At the end of 2019 I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD for short).
Why share this? Well, I want to raise awareness of it sure, but more importantly, I want to show that anyone can look, act and even succeed in all kinds of ways but be struggling with a mental health disorder. Even one with an 80% suicide attempt risk. Disorders aren’t fussy with who they choose and I want to show that if you are suffering with your mental health, you are not alone.
I am real, my life is real and I don’t want to shine my blog and polish the edges in complete fakery and not acknowledge something that is a huge part of my life.
How Did It Come About?
Throughout my life I’ve always known there was something not… quite… right. There was a point in Autumn where everything came to a head, a little short of a nervous breakdown. I couldn’t think, talk, act or function within any kind of middle ground. I knew I had a problem and it became obvious to everyone around me. There are around ten symptoms of BPD all of which are extremes… and I mean… extreme. It took a GP referral to a Psychiatrist, a review and a referral for specialist help in Rehab.
What are the Symptoms?
People with BPD can have a few or all of them: Fear of abandonment, self harm/suicide, unstable relationships, unclear sense of self, impulsive behaviour, mood swings, feeling empty, explosive anger, paranoia and disassociation.
I have a few. I have explosive anger, mood swings, impulsive behaviour, unstable relationships and a form of self harm. The self harm for me is binge eating. Not your casual over indulgence, I mean 4 days of obscene amounts of chocolate for every meal and hatefully force feeding until I feel sick. It’s the reason I put on 21 pounds during a 3 month flare up last year.
In the past, friends have always said I have a ‘strong moral compass’. Relationships were sometimes drastic and dramatic and I can be a quite frantic person. Life’s stress is my biggest trigger that can send me to extreme symptoms (or ‘problem behaviour’ as we call it).
Basically, I struggle to regulate my emotions and know what emotion I am feeling. A BPD sufferer would usually say they are very happy, sad or raging rather than actually breaking the feeling down in to “confused”, “content” or “a little disappointed”. We struggle to sit in one emotion because we can swing from despair to ecstasy very quickly.
I’ve been kicked out and banned from casino’s for ‘extreme reactions’ to winning or losing. Usually it’s the winning – the celebrating and shrieking so hard that poor impulsive control is obvious to all.
I turn down drugs because “sorry, I’m already too extreme” (people on cocaine are already super annoying and frantic so I don’t need that on top).
I’ve destroyed dating relationships with my own unstable and intense emotions called ‘splitting’, which is an extreme shift between thinking someone is *perfect* followed by complete devaluation of them. No middle ground. A BPD sufferer may lack judgement when looking for a partner. It’s led to shattering and crushing sadness with cruel comments like “you’re fit but you’re 100mph”, or “you are absolutely mental, stop messaging me”. BPD sufferers are not nuts, we just struggle to regulate emotions and find difficulty setting boundaries with someone close.
The biggest issue in relationships for us is that we love hard. We have so much hot, passionate, kind and caring love to give that it’s easy to feel unloved when the same level isn’t given back to us. Like Disney’s ‘Tinkerbelle’, rumoured to have been created as a BPD sufferer.
Telling my two best friends was liberating. “We love your traits”, they said. I laughed, they laughed. Without humour, I don’t know how BPD sufferers cope. Humour and sarcasm for me have been like air. It’s also Comedian Pete Davidson’s lifeline (another BPD sufferer).
My work is one of the few areas where I can regulate without any kind of thinking. I can knuckle down and focus and take everything in my stride. Fortunately that is one area where I’ve had success. It’s probably why I’m hyper-focused and a complete workaholic.
DBT therapy is usually the first step towards learning the skills to help you in day to day life. It helps regulate your reactions to situations that then helps you regulate your emotions. It’s crucial work.
Going forward I hope that my posts make you laugh, teach and help others realise that mental health issues do not have to be all doom and gloom. There is help, you can manage it. If you suffer with any kind of mental health issues, go speak to your GP as soon as possible. You don’t have to stay away from us (it’s not contagious).
Thank you for reading x