Image of When Hope is Not Enough, Second Edition: A how-to guide for living with and loving someone with Borderline Personality Disorder
When Hope is Not Enough, Second Edition: A how-to guide for living with and loving someone with Borderline Personality Disorder
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Five things you can do today to improve your relationship

Five simple steps you can take today to improve your relationship with your partner.

Hi, my name is Michelle Marshall and I’m Bon’s first guest blogger and wanted to thank him for asking me to do this. I’m currently working on a book about improving your marriage/relationship. My daughter and Bon’s went to the same therapist group. I’ve adapted some principles from that therapy as well as some other experiences I’ve had with my husband.

Here goes:

  1. Drop the “shoulds” and practice acceptance.  You can’t change other people’s feelings or actions. You have no control over the other person, even your partner. While you may feel that things should be different in your relationship, there’s much less suffering when you accept things as is and then go from there. True acceptance is profound, subtle and powerful. As Albert Ellis once said: “Acceptance is not love. You love a person because he or she has lovable traits, but you accept everybody just because they’re alive and human.”
  2. Remember that the relationship is not a standalone thing. A relationship is not a living, breathing thing that can exist independently of the people involved. It arises dependent upon the people involved. Unfortunately, in my own mind, I use language in the traditional way – that the relationship is actually a thing. It’s difficult (for me anyway) to think of the relationship as a relationship between two things (being people in this case). The very word relationship means (according to the dictionary’s first definition): “the way in which two or more people, groups, countries, etc., talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other.” It’s about interaction, not an independently existing thing.
  3. Think you are not soul-mates. At the beginning of our relationship, I began to believe that my partner and I were “made for each other” – that we were soul-mates. I know that he felt the same way about me. What we had together was special – it was he and I against the world. We would “win” based on the strength of our love alone. In the intervening decades of being together, I’ve come to the realization that this belief put undue pressure on one another. While being soul-mates was a romantic and grand vision for the relationship, the reality of day-to-day living couldn’t live up to the big idea. The notion that we were soul-mates was unrealistic, overly romantic and, at some level, delusional. When the image of what our relationship “should be” and the reality of what it was clashed, strife and conflict resulted – even if only inside my own head.
  4. Think you are not clones. I thought that my partner and I were a male and female version of one person. Because I thought he was my soul-mate and that we were destined to be together always, I just had a deep belief that he felt exactly the same way about the world as I did. While we share the same political beliefs, religious views, children and bed, it never occurred to me that his experience of the world was different than mine. We’ve been together for decades, and it just seemed “right” that when something happened in life, he’d feel the same way I did about it. Your partner is not a clone of you. He/she is actually an entirely different person, with different feelings and, most importantly,  a different experience of the world.
  5. Remember you’re on the same team. Although it might not seem like it at times, you and your partner are on the same team. Too often, my partner and I would be butting heads over some issue like we were locked into a war with one another. We certainly were not acting as if we were on the same team.  Just remembering that we are supposed to be on the same team, rather than at odds with one another is helpful. Any person, whether the person is a spouse, child, friend or sibling, likes to know that someone else is on there “side,” even if there are no real sides in an issue.

I hope that the above 5 things you can do are helpful for your relationship with your partner.

Borderline personality disorder carries unfair stigma

A diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, like a diagnosis of many other mental illnesses, carries with it an unfair stigma that engenders unwarranted apprehension on the part of the general public.

Borderline personality disorder carries unfair stigma

May 26, 2016
By John Hartsock

Dr. Marsha M. Linehan, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and adjunct professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington, has pioneered a therapeutic approach known as dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) that has been used with great efficacy in the treatment of many people with borderline personality disorder.

Dialectical behavioral therapy focuses on the concept of mindfulness, or being attentive to the current situation, rather than dwelling on the past or being apprehensive about the future.

The causes of borderline personality disorder, like the causes of other forms of mental illness, are varied and complex.

Genetics and heredity often play a crucial role, but factors such as environmental life stressors and the experience of trauma can bring about the development and/or exacerbation of symptoms.

Linehan herself and Brandon Marshall, a wide receiver with the National Football League’s Chicago Bears, have publicly disclosed their own struggles with borderline personality disorder.

The success and personal accomplishments that both have experienced in their lives have given thousands of people afflicted with BPD hope.


This Is What Borderline Personality Disorder Looks Like

Other than overwhelming emotions, borderline personality disorder is characterized by impulsive and volatile behavior

This Is What Borderline Personality Disorder Looks Like

May 25, 2016 ‐ By Tracey Lloyd

I’ve always been a crier. As a child, my cousins used to visit every week and I cried every time they had to go home. If someone teased me at school, I cried. If I saw a movie that had a sad element, I cried. These were not just tearful moments, they were all-out, slobbering, can’t catch your breath sobs that I couldn’t seem to control. I guess I’m what you might call “sensitive,” and it always feels like my heart is on my sleeve and my emotions are boiling at the surface. It never made sense until I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

The National Institute of Mental Health defines borderline personality disorder as “a serious mental illness marked by unstable moods, behavior, and relationships.” It also occurs concurrently with other mental illnesses, like depression, and makes them slightly more difficult to treat. Let me give you some examples of what borderline personality disorder looks like in a person.

During my last breakup, I was a wreck. I was dating a friend and he cheated on me and I was going through a depressive episode when we broke up. Because of the depression, my mind went to a dark place where I thought I’d be alone for the rest of my life. But because of the borderline personality disorder, I couldn’t process the breakup as it was happening because my emotions were too overwhelming. I couldn’t have any rational thought while dude was breaking up with me, all I could process were my feelings. It wasn’t until much later that I actually processed what he’d said to me, long after I stopped feeling the grief and loss — maybe a year after. And then I was mad, but it was too late to express my feelings.


Mindfulness Meditation

One of the best ways to calm your mind and gain perspective in your relationship with your loved one with BPD is through mindfulness meditation. I’ve found that Headspace is great place to start with a mindfulness meditation practice. One really cool product that I stumbled upon on Amazon is the Alexia Meditation Seat.

While it is quite pricey, I’ve not found another such product that makes it quite a bit easier to develop a correct sitting meditation position.

Alexia Meditation Seat “Ergonimically Correct for the Human Physiology” Zen Yoga Ergonomic Neoprene Foam Cushion Home or Office (Black – Leather)

The beautiful finished hand crafted Alexia Meditation Seat comes in multiple choice fabrics. The Alexia Meditation Seat Dimensions: L 26″ x W 32″ 1/2 x H 11″ ½. It provides you with ergonomics and support to your body in the Lower Back Column – Ischial Junction Node – knees – instep – feet. Just seat and allow, there is no need for you to use muscle tension to hold your body in a particular position – the Alexia Meditation Seat does it all for you, just let the seat hold you.
New From: $464.00 USD In Stock

Cats Again Get a Bad Rap in Toxoplasmosis Coverage

A study linking the disease to a psychiatric disorder marked by aggression didn’t include cats — but you’d never know it from the headlines.

Cats Again Get a Bad Rap in Toxoplasmosis Coverage

s.e. smith | Apr 20th 2016

Toxoplasmosis is back. A new study led by researchers from the University of Chicago links the disease with Intermittent Explosive Disorder, in which patients experience outbursts of extreme anger. Headlines such as “Could germ from cat poop trigger rage disorder in people?” and “Cats Might Be the Reason Some People Are So Terrible” are circulating, but this is not in fact a study about cats. It’s a study about toxoplasmosis and the parasite that causes it, Toxoplasma gondii.

The study ran ran in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, which has a rigorous peer-review process and has been published for more than 75 years. In other words, it carries some serious weight, and the researchers knew what they were doing. Put in layperson’s terms, the effort was building on existing studies (like this one from 2013 and another from 2015) suggesting that there was a correlation between T. gondii infection and psychiatric conditions. Specifically, researchers were curious to see whether the infection was associated with more aggressive behavior.

This study was published in 2016, drawing upon years of data, including blood samples that indicated whether patients have been infected with T. gondii. The extended collection period would have allowed researchers to get a big-picture finding and control for other factors that might influence personality and behavior. The study involved 358 patients including a control group, people diagnosed with Intermittent Explosive Disorder, and those with other mental health conditions. These are all sound research practices, and the recent publication date indicates that the study took advantage of the latest developments in psychiatry and clinical research.

Those involved in the study have noted a consistent link between suicidal behavior and impulsive aggression over the course of their research, and they were also aware of studies like the ones linked above suggesting that T. gondii is connected to aggression.


I’m Drowning Not Waving

I reached crisis point one night last October when I sent pictures to my ex-husband of blood pouring from self-inflicted wounds on my arms demanding to know if he was “happy now”.

I’m Drowning Not Waving

Alexandra Sheach

It’s Depression Awareness Week and I figured it was time to blow this mental health stigma shit high out of the water.

I hadn’t known there was an official event this week, I’m so used to seeing memes on social media I meet with a sage nod or wry smile as we all ‘like’ a post telling us it’s nothing to be ashamed of – but we don’t stick our heads above the parapet and yell “yes, I’m the nut in the fruit-cake!”, but today after another run-in with inadequate mental health services I posted on my Facebook timeline about how I was being let down. I’ve always held it in, this dark and shameful secret – figuring that if anyone ditched me today or decided to distance themselves from me, they were unable to hurt me more than my own mind already does.

In 2002 I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and was told I should not refer to it directly in naice company, but instead allude to bipolar – or some other form of more socially-acceptable illness.

I got as lucky as anyone diagnosed with a severe mental illness can be. I was at the time living in The Netherlands, Maastricht to be precise, and they just happened to have a university research team who were world leaders in the research and treatment of BPD – I even had MRI tests and pretty pictures of my brain to try and figure out if my neurons were firing the way they were supposed to in response to triggers in picture format.

I got 4+ years of weekly 1:1 therapy with a clinical psychologist and a whopping array of psychiatric medicine until the therapy kicked in and I could be weaned off. In 2008 my therapy ended and I was released back into the big, bad world – mostly stable but aware of my limitations.

Life trundled on, I got married, had two children and the time came to move back to the UK just over two years ago, to Shetland. I don’t know whether I started to relapse before we moved or shortly after – but the cost of desperately trying to ‘hold my shit together’ meant that I essentially shut out the world, shut down – and eventually ran away from my husband taking our children, rather than talking to him and so my marriage collapsed.