Meet My Monster: Borderline Personality Disorder

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

I’m writing this in the midst of a borderline personality disorder (BPD) episode.

I’m sitting at my laptop, tears streaming down my cheeks, painfully aware of what feels like a hollow cavity where my heart is. My throat is tight; my head is spinning. All I can seem to think about is what I should be doing: writing my book.

One of my current projects is a non-fiction book about my immigration journey with my husband, Adam — he’s English and I’m American. We’ve had to cut through a lot of red tape just to stay on the same piece of earth together, only to discover a room full of lasers on the other side.

And my “monster” has picked the perfect time to visit. She’s trying to convince me this book isn’t worth writing, that I’m not good enough to write it anyway. She’s asking me why I bother. She’s wondering why I didn’t kill myself four years ago, like she urged me to. She tells me I could’ve spared him from this mess, and he would’ve been none the wiser.

And she’s winning. The proof is in my tears. It’s right here, in this very article, which I’m writing instead of working on my book or my freelance articles which are due in two days.

I know I need to do something productive, so I’m talking to you, because maybe you know how I feel. Maybe you know how frustrating and stressful it is when the monster decides to perch on your shoulder when you have so much else to do.

Maybe you know how it feels when she tries to convince you that she’s not even real, yet she’s right there, in your face. She tells you that she’s just a mirage, something you made up to excuse your own laziness and lack of talent.

But she’s not a mirage, and I know that, deep down.

She’s there and causes the emotional “brakes” of my brain to malfunction, sending my train of thought careening off its tracks. She’s really there, and she won’t leave me alone today.

To people who don’t have this disorder, personifying my mental illness probably sounds — for lack of a better word — “crazy.” But it’s the only metaphor I can come up with that accurately describes how this feels. My BPD isn’t really a monster, but it’s so powerful and sometimes so alien that it feels like a separate entity.

Now that I’ve gotten through a good chunk of this article, my tears have dried. In an instant, my mood has transitioned from the strongest winds of a catastrophic hurricane to the eye of the storm. I can feel my heartbeat again. I can swallow and breathe comfortably.

Ten minutes ago, I wondered if there was any way I’d be able to get out of bed today. Now, all I can think about is the sandwich Adam’s kindly making me, because my hurricane mood eclipsed my hunger. Ten minutes ago, I stared at the blinking cursor of my manuscript, wondering where I’d find the motivation to write even a single word. Now, my borderline brain is quiet, purged, empty. Ideas and motivation are slowly returning.

Maybe I snuffed out my monster’s voice by writing this. Maybe she went away on her own, as she sometimes does after she’s wreaked sufficient havoc.

That’s how quick it is. I go from 100 to zero in 10 minutes. And who knows? Maybe 10 minutes from now, I’ll read over this article again, and my monster will come right back. She’ll probably tell me it doesn’t deserve to be published, that no one will care how I feel, that it doesn’t really matter.

For now, though, I’m going to enjoy this brief wave of peace and quiet and get some work done, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via Grandfailure

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Borderline Personality Disorder

mirror image of two women

When Your Family Doesn't Think Your Diagnosis Is Real

To be diagnosed with any mental disorder and have your family doubt if it’s real is one of the toughest things someone could ever deal with. Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is difficult to deal with on its own. Emotional instability that manifests itself in unstable relationships and self-image, like you’re jumping from one extreme to another all [...]
Colorful chameleon on a tree.

Borderline Personality Disorder Makes Me a Social 'Chameleon'

For me, living with borderline personality disorder (BPD) is like living the life of a chameleon. I feel like I have no identity of my own. In any given situation, I am both consciously and unconsciously trying to be someone I think others will accept. Trying to “fit in.” For example, I would say I like a [...]
A woman with a glowing heart

To My Loved Ones Constantly Trying to 'Cure' My Mental Illness

Dear friends, I know you mean well. I know you want the best for me. I appreciate more than you know that you are standing by, wanting to help and to give advice. The fact that you have stuck with me this far speaks volumes to me, and I am not about to discount that. [...]
painting of beautiful girl

The Subtle Signs of a 'High-Functioning' Mental Illness

Let me explain. I’m not that different than anyone else. In fact, most people I meet have no idea I have any struggle whatsoever. But underneath the layers of makeup and smiles, past the bubbly laugh and light step, it’s not so hard to see I’m hurting inside. I have depression, anxiety and borderline personality [...]