BPD shattered glass masks

I know this image looks a bit melodramatic but for anyone who hasn’t experienced BPD – yes – it is this dramatic some of the time. I was going to write a post about BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) in more general terms but have instead decided that I would explain how I feel, being open and honest about what it’s like to be me. This is how I experience living with my condition; in other words – me from the inside, out as the title says. Although I may appear tough and more often than not, smiling; I am in fact emotionally very fragile and often experience severe distress.

I am an exceptionally sensitive person – it is said that an individual with borderline personality disorder is akin to an individual with third-degree burns so that means that I can feel the equivalent severity of pain, not physically but emotionally. I feel everything at a very much more intense level than most people. I get emotionally hurt, extremely quickly and the ensuing distress is almost intolerable at times. I’m not terribly good at handling it although at least I don’t replace my pain with self-harming tactics anymore. Self-harming, as you may have read elsewhere, is an attempt to distract myself from the huge amount of emotional pain I am in.

On the other hand, I also have a tremendous capacity for huge amounts of love and joy and compassion to share with the world and those around me and that is something I make the most of and feel as strongly about as I do the agony.

I am also what is sometimes known as a quiet borderline, meaning that (contrary to popular belief), I rarely have fits of rage although of course, I have anger like everyone else. I have never wanted to be the centre of attention – in fact, I wouldn’t be even remotely interested in being the life and soul of the party – I can’t think of anything I’d like less of on the social scale. Give me a cosy corner, a book and a blog to write and that’s more my idea of amusing myself although of course I enjoy the company of a few good friends to share coffee or a meal with. Neither, do I like to draw attention to my inadequacies in a public way.

As those of you who know me well will recognise, I am frequently apologetic or forever saying sorry for who I am or for what I have written. (My self-esteem isn’t the greatest because of my experiences of severe childhood trauma), and I’m often being ‘told off‘ for putting myself down which I find only too easy. I rarely feel ‘good‘ enough and will often need your reassurance and approval to make me feel ‘ok‘ or ‘acceptable,’ even when I think that I might just be alright. This probably explains why I often go to bed at night or wake up in the morning worrying whether anyone has read/liked/hated/ignored or commented on my blog, or why I have endlessly fretted about what my WordPress ‘stats’ are doing. This isn’t as pathetic as it may at first sound – it stems from a chronic fear of being rejected or abandoned which is classic in BPD.

I’m sorry if this sounds like a plea for more attention to my blog, (it definitely isn’t), which I feel is mediocre at best compared to most blogs I read. I feel inadequate and not good enough most of the time despite reassurances, and this isn’t particularly a nice place to be. Please, don’t believe, for one minute, that this is ‘attention-seeking‘ behaviour. I hate that phrase – it makes me feel like a spoilt child who is having a temper tantrum and stomping my feet because I can’t get my way.

I ‘mind read‘ a lot, attempting to guess what people are thinking of me because I always feel people are thinking the worse of me. I worry about what you might be thinking of me despite your reassurances. I cannot help it. It is the way my brain is wired as also goes for all my other BPD traits. I don’t choose to be this way. My physical disability is far the less debilitating than my emotional tolerances.

Impulsivity is a ‘biggy’ in my life. It gets me into endless amounts of trouble and is the thing I find most difficult to control. It can vary from something obvious like spending money I haven’t got (usually on Amazon) to saying yes or no to a demand before I’ve thought it through properly. I then worry that if I back-track, changing my mind, I am not going to be ‘liked’ very much which ties in with the fear of rejection or abandonment, as mentioned above. I have also been known to get into trouble, (usually by the poor, embarrassed friend I happen to be with) for suddenly doing something entirely unexpected, like hugging that kind lady on the bus (or the waiter in a restaurant) because they were kind and I feel honoured because I don’t feel worthy of their kindness or praise.

I have to say that I am also prone to quite sudden mood changes (and I don’t mean Jekyll & Hyde style). I can be feeling as happy as a pig in clover one minute to being so low that I am down in the depths of the basement the next, often without any apparent cause.  I can assure you, it is just as confusing for me as it is for you, especially when everything can be reversed and or is interchangeable within minutes and I swing from one mood to another so intensely and so quickly.

I found this great YouTube video that is very different to all the others that I have seen about BPD that make me sound like some odd species or alien. It shows some of the most interesting points of living with this condition. As with everything, there are ups, and there are downs. Please take the time to watch it …

However, I have come a long way in my recovery, which is an ongoing process. I count myself as very blessed when I think of how ill I once was and the fact that I took so many chances, gambling with my life with drugs and alcohol, self-harm, and numerous severe overdoses. I’ve not had a drink for nearly four years and I’ve not self-harmed in any way other than bingeing on food occasionally, for four-and-a-half months.

I now lead a very active and busy life despite my disabilities, with college, art, drama, University speaking, coffee with friends,  and getting out into town and church with Charlie (that’s my electric wheelchair, not my ballroom dancing partner for those of you who have not met me before)!

My next goal is to take a ‘do-it-yourself’ certificate in something called DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) which is a very effective method of learning to live and cope successfully with BPD. It’s usually studied, and practised in groups under the Health Authority but this has been axed because of government funding cuts. Once I’ve done that (although that is something I’ll need to practice for the rest of my life), I’d like to move on to do my Public Health degree at my local university.

So, when all is said and done, I fight a good battle against one of the most difficult to cope with mental health conditions that many psychiatrists don’t like dealing with because it can’t be treated or controlled by drugs. Yes, I still take medication, but that’s more about dealing with the often accompanying symptoms of anxiety, panic, depression, etc.

I know and am grateful that I get a lot of support from some of my family and friends, both real-life and cyber friends, from my mental health team, my GP, college and university. I do indeed, count myself as extremely blessed and very fortunate. Thank you to you, for your support and your time and patience in reading this far in what I am aware is probably one of my longest posts. I truly appreciate it. Ellie x ❤

18 thoughts on “MY BPD – FROM THE INSIDE, OUT

    1. Thank you for re-blogging my post, Joyce. I very much appreciate that as I think it is important that more people become aware of mental health issues like BPD. I will take a look at your website as I am interested to read your views. Thanks, Ellie x

  1. That was very interesting, Ellie. I feel I have a better understanding of what BPD must be like for you. The video was also informative. It seems the condition has a number of positive points as well as some very negative ones. It’s clear from what you wrote that you’ve had many difficult issues to deal with in the past connected to alcohol, self-harm and the like. I’m glad that you’ve gradually been able to overcome these.

    Although I’m not usually very impulsive, some other parts of your self-description sounded very familiar and reminded me a little of myself. I’m useless at getting angry (people laugh) and so I never fly into a rage, I hate being the center of attention and I fret endlessly about my stupid blog.

    The video also mentioned that people with BPD can laugh at themselves, are kind-hearted, creative and open-minded. These is certainly how you strike me. It’s lucky thing too. I don’t think I’d want to visit the blog of anybody who seemed to be a big-headed, unkind, uncreative bigot. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your reply, Bun. I much appreciate your views and kind comments.

      You mentioned that you don’t manage anger terribly well either – it’s so frustrating when you’re fuming about something that has happened and you end up being laughed – it can be humiliating although if the argument is with someone I know well, we’ll often end up in fits of laughter instead which is always a relief as I really don’t like conflict or aggression. I even refuse to watch boxing on TV (not that I have one anymore) and sometimes I couldn’t even cope with Agatha Christie!

      As for – in your words – your stupid blog …stupid?? Where did that idea come from? Your blog is brilliant, Bun. I know you always work so hard to produce such interesting and mostly hilarious posts. I so look forward to reading them and I know lots of other blogging friends do too. Your blog is my No.1 favourite – keep writing, my friend.

      I thought the video was a slightly unusual take on BPD – it makes a change to see the condition portrayed as something that is manageable most of the time, with the right support and even showed that there is humour in the mix too x 🙂

      1. I understand how you feel, I think. I am by nature rather conflict averse. Partly this is self preservation, I suppose, since I couldn’t fight my way out a paper bag. In the occasional fights I did get involved in at school, I can’t remembering ever covering myself in glory.

        There does seem to be more to it than this, though. I feel extremely uncomfortable with certain kinds of behavior, even if I’m not directly involved. I hate watching other people argue, even on TV. I also dislike TV shows where people play mean-spirited tricks on others. I particularly hate cruel humor and deliberate rudeness. (Inadvertent rudeness can’t be helped.)

        Thank you for supporting my blog, by the way. I find writing it quite a challenge at times because I have to squeeze everything in around my daily life. When I hear that people enjoyed a post, though, suddenly it seems worth all the effort. 🙂

  2. thank you for sharing more about yourself Ellie – from your perspective and point of view. 🙂

    medical parameters can be helpful – in a general fashion – but each person is unique – whole – and I think it helps if you are able [clearly you are] and willing [clearly again] to share so honestly – despite the very debilitating and fearsome “threat” of rejection. To me, this speaks of your strength, courage and compassion Ellie.

    hugs xxx

    1. Thank you, Pat. I do think it is important to be open and honest about subjects that are usually so stigmatized.

      You are right in that it did take me a lot of courage to write this post because, as you say, there was/is always the risk of rejection which I find hard to cope with at the best of times, as you know.

      Compassion is something I think we are born with but often it is knocked out of us as we grow up unfortunately in some cases. I think compassion in this/our world is so, so important. My two ‘mottos’ for life as also quoted on my private Facebook page, are ‘Praise where praise is due’ and ‘Kindness costs nothing’ Hugs sent your way, my friend, Ellie xxx 🙂

  3. Thank you for bravely sharing a little of your journey Ellie. There is so much you have written hat resonates with this soul here too. Vulnerability is a cross and a deep blessing too, and I look forward to reading more of your posts and sharing.. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and for stopping by at my blog. I’m glad you can relate to this too although at the same time, I know how hard it can be to experience. Hope to see you again and take care of yourself, Ellie x

  4. This is the other “related” post I found at the bottom of today’s post. Borderline Personality Disorder. I was once diagnosed with this by a psychologist I was forced to see after I had my first panic attack, one in which my body froze for over 5 minutes, refusing to do what I commanded it to do. I won’t go into details, but I left a co-worker in danger because of it. In the end no one got hurt, but I lost my job as a care-giver because I could no longer be relied upon to respond to a dangerous situation.
    So they sent me to this psychologist, and in just a few minutes he said I was BPD. When I asked him to explain he told me a bunch of bullshit that he assumed about me. A few things related to me but most did not. I think that would be true of most people. We all have traits that fit on some diagnosis scale, but that does not make us that way. The anger/rage especially did not fit. I am generally a very layback person. I do not allow myself the luxury of anger/rage unless I do it for a reason, which has happened maybe 5 times in my 72 years of life so far.
    Anyways, I never went back to see the guy…
    I am not saying this as a judgment of you or anyone else. If the diagnosis helps you to work on your personality/life problems, all power to you. Just for me it did not fit. That was some 40 years ago, and I have seen lots of doctors/psychologists/psychiatrists in the intervening years. No one else has diagnosed me with BPD again, even when I ask them to look for it. Yes, there is something different about me, I willingly admit that. I am not “normal” by any stretch of the imagination. But I have no need or desire to be normal. Normal people seem crazy to me!
    That is my BPD story. Now I will go listen to the video, and see what it has to say. Be back soon….

  5. Back! And this is certainly NOT anything like what that psychologist described to me. Certainly I can be highly sensitive, and I have my own set of morals for myself — except that I do not use the word morals. Morals speak religion to me, and not being religious I think of myself as setting limits on my behaviours. I try not to hurt any living being intentionally unless it is threatening my well-being, such as a virus or a bacteria. I also try to help anyone who needs help IF I AM CAPABLE OF PROVIDING HELP. Sometimes help includes suggesting other places to go where help might be available. I have to know my own limits. Mostly what I try to do is role-model what I see as humans being capable of being. I have learned a lot of things over my lifetime because I am introspective, constantly looking at but not judging myself, just asking myself how I could have done something better, or not done anything at all. Sometimes inaction is the better choice over action. Not everyone agrees with me on that.
    Definitely I see these things alluded to in the video as positives. I do wish the video had just used straightforward fonts, as I was not able to read everything the way they were written before they disappeared, but I understand many people like things to be fancy, and different. What it does for them I do not know. If I want to say something, I say it. I don’t want to distract from what I am saying, which is why my posts are so unimaginative, nothing but words. No fancy scripts, no pictures. My poetry does not usually use symbols, symbols can be misintetpreted, or misunderstood. Like you, what I want people to see is what I give them. If that makes me BPD, then sobeit. I just see it as saying what I want others to hear. If it is relevent to them, good. If not, that is okay too.
    Anyways, this is where your post has taken me. I consider a post good if it takes me somewhere. Your posts certainly do that.

  6. I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to reply to your comments, rawgod. I am feeling emotionally troubled at the moment (nothing to do with BPD – the label I don’t own anymore). I’m in the middle of writing a serious and emotional post about something I only shared briefly back in 2014 when I first started writing. I’m not sure I’ll have the courage to share it yet – it’s painful. Enough of that, anyway.

    Thanks for taking the time to leave such a full and interesting comment. I’m not going to be able to reply on every point as I would typically do because I have deeper emotional stuff going on right now, as I said above.

    It’s surprising how many people get labelled in the mental health system and sometimes labelled wrongly because, perhaps, they can’t find a label to fit you better. I was first diagnosed with Bipolar 30 years ago. When I didn’t fit the criteria for that, they decided I had BPD. I believed and agreed with that diagnosis at that time as I displayed all the ‘correct symptoms’ for that particular condition. As you know, I wrote a lot about that at the time. It’s interesting that you, too, were given that label even though you disagreed with the diagnosis. Nevertheless, having a panic attack like that must have been frightening, and I can’t imagine why they told you you had BPD on those grounds.

    You mentioned rage and anger. These are emotions I rarely allow myself, too. I may rage inside about something that’s really hurt me, some injustice or wrongdoing to me or others, but I never display rage as a public emotion. Perhaps, it would be better if I did, but would this be healthier than bottling it all up? I don’t own the label of BPD anymore – I don’t have the same symptoms etc. However, much to my disagreement, my medical records still show that I have BPD despite not fitting the category anymore and not having seen a psychiatrist for many years. I also had the label of Dependent Personality Disorder because I used to be physically and emotionally dependent on my carers at that time. I definitely don’t fit in that box either now. I like my space, my independence and my time alone too much.

    You mentioned that you feel different from others. So do I, but not in the mental health way; just in how I think and process things and, perhaps, in my non-BPD behaviour. It’s not a bad thing to be different, even if I don’t fall into this box or the other. It doesn’t bother me to be unlike those around me. Thanks again for taking the time to read my post and share your opinion – it’s appreciated.

    1. I do object that WP can choose which of my posts to show as related at the bottom of my new posts. If I want to dig up something from the past, I can do that myself. I don’t need WP to make those decisions for me – (perhaps, that’s my internal rage speaking!). I appreciate that it could encourage readers to learn more about me, but some old posts aren’t me anymore (I deleted a few this morning). I think I’ll contact WP and ask if there is a way I can take that feature off. However, I don’t object to you being pointed in the direction of my old stuff, as I know I can have a good discussion/conversation with you about it and explain where I’m at now. Some other readers may just be put off by what they read and not want to know how much I’ve moved on with my life. Having said that, the post I may share later is very near the mark for me. As I said, I don’t know if I have the courage to share it, but it’s something important to me, and I feel I want to express this. It sort of follows on from my last two posts – ‘Brave’ and ‘Dissociative Healing.’

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