The Constant, Internal Tug of War of Borderline Personality Disorder
I live with borderline personality disorder (BPD), a condition which has been described as being the mental health equivalent of having third degree burns all over your body. Essentially the smallest flicker of anger and I feel burning rage, the tinniest amount of friendship and I love obsessively, a touch of sadness and I grieve deeply. I am exhausted, stuck in a constant tug of war between my head and my heart, knowing what I’m doing is going to end badly but being compelled to do it none the less. I fear abandonment in every relationship, often obsess over and idealize one person (known as a favorite person), my mood swings are debilitating and unpredictable and I often dissociate because I lack the ability to process my emotions.
Over the years I have been labeled as unstable, manipulative, narcissistic, an addict, broken, attention seeking, emotionless, too emotional and “crazy” — but this is the reality of surviving with this condition. A condition which encompasses many different traits and often has other accompanying conditions such as eating disorders, depression and anxiety and substance misuse, all of which I have and continue to fight to this day. Living alongside this disorder has pushed me to my furthest limits, I am one of the eight in 10 people with BPD who have attempted suicide and still struggle with suicidal ideation on a regular basis.
Those of us with BPD know how hard it can be but it also means we are capable of so much more. I love more deeply than I realize, I appreciate each good moment I am given, I am creative and spontaneous and if you manage to break through my defenses, I am fiercely loyal and will care for you like you are my own. I have a heart full of compassion and empathy and am in turn able to support people in their darkest times.
I am only part way through my journey, I have been diagnosed but am waiting on targeted therapy and meds to help control my symptoms. At first I believed this to be a life sentence, something that would be the end of me, something that meant I could never achieve my dreams, but I was so wrong. I have completed a degree in childhood education and am now half way through my first year of a nursing degree, something I would never have imagined possible three years ago.
This is for anyone who believes they are written off because of mental ill health as I did for so many years. There is hope in the darkness, there is a path through the hard times and if a day doesn’t go the way you planned, then that’s OK, do what you need to do and start again tomorrow.
Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash