Living with borderline personality disorder… What a weird topic, isn’t it?
So many books have been written about borderline personality disorder, you can Google this term and you will find hundreds upon hundreds of articles. The problem with borderline personality disorder is that it doesn’t only affect the person, but also everyone around that person. However, the only difference is, people around you don’t understand. They just think you want attention, that you’re playing or acting out, they don’t believe you when you’re hurt, they don’t understand how it’s like — to just be brought down by a silly comment and being unable to recover for three days in a row just because someone has made a slightly hurtful remark.
To me, the main problem with borderline personality disorder is that no one understands me, I feel so alone, so isolated, so abandoned. When the pain gets too much, when you can take it anymore, when you’re pushed to the corner and you don’t want to live — you attempt a suicide. You feel that no one cares, and if someone does come up and speak to you, they always say the same phrase: “it’s such a stupid idea, you have such a great life, it will be such a pity!” And when they say these words, it only confirms that they don’t understand, for if they knew how I felt, they wouldn’t say “suicide is a silly decision”, because for ME it’s not silly, if I decide to end my life, it’s because I cannot take it anymore, and there is no one who understands, and there is no one who is able to give me his or her presence, when I needed the most.
I never knew I had borderline personality disorder until I was diagnosed with it in my mid-20s. I always thought that I’m just depressive, that I’m overly sensitive, that I’m just lonely, that no one wants to play with me or be around me, that I just don’t deserve a social life that others have. I thought that was just born like this and there is a problem inside me, like I’m damaged in some way. I grew up thinking that I’m not good enough even though I was (drop-dead) gorgeous and smart… Everyone — my friends, my superficial friends and my family kept repeating how amazing I am and that I deserve only the best, however, when I was alone — no one could even imagine what I felt and how I felt, and that loneliness just pulled me in like black sticky lava down into a cold cave, where I was alone and no one ever visited me there. No one ever came and reach out their hand to pull me out of there, and every time I was alone I felt like trapped in the dungeon, crying hysterically, wishing (maybe even praying) that someone will come and rescue me, that someone will come and fold me to their chest, that someone will just say that they know how I feel and they they want to be with me not because I’m crying or they feel pity for me, but because they want to be with me.
Today I’m 36, and it has never ever happened. No one ever came when I needed it the most.
I believe that, unless you abuse alcohol or any other substances, the idea of suicide just remains on your “wish list” forever, because you never have enough courage to do what you really really want to, even though over the past 15 years (if not more) I developed a habit of self-harm that is so habitual and comes so naturally that I don’t even pay attention to it anymore.
As silly as it may sound, I never even realized it was a problem, until I consulted a psychiatrist and she said that self-harm is a problem. Who would have thought! I never even knew why am I doing it, until someone actually explained it to me in plain words; she said that the emotional pain is so intense that I can take it anymore, and this is way to switch from emotional pain to physical pain, which is more bearable, so I can just concentrate on a piece of my skin that I’m trying to tearaway and watch it bleed. This way, apparently, I can switch my focus away from my internal hell into something more superficial, more external. It sounds very morbid, when you just read these words and imagine a crazy person sitting in the corner of her room just picking her skin with a knife. I am ready to bet, that this is what you have imagined. I know it sounds crazy, and if I was to read about someone else doing the same thing, I’d probably say “oh my god, lock away that crazy b*tch, before she hurts herself or someone else!” But if you suffer from borderline personality disorder, you know it’s not as bad as it may sound. I mean it probably is, but I know I wouldn’t ever hurt any other person other than myself, and if I hurt myself too much — I honestly don’t care…
As a person with borderline personality disorder, I have (like everyone else with the same diagnosis) an absolutely frantic fear of being abandoned. I would do anything, just not to be alone, and that means anything. I would be in a relationship that is below my level or is totally unsuitable, just not to be alone. I would hold on to any relationship, just not to be by myself, and I’ll humiliate myself and do stupid things, just to make that person stay with me without realizing, that it must be the other way around, if I was able to be just a little bit objective. Moreover, the fear of being alone extends beyond just being in a toxic relationship at any expense, once you find yourself lonely and disillusioned, you will join any group of people and it doesn’t matter if it’s highly religious or satanic organization.
But well, you can somehow survive in a unstable relationship with your family and friends, and if they can live with your mood-swings that range from extreme closeness and idealization to extreme anger and hate towards the person, in the end of the day you can make that other person get used to it, they will just think that you’re crazy, that you have some hormonal dysfunction and once a mouth you just lose yourself… They will think that you’re just hysterical, crazy b*tch, but some (more submissive-like) guys may even like it.
A much harder-to-deal-with problem is the distorted and unstable self-image or even the lack of the Self. It’s not that I’m not attached to my body, I just don’t know who I am. I don’t have a sense of self and even if I do have it, it has nothing to do with reality. Doesn’t matter, if I’m beautiful, witty and I make a lot of money, I will still see myself as an absolutely unworthy, needed and useless person, that just wants to hide and run away from this world.
It’s not a classical “low self-esteem”, it’s a lack thereof.
So, I do what most people with borderline personality disorders are doing. I just copy others. I have no idea what I want, how I want to dress, how I want my handwriting to look like, how I want to decorate my diary or how do I want to have my hair done. It may sound natural to take inspiration in magazines or in social media, but it goes beyond inspiration when I open my diary — I don’t know what to write. I have no idea which pen should I pick and what should I write. I know that if I write something I will regret it, so I try not to write anything. I felt an unbelievable relief, when erasable pens came to market (Pilot Frixion), the idea of being able to write something down and erase it, in case I didn’t like it — was revolutionary.
I finally started writing, yay!
I always liked stationary that has a spiral bound, because I could just tear the page away and start allover, and you I guess that’s one of the most important motives. But again, it obviously extends beyond a diary, the idea that I want to do something and be able to just erase it without a trace and start anew. A completely new blank page and write again with my erasable pen. And while this is true about me writing in my diary, this notion extends to all other areas of my life. I always want to know that if I do something wrong, I will be able to just do it again (and again) and this time I’ll do it right.
But here comes another problem — life isn’t a diary. I can always tear away a page and put it in a trash without leaving a trace, but it doesn’t work in relationships, hardly works in family relationships, and not always working in your career, especially since the clock is ticking and you cannot always start anew, 100 times a year, like I do in my diary. It may take 30 attempts to write anew year resolution, wasting 29 pages in the process, and them finding myself somewhere in mid-March wondering, if I should include “getting fit” in my resolution, or not? Maybe I should, I always did…
But.. I don’t bother writing New Year resolutions anymore. I feel it’s useless to use these “copy and paste” sentences, which I was writing down for my entire life now. I just got so familiar with them, I don’t even need to think about it, I remember my New Year resolution from 10 year ago and I guess that’s still my resolution, the only difference is I know it’s just a wish lis, not a resolution. I don’t have enough courage to act upon my wishes, mainly out of fear to make a mistake.
However, based on what’s written in the literature about BPD, sometimes the anger is so high and so intense, that one loses control, and this is where the changeable moods and episodes of intense an inappropriate anger coming to picture. These are the moments where impulsive behavior takes over and the person can do dangerous things from substance abuse to speed driving to binge eating to unsafe sex and spending sprees. Luckily I never experienced any of these (except spending sprees and binge eating…) but after all, I am just a GIRL.
Just to round up this post in a more positive light, what good can I say, about BPD?
I didn’t choose it, it’s highly genetically and environmentally influenced, which means it was probably beyond my control to avoid it. I just have to accept the fact that this untreatable, one can only get used to living with it, get equipped with tools that help him or her cope and learn to accept their self, with all their flaws. If you suffer from BPD and manage to find a partner who is loving, affectionate, someone you can also cling to and s/he clings to you — you will temporarily be able to mute the pain, even sooth it, because in the future, even if you part from that person, you will always have a point of reference, where — yes, you were loved and accepted the way you are!!!