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Raw and Open: Thoughts from the Borderline Community

Guest Author: Jody Betty

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

A diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is misunderstood by most. Regardless of the number of times we try to explain it nothing seems to clarify it enough that we feel truly understood. Hell, most of the time we can’t understand ourselves so trying to explain it to the average person becomes a task of selecting the right words. The only other people who could possibly comprehend the heightened emotional sensitivity and rapidity of the mood swings are those with a BPD diagnosis. No matter where you get your information on BPD you will find in common nine defining criteria:

  1. Frantic and desperate attempts to avoid any type of abandonment, imagined or real.
  2. Distorted and unstable sense of self.
  3. Unstable personal and business relationships.
  4. Impulsive reckless behaviors that are self-damaging excessive spending, unsafe sex or substance abuse.
  5. Suicidal and self-harming behavior.
  6. Periods of intense depression, anxiety and irritability lasting from an hour or two, to a few days or weeks.
  7. Inappropriate, intense or uncontrollable emotions often followed by shame and guilt.
  8. Chronic feelings of emptiness.
  9. Dissociating or disconnection from your thoughts and sense of identity.

I find one of the hardest things is the name calling.

During your research you will also run into numerous articles and opinions labeling us to be manipulative and attention seeking or that we use our illness as an excuse for our uncontrollable emotional outbursts. So instead of getting into big long explanations about each one and how they affect my life, I decided to ask people in the BPD community what they feel is the most challenging part of their illness to deal with. Here are some of the comments I received.

“It’s the sudden drop in mood that is hardest for me. For example, after having a lovely lunch with a friend, I can be driving home and all of a sudden feel suicidal. My current coping strategy, is to text two trusted friends and tell them how I feel.”

“I find one of the hardest things is the name calling…dramatic, negative, attention seeking and other thoughtless words being thrown around by loved ones claiming to support me, and even after explaining BPD and them saying they understand, the name calling continues and causes more damage.”

“For me it is the lack of verbal impulse control and instant reactions. Words are out of my mouth before I even have a chance to process what I have said, and sadly cannot be taken back once spoken, along with the guilt of having unjustifiably saying terrible things.”

“My feelings are the worst because I can feel them all the time. I know it sounds weird but I feel them physically in my chest and not so much in my head. My thoughts annoy me but my feelings are worse. There’s an entire dialectic debate conflicting in my mind between the rational and what I feel is true and I end up hurting people and feeling worthless, often to the point of being suicidal.”

“I struggle a lot with being able to saying no and setting any healthy boundaries be it friends, family or co-workers and often have difficulty recognizing what is good for me and what is bad for me. I have an intense fear of standing up for myself for fear or repercussions or abandonment.”

“The bouncing around from emotion to emotion…going from hyper to hypo sensitive and spending no time in the middle is physically and mentally exhausting.”

“The hardest part for me is my impulsivity. Having tried committing suicide six times, they have all been from rash decisions. I go from zero to waking up in a coma without thinking.”

“I am always being made out to be just too emotional because of my lack of emotional impulse control.”

“Always being on high alert for fear of abandonment which inhibits most relationships because we want to keep you close but are so afraid of you leaving we push you away when we really don’t mean to.”

“For me, it is the constant battle of resisting the urge to self-harm or self-destruct.”

“The ignorance of people about the disorder and the label attached to the word “borderline”, hence it possible being renamed in the next DSM…people are freaked out by the word Borderline which makes us highly misunderstood.”

I have an intense fear of standing up for myself.

Those are just a range of the comments that I received from people who are affected by Borderline Personality Disorder that will perhaps open your mind a bit to the insights of people with this illness. Thank you to those who reached out and opened up in order to help educate others.

Jody Betty is a guest blogger for SickNotWeak who, in her own words, is a master at the art of survival. She lives with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and is co-afflicted with MDD, Dysthymia and Social Anxiety. She has survived three serious suicide attempts and a handful of overdoses which lets her know it isn’t her time. You can read her blog “Raw and Open” posted bi-weekly on Thursdays on SNW.

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Joe
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I am diognosed with MDD, sever GAD, and complex PTSD. Doing reasearch on these has lead me down many paths both of intellectual and ontrovspective learning. After read articals and assesments and everything else i feel like i have BPD, or some form of it. But i dont know jow to talk to my doctor about it without feeling the judgement or him thinking im juat trying add something else to the list. Any thoughts would be so helpful, each day is a struggle and every morning a surprise im still here.

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