A matter of choice – BPD and self-worth

I am posting another “Reblog” from the same blog, “Life in a Bind – BPD and Me”, as this post really gets at one of the fundamental aspects of therapy: self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is not simple, as it involves accepting the part or parts of yourself that refuse to accept you. In other words, in order to learn to love yourself, you may need to love the parts of you that hate you and berate you, that try to convince you that you are worthless…

Life in a Bind - BPD and me

People come to therapy with a variety of issues, and with their own individual goals. But whatever the particular difficulty, at the heart of therapy there are often twin tasks: to reveal the ways in which we really think about ourselves; and to ‘make up for’ what has been missing. Or, to put it in even more general terms, the twin tasks of therapy are concerned with content (or process) and with relationship – and both are important.

But even when it comes to content, and uncovering the nature of our thoughts and assumptions about the person we thought we knew best – that too, at heart, is about relationship. But in this case, it is the relationship we have with ourselves, that is being explored.

In my experience, and on the basis of reading numerous blogs by others with BPD, there is nothing more likely to elicit feelings of…

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Trump Trauma or Trump Overdose?New DSM 5 Disorder

This comes from my own personal experience. Others with this illness, you are not alone! (Stay tuned for post on more severe illness, Trump Psychosis)
New DSM 5 Disorder for OCD or Trauma Chapter, possibly a specific form of PTSD:
Name: Trump Trauma or Trump Overdose, specify whether co occurring with Trump Psychosis
Age: 5 years to 99 years
Symptoms: One or more of the following, occurring at least 3 times/week:
(specify severity: mild, moderate, severe)
1. Trump in any form triggers somatic responses such as nausea, vomiting, digestive issues  
2. Trump in any form triggers responses such as revulsion in form of anxiety, panic, depersonalization, hopelessness and/or depressive outlook.
3.Inability to control obsessive thinking about not wanting to think about Trump and/or experiencing intrusive thoughts/images about Trump.
4. Nightmares about Trump and/or feeling of being in a nightmare while awake. Knowing that you’re not delusional about waking nightmare:
5. Compulsion: Feeling not in control of contact with social media about Trump and spending 20 minutes or more of your day in a Trump Trance writing posts or commenting or reading about Trump while being aware of not wanting to do so. 
6. Paranoia: after other symptoms get triggered, believing there’s something wrong with you or that you’re crazy to have such symptoms/reactions.
7. Frequent Violent fantasies you can’t control about physically assaulting, disfiguring and/or killing Trump or Trump dying sometimes accompanied by brief feeling of euphoria that often triggers subsequent descent into depression.
8.Frequent Violent fantasies regarding sources of info about Trump (usually in form of physically assaulting/destroying TV, Computer or Smartphone, specify whether danger to others)
9. Frequent fantasies about living on another planet, belief and/or realization that you are from another planet if this knowledge further triggers other symptoms. (see treatment)
Treatment/Cure:

1. Cure: Trump somehow disappears. Symptoms should be gone in a few days.

2. Trump gets out of the race. Symptoms will immediately subside, may linger a few weeks.

3. Person with this disorder finds any way to return to their planet and reduce greatly contact with planet earth. Taking a substantial amount of aliens chosen carefully is also a great option. Not a complete cure due to memories of Trump situation and concern for planet Earth.

Treatment for chronic condition:

  1. recognizing you have this disorder and you’re not crazy helps reduce paranoid symptoms while also triggering symptoms if you get reality check through search engine or social media

2. Talking about moving to other countries and picking what country/looking at homes there can help reduce symptoms. Focusing on that country or any other as a safe space may also reduce symptoms.Cure: Trump magically disappears or .gets out of the race.

3. Avoidance of exposure to Trump will reduce symptoms. Tracking time in day that you are symptom free gives hope for recovery. (Trump Disorder tracking App coming soon.)

Medication: Klonopin and similar anti-anxiety medication may help reduce symptoms and other medications of this type may make you so drowsy you forget about him for a while. Any medication proven to reduce nightmare frequency.

Course of illness: whether treated or untreated, will worsen with time. Possible extreme severity can cause another disorder: Trump Psychosis.

Tuesday Blog Day: “The Cornerperson”

I’m still trying out my new blogging schedule, so this will be for Tuesday, Feb. 16. Tuesday is the day for using words to say something in one or more sentenceI’ve heard this phrase from a few patients about therapy, even about me being in their corner when they are not!

Interestingly the idiom originates with boxing, which I often conjure up as a therapist. It feels like I am in the ring but in the corner; I’m not a boxing expert; in fact, as usual with blogging, I learn something just by getting into a topic. Check out this list of boxing terms:

http://www.predictem.com/boxing/terms.php

The “cornerman” (“corner person”), also called the “Second” is one of several people who work in that corner during the “fight”. The head trainer is described as a Chief Second.

“Go the distance” is from boxing too, and also can be used as a metaphor for therapy.

SO,when you think of therapy as a process and the role of the therapist, one way to describe it is that the therapist is your Second, your Cornerperson, and sometimes you may notice that the therapist is in your corner even when you are not. What this means for me as an art therapist is that I am familiar with sitting or standing patiently in the person’s corner, even when they seem to be hiding or in the other fighters corner. Perhaps the interesting question would be, “When it feels like I’m in your corner when you’re not, where are you?”

Does this mean life is seen as a “boxing match” which involves fighting another person with your gloves on and there being winners and losers?

Not really. To me maybe the boxing match is useful for a person’s process in therapy. Are they fighting themselves? Are they fighting imaginary opponents or very real ones? Are they training and not fighting to win anything?

Maybe it is more accurate to describe the  therapy process as a boxing match that has the patient, their other “parts”, and the therapist in their corner? During therapy you see and accept parts of yourself that were in the “shadow” part of yourself. Integration can involve accepting all parts and having all parts be in the “Whole” gestalt of you and your Self concept. Perhaps seeing the extreme parts of yourself, such as the self-hater and the “grandiose” self, could be seen as having those parts in the ring and at some point they don’t fight each other, they can co-exist side by side. At first, the self-hater may  be taking up most of the space and you can’t even see your grandiose self… Part of the therapist’s job may be to see some parts that are mostly in the shadow and help the person look at that part without hiding from it…

#26 – Why BPD Should Be Abolished, and What Should Replace It

This is great. I am completely in agreement and glad I saw this post. Just a few days ago I was thinking about how BPD is an insulting diagnosis, as those suffering from it have nothing wrong with their personality. Most early attachment issues are caused by early multiple childhood traumas in an invalidating environment which causes extreme trauma. Based on my clinical experience and readings, I don’t think BPD is useful anymore, and that emotional dysregulation really describes the extreme PTSD biological and environmental symptoms that indicate the diagnosis. The current BPD name does not match this emotional , mental and spiritual disorder. Being on the Borderline between neurosis and psychosis as it was originally observed, is more a reaction from doctors, how they felt around people with this condition. It does not match the condition itself.

BPD Transformation

Do we want people to believe that BPD is a real psychiatric illness that they must manage for the rest of their lives, or do we want to promote a message of hope which says, “You can become free of your emotional distress and live the life that you want”?

By presenting BPD as a severe mental illness which can be managed but not cured, the medical model of the BPD label utterly fails to promote hope. Additionally, the medicalized concept of BPD is scientifically broken: It does not describe a valid illness which is consistent across a population.

Why do we keep using BPD if there is so much wrong with it? Is it possible that we would be better off without BPD?

And if BPD is should be abolished, what should replace it?

This article addresses how to replace BPD.

To this question, my first answer is “Nothing” – that we should simply…

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Stopping Anorexia: An Open Letter to the President of France @fhollande

very good points.

Girl Boner

Dear President Francois Hollande,

I want to start by thanking you for caring enough about women’s wellbeing to make changes in France’s policies. Banishing pro-anorexia websites and not allowing anorexic models to walk your nation’s runways could help minimize the epidemic of body-hate and responsive self-harm that runs so rampant. I’m also grateful for the conversations your campaign to stop anorexia has spurred, and feel compelled to offer my own thoughts.

I realize I’m one voice amid countless, and it’s likely this won’t even reach you. For this reason, I’m sharing this letter publicly, with hopes its message might make a positive difference—if not for a country or industry, then for someone.

These issues are dear to my heart. I modeled for years, and nearly died of anorexia while working in Paris. I’ve since fully recovered, and spent over 8 years as a nutritionist, offering dietary therapy for people struggling with eating disorders and…

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Blog For Mental Health 2015

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2015 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”

This is the link to the official site for Blog for Mental Health 2015, and I congratulate them on the beautiful image that I was allowed to put in my side bar! I don’t know who drew it but I will try to find out:
Blog For Mental Health 2015

I am very excited to join this cause. I think I can say that my blog is dedicated to educating people about mental health and well-being and calling out society on stigma and stereotypes that are untrue and damaging, as well as being committed to sharing the stories of others who suffer from any mental issues, disorders and people’s courageous roads to recovery through linking to other sites, re blogging great blog posts by people suffering and overcoming on the front lines and by telling my stories about my work as an art therapist, and showing the healing power of art through my journey as an artist myself and others’ finding hope and healing in the arts.

In my blog, “Musings of an Art Therapist/Artist”, I have featured stories abut mental health as well as what I said above, and the impact of art therapy and the creative arts on mental health and well being.

Like almost everybody else, I have personal experience with mental health and mental illness, and I am very aware of how dangerous untreated mental illness can be, having gone to a few terrible funerals of loved ones who died in the front lines/trenches. Luckily, I have witnessed a lot of wonderful transformations on the road to recovery, both of family members, friends and my own patients. Every day I witness huge miracles of survival, strength, resilience and recovery. I see people become healed through caring for their creative spirit as well as their mental and physical body. The work I do I conceive of as spiritual experiences. Or perhaps human experiences with spiritual beings. (Deepak Chopra: “We are not humans having spiritual experiences; we are spiritual beings having human experiences”) I am very humbled and honored in my work as an art therapist to be invited to be a witness and sometimes guide on people’s personal journeys of recovery.

As a therapists, I owe a debt of gratitude to the 12 Step Recovery Program, which has been a beacon of hope and support to many of my patients. I am grateful that I have been able to convince some of my patients to try out this program, attend a meeting, find spiritual connection with others going through similar struggles. It is often a struggle to encourage someone to go to a meeting week after week, but when the person does finally go and finds this miracle of community and mental health, it is wonderful to witness. The 12 Step Meetings of any kind, whether OA (Overeaters Anonymous), AA, Alanon, DA (Debtors Anonymous), or any of the other types of meetings, provide so much support and connection for people who feel isolated and alone on their journey towards well being. If mental health can be seen as a flower with many petals, art therapy is one of the petals, 12 Step can be another if useful, medication management coupled with a caring psychiatrist can be another one, yoga is often one of the petals, mindfulness meditation another, exercise another, making art, music, and other creative arts on your own is another, acupuncture, Reiki and/or other alternative therapies another petal, maybe this image helps one to see that it takes a whole flower or a “village” for mental health to continue to improve and be maintained. “Self-care” is so important to mental health and well being. For myself, this means making art daily, no matter whether it be 20 minutes or several hours, including making art with and alongside my patients; it also means doing my own yoga practice 4-5 days a week for at least half an hour a day, and a few other things. I say this to demonstrate that all of us need some kind of self-care. Quality time with loved ones is of course another form of daily self-care for me and many others.

I am happy to participate in this wonderful “Blog for Mental Health” experience!

Yoga Journal’s Chakra “Tune Up” for the New Year

Here is the link to Yoga Journal’s article about the first chakra, the root chakra:
http://www.yogajournal.com/slideshow/root-chakra-muladhara-tune-up-practice/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=story1_more&utm_campaign=myym_01062015

I posted a few months ago in this blog about the fifth of the 7 chakras, located in the throat area, as it is connected to art therapy
(https://natashashapiroarttherapy.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/the-fifth-chakra-and-its-connectionto-art-therapy/)

However, the best way to be introduced to and gain an appreciation and understanding of the Chakra system is of course to start with the first chakra at the base of the spine, the root chakra, and move up from there in numerical order.

There are many ways to incorporate chakra work into your life, and one easy to connect with us through yoga and or meditation. There are yoga postures or asanas that are good for balancing different chakras. Also, if you read the book I mentioned in my post by Anodea Judith, there is both a CD and a workbook as well as the cards for detailed work on balancing the chakras.

You can find many images of the root chakra on Pinterest and the Internet. For visual people having images, colors and cards can be useful. There are some great simple affirmations for each chakra as well.

For example, you can say to yourself in the morning when you awaken, “I am inviting and receiving abundance in my life.”
“Everything I need is already within me.”
“I am safe. I am centered. I am grounded.”
And I will end with the profound. Here’s a great quote from the mystic poet Rumi, “Maybe you are searching among the branches, for what only appears in the roots.”

The Fifth Chakra and its Connectionto Art Therapy

The Chakras are areas in the body, types of energy which can be in or out of balance. The word chakra means wheel and the chakras (fields of energy) can be visualized as wheels of energy within the different locations on the body. This is a photo of the fifth chakra card.image

I have some great circle chakra cards (even shape of card can remind you of a wheel or mandala), which I got a long time ago with a great book and CD: it also includes guided meditations.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1591790883/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?qid=1412692658&sr=8-4&pi=AC_SX110_SY165_QL70

At times, when patients notice there is stuck energy located in specific area or areas of the body, I utilize the chakra cards as further information on what is not in balance.

This is the Chakra for this week:
It’s the fifth of the seven chakras, located in the throat. It’s called Vissudha in Sanscrit. That word means purification. These chakra cards have categoriesin this order printed on the back of each card: name, location, purpose, issues, element, endocrine gland, color, sense, seed sound, vowel sound, identity, orientation, demon, rights, developmental stage and cosmic principle.

Endocrine glands are part of the endocrine system located throughout the body and secrete hormones into the blood stream. You can certainly find a lot more about them in the Internet. The thyroid gland located in the throat. It’s actually shaped like a butterfly. Webmd says it secretes several kinds of hormones and
“Thyroid hormones act throughout the body, influencing metabolism, growth and development, and body temperature.”

This fifth chakra is concerned with the right to self-expression and all that’s connected with it and one’s “creative identity”. So it encompasses the most important aspects of art therapy and to some extent, Amy kind of therapy: being heard, right to speak, speaking your truth, listening. So the sense is hearing.

The developmental stage, 7-12 years old is an interesting connection and a pointer for exploration with yourself and patients. Do you remember these years on your life? Were you validated and acknowledged especially for what you said or expressed through your creativity or was that ignored? At this time were you in a validating environment or an invalidating environment? We’re there secrets and lies you were aware of or found out about that were part of the family system at this time period?

Have you in your life experienced any physical imbalances or health challenges in your throat area and when was this?

At present do you feel heard and safe to express your truth in therapy and your life outside therapy? Are you afraid of speaking up in any arenas of your life? What does this fear remind you of or feel like in your body?

As you can see, the chakra system is useful in many ways for healing process.

Where did it originate?
This website
http://home.comcast.net/~chakra_system/chakra.html
states:
“Chakras are first mentioned in the Vedas, ancient Hindu texts of knowledge. Early text that provide the location of the chakras include: the Shri Jabala Darshana Upanishad, the Cudamini Upanishad, the Yoga-Shikka Upanishad and the Shandilya Upanishad. Hiroshi Motoyama in “Theories of the Chakras: Bridge to Higher Consciousness” discusses these text and that of 10th Century mystic Guru Goraknath who wrote in the Gorakshashatakam about awakening these energy centers through meditation.

According to Anodea Judith in her book “Wheels of Life”, these early Hindu writings come from an even older oral tradition of the Aryan culture. This Aryan culture was believed to have invaded India during the second century B.C.E. bringing with it its culture and beliefs.”

So the Chakra System has been around for centuries but continues to be a useful tool in the healing arts!

Distress Tolerance: The Dialectic

A great description of the “Dialectical” of DBT Therapy:

Beauty and the Borderline

Before I launch into a special category of Distress Tolerance skills (the “Dialectical” skills, I call them)  I want to say (er, write) a few words about the dialectic, which is one of the key concepts behind DBT — so key, in fact, that “Dialectical” is the first word of DBT.

Walking on the SidewalkThe “dialectic” is a word with a lot — and I mean A LOT — of baggage.  Philosophers throughout recorded history have written ridiculous amounts about it, discussing this and that about different types of dialectic, blah blah blah.  (Sadly — I write with a smile — this sort of high-falutin’ discussion is what turns ME on, but I know most people would switch off once I started going on about how fascinating it all is, so I’ll stick to what’s pertinent to us.)  Essentially, the dialectic is, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, “a method of examining and discussing…

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