(TW: Suicide, Self-harm)
Happy New Year, gang. How is everyone doing? For those of us in the UK we’re in Lockdown again. It’s a funny old time isn’t it? I’m technically homeless. The house I was isolating in has been sold, and time is ticking down for me to find somewhere to live. Luckily my bestie has offered me her spare room as I look for properties. I would not choose to be looking to move now, but sometimes we don’t have a choice. It is what it is. Hand sanitiser and masks at the ready.
I hope everyone is coping the best they can with the current circumstances. I posted to my instagram that my DM’s are always open. You can also email me email@example.com. Firstly, I am not a therapist, I cannot and will not offer advice. However, I will always lend an ear, share a meme or cup of virtual tea. So please don’t feel alone, there’s always someone to reach out to. If you do need professional support, I am happy to point you in the direction of services I know of.
This week I’ve decided to share a little insight into one of my diagnoses. I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) at the start of 2019, but have suffered its symptoms since I can remember. It’s also known as Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD) – but it’s more commonly known as BPD. I am not a medical practitioner, and so I turned to the INCREDIBLE website ‘Help Guide’ who outline it perfectly and succinctly.
(If you aren’t aware of Help Guide, I recommend to bookmark their page. They have multitudes of articles to help will all things mental health & more.)
Before I write more articles regarding my BPD and other diagnoses, I want the facts to be at hand for your reference. As ever, if you have any questions send them over; I can only speak from personal experience, but will do my best to answer any.
I have experienced all symptoms listed below to some degree. I pride myself on being totally honest through this blog, and if I am to continue I want to lay all the cards out on the table. I do not hide behind my diagnosis, but it has had a major impact on many areas of my life. I was diagnosed very late, and I’ve got a lot of work to do to untangle myself from the destructive behaviour I readily engaged with; mindfulness and meditation has been a great help – but as I say with anything, the road to recovery isn’t linear.
What is borderline personality disorder (BPD)?(source)
If you have borderline personality disorder (BPD), you probably feel like you’re on a rollercoaster—and not just because of your unstable emotions or relationships, but also the wavering sense of who you are. Your self-image, goals, and even your likes and dislikes may change frequently in ways that feel confusing and unclear.
People with BPD tend to be extremely sensitive. Some describe it as like having an exposed nerve ending. Small things can trigger intense reactions. And once upset, you have trouble calming down. It’s easy to understand how this emotional volatility and inability to self-soothe leads to relationship turmoil and impulsive—even reckless—behaviour.
When you’re in the throes of overwhelming emotions, you’re unable to think straight or stay grounded. You may say hurtful things or act out in dangerous or inappropriate ways that make you feel guilty or ashamed afterwards. It’s a painful cycle that can feel impossible to escape. But it’s not. There are effective BPD treatments and coping skills that can help you feel better and back in control of your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
[Helping someone with BPD – opens in new tab]
The 9 symptoms of BPD (source)
- Fear of abandonment. People with BPD are often terrified of being abandoned or left alone. Even something as innocuous as a loved one arriving home late from work or going away for the weekend may trigger intense fear. This can prompt frantic efforts to keep the other person close. You may beg, cling, start fights, track your loved one’s movements, or even physically block the person from leaving. Unfortunately, this behaviour tends to have the opposite effect—driving others away.
- Unstable relationships. People with BPD tend to have relationships that are intense and short-lived. You may fall in love quickly, believing that each new person is the one who will make you feel whole, only to be quickly disappointed. Your relationships either seem perfect or horrible, without any middle ground. Your lovers, friends, or family members may feel like they have emotional whiplash as a result of your rapid swings from idealization to devaluation, anger, and hate.
- Unclear or shifting self-image. When you have BPD, your sense of self is typically unstable. Sometimes you may feel good about yourself, but other times you hate yourself, or even view yourself as evil. You probably don’t have a clear idea of who you are or what you want in life. As a result, you may frequently change jobs, friends, lovers, religion, values, goals, or even sexual identity.
- Impulsive, self-destructive behaviours. If you have BPD, you may engage in harmful, sensation-seeking behaviours, especially when you’re upset. You may impulsively spend money you can’t afford; binge eat, drive recklessly, shoplift, engage in risky sex, or overdo it with drugs or alcohol. These risky behaviours may help you feel better in the moment, but they hurt you and those around you over the long-term.
- Self-harm. Suicidal behaviour and deliberate self-harm are common in people with BPD. Suicidal behaviour includes thinking about suicide, making suicidal gestures or threats, or actually carrying out a suicide attempt. Self-harm encompasses all other attempts to hurt yourself without suicidal intent. Common forms of self-harm include cutting and burning.
- Extreme emotional swings. Unstable emotions and moods are common with BPD. One moment, you may feel happy, and the next, despondent. Little things that other people brush off can send you into an emotional tailspin. These mood swings are intense, but they tend to pass fairly quickly (unlike the emotional swings of depression or bipolar disorder), usually lasting just a few minutes or hours.
- Chronic feelings of emptiness. People with BPD often talk about feeling empty, as if there’s a hole or a void inside them. At the extreme, you may feel as if you’re “nothing” or “nobody.” This feeling is uncomfortable, so you may try to fill the void with things like drugs, food, or sex. But nothing feels truly satisfying.
- Explosive anger. If you have BPD, you may struggle with intense anger and a short temper. You may also have trouble controlling yourself once the fuse is lit—yelling, throwing things, or becoming completely consumed by rage. It’s important to note that this anger isn’t always directed outwards. You may spend a lot of time feeling angry at yourself.
- Feeling suspicious or out of touch with reality. People with BPD often struggle with paranoia or suspicious thoughts about others’ motives. When under stress, you may even lose touch with reality—an experience known as dissociation. You may feel foggy, spaced out, or as if you’re outside your own body.(source)