Please DON’T Be Like Me

It started because we turned off a movie.

We gave E a warning, we told him it would happen, but once the TV shut off he flipped out.

The temper tantrum was one for the books, it started at home and perpetuated itself at the restaurant into full screaming, crying and threats of drink throwing.

We left.

With Mimi and Papa staring at us mouths agape because they have never witnessed such insanity before.

Well…maybe not for almost 40 years.

See, while E and I share the same nose, and we both love to talk and make up stories we also share something else…

ANXIETY / WORRY / AGGRESSION / DEPRESSION

Whatever title you want to give it. We just don’t think like other people, and certainly don’t act like other people.

As a child, I acted out just like E. I remember spending my entire Kindergarten year freaking out, throwing things, crying and having to see every school shrink in a 30 mile radius.

“They” blamed it on the divorce.

However, looking back and looking at E, I unfortunately think it’s in our genes.

We come from a LONG line of anxiety-ridden family members. My grandmother and mom both worry and have anxiety. Every member of Bill’s family has had a panic attack at some point, and my side of the family…well…we are the ones that suffer from anxiety, depression, manic depression and in my case I have an unofficial diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder.

What does that mean. Well, basically have you seen the movie “Girl Interrupted” with Angelina Jolie? That’s me. I didn’t see the movie, perhaps because I live it every day.

The definition of BPD is this…

Borderline personality disorder is a condition in which people have long-term patterns of unstable or turbulent emotions, such as feelings about themselves and others.

People with BPD are often uncertain about their identity. As a result, their interests and values may change rapidly.

People with BPD also tend to see things in terms of extremes, such as either all good or all bad. Their views of other people may change quickly. A person who is looked up to one day may be looked down on the next day. These suddenly shifting feelings often lead to intense and unstable relationships.

Other symptoms of BPD include:

Fear of being abandoned

Feelings of emptiness and boredom

Frequent displays of inappropriate anger

Impulsiveness with money, substance abuse, sexual relationships, binge eating, or shoplifting

 Intolerance of being alone

Repeated crises and acts of self-injury, such as wrist cutting or overdosing

Yep that’s me. Through a specialized BPD class at the University of Iowa Hospital, I received counseling. I’m not “cured” as one NEVER is with mental illness, but I can cope. I don’t take meds, because in reality it doesn’t help, and with my past history of suicide attempts the doctor won’t allow it.

So, each day I work through it. I use tools I learned to help me through stressful situations. It’s kind of like in the Hunger Games when Peeta asks over and over “Real or Not Real.”

Yes, I’m comparing my life to the Hunger Games again.

While I have conquered my “situation”, I now worry about E.

I see the same reactions to peer disagreements.

I hear the same phrases “No one loves me.” , “Everyone is leaving me.” or the most common “what if…”

I witness him hurting himself, and suffering from stomach aches.

It’s painful and heart – wrenching.

I hug him tight, tell him it will be alright and that he’s safe and loved.

But I know he needs more, because I want him to enjoy his childhood. To experience pure joy and laughter. I don’t want him to live in fear and anxiety.

It’s time for him to heal, so he doesn’t have to follow in his mama’s footsteps.

Source: everygirlneedsalittlesparkle.tumblr.com via Brook on Pinterest

 

8 thoughts on “Please DON’T Be Like Me

  1. This is an incredible post and you are so brave for publishing it. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be having lived through this (living through this even) but then to see your little man going through the same thing must be heart breaking.
    There is one good thing about this though and that is that you have experienced it, you know how he is feeling and what he is going through and most importantly you have been able to identify what is going on at such an early stage. You can oly hope, pray and wish that things turn out OK in the end. Keeping my fingers crossed for you all doesn’t seem to quite make the cut in this situation but I’m hoping, praying and wishing that everything will be OK. You have each other, and the love you share for each other is truly amazing.
    Lots of love Gem x x x x

    1. Oh, friend thank you. Thanks to my experiences we are better equipped to help him, and we are working with the school and some therapists to get him some help. It’s interesting because looking at him or I we both look “normal” and seem like we have it together, but unfortunately all it can take is one thing and BOOM it can trigger an episode. As we move forward I will do everything I can to make sure he can enjoy life. 🙂

  2. This post has been on my mind since I read it yesterday, but I needed some time to put together a coherent comment. First of all, many. many hugs for the struggles you’ve been through.

    And secondly, you’re in a much better position to parent E because of what you have been through. I worry about my kids and depression because Scott had depressive bouts as a teen/young adult. But we are both more aware than his parents were, at least I hope we are.

    Finally, I truly believe that my mother has an undiagnosed BPD, too. I’ve felt that way for at least fifteen years after I researched it because I couldn’t understand why she does/did some of the things she does/did. Through my research, I identified a bunch of my own behaviors that were completely learned from growing up around her. And it was like a lightning struck — I didn’t have to be a prisoner of her issues just because I didn’t know any other way. And E doesn’t have to follow in your footsteps either — you’re going to be able to teach him how to interrupt the script, how to step back and look at the situation from a viewpoint outside of him, and re-interpret situations.

    I always think of my mom as sort of stuck in toddler mode (I’m not calling you a toddler at all) — the tantrums and black/white stuff are so very common to how toddlers and preschoolers process the world — all of them, not just E. Kids go through bouts of anxiety during times of change and stress (I spent five months this fall crying every night after putting Milo to bed because his anxiety was so extreme and then he suddenly snapped out of it, thank goodness). I think this happens when certain kids have an intellectual growth spurt and their emotions don’t mature to expand added new added perceptions. Then their emotions catch up and all is hunky-dory until the next intellectual growth spurt. Milo works this way, I work this way, and Scott works this way. Violet doesn’t — she is remarkably grounded in all situations and has an excess of self-esteem (for a kid starting Kindergarten this fall).

    One step at a time, one day at a time. He will get older and more able to understand that he only has control of himself and not the rest of the world. ((( Hugs )))
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    1. Thank you so much…BPD is a difficult thing to diagnosis as it is often misinterpreted as Bipolar disorder. The way you describe you mom and how it is like a toddler is soooo true. One of the things they taught us in class is how to cope with change and not go from 0-60 on the anger scale. That class REALLY helped. Honestly I need to keep it all in perspective because I often jump to conclusions about people and relationships before I get the whole story…it keeps B2 on his toes.

      And yes, my experience will hopefully prevent E from going through what I did. I hope it’s only a phase and that he will grow out of it, but if not we are well-equiped to give him the coping mechanisms he needs.

      Again thank you, showing the ugly underbelly of your life is scary, but if my experience can help one person then it’s worth it.

  3. How brave of you to disclose this side of your life. I’m sure you have learned a lot about how to manage your feelings and your reactions to situations and I know you can be a profound resource of support and encouragement for your little man to help him navigate the highs and lows and learn from your experience. And I hope this post serves as encouragement to others who suffer similarly as well. You are so strong.
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