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Why Writing Is Painful When You Have Borderline Personality Disorder

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People who live with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are well aware of the complications this brings to our everyday lives. From the earliest action of the day (such as waking up) to the very end of the day (like going to sleep), our minds are merely a storm of thoughts clashing against one another. Not only does this allude to feelings and emotions, but also to the ideologies that build up our subjectivity and opinions. That’s why being a writer when living with BPD is not just tough. It’s a mess.

From the earliest moments of my childhood, I knew I wanted to become an author. Yet, when I started practicing writing, something dawned on me. I wondered, “Why are my ideas all over the place? Why are my characters so inconsistent? Why do things keep repeating themselves without me realizing?” These questions seemed to haunt my mind all the time and led me to believe I wasn’t up to scratch. Apparently, I was not a good writer.

It was shortly after that, however, that I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). “Your mind is a mess,” my psychologist had told me. “You don’t know which ideology to stick to. One day, you might be against something, but the next day everything will change. Your relationships work the same way. That’s normal.”

So, that’s when I understood what was happening. My BPD was taking over my writing.

Thanks to my diagnosis, I understood several things about my writing. Here are some of them:

1. My characters seemed to be all over the place.

Literally, my character could be hypersensitive and emotional, but the next day they became completely callous and stoic. Characters seemed to keep contradicting themselves over and over again. And that’s when I realized, that’s how my mind works. Somehow, I kept transferring my BPD to my characters. All of a sudden, my characters experienced BPD as well.

2. It was so difficult for me to remember events that had happened.

In my stories, events kept repeating themselves. Why? Usually, there is a haze in my mind. Things that happen, emotions, feelings, relationships… for me, all of them can sometimes become unclear. Every now and then, I realized I had dissociated for a long while. I kept telling myself the same thing over and over again: Bollocks, what have I been writing? I can’t remember any of it.

3. Emotions were too strong.

Sometimes, my characters sounded like their world was crumbling even if they had encountered the smallest of obstacles. Once, one of my main characters had been crying over how heartbroken for more than four chapters because the girl he loved was out of his league. I mean, it’s fine to weep over that, but… four chapters? It was way too much. Then, I realized it wasn’t my character’s fault that I tended to mull over the same thing for ages.

4. My characters tended to have complicated relationships with each other.

One day, my female character was daft about a boy, but 10 days later, she was head over heels in love with someone else. That’s when I noticed something strange. Was this how my feelings worked? It made me scared.

This is why writing, for me, is such a painful process. It reveals your inner struggles, however much you try to conceal them and disguise your characters into something different — something that will never give away how much you are hurting. But writing is also a blessing. How else would we be able to let our feelings out without the existence of words? With creative writing, people who live with BPD can become what they wish to be; they can belong to a reality in which their problems don’t exist anymore. And yes, thanks to my diagnosis, I could understand my writing pattern so much better, hence improving my skills. For the first time in my life, I am glad I was diagnosed.

Just like my mind, my characters might be a mess. They might love and hate each other in less than two chapters. They might fight for an ideology but hate it the next day. But this is how I realize what the thought pattern of my broken mind is, giving me an opportunity for better insight into my twisted, difficult-to-define personality. Despite being a painful process, writing is my salvation. Writing is my therapy. Yes, it might be the most transparent and clearest of mirrors, but it reflects my reality. It reflects what I need to work on, and where my strengths are.

And that’s the only way in which I can get better.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Originally published: July 3, 2019
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