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Living with Borderline Personality Disorder

Community Member

I had absolutely no idea where to put this post, but considering I already have the depressive disorder, I'd put it here. I have just today been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder on top of the depression, does anyone on here have it and is able to summarise it? I don't quite know how to explain it to people other than by listing symptoms, which I don't really want to do. And you know that old saying, if you can't explain it simply enough, you don't truly understand it. It's a strange label.

Suffice it to say that I haven't been having a good time of it lately, and this diagnosis makes me half relieved and half unknowing, which I don't much care for. I just know it's something I will have to work at to manage, and stress aggravates it, and right now, I am nothing but stressed,

Any help is appreciated.


168 Replies 168

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Community Champion

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the link - I hadn't seen that before, but I'll have a look. It's always interesting to see what others have said.


No worries about finding it funny. I find it funny too, if it helps, I always imagine an ACME bat/hammer from the Loony Toons when I think of the analogy.

I am sitting here, absolutely amazed at how much the worries you shared are the same as mine. My biggest fear is not that I will go back to being heavily depressed, but that I will stop caring about it, and everything that goes along with it. If you care enough, you'll keep trying, you know? I have never been a fan of ignoring my problems, for the very reason you described, ignore it enough times and before you know it, you're in the worst case scenario and no contingency plans. The biggest problem I have with myself, we discussed earlier, the ability to see the train wreck that is about to happen, to tell myself repeatedly and with vehemence to stop, change direction, and yet, still have that wreck, but having done nothing to make it less of a collision/disaster.

I actually hate it where I am. It's full of triggers, it's where my origins story comes from, and I hate it. I hope to move to Canada next year, and do my Master's degree. The waiting time feels like I'm struggling against quicksand though. All the people I knew here, I tried to reconnect with last year, but they didn't really treat me well, or even like I existed.

Writing definitely makes me really feel everything I feel. I mean, I detach quite often, but writing just forces me to give it all recognition and more of a prevalence in my head. So, some days, it doesn't help. Some days it does. So, it's a gamble.

Funnily enough, for a person who can draw, horrible at colouring. The idea of staying in the lines, I'm more of a blurred lines person. Or I just go out to spite the drawing.

I can think of it this way, the number 0. It has no value, makes no effect when added or subtracted from something, its very presence means the absence of something. Identity; it's a function of the mind, a product of thinking. People identify themselves as one thing as strongly as they claim not to identify as others. Our particular disposition, we just keep saying no to a lot of things, we are changeable, but that doesn't make us any less as people. We are just a different category. you can categorise anything.

Having said all of that, I still think of myself more as a thing than a person, but maybe, it's a matter of finding that nebulous category and living with it. I'll have a think and discuss further.

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Community Champion
The train wreck made me think of another analogy (though not a funny one unfortunately). I feel like
the captain of the Titanic. I saw the iceberg and knew what it meant, but for one reason or another, hit it anyway. The impact is just massive shock, surprise and anger at myself for letting it happen. And there are lifeboats, so I’m trying to save the people because my ship is sinking and will drown everyone. But somehow I survive that sinking and am left alone and stuck in the cold water, getting increasingly numb.

What are you thinking of doing your masters in? That sounds like a good way to start again by going to a new country and going back into education. Would you be working at the same time? I just went back to uni this year to complete my honours while working full time – really hard work, but you really do learn a lot about yourself and what you’re capable of. You’ll want to have a good support network, but you might have a good group in your masters course which can be really helpful.

Interesting what you say about detaching a lot, but how writing can sometimes open you up. It might be different for you, but when I tried explaining to my psychologist how sometimes I feel all my emotions pouring out while other times I’m just stonewalling, she explained that those could be explained in terms of my schema modes. Specifically, the stonewalling is my “detached protector” mode, which basically is a way to protect myself from the pain of all the emotions, while the flood of emotions is my “vulnerable child” mode which comes out when I’m just too tired. Both are “maladaptive” modes, unfortunately, and it’s just about finding the balance where I feel and accept the emotions in a controlled manner. Does that sound familiar to you at all?

Would you think of it the same way as how a mirror is, in large part, whatever you put in front of the
mirror? But there is still something called a mirror and its sole purpose is to be whatever you put in front of it.

It seems to me like I must be something (hopefully someone), even if I am a mimic or a mime or just a changeable being. But does that make me “less” of a person if all I do is just keep changing? I don’t know and when I’m in my low points, it just makes me less confident in myself.

My question to you is, who are you trying to saving while you sink? Is this an analogy of you pushing people away because you feel like you need to save them from you? My reasons to push people away are always mixed, one of them is certainly that I want to save them from the eventual nuclear explosion that is me, other times, I am repulsed by being close to another human. But most often, I withdraw from them maybe to protect myself from more emotional stuff that happens naturally in relationships; it is hard enough dealing with my own. I do hope that you have at least one friend who can see past this. Will keep coming back no matter how far you withdraw or how hard you push, because on the good days, the feeling of having such friends is quite relieving. They are, after all, sticking around for a reason.

I want to do Master's in Biomedical Engineering. And yup, I will be working also. but part time. Right now it's part time study and full time work. I think either one will provide the same amount of stress. I had a tough Honours year, not because of work but because my dad had a heart attack and surgery with complications right around the second half of the year. I don't think I slept much at that time. What did you study?

I honestly have never before had reason to question the detachment. It was always me choosing logic over emotion. I prefer logic. But, if I am forced to face my emotions then, that is what I have to do I suppose. I mean, right now, emotions always win out, irrespective of that logic. Which is where I get trapped. But I can understand having to accept them and then, like a dimmer or a radio dial, just fine tune it. No easy feat.

I wouldn't think of it as a mirror, because I don't think I even try to mimic those I see. I pick apart what I see and employ the bits I like. If I am forced to conform to any one person, by that person, I probably wouldn't associate that person.

If it is any comfort to you, I have never thought of healthy people as those who never change. Life is all about change. Honestly, the only thing I like about myself is that I will choose to change if things aren't working out, no matter how uncomfortable I get or how bad anything gets, or how many people are saying no. I make my mind up and I do it. Physical change though, is easier than mental change.

James, you have thought, no matter how erroneous or strange. You are someone and like everyone, you decide who that is.

I've had a think, and I'll elaborate perhaps when my eyes can focus long enough (I haven't been sleeping well), but I would say not a mirror but like being a ghost. The definition of a ghost. Existing, but not quite tangible. Appearing and disappearing through space-time. Presence is felt by some, so is its absence. Not quite fitting into the world or any world at that. I would definitely say like a ghost.

I sort of get the mirror analogy now. Though, I wouldn't think of myself as the mirror, but the BPD as the mirror. You can see yourself, but can't quite connect because of it. And the furthest you can go is to touch the mirror, you can't move past it. You know what you are thinking, not knowing if your BPD image is thinking the same. Which version is the real you? Can you flit between them?

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Hi Joelle,

I’m not sure who I’m trying to save. I originally thought it was to save everyone from myself, but you made me think: am I also trying to save myself from disappointment? After my last break-up, I desperately tried to hang on to the hope that she would (finally) see who I was, that the bad bits of me were controllable, and that she’d be willing to give it another go. That maybe the diagnosis would be a moment of, “Oh, that’s why we found it tough at times.” So it really hurt when she suggested that I should talk to some of my friends, even if it was good advice, because it sounded to me like: I don’t want to deal with the bad side of you – I never did. Of course, I tell myself it’s unfair of me to expect her to support me through this period, but I feel like I’ve never known myself, and to have this image of my ex as caring for me shattered would be rough. So I don’t do anything that could break that image.

Be careful with working part time! It’s so hard to actually set your boundaries so you truly are working part time and not working full time but paid part time. Honours in Economics – I originally thought I wanted to maybe go into Federal Treasury but apparently it’s very politicised so I’m not keen on that anymore. I’m still deciding whether to continue.

Yeah, I think I’ve also always been a logical person. For me it was just a way to keep a level head, because I know I can be unreasonable and irrational, and I don’t like that side of myself. But like you say, emotions always win out and just trying to turn that dial down when you’re in the middle is so hard. Is that what you mean?

Yes, sorry I meant the mirror in terms of – when I look into the mirror, I don’t know what it is giving me. I always had doubts, but the BPD makes me really doubt whether the image projected back at me is “me” or the me which BPD has created. And then I wonder if there is a real me behind the mirror, and…I don’t know. It’s very confusing!

I think the ghost is a good way of describing how I feel when I’m detached (right now), but maybe in a slightly different way. I get up, eat and work because I have to. And if I don’t…well, then I lose all remaining purpose. My purpose of existing right now is to exist and pretend that I’m a living functioning person, but even though I’m functioning, I don’t feel like I’m living. Kind of like a ghost.

Have you ever seen the blog Hyperbole and a Half? It’s got two pretty funny but real representations of depression.

Hi James,

I'd like to say that you took the words out of my mouth. I feel the same way, just existing, and if I stopped functioning that would disappear too. I have lost the sense of why I am functioning at the moment, which makes it hard. Sometimes, I don't even feel that I am alive, or real, or that I exist. Just some elusive matter to myself.

With regard to you saving yourself, are you trying to save an image that others have of you rather than creating your own, no matter how fleeting? It's a tough question.

And yes, that is what I mean with regard to logic and emotion. There's often too much of it at once and no dial to turn it down, to be able to navigate. And when there is too much at once, it's hard to isolate to confront and then deal with. I think I am getting better in that regard, or was, until I stopped therapy. Starting up again next Saturday so...we'll see how that goes. I express and isolate my emotions much better when I write them down than when I have to talk about them.

As an international student, I will only be able to work 20 hours anyway, so it will definitely be part time, but thank you for your warning and concern, I appreciate it.

Maybe you can start with what you want to do. Work on a goal that you can build yourself around? Like I am meant to be building myself around my accomplishments (still failing at that - no quick fix I hear).

I will check out that blog, thanks. I have been following depressioncomix, uses cartoons to depict the whims of depression.

BPD is quite confusing, and there is a lot of pressure put on what I am meant to feel now, for can't I just feel the way I feel? And there is always a disconnect. That I know. Within myself, or between me and the world.

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I haven't had a chance to reply properly because I've been looking at depressioncomix...comic 180 is me EVERY single time I talk to someone about it, haha. I like comics...do you find they make you realise how silly our thoughts are? Not that we stop thinking that of course. Practicing what you preach when you have depression is so very difficult.

Ah, don't worry about replying. Is it the smile drawing? I want to pull it up but I'm at work now. A little window of BB is all I have the courage to show the people who I feel are looking but know are not. Or maybe they are.

My brother has been trying to get me into comics, but I prefer reading and using my imagination than having the picture out in front of me. But I do appreciate the art that goes into it. I also find dialogue bubbles distracting haha. This is not to say I won't give it a proper try. But I like the simplicity and the gravitas that depressioncomix has. Each one speaks to me in some way.

I wouldn't say our thoughts are silly. That's like calling a diabetic's pancreas silly. They are what they are I suppose. They could certainly be better. I hope you don't think that I think your thoughts are silly...

Very true words James...very true indeed.