Help Yourself: Yoga Techniques to Soothe Your Nervous System (PTSD, Anxiety, BPD)

Even those who do not suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder or emotion regulation issues will likely benefit from this post. It has to do with a method of helping yourself when you're feeling stressed and tense, especially on a muscular level.  When it comes to feeling unbalanced emotionally, there is almost always a physical component happening at the same time, and this is often in the form of tight, painful muscles.

I have been told in the past by my DBT therapist to start someplace to begin the unwinding of your nervous system. This can be by focusing on breathing, sitting calmly, or working to remove muscular tension. Starting at any of these places can help to bring anxiety down and get us back to baseline.

While it's a wonderful experience to receive bodywork from a professional massage therapist, we can't all afford this on a regular basis.  So, when this is the case, what can we do to effectively work on those tight and tense areas of the body that tend to show up when we are feeling anxious or stressed out?

In yoga class recently, I was introduced to something that, although I was initially skeptical, actually helped me feel much better.  I used them again last night on my own when I noticed I was having neck and shoulder tension and pain,  and I felt so much better that I decided it was time to share this with you, my dear readers.  The tool is called "YogaTune Up® Therapy Balls." 

Here is what mine look like:

If you can't afford or access these, I've read in different places that people have swapped them out with tennis balls or with those inexpensive pink rubber bouncy balls -- but my yoga teacher warned that these are not as effective as they do not have the same outside texture as the Yoga Tune Up balls. These have a suede-like finish that feels good against the skin and helps them to slip less. 

As far as my experience at home, I mentioned to my yoga teacher the next day how surprised I was that I felt so much better after using these. She said, "I'm not, honey. It works on your nervous system."

I wondered the best way to  describe to you how to use them when I came upon this excellent video on YouTube. As with any practice that involves your body, please do check with your doctor before trying any of the exercises.

It is so important that we find and take the time to take care of ourselves in ways that support us in feeling balanced.  I did a number of the exercises demonstrated in this video and went to bed literally feeling as if I had just had a massage. It was that good and effective.

Have you tried the YogaTune up balls?  Do you have something else that you use?

This looks very strange, I know, but it is actually also really helpful. I found it in a Japanese store called Daiso.  It helps me to reach those muscles between the scapula.

If you don't have the balls, here are some yoga positions that I've done that have helped with anxiety and stress, and you need few to no props.  Just a reminder to always check with your doctor before starting any new movement or exercise program, including yoga, the tune up balls, and any props.

Legs up the wall (Viparita Karani)

Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Can you identify any DBT skills that you'd be using by engaging in this type of self-care?

Thank you for reading.
More Soon.

The Borderline "Out of Body" Experience: Help for Dissociative Episodes (Dissociation)

When the mind is under a great deal of stress and/or anxiety, it's possible to experience what is known as a "dissociative episode," and it is one of the possible symptoms of someone suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder and other mental health issues.

It's been a while since I have had an episode of dissociation, but since recently committing to a trauma recovery group that starts next week (I wrote about that decision here), I've noticed that fragments of my experiences from the past that I am going to work on in the group have resurfaced.  I realize that my willingness to go to an exposure therapy group to face things that I have long wanted to forget and pretend never happened has been a bit of an invitation for these somewhat suppressed memories to emerge for healing. That makes it a little easier to bear.

There are times, though, when my brain decides that the content is simply too much, and I experience dissociation. Perhaps you've had similar experiences.

You may be cooking and then suddenly feel "freaked out," because you see your hand moving the spatula and sauteing the mushrooms, but you don't feel as if it is you that is doing it. You feel as if you are observing someone else, or as if you are having an "out of body" experience. Or, you may be in the shower and then suddenly realize that you are going through the motions of washing your hair, but again, you feel as if this experience is happening to you or you are witnessing it rather than actually doing the actions.

Everyone dissociates pretty much on a daily basis, whether they have mental health issues or not. Driving home on autopilot is an example.  Daydreaming is another.  For those with BPD and/or PTSD, the experience is a bit more severe. It often lasts longer and can be quite frightening for the person experiencing it.

So, what can you do to help yourself when you notice you've been dissociating? Step one is in the question.

1.) Once you become aware that you have been dissociating, you have once again become mindful, present, and in the moment. Even though this awareness can be fleeting during an episode, do notice it, and allow it to ground you for as long as it lasts.

2.) During moments of mindfulness, remind yourself of where you are in time and space. For example, "It is Monday, August 26, 2013, and I am in the bathroom. I feel the hot water coming out of the shower and onto my skin."  You may feel anxious as you find it hard to reconcile reality with the odd feelings you are having, but try to remind yourself that you are likely experiencing anxious symptoms on top of everything else, and you must do what you can to calm your nervous system and bring down your anxiety.

3.) In moments of mindfulness, remind yourself of a very powerful truth: "This too shall pass."  No dissociative episode, mood, or feeling can last forever. It will pass. You will feel normal again. Allow yourself to ride this out, knowing you are going to be okay.

4.) Remind yourself that you are safe in this moment. Do something to feel grounded. Find an object like a rock, a pen, a stuffed animal, or an article of clothing. Hold it in your hands. Describe the texture, color, patterns, and anything else you can notice about this action. This helps bring you back into your body and back into the present moment.

5.) Once the episode passes, do something to distract (such as engage in a challenging puzzle, listen to a non-triggering topic on Talk Radio), or self-soothing (put on a lotion with a scent that comforts you, get a massage or give yourself a foot massage, eat a small piece of chocolate) and treat yourself with extra kindness.

6.)  Try not to judge yourself or get too upset about the fact that you have had or have been having episodes. Remind yourself of how incredibly intelligent the human brain is, and that sometimes it reacts in very basic, hard-wired ways to protect us. It means well. It's trying to protect us from overwhelm.

Be sure to talk with your doctor if you are having episodes to come up with ideas on how to take even better care of yourself to help you through these times.

As I begin the trauma recovery group next week, I'm sure I'll learn a lot more skills to help myself and you, so be sure to check back.

Thanks for reading.
More Soon.

Click the image to watch the new documentary "Border _" : a compassionate film on Borderline Personality Disorder.

The Borderline Time Traveler: BPD and PTSD

I am currently reading for a future review and lots of little posts like this in the meantime,

(FTC Disclaimer: I was sent this book by New Harbinger Publications with no obligation.) Mindfulness for Borderline Personality Disorder: Relieve Your Suffering Using the Core Skill of Dialectical Behavior Therapy by Blaise Aguirre, MD and Gillian Galen, PsyD.

Having recently had the pleasure of joining a conference call with both doctors via Amanda Smith's special call-in program, and since my friend Kiera Van Gelder, author of The Buddha and The Borderline endorsed the book, I was excited to begin.

Both doctors really seem to get the experience of someone who suffers from BPD, but I'll dig more deeply into that in the full review.  For this post, I'm focusing on a few lines that immediately impacted me:

If there has been trauma in your life, integrating past events into the present can lead to a fragmented sense of who you are...It can feel as if the pieces and moments of your life don't flow in a straight line, and memories from the past can jump out into the present and feel as if the past events are actually occurring in the present. (p. 21)

Can you relate to this?  It falls under a category of experiences that are not in the DSM but that many people with BPD can relate to: "Lack of Sense of Continuity of Time."

Finally someone actually captured and articulated something that I have been and continue to struggle with.  Many of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter know that I will soon begin an 8-week trauma recovery group. I'm finally ready. And it's reasons like the ones above that I intend to fully immerse myself in the experience, to pay attention to what I am taught, and to apply the skills that I learn.

As I always do with DBT skills at this blog, I will also be sharing any new coping skills that I learn here as well.

Those of you who read my book, Healing From Borderline Personality Disorder: My Journey Out of Hell Through Dialectical Behavior Therapy know that I grew up in the Boston area and now live in Northern California.  I had a painful childhood filled with things that no child should have to bear, and my environment was often invalidating.

Trigger Warning:
My parents didn't know how to respond in the way that a sensitive child required, and they were often in survival mode themselves.  My father had a violent temper, and my mother, sister, and I were often the victims of his frequent lashing out. I spent years in the foster care and group home system.

End Trigger Warning.

I swore that once I turned eighteen, I would move to California, as far away from Boston as I could get, and this is exactly what I did. A myriad of other challenges, crises, and triggers awaited me out here, too, and I get into that in the book.

In my young, naive mind, I believed that I could run away from the pain by moving and putting physical distance between myself and the place that I associated with all of my pain.  At first, it seemed to work, but eventually it caught up with me. As the old saying goes: wherever you go, there you are. You can't outrun yourself.

Again, here's that section from Mindfulness for Borderline Personality Disorder:

If there has been trauma in your life, integrating past events into the present can lead to a fragmented sense of who you are...It can feel as if the pieces and moments of your life don't flow in a straight line, and memories from the past can jump out into the present and feel as if the past events are actually occurring in the present. (p. 21)

Here are the ways I can relate to this:

  • My Dad passed away two years before I moved, and his passing was quite tragic, especially at that time, due to lack of proper medical care and knowledge. Shortly after moving to California, I would have dreams that my Dad was living back in Massachusetts -- that he hadn't passed but was simply far away.  I would wake up feeling disoriented and confused, sometimes (although knowing in my core it wasn't) wondering if it were true.  As a child, my dad often took off for months at a time only to randomly show up when he needed a place to crash or if we bumped into him accidentally while out and about with our mother.  It was as if my mind was integrating those past events into the present. It was a very unsettling experience.
  • It has become very difficult for me to go back to Boston to visit.  At first, I would go once or twice a year.  Things still were familiar and similar, and I knew I could leave and come right back home to what was more of a save haven in California (I thought).  As the years went on, though, as others got older (and I remained very childlike in my demeanor and the way I felt), I felt a sense of disconnection with my environment. 

    Aunts and uncles were passing on.  People who I thought would stay together forever were getting divorced.  I saw people I loved in difficult situations such as domestic violence, substance abuse, and health issues.  I wanted to rescue them all.  I wanted everything to be the way I remembered it before, even if that was hard enough to bear.

    Because things were changing and I was so far from it, only to see the changes once every now and then (my elementary school had been replaced, a relative developed a bone disease that causes her hands to deform, another relative broke up with someone I considered part of the family -- life things that happen and that most people can cope with), I would become quite dysregulated and would, indeed feel like my sense of self was fragmented.

Combine these things with the fact that simply being back in Massachusetts brought back flashbacks of memories too painful to bear, and you can understand why I have been hesitant to travel, even though I greatly miss my family and want us to be a part of each others lives.

I look forward to starting the trauma recovery group next week, especially because I'll get to share my experiences with you.  I'll apply the DBT skills I've learned up until now and will share with you new coping strategies as I embark on this next chapter of my journey.  As always, as a co-emotionally sensitive person, I will be careful to use the "trigger warning" label before anything that seems particularly upsetting. I've lost so much time due to PTSD triggers. It's time to learn how to cope effectively and cherish every moment that we have.

Thank you for being on this journey with me.
More Soon.

DBT For Coping With Fear at the Dentist

Fear is an interesting thing. We have the ability to experience fear as a protective instinct, but for many of us who are emotionally sensitive, a part of our brain that senses and responds to danger (the amygdala) can go into overdrive, sending Emergency Broadcast System style warnings to us that something is dreadfully wrong, when in fact we are safe.

If you've ever experienced an anxiety or panic attack, you know this all too well.  I was talking with a friend the other day about how I used to call 9-1-1 a few times a year, terrified that something was dreadfully wrong or that I was in a life threatening situation, only to end up embarrassed as it was explained to me,  after a fire battalion and ambulance crew made their way into my apartment, that I'd "simply" had an anxiety attack.

I know better now and am able to use various techniques, such as self-talk, diaphragmatic breathing, and guided imagery to calm down and relax my nervous system, but back then  I wasn't aware of these tools.  Even when I did become aware, I wasn't always willing to use them.  I was too afraid and didn't believe I would be safe unless I got assurance from a medical professional.

Fear shows up in other ways, too. Up until a couple of weeks ago, it had been about five years since I'd seen a dentist. Why? I was afraid. Afraid of the sterile looking environment with all of those dental tools. Afraid of the white coats. The needles. Not being in control. The pain. The sound of the drill. The list goes on.

Somehow, I decided it was okay to let my dental hygiene go by the wayside, and I am still amazed at how long I went and the pain I've tolerated because of the fears that held me back from getting the proper dental treatment that I have needed.

While my teeth are not ghastly by any means, it's not always what's visible that matters the most.  When a severe TMJ (Temporomandibular disorder) episode (which I am told I suffer due to PTSD), recently caused the pain in three teeth became unbearable, I realized I could no longer put off going to the dentist. 

I had recently set an appointment to see a new dentist, but she's not taking clients until September. When I emailed the other day saying that I was concerned and having pain, I was referred to a specialist who works with her office. He saw me the same day, took x-rays, and confirmed that I need a root canal and one tooth and, if the sensitivity continued in the other teeth, I would need treatment on those as well.  Additionally, it was highly recommended that I get fitted for a guard to help with the TMJ.

Without a willingness to use DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) skills, I wouldn't have made it to the specialist. Let me explain.

I used DBT skills in this initial appointment to be effective for this process:
  • Opposite to Emotion Action:  I was AFRAID. The usual action that goes with fear is to avoid.  I practiced Opposite Action by facing my fears and showing up to this appointment.
  • Wise Mind: I asked lots of questions of the dentist, and rather than make assumptions about what a root canal is (I really wasn't sure) and run with my fears and stories about what the experience would be like, I got the facts.  Having this information made me feel less frightened.
  • Reduce Emotional Vulnerability (Emotion Regulation): One of the skills in this set is treating physical illness, which I am doing by taking care of this tooth infection.
  • Radical Acceptance: I radically accepted that in order to restore health in my mouth, I needed to have the necessary dental work completed.

DBT Skills I used in the week between my initial assessment and the actual root canal appointment:

  • Wise Mind: I found medical videos on YouTube about the procedure, which helped me feel informed.  Gone were the stories I made up in my mind about what happens during a root canal. I now had facts and felt more at ease. I'm not going to say that having this procedure looks like a cakewalk, but I am much less fearful having watched this video.
  • Coping Ahead: I used this skill in a few of different ways. The first is that I left the appointment card out in plain site so that I would see it often.  This was to desensitize myself to the fact that I have the appointment.  Secondly, I have been talking (and emailing) about my upcoming appointment with loved ones. Thirdly, I have been using visualization to imagine myself successfully getting through the procedure, as I did in the past when I had severe anxiety over an upcoming pap smear.  I talk about that in this post.
Here are the skills I used on the actual day of the first root canal: 

I essentially revisited the skills that got me to the initial appointment...

  • Opposite to Emotion Action:  I faced the fear and made a commitment that no matter how scared I felt on the morning of the appointment, I would show up. And, I did. I was terrified, but I made it there.
  • Wise Mind: I reminded myself that this would be a short procedure, that I was safe, and that I could make it through. I was also advised by the dentist to take an Ativan (anti-anxiety medication) 60-minutes prior to the appointment, so I did, and I reminded myself that this would help with some of the panic symptoms.
  • Reduce Emotional Vulnerability (Emotion Regulation): I reminded myself that I would feel so much relief mentally knowing that I had taken care of this tooth infection rather than letting it get worse.
  • Radical Acceptance: I once again radically accepted that in order to restore health in my mouth, I needed to have the necessary dental work completed.
  • Self-Soothing:  I tweeted and Facebooked this image from the lobby of the dentist's office. I had taken several copies of Cat Fancy magazine with me to self-soothe as I waited for my turn. It helped. :)
Image from my copy of Cat Fancy Magazine

I got the root canal taken care of.  Most of my fears were unfounded, and it was a quick, almost entirely painless procedure.  The only pain I felt was the needle used to numb the area and some tenderness for a few days after.  In a strange turn of events, I am looking forward to having more work done in a couple of weeks.

It's amazing what happens when we skillfully stare fear in the face: we end up taking care of ourselves and feel good about doing so.

What personal care situations are you avoiding due to fear?  How might you use DBT skills to help you overcome this issue?

Thanks for reading.
More soon.

Watch the documentary "Border _" , a compassionate film on Borderline Personality Disorder right now by clicking here.

Border _ | A compassionate documentary on BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)

Welcome, and please enjoy viewing the documentary "Border  _"

This compassionate film on Borderline Personality Disorder and (and the hopeful possibility of RECOVERING from BPD) is the creative and passionate vision of producer/director Dr. Tamra Sattler and features the following women who have all overcome and recovered from (or are in the process of recovering from) Borderline Personality Disorder:

Debbie Corso of Healing From and, and author of Healing From Borderline Personality Disorder: My Journey Out of Hell Through Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Stop Sabotaging: A 31-Day DBT Challenge to Change Your Life.  Debbie is now in recovery from BPD and no longer meets the criteria for a diagnosis. She facilitates worldwide online DBT groups to teach others what she's learned at DBT Path.  Join her for an online class today!

Teresa Lynne of , is based in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a mother, a Martha Beck trained DBT and Life Skills Coach serving clients worldwide (via phone, online, and Skype), a Motivational Speaker, and author of the forthcoming, When Treatment is Trauma.

Lisa Matienzo is a Northern California mom and wife whose faith is helping her in her healing process. "Hope" is her daily reminder, and her intention with participating in this documentary is to continue her own healing while also helping others.

Presh Grieshop is working hard on her recovery from BPD along with other mental health diagnoses. She volunteers at a disease prevention agency.

Please be sure to SHARE this post right now with as many people as you can.  Also, share your comments below.  We want to get the word out that there is HOPE for people with Borderline Personality Disorder.  Hope is needed by people who have a BPD diagnosis, their loved ones, clinical professionals who treat patients who have BPD.

You can LIKE and share at our official Facebook page for the film by clicking HERE.

Thank you for helping us get the word out!

The Emotionally Sensitive Person & The Challenge of School - Guest post by Chloe Trogden

Please welcome guest blogger Chloe Trogden with her first post at Healing From Borderline Personality Disorder.

The Challenges of Attending School while Managing Symptoms of BPD

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can make it challenging for those who suffer from it to meet responsibilities, such as maintaining a job or attending school. One notable success story is that of Gregory M. Duhl, who is diagnosed with BPD and is currently a law professor at the William Mitchell College of Law. While it may be challenging to attend and complete a college degree while coping with BPD, it is possible if this is a path you desire to pursue.

Without a secondary degree, job opportunities are often limited. It is important for those who suffer from BPD to find ways to manage their symptoms while completing their degree so that they can take advantage of these opportunities for more meaningful employment.
Here are just some of the challenges you may have to manage while attending school if you have BPD and some ideas around how to deal with them:


Those who suffer from BPD experience more intense emotions more easily and for longer periods. Moods can fluctuate wildly, and this can be exacerbated by stressful events. Unfortunately, completing a degree program is inherently stressful. Between managing a full class schedule and trying to make time for all the studying, writing papers, and completing projects, nearly every student feels stress. Most feel quite a bit of it.

To help BPD sufferers from feeling as if they are losing control of their symptoms, it is important that to do everything you can to reduce stress. This can include mindfulness activities (a component of DBT – Dialectical Behavior Therapy, a proven effective treatment for BPD), exercise, getting enough sleep, spending time with family and friends, or even cutting back on the amount of courses that are taken. The key is to make stress reduction a critical component of each day to keep it under control.

Time Management

When you are coping with  emotional episodes and dealing with impulse control issues, it can be difficult to effectively manage your time. It is important for students with BPD to develop time management strategies that are successful for them. This could include using calendar software or apps that send key notifications, alerts or reminders; maintaining a buddy system with another student, and  working with an academic advisor or a family members to stay on track. 

There is no one strategy that is effective for every person with BPD. The key is to find the solution that works for you while being mindful of this important piece.


A college degree program is very fast-paced, and that can be overwhelming for anyone and more intense for someone coping with the symptoms of BPD. In some cases, the overwhelm can cause a relapse of symptoms. Many students may find that a non-traditional setting actually helps them to be more successful. Some options include a part-time degree program, a community college, or an online program. Any programs that allows students to reduce the course load or to take time off from the program as necessary would be ideal.

Being Away from a Support System

Many students attend college in another city or another state from where their parents live. For students with BPD, this takes them away from an important support system. Not only could this lead to feelings of abandonment, which could trigger symptoms, but it will also take away supportive family members who offered support around helping the student manage the symptoms of BPD and to stay on track toward achieving progress. 

It is often helpful for students with BPD to either attend college near home or to go to a program where other supportive friends or family members will be available. Being able to live with a member of their support system is also an ideal option for some.

While attending school can present many challenges for students with Borderline Personality Disorder, these challenges can be overcome so that students can earn their degree and have access to more opportunities for employment later. 

The key is to recognize the challenges and to develop strategies for managing them to keep symptoms under control.

How did you manage your symptoms of BPD while you attended school? Share your strategies in the comments!

Chloe Trogden is a seasoned financial aid writer and a major contributor at Her leisure activities include camping, swimming and yoga.

Portuguese translation of Open from Those of Us Who Have Borderline Personality Disorder

So thankful that a reader offered to translate this letter from English to Portuguese for her Mom and offered to share it with my readers. Enjoy and share. :)  Also available as a video in French at this link.

Uma Carta Aberta de nós com Transtorno de Personalidade Boderline:

Queridos amigos, parentes, amantes, ex-amantes, colegas, filhos, e outros conhecidos de nós com TPB,

Vocês podem estar frustrados, sentindo-se incapazes de ajudar e prestes a desistir. Não é sua culpa. Vocês não são a causa do nosso sofrimento.Vocês podem achar difícil de acreditar, já que nós podemos atacar vocês, mudar de ser amável e generoso(a) para não-confiável e cruel em um piscar de olhos, e nós podemos até imediatamente culpá-los. Mas não é sua culpa. Vocês merecem entender mais sobre essa condição e o que nós desejos poder dizer mas talvez não estejamos prontos.

É possível que algo que vocês tenham dito ou feito ativou nosso “gatilho”. Um gatilho é algo que ativa em nossa mente um evento traumático do passado ou nos faz ter pensamentos angustiosos. Mesmo vocês podendo tentar ser sensíveis com as coisas que dizem ou fazem, não é sempre possível e não é sempre claro o porquê de algo ativar um gatilho.

A mente é muito complexa. Uma certa música, som, cheiro ou palavras podem rapidamente disparar conexões neurológicas que nos trazem de volta a um lugar onde nós não nos sentimos seguros, e nós podemos responder no presente com uma reação similar (pense nos militares que entram em combate – um simples barulho estranho no carro pode leva-los a um flashback. Isso é conhecido como TEPT, e acontece com muitos de nós também).
Mas por favor, saibam que ao mesmo tempo que nós empurramos vocês para longe com nossas palavras e comportamento, nós também desesperadamente esperamos que você não vá nos deixar ou abandonar em nosso tempo de aflição e desespero. 

Esse pensamento preto e branco extremo e experiência de desejos completamente opostos é conhecido como dialética. Cedo em nosso diagnóstico e antes de realmente entrar com TCD (Terapia Comportamental Dialética), nós não temos ferramentas necessárias para dizê-los isso ou pedir pelo seu apoio em jeitos saudáveis.
Nós podemos fazer coisas bem dramáticas, como nos machucar em algum jeito (ou ameaçar fazê-lo), ir ao hospital, ou algo similar. Mesmo que esses pedidos de ajuda devem ser levados a sério, nós entendemos que vocês possam se desgastar com a preocupação em relação à nós e esse comportamento repetitivo.

Por favor, confiem que, com ajuda professional, e apesar do que vocês possam ter ouvido ou passado a acreditar, nós podemos e ficamos melhores SIM.

Esses episódios podem se alongar ou encurtar entre si e nós podemos ter longos períodos de estabilidade e regulação de nossas emoções. Às vezes o melhor a fazer, se vocês conseguirem acumular toda a força em sua frustação e dor, é nos pegar e abraçar e dizer-nos que vocês nos amam, se importam e não vão embora.  
Um dos sintomas do Transtorno de Personalidade Boderline é o intenso medo de ser abandonado, e nós, por causa disso, (na maioria das vezes inconscientemente) nos comportamos extrema e freneticamente para evitar que isso aconteça. Mesmo nossa percepção de que abandono é iminente pode nos tornar inquietos.

Outra coisa que vocês possam achar confusa é nossa aparente inabilidade de manter relacionamentos. Nós podemos pular de um amigo para o outro, indo de amar e idolatrá-los para desprezá-los – deletá-los de nossos telefones e excluí-los no Facebook. Nós podemos evitar vocês, não atender suas ligações, e negar todos os convites para estar perto de vocês – e outras vezes, nós só queremos estar perto de vocês.

Isso se chama splitting, e faz parte do transtorno. Ás vezes nós tentamos nos prevenir renegando as pessoas antes que elas nos rejeitem ou abandonem. Nós não estamos dizendo que está “certo”. Nós podemos nos livrar desse padrão destrutivo e aprender como ser mais saudável no conceito de relacionamentos. Não vem naturalmente para nós. Vai levar um tempo e bastante esforço.

É difícil, logo, se relacionar propriamente quando não se tem um entendimento sólido de si mesmo e de quem você é, sem falar de todo mundo à sua volta.

No Transtorno de Personalidade Boderline, muitos de nós apresentamos problemas com confusão de identidade. Nós podemos “pegar emprestado” atributos daqueles à nossa volta, nunca sabendo realmente quem NÓS somos. Vocês se lembram daquelas pessoas no ensino médio que iam de gostar de rock à pop à gótico, pertencendo sempre com um grupo – se vestindo como eles, arrumando o cabelo como eles, usando os mesmos maneirismos? É como se nós não tivéssemos crescido disso.

Às vezes nós até pegamos os maneirismos de outras pessoas (nós somos alguém no trabalho, outro em casa, outro na igreja), que é parte de como nós conseguimos o apelido de “camaleões”. Claro, pessoas agem diferentemente em casa e no trabalho, mas vocês podem reconhecer-nos pelo jeito que nos comportamos no trabalho versus em casa. É esse extremo.

Para alguns de nós, nós tivemos infâncias em que, infelizmente, pais ou responsáveis iriam rapidamente alternar de amáveis para abusivos. Nós tivemos que se comportar em jeitos que iriam agradar essas pessoas à qualquer momentos para que ficássemos safos e sobrevivêssemos. Nós não superamos isso.
Por causa de toda essa dor, nós normalmente apresentamos sentimentos de vazio. Nós não conseguimos imaginar o quão perdidos vocês possam se sentir ao testemunhar isso. Talvez vocês tenham tentado tantas coisas pra passar essa dor, mas nada funcionou. Novamente – NÃO é sua culpa.

A melhor coisa que podemos fazer durante esses tempos é lembrar-nos que “Isso também há de passar” e praticar habilidades de TCD – principalmente se acalmar – coisas que nos ajudam a sentir um pouquinho melhor apesar do vazio. O tédio é normalmente perigoso para nós, já que pode levar a um sentimento de dormência. É sensato para nós ficarmos ocupados e distrair-nos quando o tédio chega.

No outro lado da moeda, nós podemos ter uma explosão de raiva que pode ser assustadora. É importante que nós fiquemos seguros e não machuquemos vocês ou nós mesmos. Essa é outra manifestação do TPB.

Nós somos muito emocionalmente sensíveis e temos extrema dificuldade regulando/modulando nossas emoções. Dra. Marsha Linehan, fundadora do DBT, nos compara à vítimas emocionais de queimaduras do 3º grau.
Pela Terapia Comportamental Dialética, nós podemos aprender a regular nossas emoções  para não ficarmos fora de controle. Nós podemos aprender a parar de sabotar nossas vidas e circunstâncias... e nós podemos aprender a nos comportar de maneira à ser menos nocivos e assustadores para vocês.

Outra coisa que vocês podem ter notado é o olhar distraído em nossas faces. Isso se chama dissociação. Nossos cérebros literalmente desconectam, e nossos pensamentos vão parar em outro lugar, enquanto nossos cérebros estão tentando nos proteger de trauma emocional adicional. Nós podemos aprender exercícios que nos tragam de volta à realidade e aplicar nossas habilidades para ajudar durante esses episódios, e então podem tornar-se menos frequentes enquanto melhoramos.

Mas, e quanto à você?

Se você decidiu reunir suas forças e ajudar seu ente querido com TPB, você provavelmente também precisa de apoio. Aqui vão algumas ideias:

  • Lembre-se que o comportamento da pessoa não é culpa sua
  • Mostre sua compaixão pelo sofrimento da pessoa entendendo que o comportamento         dele(a) é provavelmente uma reação intensa desse
  • Faça coisas para cuidar de SI MESMO. Na página de recursos desse blog, tem uma porção de informação em livros, CDs, filmes, etc (em inglês) para você entender esse transtorno e tomar conta de si mesmo. Confira!
  • Além de aprender mais sobre TPB e como se cuidar em volta disso, faça coisas que você goste e que te acalme, como sair para uma caminhada, ver um filme de comédia, comer uma boa refeição, tomar um banho quente – qualquer coisa que você goste de fazer para se cuidar e se sentir confortável.
  • Faça perguntas. Há bastante equívoco sobre TPB aí fora.
  • Lembre-se que suas palavras, amor e apoio ajudam a pessoa a se curar, mesmo que os resultados não sejam imediatamente evidentes.
Não todas as situações que eu descrevi se aplicam a todas as pessoas com Transtorno de Personalidade Boderline. Uma pessoa precisa apenas ter 5 dos 9 sintomas para qualificar para um diagnostic, e as combinações entre esses 5 e 9 são muitas. Esse post é apenas para dá-los uma ideia do sofrimento típico e pensamentos de nós com TPB.
Esse é meu segundo ano na TCD. Há um ano atrás, eu não teria conseguido escrever essa carta, mas representa muito do que esteve no meu coração que eu não conseguia notar ou expressar.

Minha esperança é que vocês vão ganhar uma nova perspectiva na condição de seu ente querido e crescer em compaixão e enter para ambos que essa não é uma estrada fácil.

Eu posso lhes dizer, por experiência própria, que trabalhar essa doença pela TCD daz a luta valer a pena. Esperança pode ser retomada. Uma vida normal pode ser vivida. Vocês podem ter vislumbres e mais vislumbres do que aquela pessoa realmente é conforme o tempo, se vocês não desistirem. Eu os desejo paz.
Obrigada por ler.
Mais em breve.
Thank you Mariana Travain for taking the time to do this. Maria is on twitter as @MariTravain

The author of this letter has since RECOVERED from Borderline Personality Disorder and no longer meets the criteria for a BPD diagnosis. She now teaches the DBT skills that helped change her life over at DBT Path where you can take online Dialectical Behavior Therapy Classes from anywhere in the world. Co-facilitated with a licensed therapist. You can read Debbie's books here.

UPDATE: A video version of this letter, complete with narration and text, is now available for viewing and sharing by clicking HERE.

English Version


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