Living with BPD is tough, but not understanding it or your own brain is even harder. This month is all about Borderline Personality Disorder, and it’s one that I’ve been living with for some time. Or so the doctors tell me. I wish more than anything I could fix myself by waving a wand or writing a post, unfortunately it’s not that easy.
Imagine having a million and one thoughts going through your head. Some of them right and with meaning and context, others not. Imagine not knowing which are true and which are just a concoction that your brain has made up out of thin air. Imagine that all of these thoughts were competing to occupy your sole thought process. Not all of them can fit in there and the ones that make it through sometimes aren’t the right ones.
Every day is a constant battle. A battle between good and evil, a battle between black and white, because to those that suffer with this illness, there is no in between. You don’t have okay days. You have either really good or really bad ones and simple things can change the whole day. It could be a really bad day until something small happens and changes it completely or a really good day and something tiny can flip it on its arse. Then magnify that a thousand times. Because living with BPD is intense. Our good and our bad days are intense. The good days are magical and overwhelming. The bad are unbearable and soul destroying.
A simple thought can turn into a train wreck of emotions. I mean for example there are so many thoughts going through my head right now that I can’t make sense of. I can’t find ways to fix this. I am sitting here in a pitch black room wondering why I let my brain do the things I have done? How could I lose so much control when everyone else can seem like they have it together?
Tonight, before writing this, I relapsed. I hadn’t cut myself in months and yet here I am with fresh scratches over my wrist. Should I be proud that I went for the blunter object as opposed to the sharper one sat right next to it? No. Because I still took to causing myself pain, like my brain hasn’t caused me enough already. I sat in tears with no one around and I hurt myself because I couldn’t cope with the way my brain was going. I couldn’t shut it down and turn it off. I couldn’t change the station. I was just stuck with the voices inside my head.
I wish I could explain how and why I do the things that I do. I mean some of them are symptoms of BPD but does that excuse my behaviour? No. And it shouldn’t. Because I am more than a mental illness. Can I stop doing these things? Probably, but I don’t know how. All day, I’ve been stuck inside my head. I’ve been sat thinking about everything and anything.
Fear of abandonment. People with BPD are often terrified of being abandoned or left alone. Even something as innocuous as a loved one arriving home late from work or going away for the weekend may trigger intense fear. This can prompt frantic efforts to keep the other person close. You may beg, cling, start fights, track your loved one’s movements, or even physically block the person from leaving. Unfortunately, this behavior tends to have the opposite effect—driving others away.
Unstable relationships. People with BPD tend to have relationships that are intense and short-lived. You may fall in love quickly, believing that each new person is the one who will make you feel whole, only to be quickly disappointed. Your relationships either seem perfect or horrible, without any middle ground. Your lovers, friends, or family members may feel like they have emotional whiplash as a result of your rapid swings from idealization to devaluation, anger, and hate.
Unclear or shifting self-image. When you have BPD, your sense of self is typically unstable. Sometimes you may feel good about yourself, but other times you hate yourself, or even view yourself as evil. You probably don’t have a clear idea of who you are or what you want in life. As a result, you may frequently change jobs, friends, lovers, religion, values, goals, or even sexual identity.
Impulsive, self-destructive behaviors. If you have BPD, you may engage in harmful, sensation-seeking behaviors, especially when you’re upset. You may impulsively spend money you can’t afford, binge eat, drive recklessly, shoplift, engage in risky sex, or overdo it with drugs or alcohol. These risky behaviors may help you feel better in the moment, but they hurt you and those around you over the long-term.
Self-harm. Suicidal behavior and deliberate self-harm is common in people with BPD. Suicidal behavior includes thinking about suicide, making suicidal gestures or threats, or actually carrying out a suicide attempt. Self-harm encompasses all other attempts to hurt yourself without suicidal intent. Common forms of self-harm include cutting and burning.
Extreme emotional swings. Unstable emotions and moods are common with BPD. One moment, you may feel happy, and the next, despondent. Little things that other people brush off can send you into an emotional tailspin. These mood swings are intense, but they tend to pass fairly quickly (unlike the emotional swings of depression or bipolar disorder), usually lasting just a few minutes or hours.
Chronic feelings of emptiness. People with BPD often talk about feeling empty, as if there’s a hole or a void inside them. At the extreme, you may feel as if you’re “nothing” or “nobody.” This feeling is uncomfortable, so you may try to fill the void with things like drugs, food, or sex. But nothing feels truly satisfying.
Explosive anger. If you have BPD, you may struggle with intense anger and a short temper. You may also have trouble controlling yourself once the fuse is lit—yelling, throwing things, or becoming completely consumed by rage. It’s important to note that this anger isn’t always directed outwards. You may spend a lot of time feeling angry at yourself.
Feeling suspicious or out of touch with reality. People with BPD often struggle with paranoia or suspicious thoughts about others’ motives. When under stress, you may even lose touch with reality—an experience known as dissociation. You may feel foggy, spaced out, or as if you’re outside your own body.as found on https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-disorders/borderline-personality-disorder.htm
They are the nine symptoms of BPD and I’m going to look at every one of them because within the last few months, I am displaying them more and more. Maybe that will help explain things a little better.
Fear of abandonment – I am so scared of being alone and left alone that I push everyone away from me. It doesn’t matter how much I love and care for them. I will always push them away before they get too close. I try to keep them close and yet I can’t because the fear that they are going to leave makes sure I get there first. I feel like I’m too much.
Unstable relationships – I have had relationships where I am honestly and completely infatuated with this person. However my brain will always manage to find a way to change that. Sometimes it works, and when it does, it breaks me to the point I give in and give up. I can’t stop how I feel or how much it hurts. I can’t look at the positives when my brain is so consumed with the negatives and it always wins, even when I don’t want it too.
Unclear or shifting self-image – Some days, I can see the confident, strong girl I once was, and others, I’m a shell of that person. Some days I can believe I’m a good person, others I feel like I’m the worst person and don’t deserve the love that I get. Most of the time, I don’t know who I am, but I know that one day, I will do.
Impulsive, self-destructive behaviours – When I’m going through a tough time, I have been known to turn to things like drink, alcohol and attention from guys. That’s not a secret. It’s not because I don’t care or because I want to be an arse. It’s because I need to find a way to feel better, even if it’s short lived because the bad literally consumes me. The negativity will swallow me whole, so I look for an easy out. It’s not right and it’s not fair on the ones around me.
Self-harm – I spoke about this earlier on in this post. Should I be proud that I chose the flimsy option over the one that would leave scars? No. Because I shouldn’t have done it at all. But I needed too. I needed the pain in my head to be real. I needed to feel something real because I know my brain isn’t half the time. I needed to know that I could feel at a time I felt numb.
Extreme emotional swings/explosive anger – this illness isn’t otherwise known as emotionally unstable personality disorder for nothing. This is a real consequence of living with this. I can’t control my emotions. I have such high highs that the second I come crashing down, its a nightmare. That I can flip from the happiest in the world to complete devastation over something so trivial and meaningless. The second I get triggered, this horrible person that I try so desperately to keep back comes out. I can’t stop them, I just watch as the anger is released knowing that I lost control. And when they pass, I feel so guilty that I bury them because if I didn’t I’d do something I regret like hurt myself or turn to alcohol.
Chronic feelings of emptiness – do you know what it’s like to be around the person you love and feel dead inside? That all the attention in the world, just cant fill it. To look at someone you love with every fibre of your being, knowing that you love them but feeling so empty you can’t show it? I have sat next to people that try their hardest for me and just end up feeling guilty because I can’t open up to them because I feel numb and worthless. I can’t fill a void that is there because I don’t know why I feel that way in the first place.
Feeling suspicious or out of touch with reality – This happens on a regular basis and I don’t know how to stop it. Every day is a battle between figuring out what is real and meaningful and what my brain is trying to convince me is the truth. It’s a trap that I can’t get out of.
Living with BPD is soul destroying. It controls every moment of every day. It’s the really high highs that make me feel invincible and the really low lows that make me believe I am worthless. It’s the moments like having a great day with Luna and coming back to a room filled with memories and torment and letting those thoughts consume the good. It’s about waking up in the morning and knowing if today will be a good or bad day before it’s even started.
There are days where I feel like a burden. Where I feel like I am the reason the ones I love are hurting and being destroyed. There are days where this mental illness leaves me more alone and isolated than I ever wanted. But it’s also a big part of who I am right now. And until I spend five years in therapy talking to some shrink, I know I will continue to lose to the triggers and the thoughts.
So for those that are around right now, for those that love me and want to be there for me, please don’t give up on me when I’m having my bad days. Please don’t let me sink into my own head and try to help me keep control. To the ones that I love, family, friends and you, please know that every day I am trying my hardest to be in control, some days I win and others I lose, but I’m still me and I am thankful for you all each and every day.
If you want to get in touch with me about BPD, then find me on facebook, twitter or Instagram. I hope that each person that has this mental illness finds a way to have control. I always will be here to listen because I can understand more than you’d believe. I hope wherever you are in the world, you are happy and healthy and until you hear from me again, keep smiling, the world needs to see it.