Posts Tagged ‘mental health’

Go! To the Border!

Posted on May 6th, 2010 by Clinically Clueless

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May is borderline personality disorder (BPD) awareness month and this is how it is experienced by those with BPD.  This diagnosis is difficult as there is so much stigma attached to it and it takes a real committment and a lot of patience for a therapist to provide services and for the patient to perservere.  Many therapist will not treat those with borderline personality disorder. I am diagnosed with this disorder and it is treatable, but takes a very long time.

The prevalence of BPD is about 2% of the general population. It is seen in 10% of psychiatric outpatients, and 20% of psychiatric inpatients. This disorder is more frequent in females (about 75%) than males. Emotional instability and impulsivity are very common in adolescents, but most adolescents grow out of this behavior. Unfortunately, for some, this emotional instability and impulsivity persists and intensifies into adulthood; thus they become diagnosed with this disorder. As with other mental disorders, the causes of borderline personality disorder are complex.

The name arose because of theories in the 1940s and 1950s that the disorder was on the border between neurosis and psychosis. But, that view doesn’t reflect current thinking. In fact, some advocacy groups have pressed for changing the name, such as calling it emotional regulation disorder.

Meanwhile, the cause of borderline personality disorder remains under investigation, and there’s no known way to prevent it. Possible causes include:

  • Genetics. Some studies of twins and families suggest that personality disorders may be inherited.
  • Environmental factors. Many people with borderline personality disorder have a history of childhood abuse, neglect and separation from caregivers or loved ones.
  • Brain abnormalities. Some research has shown changes in certain areas of the brain involved in emotion regulation, impulsivity and aggression. In addition, certain brain chemicals that help regulate mood, such as serotonin, may not function properly.

Personality forms during childhood. It’s shaped by both inherited tendencies and environmental factors, or your experiences during childhood. Some factors related to personality development can increase your risk of developing borderline personality disorder. These include:

  • Hereditary predisposition. You may be at a higher risk if a close family member — a mother, father or sibling — has the disorder.
  • Childhood abuse. Many people with the disorder report being sexually or physically abused during childhood.
  • Neglect. Some people with the disorder describe severe deprivation, neglect and abandonment during childhood.

border1Marsha Linehan theorizes that borderlines are born with an innate biological tendency to react more intensely to lower levels of stress than others and to take longer to recover. They peak “higher” emotionally on less provocation and take longer coming down. People with BPD are like people with third degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement. In addition, they were raised in environments in which their beliefs about themselves and their environment were continually devalued and invalidated. These factors combine to create adults who are uncertain of the truth of their own feelings.

I also agree with A.J. Mahari’s theory that compliments Linehan. Mahari states, “It is the core wound of abandonment in those who have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) that is the source of insecure or non-existent attachment that leads to the toxic and unhealthy ruptured relationships that have at their centre emotional enmeshment and an insatiable need for love. These broken relationships, often rupture under the weight of the child-like behaviour and needs of the borderline still searching for the much-needed unconditional acceptance, validation and love of a parent as the result of unmet early childhood developmental needs.

Most, if not all, borderline behaviour is driven directly or indirectly by fear of abandonment and the fear of re-experiencing the intolerable pain of your original core wound of abandonment. What feels like it keeps happening to you, is in fact, a triggered, dissociative, regressed re-experiencing of what initially happened to you in the very early and formative developmental years of your life.”  With borderline personality disorder your image of yourself is distorted, making you feel worthless and fundamentally flawed. Your anger, impulsivity and frequent mood swings may push others away, even though you yearn for loving relationships.

Individuals with BPD seem to have a much higher stigma than individuals with other disorders even within the mental health community and there is debate as to whether or not they are treatable. Many professionals will not treat people with BPD or must limit the number of patients. In order for treatment to be successful, it requires a significant commitment from the therapist and patient. My personal belief is that people with BPD can be treated. I, for one, have been receiving treatment and am near a point where I will no longer meet the criteria.

But, it has been a long time of much tumultuous and extremely painful hard work for both my therapist and I. There were times when I think both of us wanted to quit. Persons with BPD are often described, by the DSM as deliberately manipulative and difficult with extreme inner pain and turmoil, powerlessness and defensive reactions with extremely limited coping and communication skills. My translation, they take tremendous energy, extra attention, consistent limit-setting, terminate treatment prematurely and may return, and have a love/hate relationship with the therapist. But, there is hope.

And, I, for one, am getting there; however, it has taken a very long time and much commitment and painful work. I can see why people “give up” treatment. But, the reward for sticking it out is priceless. Well, really not priceless…therapy and medication is expensive, but that is a whole other issue. Don’t even get me started.

Below is a Polyvore collage that I put together expressing how having a borderline personality disorder sometimes feels for me.  I know the image is difficult to see, but if you click on the link below the picture you will be able to see it more clearly.

Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder by ClinicallyClueless on
The text in this post is an excerpt from my blog Clinically Clueless.  Last year, I wrote a five part series about borderline personality disorder so if you want to see more please go visit my blog and click  on the “Borderline” picture on the left sidebar.  Thoughout the month of May, I will be adding different types of posts related to this disorder, so keep your eye out on my blog.  But, do remember to GO! Smell the Coffee!!
I hope that this gives you a better understanding about borderline personality disorder and breaks some misconceptions.  Any and all questions welcomed.  How does this post effect what you thought or didn’t know?

GO! Learn About Mental Health & Mental Illness

Posted on October 5th, 2009 by Clinically Clueless

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This week is dedicated to Mental Health Awareness with October 10th being International Mental Health Day. So what are some examples of mental illness/disorders, you may be surprised or not:

Mental retardation
Learning disorder (reading, math, written expression),
Motor skills disorder,
Communication disorders (expressive language, mixed receptive- language disorder, stuttering),
Pervasive developmental disorder), (autism, Rett’s, Asperger’s)
MentalHealthA3Tic disorder (Tourette’s)
Elimination Disorders
Selective Mutism
Dementia (at least 10 different forms)
Amnesic disorders,
Catatonic Disorder
Substance Related Disorders
Alcohol Related Disorders,
Amphetamine Related Disorders
Caffeine-Related Disorders (I was once diagnosed with this…I have know idea why, by the way where is my coffee!)
Cannabis-Related Disorders
Cocaine-Related Disorders
And the list goes on for each substance addiction
Schizophrenia (five different types)
Other Psychotic Disorders
Mood Disorders ( depression, bipolar, mood disorders, substance –induced mood disorder)
Anxiety Disorders (Panic Disorde, Social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder)
Somatoform Disorders (presence of physical symptoms that suggest an illness, but is actually attributed an underlying stress. For me, my psoriasis and rash on my neck expresses my anxiety)
Dissociative Disorders (five types)
Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders
Eating Disorders
Sleep Disorders
Impulse-Control Disorders
Adjustment Disorder
Personality Disorder (Paranoid, Schizoid, Schizotypal, Antisocial, Histrionic, Narcissistic, Avoidant, Dependent, Borderline, Obessive-Compulsive)

MHWlogoWHO (World Health Organization) statistics for 2002 show that 154 million people globally suffer from depression, only one form of mental illness. Mental disorder effects everyone as one in four have some type of disorder globally.  Mental disorders comprise a broad range of problems, with different symptoms. However, they are generally characterized by some combination of abnormal thoughts, emotions, behaviour and relationships with others. They must interfere with daily life functioning or cause significant distress.  Mental, neurological and behavioural disorders are common in all countries around the world, causing immense suffering and staggering economic and social llw_logo_197x79costs. People with disorders are often subjected to social isolation, poor quality of life and higher death rates. 

For more information, go to  Tasmania Department of Health and Human Services, WHO (World Health Organization), World Federation of Mental Health, World Congress Federation for Mental Health or do a Google Search.  There is a lot of information available.

Do you or someone you know have a mental illness?  Please describe your experience.

GO! Prevent Suicide

Posted on September 10th, 2009 by Clinically Clueless


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Suicide: Yes, I need attention. Please take me seriously, even if I don’t!!

I have a real pet peeve about saying that people who talk about suicide just want attention like it is a bad thing. Attention is not a bad thing (do not tell my therapist…he will use it against me) and all behavior is communication and usually indicates a need, so they need attention. But, let’s get specific what type someone to talk to, a companion, someone to play a game with, someone to help them with their medications, someone to help them with something…it is always a an indication of a want or need that they find this is the only way that they can express it. What are they really trying to say.”

For me, my whole life has been impacted by “just for attention, it is not that bad, she has always been dramatic.” This is especially so when it came to suicidal thoughts and behavior. I have lived with suicidal thoughts my whole life (first active memory at age two). I won’t go into the details here and the younger thoughts were not really formed, but just a sense of not wanting to be. I knew that this was not normal, but I felt like I was defective.

After more than 18 years of active therapy, group therapy, and four  hospitalizations, I still have constant thoughts of suicide. My brain automatically goes there and under stress and especially highly emotional events I feel like I need to die.  I now know that it is my saying that “I am in pain,” “I’m hopeless,” or “I need some help.”  This all is rooted in my childhood trauma.

In high school, I took an overdose of Tylenol before church, so my friend’s parents took me to the hospital and called my mother.  My mother and step-father proceeded to yell at me about being stupid, etc… My mother was hysterical and angry and yelling at me. The emergency staff led them out of the room to my relief.   I was released and my mother was told to take me to see a therapist who I saw twice. I told him I was fine and just wanted some attention. He just took at that and I never saw him again. (I now know that he was sort of incompetent especially working with teenagers). Just adds to my brain that wanting attention is not important. Also, my mother never talked about it again…to this day. She can’t even handle that I’m in therapy and not working. If I bring it up I get ignored.

A few months after that, two of my friends approached my mother and told her that they thought I was suicidal. Well, my mother dismissed them saying, “Well, CC has always been dramatic. She should have been an actress. She is just fine, but thank you for your concern.” Right now, I can barely feel the pain of the disappointment that maybe this once she will listen to someone else.

In college, I began seeing the therapist I now see and it took me over a year to tell him that I even had a suicidal thought. Sometimes I “forget” to tell him and try to handle it on my own just like before. And my head and feelings go, “he doesn’t believe me, he thinks I’m being manipulative or dramatic, he is going to yell at me or hit me, it isn’t that big of a deal, and I’m fine, I should not have talked about it.”  My therapist takes me seriously and am encouraged to talk about it which is such a relief to me. My therapist does not over react and he trusts me and we do talk about whether hospitalization is necessary. Most of the time, it isn’t but he and I monitor the situation.  After 25 years, it feels so good to finally be heard!!!

Please, read further if you want to learn more about what signs there are, how to help and places to go for more information and to obtain immediate assistance.  If  in doubt, always call 911, in the US, for assistance.  There are some worldwide contact information as well.

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Flowers Got the Blues and Hope! Part II

Posted on April 13th, 2009 by Clinically Clueless

Pretend this isn’t a second part and that there are no clues on the page…got it! :-)

What do Buzz Aldrin, Adam Ant, Ingmar Bergman, Halle Berry, Albert Camus, Jim Carrey, Agatha Christie, Sheryl Crow, Rodney Dangerfield, Diana Princess of Wales, Ellen Degeneres, Harrison Ford, Paul Getty, Natalie Imburuglia, Ewan McGregor, Michelangelo, J.K. Rowlings and Queen Elizabeth II of England have in common?

They are all famous!!! :-)

Yes, but they have all had or have Clinical Depression which is called Major Depressive Disorder. Did any of the names surprise you? I was surprised…..

Read the rest of this entry »

Flowers Got the Blues and Hope! Part I

Posted on April 6th, 2009 by Clinically Clueless

Hello from Southern California where people are happy all the time. It’s true you know :-) and people pay us lots of $$ to look that way.

Do you know what the picture on the right is?

It is your brain on alcohol…oh, wrong cause. (Oh, pretend the picture isn’t labeled!) It is a PET scan comparing a normal brain with that of someone with a depressive disorder. The yellow areas indicate brain activity. I think pictures of the brain are fascinating.

Over 18 million people in the United States are diagnosed with clinical depression, but there is hope as it is also highly treatable.

Fun things and things that make you think like spending time here at GO! Smell the Flowers can be part of the cure. Comedy or cure? :-) Or both…laughter is important in healing of any type. I am enjoying writing about mental health issues with a personal touch. I really appreciate people dropping by to smell the flowers and learn more – a great balance of fun & frowns, I think!

Read the rest of this entry »

GO! See the Stigma of Mental Illness in Church!

Posted on November 5th, 2008 by Clinically Clueless

In a recent article entitled “Clergy often dismiss Mental Illness” by Psych Central, “More than 32 percent of Christians who approached their local church for help with a personal or family member’s mental illness were told by their clergy that they did not really have a mental illness.  I personally, think that the percentage is higher.


“They were told the cause of their problem was solely spiritual in nature — such as a personal sin, lack of faith or demonic involvement.“


This Southern Californian became very angry upon reading this article!!!

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Go! Get Arrested!

Posted on October 16th, 2008 by Blue Collar Goddess
Winona Wanna Be

Winona Wanna Bline

My daughter? She thinks she’s Winona Ryder.

Sure, she’s prettier, there’s no doubt about that — no bias here, being the mammy of such stunning joy that my female progeny bequeaths upon all who gaze; but that beauty tends to wander off when she opens her mouth.

I spent my holiday weekend at a sea-glass festival in Delaware, something I’d planned for months and something I looked forward to for months. It was my “light at the end of the tunnel” so to speak. I left Cleveland airport Friday morning, landed in Baltimore and drove to the Virden Center at the University of Delaware. What was going to be five days of complete, selfish relaxation for myself and a friend while staring at “mermaid tears,” and dutiful walking on the beach became an emotional train wreck.

A lovely voice mail from the arresting officer was waiting for me upon my return to our room after a nosh on the bay Saturday evening.

Imagine the sound of a needle crossing the entire length of your favorite vinyl LP. For those of you who don’t remember the finger nail on a chalkboard sensation of THAT sound, think of fingernails on a chalkboard. Right.

“Hello Ms. Nash. We have your daughter in custody. She was arrested for shoplifting . . .” Read the rest of this entry »

Go! Get To The Heart of the Matter?

Posted on September 22nd, 2008 by Blue Collar Goddess

That song — the one by Don Henley from the Eagles?  Yeah.  It’s tripping through my consciousness over and over like a broken record.

If I haven’t turned you off already by using the “F” word (forgiveness) keep on keepin’ on with me here.  I know it’s a long one, but hey — you love me.  Right?  Right?  Aw c’mon . . . you can fire me after you read.

I had to pull two twelve hour shifts back to back last week because I took Wednesday off.  In the corporate world you’re typically given shyte loads of time to use at your discretion, but I’m saving what little time I have left for a much needed break some time soon.  As in, several days off at once.
* * *

Stay with me here, I need to lay the ground work for this thought process.  Most of my life, I’ve been able to move forward and simply ignore the unfortunate circumstances of my childhood and young adult years. I gave the run down of my brutal history once when I was in therapy and the doctor put down his pen — looked at me with a dazed expression and said, “You just rattled all that off like the Pledge of Allegiance.  I hate to sound cliche, but how do really FEEL about all that?”
I think I shrugged and said, “It is what it is” or some such thing.
I used to pride myself on being able to move on from it.  “It” being my brutal history.  And it is brutal.  Some of you are aware of just HOW brutal, and for those of you unawares, that’s okay.  The details are heinous, sad and quite stomach churning in some cases.  We’ll leave it at that.

Here’s the clincher — and we’ll narrow this discussion down right at this moment:  I ignored my history.  I stuffed it way waaaay deep inside and never ever examined it because it frightened me.  Deeply frightened me.  Y’all scare the sh*t outta me, yanno?

The things people are capable of doing are . . . *shakes head*
So I put my Polly Anna dress on and sang “Climb Every Mountain” while deep down despising the whole world.  I would involve myself in other peoples problems because then I could ignore my own while hopefully finding the cure to what ailed me; perhaps by osmosis or the sheer act of assisting a friend I’d be healed.

And gawd, I’ve been angry.  Not just fist shaking mad because the guy in front of me cut me off, but a seething, simmering . . . deeply embittering MAD.  The kind that grows cancerous.  Literally.  That oily, scum at the bottom of the septic tank anger.
It’s gross.

And I’ve ignored it.  I’ve ignored all the hooplah of my existence and dove into magick, into Goddess worship, into God worship, into self worship, into worship of others, into a myriad of journeys that ultimately left me feeling . . . ah . . . unfulfilled and . . .
* * *
Oh kay.  There’s the first part of my screed.
Here comes the second.  Read the rest of this entry »

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