Lavanya Rana

@lavanyarana | contributor
Poet, Writer, Hufflepuff, Feminist, and on my way to being a mental health activist If you want to talk to me, send me a mail at lavanya17rana@gmail.com or drop me a text on my instagram, coffeeandcyanide
Community Voices

On the borderline rage

Hello again. It is your local borderline Lavanya speaking. Today I’m going to be talking about the borderline rage. See for the longest time I thought that the infamous borderline rage, and the explosive anger, that makes us such particularly villainous people on the interwebs was not present in me. Boy oh boy was I wrong. What I didn’t realise is that the hysterical fits that I tend to fall into while fighting with my parents or my brother are exactly that. Fits of borderline rage. Or as I now like to call them, pure borderline energy. It feels as if a cloak that I was wearing to hide some part of my body has fallen off, exposing the darkest part of me to everyone around me. And I don’t like to be held accountable. So when this dark part of me is exposed, I will get angry, manipulative, mean and very bitchy. Basically, that is when I go full borderline. And it is so so toxic to both me and the people who have to deal with me in this state. I lash out, feel for the chinks in their armours and hit them where it hurts. Then when the fit or rage subsides, I get guilty. And guilt is not a fun emotion to deal with.  From the guilt, I spiral onto self-hatred and irritability and then I get touchy which leads to another bout of the rage.   And on and on this spiral goes, making me feel hopeless and trapped in my own toxicity. See I am going to accept this. I get toxic. When I fall into the borderline rage, I get very toxic. But it also going to state that I’m working on this toxicity. Therapy and consciously stopping myself when I feel the edges of the world going red are what is supposed to help me. Because here’s the final thing. No one is going to have the patience to deal with me forever. And I don’t want to end up all alone. So even if it is, at the end of the day for a selfish motive, I am going to work on controlling my borderline rage

but what really helped me realise all of this?

I credit a very kind and patient man for it.

having the patience to put up with not just one, but the fourth borderline fit in just the span of a few weeks can get very tiring, I know that. yet this person didn’t go. even when he had more reasons to go than stay, he stayed.

I swear to you, if you ever find a person like this, cling onto them with your fingertips and don’t ever let go.

Marian Spencer

The Cycle of Dating I Go Through as Someone With BPD

A week before Christmas, I was lying on the floor in a pitch black room, sobbing. I’d texted the guy I liked (who seemed to like me back, although “seemed” is never, ever, ever enough for me). I believed, I had completely ruined everything. No matter how hard I tried to be positive, my anxiety built and soon I’d spiraled into a full blown none of my relationships have ever worked out so why should this one train wreck of thought. Eventually my mom had to come peel me off of the floor and dump me lovingly into bed. Welcome to my life with borderline personality disorder (BPD). It’s not the first time I’ve “lost it” in a relationship. Let’s just say I’ve attempted the whole dating thing more than a few times, but my relationships all seem to end the same way (I’ll give you a hint, I’m still single). Here’s the pattern I’ve tracked, and you can let me know if yours is similar: Phase 1: It all starts with my idolizing the guy. I meet him, he shows a lot of interest. Suddenly he’s perfect, we’re perfect for each other, everything’s so flipping perfect. I ride on the high of a new and dazzling possibility. This time I’ll be able to hold down a stable relationship, I tell myself. This time for sure. This delusion lasts about a week, maybe two. Phase 2: He does something to rock my faith in the relationship. It’s usually something small — he doesn’t text me back as quickly, he doesn’t seem as excited to see me that day, he checks his watch during a date — and suddenly my whole world is falling apart. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I’m terrified that this person who I was so sure would fix the emptiness I live with every day is going to leave me and it will hurt. Phase 3: So, I start to push back, just a little — I don’t want to drive him off completely. In my efforts to keep him, I resolve never to be the first one to text him, to invite him to do something, to talk to him at all. I test him, gage his behavior, wait for him to do or say something to convince me he still likes me (or the other way around). Phase 4: But a couple weeks of this and it’s already too late. His cute little gestures produce only temporary bliss on my part. No matter what he does, I’m officially positive that he’s going to leave, and it feels unbearable. I keep it all inside when I’m with him. I’m pleasant, bubbly, overbearingly validating — because that’s what I want from the relationship: validation, confidence, safety. But all these bottled-up feelings (paired with the ever-present emptiness that’s always a part of me) leaves me with nothing to say to him, no matter how much we have in common. We endure many an awkward silence. It feels like I’m breaking the relationship, and I have no idea how to stop it. Phase 5: Then, it happens. He begins to pull away, and all of my greatest fears are validated. Sometimes, out of sheer desperation, this is when I open up about a few things. I tell him about my struggles with mental illnesses, or at the very least, I say that I have “walls” that will take some time to break down, hoping he’ll buy that’s why things feel off between us and he’ll stay. Historically, this has never done anything to preserve the relationship. He leaves anyway and, after a good cry, my emotions suddenly shut down. I’m empty again. I’m alone. Phase 6: Sooner or later though, emptiness makes way for rage. Most of the time I didn’t even realize I was mad. But leave me alone with my thoughts for too long (without Netflix or really loud music to distract me) and suddenly I’m drowning in anger. It’s not just about people I’ve dated, either. It’s anger for everyone, for the roommates who made fun of me, for the friends who abandoned me, for the people who used my insecurities to make themselves feel superior. I don’t even know if these offenses are real or imagined anymore — I’m sure it’s a combination of both. All I know is that anger is my underlying defense mechanism, and that’s not good. OK, so I’m aware of the pattern. What am I going to do about it? Good question. I’ve dated a plethora of personalities, so “finding the right guy” can’t be the only solution. I’m guessing therapy’s a good start, maybe some medication. *weary shrug* Honestly though, sometimes I’m not even sure I want to “get better.” Sometimes I convince myself all I want to do is ghost everyone and hide in my house for the rest of my life. That’s the thing about my BPD, though — I can’t hide from the loneliness. Eventually, even the rage will succumb to it, and I’ll start looking for love again, desperately. Even if it means dragging myself through the agonizing process of trial and error a hundred times over. If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741 . We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Thinkstock photo via demaerre.

Lavanya Rana

What to Do When You Are Caught in a Self-Pity Cycle

I am sitting in front of my laptop and wallowing in self-pity. There is nothing new to this. This is a routine, a cycle for me. I tend to pity myself a lot. What is different, however, is that today I am pitying myself in a very different way. Today’s self-pity, ladies and gents and everyone in between (or outside the binary) is about my fate. The “why me” whining that able people think we must do all the time. See usually, when I whine and pity myself, it’s about my symptoms. “Oh it’s so difficult to deal with dissociation” or “Oh, I wish someone understood how much it hurts to have one of my frequent breakdowns over completely random things.” But today I am whining about this: Why do I have a mental illness? What did I do to deserve this? See, this is a very dangerous line of thinking. Because let me tell you, I have been paddling in this pool of thought for the last 48 hours or so and I am nowhere near the shore. It’s difficult to get out of this frame of mind and I don’t claim to know how to do it! In fact, I am going to be talking to my therapist about this in my next appointment. So this is not a “how to deal with this situation” kind of an essay because I don’t have the necessary qualifications to tell you how to do it. This is an essay telling you that someone out there feels the way you do. Maybe not the exact same way because we are all different individuals, but someone who feels it similarly enough that they can understand your misery. So on that note, hi. I am Lavanya and I have an illness called borderline personality disorder (BPD). Over the course of my life, I have had the misfortune of missing out on too many experiences and opportunities because of this once-undiagnosed illness. And yet, I have never felt very bitter about it. I have taken the hand that has been dealt to me and played with my cards. But over the course of the past few months and the past few weeks specifically, I have felt some opportunities slip away from my fingertips in ways that have caused a lot of anguish. So here I am, typing away, hoping to find a solution to this anguish. Because while yes, it is healthy to acknowledge your emotions, it is not very healthy to drown in them. So here are a couple of things I’ve figured out through this episode about feeling the “why am I like this” self-pity cycle. 1. Feel It Accept the way you feel right now and let it soak you. Your emotions are a river and you are sitting in the middle of it. Fighting the current won’t help you; you’ll slip on the rocks and fall. Instead sit in the shallow end and let the river soak you. Sure the current will move you and push you, but you won’t fall. 2. Vent It Out Talk to someone who will understand. Tell them how you feel in this moment and how frustrating it is for you to feel this way. Talk to your therapist, a counselor, a friend, a parent — anyone. If however, you don’t have anyone to talk to, pretend you’re on a talk show. Pretend you’re giving an interview about being resilient and surviving it all. do it. It’s oddly cathartic. If that doesn’t work for you either, write it out. That’s what I have been doing for the last half an hour. And it has helped. I’m a lot calmer than I was. So I hope this essay helps you in any way. And that you feel better too!

Lavanya Rana

When Borderline Personality Disorder Leaves You Feeling Empty Inside

So, the other day, someone told me to stop looking for happiness outside and start looking for it within. At that moment, with the heat of my constant companion — anger — building in my stomach, I couldn’t articulate my thoughts well enough to have a proper response to it. But now that a few days and my anger have passed, I’m ready with stretched out fingers to type out a hopefully articulate response to that statement. To begin with, I would like to declare, that I, Lavanya Rana am a mentally ill person, and this article pertains to my experience of mental illness. My second declaration is about my illness. I have borderline personality disorder (BPD), and one of the major symptoms of this disorder I experience is a feeling of emptiness or nothingness. And I’m not talking about being bored for 10 minutes because you can’t find something fun to do. It’s the kind of emptiness that seeps in and leaves you feeling cold. The emptiness I am talking about is not feeling anything for days or weeks on an end. And I don’t just mean not feeling happy when you win a competition. I also mean not feeling sad when something happens to your beloved dog. It means not feeling nervous when your exams are approaching and consequently not studying for them. It means not feeling scared when a friend threatens to cut ties off with you. It is a blankness, that seems to encompass your entire universe and there is no way you know to get rid of it. Except, it is not entirely blank. Irritation at everything and hot, boiling fury at others become your constant companions. So instead of just you being miserable, you spread your misery around to all the other people. When your emotions are so uncomfortable, to say the least, it seems almost impossible to find happiness within. So, you look for happiness without. And I’m not talking about finding happiness by doing maladaptive things like binge drinking, or chain-smoking. I’m talking about less maladaptive things like going to open mic nights and performing because poetry and the applause you get after makes you feel things in your tummy that are definitely excitement and happiness. Things like watching that movie you enjoyed, twice in the theaters (don’t judge, but for me it was “Moana”). Or doing things like spending a whole evening crying and spending the night with your roommate, drinking shitty drinks from the vending machine and talking about the wildest things. Finding happiness outside of you in ways that don’t harm you is not a bad thing at all. It is actually quite important. From time to time you need to remind yourself that there will be times when you won’t be able to be anything but sad or empty and that is OK, because there are so many things and people and activities in the world that bring you joy and they will always be there for you, no matter what.

Lavanya Rana

What I Said When Asked Why I Write About Having Borderline

My mom has asked me, on separate occasions, why I write about mental health. Specifically, why do I write about having borderline personality disorder (BPD)? It’s not really a pleasant topic to think about and definitely not to read about. So, why write about it? I haven’t really thought a lot about it until very recently. Well, to answer her question, I must ask another essential question. Why do we watch movies with people who look like us? Why do we love books where characters resemble us? Why do our favorite songs remind us of how we felt on that one hot summer day when we were walking around with that person we were so attracted to and everything felt right and comfortable and amazing? It’s simple, really: we crave representation. We crave being seen and not feeling lonely. We want other people to say, “Hey, I feel this way too. I get how you feel right now; I’ve been there.” And this world is not ready for showing “borderlines” on TV. I mean, we’ve only recently started making more movies and shows that represent depression and anxiety properly (not looking at you, “13 Reasons Why”). A quick Google search will show you that Indian cinema has been terrible, judgmental and stereotypical in its treatment of mental illnesses. I mean, you only need to look at the summary of “Krazzy 4” and the very famous Shah Rukh Khan thriller, “Darr,” to understand that. And so, I know the chances of me seeing someone like me — a 19-year-old, fat, queer Indian girl with self-harm scars and borderline personality disorder, a love for cats and a strong dislike for tomatoes — are slim to none at best. And that’s not counting a role where I might be casually drowning puppies or killing people. So, I write. And of course, whenever I end up writing prose, the characters are all self-inserts. Not all characters, just the leads. Sure, I don’t often finish these writings about borderline personality disorder (it’s just so difficult to write when you have mental illness-induced writer’s block) and I never post them anywhere, but they exist. They are characters who look like me, talk like, think like me, and most importantly feel like me. And even more importantly, I can make them happy. If only in the pages of my notebook, I have people who are living like me and are able to get happy endings. At this point, I want to talk about a phenomenon that happens a lot to queer characters on TV shows. This trope, known as “Bury Your Gays,” is popular in most forms of media containing queer people. Characters come out, only to soon be killed. Their sexuality seems to be just something to get the Liberal rating for the show. And as soon as that is done, they are disposed of, swept under the rug like some inconvenient dust that you can’t get into the dustpan. Queer activists say this practice harms those who don’t identify as strictly heterosexual. Seeing people like you never being given a happy ending, always killed, always hurt, especially in a community that has been relentlessly killed and hurt in real life as well is so, so harmful and dangerous. It is a crime against the whole community. Imagine what it must feel like to never see someone like you: never seeing someone with the same or at least similar struggles as you. And that’s why I write so much about having borderline personality disorder. Because maybe, if one day in the future I am published and a fat, queer, Indian girl with borderline picks up my book, she feels less lonely. She feels that someone else has gone through what I am going through and they are still kicking it. Admittedly, it is sometimes hard to still keep kicking it, but they are. And I will too. Because God knows there are days, so many of them, where I need that myself. Because I, very much like other people, would like to have a happy ending. I would like to envision a future where I can live happily and healthily, with my partner and two cats. A future where I no longer display symptoms of my illness or, well, at least where I am able to deal with them in a healthy way. I would very much like to believe in that. My therapist, my parents and other people close to me often tell me I am quite good with words. Maybe if I saw someone like me actually being successful, I would believe them. A version of this article was originally published on Youth Ki Awaaz. 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 741741 . For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here . We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

Lavanya Rana

What I Said When Asked Why I Write About Having Borderline

My mom has asked me, on separate occasions, why I write about mental health. Specifically, why do I write about having borderline personality disorder (BPD)? It’s not really a pleasant topic to think about and definitely not to read about. So, why write about it? I haven’t really thought a lot about it until very recently. Well, to answer her question, I must ask another essential question. Why do we watch movies with people who look like us? Why do we love books where characters resemble us? Why do our favorite songs remind us of how we felt on that one hot summer day when we were walking around with that person we were so attracted to and everything felt right and comfortable and amazing? It’s simple, really: we crave representation. We crave being seen and not feeling lonely. We want other people to say, “Hey, I feel this way too. I get how you feel right now; I’ve been there.” And this world is not ready for showing “borderlines” on TV. I mean, we’ve only recently started making more movies and shows that represent depression and anxiety properly (not looking at you, “13 Reasons Why”). A quick Google search will show you that Indian cinema has been terrible, judgmental and stereotypical in its treatment of mental illnesses. I mean, you only need to look at the summary of “Krazzy 4” and the very famous Shah Rukh Khan thriller, “Darr,” to understand that. And so, I know the chances of me seeing someone like me — a 19-year-old, fat, queer Indian girl with self-harm scars and borderline personality disorder, a love for cats and a strong dislike for tomatoes — are slim to none at best. And that’s not counting a role where I might be casually drowning puppies or killing people. So, I write. And of course, whenever I end up writing prose, the characters are all self-inserts. Not all characters, just the leads. Sure, I don’t often finish these writings about borderline personality disorder (it’s just so difficult to write when you have mental illness-induced writer’s block) and I never post them anywhere, but they exist. They are characters who look like me, talk like, think like me, and most importantly feel like me. And even more importantly, I can make them happy. If only in the pages of my notebook, I have people who are living like me and are able to get happy endings. At this point, I want to talk about a phenomenon that happens a lot to queer characters on TV shows. This trope, known as “Bury Your Gays,” is popular in most forms of media containing queer people. Characters come out, only to soon be killed. Their sexuality seems to be just something to get the Liberal rating for the show. And as soon as that is done, they are disposed of, swept under the rug like some inconvenient dust that you can’t get into the dustpan. Queer activists say this practice harms those who don’t identify as strictly heterosexual. Seeing people like you never being given a happy ending, always killed, always hurt, especially in a community that has been relentlessly killed and hurt in real life as well is so, so harmful and dangerous. It is a crime against the whole community. Imagine what it must feel like to never see someone like you: never seeing someone with the same or at least similar struggles as you. And that’s why I write so much about having borderline personality disorder. Because maybe, if one day in the future I am published and a fat, queer, Indian girl with borderline picks up my book, she feels less lonely. She feels that someone else has gone through what I am going through and they are still kicking it. Admittedly, it is sometimes hard to still keep kicking it, but they are. And I will too. Because God knows there are days, so many of them, where I need that myself. Because I, very much like other people, would like to have a happy ending. I would like to envision a future where I can live happily and healthily, with my partner and two cats. A future where I no longer display symptoms of my illness or, well, at least where I am able to deal with them in a healthy way. I would very much like to believe in that. My therapist, my parents and other people close to me often tell me I am quite good with words. Maybe if I saw someone like me actually being successful, I would believe them. A version of this article was originally published on Youth Ki Awaaz. 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 741741 . For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here . We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

Lavanya Rana

What I Said When Asked Why I Write About Having Borderline

My mom has asked me, on separate occasions, why I write about mental health. Specifically, why do I write about having borderline personality disorder (BPD)? It’s not really a pleasant topic to think about and definitely not to read about. So, why write about it? I haven’t really thought a lot about it until very recently. Well, to answer her question, I must ask another essential question. Why do we watch movies with people who look like us? Why do we love books where characters resemble us? Why do our favorite songs remind us of how we felt on that one hot summer day when we were walking around with that person we were so attracted to and everything felt right and comfortable and amazing? It’s simple, really: we crave representation. We crave being seen and not feeling lonely. We want other people to say, “Hey, I feel this way too. I get how you feel right now; I’ve been there.” And this world is not ready for showing “borderlines” on TV. I mean, we’ve only recently started making more movies and shows that represent depression and anxiety properly (not looking at you, “13 Reasons Why”). A quick Google search will show you that Indian cinema has been terrible, judgmental and stereotypical in its treatment of mental illnesses. I mean, you only need to look at the summary of “Krazzy 4” and the very famous Shah Rukh Khan thriller, “Darr,” to understand that. And so, I know the chances of me seeing someone like me — a 19-year-old, fat, queer Indian girl with self-harm scars and borderline personality disorder, a love for cats and a strong dislike for tomatoes — are slim to none at best. And that’s not counting a role where I might be casually drowning puppies or killing people. So, I write. And of course, whenever I end up writing prose, the characters are all self-inserts. Not all characters, just the leads. Sure, I don’t often finish these writings about borderline personality disorder (it’s just so difficult to write when you have mental illness-induced writer’s block) and I never post them anywhere, but they exist. They are characters who look like me, talk like, think like me, and most importantly feel like me. And even more importantly, I can make them happy. If only in the pages of my notebook, I have people who are living like me and are able to get happy endings. At this point, I want to talk about a phenomenon that happens a lot to queer characters on TV shows. This trope, known as “Bury Your Gays,” is popular in most forms of media containing queer people. Characters come out, only to soon be killed. Their sexuality seems to be just something to get the Liberal rating for the show. And as soon as that is done, they are disposed of, swept under the rug like some inconvenient dust that you can’t get into the dustpan. Queer activists say this practice harms those who don’t identify as strictly heterosexual. Seeing people like you never being given a happy ending, always killed, always hurt, especially in a community that has been relentlessly killed and hurt in real life as well is so, so harmful and dangerous. It is a crime against the whole community. Imagine what it must feel like to never see someone like you: never seeing someone with the same or at least similar struggles as you. And that’s why I write so much about having borderline personality disorder. Because maybe, if one day in the future I am published and a fat, queer, Indian girl with borderline picks up my book, she feels less lonely. She feels that someone else has gone through what I am going through and they are still kicking it. Admittedly, it is sometimes hard to still keep kicking it, but they are. And I will too. Because God knows there are days, so many of them, where I need that myself. Because I, very much like other people, would like to have a happy ending. I would like to envision a future where I can live happily and healthily, with my partner and two cats. A future where I no longer display symptoms of my illness or, well, at least where I am able to deal with them in a healthy way. I would very much like to believe in that. My therapist, my parents and other people close to me often tell me I am quite good with words. Maybe if I saw someone like me actually being successful, I would believe them. A version of this article was originally published on Youth Ki Awaaz. 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 741741 . For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here . We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash