Borderline personality disorder and I

I figured a good way to move on from my last post, in which I took a huge leap of faith by opening up about my mental health problems, would be to go into a bit more detail about one of my diagnoses, borderline personality disorder (BPD). Many people will have heard of or know something about depression and/or anxiety, but borderline personality disorder, also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder, is a condition you don’t often hear much about. I’m not entirely sure why this is – perhaps because it just isn’t quite as common as many other conditions, therefore garners less attention? What I do know though, is that all 10 of the known personality disorders are highly stigmatised and this may prevent many individuals from speaking up, including myself until now.

I was diagnosed in February of this year, and unlike the other diagnoses I’d been through; bipolar, cyclothymia and chronic depression, BPD made absolute sense. It provides a perfect explanation for pretty much all of the troubles I’ve had over the past 10 years, including the eating disorder and OCD. I find it really difficult to put into words exactly how BPD effects me, but I’m going to give it a whirl!

To start off with, there’s my mood. I might wake up in a great mood, but an hour later be feeling like I’ve hit rock bottom, unable to quieten the negative thoughts stampeding like elephants through my mind. This might last half an hour, a few hours, a day, sometimes more. Likewise, I might wake up feeling awful, but later be really upbeat and hyper, with my mind racing! During the hyper moments I often come up with really random ideas and can be impulsive. For example, one time I decided I wanted to hand out uplifting notes to people on the street (which would normally petrify me) and spent a small fortune on setting up a website, buying business cards and post cards, only to come to my senses a few days later and abandon the idea. Another time I randomly booked myself in for a charity skydive, which wouldn’t really be strange if it wasn’t for the fact that I HATE, HATE, HATE flying!

Emotion wise, I appear to feel certain things a lot more intensely than I perhaps should do, and I struggle to make even the smallest decisions sometimes because sometimes I feel overwhelmed (and I can get overwhelmed very easily, especially when I don’t feel in control). Change is super difficult for me to handle and it takes me a long time to settle when something changes. For example, it’s taken me the best part of a year plus a relapse for me to settle down after the move from Canterbury to London. Change equals stress which exacerbates symptoms significantly! My mood also plays a part in dictating my emotions. I’m not much of a crier, for reasons I may go into in another post, but sometimes even little things like watching fireworks, hearing a song, or seeing a butterfly can make me feel like I’m going to cry, whilst other times they make me feel like I want to punch a puppy in the face. One time, I got so frustrated and angry at the fact that there were already crumbs on a wooden chopping board I’d only just cleaned, I actually stabbed it several times with a knife I was about to put away! Everything about BPD is preeeeeetty unpredictable!

I am incredibly fearful of abandonment. When Luca goes away for business I don’t know what to do with myself because I worry sick that he isn’t going to come back – that something will happen, or he is going to meet someone whilst he is gone who is prettier or more ‘normal’ than me and will leave me. If he doesn’t text me when he leaves work everyday, I worry he has been involved in an accident, so I check the BBC travel reports for incidents. How far I go depends on what my mood is like at the time. It’s not just my relationship with Luca that is effected, but almost all of my relationships. I struggle to maintain relationships with family members, and I have always struggled with friends. It’s like I get so fearful of what they think of me and that they are going to leave me, that I end up pushing them away myself. This doesn’t help with the desperate feelings of lonliness I often feel. Sometimes I can be surrounded by people, and still feel like the only person in the room. That being said, other times I’ll feel like all eyes are on me, silently judging my every move. I’ve become very good at ‘behaving accordingly’ for this very reason – Luca says it’s like I become a different person depending on what situation I am in.

Lack of self-esteem or confidence are also big struggles for me! I rarely feel good enough for anything or anyone, I always question myself, and I often really dislike myself and the way I look. These feelings were at the root of both my eating disorder and self-harm problem. I think I could safely say, if it wasn’t for meeting Luca in my first year of university, and the constant reassurance and support he gives me (poor guy!), I would probably still be in the steely grip of both the eating disorder and self harm addiction right now, or worse, not even here at all.

I could probably write a lot more about my experience with BPD, but this post already does a good job at reflecting what life with BPD is like – disjointed, messy and confusing! For now then, I shall leave this here! I am more than happy to answer any questions anyone might have about BPD, whether it be about my experience or general symptomology, statistics, etcetera! Just fire me a message or leave a comment, and I’ll get back to you!

Much love, Faye
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August 30, 2016