The Experience of Borderline Personality Disorder – Part 2 of 11
“It is important to appreciate that once in hell, it is possible to climb out of it. -Marsha Linehan”
What is it like to be a borderline?
Lonely. Deep-space lonely, even when in a crowd. I want friends. I want someone to understand me. I want that bond that humans can have with one another but I have never had. Author 23 (p. 165)
What seemed to simply bother others would send me into intense, convulsing panic or anger. It was as if my brain would instantly kick into overdrive the moment any external stimulations crossed me. I would perceive a neutral expression as anger or hostility toward me, which would cause me to become frightened and overwhelmed by paranoia. Periodically, a small commitment from someone with keep me from sleeping for days, if not weeks. I was drowned by self-hatred that would get reinforced by these perceptions and reactions from my hypersensitivity. Complete anguish filled the rest of the gaps inside of me. As a result of my difficulties, day-to-day tasks were debilitating for me to try to accomplish. My insides seem to shrivel away and turn to ashes before I could even get out of bed in the morning. Oftentimes, the intense stress and anxiety would provoke hallucinations and even stress-triggered seizures. Author 8 (p. 56)
Throughout my life, I had always been competent, accomplished, and well put together, but suddenly, the pain that I carried could no longer stay hidden. I had spent the years prior to the diagnosis using alcohol, drugs, food, lack of food, and boys to avoid confronting the pain inside of me. And it worked. I prided myself on being completely broken on the inside but wearing my mask so well that no one would ever know. And even though the storm had been brewing for quite some time, I never thought it would actually erupt. Author 12 (p. 85)
What is it that drives the urge to self harm when one is in the midst of unbearable emotional pain?
“Changer le mal de place,” as my mother would say in French. It means putting the pain in a different place.
People up and stare at my wrists. There’s nothing ambiguous about those scars. I wear my insides card into my outside. I can feel as if the ugliest parts of me are on display, and people, well they stare. these scars are pain that life has tattooed on me when I was too weak.
Living is not something everyone is born with. Some of us have to learn how to do it, over and over again. Author 20 (p. 146)
And what is it that drives the urge to survive?
Living with BPD is a battlefield. I am learning about my triggers and how to avoid them, yet there are still many triggers that at times I didn’t know were even there. Every now and again, I’ll step on one of those landmines, or triggers, and am hit with my own self-destruction, but it is a battle I am not willing to lose, because it means my life. Author 17 (p. 126)
The next entry of this series on Pearls from Beyond Borderline will focus on the experience of receiving a diagnosis of BPD.
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