Help me develop a DBT-based parenting program!

This program will be based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. If proven successful there is a high possibility it will be moved online to support moms from around the world!

Here is the link for the survey! Thank you for your help and support 🙂

Experiences of Mom’s with Borderline Personality Disorder/Borderline Traits

 

What would you want out of a BPD Mom program?

My boss has given me permission to begin research in the hopes of creating a program for Mom’s with BPD improve their relationship with their children and themselves. I am preparing a survey and in the meantime, I wanted to reach out here! If you do not already know me, I am a Mom who experiences borderline traits.

There is a lot of research out there that bashes Moms who experience BPD. Resources for Moms with BPD are scarce and I want to change that! If you feel comfortable, please leave a response in the comments below or you can wait for the survey as it is anonymous.

Who am I looking to hear from:

  • Moms who have BPD, borderline traits or believe they have BPD and have never been officially diagnosed.
  • Moms (of any age child)
  • Pregnant, first-time moms
  • Women who would like to be moms

What I would like to know is: if you signed up for a program on Mothering and BPD, what would you want in it? What would help you the most improve your relationship with your children? What would make you feel confident in your mothering as a first-time mom or someone who wants to be a mom?

 

Join me in learning DBT Skills!

When I get right down to it, if I had not of learned Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) skills I would not have my son. I feared that if I did not get my emotions under control I would not be able to properly cope with the trials of parenthood and not give my child the best version of myself. Before DBT, I felt stuck and worried that I would never have the family I knew I deserved.

Very quickly, I saw that the DBT skills were changing me. Emotion regulation skills taught me about my emotions (to listen to them, not hate them) and how I can influence them. Interpersonal effectiveness skills taught me how to better communicate my needs and that I am not responsible for people’s responses. Distress tolerance skills taught me how to cope in times of stress and how meeting my physical needs helps tolerate emotional distress. Mindfulness skills taught me how to slow down and notice the moment so I do not become overwhelmed in this fast paced world.

Maybe you can relate to my experience. Maybe your emotions and ability to cope with them are holding you back from having a life worth living. I would like to encourage you to consider joining me in learning DBT. I work for an organization, based out of Toronto, Ontario called Dialectical Living. We have spots currently open for our 2017 DBT skills classes. The great thing about our classes is that you do not have to live in Toronto to attend! In February 2017 we are launching our Intro to DBT course ONLINE! Learn DBT with me and my co-facilitator wherever you are in the world!

In the Intro to DBT course you will learn all of the core DBT skills over a 12 week period. The course is cost-effective and one of the most affordable DBT courses out there. It is very important to myself and the staff at Dialectical Living that we are as affordable as possible so everyone who needs DBT can access it.

To learn more about our courses please visit our website: http://www.dialecticalliving.ca/online-skills-group/

 

New Book on BPD

I have not read this book yet but it was recommended by Debbie Corso, one of the amazing women that taught me DBT. Beyond Borderline is a collection of stories about recovering from BPD. You can read an excerpt here.

It is so easy to get caught up in the emotional turmoil that we experience as emotionally sensitive people. I feel that having a book to refer to that is filled with stories by different people about how they have healed will be extremely helpful. There is bound to be bits of each story that we can relate to and solutions we can apply to our own lives.

 

Getting a new diagnosis: Thoughts on mental health identity

Image: a list of illnesses with empty check boxes beside each name. Depression has a red check mark next to it.

In a past Motherhood & Madness post I mentioned that the psychiatrist I’m seeing felt that my borderline diagnosis was wrong and that I instead experience major depression, generalized anxiety and “severe, reactive interpersonal sensitives”. As I said in the previous post, “I feel like [the psychiatrist] just broke down my experience into small chunks, making them seem separate when they are really deeply connected.” Overall I have ignored the apparent change in diagnosis and I also have to admit that it did get to me when I found myself in a group of BPD peers. I may see myself as not sick, identify as Mad and as someone who doesn’t put weight into DSM labels but it would be careless of me to ignore that I am still vulnerable to these labels and what they mean.

I remember when I was first diagnosed with dysthymia (chronic depression) when I was 16 years old I felt relieved and validated. For many years my sadness had been seen as a personal flaw and for the first time I could tell people that being this sad all the time wasn’t something I was doing on purpose (of course, discrimination made none of that matter but I still had something to fall back on rather than nothing). When I was around 23 years old and told that I no longer had dysthymia, and instead had borderline personality traits I again felt validated. I felt like someone understood my experiences and that I would finally be able to get the help I really needed (let’s just ignore the fact that BPD treatment is limited, expensive and not taken seriously). Now, at 27, with 2 (or 3…does the sensitivities count as a diagnosis?) different diagnoses added to my file I find myself scratching my head and thinking, “That’s not me.”

Image: a creature coming out of a circle. The creature’s body says “I am?” The circle has words on it such as personality, heritage, behaviour, abilities, feelings and narrative.

Each of our identities can bring with it a sense of community. My identity as a White woman with BPD opens up opportunities for me to connect with others through shared experiences, discuss the issues related to our identities (especially around White privilege) and offer sources of pride. So when one of those identities is challenged it shakes you to your core and can have damaging effects (here I especially think about trans people who are morally and legally denied to be the sex they know they were born to be). I think that many mental health professionals still do not understand that for some people, they are not handing out the name of an illness, they are handing out identities. These diagnoses can offer us an understanding in our experiences and guide us into how we can fit into the world. I have no problem connecting with others who have a different label than I as I know majority of us have similar shared experiences. There is something special though about being with others who share your label. It is very empowering, healing and fun.

I experience the extreme sadness we call depression but I do not identify with it. I do not think I could sit in a major depression support group and feel 100% comfortable. The same goes for the generalized anxiety label. I do not think I would fit well there. This has nothing to do with individuals who are have these labels and experiences. I would feel just as out of place in a group of people with another identity that I did not connect with. My sadness and anxiety is extremely situational and I believe BPD acknowledged that.

At the end of the day, I know I get to choose who I am. Just because someone gives me a label does not mean I have to accept it. I write the story of my life and I will continue to see myself as a sensitive person who is doing fairly well in life. I get to decide.

 

Article: Having Kids with a BPD Diagnosis

Check out the post, “Having Kids with a BPD Diagnosis” on the Roanne Program website!

This article is extra fun because I am quoted in it as Pride in Madness!

“Pride in Madness states “I will have children. I will love my children. My children will be alright. ”

What has it been like for you to be a parent with a mental health diagnosis and/or with emotional differences?