Borderline Personality Disorder

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Borderline Personality Disorder
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    How to Describe Borderline Personality Disorder to Loved Ones

    Borderline personality disorder ( BPD ) is a severe, complex illness that is marked by frequent mood changes, an unstable self-image and intense, unbalanced relationships . While this is the basic description for BPD , the complexity of this disorder is extreme. There are nine possible criteria for diagnosing BPD , but an individual only needs to present five of the nine criteria in order to be diagnosed. This means that there are a large number of possible variations of the disorder, indicating that each person’s experience is incredibly unique. However, BPD is one of the most misunderstood mental illnesses, and it tends to come with a plethora of misconceptions that negatively impact the lives of those who have the disorder — including my own. Helping others understand what it is like to have borderline personality disorder , particularly those who are close to us, often becomes a daunting task; however, it is not impossible. All that matters is that we speak our truth to the best of our ability. Speaking out is how we can increase understanding and, subsequently, empathy for everyone impacted by borderline personality disorder . In order to describe what it is like to live with BPD, I often choose to first show the nine diagnostic criteria to those who have never heard of the disorder, or don’t know very much about it. However, while presenting someone with the criteria is an excellent way to introduce them to the basis of what the disorder is, it can be difficult for them to fully comprehend and relate the symptoms of BPD to your personal story. This is why I try to communicate the symptoms that I personally experience with BPD and translate them in ways that are more understandable. One thing that I have told people about my experience with intense emotions and mood swings is that they feel as though they are physically painful. When I am heartbroken, it feels as though I have full-body injuries and I am unable to think clearly, which often leads to impulsive actions . My actions may sometimes come off as though I am being manipulative, but often come from a place of experience intense emotional pain. I have found that likening my symptoms to physical symptoms that someone else can relate to is the most effective way to describe the severity of my experience. Throughout my mental health journey and my work as a mental health specialist, I have found that people generally do not understand how severe the symptoms of mental illness are, especially how debilitating they can be, but they do tend to understand the severity of physical injuries. Comparing mental health symptoms to physical symptoms provides a higher chance of validation, while also creating a connection and igniting empathy. Unfortunately, I have come to find in my journey that BPD and those with the illness are often portrayed negatively. The symptoms of the disorder seem to be described to inspire fear in those who don’t personally have the disorder while producing stigma and oppression for those living with it. While it is important to highlight the difficulties of the disorder, it is also important to highlight the positives. Such as the fact that individuals with BPD tend to feel emotions stronger, which means that we experience love, happiness and excitement to a higher degree, which often makes many of our relationships more exhilarating. We find that we experience intense connections, and while our relationships may be labeled as unstable, they are often deeper and more meaningful. Finding the positives in my symptoms of borderline personality disorder has helped me to better connect to myself and release the hard feelings I placed on myself for having the disorder in the beginning due to the stigma I experienced.  Those with BPD are often some of the most empathetic, understanding people that I know, and we all deserve to be understood and not judged based on the stigma surrounding this illness. My hope for you is that you are able to see borderline personality disorder in a more positive light and relay your experience more easily to those close to you. You deserve to have others understand the severity of this illness, while also seeing the positive side of your symptoms. You already have my validation.

    Izzi Jones

    The Emotional Extremes I Feel With Borderline Personality Disorder

    What does living with a borderline personality disorder (BPD) brain feel like? Living with a BPD brain is exhausting. The uncertainty of not knowing how you will feel each morning when you wake up, and the anticipation of how many times a day your mood will swing from extremes. The highs, the lows, the anger and everything in between. The lows don’t just feel like sadness; to me, they feel like grieving. The lows are sobbing until your eyes are so sore and swollen that it hurts to blink. The lows are having to be sedated with medication because it is hours later and you still can’t calm down. It is feeling so emotionally exhausted, you sleep the entire day. It’s self-destructing and ruining the relationships you care most about because you are scared of them leaving you first. A fear of abandonment you can’t shake off, terrified everyone will leave you. Terrified of losing the people around you, because you don’t know how they could possibly deal with you any longer. It is anger that is so strong it makes you feel uncomfortable to sit with because you can feel the anger all through your body. It ends up in screaming and lashing out because you can’t explain how you feel and you are fed up. The emotions and suicidal urges are so strong that it can quite literally feel like the end of the world. It is therapy, and medications and endless meetings to try and get you better. The lows are like a black hole sucking you in and you can’t pull yourself out. But then there are the highs. Feeling so happy, nothing feels like it could ever go wrong. Feeling like a hyperactive child again. Hysterically laughing until you cry. Not being able to sit still because you are so full of energy and you want to do everything at once. It is making plans to do everything all in the span of a week, and feeling so motivated you could complete every task you have been putting off within minutes. Texting my therapist to tell her “I am cured” because I have had five minutes of feeling better. Thinking I don’t need to take my antipsychotics anymore because I am definitely better. The highs feel like you are on top of the world, and you are untouchable. Nothing matters because you are so happy and nothing can change that. These emotions can switch from one extreme to the other in minutes to hours to days. Living with a BPD brain is thinking in black and white, and it is desperately trying to find a grey area in the middle. The BPD brain lacks certain chemicals and neurotransmitters that can lead to feeling emotions in extremes, emotions other people might only feel mildly. These emotions and behaviors often seem disproportionate to the circumstance, but the person often lacks control over this. This isn’t a choice. Please be patient. We are exhausted from trying to regulate ourselves.

    Juliette V.

    5 Types of Borderline Personality Disorder

    Learn from the people who know best: Life on the Borderline is our newsletter featuring honest, helpful stories by writers living with BPD. Subscribe here. If you live with borderline personality disorder (BPD), you’re probably familiar with the nine classic symptoms of the disorder. From chronic emptiness to uncontrollable anger, there is a lot of variation from symptom to symptom. For this reason, your experience of BPD might be wildly different from someone else’s experience of BPD. For those who aren’t familiar, a person usually has to meet five of the nine diagnostic criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) to be diagnosed with BPD. This of course leaves room for a lot of different combinations of BPD symptoms. “If you do the math, there are 256 different official versions of borderline personality disorder,” John M. Oldham, M.D. distinguished emeritus professor of psychiatry in the Menninger department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Baylor College of Medicine told The Mighty. To make things a little simpler, in 2002, Dr. Oldham proposed a theoretical model of five different types of BPD, because, “otherwise you just get lost in the different combinations.” Below, we’ve broken down each type, as well as offered some resources from our community. Before we start, it’s worth noting that there can be overlap with each type. You might find you identify with one type or you might identify with three. Oldham’s model is meant to be just one helpful tool in your tool box for understanding your experience with BPD. Here are the five types of borderline personality disorder: Type 1: Affective The first type of BPD is characterized primarily by emotional dysregulation. In simpler terms, this means feeling like you can’t control your emotions. If you experience frequent and intense mood swings throughout the day, you might relate most to this type. People with the affective type of BPD struggle most with regulating their emotions when it comes to their interpersonal relationships. When faced with relational stress, people with this type of BPD are prone to anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. For example, if a person with affective BPD gets into an argument with their significant other, they may immediately think the relationship is over and begin to struggle with suicidal thoughts. “What most people are able to brush off as just, for example, an unimportant comment, often sends me into despair,” Mighty contributor Morgan Rondinelli wrote about her experience with emotional dysregulation due to BPD. “While most might feel sad if someone they love is hurting, I am despondent. But then I walk outside in the sunshine, and suddenly I am overjoyed.” If you can relate to this type, you’re not alone. Navigating relationships can be tricky enough, and when you add in emotional regulation struggles, it’s easy to feel hopeless. There is hope. Check out the following stories from our Mighty community from people who can relate: Why Borderline Personality Disorder Makes Me Emotionally ‘Cold-Blooded’ If You Feel ‘Too Emotional’ (or Not Emotional Enough), Here’s a Skill You Need Type 2: Impulsive If you’ve ever struggled with impulsivity due to BPD, you might relate to the second type of BPD: impulsive. Dr. Oldham said that similar to the affective type of BPD, the impulsive type of BPD involves a loss of control. Instead of losing control of your emotions, it’s losing control of your behavior. People with impulsive BPD are more prone to struggle with behaviors like self-injury, substance abuse, binge eating, reckless driving, risky sex and compulsive shopping. Mighty contributor Laura Snelling knows what it’s like to lose control of her behavior because of impulsive feelings. In her piece, “The Borderline Personality Disorder Trait We Need to Talk About,” she wrote: On a daily basis, I find myself in the midst of making impulsive decisions. Whether they be something very small and minor that most wouldn’t even notice if I made them, or something major and life-altering that people would clearly notice. I am very ashamed of some of the impulsive decisions I have made in the past, therefore, I beat myself up over the fact of even having impulsive thoughts to begin with. It’s natural to feel guilty or ashamed of past impulsive actions — especially if they have negative consequences in your life — but we want you to know there is no shame in struggling with BPD. If impulsivity is affecting your quality of life, reach out to a mental health professional who can help you manage your urges. For more on impulsivity from our BPD community, check out the following stories: The Unexpected Habit My Therapist Connected to My Borderline Personality Disorder 18 ‘Impulsive’ Hairstyles People With Borderline Personality Disorder Regret Type 3: Aggressive The third type of BPD is connected to the “inappropriate” or “uncontrollable” anger symptom of BPD. This anger is called inappropriate because the scale of the anger seems disproportionate to what a circumstance might warrant. Aggressive behavior in the third type of BPD can either be a temperament or a secondary response to trauma, usually from childhood. For example, Oldham said someone who lives with this aggressive type of BPD might interpret the neutral facial expression of someone as critical. In response to this, they may pick a fight with the person to defend him or herself. This pattern of behavior understandably creates tension in a person with BPD’s interpersonal relationships. When asked to share a “red flag” that let him know his borderline rage was coming, Mighty community member Vincenzo M. responded: The red flag for me is having the urge to physically harm something. I’ve never hit a person, but I’ll hit a wall or I rip a book in half. When I get that urge, I try to leave the situation or calm down. If you struggle with anger due to BPD, you’re not alone. Seek support from loved ones and mental health care professionals if anger is affecting your daily functioning. For more on BPD and ager, check out the following stories from our community. What It’s Like to Have Rage ‘Blackouts’ When You Live With Borderline Personality Disorder 3 Classic Ways ‘Borderline Rage’ Manifests in Relationships Type 4: Dependent If you’ve ever been called “clingy” in your relationships, absolutely hate being alone or struggle with knowing who you are outside of others, you might relate to the “dependent” type of BPD. People with this type of BPD often weren’t encouraged to become independent and autonomous growing up, leaving them with overly dependent behaviors in adulthood. These folks may be overly accommodating of others’ needs and struggle with setting boundaries. Many people with this type “cling” to their loved ones because they fear abandonment. In terms of identity struggles, people with this type of BPD may co-opt the personality traits of others. To read more from our community about unstable identity and fear of abandonment, check out the following stories. 15 Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because You Have an ‘Unstable Identity’ How Fear of Abandonment Affects the Other Symptoms of My Borderline Personality Disorder Type 5: Empty Like the dependent type, people with the fifth “empty” type of BPD often struggle with identity issues. If you live with this type, you might have grown up in a difficult home situation — whether it be due to active abuse, neglect or invalidation. As a result, you may struggle with trusting others or may feel directionless in terms of setting personal goals. Mighty contributor Seth Stewart wrote his experience with feeling empty in his piece, “What It’s Like to Experience the Chronic ‘Emptiness’ of Borderline Personality Disorder“: One of the diagnostic criteria for my condition I experience most intensely is a chronic feeling of ’emptiness.’ I put the word ’emptiness’ in quotations because, as I and others with BPD know, the feeling is not exactly just emptiness — which implies a nothingness or void where something is supposed to be… I think a better term than emptiness might be longing. It’s not just the perceived lack, it’s the yearning for it to be filled with love, connection and fulfillment. If you long for connection because you feel empty, you’re not alone. There is help available. If you are struggling or suicidal and need support right now, you can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741. For more on emptiness from our Mighty community, check out the following stories: 15 Signs You Grew Up Feeling Chronically ‘Empty’ When Borderline Personality Disorder Leaves You Feeling Empty Inside If you are struggling with BPD, Oldham highly recommends psychotherapy. He said that because a lot of folks with BPD have anxiety and struggle with trusting other people, they are prone to fire their therapists when things get difficult. “The solution is not run away. The solution is to stick with it, and try to get help from your therapist to understand [your BPD symptoms],” he told The Mighty. It doesn’t matter if you relate to one or five of the types of BPD, you are deserving of support. Contrary to popular belief, BPD is treatable, but it’s important to put in the work necessary for recovery. “It takes time, there’s no quick fix, but patients [with BPD] can and do get better and better if they are able to find a skilled therapist and develop a relationship,” Oldham said. If you want more support in your life, you can join The Mighty’s BPD community. All you have to do is download our free app and post a Thought or Question with the hashtag #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder to connect with other BPD warriors who truly “get it.”

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    Juliette V.

    17 Things People With BPD Do That Are Code for 'Don't Leave Me'

    Learn from the people who know best: Life on the Borderline is our newsletter featuring honest, helpful stories by writers living with BPD. Subscribe here. Learning to communicate needs directly and effectively is something everyone struggles with at some point in their lives. For folks with borderline personality disorder (many of whom grew up in incredibly invalidating or abusive environments) this can be especially difficult. Maybe you “test” loved ones to determine if they love you enough to stick around even in your “ugly” mental health moments. Perhaps you pick fights with a significant other in times when you are unsure if they really want to stay. Or maybe you push people away because you are secretly hoping they will “show” you they really care by refusing to go. If this sounds like you, please know you are not alone. We wanted to know what kinds of things people with BPD do that are code for “don’t leave me,” so we asked our Mighty BPD community to share their experiences with us. It’s important to remember that people with BPD who struggle with communicating directly are not doing so to manipulate others — they are often simply struggling to get their emotional needs met and don’t know how to ask directly. The source of this behavior is not malicious, and people with BPD are not doomed to have difficult interpersonal relationships forever — though it often means doing therapeutic work to truly heal. If you need some guidance for communicating directly and effectively, check out this piece that breaks down three tips based on Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT) that can help you get your needs met and become an “interpersonal ninja.” Here’s what our community shared with us: 1. “Fish” for Reassurance “Sadly, I try to somewhat ‘fish’ for answers by suggesting that the person should leave me. I will say things like, ‘It’s OK, I don’t blame you for leaving,’ or ‘I know I’m becoming too much for you.’ This usually results in my friends giving me reassurance that they aren’t leaving, and often prompts them to give me extra attention or care when I’m low. It’s one of the most manipulative things I do and I hate it.” — Megan G. 2. Push Everyone Away “I’ve been known to push my boyfriend away. Makes sense, right? I don’t want him to ever leave me, yet I continue to push him away. If he texts me, I’ll purposely take hours to respond and usually they are very brief. If he says he wants to spend time together, I’ll tell him we need more time apart. He often gets frustrated at first then once he figures out what I’m doing, he gives me the reassurance and attention I didn’t know I needed.” — Alisha H. 3. Lash Out in Anger “I rage at everything the person isn’t doing to keep me around. It’s so backwards and makes us both so miserable, and I can hold it off for a little while because I know it’s backwards, but it always comes back.” — Kassandra M. “I get so mean. I push them away to see the extent they will go for me. Will they stay? Then once they do leave, I break down. But if they stay, I keep pushing the limits. It’s an ugly cycle.” — Kady L. 4. Isolate “ I isolate. I’ll say ‘no’ to plans I wished all week to happen. I’ll feel like a friend doesn’t want to be around me because of an off facial expression or intense word and instead of talking to them about it, I will hide away in my apartment and won’t text or talk to anyone.” — Emily T. “I stop responding to messages and stop hanging out with people, just to see if they care enough to reach out and ask, ‘Are you OK?’ or ‘Are we OK?’ I wait for them to prove they care even though I’m showing on the outside that I don’t care. But I do. I care so much that it kills me. But when they don’t reach out, it proves my point that they never did care in the first place. It is a never-ending cycle.” — Jenna K. “Telling them to leave me alone. That’s the last thing I want when I’m scared and in pain. It’s me begging you to prove that you don’t want to leave me.” — Amy C. 5. Ask Constantly If Loved Ones Are “OK” “I ask, ‘Are we OK?’ I ask this so much because I need reassurance that things are OK between myself and the person. I ask my best friend this question at least once a day just so I can know she’s not going anywhere…” — Cameron H. 6. Give People the “Silent Treatment” “I just go silent, don’t speak for as long as it takes for someone to notice something is wrong. It’s usually because I’m afraid of coming off as too needy if I straight-up tell them something is wrong and I need their help or support.” — Grace P. 7. Pick a Fight “I push people away by creating problems that don’t exist. I get upset at comments made even when they aren’t directed at me. Because of my own pain, I create conflict in order to isolate myself even though all I want is for someone to tell me they’re there for me and they love me anyway.” — Lauren H. 8. Overshare “ I overshare. I am compelled to share detailed information about things that are happening in my life to acquaintances and even complete strangers. I hate that I do this, but it is really hard to stop myself. I think it’s one way I ask for help without asking for help.” — Monika D. 9. Get “Clingy” “I get so clingy! If I have a ‘favorite person,’ I always want to know what they’re doing, when I will see them next and get scared when I don’t get a text reply right away or a phone call answered. Then I get the voice in my head that says, ‘omg they don’t like you anymore, make them change their mind, keep talking!’ As long as they answer back, I feel OK, but as soon as it takes a while to hear back, I get panicked!” — Robin E. 10. Leave Before Being Left “It’s like the quote by Marilyn Monroe: ‘A wise girl leaves before she is left.’ I push people away, so I’m in control and less likely to get hurt. I will try to burn bridges to see if the person cares enough to fight for me. For me, this goes for all relationships, including friendships. If/when they don’t, I beat myself up mentally/emotionally and tell myself it’s because I’m unworthy, broken or ‘too much.’ When they do, I become clingy and overly apologetic about being the way I am.” — Valene K. 11. Drop Everything for Others “I do a few different things that mean ‘don’t leave me.’ The big one is that I’m a people pleaser. Even if the favor a friend has asked of me isn’t something I want to do, or what they need is an inconvenience, I’ll help them. Someone needs a place to stay? I open my doors. Someone needs groceries, even if I barely have enough money to feed myself? I’ll buy them groceries. I’m constantly dropping things I’m doing or putting myself in awkward situations so I can be there. Be somewhere. Be anywhere but obsolete, which is what I would be if I wasn’t a people pleaser. In all this I’ve had thousands of dollars stolen from my house, electronics, jewelry — someone even stole my car once. You’d think I would have learned my lesson by now, to stop being a people pleaser, that there isn’t always good to be found in a person, so-and-so is just using me, but I don’t learn. Wash, rinse, repeat. The cycle continues.” — Lindsey M. 12. Over-Apologize “I apologize, tell people I’m sorry for being a burden to them or for bugging them. I cry and genuinely feel awful because I’m sure people hate me for asking for something. Then I go overboard in thankfulness, to the point that I’m afraid people are going to get annoyed with me again. It’s a vicious cycle.” — Katy W. “ I can get overwhelmed with guilt when it comes to my loved ones. I tend to repeatedly say, ‘I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.’ Oftentimes I’ll say this when I’m in crisis due to a disagreement or argument, but every once in a while an intrusive thought will trigger me and I’ll start apologizing. It’s me apologizing to them for being the way I am, my way of saying, ‘I know I’m a lot, but please, I’m working on it. Don’t leave me.’” — Kelsey E. 13. Profess Love Constantly “When I’m in a relationship, I will near-constantly profess my love to my significant other. I think if they know how much I love them, they won’t leave. But it doesn’t work that way.” — Rachael S. 14. Go to Sleep “[I say,] ‘I think I’m just gonna try and sleep.’ I don’t really want to sleep, I just want to stop talking about whatever it is, especially when I’m in a spiral of bad thinking. I want them to stay, but not say anything.” — Ciara L. 15. Devalue or Exaggerate Negative Qualities of Loved Ones “ Just starting to devalue my closest friends. That is usually my plea and cry for them not to leave me. This happens especially when they don’t contact me for a while. This is how the poison starts, but really it is fear of abandonment, fear of separation or even just fear in the nature of the friendship. So I would say every devaluation is strangely a ‘please don’t leave me’ moment.” — Andrew L. 16. Speak Negatively of Yourself “I tell them I’m not worth having them around. Some days I really need that reassurance from them and I need to hear them tell me I’m worthy, not just show me.” — Desiree K. 17. Give People the “Option” to Cancel on Plans With You “Offering them an out. When we already have plans and I am in a bad spot, I see if they will keep the plans if I offer a way out of the plans. My friends haven’t caught on and the plans are typically canceled.” — Steph T. If you can relate, you’re not alone. If you have any tips that have helped you combat these behaviors, let us know in the comments below.

    Andrew Lampe

    Men Need Help for Borderline Personality Disorder Too

    A note about gender: There isn’t scope here to address the rich and overlooked area of gender diversity and its intersections with BPD but it’s an area for further research and writing, which includes this article. Just before I turned 38, I finally received a diagnosis for borderline personality disorder ( BPD ) . I began dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) with a bunch of beautifully brave and deeply empathetic women. For the whole year of the therapy, I was the only guy in a group of up to eight, and at the end of each module, I would ask my facilitators with a hopeful, childlike upward inflection if there were any men in the next intake. And every time, there wasn’t. Something in me felt like a limb was missing, and I realized that men were not getting the treatment they so desperately needed. For men living with BPD , there is often a sense of being alone in the shadows. This was amplified by an initial misunderstanding that the disorder was predominantly female (by 3-to-1, according to the DSM-IV), despite recent studies showing a more equal distribution. How could there be just as many of us and yet I’m the only guy in my DBT group for a year? These questions are really life-and-death-level important given that, according to an Australian meta-review of suicide and mental disorders, the risk of suicide in BPD is 45 times higher than the general population. I imagine that those men who, unlike me, are not being treated or can’t accept their diagnosis are in urgent mortal danger. As a man with this often-brutal illness, which nevertheless has high recovery and remission rates, my heart breaks for my BPD brothers. I long for a way to get them help in a safe space which allows them to move towards acceptance and change. I may be very different from the stigmatizing stereotype of the antisocial, substance-abusing, angry BPD man, but I imagine that our acute core feeling of abandonment accompanied by overwhelming, rapidly changing emotions are similar among other shared symptoms. Maybe I can articulate my pain better but that doesn’t seem fair that only I get to be better. In a quest for some answers to why many of my BPD brothers are still in the shadows, I read some recent research papers on male BPD . Almost all the studies reported in the findings to their clinical trials that “ BPD is equally prevalent among men and women.” As to the reason why the traditional assumption about gender and BPD is so female-lopsided, another study put this down to clinical bias: “… as a consequence of greater prevalence of females in clinical settings, males are underrepresented in BPD research.” “Studies with sufficient numbers of male BPD subjects are needed for sufficient power to detect gender differences.” Academic articles show fascinating similarities on how BPD manifests in different genders. However, research also highlights numerous differences both among genders and within the same gender group. I personally feel I was underdiagnosed with depression for so long because I didn’t fit the assumed male BPD, stereotype. Really, this gendered reading of BPD doesn’t help anyone and allows all genders to be under or misdiagnosed and not able to access the right treatment they so desperately need. Silberschmidt, Lee, Zanarini and Schultz summarize it best: “While the literature is full of investigators theorizing that women with BPD ‘internalize’ while men ‘externalize’ BPD pathology, our data suggest that the gender-related differences in BPD are small and often not as great as the differences in the general population… Rather than (exclusively) asking how women and men with BPD are different, perhaps it is time to begin to ask, “Why aren’t they?” If the gender differential was largely because of sampling bias and other studies add a clinician bias too, it seems that is also because fewer men present to clinical or treatment settings generally. Maybe this has got to do with some men having a stigma about seeking psychological help, having lower emotional awareness, being less communicative in general and being less open to any treatment. If such a man gets as far as a diagnosis, then it could also be that he doesn’t accept it and prefers to stay in the thinking and behaviors that so entrap him. Now to strike a more hopeful note, I want to share with you a story about men with BPD who do accept their diagnosis, who do seek treatment and who do find each other. A Personal Story of Male BPD Friendship I have a male friend with BPD who lives on the other side of the world. Our friendship has had a profound impact on both of us. We came into each other’s lives when he read one of my stories on the Mighty last year and sent me a message. Since then, we have regularly chatted and had video calls. We immediately found we have many things in common even though we are far away from each other, and our virtual friendship is still very strong.  Chiefly, we both don’t fit the stereotype of the male BPD mentioned above. It is impossible to say who helps whom the most, but rather than continue to describe our 10-month friendship, let me show it to you, with my friend’s permission. It reveals a way to bring men with BPD out of the shadows. My friend is labeled as J, and I am A. August 6, 2020 J: Hey man, found your writing on The Mighty about BPD . Struggling with that myself. Good to hear a male perspective on it because I’m a male in my early 20s with the same thing. Keep up the good writing/blogging! Having a difficult time finding people who understand it/get it. A: Hey J., thank you so much for your message. I greatly appreciate it. And sorry for your struggle. It is a marathon not a sprint but also gives us great gifts I think. I wish I was diagnosed in my young 20s like you and didn’t have to wait til I was 37. God bless x A: You’re a young man. So, how did a diagnosis come about? J: I got to university at age 18, and very soon started having issues/struggles, but I didn’t even think of them as psychological. These issues were like not knowing at all who I am, how to be around others, what my thoughts and feelings are about anything, feeling emptiness inside… I presume you know that feeling of having no self-identity. Also was having extreme rapid mood swings, and inability to maintain any motivation/concentration. After about a year and a half of this going on, I realized my issues weren’t external but internal… then started researching and read up on borderline personality disorder , and it was the first time I ever felt accurately described. Thanks for letting me tell my story man… That always feels good, especially since I rarely do it! A: Thank you J. You’re a brave young man. You’re doing so well on your own. Hope you can get some support. We really need it… Getting my diagnosis saved my life. J: Can relate to the diagnosis saving my life. You said, “I don’t show anger or (negative) emotion. I push it all inside.” I do the same thing myself. In some ways it kinda sucks, ‘cause if I was more rowdy and verbal about my pain, I probably would have gotten help sooner… A: Oh J, so much to say. You are a smart guy and also sound empathetic. We will get on well… I am not some violent, abusive, hysterical bastard. Definitely. But that’s the stigma! But there was nothing quiet inside my head or heart when I was at my worst. August 27, 2020 J: Today had ups and downs, but have at least gotten better sleep past couple nights. So “crazy,” how in a given day though I can have such different perspectives on life, according to my mood fluctuations. Often one week can feel like an entire year of living, simply because of how emotionally intense our experience is. And I really think that’s the case for us, like most people don’t have as much emotionally intense experience in a whole decade of life as we do in a week. I know I’m writing to someone who knows what emotional intensity is, maybe it’s a little different once on medication, but I wonder if you feel like a week passing feels like a whole year? Sometimes I just look at how ridiculous it is and am able to just laugh at it, obviously though, much pain a lot of the time. Letting my thoughts flow, so thanks for reading… A: That is really beautifully put. When can I read something you write/publish? Articulate, eloquent even. Big fan… And yes, everything you’ve described I’ve experienced, I think. September 27, 2020 J: So happy I stumbled upon your writing and reached out. Your words lift me up. Relating with people has always been tough, so it says a lot about you to be able to hold space for me to express myself freely. A lot ahead my friend! A: I think you still underestimate yourself here. You have many gifts and are worthy of great love. Further, our illness constantly lies to us both xx J: Yeah haha, you’re right about that. You and I both have tremendous and unique gifts that we just sometimes don’t realize we possess on our own. November 11, 2020 J: Life’s been a shitstorm this past year for me. I mean, I know you’ve had it pretty intense in the past. But I’ve been too late to get medication and stuff, which has really made it shitty. I’m not good at taking care of myself. But getting better of course. A: It’s never too late while you still have breath. You are a very young man. You are fighting. That’s the commendable thing xx J: I mostly look to others and see that they’ve made a livable life for themselves even after multiple hospitalizations and stuff and that inspires me! A: It really is possible. It probably seems the furthest from your possibility in your mind. But your mind is wrong x J: Yes, my mind can be so wrong sometimes. A: And remember that, according to the latest research I did for my article on BPD recovery and remission, all the studies argue the same thing: that six to 10-year rates of remission or recovery are very high for BPD, up to 70 to 80% in longitudinal studies. Far off maybe but just remember it when you are at your lowest. J: Thank you for taking time to give me reassurance. January 5, 2021 A: Oh I know what to do when I’m at my worst. Well, I should, by now. J: Yeah for sure. People don’t realize that with mental illness , you eventually become a ninja at mindfulness stuff and controlling your impulses. Imagine if we had all that skill but in a healthy person’s body/brain! February 16, 2021 J: How are you? A: I’m OK. Not easy without a job. And lost my confidence with writing but I’m gonna do it anyway. J: Pulling for you man. Every article you put out reaches many that you probably don’t even know of. Just remember that was my first encounter with you. So keep it up for sure. A: Thanks J. I’m pulling for you too. You deserve better health. You have so many gifts and gold. And deserve your place in this world xx I pray for a soon breakthrough, my man xx J: Yes, indeed, for both of us! April 20, 2021 J: Lovely to hear about your relationship . I’m over here freaking out about the fact that I’ve never had a girlfriend or even really had a friend who was a female my whole life. Definitely something I wanna change. A: I know J. I was 42. I know what the drought is like. You so would make a good friend to the ladies. You have depth. You have intelligence. You have loyalty. You have emotional intelligence and empathy and big rich emotions. J: That feels good to be reassured. Thank you a lot. I feel like female friends could also relate to me more on the sensitivity level… We both have exciting relationship journeys ahead of us I hope!

    Alena M

    What Feeling Rejection Is Like With Borderline Personality Disorder

    It really sucks having borderline personality disorder (BPD) and experiencing rejection. It’s the worst feeling in the world when you are really digging someone and they just can’t like you back for various reasons. You might not be their type, they might be interested or pursuing someone else or they may still have ties to an ex. Just to add some context to this, I’ve been borderline personality disorder “in love” (which actually means, totally obsessed in my individual case) with this man since March of this year. He’s a Pisces and his character synchronizes with that sign. He’s sweet, dreamy and soft spoken. Not to go into too much detail, as to keep some privacy, but he’s still tied to his ex and the rest is history. I usually do things to distract myself from pondering on such hurt emotions, and part of that is because I can’t stand sitting with negative emotions. In the past, I’ve turned to substance abuse, alcohol abuse and other forms of self-harm to distract myself from facing how I truly feel about things. Another way I’ve dealt with heartbreak is to escape to “LaLa Land,” also known as my fantasies. I’ve been living in LaLa Land, just loving my crush from afar since the love was in my heart anyways. I thought by avoiding the more negative reality and only focusing on the positive ways I feel about him, that I’d be OK… especially because I have a fantastic imagination. I also wanted to lucid dream and see him, in dreams to help me cope. I had a couple of dreams of him and I woke up in sheer bliss, but at the end of the day, those are just dreams. The reality of my situation kept coming back to haunt me and penetrate my thoughts, without my permission. So, after having a conversation with a friend about such a hopeless situation, I’ve finally decided to try to move on from my feelings about him. In this conversation, my friend asked me, “What is keeping you going if you know this will not go anywhere?” This question made me realize that the fantasies I was living out in my head kept me in a cycle of pointless hope and gut-wrenching pain. After realizing this, I started wondering what would it hurt if I did try to move on? So, I thought I’d give it a chance for once in my life, instead of giving into my heart and only focusing on what it wants. I decided to attempt to go in the opposite direction instead. Now, I’m sitting here crying, listening to a song called “All For Me” by Mariah the Scientist. So, how did I get here? I thought about how I was going about moving on. I stopped looking at photos of him and stopped fantasizing, but I also felt animosity creeping up for him. Where was this unwarranted animosity coming from? While listening to this song by Mariah the Scientist, I had an epiphany. You cannot properly move on unless you allow yourself to face those darker feelings and truly come to grips with the reality of the situation. So, my brain started interacting with my feelings of intense emotional pain from rejection and insecurity. “OK, so this person is interested in someone else and things are probably not going to change. Really take that in. If you need to cry because you feel rejected and worthless, cry.” So, as I’m listening to this song, “All For Me” by Mariah The Scientist, Mariah’s lyrics really hit me. “What does she have on me? What does she have?” That’s when the tears really started flowing because it touched one of my deepest insecurities as someone who struggles with BPD, and perhaps, anyone with insecurities. One of the hardest things about rejection is feeling as though someone else is better and more worthy than you are to receive the love you wish to have from the object or person of your affection. You wonder, “What is it they have that I don’t? Why aren’t I as special to them as they are to me?” You try to fathom that person’s state of mind. You may even start to come to the conclusion the person they chose is better than you, which are thoughts I battle all of the time anyway, and they never end. “They’re better looking. They have a more charming personality and have their lives put together while I don’t.” That’s what my mind is going through, listening to these heartbreaking songs, attempting to face my own feelings of rejection. It hurts so much, it really does. Tears are streaming down my eyes as I write this. The man I feel like I love more than I have ever loved before… wants someone else. He not only wants someone else, he loves and is in love with someone else. That stings so much. I’ve always felt incredibly deep about my romantic interests, but I fantasized about marrying this guy and having his firstborn. Seriously. This is a soul-crushing reality to face for me, especially because I battle intense feelings from BPD. Usually, when I face these feelings, I end up battling terrible thoughts and feelings, such as, “I’m a worthless piece of garbage and everyone is truly better than me and better off without me.” I feel at the bottom of the barrel disgusting, because I tend to project all of my self-worth into the people I’m romantically interested in, as well as my favorite person. I have been put in psych wards in the past when worst came to worst because of my intense feelings of abandonment these feelings of rejection induce. However, today I’m facing the reality from a different angle. My brain asked me the question, “What will happen if you just sit here and cry and that’s it? What if you’re not worthless and people just have their preferences? What if he thinks you’re beautiful, but your personalities just don’t match? Maybe he doesn’t know you well enough? Remember all of those people you have turned down in your past? Did you think they were all worthless?” These thoughts of mine made very valid points. So, I’m choosing to listen to my brain for once because it is actually trying to steer me in the right direction. Yes, these feelings hurt, but perhaps if I get them all out of my system instead of running away or using self-harming distractions to escape from the reality of them, I can successfully heal from these feelings of rejection and finally move on.