What It's Really like Having Borderline Personality Disorder
"You're the real feelers of the world."
At first, I though I was just crazy. From the mood swings to the impulsive behaviors to the distorted self image and excess sensitivity, I thought I was losing my mind. It took many visits to the doctor and therapist, and two inpatient hospitalizations to finally be diagnosed with BPD. The general symptoms of BPD are mood swings, uncertainty in how one sees themselves, viewing things to the extreme, intense anger, and impulsive behavior. I'm just going to go over how each of these symptoms makes me feel and effects my life personally.
One minute, I'll be as happy as ever, lying down next to the love of my life listening to his heartbeat as I drift off to sleep. The next minute, I feel an overwhelming sadness with no explanation and with no trigger or warning. Unfortunately, this is something that can just randomly happen with BPD and there isn't much that can be done about it. Something that I have found is useful for me when I'm experiencing these dips in my mood is to actively tell my boyfriend or my mom how I'm feeling and they are always willing to talk things out with me. My medications do also help manage my mood swings.
Distorted Self Image
At the age of 1, I was 5 feet 6 inches and weighed only 120 pounds. I would exercise at least four times a week and ate fairly healthy so needless to say, I was in pretty good shape for my age. Regardless, from the ages of 15 to 18, I saw myself as fat even though everything and everyone else said otherwise. While there were other factors and disorders at play, this distorted self image led me to become bulimic. I felt that I couldn't eat anything without throwing it back up and if I didn't throw it up, I would feel overwhelming guilt and it would more than likely lead me to self harm later in the day. While everyone could see me as I truly was, I simply couldn't. Looking back at high school pictures of myself now, I see how messed up my mentality really was. I was a twig yet I continued to starve myself.
Viewing Things To The Extreme
One extremely tell tale sign that you have BPD is viewing things to the extreme. In other words, I'm effected by the slightest things. For example, if someone were to even slightly raise their voice at me, it would bring me to the verge of tears and I would have the feeling that they hated me. If a friend were to not text back for a long time, I would be under the impression that they hated me and never wanted to talk to me again. One time, I was trying to take an injured bunny to the vet and it died on the way there. This event alone led me to feel extreme guilt and hurt myself. To be honest, I remember that bunny well to this day. While you feel the bad things to the extreme, the same goes with the good things. When a TV show or a movie has a happily ever after, I feel a strong sense of joy. When I'm out in nature, I'm almost brought to tears with how beautiful the world can be. And I'm happy.
This symptom, for me personally, is the most dangerous. I get an idea in my head and I just have to do it right away. That right there is the story of how I got my second tattoo and why I changed my hair color. But this impulsive behavior is what started me down the road of self harm, as well as my first, and thankfully only, suicide attempt. Without getting into too much detail, I got the feeling that i needed to hurt and that I needed to die and my impulsive behavior pushed me to carry it out.
You're not crazy and you're not weird if you have BPD. It may make things more difficult but I know that we can prevail. As a bit of a nicer note to end on, this is something that my therapist told me that has helped me cope with this disorder and I hope sharing it will help someone else,"we need people like you, people with BPD. You're the real feelers of the world. You can experience things that no one else can. You have the capability to feel such strong happiness that others may not be able to feel. While that great happiness comes with great sadness, that's what makes you strong."