Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mother, Monster and Borderline Personality Disorder (Part 2)

Mother, Monster and Borderline Personality Disorder (Part 2)
Several searchers have found my story, “My Mother the Monster and Borderline Personality Disorder. After researching the subject of Borderline Personality Disorder, I am not able to focus on a single causal notion. I find studies showing brain abnormalities caused by malnutrition in the infant, in children raised in an atmosphere of abuse and neglect and studies that show the disorder may be genetic or environmental in nature.


Research requires study in three major areas to perceive a more complete analysis of the disorder. These are abnormalities of the brain structure, chemical messages and electrical connections of the brain and the psychology or psychiatry of the brain, the mind.

Abnormalities of the brain involve the amygdala and the hippocampus. The amygdala is involved in memory, emotion and fear. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is important for learning and memory (for converting short-term memory to more permanent memory) and it is important for recalling spatial relationships in the world around us. The amygdala and hippocampus are considered abnormal because they are under-developed.

I was thirty-five years old with a five-year-old son when I realized something was terribly wrong. I had become my mother. Because of self-medicating with alcohol for many years, the symptoms of BPD were not manifested or realized until I had already been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depression. One can hide many symptoms of BPD from one’s self and society in the foggy grasp of alcohol.

In the early 1980’s Borderline Personality Disorder became a popular subject among psychologists and psychiatrists. Attempts were put forth by the most respected of names in the field to quantify and qualify human behavior and its many divisions and deviations into a distinct medical classification. This in turn qualified the disorder as a disease that could be pandered to by the pharmaceutical companies. Psychotherapy along with pharmaceutical therapy became the norm of the day.

Never the less, after all this collection of data and studies, there are still some who would scrap the whole idea of Borderline Personality Disorder as a medical diagnosis all together; submitting that the disorder is merely a separate portrait of  the personality involved in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The second area of study is biological and strives to understand the natural chemicals and electrical impulses that control how we process data received through our five senses. They also control each and every movement of the body be it conscious movement, such as talking or walking or automatic unconscious movement, such as the rhythm of the heartbeat or the action of the lungs in breathing and exhaling air.

Our emotions are controlled by these same chemical and electrical impulses. This is why behavior control and the synthetic chemicals designed to manipulate behavior by subduing or exciting the emotions has become so popular in pharmacopoeia. These drugs have become a mainstay in profit parameters of doctors and pharmaceutical companies.

The third area of study is in psychology and psychiatry. This gets into shadows and fear of the unknown. I find this area of study lacking in veneration and give little respect to the conclusions of the so-called academia of human behavior. The study of psychiatry is young, just over 100 years and the father of psychiatry was most notably high on cocaine himself when he so wittingly and intelligently penned his opinions of the workings of the mind in connection with the brain. I daresay this is why psychiatry has turned to the synthetic chemicals so highly touted by pharmacology to be used to control or contain what cannot be understood.

The reader will notice bitterness in the heart and pen of this writer. Over a quarter-century ago on a bright sun-shiny afternoon while out interviewing for employment, I was suddenly lost in my spatial environment. I was stopped at a stoplight in the downtown area of Anchorage, AK; I did not know where I was, where I had been or where I was going. I had no idea how to get back home. The horns on cars all around me were honking in cacophony while I suffered with the first of many panic attacks. It was on that day that I began to journey through an unfamiliar and unacceptable life path unable to turn around or even stop and go no further. I was bizarrely drawn into a world of madness, confusion and chaos.

Today there are times when the “spatial lost-ness” comes back for short periods. I have learned to keep walking or keep driving and eventually I will begin to recognize my way and learn where I am. I have learned not to berate myself as being stupid and to accept myself along with these small aberrations as tiny pieces of whom I am to be respected with the whole.

Memory is not reliable even to the most normal of people. When I discovered my memories were faulty, I grew unsure of myself. I found I could no longer trust myself or depend on myself for anything. Feelings of helplessness run rampant up and down the spine sending chilblains through the body. I write notes to myself to help with memory.

I do so embarrass myself though and jokingly admit that I am not fit company most days for man or beast. My emotions flare and I let them, to a certain extent. There are actions I have forbidden myself to take under any circumstances. I keep myself tightly bound when out in public and control demonstrations of emotion.

Sometimes the answer is to be able to set boundaries for the emotions and the actions resulting from the overwrought emotional self. Sometimes the answer is taking it on a wing of faith, and knowing in your heart that this too shall pass, that nothing lasts forever and as the pendulum swings so do the emotional moments of our lives. Sometimes we just have to accept that we are not perfect nor will we ever be.

I have been blackballed from the medical community for non-compliance. I refuse to continue in the never-ending cycle of psychiatric medicine. The old drugs gave me night terrors and introduced me to spirits and demons in the land of the unconscious soul. The new drugs cause joint pain, muscle spasm and a plethora of other symptoms with their drying effects. The side effects described in the sales pitch of drugs being sold today should be enough to make the hair stand up on a bald person!

Regarding the aforementioned three major areas of study I will conclude with, one, there is not a thing I can do about an under developed amygdala or hippocampus. Two, I can control the chemical and electrical impulses of the brain through life style changes in diet, exercise, supplements, alternative medicine, herbs and spices. We should all remain aware of electric discharges from high voltage electric lines and other household electronics; and three, while psychiatry does not have a clue; pharmaceutical drugs are being made for a profit of money, not to benefit the consumer.

My Mother the Monster is forgiven for the pain she wrought through my feelings of empathy for her that has been developed through research into her family and childhood. Understanding the hierarchy of mother’s family unit and knowing how she was raised creates a certain amount of sympathy. However, to feel sorry for her would not help me. I must place myself in her place and feel what she felt to have a sense of what she endured and how she excelled. I must accept the choices she made and the choices forced upon her in her fight for survival; much as I have to accept the choices I have made.

In forgiving her, I can forgive myself and in forgiving myself, I can forgive her. To learn to be forgiving is the answer to having peace in the heart and quietness in the mind.



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