Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Grief Impacted; or, Borderline in the Key of Blue

"Unacknowledged grief will keep you stuck in the active throes of Borderline Personality Disorder." -A.J. Mahari

I started a new thread on the discussion board of my Facebook fan page for my new book, Girl in Need of a Tourniquet: Memoir of a Borderline Personality, to share thoughts on impacted grief as a root cause and persistent symptom of borderline personality disorder.  In hoping to hear thoughts from lots of people, I decided to revisit my initial efforts in January towards blogging on the lived experience and diagnostic politics of borderline personality. 

Here, reposted, is my discussion prompt (apologies for profspeak):

What I figured out for myself during the long process of writing the book was that my series of borderline personality symptoms (affairs, substance abuse, chronic depression and feelings of emptiness, a general nonbelongingness, deep-rooted bad-person feelings) come from what I've learned to call "impacted grief," long ungrieved losses from childhood. Even though I knew writing the book would help me grieve but would not represent The End of Grieving for me, I'm still disappointed to be sitting under such a heavy load of grief this week over how things unfolded in my family of origin. 

I saw a book once called Bereft by a woman who lost a sister to a violent death, and I never read it, but it has been in my head for days now. The word captures my sister-grief feelings so well, and sometimes I wonder if I will ever stop feeling these sister-grief feelings. 

When on earth does grieving end? 

The loss cannot be recuperated, events of history cannot be reversed, and I want to be over it, but my sister-grief feelings persist like lost limb trauma. The neural pathways keep snapping inside me and I feel like I forgot something or missed a step or overlooked a clue or left someone behind or arrived as the bus was pulling out of the station. 

My sisters are alive.  I know them. 

But I am haunted by memories of them as little girls and can't stop working at the unsolvable puzzle of what might have been, how things might have gone differently, what would have happened if we had grown up together instead of apart. 

The neurotic loop is exhausting. 

I wonder if anyone has stories of grief, grieving, moving past grief, or if it is more about living with grief without being capsized by it. 

Fill me in . . .

Oh, and because I am a compulsive researcher, here's a smidge more from the secondary resources:

"In his classic article, Engel (1961) posed the question, 'Is grief a disease?' Grief is not generally considered a disorder but rather is viewed as an adaptation to a loss. In this respect, the process of grieving is similar to the process of healing. It involves working through the stages of grief. The tasks of grieving include experiencing the pain of grief, accepting the reality of the loss, adjusting to an environment in which the loved one is missing, and withdrawing one’s emotional energy and reinvesting it in another relationship. Failure to complete these tasks can result in impacted grief, which is a prolonged type of grief associated with depression. Impacted grief can block further growth and development." -William F. Doverspike, "Grief: The Journey From Suffering to Resilience"

1 comment:

  1. I know this is an old blog and entry, but hopefully you or someone else can find it and rxchange thoughts. I'm in a situation where I have trouble finding real answers.

    I have bpd and have been trying to recover for many many years. Except for better coping skills not much was happening in my healing until about two years ago.

    I experienced a bad crisis and was about to throw in the towel, but then I had the oportunity to try EMDR.

    I knew that underneath the anxiety and chaos was at least some amount of sadness and grief. EMDR tapped in to the grief that had to be worked through to resolve my current crisis, but I suspect it was linked to sometä even greater grief at my core.

    It's benn two years of grieving and crying for many days every week and I feel like it's never going to end. I do notice improvement in my functioning and although I still get triggered the bodily sensations aren't as overwhelming as before and I don't dissociate most of my time anymore.

    Still, I don't really know what I'm doing, if this work is going to resolve anything or if I'm just trapped in a never ending crying spell. Can't find any research to confirm that resolution of bpd is done by grieving the past either... just some blog posts, like yours.

    I would be happy to hear your thoughts, if you've thought about this further or have had any further experiences regarding this core grief.