Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Friendly Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder

*content warning: suicidal ideation, self harm, abuse/trauma mention -- if any of these trigger you, please be mindful that this post has mentions and references, in not-too specific detail, to these triggers. Please read with discretion and take care of yourself  

Disclaimer: I am in no way a medical professional nor an expert on Borderline Personality Disorder or any other mental illness. This post is based solely on my experience as someone with BPD and what I've learnt through day-to-day life, therapy, and dialectical behavioural therapy educational group sessions. Everyone experiences mental health differently, and so what works for me may not necessarily work for you, even if you have the same diagnosis! Also never diagnose yourself--please seek help from a psychiatrically trained doctor or social worker with the credentials to diagnose you!




For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with mental illness. Having attended therapy since the age of 10, I've heard hardly every diagnosis possible: depression; generalised anxiety; obsessive compulsive disorder; phobia; even ADHD (thanks to a horribly lazy psychiatrist who determined this after asking me just one question). Although depression, anxiety, and OCD hit very close to home, I still didn't feel as though how I felt and dealt with my emotions was ever really "normal". It can't be typical to jump straight to suicidal ideation in situations of moderate to high stress, even with depression. After a visit to the ER in the months following trauma, and a visit back to my therapist who I hadn't seen for nearly a year, it was finally concluded that my symptoms matched up perfectly with BPD, or borderline personality disorder.

So what is BPD? The best way I describe it is feeling things 100% more intensely than the average person, including both negative and positive emotions, and having difficult regulating these emotions. Contrary to popular belief, BPD is not Bipolar Disorder, despite seeming somewhat similar. Although people with borderline experience extreme lows and issues with anger, there is no mania involved in BPD, as there is with bipolar disorder.

I had heard of BPD very briefly, but never looked into the definition and symptoms thoroughly until my therapist brought it up. I know if I had, I would have figured out my diagnosis a long, long time ago. I fit nearly every single symptom listed and suddenly my life made sense. I read information and symptoms on this website, but I can provide a gist of it in my own words below.

You might have BPD if you...

  • feel incredibly intense highs and incredibly intense lows
  • have distorted self-image or body dysmorphia
  • have difficulty controlling anger/lash out
  • self-harm or frequent suicidal thoughts
  • have severe abandonment issues
  • experience dissociation
  • feel chronically empty
  • have difficulty dealing with moderate to high amounts of stress
  • have stressful, paranoid thoughts
  • act on impulsive and harmful behaviours (unsafe sex, drugs/alcohol, retail therapy)
  • have a pattern of unstable and/or abusive relationships, romantically or otherwise


There are several things that can essentially trigger BPD, though it is not certain what the exact cause may be. Most people with BPD are survivors of abuse (mental, emotional, physical, or sexual), either from childhood or other developmental and transitional periods of life. It took a lot of therapy, digging, and self-reflection to find my own personal triggers and where my BPD truly got the most out of hand. Once I got to the bottom of that it was easier to begin to treat my illness. BPD has no known cure, but there are thankfully several ways to manage living with borderline.

Treatment options for BPD:
  • one-on-one therapy -- when I first was diagnosed and was at my lowest point, I attended one-on -one therapy weekly, which later went to bi-weekly, then monthly.
  • medication -- daily antidepressants and/or anti-anxiety medication to help treat the symptoms of BPD. The medication that I take that works for me is 10mg Lexapro, daily. Be sure to take note of the symptoms of each option and keep them in mind when deciding which medication will be best for you. Keep in mind that it will take trial and error to find the right medication--it definitely took years for me. Also each medication can take 3-6 months to start working, so patience is key.
  • group therapy -- I'm currently in my second round of group therapy and I've found it to be so valuable in merely the fact that you're a part of a small community of people going through exactly what you're going through, especially if you feel particularly alone. The group therapy designed for people with borderline is DBT, or dialectical behavioural therapy. I found group therapy through my therapist/medical provider, but there are plenty of internet sources to find your own!
  • mindfulness -- this is something I went into extensively in group therapy, so I highly recommend finding a DBT group to better understand it, but mindfulness in itself is something you can do each and every day in all that you do to centre yourself
  • radical acceptance -- this is the technique I found most useful in my time healing. This is essentially accepting how you're feeling or what you're thinking 100% without judging it. I notice in my own life that I very often thought or felt a certain way and told myself I shouldn't be feeling or thinking that way, but when I just said to myself "this is how I'm feeling" and had no opinion of it, I felt very at peace and more aware of my emotions.
  • The Wise Mind Chart -- one of the first components of handling my BPD that was taught to me was awareness of The Wise Mind. People with borderline tend to react in their Emotional Mind, so it is important to balance that with the Rational Mind and bring yourself to your Wise Mind (example of Venn diagram below):
(source)
Dealing with someone with borderline (especially living with them) can be difficult, as it can be anxiety-inducing to not know when unexpected intense emotional reactions could be headed your way. This is why many people with BPD have issues having meaningful and non-destructive relationships with partners, friends and roommates. If someone you love, know, or just have to deal with has BPD, below is some ways you can help and adjust.

Ways to support someone with BPD:
  • understand that strong, emotional reactions, although often hurtful, are irrational and is just a symptom of their illness, not who they are as a person
  • try to keep a level head when having a conversation or argument
  • politely remind them to use their Wise Mind, in a non-condescending manner
  • educate yourself on the symptoms and causes of BPD
  • be compassionate and understanding
  • take their feelings seriously, even if they're not rational
  • understand that BPD is an illness, not a personality trait
  • advise against harmful or symptomatic behaviours 
  • acknowledge that even if you would not react to something or feel so strongly about 
If you'd like more posts about BPD, please leave a comment below with more you'd like to know, or any questions you have! I am always happy to share my experiences if it will help those of you also suffering. I hope you found my insight helpful, whether you suffer yourself, or know someone who does. Just remember that having Borderline Personality Disorder does not define you! You are not your illness, and you can overcome anything, despite feeling like it's absolutely impossible.  x





  • top: vintage
  • overalls: asos
  • brows: anastasia beverley hills (in auburn)                         
  • foundation: kat von d (in light 42 neutral)
  • blush: e.l.f. (in blushing)



  • handbag: modcloth
  • sunnies: kate spade
  • lips: the balm (in trustworthy)
  • eyeliner: nyx 
  • boots: primark
  • Thursday, June 29, 2017

    Angelic


    It is needless to say that I got sunburnt on this day. Getting sunburnt in San Francisco is not a frequent occurrence, but with this heat wave I mentioned in my last post, and being an incredibly fair-skinned easy target for those dastardly rays, it is still entirely possible. There is one up side to being in the sun--it makes for some lovely lighting for photos! It gave a somewhat angelic, halo-like affect. (Don't be fooled, I'm still the devil)


    I love tying my hair back on hot, sweaty days such as these, typically in a high pony and a ribbon like you see here, but I find that throughout the day the pulling gives me a horrific headache and I can't wait to take my hair down. Does this happen to any others of you who have extremely thick hair like I do? Or even better... does anyone have a solution other than grinning and bearing it and popping some headache medication? I love how my hair looks in a ponytail, but I just can't stand the soreness. Beauty is pain, I suppose.


    This Tylho off-the-shoulder gingham dress I got at Anthropologie has been my absolute favourite dress of the summer! It's light, comfortable, and gives me just the right amount of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz vibes (seriously, I find it very difficult not to pair with a basket handbag and red shoes!). I have been seriously watching my spending at work lately, but as soon as this dress arrived I knew I had to have it... I am a sucker for any blue retro-inspired dress with an A-line skirt (thank you, again, Zooey Deschanel in (500) Days of Summer...I can't help it, it's my biggest style inspiration film!). I find this dress in particular to be so incredibly versatile, I've worn it on a date, to work, and out and about during the day! It's definitely a piece that won't be leaving my closet any time soon...

    Do you have a favourite summer piece yet, or is it too early to say? If so, what is it? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to find out and continue to get inspired! I hope you all are continuing to stay cool during what seems like one of the hottest summer in years!



  • dress: anthropologie
  • shoes: thrifted
  • brows: anastasia beverley hills (in auburn)                         
  • foundation: kat von d (in light 42 neutral)
  • blush: covergirl (in 510 iced plum)


  • handbag: vintage
  • necklace: vintage hand-me-down
  • lips: burt's bees (in red dahlia)
  • eyeliner: soap & glory
  • earrings: forever 21
  • Monday, June 19, 2017

    Summer In The City


    Summer has officially arrived! At least it's been feeling that way lately, with the unusually premature heat wave we've had in San Francisco! (For reference, for those of you who aren't familiar with the weather patterns of my beautiful city--typically our hottest month of the year is October and.....that's pretty much it.) Although it's only been around 83º F (much lower than the cities and towns east of the bay), the humidity brought in by the sea has definitely left it feeling positively scorching outside. 

    Thankfully, there is an upside--this allows for lightweight vintage dresses, iced coffee, and lots of time spent freckling outdoors. That is precisely what I've been doing with my dearest friend Haylie (who ever so graciously agreed to start photographing me for my blog posts!). This past week, she and I visited As Quoted in Laurel Heights for our weekly coffee date--a cute, minimalist eatery that, looking back, I may have spent a little too much money at... (avocado toast, two cookies, a banana muffin, and a hot chocolate... it all looked too good, how was I to decide??) Fortunately, I had zero regrets (besides the banana muffin, but to be fair, I didn't realise it was a banana muffin when I bought it--not my favourite choice), in fact, writing about it now is making my mouth water, so perhaps I should move on.


    As for the outfit (while retrospectively, I sort of regret the long sleeves), I wore one of my all-time favourite thrifted numbers from Thrift Town in the Mission district (R.I.P.), a vintage Saks Fifth Avenue shirtdress I took from a mannequin! It's such a timeless piece that never ceases to lead people to compliment me, and I am a sucker for red and navy. This silhouette is ideal for my rather-curvy-slightly-cinched-in-the-waist body type (a reason I mostly wear vintage to begin with). Pair that with a statement necklace, and your favourite vintage shoes and handbag and you're good to go! This is a very classic look of mine, but I always enjoy finding ways to change it up.


    It's all about the details with this look, and I am sporting some of my all-time favourite vintage finds with this ensemble. This wicker atlas purse had been on the top of my vintage wishlist since I saw the ones Zooey Deschanel donned in (500) Days of Summer, ultimately one of my favourite films of all time and origin of my personal style inspiration. At last, two years ago almost to the day, a friend found it for me at Goodwill while we were perusing and I almost cried of joy! It is absolutely perfect in every way and definitely my go-to handbag for any day-time look. I adore this style of shoe (I have no idea what they're called--if you do, please let me know!) and found these fragile little beauties in a small vintage boutique in Honolulu (the name escapes me, it has been five years now!). The lining is deteriorating on the inside, leaving my feet constantly covered in brownish dust, but they are just so darling and versatile I can't get myself to part with them! I'm sure many of you feel the same way about a slowly perishing vintage item or two.


    Despite my lack of familiarity (regardless of living in Hawaii humidity for half of my life), the sunny weather is still a nice treat after a dreadfully cold and rainy winter. I suppose in small doses, it isn't so terrible... but I still prefer fog any day!

    What are some of your favourite things to do on a hot summer's day? Let me know in the comments, because this overcast-loving city dweller is at a loss, and any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Meanwhile, I will continue my regimen of consuming bucketloads of Gold Peak green iced tea and profusely fanning myself with whatever magazine I can find laying around. That being said, a little sunshine is never a bad thing--enjoy it while it lasts!




  • dress: vintage
  • shoes: vintage
  • brows: anastasia beverley hills (in auburn)                         
  • foundation: kat von d (in light 42 neutral)
  • blush: covergirl (in 510 iced plum)



  • handbag: vintage
  • necklace: anthropologie (old)
  • lips: stila (in beso)
  • eyeliner: soap & glory
  • rings: vintage hand-me-down's
  • Sunday, May 21, 2017

    Hello, Again


    Well, hello there! You may notice a few changes around here--and by a few I mean everything. The Petite Pixie is now What Sarah Said! For a while, I feel as though I've outgrown my "petite pixie" persona, and that I had to put on this somewhat faerie-like, positive façade, when in reality, I'm just a 22 year old college grad, who experiences a plethora of emotions and wears more than just pastel sparkles. Don't get me wrong, The Petite Pixie will always be a part of me, but just one side of me. I'm more interested in exposing every layer and curve of my being (in moderation).  Before you click unfollow, there are some aspects of this blog that won't go away!

    Content That Won't Change:
    • outfit posts--I, of course, plan on continuing to share what I wear as the main portion of this blog. Fashion and personal style are still a huge part of my life and will remain the focus of What Sarah Said
    • vintage style--Vintage has always (and I really do mean always) been such a huge part of my life and it always will be. Lately, I've been more focused on collecting quality vintage, and look forward to sharing these pieces with you, as well as pointers on where and how to shop.
    • modelling work--As some of you may know, I'm an actor and a model, and oftentimes I have shared some of my shoots here in blog posts. As I work more professionally, I hope to continue doing this to not only add more exposure for my work, but also that of the photographers, makeup artists, stylists, and other artists involved.
    New Content to Expect:

    • mental health--Probably the biggest reason I've been absent for over a year has to do with my own struggles and steps with mental health. I plan on sharing my experiences and providing as much advice as I can from these experiences for anyone who deals with similar issues.
    • home--I've grown more of an interest in interior design and home shopping (almost more than clothing) as of late, and have been in the process of completely redoing my bedroom and home and would love to show you the process (as well as room tours upon moving, hopefully in the near future)
    • misc. lifestyle--I'd love to start writing about topics that are important to me, such as health, relationships, school, and anything else I know a wee bit about that could possibly help anyone reading! If you have any other suggestions, please let me know!
    • beauty--I've always loved makeup, skincare, and other various forms of beauty, so I'm excited to start sharing some of my favourite products, routines, and looks with you here!
    • books--Reading is one of my most favourite activities and has been since I was really young. I'd like to somehow incorporate the books I read into blog posts, whether through book reviews, book clubs, recommendations, etc.
    • art--I really want to start promoting and supporting more indie artists on this blog, whether by paying for their work to add to my blog's layout, or writing a spotlight post for some of my favourite artists.
    • lingerie--I have always loved lingerie (particularly vintage inspired lingerie), and so my hopes for this blog will include sharing some pieces in an effort to promote body positivity as well as brands I trust and believe in that make me feel beautiful, so that you can feel beautiful too.
    There are also other ideas I have for this blog storming in my brain, but for now, I'll leave you with this little introduction. I have so many new blog posts waiting to be written and I look forward to sharing what's been on my mind with those of you who will be willing to listen. I am constantly looking for and appreciative of feedback, so if you have any ideas, requests, concerns, or questions, never hesitate to leave a comment here, or send me an email. All of my social media accounts are linked at the sidebar if you need any other means of communication.

    Thank you so much for coming back, and I look forward to learning and growing with each and every one of you.

    x Sarah

    photos by: Haylie (thank you!!!)

    Friday, March 25, 2016

    Full Bloom


    Hello, fancy running into you here. Don't think I've forgotten about you! I'm back with full force! I needed some time off to heal, as I've been encountering some personal issues. Now that things have calmed down, I am in a better state of mind to continue doing what makes me happy, something I have been neglecting for quite a bit. Firstly, happy spring to all of you! I hope that it has been much kinder to you than it has been to me. Things are finally beginning to look up, however! And I have many exciting things under way in the next couple of months, in addition to all that I had written about looking forward to in my New Years post!


    Although not particularly warm, San Francisco has greeted us with some sunlight (and the occasional thunder storm), so I have been able to venture out into the open air without a coat, something I haven't been able to do really since last summer. But as my fellow San Franciscans know, layers are a must, no matter what the forecast. The weather always has a funny way of changing direction when you least suspect it to.

    This has, however, convinced me to think outside the box, clothing-wise! I'm starting to accept and understand that I don't have one exact style and can't be categorised into one main archetype, there are many trends and styles that interest me, which means I can blend in with many groups--and that's perfectly okay. For a while, I have always thought I had to identify with one set style and that would be who I presented myself as, when in reality, I can dress like a pinup straight out of the 1950s one day, and wear a flannel, black jeans, and Doc Martens the next, and still feel that I am showcasing my personality. The people who know me best are those who have seen every side of me, not just one, which led to them forming an opinion of the type of person I am. What a strange notion that we can decide who someone is based off of the one outfit we see them in. There are two sides to this, as our judgement can be both powerful and seemingly useless. There is no way to completely understand who a person is based off of their clothing, especially if that judgement is negative. However, presenting yourself in a way that you know will reflect well to others (i.e. a job interview, audition, first date, etc.) can put the power in your own hands. Not really a point to this, just more food for thought, and something I've been thinking about lately.



    The power of archetypes and labels is indisputable, whether we disagree with it or not. Have you ever wondered how your friends would describe you to someone who doesn't know you? This is often a question I ask people who know me in varying degrees, from a romantic partner to an acquaintance, just out of curiosity. All of this being said, what are your perceptions of who I am solely based off of my outfit posts? Let me know in the comments! I would really like to know how I present myself to others.

    I wish you nothing but the best this spring! What are your opinions on labelling? Are the judgements made by others on you usually right or wholly inaccurate, and how does that make you feel? Do let me know in the comments, and let's start a discussion!

    Stay sweet ♡ 
    Sarah

    P.S. Thank you to all of you who have been there for me unconditionally over the course of the past few months (you know who you are). It means the absolute world to me!

    blouse: vintage | mum jeans: vintage | brogues: dr. martens | belt: from another dress | glasses: forever 21 (similar) | satchel: modcloth

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016

    In the Sun


    It's been 40º weather here in San Francisco, as of late, so I can easily say I've been thinking about warm days back in Hawaii as of late, despite not being the biggest beach bum. Around Christmas time, my goooorgeous friend Shannon (who is actually a mermaid; @mermaidshannon on Instagram if you need proof!) and I hit the sand for a little impromptu photoshoot. This is where my mind will be until my final term starts...

    To be fair, I haven't spent much time outside at all since I've been home, and the cold isn't entirely to blame. I've been spending most of my winter holiday time alone, in my house, eating lentils and rice, binge watching whatever shows I can think of on Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube. Normally, I would absolutely hate the solidarity, but I find myself really missing and looking forward to being alone when I actually do spend time with other people--and if you know me at all, that is really, really peculiar and new for me. The time alone has given me the opportunity to write more, to make more art, and to think more (which is usually a bad thing, but not lately). The days are winding down until I am out of the house 5 days a week once more, without the spare time for these activities. Hopefully I continue writing in my journal and making art as often as I can, because it's been truly liberating.

    swimsuit: American Apparel

    Now, my question for you is what do you do by yourself that keeps you busy and/or makes you happy? I am trying to find new activities to try (preferably that don't spend any money) in order to become more comfortable being alone. I think it's an important thing for everyone!

    Stay sweet♡ 
    Sarah

    Sunday, January 3, 2016

    Peachy Keen


    When visiting my family in Hawaii, I tend to pack very minimal clothing--unlike me travelling anywhere else. There weren't many looks worth sharing this last trip, aside from this little number I threw together. I've had these two pieces for quite a while now, but only just realised they go together rather well. While this pleases my perfectionist little brain, I have had this strange desire to take a step back from my perfect matching and try and wear colours I normally wouldn't together, and mix patterns and all of that. Perhaps when I'm brave enough to try it or am satisfied with a result, I will share it on here with you. This does bring up a topic that has been on my mind for quite a while, however...

    I've always had an interest in fashion, but over the past year, I've noticed it's fizzled away a bit, and I've been more focused on personal style than what's popular in the bigger fashion world. I think this is most likely due to the whole "hipster/don't like what's popular because that's lame" mentality that was abundant throughout my impressionable high school years. I'll admit, I was one, for a while, to think trends are lame and people should march to the beat of their own drum, and not worry about what's "in". In a sense, I do still feel that way, but at some point, I gained a profound respect for the fashion industry and what people far more experienced and knowledgeable had to say when it comes to how to dress--most likely due to binge watching Project Runway and America's Top Model, and reading fashion blogs. This, as well as seeing the film Super 8, prompted me to start my very first fashion-related blog, dedicated to the stylish and youthful Elle Fanning. Back then, I knew everything about the latest runway shows, and could tell who designed what by just a glance at the detailing. So what happened? Maybe it was attending art school, and becoming ever disgusted at the way I observed some fashion students treat others, or maybe it was becoming so consumed in my acting work that fashion took the back seat. Whatever it was, I somehow lost myself in an efforts to stay true to myself. No, I don't think in order to be stylish, you have to be able to know the top 10 designers currently in the industry, or even have any interest in what's on the runways at all--because let's be honest, not all of us can afford that, why bother torturing ourselves by looking? My aim in discussing this is more to emphasise that I had once had a true passion for something, that none of my friends or family really cared about, that wasn't taught to me in school, but that I discovered on my own, much like the career I've chosen to pursue. So recognising that I had at some point lost that passion, really was pretty upsetting. Thankfully, through some recent activities (let's face it... it's more Top Model binging), I've found that passion again, and can't wait to experiment and be inspired the way I used to be. It may very well be that my sort of "loss of self" feeling I've been writing about lately could have very much been due to that loss of fervour.

    Long story short, I'm back to loving not just clothes and personal style, but fashion as a whole once again, which will hopefully bring back that drive I've been craving to have once again when it comes to blogging. Don't worry--you'll still be getting 100% me, just a more inspired version of myself.


    Now that that's out of the way, let's return to this sunny and bright day, shall we?

    One of the best parts of going home for the holidays, as always, is seeing my best friend in the world, Kitty! We are going on year 8 of our friendship, and despite only being able to see her one or two days a year, she is, and always has been, and always will be, the closest person in my life. We always know how to have a marvellous few hours together, with our typical routine of Italian food for lunch, shopping, and lots (and I mean lots) of selfies. This time around, we even through a joint hair appointment into the mix (as if it couldn't get any *~girlier). I love every single second I spend with this girl, and I cannot wait to travel on over to her side of the globe after we both graduate university this spring. See you soon, my love!


    If I haven't lost you through all of that chatter, I am quite impressed! How goes your 2016 so far? I hope it's as wonderful as mine has been. Although I've enjoyed some time alone, I can't wait for my darling Jessie to return to me! How do you survive breaks from school? My winter break is always excruciatingly long (around 5-6 weeks), and I have been keeping busy, but I don't know how many more activities I'll be able to find before I lose it! Anyway. Until next time!

    Stay sweet 
    Sarah

    top: vintage tommy bahama | skirt: forever 21 | belt: vintage | sandals: old old navy

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