I figure you’d better know something about me if I want you to read my musings.
As of August 2021, I’m 40 years old and have what’s called either Borderline Personality Disorder, or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder.
Either acronym is correct as the only difference is the age of the names; BPD came first in the 1930’s and then EUPD much more recently as people questioned whether BPD encapsulated all the symptoms presented by the disorder.
“Psychoanalysts like Otto Kernberg defined borderline as a middle level of personality organization between psychosis and neurosis. People with BPD were described as having "primitive" psychological defenses such as splitting and projective identification”
“Today far more is known about BPD. Now BPD is recognized as a disorder characterized by intense emotional experiences and instability in relationships and behavior that begins in early adulthood and manifests itself in multiple contexts (for example, at home, and at work).
In addition, experts have recognized that there is a strong genetic component to BPD.
According to the DSM-5, in order to be diagnosed with BPD, a person must meet these criteria:
A pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self image, and emotions
Frantic efforts to avoid real or imaged abandonment
Impulsivity that is self-damaging
Recurrent suicidal behavior
Chronic feelings of emptiness
Inappropriate, intense anger
Transient stress related to alternations in reality”
That’s the last time I’ll snip a section of someone else’s work, but you can see why I did.; BPD - I’m not bothered about the naming conventions- is pretty complicated.
I got diagnosed by my GP at age 38 following a mental breakdown, which itself followed a breakdown of parts of my body.
In hindsight all the signs were there but I thought that I just had to keep going, to clear our debts and to start earning some real money so my family and I would be secure, happy etc.
Didn’t work. I remember finally chucking it in when I went sick at work.
I’d been telling my management for months that I wasn’t doing well, I was more angry, more depressed, I was starting to feel more and more desperate and suicidal.
They ignored me of course, right up until I went into my bosses office with my wife, in floods of tears and told them that I was going sick with depression, stress and anxiety, all things diagnosed by my GP at that time.
They stared at me as if I was talking a foreign language and got the admin forms out.
They took some details and then I got my daysack, kissed my wife (she worked at the same depot and also got screwed over by them too) and then went outside, sat at the smoking area and called every helpline that I could think of.
I called Combat Stress, Walking with the Wounded, NHS TILS service and others I can’t remember now but my pleas were the same, please help me, I’m struggling, I feel suicidal and no one at work who was meant to be managing me gave a shit; all they cared about was that their good worker, who historically cleared all his work everyday, had had the temerity to break.
I went home and just sat on the kitchen floor, rocking myself and crying my eyes out, screaming at the walls, wishing that the floor would open up and just fucking get it over with as I was heartily sick of life and the pain it brought.
This wasn’t even the worst of it as I descended further into the chaos of my mind over the next few months.
I got medically retired by an uncaring company and then tried temp work as a lorry driver as I’d done all my licenses in the preceding two years as a means to escape the company and further my earning potential.
It was a good idea that almost worked, until I started having blazing headaches, so bad they were up to migraine levels.
You can’t work as a lorry driver if you’re unsafe to drive strangely, and that final setback just broke me completely.
Trace had to drive me, paranoid and twitching after an “event” whilst I was on Pregabalin and I’d had too much booze, to the GP and I sat there crying whilst Trace told her what was going on.
She tentatively diagnosed borderline personality disorder and we went from there.
Now, some people respond very well to prescription meds.
Out of all the ones I’ve tried, there aren’t many that suit me, as I seem to get a lot of the side effects and so feel more suicidal than I should for example, plus I have chronic headaches which are at least in part down to cluster headaches, tension headaches and sinusitis. Meds tend to increase my headaches to the point of fuzzy vision in one eye and a splitting headache at various points round my skull.
Anyway, my doc put me on some mood stabilisers called Quetiapine which are meant to help level out the raging chemical war inside your body; they worked but zombied me out to the point of being almost asleep most of the day for a month, and even then I was going around in a daze all the time.
I just couldn’t function on those so weaned myself off and I’ve been meds free since, other than painkillers for the heads and a spliff for sleep.
That was 2 years ago now, and I’ve made leaps and bounds in the last 6 months, particularly recently.
I enrolled with my personality disorder service who in conjunction with the charity CPSLMind are running a 20 odd week Dialectical Behaviour Therapy course based around mindfulness.
That, coupled with writing has been incredible for me and has led in a very roundabout way to you reading this, so hi reader, thanks for getting this far.
I’ve led a weird life and I hope you stick around to hear about random tales from Iraq as a reserve soldier, or sat in the smoking room at the hospital, years ago now, listening to the random medics talk about their work and lives, or how about hearing what it’s like to live with all of this day to day, what works, what doesn’t?
Stick around and listen to my Tales from the Toolshed as I’m about to start work with The Veterans Hub (County Down, UK) as a Staff Writer and Journalist so there’ll be plenty more where this came from.
Justin “Jud” Haywood