Just BPD Things…

Since being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder over a year ago, I have found both helpful and unhelpful content online; whether it be for symptoms, medication information or just to feel as though I have others to relate to.

Today, I found this video: If you’re not up for watching, YouTuber Sammy-Marie Grimm makes light of some not so productive habits she has that are a result of her mental illness(es), namely BPD.

There are videos online that are full of negative perceptions, experiences and stereotypes of those with this diagnosis. Usually, these videos are shared by people who have been close to someone with BPD or other illnesses that have a huge stigma attached to them. This content is typically bitter exes blaming their failed/failing relationships on their partner’s illness. What a shame – feeding the pre-existing stigma and, consequently, further deterring sufferers from speaking out.

FYI: we all have traits we do not like and/or can improve upon and it is true that the state of our mental health may worsen some of these negative traits (moodiness, irritability, tearfulness, etc.) BUT symptoms of mental illness cannot be to blame for a person’s utter d***headedness. If someone, mentally ill or not, is a piece of sh*t then distance yourself.

However, Sammy-Marie’s video is a lighthearted and honest response to the sh*tty traits that mental illness can enhance.

Her video sparked some much needed inspiration to kick off my writing in reflection to my BPD diagnosis. So, I thought I’d share some of my own traits that are most likely derived from my Borderline Personality Disorder or co-morbid illnesses.

(…Pause for a second to ask: Why am I doing this to myself?)

  1. Convincing myself that everyone secretly hates me – this is a fun one!

  2. Impulsive decision-making – anything from dramatic hair changes to things that could potentially be damaging.

  3. I have THE WORST memory. I don’t know if this is due to dissociation but there are huge chunks of my life that I can’t remember and also smaller things that are brought up in conversation like: ‘haha, remember *insert event here*!?’ … uh, no, sorry.

  4. Spending money that I don’t have – I have no control and I am doomed to be poor forever.

  5. Splitting – I switch from absolute love to absolute hate, both on myself and people in my life.

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6. I could sleep forever, I am ALWAYS tired.

7. I don’t know what I want out of life – I continuously change my mind about where I’m at currently, what I want as a career, what my goals are, etc.

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8. I am SO easily overwhelmed. I often find myself feeling that life is just ‘too much’.

9. I have to combat bad thoughts with small rituals, a psychologist I saw for a while told me this was OCD but I don’t think I have an official diagnosis of this.

10. A constant, underlying, feeling of emptiness that can be ignored for a while, but as soon as I stop to think for a moment it floods back.

Hopefully, this one wasn’t too much of a downer!

If there are any other topics you would like me to discuss, please comment or leave me a message.

Thank-you 🙂

Dissociation; Feeling Floaty

Dissociation: The act of disconnecting or separating or the state of being disconnected. In psychology, dissociation is any of a wide array of experiences from mild detachment from immediate surroundings to more severe detachment to physical and emotional experience. The major characteristic of all dissociative phenomena involves a detachment from reality (wikipedia.org).

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It can hit like a wave of dream-like underwhelming yet overwhelming uncertainty. Concepts such as Who, What, Where etc. are simply unfathomable depending on the type of dissociative state you experience.

My own experience has mainly been with derealisation (feeling as though your surroundings are not real and/or obscure), depersonalisation (feeling as though you are not real, you are disconnected from your physical being or generally dreamy/floaty feelings) and dissociative amnesia (having chunks of your life without memory about what happened and/or about yourself).

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Throughout my life I have experienced feeling ‘not real’ and, before I knew that this was a legitimate symptom of a disorder, it could be a lot more frightening than it is for me at 22 years old.

I recall one week in particular that depersonalisation hit me hard; I was on my way to the bus stop to go to sixth form one morning and felt a strong sense of confusion. I was questioning whether I was real/awake/alive as I seemed to float alongside myself on the short walk to the bus stop. All week I had a tough time concentrating on pretty much anything and absorbing any form of content or depth of thought was impossible. It can be extremely frustrating as you attempt to digest information and nothing sticks or is totally inconceivable from the start. Luckily, my episodes are usually brief and have never persisted longer than about a week but there are many reports of sufferers feeling trapped in this state long term.

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A lot of the time, when experiencing a dissociative episode, my mind will fill with thoughts of what possible scenarios could have lead me to becoming an entity rather than the person I know myself as – bare with me!

I find myself thinking that a ‘logical’ consequence of feeling so bizarre is that I have died and am now continuing my life as though I were still living. This is something I struggle with and need to remind myself is just a thought *using those all important DBT skills* and that this feeling will soon fade. Grounding techniques are also a saving grace when the floaty feelings hit, such as turning your attention to your physical surroundings and using your senses to place yourself within them i.e. sound, smell, touch etc.

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If you or anyone you know is distressed by these thoughts and feelings, remember that it is not reality and to stay focussed on your inner self and the things closest to you. Ask questions like ‘what can I feel in direct contact to me?’ How do my clothes feel against my skin? Feel the pressure from the ball of your foot to your toes with each step as you walk. Sip a flavoursome drink like orange juice. Count the seconds as you deeply inhale and exhale. Stay calm. If you are worried for your own or someone else’s safety/wellbeing always seek professional support.

Charity Shopping Tips & Tricks

So today I thought I’d sit down and write another post for my series about secondhand shopping – I’ve thought up a list of tips and tricks to increase your chances of finding something special while rummaging through the charity shops!

Time:

Charity shops will receive most of their donations on weekends when people have the most free time, this means that their newest stock will be out at the beginning of the week. If you’re looking for first dibs on new stock go on a Monday/Tuesday morning.

Place:

What you’re most likely to find depends on the location of the charity shops. Big cities are most likely to receive designer donations whereas small towns and villages are most likely to have cheaper price tags and this is where you can bag yourself a 50p party dress!

Don’t be afraid to rummage:

Once you’re in the shop, take your time and look at every rail in every section – you never know where you’ll find that hidden gem! It could be a badass vintage band tee in the men’s section , the prettiest slip dress in the underwear section or a fabulous Parisian silk scarf at the bottom of a 20p bargain bin.

Check out every size:

As a lover of all things oversized, I always check out the bigger sizes as well as my own but I have petite friends who’ve managed to grab themselves something magical from the children’s section too! Also, vintage sizing is way different to sizing now and so if something is pretty old always give it a look over or a try on.

Check the label:

Check for good quality at a low price, a lot of it is just high street but you can often find designer farms or true vintage that’s made to last.

Use your imagination:

Something you’re drawn to may not have the right fit, be adorned with ugly buttons or huge frills in the wrong places – get creative, try things on and think how they could be worn differently, turned into something else or what else the piece could be worn with that you already have in your wardrobe.

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I hope this has inspired you to get into charity shopping or encouraged you to be more courageous with your secondhand purchases, whether that be through some D.I.Y or shopping in the men’s section!

Carrie-Anne x

Why shopping secondhand is best and why fast fashion sucks!

I first got into shopping secondhand at around the age of 15 when I was becoming more experimental with my personal style. I discovered vintage and charity shops in Leeds when I started going shopping more with friends, although none of my friends back then were really into it so I mainly did it alone.

It soon became clear that this was the cheapest way to get one-off pieces that nobody else had. I would feel unique when I wore something I was sure none of my peers had, feel good for giving my money to a good cause or independent business rather than to Topshop or Urban Outfitters – which I could only really afford when there were sales on anyway – and it gave me a confidence boost when someone complimented my outfit and were shocked to find out it was from a charity shop.

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One of my favourite dresses ever and slamming charity shop barg, styled with the same belt as above, also another fave!

This was around the time I started immersing myself in the online fashion community of YouTube and Blogger and occasionally I shared what I’d found rummaging through charity shops in a video myself and it seemed to go down pretty well and I now make these kinds of videos regularly – here!

I love the feeling of finding a dreamy dress for £2.99 that I know I can wear out and won’t be wearing the same thing as the girl across the street. It also saves you a lot of money that can be used to be more creative with your style – rather than splurging £30 on a t-shirt from Topshop, you could have bought an entire outfit and accessories. Yeah sure, you won’t always find what you’re looking for but the hunt is part of the experience and the buzz you’ll get with scoring an amazing piece for super cheap makes it all pretty exciting.

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Styling this amazing boho dress from Tigers Eye with some vintage Harley Davidson boots I scored at Cow.

Not only does this way of shopping give you a huge ego boost, it’s also much greener to shop secondhand. In doing this, you’re not part of the harsh reality of underpaid workers in factories but also think of all of the clothes already in the world, being thrown out and ending up in landfill – there really is no need to buy brand new mass produced clothing every time you shop. Discover hidden gems, recycle and reinvent them to build your own personal style that you will then be known for, rather than simply blending into the background.

Vintage is also so much more sustainable than the fast fashion of today. The groovy garments you find in these shops have lived such a long life because they were made to last, unlike that Primark jacket you bought last year that is already wearing away and torn under the arm. This past life of the clothing also gives the piece a sense of history and wonder about it that fast fashion doesn’t have – imagine who was wearing this pair of jeans back in the early 80s…

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Another proud charity shop find was this beautiful Zara dress (AGAIN with my bloomin’ belt from Cow) and a vintage baker boy hat.

I hope these points have inspired you to become a more conscious shopper for the sake of the environment and your inner narcissist in having the most eclectic wardrobe out of your circle of friends. Have fun treasure hunting!

Carrie-Anne x