Caregiving Issues – BPD

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My husband suffers from many health problems, one of which is Borderline Personality Disorder(BPD).  http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/symptoms-of-borderline-personality-disorder/ He was officially diagnosed in 1999, nine years into our relationship. Once I did some research and understood the disorder, which in his case is accompanied by chronic depression, it made dealing with him easier.

In BPD the person suffering with the disorder sees others as either all good or all bad. This viewpoint can change within the blink of an eye in my husband’s case. This weekend I have been all bad. I don’t care enough, I don’t do enough, I am not attentive enough, the list could go on forever. Even though I know the reason for this barrage of criticism, it still takes it’s toll.

He is worse in the evenings, and today I have to go to work early, which means I will be home in the evening, again. The third day in a row. Oh, joy!

I needed to vent, and since he does not “do” computers, I vented here, on my blog.

– WalksAlone

Little Acts of Kindness

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My husband had his left leg amputated above the knee last year. He lives his life from a wheelchair. He stays at home most of the time, watching television and being bored. He fights depression on a daily basis.

At least once each weekend I take him somewhere. We find joy in little trips and outings that may sound boring to anyone else. We have learned by doing and have come up with solutions to problems we never thought about before.

Life is so simple when you can just jump in the car and go. I have to set-up my car for the trip. I have a PT Cruiser. To take my husband and his chair, I have to lay the back seats down and put the deck on its lowest setting. This creates a level surface for the wheelchair and an area underneath for small purchases. Actually, its amazing what I can get under there!

Once that is done, we are ready to go. Jim positions the wheelchair at the open car door, locks the brakes and transfers to the car. I then load the chair into the back of the car. Even folded it is awkward and heavy, weighing around 45 pounds. Then, away we go, only to reverse the loading process when we arrive, then repeat when we head home. 

Yesterday Jim couldn’t really decide where he wanted to go. I had to do some grocery shopping and mentioned that as a possibility. He agreed and away we went. I usually do the grocery shopping alone, or if he goes he waits in the car. Yesterday he went in the grocery store for the first time in months.

We have developed a technique we use in stores with wide isles and shopping carts. Jim pushes and steers the cart while I push his wheelchair. Sometimes if he gets distracted we have near misses with in-isle displays and other shoppers. I try to keep my mind on my driving and apply brakes or tell him to ‘look out’ when necessary.

The trip to the grocery store was fun for us both. Jim had not been able to check out the offerings of groceries and “goodies” in months and enjoyed picking out food. He was able to pick out food and goodies that he wanted. We had our cart loaded to the max when we finished and checked out.

A wheelchair in the back of a PT Cruiser takes up a lot of room and has to be loaded first, before the groceries. Some of the items were large and heavy (a bucket of cat litter, for instance) and needed special placement.

We got back to the car and Jim sat at the rear with the cart while I put some of the heavier items between the front and rear seats, in the floor. It was while I was loading these items that I heard her voice.

“Do you need some help?”, the middle-aged lady asked Jim. “I can load your car for you if you would like.” Jim told her his wife was loading it and she smiled and said she would still be glad to help. He told her we had it under control. I looked up and received a smile from the lady and a little wave as she headed on into the store.

Jim got into the car and I loaded his chair and the remaining groceries, Most fit under the deck, but a few bags were strategically placed around the chair. As we headed home we talked about how nice it was that someone had offered to help him with his groceries.

Most of the people we see when we go on our outings are very nice and considerate. People hold doors open, rush to move things out of the way, and are more helpful than I ever thought possible. The ones who are rude or thoughtless are few and far between.

The little acts of kindness, a smile, an offer of help, mean more to us than words can ever express. Our thanks and the thanks of all those with disabilities go out to all of you who send them our way.