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Living with Borderline Personality Disorder

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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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Aha that smile one was gold too. The smile comes up in quite a few - there's a good one where the girl's at a cafe with a smile, and she gets a break to just "be me". No, this one's about unloading on other people, then instantly feeling guilty. Yes, each comic is so true about a targeted bit of depression. I find it amazing how some people can be so talented that way.

Do you read quite a bit then? I used to read but I find it really hard now to focus.

Hmm...I think it's more: I create images of how the world, myself and others around me, should be. Every time this image is wrong, that just shatters me because I don't understand my world anymore. This image is, in part, how I see myself (which I don't know anymore), but also how others see and treat me. Which then means I need to continue to project an image and maintain that image. But that image is different for each person because I try to make myself likeable, or simply because that was how they first met me. My ex's image of me was carefree - and I tried to keep that up, but you can't really be too carefree in a relationship because relationships require work. So it feels like I'm always projecting images of myself, only to have them broken in the end. Which sucks of course.

It sounds good that your starting therapy again, but less good that you've started because times have been tough. If you'd like to share, I'm happy to listen.

I think disconnect really sums up both being BPD and the BPD diagnosis. The worst bit, or one of them, is I just don't feel like I can 100% trust myself anymore, because...well, I don't know who or what I'm trusting.

Have you watched silver linings playbook, and if so, what'd you think?

Yea, the guy is talented. I think we each have our ways of expression. I'm certain if tried, we could find yours.

Like you, I used to, a lot. But, finishing a book now is quite the accomplishment, because I also lose focus, and I get obsessive and then frustrated. So, small doses now. I do listen to audiobooks though.

That's a very dangerous way of living James, creating so many versions of yourself, to project, tailored to the other person, and not really yourself. Have you brought this up with your psychologist? It might be worth exploring. I never really did that to the extent you have, it would seem, but I have projected diluted versions of myself. And letting someone see the concentrate version of my crazy makes me freak out that I've lost that person for good. And then that deflates me because I have shared a piece of me after all. And angry that someone could just take the piece for granted. Then I close off.

I was where you are now actually, entirely lost from myself from the world, I feel I am a bit better now, though the depression has really kicked in. But in terms of identity, it definitely helps to have a purpose, even if it ends up being fruitless. Maybe, you are struggling so much is because what you thought you wanted in economics has been jaded, and your relationship ending the way it did. Obviously, I'm not really in a position to make suggestions really, but I think it helped me. There is something, even if someone else has to remind me about it, there is something, that for now I think I want.

Thank you for the offer of listening, it is reciprocated. I'm just caught up in the present moment and feel I'm losing myself in the moment, depression is sucking me out of this world, and I am losing energy to hold on to the things that could keep me grounded, and very much here. As you said earlier, simply just existing, with the added knowledge/stress of how much laxity I am showing with regard to the things that can get me out of here and to a better place as each day passes. And each day passes so slowly that I am hyper aware of it all.

I am with you on that, the self trust is gone. I self harmed after over a year of managing without. After that, my whole world shook. I haven't been able to stand again. I'm getting help.

I have seen it, and I loved the movie. Never really considered it properly from a mental health aspect. Will watch it again. What about you, you brought it up specifically, why?

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Yes, I’ve realised that creating so many versions of me is destructive. It’s exhausting flipping versions of me from meeting friend A to friend B. Worst of all? Meeting friend A and friend B at the same time. Which is why I never have big parties, and why I’m afraid of ever getting married with a wedding – I’d probably just not invite people, haha.

Like you, I also freak out whenever I accidentally let someone see behind the image in case they feel lied to when they see something they don’t like. This time, I deliberately went around and broke all those images myself. But I hope that they’ll just think it was depression distorting me, and not that they really are fake personas. I mentioned this behaviour to my psychologist and hopefully schema therapy will delve into it. I’ll let you know how that goes.

I think I know what you mean by being caught up in the present moment and being hyper aware. People often say at work “wow, the day passed quickly.” I look at them and just think to myself “if only time would skip by that quickly for me too.”

Another weird analogy: I feel like, if people were robots, everyone else has rechargeable batteries but I’ve lost my charger. So I shut everything off to the bare existence level for self-preservation, but every now and then something sets me off and drains me even more, which is a double whammy because not only have I lost more battery, I’m aware that I’ve lost more battery and that thought is draining in itself.

Joelle, it sounds like you ended up in a very bad place, and getting help (tomorrow/Saturday week?) is really brave. I don’t know what set it off, but it sounds like it’s worth addressing that in the future.

I’m curious to hear whether you agree/d with your diagnosis – before it, when you got it, and now. I used to wonder if I was just “weak” and everyone also dealt with the things I do but more effectively, but that view’s changed obviously. My psychologist says she doesn’t believe in diagnoses because 1) if it’s all on a spectrum, where’s the cut-off; and 2) our answers to questionnaires change. But she said that for BPD, it’s about looking at our past and controlling how it affects our present and future selves, rather than “curing” it.

I thought Bradley Cooper played the tortured mentally ill person really well. There are moments where he flips out in his manic state, then realises and you can just see in his eyes all the guilt and sadness that he carries with him all the time.

Hah, I wouldn't want a wedding either. I have always said I would elope and let people know. Or they can have the reception without me.

Definitely keep my updated. My image problems are more centered around myself. I always wished or imagined me entirely different to how I was, that when confronted with the very low to non existent opinion I have of myself, it would be very damaging. There are days when I think there is no difference between me and a table or something. Or even less. That I'm not actually alive. Or my existence is some sick joke being played on me.

I get that analogy. Very well put. The draining seems to be ceaseless.

I have ended up in a bad place, my psychologist is next Saturday, but thank you for saying I am brave. It's very much situational this time. I'm in a land full of triggers. My body is a trigger in itself, so that on top of other triggers. No good.

I agree with it. Definitely. It actually make sense, and I can accept that I have those symptoms, most of them, some to a higher degree than others. Before it, I was thinking I was a very weird thing. With a touch of madness or something. I have been tracing the behavior I have been exhibiting back to when I was like 8 or something and I've been getting more and more troubled that this blackness was just in me, laced or woven into the very energy that dives me. The day I got it, I was quite relieved that I had an answer. That with an answer, a plan of action can be made. Structure put into a world where chaos was reigning, and not the good kind of chaos. Now, I've gone back to feeling like a freak. That I can't trust myself. I wonder if everything I do is me doing it, if it's me wanting it. I spent all this effort before on justifying my actions to others, and now I feel like I have to justify them to me, because I'm skeptical about all of it. The student counsellor suggests I stop wondering what I should be feeling, and address what I am feeling. But as you say, more about managing than about curing. Logically, I agree with your psychologist, where is the cut off. I think the problems we face is that we cannot see that cut off. we think we do not own/control our own thoughts/emotions and yet we are defined by them. A mind f*** essentially. And we are in constant flux, change is a part of life, but I guess, we are too frequently changeable.

Bradley Cooper did play it well. Are you feeling a bit tortured? Out of characters.

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No, that really is no good. And being surrounded by triggers just makes withdrawing into your own shell seem so much more attractive, and this is meant to be counterproductive as well! If you feel comfortable, i'd love to keep hearing about how your session goes in a week's time. Even though time goes so slowly, at least it's booked in and you know it's there!

I find it interesting that you've tracked how you behaved differently to others. I think I've just tried to ignore it and push it aside all this time, telling myself that the real "me" was blah-characteristics, when i just always felt out of place and wrong somehow. And now, I keep wondering "am I just putting this on as well, and trying to be diagnosed with BPD so I have an explanation for why I feel so wrong?" But then I realise it's not really a "normal" thing to be thinking anyway, and that's enough to convince me that I should be seeing a psychologist haha.

"we are too frequently changeable" - yes, and that's the crappy bit. Changing identities due to changing, emotions, sense of self-worth, thoughts...all my friends change but at least they are, at times and in some ways, "fixed" in who they are.

I find mental illnesses really interesting because you feel the same things that other people feel and do the same things that other people do, but to a different extent. A friend told me a story about a woman who was hyper-empathetic and she would feel whatever she saw. E.g. she couldn't eat with other people, because if she saw them eating, she'd feel like someone was force feeding her. So she was normal in every way except she felt empathy to a completely debilitating extreme. And it seems with BPD, it's like a hypersensitivity to our thoughts, emotions and other people's thoughts and emotions, so who knows which we should trust?

Tortured? By myself, for sure. By others, sometimes, but mostly because I over analyse what they are thinking. I fall into the classic text/no reply/they must hate me so i hate them too/oh they replied i'm an idiot thought pattern, haha. I also go by the "fake it till you make it" rule with everything, but that gets me into trouble when I start faking different personas and believing different things about myself! So yes, tortured, but really only by myself.

Do you know anyone else personally with BPD or another personality disorder?

Hi James,

I will certainly let you know how it goes, thanks for taking an interest. I know I will get more anxious as the day comes closer, so much riding on it being a good connection.

It just comes naturally to me. Note the differences, and wonder if it's me or them that is being unreasonable or different. Hmmm...trying to fit the condition to you. You come across as reasonable or logical, I think if you didn't have it, you would be less troubled by the symptoms and keep searching for another answer as opposed to be quite shaken by it. Does that make sense?

I find mental illness interesting too, but frustrating because it is something you cannot purely quantify, because of the variety that exists within the same diagnosis.

My brother recently told me, and a friend, that who I am never changed. Every decision I made based on my thoughts and emotions, every goal I have, this diagnosis doesn't make them any less of value than before. All that has changed is my knowledge. It's hard to accept, I know, because it is very personal. But, the logical part of me knows that they are right. I suppose, finding that middle ground is reconciling the two.

Self torture rings true. With me also. I understand that situation all too well.

Nope, there is only me amongst the people I know. You?

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Yeah, I think regardless of what I had, I'd always be looking for an answer as to why I behave the way I do, and I'll always be confused and uncertain about whatever answer I do land on. Interesting what people have told you and I think it makes sense. The trouble for me is still understanding who this unchanged person is, and the BPD seems to confuse that even more.

Funnily enough, talking to you has made me stop agonising about who "me" is. In my good moods, I decide I can just work on creating a new identity and trust in that, even mould it if I need to, but at least it's something. In my bad moods, I just don't care, haha. So thanks for giving me that peace of mind at least!

A friend of a friend has it - unfortunately, she falls into the very extreme case and doesn't want to get help. So she's very exhausting to be around.

I'm glad I could be of some help 🙂

Yea, I actually have never taken comfort in the fact that someone feels the same way I did because, well, what I feel doesn't feel good and I wouldn't wish it on anybody. I felt like a thing rather than someone. Now, I'm not saying I'm glad that you feel the same as me, but I am glad I am not alone in it, essentially. So thank you. And I am glad that on your good days you are picking and choosing an identity. It is good to hear, and great that you are trying.

I was having this talk with my mum in the car and I was giving her my opinion on a social situation and all I could think was, what use is your analysis, because what do you know. You have been told you don't react the normal way, how valuable can your input be. And I had it in my head that my mum thought that too. That was a terrible experience. More reason to stop talking, that's what I have now. BPD seems to be more of a barrier than a liberator.

Oh, that sucks the big one, on two levels, you are drained by a friend and she doesn't want to get help. Maybe she can use you as inspiration? By no means does that mean the pressure is on you. Just take your time and take care of you first.

So...new symptom, as promised...auditory hallucinations. It hit me like a train that I had them. I can trace them back a while, just brushed it off. All this stress has exacerbated it though...the symptoms of the disorder including this. So been feeling on edge and unsafe.

what's been going on for you?

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Okay here’s the synthesis of what I’ve been thinking since the beginning of the week. It has been a –very- long week, as I’ve alluded to in some of my other posts.

So the summary of this week is basically: all the “BPD symptoms” that I’ve ever suffered from, all at the same time. Really extreme reactions to mundane things, a complete explosion in my relationship with mum, constantly shifting views about my ex, upturn in my uni plans (i.e. I’ll be quitting), a binge eat and binge drink (both alone), a near miss with suicide, really severe loneliness, and complete detachment from myself. All at a time when I really thought I was getting better last weekend! Most days for me are a mix of those symptoms, but I seem to have had an especially bad week.

I think it’s hard dealing with personality disorders because 1) they affect every aspect of our lives; and 2) because they are so entrenched in who we are. And for me, the worst thing about BPD, and it might be different for you, is the identity and trust element. At a time when I’m told I can’t trust my parents, I feel like I can’t 100% trust my friends (not for any fault of theirs), and the only person I thought I 100% trusted (my ex) wants space, it would’ve been nice to at least say: I know who I am and what I enjoy. But I keep tearing down my walls and finding more walls, until I’m so tired that I give up, still no closer to my own identity. And I can start to build one again, but the old me hangs over just ready to squash new me, and sometimes it wins, so I have to start again.

I used to think that the only place I feel safe is in my dreams and make-believe worlds. I now realise that those are just more defence mechanisms and that thought was crushing: that all this time, I’m “creative” and a “story-teller” not because I want to be, but because I have to be. So I don't even feel like it's part of my identity – it’s just another wall to protect me from everything outside. I then started to see all my hobbies and everything I
do as just more defence mechanisms and excuses to deal with the sense of failure I get when I look at myself. I ended up with: I am broken walls which failed to protect the broken walls.

I’m feeling better now. I haven’t been able to move on from that thought, but in a way, I’m kind of accepting that’s how I feel now, and I’m hoping that, by continuing to do what I do, I’ll be more than failed broken walls.