The very first part of my mental health series is all about Borderline Personality Disorder. For this series I asked real people living with these mental health disorders to share their version to help educate and spread awareness. Please know that no matter what mental health disorder you’re dealing with you’re not alone. Reach out, talk about it! Thank you to everyone who helped me with this series and without further ado let’s get into Understanding BDP!
When Lena approached me with her vision on her mental health series, I felt compelled to share my struggles and my victories with my personal relationship with Borderline Personality Disorder.
NIMH’s overview states “Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior. These symptoms often result in impulsive actions and problems in relationships. People with borderline personality disorder may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that can last from a few hours to days.” Doesn’t that seem .. a little impersonal? Imagine the suffering and isolation associated with mental illness — imagine this overview representing all of the pain attached to what you face on a daily basis ..
This is the point of Lena’s series, creating an online environment where we can share anonymously about what ails us whilst educating the readers on genuine experiences with mental illness. I hope to be of help shedding some light on a tremendously difficult illness to understand.
I was first diagnosed with the monster that is BPD 5 years ago. I had no knowledge of what it meant and no perspective of the damage the illness had been bringing to myself and those around me. You’d think that we would be better equipped at helping others understand what exactly they’re being diagnosed with, but alas — unrelated. In actuality, despite the endless hours of research done on gathering information about BPD, it wasn’t until recently that I found out just how much of a hold it has on the human mind.
For me, BPD meant being in a constant state of self-sabotage — most times, without even realizing it. For those who cannot comprehend how the brain could even be capable of its own destruction, let me help you understand. 80% of the brain’s development is done between infancy and the time you reach kindergarten. I believe that trauma done to the brain during that time frame will alt, corrupt, and damage the way a healthy mind should function. I, personally, was exposed to severe trauma, which trained my brain into several tricks. Party trick number one? Disassociation. Fight or flight mechanism broken? No worries, your brain can help you drift away. Another thing it learned? To embrace suffering. It’s not like life can actually get better, right? Unfortunately, that last one poisoned me from the inside out. You see, when you become so familiar with pain, happiness is entirely foreign to you. Your brain starts registering happiness as toxic, since it’s not used to it at all, and therefore, subconsciously drives you to do things that will result in your own demise. Why? So you can go back to the comfort of your familiar: hurt.
Another trait that comes with BPD is the unbearable fear of abandonment — which, as you may predict, brings forth a whole new set of problematic behavior such as manipulation, lies, unstable moods, a loss identity, and, you’ve guessed it, more self-destruction. I’ve personally struggled with something I like to call the “chameleon effect”. It’s when you, fearing abandonment, adopt the personality of whoever you’re close to in order to make yourself seem .. perfect for them. Your mind adapts to the situation, and eventually, you’ve made yourself indispensable to them. How could they possibly leave you now? You’re exactly who they’ve been searching for. Trust me, that happiness and false sense of security fades faster than you can say “hi, I love you”. The paranoia attached to your fears creep in, and before you know it, you’re spiralling down a path back to your familiar pain. You’ll be erratic, you’ll be anxious, you’ll have a hard time trusting what they say .. sending you into an overanalysis frenzy. Reading every text a dozen times, reading into a situation your mind has tricked you into believing exists, and I call this the “self-fulfilling prophecy”. You have become so convinced that they will leave you, that you’re constantly threatened by a problem that only you are causing, just so you can say “ah-ha, I knew you were going to leave me” when they can’t handle the monster BPD turned you into. How could they? You went from their perfect vision of what love should be, to this frighteningly unrecognizable and insecure ridden person.
I think that self-awareness is key when it comes to dealing with something as catastrophic as BPD. If we continue to cover up the symptoms we deal with, we will never find healing. I, to the best of my ability, try to catch myself when I commit any of the toxic behaviors associated with my illness, in order to not let it consume me. Others aren’t as lucky. Knowing what I know now, I’m capable of redirecting myself into making better life decisions. I try to limit any and all things that can cause me to act recklessly. I limit my interaction with men, I stopped seeking validation from others, I removed myself from several social media apps that could tempt me to destroy my relationship, and gave up any hold on our financials so I wouldn’t spend carelessly. I found that faith and spirituality can also lead you to make healthy choices. Those together helped my growth by a landslide.
I’m still learning. I believe I will always be learning, but right now I’m enjoying a taste of happiness I’ve never allowed myself to have. It’s possible to find some kind of normal out of this awfulness. It’s possible to recover, to live and breathe healing. Don’t give up on yourself.
Part two will be coming to you next month! Stay tuned!
If you, or anyone you know, would like to help please get in touch with me! You can use the contact page on here or if you know my social media you can personally message me there!
Thanks again to those that have allowed me to spread awareness by sharing your story.