What Is It Like Living With Borderline Personality Disorder?

Updated on March 25, 2020
Kyler J Falk profile image

Psychology is a shaky science at best. Better to stay skeptical and observe things impartially and in earnest.

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Living with borderline personality disorder is not a walk in the park, and I want those of you who are living with it to have some comfort in knowing you aren't alone. I've suffered from this disorder for so long without knowing it that I felt I must just be some freak, some weirdo, who'd be better off finding a hole in the wall to crawl into and die. Nothing could be further from the truth, and considering my past full of abuse and neglect, it makes sense that I have developed a disorder to coincide with those happenings.

The Generalized Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

I'm not looking to parrot and hand out a bunch of scientific data on borderline personality disorder; we all know how to use Google and other search engines. However, I do want to share what it is my borderline personality disorder causes me to suffer from. These symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Body dysmorphic disorder symptoms
  • Deep self-loathing
  • Grandiosity
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Hyper-sexuality
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Fits of rage
  • Depression
  • Prolonged emotional responses
  • Unstable relationships
  • Mania

This is not the entire list of symptoms I suffer from, but this will do as a general overview of what it is I feel on a weekly basis. I'd like to explore these symptoms now, and explain what a day in my life is like.

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A Day in the Life

Being in the midst of a manic episode as I write this, I would like to tell you what a day in the life of borderline personality disorder looks like. Of all the symptoms I suffer from, mania is my favorite, but also the scariest. Let's delve into it.

I woke up this morning, maybe around four or five while it was still dark, and despite not having slept for very long, I felt more well-rested than I have in quite some time. In fact, I felt not only well-rested but sexually aroused, and ready to eat the entire world. This sounds healthy, but I only slept a few hours and just yesterday I was in a severe paranoid depression born of nothing.

With this mania comes a deep grandiosity and impulsive charge that, when I seek to indulge its every whim, can cause serious damage to my life. It is within this manic episode that I will go out and approach every person I see and charm them; it wouldn't be the first time I would hop into bed with a complete stranger. At such a heightened arousal and energy level people are often drawn to me, and indulging myself is extremely hard to resist.

Even worse is when the mania leads me to act on my frequent suicidal ideation, feeling so confident and energetic I also lose my sense of danger. In the same energy most would find positive, you can see me disregarding my own safety, walking into oncoming traffic just to see if cars will be able to stop before they hit me. During these high energy fits, extreme sports and excessive working out are my muses.

Should anyone try to stop me, or "bring me down", they will soon see themselves disregarded and hated by me. Further pressing of a "calmer reaction" to my manic episode will then see them yelled at, and me disappearing for some time. Manic episodes always end with extreme guilt, self-loathing, shame, and depressed anxiety/paranoia.

I'm sure at this point you have a firm grasp around the extreme polarity of the emotions that can be felt in borderline personality disorder, and every phase has the same extreme polar weight. I'd like to explain some options for dealing with these serious symptoms.

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FYI

If you ever feel like you are spinning out of control, with nowhere to turn, and your self-treatment just isn't working, then make it a priority to get in touch with a practicing clinician so they can put you back on the right track. We all need a point in the right direction every now and then, and seeking help is nothing to be ashamed of!

How I Treat My BPD

I'm not about to spout off a bunch of different, near-copy/paste treatments you could undergo for borderline personality disorder. There is nothing I can stand less than ideologues and their peers who seek to spout advice like I'm some sort of infantile adult in need of a hand-holding mother figure. That is actually a really important part of treating borderline personality disorder, however, having the freedom to choose the way you treat your problems.

Due to the vast amount of different symptoms for borderline personality disorder, and the chaotic nature of experienced emotions and symptoms, a strict regimen against the will of the sufferer tends to do more damage than it does good. I know that if you tell me I need pills and therapy, try to force them on me or tell me I have no choice, I'll disappear from the face of the earth or even get violent with you. This isn't a healthy response, I don't encourage violence and self-destructive behavior, I'm just saying this for clarity, and to emphasize the necessity of choice within self-treatment. The clinical approach is actually the best choice for some individuals, just not for me.

The way I treat myself without any clinical help:

  • Recognizing what mentality I am in
  • Allowing myself to feel my emotions rather than being ashamed
  • Asking myself if I'm damaging myself or others
  • Recognizing my level of functionality in my current mindset
  • Talking it out with someone else to stay grounded in reality
  • Repeating past traumas to make sense of them where I can
  • Writing about my experience so I do not feel alone
  • Slowly and realistically setting goals to move away from the unhealthy mindset
  • Taking time to stop whatever I am doing to calm down, no matter what it is and how long it takes me to do so

We all have different ways of treating ourselves but the most important thing to do, from my perspective, is to make sure I recognize my self-destructive behaviors and the mentalities that cause me to act upon them, before they take hold. So long as I actively observe myself, let myself feel what I need to feel without restrictions like shame and guilt, but weigh the consequences of my actions before taking them, then I tend to function much better.

Sometimes, if not for your own safety then for the safety of everyone around you, it is best to just walk away. I tend to walk away from doctors and clinical treatment because the therapeutic process is too callous for me, and pills often make me feel like I'm masking what I should be allowed to feel. This doesn't mean that you should avoid clinical treatment, however, because your freedom of choice is the most important aspect of treating the problem. If it helps in treating your symptoms, without causing you further damage, do it!

Do you or does someone you know suffer from BPD?

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You Aren't Alone

I wrote this article because I want you to know that, despite what you feel all the time, you are not alone. There are those of us out here who wish we could congregate and provide each other with the love and acceptance we seek. You don't need to feel hopeless and alone, nor do you need to beat yourself up so much, you deserve better and no matter what you do you always will.

Try to keep your head held high, and don't let all those judgmental individuals with their ignorant opinions get you down. Borderline personality disorder is not something to be ashamed of, nor should you try to escape from it as if it were an abusive parent, it is a part of you that we must learn to work with and treat with sensitivity.

Don't give up, please, I'm right there with you and you can always come and talk it out free from judgment.

Where to Get Help

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to everyone. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. All calls are free and confidential. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency.

Helpful Resources for Borderline Personality Disorder and Other Symptoms

If you would like to know more about the condition of borderline personality disorder, or someone you know is in crisis, please find out what the appropriate actions are to take in your situation.

Borderline personality disorder is a very serious condition, and you should never seek to take matters into your own hands without proper knowledge, training, and guidance. Make sure you and those affected know what treatments are available and that there is no shame in seeking help.

A common disorder that comes along with borderline personality disorder is body dysmorphic disorder. Body dysmorphic disorder can be extremely damaging, even to the point of becoming fatal, and it is important to know the facts and appropriate responses for someone suffering a BDD crisis. Please, always seek help when it is necessary, you could be saving a life.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Questions & Answers

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      • ValKaras profile image

        Vladimir Karas 

        7 weeks ago from Canada

        I am gone.

      • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

        Kyler J Falk 

        7 weeks ago from Corona, CA

        Of course I'm going to delete every comment that seeks to harass me with condescension and performative cruelty. I laid out why it is you are not to speak to me unless it is presented fairly, I've established a file for harassment litigation against you if this gets out of hand just as I did for your "followers" who attacked me on your behalf, and I'm going to continue to delete everything that seeks to harass me over the topic of my mental health.

        Please, for both of our sake, just stop. You've already been given your cease and desist warning, and because I cannot flat out block you here I'll be adding cyber-stalking to the harassment allegations if you do not leave me be. Your ongoing behavior is threatening, and I don't want my article removed because you wish to cause conflict in the comments for the purpose of seeing me distressed.

        You've gotten your wish, I'm becoming more and more distressed, now go.

      • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

        Kyler J Falk 

        7 weeks ago from Corona, CA

        If you can't see why I have a problem with your tone and behavior, after all these explanations and warnings both public and private, after I have had to warn your "followers" of possible litigation, then I truly hope that you do stay away this time like I have requested multiple times now. I don't associate with people who cannot respect the ethics of writing as it concerns private conversations, but you have great insights when you don't seek to harass people with veiled cruelty and biting wit for things they shared in confidence.

        Shame on me for not following the wisdom of "The Scorpion and the Frog", but I had hoped for a better outcome between you and I seeing as we had great public exchanges the other day. I'll take you at your word this time, as if I have any other choice.

      • ValKaras profile image

        Vladimir Karas 

        7 weeks ago from Canada

        Kyler -- I respect your wish that I don't write any further comments. One thing remains to be cleared though before I disappear. I am not "backing off" because you threatened to report me to the HP. Namely, I don't give a rat's ass if I would get either banned or even if my account would be closed.

        I wish you good luck in your writing venture, and I mean it. If you knew me better, you would know that I always mean what I say. I also wish you to eventually find some kind of peace.

        I had a need to say this, and now you won't hear from me anymore, not on this hub, not on any other. I hope you won't characterize these last words as a "harassment" too.

      • ValKaras profile image

        Vladimir Karas 

        7 weeks ago from Canada

        Kyler -- As you wish -- nothing from me anymore. Bye.

      • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

        Kyler J Falk 

        7 weeks ago from Corona, CA

        Once again, I'm going to ask you to stop seeking to harass me. It is not warranted, appreciated, nor legal.

        There is a reason I discontinued my exchanges with you, and in a fit of anger you published conversations expressed in confidence. I'm not going to play your ongoing games of harassment.

        As I said, feel free to comment here without harassing me, as I'm always open to those who present things fairly. However, this is your cease and desist warning, you will not get another, and I will be contacting HubPages if the harassment continues.

        I'd much rather we settle this civilly, or at the very least go our own way as I am attempting to do.

      • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

        Kyler J Falk 

        7 weeks ago from Corona, CA

        I'm sorry, Vladimir Karas, but I am not the type to allow private conversations expressed in confidence to be publicized. Especially not when one is being intentionally discriminatory, inflammatory, and judgmental to the point of harassment. Thus I must remove your comment.

        I'll answer your condescending, patronizing question despite not being able to leave your comment up.

        "What do you call all others who honestly and friendly... want to at least show an interest and good will to be of some help?"

        I accept the advice of such individuals who are truly honest and friendly in their presentation, even if I do not apply it I accept it.

        Please feel free to comment here on my Hubs, but if you cannot part from your criticizing and condescension, then you will continue remaining in the dark as it concerns my situation you see fit to continue harassing me about.

        If you seek to ask fair questions, questions that seek to understand the situation rather than harass me, you will come to understand these things you so cruelly refer to as "paradoxes" as they concern my level of intelligence.

        Until you can change your attitude, expect to have any cruel/harassing comments removed.

      • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

        Kyler J Falk 

        2 months ago from Corona, CA

        A wonderful, and very important question to ask; the answer to that is ever-evolving I would say. As of now, he is unable to understand why it is I ask everyone to get away from me, to give me some time, and every now and again just wander off on my own. I'd say, in a speculative manner, that as he grows up it will not only allow me to remain as disciplined as I am now but to teach him the value of understanding others and the things they do that don't seem to make much sense.

        I think, concisely, as he grows up my own problems will allow him the opportunity to see strength in weaknesses and ultimately overcome them despite the seeming futility of fighting against them sometimes.

        Time will offer the true answer to that question, however, but I plan to remain strong and only get stronger for him and my family.

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 

        2 months ago from Central Florida

        Kyler, I commend you for recognizing the various episodes and proactively doing something about them on your own. That takes a very strong person. Many others, I think, would not be so cognizant.

        One thought that crossed my mind as I was reading this: how does your borderline personality disorder affect Lucien?

      • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

        Kyler J Falk 

        2 months ago from Corona, CA

        I'm sorry that you couldn't get proper help from a clinician, Holley, and I often feel the same about any that I see. You should never be made to feel like you need to hide, especially not by those that claim to care about you the most. If there is anything I can do to help you, feel free to let me know. We all deserve to heal. Thank you for sharing that intimate information.

      • Holley Hyler profile image

        Holley Hyler 

        2 months ago from Upstate New York

        I know what you mean about the callousness; I resonate with some of the symptoms you've listed and went to a psychiatrist a couple of years ago to see if I have this. However, the psychiatrist seemed lacking in empathy and didn't help me get any closer to understanding myself. I didn't feel comfortable talking openly with him. Thank you for the sensitive and non-judgmental approach to this. I know firsthand that it just takes one insensitive person to make you want to hide forever. I don't really talk to my loved ones about this anymore.

      • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

        Kyler J Falk 

        2 months ago from Corona, CA

        Thanks for reading, MG!

      • emge profile image

        MG Singh 

        2 months ago from Singapore

        Nice article on borderline personality disorder. I am lucky I haven't come across anybody with this syndrome but your article brings the reality and its good to know about it.

      • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

        Kyler J Falk 

        2 months ago from Corona, CA

        @Margaret: Thank you for your kind words, and I am always happy to hear that others are striving to learn more especially as it concerns collecting personal experiences over theory. Clinical approach is always too calloused, while personal approach is always overly-sensitive, and I've always felt that no matter the disorder a blend of both is necessary. However, when I used to seek the help of physicians, they would either be too professional or too personal and it would never work out. If you remain knowledgeable you can do more good for individuals that are suffering than most doctors ever will! Thanks for reading!

      • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

        Kyler J Falk 

        2 months ago from Corona, CA

        @Raymond: I have not met many people with BPD, and those that I have are female but we all tended to agree that surrounding ourselves with positive individuals was one of the best treatments we had. Problem is, when you go through a depressive/angry phase and start lashing out uncontrollably you tend to lose those positive people and a simple phone call can't fix your life as it literally crumbles apart in your hands. I'd say it is the guilt and shame that really bring on the suicidal ideation, however, and when we find those who can stick it out through our roughest times the sting of the shame and guilt is lessened quite a bit.

      • Margaret Pan profile image

        Margaret Pan 

        2 months ago from Athens

        Kyler, this is one of the most important articles you have written. Mental health is a field that always fascinated me, and throughout my life I have done a great amount of research on it. But, theory remains theory. To be able to acquire information on this disorder through the experience of someone who actually suffers from it, is extremely important. Thank you for writing this, and never give up!

      • raymondphilippe profile image

        Raymond Philippe 

        2 months ago from The Netherlands

        I applaud you for telling us what BDP means for you and how you tackle it. It's certainly true that it's different for everyone. Especially since there are often other challenges involved. I do know that when I was still active as a volunteer on the telephone helpline for depression, we as a team usually couldn't be of much use to people with depression who also suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. It was unsatisfactory, but in most cases, we had to refer these callers. I think this info is valuable to others suffering from BPD and laypeople too.

      • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

        Kyler J Falk 

        2 months ago from Corona, CA

        Thank you for recognizing my efforts, Pamela! Choice is one of the biggest factors as it concerns treating BPD, and denying the sufferer choice is just as bad as telling them to never get better.

      • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

        Kyler J Falk 

        2 months ago from Corona, CA

        I am happy that you found some utility in my article, Donna, and I hope that individual who said that to you was not trying to hurt you in any way. Disorders should never be used as a weapon of cruelty.

        Thanks for reading!

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        2 months ago from Sunny Florida

        I think I have a better understanding of borderline personality since reading Iyour article. Kyler, it seems you do well when you can choice your own help, whether it is talking to someone or a medication. At least you are making the choice. I thought your article was very informative. Be well Kyler.

      • Donna-Rayne profile image

        Donna Rayne 

        2 months ago from Greenwood, In

        Kyler, thank you for writing this, I always wondered the signs of this because someone told me that I might possibly have this and I disagree. Your article was informative and helpful! Thank you for sharing.

        Blessings,

        Donna Rayne

      • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

        Kyler J Falk 

        2 months ago from Corona, CA

        Do you have some unspoken judgement, Ruby? You may feel free and safe to speak your judgments here so long as they aren't meant to hurt anyone. I always appreciate the perspectives of others when they're expressed appropriately.

        Thanks for reading!

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        2 months ago from Southern Illinois

        Your article is an eyeopener! I think the most important aspect I received from reading this is, stop judging someone, Who are we to judge someone's actions? I wish you the very best, Keep writing and know that God cares about us all.

      • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

        Kyler J Falk 

        2 months ago from Corona, CA

        Absolutely, and thank you Kathy, in the times I feel alone I wish I could be surrounded by those that feel the same so we could all comfort one another. Reading the stories of others and writing my own is the best I can offer in lieu of that. May we all heal and feel better!

      • The Stages Of ME profile image

        Kathy Henderson 

        2 months ago from Pa

        You write with a conviction of helping those in a similar experience. In this timing of confusion, I imagine many battling within their hearts and minds. Your reaching out is a purposeful way of helping someone feeling these same stressors. That is what this season calls us to do, help and love one another. Well done.

      • Kyler J Falk profile imageAUTHOR

        Kyler J Falk 

        2 months ago from Corona, CA

        @Bushra: Psychology is an alluring mistress, and just as unforgiving if not approached with great sensitivity. It is never too late to learn due to the availability of information on the internet, just make sure you approach it with caution and not for the purpose of diagnosing yourself or others.

        @Ivana: Thank you for the compliment and for reading!

      • Ivana Divac profile image

        Ivana Divac 

        2 months ago from Serbia

        This is very informative and on-point. Thank you for sharing!

      • Bushra Iqbal profile image

        Aishatu Ali 

        2 months ago from Rabwah, Pakistan

        Thank you, Kyler, for an informative article. I wish I'd been taught psychology at school.

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