woman crying in despair against plain background

Experiencing Physical Pain Because of BPD's Heightened Emotions


Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

I don’t believe you understand the intensity of the pain I feel as it’s ripping apart my soul. It’s like I’m ripping my own chest open with bare hands, claw marks across my chest, and someone’s grabbing my heart and trying to tear it apart. Like I’m sitting in the darkness, on the floor, clawing at the walls. Like the calm of sitting on the edge of a cliff, watching the stormy seas below and wanting them to just swallow you whole.

It’s like grasping at anything that will take this pain away. I can’t breathe. Make it stop. It’s fucking messy. You want to tear your hair out and self-harm until it all just disappears and you disappear along with it because you’re tired of not belonging in this world, too sensitive and too feeling to survive. You can’t play the game of emotionless zombie — you never could. I wear my heart on my sleeve and this world eats those people alive. I feel like I don’t belong in this world. I never did.

No one ever really tells you about the physical pain that comes with borderline personality disorder (BPD). It was described that I feel emotions more than others, comparable to third-degree burns, but I don’t think you ever realize how physically intense it really is. A trigger can send you spiraling into this darkness that consumes you both physically and mentally, that can take days before the intensity dies down, along with the suicidal thoughts that come along with it because it’s so unbearable.

I wish I could say it gets easier to feel as time goes on, but it doesn’t. Instead, I’ve learned lots of tools through dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to try and cope with the intense physical symptoms that come with feeling heightened emotions. Learning to sit with those physical symptoms and just feel them has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it was worth it.

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

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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