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