What Is It Like Living With Borderline Personality Disorder?
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
- Impulsive behavior
- Self-destructive behavior
- Suicidal ideation
- Fits of rage
- Prolonged emotional responses
- Unstable relationships
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.
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.
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?
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.