keep it r e a l. be in love with your life. every minute of it.




Friday, May 23, 2014

With it being graduation season, I have had some time to reflect on my post graduation year. What I realized, as I am sure every one else, This past year did NOT go the way I thought it would. At the time I had been dating some one for about a year, I had been accepted to Utah State University, the ONLY school I applied to, and I really had NO idea what I wanted to do. Part of me really wanted to go to USU, but the other part wanted to stay in Snowflake, AZ and wait until He (ex-boyfriend) graduated. Yes he was a grade younger than me. As the summer went on I worked and saved up money. I purchased my own car with cash, and started packing for Logan, UT. A couple weeks before I moved He broke up with me. Yes I was devastated! I thought that we were going to do the long distance thing and it was going to work. *I do not know what I was thinking*. My mother and I started the 12 hour drive from Snowflake to Logan. In the car I remember talking about what I wanted to do while I was up there are the things I thought would happen. **Disclaimer; I know these things are super stupid now, but bare in mind I had recently (2 weeks) turned 18. I was, and still am a baby** I remember telling her that I would probably meet some one and get married. (WHAT ON EARTH WAS I THINKING). I also had high hopes of making tons of amazing friends that I would keep forever, dating tons of cute guys and finding Mr. Right, going to all of the school activities, getting straight A's, growing my hair out super long, staying skinny, and plenty of others. I just thought so many good things would happen, nothing bad, and that college would be great. Guess what, not ONE of those things happened. I did date a lot at first, but got sick of it. I made a few really good friends, but not a ton! I am extremely BLESSED to have the people I do in my life. I went to one school dance and it was only for the concert, I didn't even go into the dance. I went to a few sports games, but I usually went alone and sat alone. I chopped all my hair off in September when my mom came to see me. I gained about 50 pounds, yes it is okay, you can cry with me. Given when I graduated I weighed a little over 90 pounds. The weight was MUCH needed. TONS has changed since.

One year ago me on 24 May 2013 (graduation day): 17 years old, weighed 91 pounds (I remember weighing myself, which was not unusual because I did every day multiple times a day, and thinking "man I really need to stop doing this to myself"). I ate no more than 400 calories a day, and if I ate any more I would throw it all up. I was in a relationship. I lived at home. Intended major: Marketing.

Me today: 18 years old, weighing in at 124 pounds. I eat about 600-1000 calories a day, which is a huge difference for me. I exercise every morning. I have short hair. Working at Celebrations in Snowflake, AZ. I live in my aunt and uncles little studio apartment. I am now working on becoming an Art major. I will be submitting my portfolio in October. Best thing is that I AM NOT MARRIED! Wow, could you imagine throwing this burning mess into marriage. I am still trying to get my own life figured out.

I am sure there is a lot more I could add to both of those, but those seem to be the biggest changes in me. I am still very lacking in self confidence, but I am doing better. The past year I went through some of the craziest and life changing things. Events I never saw happening. I have been asked, what would you have done differently? To be honest. NOTHING. So what, things did not go the way I intended. I made some of the best friends of my life in the past few months. I have learned things, good and bad about myself. I would have never guess that I would love to paint as much as I do. I would have NEVER thought that I would be an art major at a university. Year ago me would have told present me, you are crazy, that is not very realistic so don't do it. One thing I have learned is that you shouldn't do things that don't make you happy. That realization did not come easily. I am still reminded daily of that. Now that I am begging to do things for myself I am slowly becoming happier. I am extremely thankful for the trials that I have had to overcome, or that I am overcoming. I am also really grateful for the supportive family that I have; they are just so good to me. I am no where near where I want to be but I am a lot closer than I was one year ago. Needless to say, I am OK with where I am at. Happy, comfortable, or any other more positive adjective would not describe it. I also feel like if you are comfortable with where you are at you won't move forward as much. I am excited to see where I am in a year from now! I am not going to be setting unrealistic goals or having any crazy idea of what this next year might be like. Instead I am going to take it one day at a time. Setting daily goals to get me to my monthly goals which will get me to my yearly goals. You just have to take it one day at a time, and be accepting that things probably will  not happen the way you plan.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My life with borderline.

 A few months ago, back in February I attempted suicide. Yes this may or may not come as a shock to most. I was very sick of always feeling alone and feeling like I would never be good enough. My feelings were always so confusing. One minute I can be on top of the world, the next I am anxious, the next I am depressed. My emotions are unpredictable and I am on a constant roller coaster. I can’t control how my emotions change. I still find it very difficult to tolerate my emotions. I could go from loving some one so much to hating them in an instant. I have always only ever been able to see things in black and white. I always feel every single emotion known to mankind all at once, multiplied by a million. I have struggled with self-harm and eating disorders, mainly anorexia, and many other issues in my life. That night in the hospital doctors told me that I had depression, which I had already assumed. So they started me on anti-depressants to help regulate my emotions. About a month into it I still did not feel like anything was helping. I was still upset all the time, and always so emotional (which I am sure also had to do with the fact that I am a girl). So my mother and roommate talked after her psychology class one day about a mental illness she had recently learned about. After doing an extensive amount of research, my mom called and made an appointment with a psychiatrist. The day of my appointment came and I went. We talked about how I feel and things that have happened to me. Near the end of my appointment he told me that I had what is called Borderline Personality Disorder, or Emotionally Unstable Disorder and also a few other things. When I tell people that I have BPD, they assume I mean Bipolar Disorder. I actually mean a disorder that affects 1-2% of the population: Borderline Personality Disorder. I find that people tend to not know the first thing about it. It’s also VERY difficult to explain, so I thought I’d write this blog post to help with BPD awareness. So I will start off with a description and some facts, then tell you more about my story and things I feel. 

Background Information about Borderline Personality Disorder:
BPD is listed in the DSM as a newly recognized personality disorder.
·Roller coaster of emotions (ex. Feeling happy and confident one day and desperate and despairing another).
Note: Key emotions associated with the disorder are a sense of emptiness and intense anger or rage
· Problems with forming and maintaining relationships
· Having an unstable identity (That is, the way you see and feel about yourself depends on who are with, and their view of you)
· Engaging in impulsive and risky behaviors without considering the consequences
· Desperately fearing rejection or abandonment
· Occasionally experiencing hallucinations or delusions.
Individuals diagnosed with BPD also tend to have other mental health concerns, like anxiety, depression, fears and phobias, eating disorders and substance abuse. They also go from one unstable and intense relationship to an equally unhealthy relationship.
· 2% of the general population
· 10% of all mental health outpatients
· 20% of psychiatric inpatients
· 75% of those diagnosed are women
· 75% have reported physical or sexual abuse
· 30 – 60% of those presenting with a personality disorder have BPD.
Among them 25.8% sexual abuse, 36.4% physical abuses, 43.7% emotional abuses, 9.3% physical negligence and 43.0% witnesses of violence.
· Engaging in self-harm or substance abuse
In romantic relationships and close friendships, they are clingy, insecure and have low self-worth (which often leads to feelings of jealousy). Although they seek for closeness and intimacy their sense of neediness can make this hard to sustain.
In other social relationships, they continually battle with low self-esteem, expect to be judged, and don’t feel like they belong. Thus, they expect these relationships to disappoint and fail.
It is unclear what causes borderline personality disorder. It is believed to be due to a combination of factors, including: innate temperament, difficult early life experiences (such as a major house move, the loss of a parent through death or divorce, childhood neglect, or some kind of abuse), and experiencing ongoing or significant stress. However, this is not the case with all who have BPD.
In terms of treatment and support, the main thing to target is the person’s need for love, unconditional acceptance and a chance to be heard. Often, talking therapy is very useful, as well access to a person when they’re feeling overwhelmed. (That is, having access to some kind of crisis counseling). Usually, medication is only prescribed to treat related symptoms like anxiety.

Borderline Personality Disorder Facts and Statistics
Prevalence: BPD has a higher incidence of occurrence than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder,
- BPD is a debilitating biological disorder.
- 69% to 75% exhibit self-destructive behaviors such as self-mutilation, chemical dependency, eating disorders and suicide attempts.
- 8 - 10% die by suicide usually due to lack of impulse control over depression. Which is the highest percentage of successful suicide rates of all mental illnesses, because of the history of self-destructive behaviors and suicide attempts.
- 50% experience Clinical Depression
- Approximately 25% of those with BPD also meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Of Dual Diagnosed People, 50-67% have BPD.
- BPD has received very little attention and funding by our nation’s health care system.
- Most clinicians are under-educated about BPD and appropriate treatment. So people continue to suffer.
- Cause of BPD is unclear but it appears to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. More research is needed.
- Severe headaches and migraine appear to be more prevalent in patients with BPD than the general population.
- BPD is highly stigmatized in the world.
- Many clinicians refuse to treat BPD.
- BPD is virtually unknown to the public.
- Studies show inadequate regulation of serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters in those with BPD.
- Discontinuation of medications are high at 50%.
- On the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), BPD patients do not show a common profile. Personality traits appear to be a combination of histrionic, narcissistic, and antisocial personality.
- BPD (borderline personality disorder) can be extremely hard on families. - Families need support.
- Decreased glucose uptake in medial orbital frontal cortex may be associated with diminished regulation of impulsive behavior in BPD.
- Comorbid conditions in BPD may also affect the ability to act responsibly.
- Patients with borderline personality disorder remembered more difficulties with separation between ages 6 and 17 years, more mood reactivity and poorer frustration tolerance between ages 6 and 17, and the onset of more symptoms (most prominently sadness, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts) before age 18 than did patients with other personality disorders.
- These results indicate that many of the features of adult patients with borderline personality disorder may initially appear during childhood and adolescence and that these features may be used to differentiate borderline from other personality disorders
- Traumatic events were reported by 70.7% of the borderline subjects. (For 30%, the cause is different)
- Patients reported significantly higher rates of psychiatric disorders in their families in general, especially anxiety disorders, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

What Having Borderline Personality Disorder Means To Me:
Imagine you’re on a never-ending roller coaster, with no possible way of getting off of it. That’s how our emotions are, always up and down. Things are always black and white, hardly ever in between. You can go from loving you, to hating you in a short time period. It is scary; because you never know how you’re going to feel when you wake up, and you always seem to push those close to you away. I feel very badly for my family because they have to deal with it every day. At times I would lash out, and it was only because I did not how to regulate my emotions and feelings. Good thing they have been patient enough to put up with me for 18 years (and even more to come). It does not affect only me; it affects every single person involved in my life. I am very sorry for that, but there is nothing more I can do about it. I am seeing a therapist and I am getting help, but it will be a very long journey, for the rest of my life. For me Borderline Personality Disorder has made me terrified of abandonment. As much as I hate to say this, one of the worst things about having BPD is the constant fear of abandonment that we have. This is one of the biggest reasons why our relationships are so rocky; we always feel as if we’re going to be abandoned, so we make ourselves out to look like the victim. It’s harsh, but it’s the cold truth. Often we feel that if we destroy the relationship first by pushing boundaries, we are the ones abandoning them, which somehow seems more satisfying in a weird, twisted way. I know that in my past relationships, I pushed everyone away. I tried to close off my feelings because no matter what, I always felt as if they’d be used against me. Other things that I feel include being more sensitive than other people. My emotions are so intense at times that I feel consumed by them. It’s like drowning, or being strangled by feelings. As the feelings become more intolerable, you end up choking on them. When you are this distressed you are desperate for it all to stop, to be able to think clearly again, to do anything to end the pain. My BPD means I am unable to tolerate negative emotions in a healthy way. Without DBT (Dialectic Behavioral Therapy), I would be finding other ways of coping that are not very good, like in the past restricting, purging, and self-harm. DBT is a long process of which I am still in the early stages of. Sometimes, DBT doesn’t always work. Like right now – the emotions are so intense it physically hurts. Distress tolerance is DBT’s way of teaching me how to cope with those negative emotions I struggle to tolerate and it is not a quick fix. I’m not going to lie; sometimes it hurts that there is no quick fix. Sometimes I don’t want to tolerate the pain because I’ve tried to tolerate it long enough and I want it to go away. Sometimes it hurts so much that acceptance feels impossible because I just can’t accept that it’s all right to have these thoughts and urges.  Determined to get rid of my pain, and then I am then told that I can’t fight or get rid of the pain and have to accept how I feel, it’s made me feel hopeless. I can accept the thoughts and urges sometimes – mostly when they are not that intense or intrusive. That gives me the opportunity to practice it, so I guess I have made progress there, no matter how small. Right now, accepting the thoughts and urges when I can barely function because of them is hard. There’s a constant battle going on in my head right now: one side is telling me to just accept it, because they are thoughts and urges and it’s okay to feel them, but I don’t have to act on them. The other side is screaming at me to just get rid of the pain, but I am tolerating it a little bit more. At times it is just much easier to just give in. I just want a break from my head. I can’t name the emotion I’m feeling, because I don’t know what it is. It is unbearable and it hurts.  I am consumed by emotional pain so extreme that I just stop functioning. To say it’s living hell is an understatement. This is the reality. This is what it is like to live with borderline personality disorder: unpredictable. One day you can be coping really quite well with it, then the next, you struggle to cope. We hear people say “happiness is a choice” so often. Although, they are just trying to help, it’s important to understand that for us, no, it is not. Just like mental illness isn’t a choice. You don’t choose to be depressed, you don’t choose to have BPD, and you don’t choose to have anxiety.  You don’t choose to have a mental illness. Happiness is not a choice for people with mental illness. However, being positive is a choice. I know it’s tough, I know the battle is exhausting, but you don’t have to feed the “demons” in your head. You’re stronger than that. You can try, you can fight it, and you can go against it. These are the people I look up to and empathize with, the ones that constantly fight, and yet still struggle at times. I understand it can be hard not to give in, believe me, as someone with BPD, a survivor of suicide attempts and a couple years of self-harm. Constantly being negative will not help. It only helps me with being able to empathize or feel badly for myself, because I have fought my whole life. We can do this. Be patient with yourself. This is where we are going to start to learn to love ourselves. And we are going to go slow and look for our beautiful qualities we all have inside us. We are going to learn ourselves. Know ourselves, enjoy spending time with ourselves and find the things that make us laugh, and be lame, and silly, and fun. We are going to learn to love and accept our flaws and our strengths. We are going to be fine with the quiet and be with the noise. We are going to learn how to talk to people and what when they talk back. We are going to learn to make eye contact and if only for a sec. And we have no limit, no time frame, and no pressure. We are going to go at our own pace and we are going to be supported. We are going to learn what it’s like to live. It all may seem like a bad and negative thing, and I am not going to lie, it feels like that to me all the time. There is so much progression and lessons to learn from this.  Although, I may feel like it is not fair that I have to deal with all of this, I do know that I am not the only one out there with BPD, or any other mental illness. It is a very common thing that many people struggle with. That is why I feel it is important to be aware of what is out there, so we can help each other overcome these extremely hard trials. Recently I have been so blessed with some of the greatest friends of my life. I do understand that I am not fun to deal with at times, or even a good friend. So I appreciate all those who have stayed in my life no matter how I have acted or treated them. All throughout high school I never felt good enough for any one. I never had a steady group of friends all the time. It was always changing because people did not know how to deal with my “drama”. Turns out it wasn’t just drama, (YES I understand teenagers in high school, there is drama, I was dramatic) it was borderline. So before assuming an individual is sad because they want the attention or are choosing to be that way, think again and ask what you can do to help. Take action and make this world a more accepting place to live. I do understand that talking about my disorder will seem very weird to most. This culture makes it seem taboo. I am not writing this for sympathy or attention. To be honest that is the last thing I want. I am just writing to help people to be more aware of what is out there. I became an expert at putting on a mask for others so no one could “judge” me for my issues. Smiling at people although inside I wanted to scream. No one would have ever known, even now. I didn’t have to post this, in some ways it may have been easier not to. To continue living my “normal” (fake) life that was acceptable to all. To most I am just a normal 18-year-old girl living the college dream at Utah State University in Logan, Utah. That is why it surprised many to know what I have been struggling with for a few years. I have chosen to take the rough climb to the top. I am getting better every day, and will continue to get better. I am very excited to see what my future holds, and to see where I go in life. Mental illness is real, and tons of people struggle with it. Be patient with one another, and love each other.

If you are interested here is something I have compiled through out the past couple months. Just a warning, it is very dark in lots of ways, and may be hard to read, but these are things I write when I am having really bad episodes. These are the exact feelings and thoughts that go through my head on a day-to-day basis. Writing is one way that I can release my emotions in a healthier way than not eating and cutting. I have also found out that painting, and drawing really help me cope with my emotions. Through all of this I have found out that I am a fairly artistic person, so there are very many good things that come from what seem to be negative things. 

Some of my art pieces, not the best, but I enjoy painting.

Not all scars show. Not all wounds heal. Not all illness can be seen. Not all pain is obvious. It is so hard to keep a secret when it is written all over your body. Then I just feel like I project all my negativity onto others. I fear that I will never find someone that really will love me. I already know that I am a really bad friend and I can only imagine what it could be like for a man. I have slowly learned to numb myself to the thought of being alone, although, my worst fear is being alone for the rest of my life. I never know who will end up staying in my life so it is just much easier to push people away. I just wish people understood how much pain I am constantly in. I hurt so much and all I can do is hold it in and pretend that everything is okay or will be okay. It is not okay though, I hate myself I seriously hate myself with a passion. Not matter how many meals I skip I will never be small enough. My face will never be pretty enough, nor will it ever be flawless. No one will ever love me. Every single guy I am interested in will never even look twice. What is wrong with me? Will I ever be pretty enough, cool enough, fun enough, quiet enough, sweet enough, tall enough, skinny enough, talented enough? No, I wont because that is not how I was born. I was born crazy and no guy or person will ever accept me for that.  I scare people, and my own self. On the contrary, I feel like I have so much to offer to people, if only they gave me a chance and loved me for who I am. I hate to say it, but I would not want to be with me. I am very difficult and confusing. I am just a two-week project for most, just to let them feel better about themselves because they “helped” a person “in need”. It would be so much easier for a guy to date the prettier girl that does not even have one one-hundredth of the baggage as me, even though it adds character. No one see that. Goodness, I know that I am weird; yes I cut myself and like it, I cut myself so much that I am covered in scars. I cut so much that my skin is covered and dripping with red-dark red blood. I don’t eat, and I enjoy that. If I could just jump out of a building window or fall off a cliff, I would be much better off and so would every one else. All I do is ruin everything, especially every good thing that ever happens to me. I am just poison to all. No matter how many people I surround myself with I still feel painfully alone. I do not understand myself. I just want to try to explain to people what and how I feel but not matter how hard I try I just can’t. No one takes me seriously. I am living in hell. I hate feeling like I don’t try because I don’t know how, feeling like I will blow up at you because I don’t know how to COPE. I’ve tried everything: blades, restricting, therapy, “just wait it out, it’ll get better!” Statistically, I have an unknown chance of “recovering”, a 10% chance of dying, and a 99% of living like this… for the rest of my life.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sorry every one! I did not realized how long it has been since I posted. Recently I just moved back to Arizona. I finished my first year of college at Utah State. I definitely had some rough times, but I loved it so much. I made some of the most amazing friends ever, and also met some incredible people. I am really excited to go back up there next semester. I recently decided to switch my major to art, so I am hoping that I can get accepted into the art program for the spring 2015 semester. During my first year away from home lots happened and so much changed. For one I gained around 45 pounds, yes it was much needed, but still! I went on quite a few dates,  I am sure you know if you keep up with my blog, I was living on campus in Jones hall, apartment 401. I had some really cool roommates first semester. I am not going to lie though, it was hard living with 5 other girls. The thing is that we were all so different so we all had problems with each other (I mean what else do you expect) we were all raised so differently. All of us cleaned different, acted different, cried more than others (Rebekah), and even had more drama than others. Even though I knew we were supposed to be living together first semester, at times I wish I did not live with any of them. The end of fall semester came around and 3 of my roommates decided they were going to move out. The thought kind of scared me and also was kind of a relief! I had a hard time learning how to love them for who they were and I did NOT want to have to be nice to 3 new girls (my inner brat, and also probably stubbornness). Rebekah and I decided to move into a room together so we didn't have to get new roommates. Spring semester came around and only ONE girl moved in, and we ended up liking her. We were seriously beyond happy. Instead of 6 there were only 4. Yes the two less girls make a HUGE difference! Although, during all of this one of my best friends, Katie, that I lived with moved back to South Carolina so that was really hard and sad. I still miss her, and to think we only knew one another for 4 months is crazy! Now that I am back in Arizona I am missing Logan probably a little more than I should. Like I said before I made some amazing friends. Yes the majority of them are all guys, except Brie Allen, what an incredible person and example she is. They all live in Yellow House (except Brie, but she lives close), which is right behind the institute building (practically on campus). I honestly have never met a more accepting, fun and loving group of people in my entire life. I do not know what I would have done without them this semester. Those boys showed me how easy it is to love and care for others. On Easter my friend Scotty, one of the Yellow House boys, invited me to go spend Easter with his family in Centerville. After spending that Sunday with one of the most incredible families I have ever known. I could finally understand how he could be as kind and loving as he is. One thing I do know is that all of those boys' parents sure did something right! Over all this last school year was overall really difficult, but in the end it has paid off. I have learned so many new things about myself (good and bad). I have matured quite a bit, and still have TONS of maturing left to do. It is so cool looking back on the past year and seeing how much I have progressed, and beyond excited to see how much more I can progress. I am really happy to be home with my family, but do miss my friends and life up in Utah.
Yellow House friends left to right: Scotty, Ian, Matt, Larry, Brie, Paskett (Taylor), Briton.

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