Bold Beautiful Borderline

Impulsivity: The balancing act

December 20, 2020 Sara Amundson & Laurie Edmundson Season 1 Episode 3
Bold Beautiful Borderline
Impulsivity: The balancing act
Chapters
Bold Beautiful Borderline
Impulsivity: The balancing act
Dec 20, 2020 Season 1 Episode 3
Sara Amundson & Laurie Edmundson

Impulsivity is possibly the most fun and most devastating symptom of borderline personality disorder.
Be it impulsive sex, substance use, speeding, shopping, binge eating, or basically anything that gives immediate gratification in maybe not the most healthy ways... we’ve probably been there and done that.
But impulsivity it’s not necessarily a symptom we’d want to live without either! Being impulsive also makes us more fun, passionate, exciting, and spontaneous.
It’s all about balance.

You can find Laurie and Sara on Instagram to follow their day to day lives even further @laurieanned and @saraswellnessway

You can also find Sara's business as a Mental Health Clinician and mental health coach at thewellnesswayllc.com

If you like the show we would love if you could rate, subscribe and support us on Patreon.

You can find our Patren channel at https://www.patreon.com/boldbeautifulborderline?fan_landing=true

For mental health supports:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline, 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727)
OR find a local warmline to you at https://screening.mhanational.org/content/need-talk-someone-warmlines

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/boldbeautifulborderline)

Show Notes Transcript

Impulsivity is possibly the most fun and most devastating symptom of borderline personality disorder.
Be it impulsive sex, substance use, speeding, shopping, binge eating, or basically anything that gives immediate gratification in maybe not the most healthy ways... we’ve probably been there and done that.
But impulsivity it’s not necessarily a symptom we’d want to live without either! Being impulsive also makes us more fun, passionate, exciting, and spontaneous.
It’s all about balance.

You can find Laurie and Sara on Instagram to follow their day to day lives even further @laurieanned and @saraswellnessway

You can also find Sara's business as a Mental Health Clinician and mental health coach at thewellnesswayllc.com

If you like the show we would love if you could rate, subscribe and support us on Patreon.

You can find our Patren channel at https://www.patreon.com/boldbeautifulborderline?fan_landing=true

For mental health supports:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline, 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727)
OR find a local warmline to you at https://screening.mhanational.org/content/need-talk-someone-warmlines

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/boldbeautifulborderline)

Sara Amundson:

Hi, everyone, welcome to the beautiful borderline Podcast. I am one of your hosts Sara Amundson, and I'm here with Laurie and today we're going to talk about a fun and kind of devastating part of experiencing borderline, which is impulsivity. And, for me, impulsivity has really played out in all of my relationships, particularly that the intersection with fear of abandonment has led me to impulsively end my relationships prematurely or in ways that are unfair.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, I can totally resonate with that. And I love what you said about how it's the fun and tragic part of having borderline because realistically, being impulsive is kind of fun sometimes. And I remember when I was in DBT, one of my friends there was saying, sorry, that's dialectical behavior therapy. So one of my friends was saying, He's so anxious that he doesn't feel like he can be impulsive. And I thought that was really interesting. Cuz I think, at least for myself, I can go between the two like, I can be impulsive, sometimes in really stupid ways. And then I can be not at all impulsive in ways that would actually be like beneficial to my life.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, that is really interesting, because so impulsivity for people with BPD often plays out into their relationship with self harm and suicidal ideation. And I 100% like 150% trust that I would never attempt to die by suicide, because of my own anxiety around that. And also, because like, I think my life is cool and worthy, and like I want to live it. But even if I'm at one of my most depressed or devastated moments, my anxiety would still prevent me from ever doing anything that would really, really harm me. And so it's just interesting the, the relationships between the two. But for me, impulsivity is really showing up as, yeah, ending relationships prematurely. I ended a marriage once by text or not a marriage, excuse me, a engagement by text message on a Wednesday afternoon. With with a previous partner, which was functional, I'm glad the relationship was over. But that wasn't the appropriate way to go about that. I basically just like found my out and was like, Alright, we're taking it.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, for sure. And have you ever found that it's the other way around as well, where you're impulsive in getting into relationships way too quickly? Because I think for me, like sex is a definitely impulsive thing, or it was previously to now I'm like, in a committed monogamous relationship. But before that, I was very impulsive in that sense.

Sara Amundson:

So yes, I mean, I'll tell you, I love you on the first date, like let's just be real, right? The oxytocin is just flowing at a rate that like a neurotypical person doesn't experience. And historically, I would say yes, I've had a lot of impulse of sex, for the sake of trying to feel like worthy or loved or wanted. Now, I would say, any impulsivity around sex is just because like, I think I'm deserving of orgasm.

Laurie Edmundson:

Fair enough.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah. And which is like kind of a radical, a radical shift. It doesn't mean the impulsivity is gone necessarily.

Laurie Edmundson:

No, no, for sure. And I mean, I think sometimes for impulsivity, especially with people with borderline is, it's not necessarily what like having impulsive sex is not a bad thing. Like neither of us are saying that at all. But it's having impulsive sex and potentially doing it in a way that's unsafe. So I think that's a huge issue. Like no birth control drunk. random people you don't know like, there's so many examples of where impulsive sex is not a bad thing, but maybe you're putting yourself in harm's way because you're not being safe about it.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, and so that's one of the things you have to like, really, this is where DBT comes in handy, right? It's like okay, let's check the facts. Am I am I willing to deal with the potential outcome of friends For example, unsafe sex, am I willing to, like, confront the possibility of maybe getting an STD having to treat it having to tell partners about it like, all of those things. And generally if I'm weighing those odds, I my impulsive brain is still just like immediate gratification. But I think as I've gotten older, I'm more more able to see. See the facts of a situation that definitely comes with age and with therapy and with medication?

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, absolutely. I think the therapy bits and medication maybe I'm not, I don't know if I can necessarily relate the two. But the therapy really helps with taking that like tiny step back like the five seconds like, should I go home with this person that I've never met? Hmm, maybe not. Whether or not you still do it is fine. But at least you're having that like one second thought of maybe I shouldn't be doing this, or how can I make myself safer? Yeah, it's a tough, tough one. impulsivity is so interesting.

Sara Amundson:

Well, and I think that that's something to really celebrate, right? It's like, and this is DBT is a year long program for a reason, right? Like, you're retraining your brain to think about things in a way that for the past 25 years, or however old you are, when you enter DBT that you've been thinking about automatically. And so if you're at the bar, right, and you're like a couple Margarita is in and you're gonna go home with, like Joe Schmo next to who probably like voted for Trump. You know, like, and you're like, should I go home with his Trump voting son of a bitch like, that, in itself is something worth celebrating? Because it isn't just automatically going home and compromising your values. And then you do that over time, over time over time. And eventually you're like, I don't want to go home with a Trump voting idiot next to me, and I'm not going to, and then that becomes a bigger win. And then it's like, well, what win is after that?

Laurie Edmundson:

Mm hmm. And yeah, I mean, like, just obviously, going home with people, maybe something that Sarah and I both are, have some experience in. But I think there's so many other examples, like binge eating is a really big one. And I know that I've experienced that. And I think there has experienced it to substance use at all, like, I think we'll probably do an entire episode on substance use, but that is impulsivity at its core, and needing that immediate gratification without necessarily thinking about the future. Another one that's interesting is gambling. And I think people don't necessarily consider this an addiction as much as they should. I don't have a gambling addiction. But I definitely have probably the like, ground floor like I could definitely get there. I find like, if I go to a casino, I have way more fun than any of my friends. And I'm like that, that rational part of my brain can disappear. And so I'm lucky that I'm, like, aware of that. And so you know, my partner will hold on to my money, and he'll give me $20. And that's it. And so it's fine. It's harmless, whatever. But I can definitely see that without having kind of safety plans in advance and planning ahead, that I may run into some issues with that. So it's just Yeah, like, that's impulsivity. Shopping is impulsivity. We're recording this like right before or right after Black Friday, which is a little bit of a problem. And so, I mean, I can go and just like spend money, like nobody's business. And it's really awful, because like, I don't need all the crap that I'm buying. But I love shopping and it makes me feel good. And that is definitely an impulsive thing.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, so interestingly enough, I feel like I have more of the like, traditional impulsivity kind of tendencies when we think about borderlines like, you know, when the therapist is like, I don't want to work with a borderline from how cuz she's like having sex and drinking alcohol and like drinking and driving. That's where my impulsivity kind of used to show up a lot. I've never really been one to like gamble or shop or anything like that, but I'm interested to hear about this for you. When I was younger, I had a really big issue with speeding and I would get like speeding ticket after speeding ticket after speeding ticket. And pretty soon I like had to do diversion and then I like got dropped from my insurance like all of this stuff.

Laurie Edmundson:

Okay, well, I mean, I've never gotten a speeding ticket. ever in my life.

Sara Amundson:

I think I've had like seven.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, so I don't necessarily want to out myself but I for sure speak. And I'm just lucky. I think that knock on wood, I think I'm very like observant of my surroundings. And so I'm quite aware of like, oh, there's a police officer like, Oh, this is normally where police officers are and I, yeah, so potentially not necessarily the best thing to admit, but I definitely have a problem with speeding. I have like, I would say maybe minor problems with road rage too, which is also impulsive. Like, my partner hates it because somebody will like tailgate me. And then I'm just like, I'm gonna go get him and I just like chase after him. And he's like, dude, if you just calm down, like now you're the problem. And I'm like, Oh, yeah, that's, that's fair. But yeah, no speeding tickets, but I probably deserve one or two or seven.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, God bless you. Because I've had Yeah, I've made too many. Yeah, impulsivity is wild. And I definitely. And most of this is historical, I want to just be like really clear, Laurie and I are talking from a historical perspective, we talked a lot about, like, it's important for us to find humor in our shit, or else we'll just like sit and cry, right. And so we can laugh about all of our impulses, we can laugh about our like, casual sex and our binge drinking, and binge eating and all these things. But at the end of the day, you know, like, I think both of us work pretty hard to stay as regulated as we can and weigh our options. And I'm not saying I don't still have impulses. I'm not saying I don't still enjoy being impulsive. But I recognize the consequences now. And especially in in our personal relationships, like I can look back and realize, when I broke up with my ex fiance by text message, even though that relationship totally deserved a breakup. Like I can look back and say God, that must have been like, painful for that person. But they received the end of what we thought was a marriage by a text message on a Wednesday afternoon. But then also, I can look back and say like, wow, God bless you, Sarah, that you are in so much pain, that you felt you had to attack someone and end, like your lifelong what you thought was a lifelong relationship with someone because you're in so much pain right now.

Laurie Edmundson:

Mm hmm. Yeah, that's such a good example. And I think that's where the cross section of all of these symptoms come into play, right? Like that's in unstable relationships. That's intense emotions. That's impulsivity. That's potentially anger, dissociation, like there's so many things about that one tiny situation where you set that one text, that's all of those symptoms.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, and, you know, for me, it's always the anger. And I've been living in my vehicle and on a car camp solo car camping trip for the last month. And I had this day where, you know, it's funny, it was like, every time I had like a major travel day, I'd be a few hours in and pretty soon I'm like, like, listening to like Miranda Lambert, and just like bawling, like like, dry, heaving, like those kind of tears over what I believe is the end of my marriage right now. And I had this moment where I sat with myself, and I was like, okay, Sara. So there's so much anger here. And I was like, okay, anger, like, Who are you? What are you? What are you masking for me, like what is underneath you, I need to understand what is underneath you, because I'm going to continue tearing apart my life until I really get to the root of you. And then once I like, could name that anger was just me feeling unworthy and undesirable and unloved for so long. It was like, I don't need to be impulsive about the potential ending of this relationship or about anything in my life, if I can just understand what what is here. And then I made this decision, like, Okay, if this relationship that I've been in for years is ending, I'm want to end it with as much love going out of it as I came into it with. And that is like, so radical. And this is like, what I'm thinking. And I'm doing like that I'm talking through this as I'm living this, like, this is like my daily life right now. So it's pretty wild to see myself being so introspective about it. And that I think is like a testament to the work that I've done in the recovery that I've created. Because five years ago, I would have ended my marriage by text message and now I'm like, I love you so much that like let's do this.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, I actually so my partner and I aren't breaking up which is good, but I think it's funny because normally I would be the same I would end relationships by tech. I would like be super, like, freak out and just, you know, yell and scream, and then kind of put myself in a position where they have to break up with me. And because that's just easier. And if I were to think down the road, like if my partner and I had to break up now, I actually don't think that I would be like that, I don't think I would be as impulsive. Like, I really feel like this is the first relationship where I could be exactly like where you're at, like, I love you so much. This is just not going to work. And that's, that's it. And I think that's a huge step forward, because relationships have always been tough. And I've never thought that I would be able to be in a spot where like, I could see an end of something without being devastated by it. I mean, don't get me wrong. I like I love my partner to bet and I'd never want to break up with him. And I would be so sad, but it wouldn't necessarily be like an angry. Sad. That makes sense.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, and don't get me wrong. I mean, there was there was like, there was and there still are moments of anger. There was anger for a really long time. But I'm not joking. I pulled over on like a highway in Nevada. And I was like, like, anger, who are you? Like, I want to understand you. Because I feel like I'm carrying the weight of you, and you're so heavy. And it was like anger. And I just had this dialogue. We had this conversation. I mean, you think I was on psychedelics or something. But I was sober. I was just like, this is the work. This is the journey. And ever since then, I think I've I think that was probably like three weeks ago. And I've had like one moment in those three weeks where I was like, completely dysregulated and yelling and freaking out. But other than that, I am. Yeah, I feel like super proud of that. That ability to be regulated. And anyone who's listening who struggles with impulsivity, like, I just want you to know, it doesn't always have to look like this.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, and it's so funny, because the spot you're in right now where like, you just decided, Hey, I'm gonna go live in my car and drive around the United States like that, that's pretty impulsive. And like, that's not necessarily a bad thing, right? Like, the thing about mental health issues as some of these symptoms can be really great. And I know that you've been having the time of your life driving around and kind of getting to know people and whatever. And it's, it's when these symptoms start to impact your life negatively, that it becomes problematic. So I can you know, I can go to the mall, I have a little bit of disposable income, I can go to the mall, and I can buy myself an extra pair of shoes that I don't probably need. Not a big deal. But I know I've spoken to people that have borderline that are like, yeah, I went out and bought like a $50,000 motorcycle on credit, and I don't have a motorcycle license. That's a little bit more problematic, right? Like, it's, it's that you have to know where your line is, or, you know, the gambling Association here says like, know, your limits stay within it, like, I can be impulsive and just make kind of stupid spending decisions. But I'm not putting myself in debt or losing my house because of it. Or my relationships. That's another really big one. And sometimes these impulsive things may not affect you as much, but they may affect other people around you. And you have to be aware of that too.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, totally. And I love what you and Aaron have done, right? It's like, you're not gonna not be impulsive. We're not gonna, we're not gonna stop feeling rejected, like, I have no wild dreams that I'm gonna wake up tomorrow and not have borderline personality disorder. It's not gonna happen. But it's about like, how do we recognize the signs and symptoms, understand the root cause of them and then build in systems that allow us to operate in a way that's like more adaptive and more functional. And we cannot do that in isolation, right. So like, left up to your own devices. If you're at the casino, you might spend $500 on a slot machine, which I find to be so incredibly boring unless they're bringing me free drinks.

Laurie Edmundson:

Roulette, hat's the only game I'll play ecause I find it actually nteresting.

Sara Amundson:

Okay, I don't know about roulette, you'll have to teach me when I come to Canada. But you know, left up to your own devices, who knows how much you would spend but you have this loving and supportive partner that's like, you and I both know what the end goal is here. So let's build in some systems that will get us there and still honor your desire to play roulette.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah. And it's not like oppressive in any way. I mean, like him and I don't share money. So it's, it's literally like, I give him $40 or $20 or whatever. And then he goes, Okay, cool. And you know, if I want to go to the ATM, at least I have to say, Hey, I'm gonna go to the ATM. And then he goes, are you sure? And I'm like, yeah, I'm sure that like, four second conversation is enough for my impulsive brain to be like, Okay, did I need to do this? There's a little tiny bit of an obstacle that I had to go through. And you know, what, if I want to spend 100 bucks, I can spend 100 bucks. It's not a big deal. Um, yeah. So it's just like having that like, person that you can just ask and be like, should I do this? Of course I have some very, very good girlfriends out there that, you know, we're the opposite where we text each other when it comes to spending were like, I think I need an iPad. And they're like, Yeah, you do, like, great. So then we all buy iPads. And it's like, Okay, well, none of us needed an iPad. But so it's, it's a it can be it can go both ways. But you know, you have to be able to live your life too. And life with no impulsivity would be so boring.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, we should bring Tory on the podcast, ecause I think she knows a ittle bit about that. But she's ery rigid in her thinking. And he's an officer. So I think hat's kind of, you know, what hey're what they're trained to o. And at the end of the day, hat might be part of why we're truggling. In this partnership hat we created, as it's like, I ant to be able to decide omething different, and be able o kind of have someone roll ith it. And she's just like, 'm so exhausted by all the ifferent decisions you've made. nd it's like, look like, I'm ot gonna stop being like this, ight? And if like, that doesn't ork for you. That's okay. Like, hat gets to be okay. We all get o decide what we want at the nd of the day, as long as we're ducated, kind of and do that ost benefit analysis of like, oes this $500 iPad work for me? f it does cool, if it doesn't? kay, so what are you gonna do bout it?

Laurie Edmundson:

Let's pretend it was only $500. I like,

Sara Amundson:

really, I don't I have an iPad, but it was a gift. So I'm not really sure. But I'm in the market for a new laptop, and I think I'm gonna get a MacBook Pro. And Holy shit. Are those things expensive?

Laurie Edmundson:

legitimately? Yeah, no, I yeah, I don't even want to say how much money this iPad cost, but it was a lot. Um, but anyway, I'm using it for school. So I feel like I can justify it. Um, yeah. So just before we wrap up, I just want to say one thing about men and borderline. And of course, Sara and I are both women. So we can't necessarily speak to this experience. But just something that's interesting, and I'm sure will come up later is that people with borderline are mostly women. But that's mostly because the diagnostic criteria is a little bit flawed. And so when it comes to self harm, people that are diagnosing borderline are often looking for like things like cutting, burning, that kind of thing. But men often don't use those methods of self harm. And so this is where impulsivity and self harm come into play, especially for men, this can look like doing stupid skateboard tricks that you don't know how to do, and then hurting yourself or driving too fast and getting in a car accident. And so I think it's important that just because our experiences are kind of the classic, like, you know, sex spending, food, drugs, alcohol, whatever it is, impulsivity can look completely different for so many people and particularly men, it's, it can look like, yeah, being like kind of dumb and doing things on a dirt bike that you don't know how to do, and then hurting yourself and breaking your leg that at the end of the day, that is self harm.

Sara Amundson:

And for men, it can be far more fatal. So men who have borderline are more likely to die by suicide than women are, because that impulsive. impulsivity leads to more fatal decision making then a woman generally is what the research shows, of course, this is all going to be different based on the person. But that's kind of what some of the trends show.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, and I mean, I'm sure it's there. And I could talk for hours about how flawed mental health research is, in terms of, it's usually only only researched on white men or white women. And that's it. And so it can look completely different for everybody. And it's not necessarily captured in the diagnostic criteria or the statistics about things. But anyways, that's, that's a whole other conversation that we can have.

Sara Amundson:

And we're going to have some guys on that have BPD, which will be a super exciting podcast episode in the future. But yeah, what are our final thoughts on impulsivity? It's fun, and it sucks. And basically, like, learn to control it right? And of course, like DBT, DBT, DBT, go to therapy, learn about yourself cry on a highway, and I've had a few.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, well, you summarized it pretty well. Yeah, I think the only other thing that I would say is even if you can't go to therapy, that's, that's not necessarily something that everybody wants to do or can afford or whatever. But just reminding yourself that you can make an impulsive decision, and that's fine. But if you can take literally five seconds, if you can count to five between you clicking like, yes, pay with Apple Pay on American Eagles website, or whatever it is, you you will probably make a lot fewer decisions that you regret. And so whether or not you make the decision anyway, that's fine. But if you can give yourself that moment to just be with yourself in that decision, I think it's really helpful like tap is a deadly game because you're not actually looking at the total and then doing your pin Actually the states is different. You guys are weird. You don't have time, right?

Sara Amundson:

I don't even know what that is. I'm like, is this a game? Like, is this like a phone game?

Laurie Edmundson:

No. Okay, I do not understand America is weird. Um, so like our credit cards. I don't even seems like so weird to try to someone any Canadian listening is gonna be like cringing at the fact that I have to explain this, but like, your credit card has like a little like, chip in it like a microchip. And then you don't have to like, like, put your pin in or sign for any credit card purchases. You just like touch your card to the machine. And then it just like pays.

Sara Amundson:

Okay, so that would be really easy for impulsivity, right? Because you're like, cuz you can't eat once you do that. There's not a Cancel button.

Laurie Edmundson:

No. Yeah. No, like, I mean, 90% of the time, I'm not even looking at the total. Whereas like, at least if you have to press like, okay, for the total, then it's different. Like, you're kind of taking that one second that you need. But yeah, I forgot that you guys don't have tap. That's really funny. This is a really strange way. And

Sara Amundson:

that's okay. I like it. I like it. I'm gonna try to come live in Canada away from all of the banana stuff of the United States once everything opens up, and I can bring my bus up there.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yes, absolutely. That would be so fun.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, make sure your showers ready for your good. Well, Laurie, I just love you. I'm obsessed with you. I'm so grateful that we get to do this podcast together. And

Laurie Edmundson:

yeah, thank you.

Sara Amundson:

Hi, friends. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the bold, beautiful borderline podcast. Laurie and I are so grateful that you're here with us on this journey. And we can't wait to dive into more topics in the future with you all about borderline, and even have some more fun and exciting guests to join us on the podcast. If you really enjoyed this episode, we would love if you would rate review and subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen. We would also love to see you interact with us on social media and on our Patreon page. The links to that are included in the show notes. So check us out there. We would be incredibly honored to get to know you all as you get to know us and our recovery stories. We love you and we'll see you next time.