What Borderline Personality Disorder Looks Like to Me

After visiting my blog you may be asking yourself… What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?   Maybe you have an idea of what this diagnosis entails.  Possibly you suffer from BPD.

It’s always good to start with a professional definition.  The proper definition given by NAMI (National Allianceis: “Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a condition characterized by difficulties regulating emotion. This means that people who experience BPD feel emotions intensely and for extended periods of time, and it is harder for them to return to a stable baseline after an emotionally triggering event.  This difficulty can lead to impulsivity, poor self-image, stormy relationships and intense emotional responses to stressors. Struggling with self-regulation can also result in dangerous behaviors such as self-harm (e.g. cutting).”

Professional definitions are so technical.

Not every Borderline is the same.  This is my personal experience as a  person living with Borderline Personality Disorder.

I was diagnosed six years ago by my psychiatrist.  The first psychiatrist I had ever seen and she was amazing.  My first psychiatrist gave me the first eye opening view into who this monster in me was.

In my opinion Borderlines are a huge contradiction.  First let’s start with the disorders biggest characteristic… Our emotions.  We have disregulated emotions.  We love fearlessly and hate fiercer.  We are afraid of being alone and yet we have trouble accepting why someone would want to be with us.  In our mind we feel they must have alterior motives.  I keep relationships at arm’s length because I can’t bear to be hurt.  If I feel you are creeping into my hidden self…I immediately do things to push you away.  I don’t want you to leave… I’m just scared.  It takes a special person to not only love a borderline but put up with their emotional outbursts.  

When we love with every inch of our heart.  Break the trust of a borderline and you are immediately out of their life.

These emotions, which are still hard to process, bubble up inside and feel an intense urge to be released.  Anger is another borderline characteristic.  We explode.  But unlike a lot of Borderlines I turn my anger inward.  I hit myself, punch my face and cut my hips.  This releases the anger I feel.  I use self harm to deal with other emotions too like when I’m sad, confused, afraid or numb.  Borderlines ‘feel’ ten times harder and occasionally we are not able to put into words the emotions we are feeling.  Personally I am hypersensitive to other people’s emotions too.  Anger, nervousness and hate.  When someone is around me feeling these feelings my anxiety goes through the roof.  I feel as though I have an invisible elephant sitting on my chest.  I can’t wait to escape.  I avoid parties or any get together because of this.  My emotional issues along with others emotions just don’t mix.

With all these emotions and feelings, here is the second contradiction… I’m half dead inside.  I’m empty.  On one hand we feel too much on the other we are a shell of a human.  Borderlines have been through so much in their lives they shut down.  I’m jealous of the living because they only get a glimpse into the darkness.  I wanted to feel fully alive so I would drink which made problems worse, have promiscuous sex which lead to an increased feeling of emptiness, and cutting.  When the darkness takes over and the numbness is all I feel, it’s like death comes knocking on the door.

The few friends I have love my non-medicated borderline self because she is spontaneous, hyper, funny and always up for a good time.  The problem is one second I’m on top of the world and the next I’m contemplating the ways I want to die.  This is the borderline my friends typically avoid.  Unfortunately, this is the time I need them the most.  They were their the first and second suicide attempts or threats but after the third they avoided me.  I don’t blame them.  I’m a lot to handle. My disorder is a lot to handle.  Hell I can’t handle myself.

This was a glimpse into my borderline life.  Borderline isn’t the only disorder I suffer from.  I have PTSD, major depression and dissociation.  In a future post I’ll delve into my past.

One more thing….

Girl, Interrupted is a memoir turned motion picture written by Susanna Kaysen and portayed by Winona Ryder.  I haven’t read the memoir yet…but it is on my list of necessary reads.

In the movie Susanna is a young woman diagnosed with BPD.  We get a small enough glimpse into her past to understand she has had a history of depression, self harm, dissociation, attempted suicide, and promiscuous relations including a school mate’s father.

After voluntarily checking herself into a psychiatric hospital she receives the diagnoses of BPD.  If you haven’t seen this movie I highly recommend it…not only because of the BPD education although small, but also because Angelina Jolie plays an amazing role as a sociopath.

Susanna explains what most people with BPD feel “My situation was that I was in pain and nobody knew it, even I had trouble knowing it. So I told myself, over and over, You are in pain. It was the only way I could get through to myself. I was demonstrating externally and irrefutably an inward condition.”