As I mentioned beforehand I have been diagnosed with BPD in the last few years, not many including myself had any idea what this disorder was let alone what it entailed so I’ve tried to provide some information below.
In a brief summary BPD is a serious mental illness that centers on the inability to manage emotions effectively. The disorder occurs in the context of relationships: sometimes all relationships are affected, sometimes only one. It usually begins during adolescence or early adulthood.
BPD like any disorder mental or physical can differ in severity from person to person but here are a few symptoms taken from the mind charity website:
- You feel very worried about people abandoning you, and would do anything to stop that happening.
- You have very intense emotions that last from a few hours to a few days and can change quickly (for example, from feeling very happy and confident in the morning to feeling low and sad in the afternoon).
- You don’t have a strong sense of who you are, and it can change depending on who you’re with.
- You find it very hard to make and keep stable relationships.
- You act impulsively and do things that could harm you (such as binge eating, using drugs or driving dangerously).
- You have suicidal thoughts or self-harming behaviour.
- You feel empty and lonely a lot of the time.
- You get very angry, and struggle to control your anger.
- When very stressed, sometimes you might:
Have psychotic experiences, such as seeing or hearing things other people don’t
Feel numb or ‘checked out’ and not remember things properly after they’ve happened.
There is quite a negative stigma around BPD (as you can imagine by even looking at some of the symptoms), people who can feel this emotionally vulnerable react in many different ways occasionally or even often lashing out towards loved ones.
This is a hard situation for both parties as how do you the sufferer of BPD live with, understand and educate yourself on a disorder while at the same time battle a daily emotional rollercoaster and try to help others understand the disorder and where you are coming from?
Also as a friend or loved one of someone with BPD how do you take all of this on board and not see that person differently, or be patient when they lash out at you or themselves due to overwhelming emotion that you might necessarily not understand?
It really is a battle for everyone involved and that is another reason we need to become more aware, educated and open-minded about mental health in general.
A number of celebrities have been diagnosed with BPD including Angelina Jolie & Amy Winehouse. They are no more important than anyone else suffering, but goes to show there are many people out there in the world who suffer that others are unaware of.
Personally I relate on varying levels to the typical symptoms listed, I may have a disorder that can be common but I am still a unique person who is not her disorder and whose personality cannot wholly be listed down in bullet points.
Having said that emotionally I would describe the ordeal of being unstable and often impractical in my emotional responses to situations can be lonely, sometimes scary, occasionally funny (my theory is if you don’t laugh you’ll cry). It could be described as feeling like a bomb has gone off in my mind but no one can see it or hear it, and realistically even myself as well as those around me can tell my emotions are being unrealistic at times but none the less it does not stop them from happening or taking over any rational thoughts in my mind.
As I said I do not want this solely to be about me, or my stories and experiences.
I’m not able to particularly describe in detail any of it nor am I educated enough to do so, but I do write poetry and I am sharing this one purely because it describes my experience of BPD rather perfectly.
So I hope people can either relate or better understand what a few seconds in my mind and possibly many others has felt like at times…
Who let you out, my tormented soul?
You were supposed to stay deep down below.
Won’t show the face which makes loved ones weep,
Can’t let you out, your pain is yours alone to keep.
How can you climb up these towering walls?
I built them up so high that they might never fall.
Even without the silence I can hear your malicious steps,
Getting closer and closer behind me, making each day more complex.
Why do you want to starve me of all meaning, why can’t I make you drown?
I’ve tried so hard to keep it together why come again for me now?
I don’t know where you came from, I don’t know how to make you go,
My only wish is to send you back into the darkness down deep below.
I know why you are coming for me, I know your monstrous goal,
I beg of you please release me my poor tormented soul.