I decided to write this because I’ve been going through this and have had a hard time finding more information on it. So I figured, personal experiences; why the hell not?
I have borderline personality disorder and was diagnosed at 16 by a psychologist I had a crush on who told me to watch “Girl Interrupted” and see if I noticed any simiarities. I did; a little. I was very unaware of everything and of the personality disordered traits I exhibited. Once I realized I actually had something wrong with me, I felt a little better; I was happy there was an explanation.
Fast forward 11 years and I’m seeking out a psychologist specializing in DBT because after much research, and fights with my partner, and self awareness, I knew I couldn’t do this by myself. So I see a new doctor who re-diagnosed me with BPD and we began treatment.
Fast forward a year and I’m now facing the existential crisis of someone who’s realized that they have no idea who the fuck they are. That every personality trait has been adopted based on who I surround myself with. That every like and interest has become a questioning game of if I really enjoy it, or am I pretending? Did I see someone do this thing or like this thing, and want to be like them, and convinced myself I do actually like it? Now I’ve known this lack of self for awhile now, but it’s becoming more clear that it’s not just a lack of identity anymore.
Most people know of BPD’s as emotionally unstable. That is a fact. We are. We have temper tantrums and extreme irrational emotions completely out of nowhere, triggered by the smallest perceived reactions or actions… We tend to freak out at the thought of being abandoned and systematically self destruct anything good in our lives because 1) We don’t deserve it and 2) It won’t last anyway, so why get attached and end up hurting more?
The part most people don’t see is the complete lack of self-identity they have. The lack of a core self that makes a person a real person. If you’re a BPD like me, you’ve probably prided yourself on being a chameleon; able to adapt to whomever you’re around. A jack of all trades, but a master of none. You’d make a fantastic spy…
But then you realized that you have no concept of reality. What is real? What is perceived? What is made up in my head? Do I actually like this thing; this person? Am I really in love or are they just paying attention to me and making me feel a little more complete and a little less alone? Are these emotions real? Am I making this up? Do I even know who I am?
No. The answer is no. You don’t know who you are because you’ve based yourself and your life and everything about you on the people you’ve surrounded yourself with. Say you lose those people; then what? You have nothing. You’ve lost yourself. And people wonder why we’re so afraid of being abandoned. It’s not just having a person leave; it’s losing everything you thought you were.
Now as I wrote this, my thoughts switch from, “Oh, this makes sense.” to, “Goddammit, you’re just being dramatic again.” Am I? I don’t fucking know. It’s possible. But I don’t think I’m the only BPD that feels this way. While BPD does fall in the Dramatic Personality Disorders, Cluster B, so many people excuse the drama as just that; drama. But to me, it’s so very real. Logic and reasoning don’t intervene when going through an episode and irrationalities take over so completely, that you can’t even fucking think straight. All you have is emotions; usually anger. And it’s so overwhelming, you literally have no recourse except to get it out; whether that be self injury, destruction, impulsivity, or healthy coping skills like going for a run or walking REALLY hard down an icy street, half praying you’ll fall and a car will hit you.
I’m now at the point where my life is calm enough that I can begin practicing DBT regularly and since I have been able to, I feel more hopeless than ever. This doesn’t just go away. DBT isn’t a cure all. It’s a coping skill. It helps. It makes it easier. But it doesn’t rewire your brain to the point where you have none of the irrational thoughts anymore.
Face it: You grew up in trauma and it became normal for you. Now you’re in the real world and maybe you’ve created a non-traumatic environment for yourself, but you don’t know how to fucking handle non-traumatic. It’s not your norm. So some part of your head obsesses until you create a problem which you can use to create a traumatic environment, even though everything was fine, because it’s all you fucking know.
You’re stuck in a world where you don’t know what’s healthy or not. It blew my fucking mind when my partner told me that most couples don’t have passionate, all out, sometimes violent screaming matches. Who the fuck knew? I thought passionate meant when angry, happy, in love… Extremes. Now I find out I was wrong.
Which leads me to my current dilemma: What else do I think is normal that isn’t? What else am I doing wrong? How can I even function in society when I can’t even trust my own brain? Where my truths are false and my facts are not, and my beliefs and so-called values are based on a dysfunctional household; yet, I feel so conflicted because I love my parents and siblings so much?
How can I trust anything if I can’t trust myself? Who do I fucking trust? I’m literally lost right now. I’m lost in a world where nothing’s what it seems and all I can do is keep my mouth shut because when I open it, people don’t understand. I’m dramatic, or selfish, or crazy, and really, I just want to know what to believe and who to trust.
I want these irrationalities and mood swings to stop. I’m practicing DBT from the moment I wake up, until the moment I fall asleep, and I’m so fucking exhausted and hopeless. How can I expect anyone to deal with me when I can’t even deal with myself? How can I drag people through this hell with me knowing I’m hurting them; pretty convinced I’ll relapse at some point, and feeling the very relationships I have based my life on are on the brink of falling apart because of me?
Why the fuck do I have to start over and relearn everything I’ve learned until now?
Seriously, is it any wonder that BPD’s have such a high rate of suicide? It’s a wonderful thought, but nothing I want to do just yet. Ideation suites me fine. But to just be past this, to feel like I’m real, to not dissociate or have to have my partner tell me I’m being weird before I realize it, to not have to stay quiet because I know what I’m about to say is valid, to not cause so many fucking fights over things I think are true and real but aren’t…
I am so fucking tired.
Someone will read this and just chalk it up to some whiny little girl being dramatic and thinking she has it worse than everyone else.
No. For fucks sake, no. Imagine you broke your leg and need help. Or you’re sick. It’s the same thing except you can’t fucking fix it. There’s no cure. You are a flawed and fucked up individual who is not even a real individual. And you have to resign yourself that you’ll be that way forever. That your broken leg needed to be amputated and now, even with treatment and meds and prosthetics, you’ll never have a real leg again. Only you’ve always never had your leg so you don’t even know there’s anything wrong until you try to walk after seeing someone else do it and fall flat on your face. And you’re stuck like that forever.
It’s the same. You’re fucked. You can’t cure it; only treat it. And you can only pray to your non-existent god that you won’t fuck your life up over this, even though it’s what you deserve.