Borderline- Noun; a personality disorder (mood disorder) characterized by unstable moods, behavior, and relationships.
I have to talk to you, I texted him at 8:00 one night, it’s important. I sabotage relationships because I don’t feel like I deserve any thing good in my life. I don’t feel worth it.
He simply replied, I know. But you are.
It’s hard existing in a world where you constantly feel torn between believing you have a purpose and believing you’re not worth anything good, where you alternate between happy, sad, angry, and numb, sometimes all within 15 minutes. It’s hard existing in a world where you want to live but also want to die. Where one minute you’re fine, and the next, you want to jump out a window.
This is the truth of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
People with BPD are more likely to engage in self-destructive and self-harming behaviors, more likely to attempt suicide, more likely to have a distorted and unstable self-image. They are likely to do everything they can to avoid abandonment by family or friends (whether real or imagined), even if that means sabotaging the relationship before they have a chance to be abandoned.
loneliness is the ground on which we build our identity.
I have Borderline Personality Disorder, and it’s hard for me to write that, to say it out loud because it’s so stigmatized. I’m not ‘overreacting,’ ‘too emotional.’ My brain just doesn’t know how to regulate my emotions by itself. Which is why I’m in therapy–not just for the anxiety and PTSD and depression, which can make BPD worse–to help learn how to manage my emotions.
Recently, I completed DBT Therapy, which is designed to help a person learn how to cope with the three things that are the most unstable with BPD: relationships, identity, and emotions. I have emotional distress skill cards in two pastors’ offices, just in case my emotions are too unstable and I forget everything I’ve ever learned. DBT retrains the brain so the first answer, the default, isn’t self-harm or suicide or substance abuse or God forbid, abuse to someone else.
But it takes time because even now, self-harm is still always in my mind as a viable option.
With BPD, you tend to believe that you deserve what’s happening–you can justify anything.
I was able to justify abuse because I thought I was the one who was overreacting, too emotional. But really, I had the same emotions everybody else would have had; mine were just unregulated.
I don’t know exactly how to describe what goes on in my head with Borderline, so I wrote a poem.
Bor-der-line (noun) – a mood disorder
can be caused by trauma,
consisting of unstable moods, identity, and relationships.
Happy, sad, angry, numb.
Fine; not fine, flip of a coin.
Laughing, crying. Life is beautiful.
I want to jump out a window.
Step 1. Send a text. Panic.
Step 2. Receive a text. Panic.
Step 3. Don’t hear back. Triple panic.
Step 4. Period. What did I do wrong? Are you mad at me?
I knew you hated me.
Sabotaging relationships before I have a chance to be left.
Saying too much, saying too little, being too clingy, pushing away.
Where does it end? When does it end? When does my mind
stop playing the enemy?
What’s my identity? Who am I?
Loneliness is the ground on which we build our identity.
Am I a toxic person, a terrible person, do you hate me, why didn’t you answer my text?
See, too clingy.
Not an attitude problem, Mrs. B–a personality problem, but I’m working on it:
using my skills, holding the ice, breathing, talking myself out of panic attacks before I can talk myself into them.
PTSD, GAD, MDD, OCD, BPD–luckily for me.
There’s always been something… different.
Now I know. I’m not alone.
I guess I wasn’t clear enough the first time: I asked you to stop messaging me. This needs to come to an end. You need to stop.
I’m sorry for the bridges I burned along the way.
There’s no medication that cures BPD. I’m on anxiety meds and anti-depressants to help with the not-so-complimentary mental illnesses walking hand-in-hand alongside.
Loving someone with BPD takes a lot of time, patience, and unconditional love. But it also requires people willing to call us out on our behaviors–in a grace-filled, loving way, of course. We are sensitive to our surroundings, sensitive to others’ emotions, sensitive to the reactions we receive from other people. So, when I’m called out or am questioned about something I may have done wrong, it rips me apart–destroys me, causes me to want to self-harm. But I’m learning.
I’m learning that sometimes I really am my own worst enemy.
I am learning that it’s ok to have certain people you rely on for support more than others, but developing unhealthy attachments is also a real problem.
I had to take a personality test for a job application I was filling out; I joked, “I hope I don’t fail.”
Borderline is not a failure of personality. It’s a special kind of personality–one that requires a little bit more patience to handle, but one that causes a special type of person–sensitive, caring, loving, more so than most.
BPD is highly stigmatized, so much so, that I was afraid of publishing this post–what will people think? Will people still love me, support me, be there for me?
I write all of this not to make excuses for my destructive behavior, for the relationships I’ve sabotaged beyond repair. I write this so that people can see the human side of mental illness, what it can do to a person when they don’t get the proper support, proper help, proper therapy.
I’m in a much better place than I was a year ago, six months ago. But I’m not cured. But I can see how far I’ve come, and sometimes, that’s enough to realize that the most beautiful things in this world are worth the work, worth the wait.