Hell on Earth, a living nightmare, all-consuming, utterly exhausting, unpredictable.
This is life with BPD.
Living with Borderline Personality Disorder is like walking along a tightrope; even just the slightest imbalance causes a fall. Every hour of the day, I can be in a different mood. From anxious, to severely depressed, to searing anger, to exhaustion, to paranoid. I swing like a pendulum; back and forth and up and down. There is no "in-between," there is only black and white. Just extreme polar opposites. One day, I can love you with every ounce I have to give. The next, I can hate you like my worst enemy.
Chronic suicidal ideation, self-harm, and impulsive behaviors are just a few of the many daily struggles faced by a person who has been diagnosed as having BPD. Dissociation and emptiness waste your day away, while depression and rumination make it last forever. The fear of abandonment burns like an eternal flame in the back of my mind.
"What if my friends leave me? What if they don't really care? What if they hate me?"
Every day is full of anxiety and uncertainty.
According to NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness), and the DSM-5,
"People with BPD experience wide mood swings and can display a great sense of instability and insecurity. Per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual diagnostic framework, some key signs and symptoms may include:
Borderline personality disorder | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness
Borderline personality disorder | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness www.nami.org
Discover the symptoms, causes, diagnosis advice, treatment options and related conditions of Borderline personality disorder (BPD).
Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment by friends and family.
Unstable personal relationships that alternate between idealization ("I'm so in love!") and devaluation ("I hate her"). This is also sometimes known as "splitting."
Distorted and unstable self-image, which affects moods, values, opinions, goals and relationships.
Impulsive behaviors that can have dangerous outcomes, such as excessive spending, unsafe sex, substance abuse or reckless driving.
Self-harming behavior including suicidal threats or attempts.
Periods of intense depressed mood, irritability or anxiety lasting a few hours to a few days.
Chronic feelings of boredom or emptiness.
Inappropriate, intense or uncontrollable anger—often followed by shame and guilt.
Dissociative feelings—disconnecting from your thoughts or sense of identity or "out of body" type of feelings—and stress-related paranoid thoughts. Severe cases of stress can also lead to brief psychotic episodes."
(As a general note, self-diagnosis is highly discouraged. Please seek out a mental health provider who can help).
The stigma surrounding BPD is awful. Often times, therapists and psychiatrists refuse to take us on as clients due to the time investment, therapeutic knowledge required, and natural difficulty that comes with treating an individual with a personality disorder. People diagnosed with Borderline are also notoriously hard to treat because there is no medication specifically for BPD. The best form of treatment comes from a therapy called Dialectal Behavioral Therapy (or DBT for short).
According to PsychologyToday.com,
"DBT is influenced by the philosophical perspective of dialectics: balancing opposites. The therapist consistently works with the individual to find ways to hold two seemingly opposite perspectives at once, promoting balance and avoiding black and white—the all-or-nothing styles of thinking. In service of this balance, DBT promotes a both-and rather than an either-or outlook. The dialectic at the heart of DBT is acceptance and change."
My life while living with BPD has truly been a living nightmare, but through medications to help treat my other disorders, talk therapy, and the addition of DBT, I feel like I have a fighting chance to gain control. One day I'll see less in back and white, and start seeing more of the beautiful gray; the balanced middle ground.
I'll leave you with a poem I wrote called, "Splitting." I hope you will now understand how it feels to live life with Borderline Personality Disorder.
By Nathan Dlugopolski
"Trauma and lies
Tell me you love me
Tell me that you're here
Say you'll never leave me
I'll hold your hand
Tightly & true
Carve our path against the grain
I rejoice at the feeling of warmth
And smooth soft skin
Oh how it glows
When I close my eyes
I endure endless nightmares
Tales of a past that I fight to forget
I struggle to escape day by day
God I beg you
Take away this pain
Devil I ask you
Why did you take my smile away
Am I damned to forever be inadequate
If Heaven nor Hell will have me
Where am I to go
Love and Hate
Too much and too little
The price you pay for walking the line
I love you
I hate you
I've split on you
Now we are broken again…"