HAPPY BPD AWARENESS MONTH!
So I thought I’d begin with providing a prime example of how BPD can make even the simplest of tasks a complete and utter meltdown of a challenge.
I just wanted to hang out some washing, couldn’t understand how the washing line worked and my brain instantly resorted to RAGE.
As you can see, this is the challenge I was faced with.
As a “normal” person, we would find the answer to this in a calm and logical manner.
As a BPDer, we want to have a tantrum and break things because WE JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND.
Luckily I phoned my boyfriend’s mum and she explained it to me and SUCCESS, I won.
The irony of the fact the only t-shirt with writing on here just says HORROR.
So the point of me telling you all this? Because it proves that when suffering from BPD, what most people consider to be an everyday task can be a mountainous achievement for us.
So I celebrated by having a Magnum.
Now you might be wondering why I’ve titled this washing lines and razor blades…
Well the washing line aspect is pretty obvious.
The razor blades.
Well instantly you have assumed that anything to do with mental health and razor blades must mean I’m hacking myself apart in a desperate attempt to regain control. Yes this is a very controversial topic and I am fortunate enough to not suffer from self harm in this form; I do however have a number of friends who do.
But I’m not here to talk about that.
I’m here to talk about our assumptions.
So I was in the shower, shaving my legs, getting that feeling of YESSS smooth legs, happy days that all girls get when they crack out that new razor and you don’t have to spend 20 minutes trying to make sure you’ve not missed patches. You actually feel like a Venus advert.
And I felt like any other girl, a normal girl, happy and content for that small moment.
Even though I suffer from mental health disorders, that doesn’t mean I’m not still the same person. Yes I have grown, become more knowledgable and feel I have learnt more about myself, but I am still me.
So May 2015 is Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness month.
A lot of you who regularly follow my posts and my work will know a little about what it is and that the re-evaluated definition of this Personality Disorder is actually Emotional Instability Disorder.
Some of the simple ways I explain it to people:
1) It’s often spawned from a lack of care, nurture and direction from parents and siblings when it comes down to emotional intelligence and how to channel how we feel correctly.
2) Imagine leaving a baby in a room and expecting it to speak English fluently without speaking to it. It would develop its own language. We have had to develop our own emotional language.
3) It’s almost like the opposite of Aspergers, we have TOO MUCH awareness of emotion, and we analyse everything.
BPD is more common than you realise, and these are the traits we hold:
1. Shifts in mood lasting only a few hours.
2. Anger that is inappropriate, intense or uncontrollable.
3. Self-destructive acts, such as self-mutilation or suicidal threats and gestures that happen more than once
4. Two potentially self-damaging impulsive behaviors. These could include alcohol and other drug abuse, compulsive spending, gambling, eating disorders, shoplifting, reckless driving, compulsive sexual behavior.
5. Marked, persistent identity disturbance shown by uncertainty in at least two areas.
6. Chronic feelings of emptiness or boredom.
7. Unstable, chaotic intense relationships characterized by splitting.
8. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms
To read further into this, these have been taken from: http://www.toddlertime.com/dx/borderline/bpd-traits.htm
When you don’t know about BPD or what it consists of, the reactions we give could seem ridiculous to you. Maybe over the top, over-reacting, attention seeking, stupid, making a mountain out of a molehill etc etc. But I assure you, these statements are untrue. What we are saying we feel is 100% real in our heads and it’s dangerous.
Sometimes it’s so overwhelming that we feel like death is the only option. Not because we want to die, but because we don’t want to exist.
What I find most fascinating about BPD is that we don’t have to “tick all the boxes” to suffer from the personality disorder.
So you can have two BPD sufferers next to each other, who show completely different symptoms and fall into different trait patterns. For example, as I mentioned earlier – I am fortunate enough to have never resorted to self harm, however I spent many many years spending uncontrollably and my anger is paramount in 99% of situations, especially when I can’t understand something.
I myself have actually reached the point of attempting suicide on two occasions in the last year. Not many people know about this – the first time was when I was in between homes (again) and I couldn’t cope with the lack of safe place to be and ended up driving off into the middle of nowhere, my boyfriend found me, brought me back to the place we were staying and I got so overwhelmed I tried to take all the tablets I could find. He physically had to claw them out of my mouth.
The second time I was very very drunk at my friend’s hen do, I had already begun to feel that familiar feeling of knowing my mood was about to plummet when a man in the smoking area decided to tear apart my sleeve tattoos, saying to me “who the fuck do you think you are, some kind of Lily Allen wannabe?” to which I replied “actually they are a tribute to my dead father”, the response I got from him “don’t give me that shit”. So I saw red, leapt across the table and hit him, needless to say the bouncers dragged me out. All this time my supposed ‘best friend’ carried on flirting with this group of men and that reinforced the abandonment issues I already have of friends not seeing me or my happiness as important. She then told me that it was ‘all in my head and not to blame all my issues on her.’
This is an understandable point, but I wasn’t doing that, and she couldn’t see how much mental and emotional trauma I was and still am going through.
I tried to take all my tablets again that night.
She hasn’t spoken to me since.
We were best friends for 6 years.
Fortunately I have some incredible friends around me now who I know won’t leave but if BPD was understood and awareness would spread, this situation could potentially have been prevented and I could have had the support and love I needed.
Instead we suffer from constant stigma, even from our loved ones.
So even though I am the same person as I was before my mental health disorder was diagnosed, I do also need more love and care. I have no emotional skin. I break easily but I’m beginning to work on repairing myself quickly.
Sometimes it’s not about how we protect ourselves, but how we pick ourselves back up, dust ourselves off and leave the negativity in the past.
Please take some time today if you suffer from BPD for self care.
And if you don’t suffer from it, please take some times to research and understand. The more we get understanding for this particular personality disorder, the quicker we can build up our strength again.
Doctors currently believe that this can’t be treated, so we get ignored and left at the bottom of the pile.
It’s an emotional disorder, not a chemical based one; so they can’t just fob us off with medication – we need time, care, support, love, commitment, loyalty and a tight support network.
Please remember that our anger isn’t what we mean.
Sometimes it’s our only coping mechanism.
Think about how you can’t understand us sometimes, then imagine being in our own heads when we can’t understand ourselves. Yes, that would make you want to smash things too…
Info images sourced from Charlotte Gooding.