This month is Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness month and I want to focus on one of the criteria of BPD that is currently affecting my emotions.
I have chosen the topic of Anger.
One example of Anger (for me) before I was diagnosed with BPD:
While writing this post, a scenario plays out in my head. It had happened around 2002-3. I was in a place called Stepping Stones and it was one of those days where I was stomping around highly pissed off with the fact that I could not train – (I used to train in Muay Thai 6 days a week 3 hours a day) and my training sessions had been cut down to 20min exercise a day.
I was due to see my therapist but I was in such a rage. I was cursing, dumping chairs into the swimming pool and in-between all this, punching a tree trunk.
My therapist came looking for me and asked me to come join him so that we could talk about what was bugging me. Without stopping, I snapped ‘No! Just go away!’ He stood there for about a minute, and then said ‘Okay, when you are ready, you know where to find me.” and off he went. I joined him 10 minutes later.
I woke up this morning trying to figure out what it is like to have ‘normal, calm, rational reactions’ to those nasty bloody bumps in the road of Life. This made me consider on how I have dealt with Angry emotions that crop up within me.
A part of the official DSM-IV definition for the criteria of being classed as having a Borderline Personality Disorder reads as such:
Borderline anger is more than just a standard emotional reaction. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), anger in BPD is described as “inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).” …
I read the words of the criteria, and from my (BPD) perspective, they seem rather filled with doom and gloom and depressive as hell. Could they not have stuck some tiny, tiny small-print somewhere in that bunch of depressing words which stated “But!There is bloody hope for all you abnormals!!'” At least something to strive towards!
Since they haven’t, I decided that I will use myself as the very biased, solo, test subject of this particular criteria and hopefully lessen all the bloody doom and gloom. My base (control) will, sort of, be the criteria I quoted. My focus will be on Anger.
So… how have I dealt with all my, as defined by the DSM criteria, ‘inappropriate levels of anger’?
Hmmm… let’s see…
Over the past three years, the subject (me) discovered that being allowed to work through Anger in a safe environment; that the giving of permission to the subject (me) to punch, scream, curse, throw a temper tantrum simply to ‘get it all out’ is … it’s … well it has a damn good feeling to it! It is satisfying and freeing.
Over time, the more the subject (me) was given permission to indulge in this tantrum-like behaviour, the more the subject (me) was able to express her feelings in a much more rational way once she had calmed down. In my case, it took about three years of bloody hard work with lots of Compassion and Understanding from a Loved One.
As time passed, a noticeable change started occurring within the subject (me) and the way she expressed her anger. Granted, it starts off the way a spark sets off a wild-fire, yet this time the wild-fire occurred within a contained environment.
It was easily dampened and the subject (me) became less of a crazed, unreasonable maniac, calming down faster, better equipped to consider where her anger stemmed from, acknowledging the reasons for her anger, apologising for the tantrum and learning from the experience.
What was very obvious in this transformation is that the subject (me) felt safe and loved throughout her tantrums; that the person being mangled and mutilated was bloody brave to take all those knocks (I don’t think I ever apologised for them) and that he accepted that he was simply a vessel.
He understood that all the subject (me) required was the permission and space to fully relive her child-hood, and that once it was given, it would slowly alter her responses to anger.
She started as a toddler, screaming and crying (cursing and punching) to get her way, then moved through that stage to the adolescent who still screamed and cried but who now had the fore-sight to consider their actions and perhaps say ‘Oh shit, maybe I was wrong?’
At this current point in her life, this young woman walks in a world where so many of us do not know how to express our complete anger.
I look at the arguments that ensue in this world and it often seem as thought the only purpose to the argument is that there has to be a winner and a looser. Dominance vs Suppression. So, from where I stand, either way, that anger explodes in a very BPD like way.
Whether you were a part of the heaving mass of angry protestors or you were the silent boy in the back of the class who one day snaps and rips the life out of his classmates by filling them with lead. Passive or aggressive – Anger is Anger.
I guess, it’s the word ‘frequent displays of anger’ that separates those with ‘normal’ anger and those with ‘abnormal’ anger.
Random Thought: Ten friends in a room, all diagnosed with BPD, all extremely angry for one reason or another. I wonder what would happen.
Right, let me get back on track or I will get stuck on some philosophical debate with myself about anger.
This woman (me) applauds herself for all her damn hard work on learning about expressing her anger no matter how difficult it is She acknowledges it, expresses it, mourns it, learns a lesson from it, and moves forward from it.
She is still that Feisty, Passionate woman who is quite willing to throw some form of ceramic plate against the wall; yet, she is able to sit down with you and deal with the matter at hand in a rational, yet passionate way.
This is where I, Sevae, is at in terms of dealing with Anger. To me, this is what Awareness is about. So there is hope. The fine print really should state this.
Love, Light, Magic and Joy to all of you!
While there has been many that have guided me to this point in my Life regards how I cope with Anger, there is one person I want to extend a very personal thank you to. To ‘M’ –
Thank you, for giving me a safe environment to, as well as the permission to scream, punch, curse, rant, rave at you for all the perceived injustices I have received.
Thank you for taking the time to log onto a game with me so that I can try to ‘kill’ you over and over, or be ‘killed’ simply to physically release my anger.
Thank you, for taking the time to sit down with me and listen to my complaints and hurts while wiping away my tears.
Thank you, for never judging me.
Thank you, sincerely, for swallowing all the barbs, slights and insults I dumped onto you, looking for that weakness within you.
Thank you, for never demanding an apology from me.
Thank you, for being my best friend in so many respects.
My Healing (in this) and many other things, started with You.
Thank You ‘M’