I have Borderline Personality Disorder. I received my diagnosis in 2014, about four months after giving birth to my first son, and it was one of the most relieving moments of my entire life. Finally, everything made sense. I wasn’t going crazy! (Well, not entirely.) Not only did this “thing” happening with me have a name, but it also meant that I wasn’t alone!
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior. These symptoms often result in impulsive actions and problems in relationships and jobs. People with borderline personality disorder may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that can last from a few hours to days.”
If you or a loved one has BPD, you understand what I mean when I say that it can make things… complicated. Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks to help me cope, but every now and then this nasty illness rears it’s ugly head and the “real me” is left scrambling to explain something that I don’t even fully understand. I’ve done my best to put together a list of things I, a Borderline, would like you to know…
I know that I overreacted, I don’t need you to point it out. And chances are, I’m probably beating myself up over my words and actions as we speak.
“I hate you, don’t leave me” is a classic sign that I’m battling with real or imagined abandonment. The idea of being rejected is so horrible to me that hatred starts to build up and it’s easier for me to convince myself that this other person is “evil”. On the other hand, there is still a rational side of me that knows I’m overreacting and should just let it go, thus causing the inner conflict.
My mind is a constant roller coaster of highest highs and lowest lows. It’s exhausting.
There’s a voice in the back my mind that is constantly telling me you’re going to leave. It’s not that I don’t trust you, I just need a lot of reassurance.
I’m usually only able to see things in “black and white”. For some reason, borderlines lack the ability to see the complexity of people or situations. In other words, things are either perfect or terrible. There is no in between.
I’m just as confused as you are.
Sometimes I “check out” by suppressing all my emotions. It’s a defense mechanism that causes me to run on autopilot. Usually I don’t even realize this is happening until I “check back in” hours or even days later.
My impulsive behaviors are a desperate attempt to numb the internal pain. Which usually results in guilt and that guilt needs numbing too… it’s a vicious cycle.
My erratic behavior is driven by fear. Fear of abandonment, fear of being hurt, fear of losing control.
If your loved one has BPD, do not hesitate to ask how you can help. Getting educated about the disorder is the perfect place to start. If you have BPD, always remember that you are so much more than your diagnosis. You are smart, you are kind, you are strong.