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How Loving With Borderline Personality Disorder Is Like an Unexpected Train

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I recently read an article about how people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) develop an affinity for a “favorite person.” It was extremely accurate but also a bit disheartening. For those affected, being in love sometimes works differently than it does for other people. I latch on intensely and quickly and I probably enjoy and appreciate it more than anyone else could or even be able to imagine. However, it also opens me up to a terrifying world I’m not sure how to navigate.

It’s like discovering the woods for the first time — surrounded by beauty and wonder and this overwhelming sense of peace. Your mind finally goes quiet and you can focus on your true feelings, not the ones the illness creates. You finally start to see your future self and gain a sense of who that person could be. You finally decide it’s worth it to find the motivation to cultivate that person. It’s the most spectacular thing you could possibly experience, and the best part? Just before you wandered into this awe-inducing environment, you were convinced it didn’t exist. But as you explore, you find train tracks. And then things get tricky.

Suddenly, there’s a blaring horn interrupting your warm and fuzzy attitude. The beauty is shattered by this intrusive and ugly collection of metal and chaos, and you can think of nothing else. Your peace is left by the wayside because all of your energy is now put into resisting the irrational urge to curse the train or throw rocks at it. The worst part? You know those things won’t do any good. They won’t make the train go faster. And you know it will pass. But you can’t stop the anger and irritation that it came through and demolished your armistice with your dark passenger to begin with. You can’t dodge the fear that it will be longer than you can handle before it passes, if it ever does.

In those moments, you long for a whisper from your harmonious safe haven. A simple brush that says “I am still here;” something to remind you that this new world you love was not obliterated by the rush of something out of place and unfamiliar. You need to know it’s there, in the background still, waiting for the pandemonium to subside so you can revel in it once again.

The problem is that this train has no schedule. And so your bliss isn’t sure when it’s supposed to offer those hums of comfort. All it can do is wait until the calamity begins and try to tempt you back to the intense happiness. But it’s so busy being beautiful and dazzling that it doesn’t always see the cue. And then you feel slighted and you decide it’s no longer as stunning.

Whether you choose to exit the forest or the forest spits you back out onto the busy and loud streets of your mind, it always goes the same way. You look at your familiar but tumultuous surroundings and you’re overcome with guilt, because you knew it was better where you were. And you let it all disappear because of some boisterous caravan and it’s irregular agenda.

It might be bearable if you knew that the forest would let you in again. But I would rather be in front of that rushing convoy that so easily ruined everything than be rejected by something I had such an adulation for.

So I hope that next time, the forest will hear the deafening signs of the oncoming and place a gentle hand on my shoulder to guide me away from the tracks. And in the meantime, I apologize for the indirect manner in which I ask for this assistance.

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Unsplash photo via Allef Vinicius

Originally published: June 8, 2017
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