Sweet Dreams

Insomnia. It’s such an awful bitch. Nights are the absolute worst. Dark and endless. I’ve always hated nights. Bad things happen in the dark. I am saying so from personal experience. I crave sleep like someone who is lost in the desert craves water. They eventually hallucinate and see beautiful mirages consisting of glistening pools of water. I hallucinate deep, dreamless sleep. It’s bad enough that during the daylight hours my mind is in constant turmoil. The night only increases the battle within to a fever pitch. Occasionally I doze fitfully only to have vivid, violent nightmares of other dark nights long past. The abominations perpetrated upon my person flicker rapidly across the back of my eyelids like a horror movie on fast forward. Although I am at the cusp of the shadow lands, I can feel my body writhe and my breathe quicken as the shadow serpent starts coiling itself around my body as I look into its cold dead eyes and watch its forked tongue touching my skin like an evil whisper I suddenly realize I can hear it. Over and over again it names every sin I’ve ever committed. I shudder as I feel the BPD Monster come out to join the macabre party and wrestle with the Serpent of sins past.

As the serpent continually repeats each sin it’s voice gets louder. Not to be outdone, the BPD Monster starts a litany of all of the sins committed against me. It has to scream to be heard over the Serpent who in turn gets louder to be heard over the Monster until it becomes a shrieking cacophony that eventually turns into a silent scream that my dozing body can’t lend a voice to. I’m frozen in terror. I gasp as I feel the Monster start to rage and the Serpent tighten its coils. Mercifully the gasp startles me awake. I bolt upright in my bed drenched in sweat and my heart galloping in my chest. “Another fucking nightmare”, I whisper to myself for reassurance. Truth be told I did it to make sure I was really awake. Really alive.

Waging this internal battle day and night is exhausting. Most days it manifests itself into excruciating physical pain. What a loathsome life to NEVER have a moments peace. One can not say that I have not tried to do something about this internal conflict. I religiously go to therapy and take my psychiatric medications, I paint, write, continuously clean and organize. I’ve tried acupuncture. I do guided meditations several times a day. Absolutely nothing has worked to block the horrific memories. At this point I don’t think anything short of a lobotomy, a psychiatric ward or death will stop them. They have become as much a part of me as my own body and the organs that keep me in the land of the living. If I thought amputating a limb would work I would saw that fucking limb off with a dull handsaw myself. Alas this is only wishful thinking. My eyes are red and gritty. My jaw has been clenched all night which has given me colossal headache. I toss back four Tylenol’s like they are Tic Tac candies. I listlessly flip through the channels and realize that not even the news is on anymore. Only endless infomercials hawking their shitty wares. Everyone is so happy and energetic. I realize that I envy these anonymous people. In my mind they all sleep just fine. No nightmares for these exultant people. I don’t wish to trade places with them though. Not even for a second. I wouldn’t wish my walking wounded crazy mind on my worst enemy much less some gleeful strangers. So as usual, I will fight the good fight for another short day and another long night. I tell myself, “I am Sparta”, like an encouraging mantra.

At last the sun is slowly ascending the sky. I am finally able to unclench my jaw and reach for the eye drops that have taken up permanent residence on my night stand. Tonight was by far not my first rodeo. As I stand I hear every joint in my body screech in protest as they crackle and pop. I have a moment of vertigo that insists that I sit back down. I know exactly how this day is going to go by the way it has started.

Moral of this story?

The early bird does not get “the worm”. The early bird does not get shit except a lot less sleep than everyone else.

Sweet Dreams.

Advertisements

Those Who Fight Monsters

Those who fight monsters inevitably change. Because of all that I feel and have done, I’ve lost my innocence, and sometimes a tiny piece of my humanity with it. If I want to survive, sometimes I begin to adopt some of the same characteristics as the monster I fight but whatever it takes I will never allow this monster to win. My monster is Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s changed me to my very core on so many different levels and in so many different ways. It’s made me delight in rage and violence that I never knew I was capable of. Like a malignant tumor, this BPD grows inside of me. Not with the cells of cancer, but with the cells of the unknown, the emptiness, the rage, the worthlessness and the most soul searing emotional and psychological pain that a human being could possibly endure. In equating it to physical pain, some professionals compare it to having third degree burns over ninety percent of ones body.

I try and keep the monster tendencies locked in a cage, deep inside. The monster only comes out for self preservation and only then. I can no more contain it when it becomes ready to burst forth any more than a runaway train. I just hang on for dear life and pray that I’m the only casualty. It is not for the perverse pleasure that the monster feels when it harms others. In fact, the monsterous tendencies cause more damage to the Borderline than the Non Borderline could ever fathom. Guilt, isolation, depression, PTSD. There is a cost for visiting violence on others when it is the antithesis of your very nature. I am not a monster, the disorder is. The cost inflicted upon the ones we love the most and hold deepest inside of our hearts is far greater than anything I could ever imagine in my worst nightmares. That is why I try to stand against those BPD impulses lurking inside with every ounce of fight I have within my soul. It is so difficult and lonely when I have no support network to speak of. I spend all of my days and many, many sleepless nights trying to deal with this ferocious monster alone. In my own heart. In my own mind.

I don’t always succeed but I do give every fiber of my being within myself to keep the evilness inside of me caged. That is what BPD is to me…pure unadulterated evil. Evil that I never asked for, or deserved, but was given at the age most toddlers are learning to love, trust others and to believe in themselves.

While trying to minimalize the damage I do with my venomous words and unfettered rage, I am eviscerated psychologically and emotionally a bit more each time I am unable to contain it. Being left exhausted and numb for days on end from the savage battle that I have just waged inside.

I witness things in my nightmares that any sane human is not programmed to see and ever be normal again. Alas, I try to never burden a single soul with the horrific recollections of them. I bury them deep, deep down inside so the ones I love the most (my spouse, my family, my children) who are on the front lines of this disorder whether they want to be or not, never really know the scope and depth of the psychological pain I never asked for or wanted but carry around like Atlas, with the constant weight of the world on my shoulders.

For those I love, I will always run head first toward the Borderline monster and fight it with savagery of a woman possessed.

Just to walk a very thin tightrope on the opposite side of what society deems normal is a delicate and brutal dance that I spin to in tune to music that no one else hears, because it plays only in my head.

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

-Friedrich Nietzsche-

I will always fight for what I truly fear. The battle for my sanity. I will always stand between my loved ones and this cruel disorder to the best of my abilities through which the Borderline monster wants to hurt, damage and create chaos with it’s horrible words and behavior against my closest allies. The ones who love me no matter what. Believe it or not, I acknowledge the thing that the vast majority are too soft, too weak or too cowardly to even address. The stigma of mental illness and the toll it takes on those who not only rage a daily battle with it and suffer from it, but also deal with the judgments, cruel words and hurtful comments, complete disdain and/or utter contempt and doubt that there is anything wrong with one at all. “It’s all for attention.” “It’s all in your head (of course it’s all in my head because I wage a daily exhausting war to keep it contained as much as humanly possible to minimize the fallout to the very ones who speak those exact words to me)”. These are the same people who would NEVER ever be able to wrap their condescending, small, judgmental minds around what a day in the life of anyone who has the misfortune to suffer from mental illness, which one has no control over, is like.

To my fellow sufferers of ANY and ALL types of psychological disorders, we are the beautiful ones though. The ones that battle mind numbing psychological pain that more times than not manifests itself into mind numbing physical pain who still find enough beauty in this world to smile at a stranger or offer a kind word to those that we can inherently feel may need them.

The current political climate in this country and on a much greater scale this whole world holds very little near and dear, that is except the almighty dollar and ones personal smartphones, iPads, PC’s and other technologies that lessen the interaction and the necessary skills it takes to navigate this life in the midst of one another. This age of technology and vitriol is robbing mankind of its humanity just as BPD tries to rob me of mine. It is there, that we the ones that suffer the burden of mental illness, in the time of our darkest hours, feel every bit of our humanity, because our pain at least let’s us know we are still able to feel anything at all in the times that we must totally mentally disconnect to keep us sane. The pain. It lets us know we are still alive.

Submission is the popular mantra of the times. I will NEVER submit to my illness or the stigma attached to it.

Warriors are decried, denigrated, and cast as morally inferior in the world today. Warriors come from many walks of life, genders, faiths and occupations, but let’s not forget us, the warriors of illnesses. Physical and mental. The ones who fight through the fear, trauma, pain, exhaustion and for some, ridicule. These warriors fight monsters too. Theirs may not be made of flesh and blood but are nonetheless just as real.

We know how childish, how asinine, and how cowardly the mindset of most of society is today. They would rather look the other way and pretend such ugly things do not exist rather than speak of something which my be unpleasant to their “delicate” sensibilities as the most vulnerable suffer alone. Today I realize that it is a duty, my duty, our duty as the warriors that some are and that many of us will have to become, because we must, in order to bring out into the light what society would prefer to keep in the dark. We must stand up and change the mindset of how people view mental illness. We must start uncomfortable conversations.

As a person who personally suffers from severe social anxiety as well as BPD and PTSD, something of this nature is much easier said than done, but the spark to light the fire of understanding and acceptance MUST be lit. If I can start one difficult conversation, one open dialogue that needs to be opened because I “raised my voice” for one beautiful and freeing moment and brought this normally taboo subject out into the bright glaring light, then for someone whose illness is characterized by self worthlessness, today in my own eyes, I became worthy of being a warrior for my cause. If only for that moment, perhaps, I was even a voice for another who suffers the same battle, who is still working on finding their own voice and needs someone to speak up for them as well. I am not “recovered” nor will I ever be because there is no cure for my kind of crazy. I am no hero for speaking up. I will be battling this monster for as long as I live but I realized just this day that until I viewed it and treated it as something visceral and tangible that my fight would be so much more difficult.

I DO know this…..There ARE things in this life worth fighting for.

Faith, love, liberty, family, friends and standing up for those who are too afraid, weak or ashamed to stand alone as I have been for so very long.

I woke up changed yet again by this disorder but this time I’m fighting back.

There are some of us that believe that fighting what others disagree with, turn a blind eye to, or battle the physical and/or psychologically real monsters in our midst are honorable, noble, and just….and are willing to pay the price for that deeply held belief. Why? For us, today I discovered that there is no choice.

I have to speak out and hold on as tightly as I can to these beliefs, the reason being is that today is NOT a good day. I feel like I am being sucked deeper and deeper into the bottomless abyss. That being said I will continue the good fight against this “THING” that has destroyed my whole life AND practically everyone and everything I’ve ever loved. I may go down, but MY “monsters” know I will go down fighting until the sweet, bitter end.

Trigger. Not Just The Lone Rangers Horse

Well I knew that it was going to happen sooner rather than later. I just didn’t know when. Living with Borderline Personality Disorder, one is ALWAYS waiting for the other shoe to drop. Right on our fucking heads. The good times are amazing, the bad times I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy (well maybe that bitch that fucked my husband six weeks before we were married), I wish that shit squared on that whore. Along with Ebola, SARS, Malaria, Meningitis, Equine Encephalitis, Mad Cow Disease, Chronic Wasting Disease, Swine Flu, Bubonic Plague, HPV, HIV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, UTI, Renal Failure, blindness, deafness, muteness, Leprosy, Legionnaires Disease and the absolute worst case of dysentery there ever was. I pray for this vile creature to come down with EVERY single one of them EVERY night. I’m already going to hell for my own shitty past so at this point praying for someone like this slut to suffer so greatly will not impact my immortal soul any more than it’s already impacted. Go big or go home is my motto.

Obviously I’ve triggered. No matter what I trigger over this horrific part of my life ALWAYS gets thrown in for good measure by myself.

I’m not sure if my trigger was the upcoming holidays, having two extra “guests” in our 800 square foot condo, or if it was the fact that my husband was exhausted from work, in a shitty mood and said some (in my opinion) awful shit that Daddy Dearest used to say to me. I completely fucking lost it though. Every single time, I think I’m making progress, that giant shoe drops and shows me who’s boss…..and my boss is BPD.

FML😏😏😏

When Borderline Personality Disorder Is a Game of Tug of War

Push and pull. It’s like the children’s game tug of war. A rope being pulled in both directions and at any time it could go one way or another. Unfortunately it’s not a game, it’s my illness. BPD.

The words themselves fill your mind with uncertainty. Visualize standing at a border somewhere with one foot on either side, knowing that at the drop of a dime you could be pulled either way.

Attachment. The need to have it, incessant. The need to keep it afar, innate. Something that seems to come so naturally to others yet feels unattainable. There are no 50 shades of grey. It is black and white. You either form an attachment or you don’t. You are either behind our walls or on the outside. There is no middle ground.

Abandonment. The fear of it as intense as being set on fire. Whether consciously or not, we pull people in because we don’t want to be alone and with the next breath we  push you away. We try to leave you before you can leave us. It is the only control we feel we have, and somehow we’ve convinced ourselves it will hurt less this way. We so desperately need to feel attached to someone who loves and cares for us, yet the fear of losing them, in itself, is the thing that stops us from obtaining it.

Triggers. They range from sights and scents to noises and words. Subconsciously or otherwise, they pull us back to a place where we feel unsafe. Those emotions flood us like a tidal wave, our minds full of anxiety and fear, our bodies suddenly tense. Rationally we know at that exact moment we are safe, but our mind is no longer in the present moment. It has regressed to a time of trauma, hurt and pain. Our reactions can be extreme and inappropriate, sometimes echoing our destructive patterns of the past.

Relationships. I have difficulty maintaining them, whether you are family, friends or one time co-workers. I love you, I need you, I pull you close and hold on tight, and with the snap of the fingers, I don’t need you and I push you away. I might delete your emails and texts. We react in a way you can not comprehend, simply because you do not have this illness. The fingers snap again and we are back to loving you and needing you.

BPD is an invisible illness. We do not choose this any more than someone chooses to become physically ill. I lash out when I shouldn’t. I react unsuitably to situations or comments that would not affect you. Sometimes I know why, other times the reason is still trapped in the darkness of my mind, not yet ready to come into the light. I’ll pull you in like I’m reeling in a fish from the river, and in an instant I’ll push you away, casting an empty line back into the water. I walk on eggshells. I’m so eager to please you and earn your acceptance because that is what my childhood taught me.

My illness did not come out of the blue. I did not just wake up one day suddenly full of anxiety, pain and emptiness. This has built up over years or perhaps decades, and is a result of one or numerous traumatic incidents that occurred throughout my childhood and my entire life. I cope the best I know how. Whether there is a physical scar or not, the emotional wounds that were inflicted during my developmental years have left me with a battle to fight. I struggle to quiet the voice in my head that replays the negative thoughts that were ingrained in me.

The best thing you can do for me is to remain. Simply put, don’t leave. We hope you will at least be at the same park, while we are riding the roller coaster that is BPD.

The Curse of Being the Family Empath

As a kid, I was labeled as being too sensitive. I was also pegged as the peacemaker in the family. I realize now that I was trying to keep the peace to survive.

As an adult, I’ve realized I’m an empath. I feel both the good and the bad in extremes, and as a kid, I was often overwhelmed with the emotions I absorbed from my own family, which wasn’t always a place of peace and harmony.

A few traits of empaths include being highly sensitive, needing alone time to recharge, being highly intuitive which sometimes results in giving too much of yourself, and most importantly, empaths absorb the emotions of other people.

It’s a curse to be the family empath. It was a curse as a kid, and it is a curse as an adult too. I’m trying to find ways to turn it around to my advantage, or at the very minimum, survive all these big emotions my dysfunctional family makes me feel.

As a child, I remember internalizing a lot of the negative emotions that existed between my parents. When they were stressed about financial obligations and marital problems, I was stressed too. When they fought, I was an emotional mess. Since I was just a kid at the time, I didn’t know what the heck an empath was. Instead, I was pegged as a crybaby.

Now that I’m an adult, I realize that it’s important as the family empath to practice self-care and find ways to cope when there are negative emotions around me.

Of course, being an empath isn’t all bad. I am a good friend because I empathize with others’ problems easily. When you’ve got good news, I’m over the moon happy for you. When things are moving along smoothly, I’m the most pleasant person in the world to be around because I tend to absorb the positive energy and reflect that in my mood.

When things go south, it sends me into a spiral of anxiety, and sometimes I can’t put my finger on why I’m in such a foul mood. I’ve finally learned to step back and analyze my emotions, find the source of the negativity, and do my best not to internalize the feelings and actions of others in an unhealthy way.

The roller coaster of emotions that I’m absorbing on any given day is a lot to handle. Sometimes, I just need a freaking hour (or 12) when I don’t have to feel everything. I need time each day to recharge.

The responsibility of trying to balance the emotions of all of the different family members is overwhelming at best.

So I have to be mindful not get sucked in by the wild emotions of the people I love. I want to take away their pain when they are sick, and I feel terrible for days after they have told me of any of their struggles. Of course, we always feel sad and angry when people we care so much about are struggling, but this goes beyond that. It weighs me down for far longer than it should.

I’ve learned to try to detach from what they are feeling, so that I don’t feel it so intensely right along with them. The problem is, the emotions I’m constantly regulating require fighting a battle with intense feelings not just daily, but sometimes, hourly, and that is the reason why being the family empath can feel like a curse. I have to constantly check myself, regroup, deep breathe, and remind myself that my family’s emotions don’t have to control mine.

If you’re not an empath, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. You think I’m just a hot mess. You go about your day unaffected by those around you, but those that are empaths are fighting daily to regulate their emotions in an appropriate, healthy manner.

A phone call from a family member giving me some bad news can bring me down for the week, even if the news doesn’t affect me, and at 47 years old, I still find myself fighting the urge to get wrapped up in my parents’ issues and worries. I still feel the same way I did as a child, living under their roof, and trying to keep the peace for everyone.

I’m finding that the key to living your best life as an empath is to find balance, find time for myself (whether I want to or not).

On one hand, I love being able to feel so deeply, relate so intensely, and make others feel loved and cared for. That is a gift. On the other hand, sometimes I want to just take a freaking break and not feel like my world is going to crumble just because someone in the family is upset over something I have zero control over. For that reason, sometimes being the family empath feels like the ultimate curse.

The Trauma of Betrayal

So what is betrayal? Well you certainly know it when you experience it. It is a gut-wrenching experience, a searing knife into your heart. You feel it before you even think about it. Then when you start thinking about it it plagues you day and night. Betrayal is treachery, deception, and violated trust. It can appear in as a broken promise, duplicity, lies, sexual affairs, and even affairs of the heart. The injury is so great some people seem to never recover. 

We are taught that to be truly happy in life we must learn to trust others. And so, often reluctantly, we let done our guard and we trust. When relationships become psychologically intimate, we have put our trust in another. We have made ourselves vulnerable to another person. We believe this person accepts us unconditionally, believes in us, and “has our back.” We cherish such a relationship because we believe our partner is understanding, faithful, and devoted in good times and bad. In a psychologically intimate relationship there is a powerful attachment and bond that is formed. Not only does this bond say to us we are understood, appreciated, and unconditionally accepted, it says we are safe. So powerful is this bond that there is evidence that the presence of a psychologically intimate partner can positively affect blood pressure and stress hormones. Psychologists have long known the deepest craving of human nature is the desire to be appreciated and to be safe.

Betrayal by an intimate partner violates these core human desires and needs! It destroys the core assumptions upon which all enduring relationships must rest. Dr. Jeff Lating and I have written extensively about the important role that violated assumptions concerning yourself and others plays in the development of PTSD.

Betrayal represents the traumatic death, not of a person, but of a relationship (familial, romantic or friendship). So as you might expect individuals who have been betrayed by a partner in a trusting psychologically intimate relationship experience many of the symptoms of PTSD. They will often report guilt, depression, psychological numbing, suspiciousness, hyper-vigilance, withdrawal from others,  nightmares, and continually, almost addictively, reliving both the positive moments (longingly) and the negative moments (painfully) of the relationship, especially the moment of the revelation of the betrayal. Again as you might expect the betrayal engenders a terrible loss of self-esteem, the rise of self-doubt, the inability to trust again, and the desire to avoid ANY kind of close relationships in the future.

Why does betrayal trauma hurt so much?

Intimate bonding with another person serves an important developmental role. It enhances the chances of survival in an otherwise hostile environment. As a result there are biological substrates that support the formation of psychologically intimate relationships. The hormone oxytocin increases the likelihood of forming an intimate relationship. Deep within the center of the brain, the cingulate cortex is believed to play a role in fostering attachment and bonding with others. Betrayal is likely to adversely affect these substrates. We know that violated attachments result in a rise in the immunosuppressive and catabolic hormone cortisol along with an apparent hypersensitivity within the amygdalocentric fight and flight centers of the limbic system. The psychological injury of betrayal is likely to create a functional physical injury within brain that is very challenging to recover from. Betrayal trauma does not only psychologically damage a person. Science proves that it physically damages one as well.

Love Through the Eyes of Borderline Personality Disorder

I’ve only been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) for a couple of years now, but I’ve known that the way I see love is very different than most for quite a while. Love and feelings are something I’ve struggled with since childhood. I feel everything strongly, give completely, love extremely. When I say I love someone, I have strong feelings. I often admire them, respect them, enjoy spending time with them and see them as so much more than I see myself. I’d risk and even sacrifice myself for the people I love and their happiness. I’d do anything, move Heaven and Earth if needed, to help out the people I love. To me, that’s what love is: unconditional companionship, care and admiration. It’s that feeling of uncontrollable smiles when you see those people happy, or indescribable pain and sadness when you see them cry. It isn’t physical attraction or sexual interest: that’s lust and completely different to me. It isn’t just blood — love knows no boundaries.
I am learning these are common struggles for people with my history and diagnosis. I think these difficulties are why I struggle with boundaries and often do or say things that don’t make sense to most people in relation to my friendships and relationships. These struggles also lead to negative responses like jealousy, rage, disappointment, rejection and heartache. I wanted to share what love looks like for me.

I love extremely

People may say I got to extreme lengths to show my love. I crave physical touch, so I hug often. I desire validation and dedication, so I frequently say, “I love you” when talking to those I love. I give gifts for anything and nothing. I will message or call my friends almost daily just to let them know I care or to check on them. Some might say I smother, and some get uncomfortable when they mistake my version of love for something else (like romantic interest). I just feel with such intensity that I sometimes cannot control my feelings or keep them inside. I also don’t understand boundaries or ambiguity, so sometimes I mistake the gestures or actions of others for love and end up caring much more for someone than they care about me.

I love unconditionally

Another part of my love deals with being ignorant of flaws. I fear abandonment and failure, so often I am willing to look past what others may consider to be unhealthy or undesirable behaviors or habits. I find myself willingly accepting giving more than I get, taking mistreatment or abuse and just letting others walk all over me. The benefit of this is that I always feel empathy and can forgive, but the negative is I have low self-worth and sometimes don’t even see there is an issue with the friendship.

I love through jealousy

Because I love with such intensity, I often find myself getting jealous. I become upset or angry when I see a picture of some of my friends on social media hanging out without even asking me or I question when I see my husband has a text message from a female co-worker. I may express this jealousy outwardly to the people I love with aggression or sadness. Usually this outward expression of jealousy serves two main purposes: to try to “prove my love” to the person and to try to manipulate the person into giving me attention.

I love through heartache

Unfortunately, a common problem for me is that I find myself in a position where relationships and/or friendships become broken and end quite frequently. I struggle to let go, I try to live in the past and I spend lots of time being heartbroken over the loss of a friendship. I’ll continue to listen to songs that remind me of the person, look at pictures of them and even sometimes try to contact them even after the friendship has ended. Even through the pain, I still love the person and can’t stop. Some may say this helps in some way, but often it leaves me hurt as I watch people move on in life without me, sometimes it leads to damaging things even further because I don’t understand boundaries or confusing signals.

I am learning through my therapy that there are flaws in my view and understanding of love. I am not saying this rationalizes or justifies my actions, but it does help me make sense of my feelings. I’m learning how to regulate my emotions, maintain healthier relationships with defined boundaries and live in the present moment. I’m hoping with time that I can continue to be passionate and love, but avoid undesirable traits that cause the instability and heartache. Isn’t that what everyone wants? To love and be loved without pain or suffering?

Bedlam, BPD and Me

It’s easy for people with Borderline Personality Disorder to feel like they are the victims of a very cruel curse. This personality disorder is often characterized by an intense fear of abandonment, unstable relationships, and impulsive behavior that ultimately drives people away. BPD makes me lash out, allowing some of the cruelest things to tumble from my mouth, and believe me, there are only so many times loved ones will forgive a lack of control. This is what it’s like to live with this horrific disorder which many uneducated on the subject suspect is “all in our minds”.

It is hard to offer a simple medical definition of BPD, but I’ve heard it brilliantly summed up as chronic irrationality. Think severe mood swings, impulsivity, instability, and a whole lot of explosive anger.

People with BPD may project symptoms that seem similar to other personality disorders, it is often confused with bipolar, depression, schizophrenia or anxiety disorders:

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental disorder marked by a pattern of ongoing instability in moods, behavior, self-image, and functioning. These experiences often result in impulsive actions and unstable relationships. A person with BPD may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that may last from only a few hours to days.

BPD sufferers may experience extreme mood swings and can display uncertainty about who they are. As a result, their interests and feelings about any recent event can change rapidly.

According to NIMH, symptoms include:

  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
  • A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
  • Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self
  • Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating
  • Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats or self-harming behavior, such as cutting
  • Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger
  • Having stress-related paranoid thoughts
  • Having severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality.

Ordinary events may trigger these symptoms. For example persons with BPD may feel angry and distressed over minor separations, such as vacations, trips, or sudden changes of plans, from people to whom they feel close. Research shows that people with this disorder may see anger in an emotionally neutral face and have a stronger reaction to words with negative meanings than people who do not have the disorder.

I personally think it’s this erratic oscillation that makes BPD so hard to communicate, particularly to those who are close. Because on the surface, it looks like I’m just being ornery. Like all mental illness, it’s best treated with patience and empathy, unfortunately, like depression or hypomania, it places the onus on people who are not necessarily in a position to help or understand, no matter how much they may care for you. In a relationship, BPD can leave both parties feeling isolated, angry and misunderstood.

Borderline Personality Disorder sends you into spirals of self-doubt and hatred. It makes you feel like a tangled slinky, forever bumping inelegantly down a flight of stairs. You know something within you is twisted, and even once you’re told what, you are left wondering why and more importantly HOW to deal with it.

Just living or being around someone with this personality disorder can be extremely difficult and exhausting. It especially brings out my mean streak, something that both terrifies and shocks me. I’ve always had an eloquently devilish way with words, particularly profane ones, and BPD is like I have Terminator vision that highlights the chinks in EVERYONES armor, unlike my mania, which tends to make me charismatic and for the most part, a pleasure to be around. A BPD ‘turn’ or ‘moment’ morphs me into the meanest, most evil, crudest version of myself.

Due to the impulsiveness associated with people who suffer from BPD, they tend to change jobs frequently and also abruptly cut ties to people with whom they are extremely close. We sufferers have intense and sudden mood changes, and we have severe difficulty regulating our emotions. Unintentionally, we tend to blame others when we make a mistake, which makes it seem to the ones that we care about the most that we are being manipulative and cruel.

BPD can make life feel unbearable most days. Ones “good days” seem so few and far between. I call it a mirage illness, as it makes you feel like someone with no fingerprints. No face. No identity. Onlookers may be tricked into viewing you as boldly transformative, in reality, you are someone with absolute zero sense of self.

It is very hard for those with BPD to have successful and healthy relationships and stable confidence levels. Our version of ‘logical thinking’ is more often than not, overthinking. We have a very hard time distinguishing between real issues or imaginary issues. BPD is considered to be one of the more serious mental disorders, as it causes a great deal of suffering and has one of the highest risks for suicide of all mental health patients.

This is a lifelong battle that over the last couple of years I have prepared myself to fight.

I will never be cured of BPD, but I believe my disorder does not own me. This is my life, and I know it can be beautiful.

From the inside.

Keep Your Day Job Singing For Tweens, Biebs

Justin Bieber is lashing out at Laura Ingraham after the Fox News host mocked slain rapper Nipsey Hussle on her show.
— Read on hollywoodlife.com/2019/04/18/justin-bieber-laura-ingraham-nipsey-hussle-diss-fox-news/

Politically speaking, Justin Bieber couldn’t find his asshole with a flashlight. Nobody gives a shit what you or Mrs. John Legend think, Biebs!!

Everyone is ENTITLED to their own opinion, that’s why crybaby’s such as yourself are given airtime. Someone please tell me when did our once great, proud nation turn into a bunch of poontangs?? I agree what Laura said to some could be viewed as inappropriate or insensitive, but the song Fuck, Donald Trump isn’t?? It’s also a fucking OPINION!! Jesus Christ!! If I got fired, kicked off of WP or whatever for voicing my opinions, I’d be an extremely fired mother fucker.

Dear All Crybaby’s,

Go find a “safe space” together. Cry it out, talk it out or circle jerk one another for all I give a shit but please for the love of all that’s good and right, shut the fuck up!!!!

Deb, The Long Goodbye

This is a photo of myself and my BFF, Deb, taken a little over five years ago.

That night as we sat sipping our beers, listening to some great music and shaking our tail feathers and laughing until we cried because we are both people watchers and HUGE smart asses and boy did we have a plethora of drunk assholes and desperate whores to make fun of that particular evening.

Who would have EVER fathomed just a few short years later, I would be watching her die.

As Deb becomes sicker and sicker with her terminal cancer, I always pull out this picture to remind myself how quickly your entire life can change. Practically in the blink of an eye.

My dearest Debbie,

I’ll be by your side until we kick this cancers ass, or I will gently hold you as you transition into another journey, but make no mistake, I’ll be there until the sweet bitter end if it comes to that. I’ll never let go!! I love you Deb♥️

I’ve Been Told I Need To Be A Lot Less ME

I’m not ladylike enough. I swear to much. I act like I have a penis because I make the whack off motion far to often to not literally have one. I’m rude, crude and obnoxious. I am not a lady in any sense of the word. I turn some that are closest to me, stomachs. Being “too much” me does not sit well with some members of my family to the point that they are ready to disassociate with me.

You win, family. Like you’ve always won. Like you always will win.

I’ll tone it down to be ” a better daughter, mother, wife and grandmother,” since being myself is so horrifically awful.

Gee, I wasn’t aware I was THAT bad. I mean I knew that I had a tiny bit of feces with me but, “Boom, Pow,” I have a BPD meltdown because I ran out of meds, my phone has been off since I overspent a bit on the family fish fry that I wanted to be PERFECT and well, “I must learn somehow that there are consequences and repercussions for my actions.”

Soooooo my kind, encouraging followers, your children may now read my blog if they so choose because to keep the peace from now forward my blog will be G-rated so I can learn to be more of a lady.

Thank you to my peeps in spite of my uncouth, unladylike ways.

Fuck You Cancer!!

My oldest, dearest friend, Debbie is fighting Stage IV Urothelial Cancer. I’m so fucking angry. Like DEFCON-5 enraged that someone as amazing, gentle, sweet, hilarious, generous and beautiful could be struck down with this God awful piece of shit disease. I have lost family members to the big C, and it was excruciating to watch Cancer sucks the very soul out of their pain ravaged, frail bodies. By the time that they were mercifully called HOME to much deserved Glory, I was literally on my knees praying and begging for their for suffering to end. My bestie and I are the same age, both with precious brand new grandbabies whom I naively assumed that we’d watch grow up as we grew older. Fucking TOGETHER. I think part of the reason I’m so angry is because her illness is making me face my own immortality and that scares the fuck out of me and makes me want to put my psychiatrist on speed dial because the mere notion of watching someone I’ve loved as a sister since we were thirteen years old suffer so unrelentingly has my BPD on red alert as it endlessly screeches “DISASSOCIATE,” in my mind, but I will not. No matter what. I will have her back exactly as I have had it for the past 29 years.

The worthless, self serving, dog and pony show of a god damn government and literal American hating Congress needs to stop worrying about what Melania wears, what President Cheeto Tan says or what AOC and her nutjob “posse” thinks and fund the FDA with an enormous budget so that diseases like cancer, cystic fibrosis, ALS, Alzheimers, Autism, MS, Lupus, Diabetes, Heart Disease, COPD, Fibro, PTSD, Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar and Manic Depression can be eradicated. I wish this with every fiber of my being. It won’t EVER happen though because Big Pharma has Washington in its very wealthy, very deep pockets.

FDA Person #1: Hey I know tens of millions of people are dying of above mentioned diseases every single day. That’s so tragic.

FDA Person #2: Yes, it really is sad. Hey, how far along are you on that new medicine that gives 95 year old men powerful erections?!?!

What in the fucking fuck?

The following is a text conversation between my heart, Debbie, and myself.

FUCK YOU CANCER!!

A Growing American Crisis: Who Will Care for the Baby Boomers?


amp.timeinc.net/time/5529152/elderly-caregiving-baby-boomers-unpaid-caregivers-crisis

If you are currently middle aged and still lucky enough to have your now elderly parents and loved ones and are watching them reluctantly wander into their golden years but aren’t a hundred percent sure what they are so concerned about, read this article that explains exactly why.

Not only are the statistics in this article spot on, they are also terrifying. I’ve been teasing my parents for years because although they are upper middle class, they are two of the most frugal, tight fisted people I’ve ever seen. Perhaps they have been concerned about this looming crisis for years and I’m only just seeing it on the horizon. When I read this article, I was absolutely flabbergasted at the turnover rate of low wage caregivers. I shouldn’t be surprised. My husband works at a long term care facility and he reinforced what I read about the turnover rate of minimum wage caretakers.

As for the government kicking the can down the road. What a fucking shocker!! Everyone in Washington sits idly by finger popping their assholes on Capitol Hill until things that could have been planned for and handled turn into a crisis of such proportions that there is very little that can be done.

Well Senators and Congresspeople here’s an idea: all of that money you want to spend on Medicaid for all, free tuition, free cell phones, free housing, etc., take three quarters of it and dedicate half to Veterans, law enforcement and teachers and the other half to providing for our new senior population that always took care of us.

You assholes would rather give EVERYTHING away for free. Stop giving food stamps and welfare to young able bodied younger people who can work but just won’t. Put some restrictions on that shit. Random drug tests for recipients would be a nice start. Also after ones 8th child with no income, no employment and no desire to be employed, benefits should be slashed if not stopped. So many people are allowed to abuse the system that the ones that truly need the help fall through the cracks and get fucked, fucked, fucked.

Unlike what the dipshits in Washington may think and want to convince Americans is a wonderful idea, uber taxing high incomes, or even taxing the middle class at the current tax rate would not be necessary if the hundreds of thousands of lazy, good for nothing, shiftless fucks would actually go to work and could also be taxed, the problem would almost fix itself within a generation or two.

I’m 47 years old and for the most part, except for that one assault charge in my twenties (but he deserved it) have been a tax paying, law abiding citizen. I’m sick and so tired of getting the short end of the stick because I try to do what’s right and the people that NEVER do what’s right are rewarded for it. It makes me so angry I want to go bitch slap a random millennial, with their give me, give me, give me, shitty attitudes and expectations.

It seems like society is headed for an everyone for themselves crisis to me.

Go ahead sheeple. Trust the government.

Vietnam Veterans: America’s Unappreciated Heroes

I’ve recently been advised by a couple of my dearest followers in my blogging family to write more things that are controversial or things that I’m passionate about. Mainly because I have strong opinions and because of that I write with raw, genuine emotion. One controversial thing that I am passionate about is the Vietnam War and it’s impact on veterans like my father. Who has by Gods grace reached what should be his golden years. My father is a disabled veteran with severe undiagnosed PTSD. Men of that generation tended to be macho men who seldom went to a doctor for anything much less something of a psychological nature.

The first time I realized that my Dad “wasn’t right” I was eleven years old and was awoke by my fathers bloodcurdling screams of “Get down, get down goddamn it!” As I sat up in my bed terrified and half awake I was unsure of whether I was still sleeping and having a nightmare or if this particular nightmare was one of a more literal sense. I soon realized that this nightmare was all too real as I heard my mother say, “Wade, get off of me honey, it was just a bad dream. We are at home in our bedroom. Safe,” then her voice faded off to just soft soothing words and sounds. Many years later as an adult my mother confided in me that Daddy had thrown her on the floor and covered her body with his many times in his first decade home from Vietnam. She said the first year or two were the worst when this same scenario happened at least every couple of days due to my fathers night terrors of still being in combat under enemy fire.

The United States government failed to make good on its promises to those who served in this War. It failed them in every way imaginable. Available GI benefits for those returning home from Vietnam were nearly nonexistent. As if having your government send you off to a war that wasn’t ours then cruelly turn it’s back on the lucky ones who came home outside of a body bag was not enough of a slap in the face to the soldiers who fought and died for our country. More insult was heaped onto injury by prospective employers, as the time came for said veterans to integrate back into society by obtaining civilian employment and were met with thinly veiled disgust.

These young returning soldiers were not looking for a ticker tape parade or a hand out. They were only looking for basic human support and help in readjusting to civilian life after this extremely brutal and long war.

The Vietnam War claimed the lives of more than 58,000 American service members and wounded more than 150,000 more.

My dad upon his return was spit on, jumped by a mob of angry anti-war protesters and was the object of ridicule and disdain. Why? Because he loved his country unconditionally and would have done anything to keep her safe and free. That included taking extra classes in high school so that he could graduate a year early. At barely seventeen years old and having to have his mothers consent enlisted to go to a foreign land to fight the good fight for a cause that wasn’t America’s fight to begin with.

It is now almost fifty years later. My once strapping, strong manly father is a shell of his former self. He is VA determined 100% disabled because he has gone blind. There are thousands more veterans of this particular war with the exact same issues as my father. The government is finally, just recently admitting that his blindness and a multitude of other health related problems of he and his fellow veterans were due to American forces spraying the dense jungles of Cambodia with Agent Orange to kill the vegetation with no thought to all of the troops on the ground being covered with it. If you don’t know what Agent Orange is, look it up. Today’s equivalent would be spraying yourself from head to toe with Round-Up weed killer on a regular basis for an extended period of time.

I can not even imagine in my worst nightmares, and I’ve had some doozies, what these soldiers endured, not only abroad but also the atrocities that they suffered at the actions and the hateful words of ungrateful, ignorant, piece of shit human beings upon their return.

Today I see far too many parallels between the anti-war hippies of that era and the far left, radical millennials of today. We have raised yet another generation of violent, ungrateful, self centered assholes. I say we, because it is mainly my generation that raised them. Although my two children are of millennial age, neither of them have a millennial bone in their bodies. I’d like to think it was because they were raised with discipline, integrity and being able to realize when they were wrong or perhaps wronged another in any way to take accountability for their actions. Children like mine, through fate who were born into this shitty generation are the exception. I am extremely lucky and certainly blessed that I was able to raise such empathetic, loving, independent thinking, young adults as my beautiful daughter and son are.

To all of our remaining Vietnam Veterans and their families, although words seem completely insignificant in relation to what each of you endured, from the bottom of my heart thank you.

I’d also like to apologize on behalf of a nation that did not give a shit about you. I’m so very sorry for your treatment by the same fucked up government that sent you there and the citizens who did not appreciate your many sacrifices. Ones that the United States Federal Government wrote the check out for and made all of you pay for it with your sanity, limbs and 58,000 service members who paid the ultimate price with their lives. Lady Liberty weeps for you, and so do I.

We’re All Going To Hell and Our Elected Officials Are Driving The Bus

As I’ve watched this dog and pony shitshow of a federal government shutdown, I’ve had a sudden epiphany. I don’t know why I could not see this clearly before as I am well versed on politics and have voted in every national, state and local race since I turned eighteen years old. I suppose it’s because the older generation (i.e. my parents) have had my psyche held hostage to the false assumption that EVERYTHING that is wrong in government is the opposite parties fault. I’m actually a bit embarrassed that it took me this long, and have had to have this much therapy to think for myself.

None of these politicians have the well being and best interests of Joe/Jane American concerning them. What is concerning them are the mega-pac super donors and big spenders on their campaigns and THEIR special interests. It’s nauseating. I am unapologetically a Trump voter. I can not continue to say supporter because he’s just as bad as the rest of them. The main reason I voted for him was because the status quo was obviously not working anymore so I thought that perhaps some radical change would be the answer. Granted the POTUS is a misogynistic, homophobic, pussy grabbing animal….but hell, who am I to judge. Besides Bill Clinton got sucked off IN the Oval Office and bricked all over Monica’s fancy blue dress, so what’s a paid off porn star and a little pussy grabbing among consenting adults?!?

I digress, though. He, as it turns out is just as smarmy and full of shit as all of the rest of those self serving asshats. We’re all going to hell and the Cheeto colored fuck, Lying Hilary, Nancy P. and that simpering cocksucker Chuck are driving the bus!!

Sticks and Stones Can Break My Bones. Words Can Sever Souls.

I like to say I fear no words but that’s a lie.

I have anxiety about my health because my mother would growl when I smiled: Your incisors are BROWN. Pinworms: Placing me, naked, face-down on the couch, parting my seven-year-old buttocks with her fingernails, summoning Dad: Come see these damn things crawling in and out!

She scolded me for inhaling their microscopic eggs off some shit-fingered kid.

The very air was dangerous. Wet grass, which gives girls colds in their panties, could kill.

I also fear words — any words, but telling you this gives you power over me — said loudly. Shouted. Yelled. The word “yell” itself scares me, because in my mind I hear “yell” yelled. My parents yelled at me. A lot. They screamed cusswords into my face, their hot saliva speckling my eyes. Now that sounds like a lie. Why would two highly educated intellectuals roar at a mild-mannered, obedient, anxious child? They said they had no choice, because I was a fucking slob. They said I drove them to it by using language they loathed: ain’t, for instance, and you guys

The main word I fear lately is the A-word. I can barely say or write it, here or anywhere. Which A-word? you demand. Australia? App?

Hint: It rhymes with Larousse. Vamoose. Abstruse.

I can’t type it. I can’t.

That’s why I came here today. To say this.

I had what witnesses would call an absolutely ordinary childhood. Sun-baked suburban home. Food. Clothes. No siblings. Never beaten, never sexually assaulted.

See? I evaded using the A-word there. Instead, I wrote “assaulted,” because horrible as assault is, it remains alien to me, thus oddly anodyne.

I had an absolutely ordinary childhood during which, day after day, I was humiliated, shamed, deprived of privacy and terrified.

My parents said they loved me.  They had anger issues. They had no previous experience with kids. They suffered too, but both were adults when they screamed at me.

A name exists for this. It is not physical maltreatment of the Mommie Dearest kind but emotional, verbal … the A-word. Vamoose.

And don’t I wish I wasn’t writing this? Don’t I wish I was lilting about dragonflies, kabuki or one of my other interests instead of chanting childhood anecdotes like Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner who collared helpless passersby to rant, froth-lipped, eternally, about an albatross?

I’m writing this to tell the world of not just me but way too many of us: We who were traumatized with words and looks by toxic parents who believed they were doing their best, when we were too young to know otherwise, too young to believe this was anything but universal, normal, justified. Too young for any form of self-defense.

Society might call our type of touchless trauma tiny. So it seems, compared to war and sex crimes, but new studies show that childhood verbal and emotional … Larousse … can damage its victims as lastingly and harshly as any physical assault can.

This is because, according to developmental psychologists, the human brain acquires self-awareness at age three, then remains in hyper-absorbent learning mode for twenty years. Terrify someone so young that his or her sense of self is larva-soft, someone whose only god is you. Tell him or her that he or she is ugly, stupid, boring, bad, a fag, a pig. Do this early and often. Do it in the comfortable closed-circuit crucible called home. Do it authoritatively. Never apologize. Abracadabra: You, making no mark upon the flesh, have slashed a soul and tossed aside its disconnected, twitching bits.

As a random example, I am living proof. I wish I wasn’t. I want out. I want to stop repeating myself, want to walk out of my childhood free and clear and start thinking of other things — kabuki, ravens — but cannot until I stop using these anecdotes as standup-comic shtik whose practiced, memorized rimshot delivery anesthetizes me.

We the toxically parented, we the emotionally and verbally vamoosed either silence ourselves as we were silenced or tell our tales endlessly as if this telling will itself release us. But it won’t. Silence and logorrhea can both become empty la-la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you rituals.

Which we repeat because we cannot bear to hate those who meant well. We must seek some spell in between: some way to sanctify our stories, in silence or sound, as scathing epic Iliad-esque tragedies which we somehow survived. (At least one friend of mine has not.)

But criticizing incisors and calling someone the F-word are miniscule, you say. Maybe between adults. (Maybe.) But, inflicted on children during those developmental years, such interchanges become retroviruses. Depth charges. Time bombs tick-tick-ticking in our heads.

Did your parents insult you? Did they mock, humiliate, reject and/or neglect you? Steep you in their addictions and other adult pain? Were they too self-absorbed to even see you? Did they demand worship, trample boundaries and damn your dreams? Consistently?

That was … abstruse.

I’m not saying let’s wave our pain around like Pity Me flags. I’m saying almost the opposite: We who were emotionally/verbally toxically parented want to feel normal and live in the adult world. We don’t want to blame ourselves anymore. We don’t want to be numb, dissociated, frozen, sleepless, hypervigilant, incapable of giving or receiving love and trust.

We want to know why we are this way.

Because trauma can do this. Trauma is why.

Because society decrees that only body-involved violence “counts,” that we are lucky by comparison, we call ourselves ungrateful, spoiled, selfish and childish. Staggering like zombies, we refuse to name our suffering.

So I will. We were traumatized.

Sticks and stones break bones. Words can sever souls.

I wish I’d had a somewhat different childhood. I wish I could drop this topic, but I can’t. I wish I had another song. I don’t: not yet, but maybe if I sing this one with meaning now … ? What happened in that hot-roofed house decades ago is why I’m stuck. It’s why I often hate myself. I need not pretend anymore to wonder why. This hurts like murder, but whom have I spent a lifetime trying to protect? And it happened by accident, with perfume and marshmallow Peeps. It happened in sunshine, with love.

Army Ranger dog named Maiko died in Afghanistan saving US Soldiers

Army Ranger dog named Maiko died in Afghanistan saving US soldiers | TheHill
— Read on www.google.com/amp/s/thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/419837-army-ranger-dog-named-maiko-died-in-afghanistan-saving-us?amp

This post is for the bitch that blasted Sully from the Slate.

Read this and please educate your ass before you opine and spread your ignorance about humanity’s best friends.

This My Friends Are Why I’m Still Proud To Be An American

Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole was helped out of his wheelchair Tuesday afternoon to salute the American flag-draped casket of former President George Herbert Walker Bush.

Dole, 95, arrived at the Capitol Rotunda — where Bush will lie in state until Wednesday — pushed in his wheelchair by an aide. Once at the casket’s side, the aide helped Dole stand. And as he was steadied, Dole raised his left arm and saluted.

No matter what political affiliation one is, no matter what side of the aisle your core beliefs lie, this life being celebrated by family, former colleagues, friends and everyday “Joes” was the life of a GOOD man. A kind man. A patriot.

As I reflect on his character and the way he treated the common person just the same as he treated heads of state is a testament of the kind of man “41” was. Faith, family and America were his priorities. His entire life. His unconditional, amazing love for his beautiful “Bar” is the kind of love story of which many little girls dream.

His was a life well lived and I would be willing to bet that Mr. Bush “went home” with few regrets as he lived his life with laughter, love and a zest for adventure. He was an amazing man to which all men (and women) should measure themselves against….although he would have never seen it that way because he was far to humble. Godspeed, Mr. President, you are gone but history will NEVER forget you.

Leave Sully Alone, You Heartless Bitch

George H.W. Bush’s service dog ‘Sully’ isn’t a Democrat or Republican — It’s doggone crazy to attack him

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/george-h-w-bushs-service-dog-sully-isnt-a-democrat-or-republican-its-doggone-crazy-to-attack-him

Explore the Fox News apps that are right for you at http://www.foxnews.com/apps-products/index.html.

Fur babies are more loyal, loving, and genuine than most people are. Any dumb bitch that thinks otherwise has no soul and probably doesn’t own a pet because it would sense her evil and bite her a new asshole. What an idiot and heartless snowflake. Nothing is sacred anymore and it pisses me off more than I could EVER verbalize, even with my enormous repertoire of swear words.

Disassociation in Complex PTSD Childhood Abuse Survivors

The effects of childhood sexual and physical abuse last a lifetime. Abused children end up being adults prone to depression, anxiety, substance abuse and psychiatric disorders. They are more prone to suicide. However, in recent years we have learned that abuse does more than wound self-esteem and break the spirit. It can damage the very substance of the brain and how it functions.

A major way by which childhood abuse can disrupt normal brain activity is by diminishing its capacity to handle stress. Stress is more than the worry and distress we experience when the circumstances of life push us beyond our limits. The body’s response to stress is a complex biological mechanism. When the brain senses that the body is being taxed beyond its usual capacity, it initiates the stress response by releasing a substance called corticotrophin releasing hormone, or CRH. CRH stimulates the pituitary gland to release ACTH that, in turn, triggers the release of the stress hormone, cortisol, from the adrenal glands. Cortisol marshals the body’s resources to provide the extra energy and endurance to meet the demands being placed upon it. Once, this might have been escaping an angry mastodon. Today, it would more likely be getting used to a new job, a nasty divorce, or recovering from surgery.

The stress-induced switch into physiological overdrive is designed to be brief. In fact, among the many things that cortisol does in the body, one of the most important is to feed back to the brain and start to shut the stress response down. Cortisol does this by binding to specific receptors in the brain. Cortisol fits the receptor, like a key in a lock, and turns the response off. One of the problems with those that have suffered severe childhood abuse is that the brains turn off switch has been turned off for the stress response to be disabled.

A study published in 2009 in the prestigious journal Nature Neuroscience revealed part of the reason why adults who were abused as children have abnormal stress responses. The grim details of the study included comparisons of the brains of individuals who had committed suicide vs. those who had died natural deaths. Among those who had committed suicide were some who had suffered severe childhood abuse and others who had not. It was found that among those who had suffered abuse, there were fewer of the special cortisol receptors in the brain that allow cortisol to turn off the stress response. It was further found that the section of DNA responsible for maintaining adequate numbers of these receptors had been methylated. They were no longer in full operation.

When the stress response won’t shut off and cortisol levels remain high in the brain, bad things can happen. Whereas bursts of cortisol help bolster the brain’s supply of glucose and chemical messengers, sustained high levels of cortisol can cause damage. Cortisol diminishes the brain’s response to the chemical messenger, serotonin, while it enhances the response to norepinephrine. Persisting high levels of cortisol also decrease levels of Brain-derived Neurotrophic factor, a substance that is necessary to maintain and replenish neurons in the brain. These and other changes alter mood, disturb sleep, heighten anxiety, and cause irritability. Consequently, the individual becomes more prone to Major Depression, PTSD, Generalized Anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders.