the point or have some kind of hope i practice them and stay on top of my self care and my moods are generally better. When i do see the point in self-care i usually have something to look forward to or hope for.
You may not be able to help me here and that is okay. i am curious if talking with me feels hopeless to you? it’s starting to feel that way to me. It doesn’t seem like ive made any progress and it’s really getting old, because although it may not seem like it i promise im trying.January 25, 2021 at 9:31 am #373486
When I quoted to you from Wikipedia about Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), I knew that I was not introducing a new topic to you. I know that you are a professional psychotherapist in the U.S., and I am sure that you spent many, many hours studying and practicing DBT in the classroom and with patients. The reason I quoted to you about DBT is because (a) there may be someone else reading my posts and it may help them to know, and (b) because there are different levels of understanding of a topic: if you re-read something with “a beginner’s mind”= with a new light, you can see things you didn’t see before.
“I am curious if talking with me feels hopeless to you? It’s starting to feel that way to me. It doesn’t seem Like I’ve made any progress and it’s really getting old”-
– no, talking with you does not feel hopeless to me. After all, I was diagnosed myself with BPD, I suffered decades of miserable, very short term .. what do you call them, instant-ships (just came up with the term), and now I am much healthier.. finally I feel sane, what a relief! Well, same is possible for you.
Because you are a psychotherapist and familiar with the skills you need to practice, all you have to do is practice these skills persistently and for long enough. What you are lacking is the motivation, I understand this part.
anitaJanuary 25, 2021 at 10:10 am #373487
Well thank you it is good to hear you haven’t grown tired with me. I can’t say the same for myself. I feel frustrated with myself that i have the knowledge & skills and cant find a good enough “why” to use them.
What exactly do you understand about lacking motivation? From my understanding humans always have motivation, just that it may be blocked by other things on our minds or hearts. (i.e. i have paperwork to complete for work, but don’t feel “motivated” because of the emotions i am experiencing are blocking me from doing anything that doesn’t feel worthwhile, if i were to resolve the blocking emotion which is hopelessness i get my work done)January 25, 2021 at 11:00 am #373491
You are welcome. “I have the.. skills and can’t find a good enough ‘why’ to use them”-
– we are born with emotion regulation skills, such as crying- crying lessens strong emotion. Crying is an inborn emotion regulation skill. Every person, no matter his/ her mental pathology has good moments. Every person, at times, is calm and regulated. Similarly, in the past, you felt calm and regulated here and there, and when introduced to learned skills such as reality testing, distress tolerance, radical acceptance and mindfulness awareness- at times when you were not too overwhelmed with emotion ,you were able to practice these and felt regulated.
I think that the problem is that you have very little experience practicing these skills on a regular basis, every day, and therefore, too often you get emotionally overwhelmed. The more overwhelmed you get, the more difficult it is to regulate, sometimes it may be impossible. You have to regulate on a regular basis, so that eventually your baseline of emotion is lower and you no longer get overwhelmed.
“What exactly do you understand about lacking motivation? From my understanding humans always have motivation, just that it may be blocked by other things on our minds or hearts”- I think that you are motivated to have a relationship with a woman but you are blocked by fear and the anger that closely follows the fear. You are blocked otherwise because you repeatedly failed to succeed in your attempts to (1)regulate your emotions, (2) to choose thoughtfully instead of impulsively, ex., you aimed at taking it slowly with a woman, and you failed, again and again.
Repeated failures to have control over your behavior and therefore, over your life is scary and very frustrating, and no surprise it kills the motivation to try again. I’ve known this great frustration all to well, personally. It is necessary for mental health for a person to have confidence in his/ her ability to exercise basic control over one’s behavior, to trust oneself this way.
anitaJanuary 25, 2021 at 11:52 am #373498
I would agree i have little time practicing those skills regularly. I allow the world to suck me into being productive which i have a low threshold for, that leads me to addictive behaviors. If i were to be choosing self care behaviors over addictive types i would be working less and making less money. Im already struggling financially, but i feel the need for a serious break. This pandemic has not been easy for me financially or emotionally. I get caught up in this catch22 constantly and choose productivity over self care every time.
Addictive behaviors are still a huge problem for me I am trying to work on. As i wrote that last sentence it made me feel sick. The fact that i struggle so much makes me feel like a fraud. Which makes me feel like a bad person for having the job i do. How am i suppose to be helping people if i’m like this?January 25, 2021 at 12:42 pm #373504
Addictive behaviors are about regulating emotions when overwhelmed= self-destructive emotion regulation efforts.
“The fact that I struggle so much makes me feel like a fraud… How am I supposed to be helping people if I’m like this?”- if all therapists had to be emotionally healthy before they were able to help their clients, there would be way fewer therapists out there, and way fewer people helped. See to it that you do-no-harm and help others best you can: it makes a big difference for the people who without you- would receive no help at all.
anitaJanuary 25, 2021 at 2:28 pm #373508
I want to edit my previous post to you, to add that a therapist, to not be a fraud, does need to have a better mental health than his/ her clients and to be committed to further personal healing, so that the therapist can teach guide the client from his/ her own personal experience of real-life healing. A therapist does not have to be healed/ to be perfectly healthy (no such thing, I believe), but to be in the process of healing and committed to the process.
anitaJanuary 26, 2021 at 5:13 am #373519
Well thank you for saying that. I regret choosing this career field because At the end of the day I’m anxious and worried about my clients, and if I did enough for them. I also regret not going for a more lucrative career. I have a passion for the job but my skills lie in hard sciences, computer programming, and mathematics. I could’ve picked any of those fields and not been worried about the financial issues I have right now. I did my taxes last night and fell to the floor crying seeing the number is 2x the amount I have on hand. Believe me I’m not living a life of luxury either. Last year was a mess financially because of the pandemic. So I have decided to go from seeing 15 people per week to 25. Hopefully that will increase my income enough to where I don’t have to worry so much about money. Although if I’m going to pull that off my self care has to be top notch. It’s a lot different than seeing 25people at my office where I have coworkers to process things with, and have a sense of community. I’m an island right now, and I feel like the tide keeps rising higher. I say it every time, I need hope. I need hope that I can have a healthy relationship, that I can help people, that I will survive this period of isolation. Wish me luck, because I need something right now.January 26, 2021 at 6:11 am #373520
I hope that the stimulus package being worked on will help you pay the taxes you owe. I have a better understanding of your situation, increasing your work load, no one to help you process the increased work load, worrying if you are doing enough for your clients, regretting not having chosen a different career that would have afforded you a life without financial worries.
But then, I know people with no valid financial worries, lots of money coming in every month, pensions and whatnot, people who are financially secure who are lying awake at night, unable to sleep, minds racing, worried, anxious. I remember a pharmacist acquaintance I had, one who served the rich Beverly Hill community telling me how many, many antidepressant prescriptions she was filling for the Beverly Hills rich residents.
My point is- an anxious mind is in the habit of being anxious and if it’s not financial worries, it will be other worries. Anxiety is like fire, you can put it out in one location but there is that other location and the other one. It comes down to lessening/regulating that anxiety every day- and you can do it where you are, living the life that you are living now.
I get scared every once in a while, just now I felt a rush of fear following a valid worry that crossed my mind, a real possibility of danger, but it was not an intense rush, my heart didn’t race, I didn’t feel dizzy, spaced out, in distress (like I used to feel years ago). It was a little rush of fear and I thought: what do I need to do about this situation, figured I need to talk to a particular person about it, and so, I will, later on today.
Look at your reaction to seeing how much taxes you owe: “I did my takes last night and fell to the floor crying seeing the number”- falling to the floor crying in an intense emotional reaction. Emotion regulation is about lessening the intensity of our emotional reactions to most circumstances in our lives.
“I say it every time, I need hope. I need hope that I can have a healthy relationship, that I can help people, that I will survive this period of isolation”- I don’t think there is a person in this whole wide world who spent more time than I spent reading, re-reading, typing, retyping and studying your words. (most recently, without sharing it with you, I put together quotes from your posts since 2017 and re-studied them). And so, having done the work and having invested the time, my following assertion is an educated assertion:
You are able to help your clients. You can survive this period of isolation. You will be able to have a healthy relationship. You Have What it Takes, you can and will make it!
anitaJanuary 27, 2021 at 3:29 am #373554
Thank you for believing in me. I need it. Yesterday was tough. I woke up and spent time meditating, hoping to practice some distance between my thoughts/feelings and reactions to them. I’m going to keep meditating daily because I know it’s the single best practice I’ve come across to train my mind.
It was about 1130am yesterday and I had a crying episode, when I had to be ready to see a client at noon. I screamed, cried, and begged for my fire to come back. I had the urge to physically self harm, of course I didn’t but I don’t get that specific urge in that way very often anymore. Where I used to cut now I just try to feel the pain to completion. I know I have a long way to go but damn has it been tough just getting to that point. I finally picked myself up off the floor about 1150 and washed my face put in eye drops and somehow was still able to do therapy for the next 5 hours.
I only slept about 5 hours last night waking up around 430am this morning. I couldn’t sleep because my body is so damn anxious. I know I need to do better with regulating but I feel like there’s only so much I can really do before the biological effects of social isolation set in. My anxiety is telling me clearly we don’t want to be alone. It’s 630am right now. I don’t want to be alone. I’m so used to being able to solve problems but this loneliness feels so unsolvable. Please forgive my pessimism. I feel beat.
I feel like there’s something you, my therapist, and my life are trying to teach me that I’m too incompetent to comprehend