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 Post subject: Kuro's Homework
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:37 pm 
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So I've decided to do the homework that Ash listed. Or at least start it. I have begun with Chapter 2. There is a lot of information, I put a lot of thought into it. It's ok if you guys don't read it all, there is a lot, and it's not written in a way that is easy to read, but it's there, and if you want to tackle it and give me any insights I'd greatly appreciate it. The first set of homework I did brought back a lot of painful childhood memories. Things I actually never even considered could be the cause for the BPD. After thinking about it though I realize just how dysfunctional my childhood was. Anyway, this thread here shall become a journal for these homework assignments. I'd also like to inspire others to do something similar. Being open and truthful can really help with recovery.

I also want to state that I almost lied a great deal on this assignment. At the very start I began with a false story just for the sake of getting the assignment done. I finished the entire story before I said to myself, "Wait a minute, this is a complete lie. I want to get better and giving false information to the people willing and trying to help me is not going to help me achieve that goal." I'm glad I smartened up. The first homework assignment will be in the next post =D.


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 Post subject: Re: Kuro's Homework
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2011 6:39 pm 
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Chapter 2 - So You Have BPD (On The Border)
For now, you are asked to simply identify the behaviours.
• List three times you acted upon black-and-white thinking. How did that work out for you? What do you think you could have done to handle the situation differently? To achieve a more successful outcome?
• Write about someone you placed on a pedestal. What sort of things did you tend to ignore when you elevated them in your mind? What happened when you realized that they were not that idealized person? How did you feel? Do you notice any trends – the basic relationship in which you generally put people on a pedestal, the types of things you initially overlook, etc.?
• List three things that scare you in a relationship. Do you have any idea how to overcome those fears? (It’s okay if you don’t just yet. That will come as you make progress in your journey.)
• Write about someone you split. How were you feeling at the time? How did you feel later, after the heat of the moment subsided?

Black and White Thinking

Situation 1: When I was a kid I began exhibiting some very unusual behaviour for teenager. When I would get home from school I would go straight bed, around 4-430pm. I would wake up around 1am and would be up the entire night. Because of this the only entertainment outlet I had was the family computer. My brother and I were not on speaking terms (still aren’t 10 years later), but I avoided all contact with him to avoid the constant fights. My brother began sleeping on the couch right next to the family computer every night in an attempt to prevent me from using it. I had told my mother that this behaviour was unfair, that it is my only source of entertainment I had and I had demanded that either the computer be placed in my room or he be punished for what he was doing. She said that the behaviour between me and my brother was unhealthy and that if I wanted to use the computer I should work things out with my brother. I ran away from home. I called her and said that I wasn’t coming home unless she did what I wanted… she refused and didn’t seem the slightest bit upset by the threat. I spent one very unpleasant Canadian winter night on the streets before finally sneaking back into the house through my window and barricading the door shut. I avoided my family for weeks, I felt as if I had no enjoyment out of life, and began developing a plan to kill myself. I did however end up talking myself out of killing myself. I figured it was only a few years more until I was off to university and I’d never have to see them or live like this again.

To handle the situation differently… many things. I could have confronted my brother about his behaviour, both regarding sleeping on the couch as well as the reason we weren’t speaking in the first place. I could have developed a different behaviour pattern such as spending my time with friends or finding something entertaining to do in the city (we lived 15 minutes outside of town). I could have explained to my mother that something was seriously wrong with me if I was always depressed and didn’t want to be around them. I could have told her that being in that house with them hurt me and that I wanted to figure out a way to make that stop.

Situation 2: When I was an even younger child, my father had remarried. I really hated his new wife, then gf, she was mean to my brother and I when my father wasn’t around, but especially mean to me. When my father was around though she acted like the greatest person ever. I had told my father that I didn’t like her, that she was mean. He convinced me to give her a chance and to spend time with her, he went on to say that my brother and I were the most important things in his life, and nobody else, not even his new gf. He even went on to say that if he had to choose between us or her he would choose us in a heartbeat. When I was 10, after they had been dating a year or 2 she became even more emotionally and mentally abusive. It came to the point where I told my father that he had to make the choice he promised me, he had to choose me or her. He said he wasn’t going to make that choice and I left. I completely cut my father out of my life after that until my son was born. Even now I only see him 3-4 times/year. I felt like I had been betrayed by the person I looked up to the most. The one person who I could always count on. I felt that he was a liar and that I was never important to him. I should also mention that when my mother and him divorced he had used me as a weapon in the divorce. He had convinced me to tell a social worker and a judge that I was being sexually assaulted by my new (and current) step-father, who is more of a father than my biological father ever was. It crushed my mother, she had asked me why I would say something like that and I told her the truth. I then officially recanted my story and my step-father was allowed near my brother and I again. I was also only 3 years old at the time and the memories are as fresh as if I had done it yesterday. Even after then my father poisoned me with thoughts that my mother was trying to take me away from him, that she was evil and he was good. I remember living in a shelter for battered women, though my mother has never spoken to me about it, she did however tell my wife that she came from an abusive relationship. I don’t know if I was ever assaulted, but I know my mother was, and I had suspected for some time even though she doesn’t speak of it. Shortly after the fake sexual assault thing as well my brother and I were sent to a children’s hospital in a city 400km away. I was cut off from my parents for weeks at a time and the place felt like hell. I had felt abandoned and lonely. I was very anti-social, my brother and I stuck together and avoided everyone else. Nobody ever talked to me about what happened there either, why I was there. I just remember the place, remember being there, remember things I’ve done there. Remember hearing children screaming in pain and thinking that they were going to do that to me. As I was growing up I saw a therapist regularly for years. Not sure the ages or even what we talked about. I just remember the office and small things like playing games with him.

I think I got off topic a bit here, but it was really cathartic to talk about. I don’t know how I could have handled that any differently as I was only a child, and in a great deal of pain. I felt abandoned by everyone, anger, and fear.

Situation 3: This one involves my wife. At one point my wife and I worked at the same job. She was also extremely stressed and depressed. We were just starting to fight over money, this was her first job and before then I felt as though I was doing all the work. When she became depressed she started missing a lot of time. She’d have a bad day and would start calling in sick. She started to miss a lot of time to the point her job was in jeopardy. I confronted her about it and she was saying that she was not feeling well, she couldn’t handle the stress she was going through, and she felt constantly depressed. I told her that she’s going to lose her job and if she does that I was leaving her, that I wouldn’t be in a relationship with someone who wasn’t willing to try to do their part. This of course depressed her more and she missed even more time. We got lucky though, she wasn’t fired, instead the company had massive layoffs and she received a very nice severance, 2 months pay. Considering she was there only 45 days it was a very nice thing to receive. Plus she managed to get another job within a month of losing that one.

My thinking in this situation was that if she wasn’t willing to endure the trouble of the job that she didn’t care enough about the relationship, and wasn’t worth being with. Those feelings of course were gone the very next day, but that was what I was thinking. In terms of handling it better, I could have been a hell of a lot more supportive. Shown the slightest bit of empathy, even handled the situation in a calm manner rather than to start an argument and get upset with her. She was hurting from stress and depression. It was my responsibility as her boyfriend to be supportive and to help her with the pain she was dealing with. I however did not.


Pedestal:

Other than my wife there is only one other person I have ever held on a pedestal. She was a girl who lived across the hall from me in my dorm, call her S. I completely ignored everything negative about this girl. She wasn’t extremely attractive, but to me she was the most beautiful girl I had seen. We didn’t date, she had no interest in me, but we were friends, or at least I had thought we were. I was the guy who tagged along really, invited only because I lived across the hall.

In terms of what I ignored, there were a lot of things. She was not a nice person at all. She actually treated many people quite poorly. She would gossip and be quite catty behind people’s backs, yet to their face she was very nice and friendly. She was genuinely mean and selfish. For attention she spread rumours around about me stalking her and her needing to get a restraining order. What’s worse is that all of the people who I had considered to be my friends believed her, I became a complete outcast.

When I looked back and realized that she wasn’t who I thought she was, I really didn’t care, she means nothing to me anymore and I am glad I didn’t end up in that relationship. I actually felt empowered to realize how terribly she had acted towards me.

I don’t have much experience with women. S and my ex-wife are the only two women I’ve idealized. Even now I notice problems that my wife has, yet they don’t bother me. Problems such as not being able to handle money well, extreme jealousy, cutting, fear of being alone, flirting with others, and I’m sure there is more that aren’t coming to the top of my head. The thing I’ve noticed though is that the way I feel for my ex-wife is so different than how I felt for S. That being said I don’t see too many trends because I have very little experience, which from what I gather is pretty rare with BPD.


Three things that scare you in a relationship

1) Not being worthy of love. I have a great fear of not being worthy of love, maybe not fear, but belief. When I first started dating my ex-wife I had told her I had been with another woman in order to impress her, or more accurately so she wouldn’t think I was too pathetic to get a date. Because my ex-wife has jealousy issues, she wanted more information on this girl, so I continued to create lies. Eventually the lies became hard to keep track of and she would get angry with me for changing the story, then I would get angry for her constantly bringing it up. It caused a lot of pain for her and a lot of trouble in the relationship. It wasn’t until after we had separated that I told her that I was lying the entire time. In terms of overcoming this fear, I’m assuming that by developing my genuine self and learning to love myself that this fear will be overcome.

2) Failing my significant other. I have worries that no matter what I do it won’t be good enough to provide my family with what they need. I have a terrible work ethic, I’m not good with money, I’ve even had to declare bankruptcy. I’ve been battling debt for years. On top of that I’m scared that I can’t provide my family with the emotional stability that they require. I’m scared that I won’t raise my son properly and that he will either hate me, or face a difficult life. In terms of overcoming this fear, I’m not really sure. I’m sure again it all boils down to loving myself and building my self-esteem, but sometimes that’s hard to do.

3) Being left for another. This is something that has happened to me a few times, granted only one of those times was I in a relationship with the person. Basically with S, when we met she had a boyfriend. After trying a long distance relationship, it fizzled. When it fizzled I made my intentions known to S. She told me she wasn’t ready for a relationship so I backed off. Eventually she started dating my neighbour, so I felt as though I was less than the guy she had chosen. After S I had sort of an online relationship with a girl, let’s call her T. Basically there was no relationship there, I also didn’t idealize her, but she was the closest thing to a friend I had and we began to even get sexual through chats, calls, and even cams. When I first started talking to T, she was in a dysfunctional relationship, yet we were still being sexual long distance while they were together. Eventually she broke up with him. After some time passed she told me that she found another person online and was doing the same stuff we were doing, but she was going to be in a relationship with him, and didn’t want to continue with me. Finally there was my wife. When we first started dating she was with someone, though it was ending and she was just waiting to see him to break up with him (he was away for the week). I didn’t know about this until well into our relationship. Towards the end of the relationship when things started getting bad my wife began having an online relationship with another man. One of the guys she was regularly flirting with. I told her that she had to end what she was having with him or it was over. She said there was nothing going on and she wasn’t going to stop doing it with him, so I broke up with her. She then had a relationship with him. She told me that she wasn’t “dating” him until after I had broken up with her, though I don’t believe that. Even after we ended, and while she was still with this guy, call him V, my wife and I were having sex. One night after we had sex she had told me it had to stop, that she was ruining the greatest thing in her life. She then went on to say that she loved this man and that I meant nothing to her. This angered me to a point I had never been before. It had also only been 2 weeks since we had broken up. It made me feel completely worthless that she could move on so fast and that I meant nothing to her that easily. I gave her an ultimatum. Either she tells him we are having sex, or I will. She refused, and I told him. They then broke up. A month or so later she told me that she never really loved him, and what she said that night was designed to hurt me, but it really did hurt me. I was really ashamed of my actions the very next day. I actually felt so guilty that I tried to talk to V so that he would try with my wife again. According to my wife he’s never said a kind word to her since then though. In terms of getting over this fear, I really don’t know what to do for that.


Write about someone you split

My wife is the prime example. I have split her so often it hurts me to think of. I remember one instance, I was feeling extremely stressed. I worked 2 jobs. I would work from 4am-9am 7days/week, and then again from 430pm-1am 5days/week. What’s more is I felt as though my wife was neglecting her duties around the house, especially with our son. I would come home, the house would be a mess and she would be playing a video game on the computer. I would have to watch my son the moment I got home until I had to work again, though I’d try to get a nap in there for about 2 hours, and I would sleep from 1am until 4am. What’s more is I felt unappreciated. She would say that I never helped out around the house, that it was all her, I hardly ever cooked, and we always had money troubles. Feeling the stress of it all I said some terrible things. I said things like I wanted her to leave, to take my son, and never speak to me again. That it was a mistake to have a family, that I wish I had never had my son or been with her. I would also like to state that I have said similar things under considerably less stress, just this one instance stands out the most in my mind. I was feeling so angry, I felt like I deserved so much more than what she was giving me, and I felt that she was what was causing all of my problems. The very next day I felt like crap. I couldn’t believe what I had said. It hurt more to think that I said it about my son, but it hurt greatly to think I said that about her as well. I felt so appreciative to have her in my life. I felt so happy to be able to hold my son in the morning. I felt so guilty for it all. I still feel guilty for that, and my wife has told me that she constantly remembers me saying that and it hurts her every time.


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 Post subject: Re: Kuro's Homework
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:37 am 
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Chapter 3 - Is Recovery Possible (On The Border)
For now, simply view this chapter’s homework as another set of building blocks and do the best you can.
• Write about your feelings as you consider the possibility of your own recovery from BPD.
• Write about how you envision your life as a recovered Borderline.
• Identify members of your support system and give a brief description of their role in your life.
• Discuss past experiences (if any) you’ve had with medications, and explore your feelings about medications as part of your recovery.


Feelings about possibility of recovery:

I feel really uplifted when I think about the possibility of recovery. I think about feeling loved, and being “normal”. I think about the times when I was social, how much I enjoyed being around people, how much I enjoyed just having fun. I imagine a much less stressful life, and I feel hope that my wife and I will work things out. I think about the confidence I will have, and the joys of the world I will experience because I’m no longer afraid of everything. I think about my son having the father he truly deserves, not one who can split him, not one that will hurt him. I think of the prospect of recognizing the warning signs for my son in case he develops the disorder. I think about being there for him if he ever faces anything like this. It makes me happy.


Envisioning my life recovered.

I envision my life as a success. I see my family and I together, happy. I see me working a job that I enjoy. I see me helping others with mental illnesses and feeling like I can make a difference in the lives of people. I see myself with friends. Going to parties, going on dates with my wife, having people over. I see myself closer to my family, putting all of the past behind me. I see me trusting people are not “out to get me”. I see a life for myself that has great worth.


My support system.

My support system is not nearly as great as I’d hope it to be. Of course there is you guys, who I am very delighted to have found. You guys have helped me to focus on what is important, and have inspired me to think differently. Inspired me to get the “right” help.

My ex-wife is the only other member of my support system. She is the only person I can open up to (in my physical life). She has been very willing and open to help. She is my only friend, and right now the person who controls my happiness. Clearly there are some issues that make having her as my support system tough. She however is the most amazing person of my life. I truly love her. I have been told that I don’t love her, that I can’t love because I don’t love myself, etc, etc. I don’t believe this however, I have thought I was in love before, but it was nothing like what I feel for my wife. She is also my motivation for getting better. I have hurt her a great deal, for this I have a lot of guilt. I want to get better so we can be together in a healthy relationship, and so my son can grow up in a healthy home.


Past experiences with medication

I have always been against medications for the mentally ill. I was hospitalized for 33 days 6 years ago. While there I experienced violations on my free will and acts by the medical staff that made me lose complete confidence in the system. I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder by one doctor, chronic depression by another. I was held involuntarily for a 3 day review period, during which I was granted a review of my case. I had told them I felt my diagnosis was wrong. The doctor had written in his report that I had said things that I didn’t, and I felt betrayed. The head of the review board never listened to a word I said, and he told them to hold me another 30 days. I did however manage to get a different doctor. This doctor was no better, didn’t listen to what I would say, made up lies about what I was saying. Told the medical staff there that I had said I was going to “make a run for it” and try to escape. They held me in a solitary cell for the duration of my stay (26 days at this hospital). During that time they forced some anti-anxiety meds on me against my strict request of no medication. I felt like nobody should ever be treated in that manner. After 26 days the doctors gave up and shipped me back to my home province of Nova Scotia (I was out of province for school and they had no responsibility to treat me). The medical staff in Nova Scotia was much better. The doctor looked at my meds and said that I should be on an anti-depressant if I have major depressive disorder, and he put me on celexa (sp?). I agreed to this though, I had given up fighting. I spent 7 days in this hospital (the review period in NS is 7 days), after which time my psychiatrist said there was nothing he could do for me, that keeping me in a hospital was just going to be toxic for me, so he released me. I took the pills for 3 months until the refills ran out. I felt like I depended on them. Every night I would “jones” for my alarm to go off signalling it was time for another pill. On top of that I felt like that made me dumb. I also felt like they numbed me and made me feel empty. I didn’t notice any improvements at all. Now that I’m older I do realize the necessity for medication for the mentally ill, but I do have a large problem with how it’s handled. They are over-prescribed, and nobody really knows how they work. When dealing with mood altering drugs they are a trial and error sort of thing. That disturbs me greatly. “Oh this pill isn’t working, well let’s try this one, and we’ll up the dose to see if we get a reaction.” It feels like being a guinea pig. I have made peace with trusting the meds though. I don’t think they are a necessity, but I think they’ll help me slightly, and so I’m willing to try.


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 Post subject: Re: Kuro's Homework
PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:40 pm 
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Chapter 4 - Do I Need A Therapist (The Couch)

You’re now asked to explore your feelings and thoughts about therapy.
• Write about what you’re looking for in a therapist. What would make you feel comfortable? Does their gender matter to you?
• Write about what you expect to get out of therapy and what you expect from your therapist.
• Write about your past experiences with therapy. Did you gain insights, make progress, learn about yourself? How did past therapists handle your volatile personality?
• Discuss the past experiences (if any) you’ve had with medications, and explore your feelings about medications as part of your recovery.


Looking for in a therapist

I am looking for someone to force me to stay on track with recovery. I want someone tolerable, who genuinely cares to know more about my situation. I want someone who doesn’t think the answer is medication, medication, medication. Thinking on it I would much prefer this therapist to be a woman. I find it so much easier to open up to women for some reason. It’s not a huge issue, but I think that feeling of genuine care and empathy is more likely to be found with a woman. She would have to be strong though, and as superficial as this sounds, I would much prefer an attractive woman, again, I just feel more comfortable with them.

What I expect to get out of therapy:

Guidance, to put it briefly. I just want to be directed down the right path to recovery. I want someone I can talk to about my problems as well, but you guys have already helped me with that. I’m also expecting to have someone who will call my BS if I’m neglecting what it is going to take to get better. I need to stay driven, I need to get better.

Past experiences with Therapy

My past experiences with therapy have not been so well. I don’t remember anything at all that I talked about with my first therapist as a child, so I can’t comment as to whether it helped or not. The only other time I have done anything with a therapist was 6 years ago when I was hospitalized and was forced to see a psychologist. I didn’t really gain insight or make progress at all. I also didn’t see her much. My general mindset the entire time was focused on being treated as though I was less than everyone else. It wasn’t so much her treating me like that, but the entire hospital. In fact she was the second best person there to talk to (the first being a children’s care worker who injured his leg and was temporarily re-assigned to spend time with the psych ward). Even though she was very pleasant I wasn’t very forthcoming, I don’t remember talking about much with her. I spoke of how being in the hospital was making me feel, spoke a little bit about childhood, and a little about my suicidal feelings. In terms of volatile personality, I don’t think she even saw it. I did not speak to her much, was either angered by the hospital or broken by it. She just tried to focus the conversation on other matters.


I didn't talk about medications because I did that on the chapter 3 questions.


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 Post subject: Re: Kuro's Homework
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:09 pm 
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Chapter 5 done, woot. Since it was so short I'm going to do some more tonight, so that'll be in here later.

Chapter 5 - Therapeutic Approaches (The Couch)
These exercises are to help you examine the various choices available to you as you proceed toward recovery.
• Take about twenty minutes to reflect on each of the topics covered in this section:
[1] Cognitive Behavior Therapy
[2] Dialectic Behavior Therapy
[3] Psychoanalysis
[4] Self-Help with Peer Support
• Which one of these therapeutic approaches resonated most with you? Did one stand out over the others? Why do you think that is?
• If financial considerations and access to care were not issues for you, what do you envision would happen during your journey through the therapeutic approach that most appeals to you?
• If you are hampered by finances and/or access to care, how do you propose to work around these challenges to obtain the recovery you deserve?
• How long do you believe recovery would (or should) take, in general? For you? With the therapeutic option of your choice? With some other course toward recovery?

Which approach resonated most

Well I don’t know a whole lot about the specifics of each. I have been reading up somewhat, but the so much information over there, and my new found diagnosis I haven’t really gotten into the different processes. I would say the DBT resonated most with me however, simply because when I read up on it I hear of good success rates, and that is what I want, success. Self-help also resonates strongly with me because it will allow me to take matters in my own hands, and move at a faster pace. Ultimately I hope to implement all types of therapy to correct this issue, I want to get better.

Financial considerations

I am lucky to live in Canada. Mental health is covered by our universal health care, medications however are not (but mine aren’t expensive). I envision myself making conscious efforts to get better, maintaining my focus on getting better, and enacting any and all forms of therapy that are at my disposal.

The downside to living in Canada is that because our healthcare is universal, there is a high demand on its resources. This makes access to treatment very difficult. What’s worse is I live in a very poor community (not ghetto poor, but there is no expansion). Because of this there are very few quality doctors willing to work in this community, since they get paid twice as much if they worked in another area of the country. I am worried that the level of care I receive will not be what I require. If I come across such an issue then I will be forced to self-help as I’ve already begun.

How long will recovery take

I was very excited to see someone on the board say that they were only in treatment for 3 months and they are now not struggling with the disorder. I am a bit more sceptical for how long it’ll take me, I’m assuming between 6 and 12 months, with more focus on the 6 months. I really want to push through this and get over my problems.


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 Post subject: Re: Kuro's Homework
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:26 pm 
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Another shorty... more to come still.

Chapter 6 - Do I Need Medication (Meds 'R Us)
Many people have different thoughts, feelings and reactions to being prescribed medication(s) for their mental well-being. These exercises are to help you get in touch with what’s going on inside of yourself as you face the possibility or reality of such a situation.
• Write about your hopes and fears of being on medication.
• Write about your past experiences with medications. How did you feel? Did you have any strong emotional or psychological reactions? Physical reactions?
• Write about how you feel about the possibility of being on a medication for many years. The possibility of being on medication for rest of your life.
• Write about what side effects you would consider tolerable. What side effects you would not be able to tolerate.


Hopes and fears of meds

Well, my hopes are that there is a magic pill that makes me normal. I however am much more realistic than that. What I want to get out of being on meds is an aid to think clearly, to focus on therapy, to then overcome the disorder, and finally get off the meds.

My fears of meds… well there are plenty. I don’t believe enough is known about the human brain to be experimenting so wildly with medication. We live in a society that is over medicated, and we don’t know how each of these medications react to us. What concerns me most about mood altering drugs is that it tends to be a trial and error approach. This goes to justify that these medical “professionals” have no idea what it is they are dealing with. I am also highly concerned by the fact that the companies that manufacture these drugs actually pay doctors to prescribe them. It makes me question the validity of my prescription and the motives of my doctor. I am also sickened at the costs of many medications and the profits these companies make. I also think that the government should be responsible for drug manufacturing, and not have it up to the private sector.


Past experiences with meds

The only other medication I was on (other than the new one I’m on now), was Celexa. It didn’t make me feel better, it in fact made me feel empty inside. I also felt dependant on the drug. I would feel withdrawal symptoms as it got closer to the time to take the pill, and that disturbed me a lot. I didn’t notice any physical reactions at that time.

The new medication I’m on (Welbutrin XL), I have only been taking for 5 days. So far I notice no side effects (except maybe fatigue and drowsiness which may or may not be due to my son). I do not feel dependant on it, in fact I’ve almost forgotten I’ve had to take a pill twice now. I also generally feel better, but it’s hard to say if that is because of the medication or because of my motivation to get better.


Possibility of meds for extended periods.

In the past, this would have completely turned me off. I have concerns that mood altering drugs change your personality, and thereby taking them I would no longer be me. I still hold this belief, but what I’ve come to terms with is that I’m not happy being who I am, so why not give it a try to be someone else, someone who can be happy for a long period of time. If I had to be on meds the rest of my life I no longer care, I just want to get better. That being said I do wish to someday get off them, the sooner the better.


Side effects

I don’t consider many side effects tolerable. Minor things like mild fatigue or dry mouth sort of things don’t bother me. Anything to do with my sex drive, ability to concentrate, or ability to feel emotions are definitely intolerable. Anything that causes physical discomfort to any degree above the very minor I will not tolerate.


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 Post subject: Re: Kuro's Homework
PostPosted: Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:54 pm 
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Chapter 7 - Mirroring (Season Passes)
These exercises are to help you examine the various choices available to you as you proceed toward recovery.
• Pick one of the main topics we covered in this section that best describes you:
[1]The Chameleon
[2] Mirroring as a Reflection of Others
[3] Mirroring as Viewing Ourselves
[4] Perception
• Does this aspect of your self help you in daily life? Does it hinder you? In what ways?
• Reflect on or write about times in your life when you now recognize that you may have been mirroring, in any of the different versions.
• Based on what you’ve read in this section, what could you do differently to be healthier in your daily activities? Write out an action plan to achieve that goal.
• Reflect on or write about people in your experience who have used one of these techniques to their advantage. How did it help them? Do you think it was a healthy and appropriate use of that particular mirroring technique?


What best describes you

Perception I would say BEST describes me, though I do experience some reflection of others quite often.


Does this help or hinder

This aspect of my life has definitely hindered me. In terms of perception I tend to take an “I’m right everyone else is wrong” approach to things. When people say things and I perceive it some way that was not what they had intended it has caused clashing. Prime example being my wife doing things like agreeing to have dinner with me to get twisted by my perception to mean she wants to get back together with me. This caused some heartache for sure. There are many other examples that come to mind about my self worth, taking things the wrong way, and just many conflicts.

On top of that with reflecting on others (my wife mainly), I would begin to act like she acted. When she was happy and outgoing, so was I. When she wasn’t, I wasn’t. This made me feel really great about myself at first, I had felt like she had changed me for the better, I was more active, fun, and social, but at the same time I became dependant on her to maintain those great qualities. I developed nothing for myself and didn’t learn how to be that better person, I just became her. Now that she’s gone, I’m not that person.


Reflect on mirroring.

Well I already gave a couple examples of me mirroring, but looking back I realize that my entire life I have mirrored. I’m not sure if this is responsible for my low self esteem or if my low self esteem is responsible for my mirroring. It has however made me depressed for the majority of my life.


What could you do differently

I think the main thing I need to focus on is building my self esteem, and giving people the benefit of the doubt. When someone says something negative or neutral, they may mean it to be about something other than me, or they may mean it in a way of trying to help me overcome the flaw, which likely means they care for me. On top of that if they have a problem with me that problem is with them. It doesn’t reflect negatively on me whatsoever, it’s their perception of me, and their feelings of me that have the problem. Reminding myself this is a difficult task at the moment, but it’s something I need to do. On top of that I have to figure out how to be my own person. I have to find out how to be comfortable with who I am as I am, and not defined by others. I need to constantly focus on this, and take the time required for it to sink in. I am a great guy. I am flawed and imperfect. I have areas of me that are ugly. It doesn’t matter, that’s what makes me perfect. I may not be perfect in the literal sense, but I am perfect for someone else as I am, and they are perfect for me as they are. I need to know this and bring it with me every day.


Write about people who have used mirroring

Mirroring can be good in certain situations. For instance mirroring as a reflection of others is a great sales technique. It helps to build rapport with your customer and they feel more comfortable listening to what you have to say. I see it all the time as I am in sales, I have used this technique to my advantage. This was definitely a healthy use of the technique.

My wife would mirror quite often, particularly with chameleon. She used this technique as a social tool. It was a double edged sword for her. It would make her feel more popular, she’d fit in, but she would feel as though she was wearing a mask in society, that she could never truly be herself. She would feel alone quite often because of this. Overall I think it was a very unhealthy use of the technique because she would take it too far and nobody would truly know who she is or what she is feeling.


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 Post subject: Re: Kuro's Homework
PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:21 pm 
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Chapter 8 - The Four Agreements (All For Four)
The Four Agreements is a book written by Don Miguel Ruiz which can be life-changing ... if you allow it to be.
• Free-form write about the concepts you’ve just read about. How did the words make you feel? Do you accept them, at least in theory? Are you able to envision yourself living them?
[+] Spend some time and look around you – at school, work, home, family, past – and find examples where someone you know or have encountered has put one or more of these concepts into practice.
• What do you think your life would be like if you were able to incorporate these concepts into your own auto-pilot? How does this feel? Develop an action plan to reach that goal and implement it.
[+] Write each of the Agreements on a separate piece of paper and for each one, look back in your life – years ago or the other day – and find one example where you did not follow the basic premise of the Agreement.
• Examine the overall situation, take an impartial look at your behavior (as out of sync with the Agreement) and theorize about how things would have been different if you’d been able to uphold that particular Agreement.
[+] For a minimum of two weeks time, keep the Four Agreements at the forefront of your awareness. Devise some way to continuously remind yourself of their wording and the intent of each. (A rubber band around your wrist, a note on your day planner, etc.)
• At the end of that two week period, review your time with the Agreements. Did you feel calmer? Did your conduct change in anyway? Were you able to see alternatives that you might not previously have noticed?

Free form write about the concepts

Be impeccable with your word: I take this to just live and say your life with honesty and positive intentions. Be open and forthright. The words make me feel good, noble, to have honour. I definitely accept them in theory, and I can envision myself living them. I do see a rocky road, straying from the path, etc. But I think as a general rule I could definitely live these words.

Don’t take anything personally: This is my worst area I believe. What I gather from this is to remember that the sayings and feelings of others are reflections of themselves, not of me. They could just be in a bad mood, could have incorrect information, or I could be making assumptions that are untrue. Even if the assumptions I made are true, that’s still not my problem, it’s theirs. I am perfect because I am flawed, as are they. These words make me feel hope. I take a lot personally, I live in a bubble and think the world revolves around me. This twisted sense of self needs to be corrected. It will be difficult to implement it, but I can see myself making great progress in this area.

Don’t make assumptions: I have a tendency to make assumptions and to rely on my intuition. On top of that I tend to only focus on the times my intuition is right and not when it is wrong, thus perpetuating my belief that I should rely on my intuition. The fact is, these assumptions are usually wrong. Yes, sometimes they will be right, but most times they are wrong. By clarifying statements I can understand exactly what someone means instead of thinking that what they had said or done was negative. These words make me feel as though if I were to implement them I would be much more successful. I do believe in the words, and I can envision myself acting on the words. It will also be very difficult, and be a rocky road, but I can see great improvements along those roads.

Always do your best: There are times when we will fail, we may be under qualified for the task, or the task may have been thwarted by an external force we had no control out of. All we can do is take life one moment at a time. Doing your best will ensure that we have no regrets about our actions, nothing we could have done differently to achieve victory. By doing this instead of focusing on beating ourselves up, we can focus on how we can learn from the failure to improve ourselves ongoing. These words are very empowering. They make me feel as though I’m not worthless, that I can succeed, even if I fail to begin with. I do accept them, and I can see myself enacting these rules. I just need to keep it at the forefront of my mind and to give it all I have.


I’m having a lot of difficulty coming up with an example for where I’ve seen someone enact these agreements, any or all of them. Perhaps with them at the forefront of my mind I can be more aware of the actions of others and see them being used.



Life incorporating these agreements

I think my life would be extremely successful and contain a great deal of worth and value if I could successfully implement these agreements consistently. Now only in my personal life, but also for my job. This makes me feel extremely hopeful that I can be better than I am. It reminds me of work actually. In training I am very good at analysing my own mistakes, what I need to improve on, etc. The problem is how easy it is to lose focus on what needs to be done. We need to get to a point where by having the focus on what needs to be done, it then becomes reflex. The same can be said about these agreements. My action plan is to focus on these for some time, I will start with 1 week. I also need an aid to remind me to focus. I’ll start with a visual on my computer which I see quite often, will put it on my desktop and I will surround myself with visual reminders to focus on the agreements.


The next step in the process is a very in depth one. I am rather tired for the day and will pick up tomorrow where I left off.


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 Post subject: Re: Kuro's Homework
PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:39 pm 
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Ok, so the continuation. I didn't repost the questions, but they carry on straight through. I combined 2 of the questions together for ease of reading.


Previous times I didn’t use the agreements/ examine the overall situation

Be impeccable with your word: I’m living it right now. I am staying with my mother until I can find a place to live (and afford it), she has no idea what is going on in my life. I have little to no connection with her, yet I am greatful that she is here to let me stay rent free in my time of need. I did not tell her I declared bankruptcy (and 2 of the loans were co-signed with her, though I am still making the payments), I did not tell her about my BPD diagnosis. I did not tell her that I told work I was going to be off on medical leave. I did not tell her how hard my life is right now.

I should be honest, I need to be honest. I don’t know how to bring the situations up with her because she makes me feel as though I’m being judged, that I’m failing. In a perfect world being honest with her would make her understand what I’m going through and get her to try to help me.. I need to let her know about medical leave though, that’s unavoidable. I’m not too happy with my analysis of this situation though. Even after analyzing it I don’t want to change in this situation. I don’t want to let her in to my problems, I don’t want to be judged. I need to remember that these problems, while I do see them as failures, are instrumental in making me a better person.


Don’t take anything personally: Well, the other night with the ex-wife. She started regretting what we had done, relived all of the bad things in our relationship and again made sure that I would realize that there was never any chance of us getting back together. Saying she was worried about me being alone with my son, etc. I took it all personally. It’s very hard not to. Even reliving that her has gotten me down and I’m taking it personally again.

I need to realize that this is her working out her feelings and her confusion… just as surreal suggested. This is her pain for what happened in the past. Yes, I hold blame for things that have happened, but these feelings are a mirroring of what she is working through, not my self worth. If I didn’t take it personally I could probably see the situation going a little differently. Perhaps with me being more supportive of her, and not feeling like I feel now… at least it’ll pass soon.


Don’t make assumptions: So for this I’m going to focus on the situation where my wife and I were going to get dinner. I assumed this meant she wanted to get back together and was going to surprise her with a ring and a bouquet of lilies. She then told me she was getting back together with her boyfriend, and I was crushed. Not going to go into full detail because I wrote about it in either my welcome post or my journal, but for those of you following my story, you likely know what I mean.

If I hadn’t have made this assumption, I wouldn’t have had expectations to be crushed. It would have still hurt to think she was moving on, but because I made that assumption, I made more. I assumed she wanted to be with this guy more, and therefore I was not as good as him. Plus she talked to me about him and described him to be not a very good guy, which only made me to believe I was even worse than that. If I hadn’t have made this assumption she would have gotten her space, and we would likely not have had those days of pain. On the bright side though, this was the final straw for me. It convinced me to get treatment, and for that I am greatful.


Always do your best: My job. I was on the verge of being fired before I went on medical leave. When I started with the company a year ago I was one of their top sales agents. I was actually rep of the week 3 out of 4 weeks in one month. I was earning twice my hourly wage in commission. About 3 months before my wife and I separated, that changed. Things started getting really bad between us, I had given up on her, our relationship, even out family (hurts so much to think about). I have been flirting with being fired for a while since then. I have been coached several times, when my life is going good my sales are good, when life was bad sales were bad. I had given up. About 6 weeks ago was the real issue. They finally said they had enough, they put me on what they call an “Action Plan”. Basically it means if you don’t meet a certain level of performance, you get a written warning, and then you’re fired. I got a lot of leeway… for those 6 weeks I have not once hit my target. For one of those weeks there was marked improvement, and in most categories I was doing ok, but it tanked again. I have received 2 written warnings, and was on my final week to dig myself out of the hole when I went on medical leave.

How could things have been different? Where do I start? 6 months of being paid double what I was supposed to because of commission. Less stress at home would have meant things probably would have been better between the wife and me. No financial troubles, no bankruptcy. No living with my mother. All of this from the financial side of it alone. Wouldn’t be feeling like a failure, like I can’t succeed, like I can’t hold a job, that I’m not worthy of being a provider for my family. Wouldn’t be feeling helpless because I’ve lost my independence. Wouldn’t be scared wondering how my son and wife are going to survive if I can’t pay them child support. Luckily I should qualify for unemployment insurance… this will give me money for a while, not much, but enough to ensure my family is looked after.



The rest of this chapter is to be done after 2 weeks, though I have done up a visual aid for me to remember the four agreements. I have posted the words “four agreements” on my computer monitor, and I will look for other means to remind myself as well.

Well, in two weeks I will revisit… setting a reminder as well that june 24th I will see where this has gotten me.


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