Taking risks or doing things without thinking about the consequences (impulsivity)

Posted: April 15, 2013 in Uncategorized

People with BPD can exhibit problems with impulse control that can manifest as either over-controlled or under-controlled impulses… I personally don’t think I have much experience in over controlled impulses so am not familiar with the problems it can cause but logic tells me that if you over control you’re impulses you probably wont do much, you over analyse everything and when you do that you will probably be faced with quite negative outcomes if you look for the risk or the consequences of an action in TOO much depth you are likely to find some, and analyses doesn’t necessarily mean rational, so in some case you could invent consequences or risks that aren’t actually there . Maybe this is judgmental of me or an uneducated guess but to me if you are the kind of person that over controls your impulses and look for the risks and consequences you probably fear them but to the extent that it prevents you from acting on ANY impulse ….. thus…. you do nothing!  Healthy impulses can be the key to so much within life.

Not controlling your impulses is something I’m very familiar with, although mostly under control now I’ve had my moments and Not having control over your impulses can be very dangerous especially when paired with the other symptoms of BPD e.g- suicide, self harm, substance misuse.

It can cause a lot of distress, although some of the things ill talk about don’t sound huge, they can have such a huge effect on a persons life… for example: Impulsive over spending, you have responsibilities , bills to pay but when you are an impulsive person and you have a wedge of money in your pocket and there is a £70 jacket in a window of a shop you really like, the boring gas bill you are supposed to be paying doesn’t even cross your mind. Obviously if this happens quite often it’s probable you’ll end up in debt which is definitely stressful and will do no good for your mental heath even if you’re a completely stable person, so as you can imagine if you have BPD this can be fairly detrimental. There are so many more examples I could give you of impulsive behavior that may seem trivial but none of it is trivial….

I would like to add that one of the biggest problems I’ve faced with my impulse control is moving house, it’s fairly unimportant to the actual subject but to help you get a feel for some of the things I’m talking about I think the fact that in 6 years I have moved house 15 times and every single time without fail, I made the decision to move and with in 2 days I had found somewhere to go, packed my things and sometimes even left most of them behind and arranged how to move and gone… 2 days! What the hell was I thinking , I hear you ask… I wasn’t! and that’s the point. I’ve gotta say it never really bothered me at the time, the feeling I got from starting again thrilled me but looking back it’s one of the things that made my life very difficult… starting over is hard… starting over 15 times in 6 years is beyond comprehension.

There is a much darker more serious side to the impulses when suffering  B.P.D

I have the perfect example of a dangerous impulse and its not a story I’ve shared with many people but to help you understand the seriousness of what I’m talking about I feel it is necessary.

Acting on impulse nearly killed me.

I had been  on a voluntary admission to a psychiatric ward due to have suicidal thoughts , I think I had been there for about three weeks. I had, had no leave  for this time apart from fifteen minute escorted fag breaks in closed gardens seven times a day, I had not seen my children in this time (not the kind of place you want young children visiting). The ward consultant eventually gave me fifteen minutes un-escorted leave on the hospital grounds, freedom (an obvious indication they thought I was getting better, I thought I was too). I was on my second day of having this ‘privilege’ and had had a visit from a family member who brought me some pictures of my kids I missed them so much, I was overwhelmed with guilt about how I could have such thoughts with two very beautiful children, I just wanted to hold them, I wanted to tell them that everything was going to be o.k and that there mummy was getting better and would be home soon (of course all they knew was their mummy was poorly and in hospital) I just missed them so much, I’d never spent so long away from my kids. When my visit was over, I was emotional and went to go for a fag in the hospital grounds I got outside lit my fag and kept walking. I’d decided I was going to see my children, Obviously not in a great frame of mind as my kids were around fifty miles away and I only had three quid in my pocket (so there’s the first impulsive action) But I didn’t care, all I cared about, all I could think about was seeing my kids so that’s what I did… I just walked, Id done the journey a thousand times in the car so I knew where I was going. How on earth I managed to get lost is beyond me, but I did. The weird thing is Id been where I was multiple times, when I lived in the area I used to go through the same place weekly, but i didn’t recognize a thing, I had no clue where I was… which I think in itself suggests the state of mind I was in. Anyway as soon as I had noticed I was lost, I fell to the ground, tears flooded my eyes…. I was useless, Id failed… what kind of mother cant even find her way to her kids, what kind of mother would be away from her kids in the first place, I was a terrible mum, I was a terrible person… All I wanted was to see my kids and I couldn’t even do that, what a poor excuse of a human being I was, I found a shop and bought two boxes of paracetamol and a packet of razors, A little bit further down the road there was another shop, so I went in and bought another two boxes and a bottle of milk (bearing in mind I had three quid to my name so vodka was out of the question, oh and the thought of finding a bus stop and getting on a bus with this three quid didn’t even cross my mind, I guess that’s how impulses work, you don’t think). I found a wall to sit behind, broke up a razor and started to cut myself, not for suicidal purposes, I guess I just needed it one last time. I emptied all the boxes and placed all sixty two tablets onto the floor in front of me and took them. lots of thing happened during this time none of which are relevant to impulse so I wont glorify it. A guy must have seen me hiding behind the wall as he approached me asking what I had there were nine or ten still lying on the floor in front of me, what I find a little amusing about this is that he was asking with intention of buying, he was a druggy. He must of realized as he got closer what I was actually doing because he walked off, I was so relieved that he left. I was not relieved that the reason he left was to go to the shop and use the phone to call an ambulance, he came back with several people and told me… I panicked and ran, in my panic I must of passed out (this is not unusual for me and was not due to the overdose) I’ll be honest I don’t really remember much after that. I must point out that the time period from leaving the hospital to the man calling the ambulance was around an hour I think, I left the hospital with the idea I was going to see my kids, I got lost, I overdosed, as quick as that, no thought process behind it… no thoughts of consequence, nothing. What comes after, again isn’t relevant either but everyone loves a happy ending, right?  I remember nothing much over the next few days but when I was better I was told that My liver nearly failed and they had a helicopter on standby to take me to a liver specialist unit….. turns out something or someone, somewhere did not want me to die… the doctors had said they had never seen liver levels as high as mine without the person needing a transplant or dying but somehow my body started to responded to treatment and I was left with no permanent damage.

When I left that hospital the purpose wasn’t to kill myself things changed very quickly.

This part me hasn’t gone, it’s still very much there and is just as hard as it ever was but I am pleased to say that with skills of D.B.T and the fact I now over think everything because of this, I have it under control thus far 🙂

thanks for reading

Zo-Zo x


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