If only I truly believed what the picture says!
Yup! I’m an all or nothing kind of girl. All or nothing thinking, or black and white thinking or splitting is widely recognised as being a trait associated with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I’m not about to give a lecture of BPD but you too can learn all you want with the touch of a few keys. A good place to start is here. For as long as I can remember I’ve been thinking this way, and even years before I got my BPD diagnosis I could see that there was something in that style of thinking that worked for me. Everything was black or white. There was absolutely no grey. I remember years ago having a discussion with my psychotherapist about my marriage. He was trying to help me to see that there were more than two options available to me. All I could see what either I leave, or I stay and get used to what I had. There literally wasn’t a bit of me that could see there were other options. And sure enough some months later I opted to leave the marriage. It hindsight it was probably the best thing for both of us, but my point is that it was totally beyond me to see that other alternatives existed.
Now days with the benefit of a whole lot more therapy I am starting to see that grey exists. Frankly I still don’t like it. It’s far too wishy-washy for my liking. I actually like thinking I only have two options but it does leave me kind of limited.
I have spent the last five days in what I think is known as a fibro flare-up. I’m new to fibromyalgia but if that wasn’t a flare-up then I dare not think what one will be like. I have been in a great deal of pain, as opposed to the everyday, usual pain, and I have slept a lot. No matter how much sleep I got, I still needed more. But now I’ve got to the stage where I hate my bed and I hate sleeping. Actually I’ll correct that I don’t hate sleeping, but I DO hate waking up. That is agony. As an example yesterday I slept in the afternoon and when I woke my legs felt like they were double their size and had been burnt raw. It really felt like the skin had been burnt off my legs, and if I, or anyone dared touch them or move them, I would be sent through the roof with horrific pain. This is a regular occurrence. That’s how they felt but I knew this wasn’t the case, and so eventually I dared to move them. I was back to the ‘great deal of pain’ but not the agony I thought it would be. Still it was enough to put me off going to sleep again. I can’t decide. Do I curl up and go to sleep like I think will help? Or do I avoid it at all costs because of the perceived pain and of course the real pain I wake up with purely because I haven’t moved recently? I’m fighting with myself right now because what I want to do is the old ‘all or nothing’, and not go to sleep at all. But I know I can’t not sleep. I can’t work out how to have grey. Any ideas???
Again I fight with my ‘all of nothing’ thinking as today it’s cold and wet. Actually it’s the first day this year (and remember it’s autumn – fall here) when I have considered turning the heating on. This is another battle I have every year, and right through winter. In New Zealand we don’t have the extremes in temperatures that other countries have. Yet it is cold enough that we need heating in our homes. For most people that’s fine, and I should point out that I have perfectly adequate heating here. It’s just that I struggle to let myself use it. All or nothing comes in because I either decide I won’t have any heating (unless I know someone is coming to visit) or I’ll put it on and to hell with it – too bad about the electricity bill. Why am I talking to you about my power bill? Because it’s a good example of BPD thinking. I live on my own, and I’d like to think that if I lived with other people I would accept the heating being on. But for me I think I don’t need it. It’s just me so it doesn’t matter if it’s cold. I can just go to bed or I can put another layer on. I just can’t allow myself to have the luxury of being warm. I can’t just say I am worth it. It’s sounds ridiculous and maybe it is, but I go through this conversation with myself daily right through the colder part of the year. It’s all or nothing. I can’t just turn the heater off when the room gets warm, or use the thermostat. I have to deny myself warmth.
That said, all is not lost and last year I finally began to let myself have heating. It didn’t help that my house is badly damaged thanks to earthquakes, so is fairly draughty. The power bill was horrendous. But hey, I guess at least I was warm. As for today, I’ve decided (optimistically) that this is a one-off and warmth will return tomorrow. I still can’t bring myself to just put it on when I’m cold. It’s time my therapist came back from his Easter break!
- What is borderline personality disorder? (halfwaybetweenthegutter.wordpress.com)
- BPD Black and White Thinking and Don’t take my phone! (showard76.wordpress.com)
- Breaking it Down: Borderline Personality Disorder (psychologiques.wordpress.com)
- Realizing some things while doing research… (carlarenee45.wordpress.com)