It has taken me a while to figure out how to write about Borderline Personality Disorder, it is, after all, the most challenging and draining disorder connected to me. Often confused with Bipolar Disorder, the dictionary definition for it is:
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental disorder marked by a pattern of ongoing instability in moods, behavior, self-image, and functioning. These experiences often result in impulsive actions and unstable relationships.
Symptoms of borderline personality disorder
- Fear of abandonment. People with BPD are often terrified of being abandoned or left alone. …
- Unstable relationships. …
- Unclear or unstable self-image. …
- Impulsive, self-destructive behaviors. …
- Self-harm. …
- Extreme emotional swings. …
- Chronic feelings of emptiness. …
- Explosive anger.
You can read up on all the technical symptoms and formal diagnostics on NHS websites written by professionals you want but unless you either know and have the disorder or you ask someone who has BPD, you will never fully understand the full effects and frankly, horror of what is actually just an imbalance in brain chemicals. Mental Health professionals tend to find it extremely challenging to diagnose Borderline Personality Disorder and often misdiagnose it as Bipolar Disorder. The difference between the two is that BPD shows erratic mood instabilities focused all around relationships whereas in Bipolar Disorder the mood episodes are a lot longer in duration and then will suddenly switch for no reason (not necessarily relationship related).
A few bpd definitions to help you:
‘FP‘- Favourite Person, we cannot choose who our fp is, our brain will automatically pick someone (can be more than one) and it can change whenever. This is the person(s) who we not only focus all our attention on but also who we have the most emotional dependence on. We will seek validation from them at all times and get erratically upset if they are not happy with us. It is almost as if we have imprinted upon this person- a bit like in Twilight when Jacob imprints on Renesmee. In this instance, my fp is my current boyfriend, Aiden.
‘Splitting‘- a term used to describe the ‘black and white’ thinking process – either hate or love, no ‘gray’ area. Splitting is what happens because we only see people as ‘all good’ or ‘all bad’ so one minute you strongly dislike a person and don’t care for them, and the next, they mean the world to you and you wonder why you ever had bad thoughts about them in the first place.
‘Impulsive‘- acting suddenly, without thought of the consequences or thinking it through. Some common examples of impulsive behaviour are drinking, drug taking, changing appearance, etc.
‘Idealisation‘-the belief that a person is ideal. It is accompanied with feelings of admiration and love. Everything the person does is good and all bad behaviour is either ignored or explained as good. Idealisation is the opposite of devaluation.
‘Devaluation‘-the belief that a person is bad. It is accompanied with feelings of great anger and dislike. Devaluation is often triggered when someone does not meet idealised expectations. When someone goes from idealising a person to devaluing them, they are splitting.
Our emotions are so much stronger than neurotypical individuals. For example, even though we are prone to unstable relationships, I personally have so much love in my heart and especially with my fp, I will do anything to care and protect my loved ones. I have so much creativity which is one of my more positive traits, mixed with my eager to please people, it is what makes my relationships so special, the fact that I am always willing to go the extra mile just to make them smile. However there is also underlying feelings of vulnerability and fear. An example of this mainly comes from my relationship so if Aiden has even the slightest bit of irritation in his tone of voice, I will automatically begin to shut down (or burst into tears) and I won’t start back up until I’ve sorted things out with him (after I’ve stopped being stubborn) even if there isn’t actually anything to sort out- for example, he woke up in a bad mood, spoke to me in an irritable tone, my brain doesn’t make the right connection and in fact connects the irritable tone with me having done something wrong. This is how my brain thinks daily:
Premise 1 – FP woke up in a bad mood due to not much sleep.
Premise 2- He spoke to me with a slight irritable tone of voice.
Conclusion- I’ve done something wrong and I am an awful human being who doesn’t deserve him.
We don’t have a big sense of self and most of our personality is based on people we idolize and can simply change depending on who we are hanging out with at that moment so we can pretty much be the person anyone wants us to be, we will mold in to their ideal expectations of us. This often means that nobody knows who we actually are and even we don’t know as we have adopted so many traits from other people. This is the most cliche example I can think of but when I first noticed bpd symptoms in myself in Year 10, I had begun watching Skins and of course I fell for Effy Stonem. So naturally my personality started to mold around her, I became cold and (on the surface) uncaring but the school counsellor I was seeing at that time figured me out and knew that I wasn’t really who I seemed. He broke me down and figured out my one weakness at the time that would cause me to open up and almost be a completely different, happy person.
When referring to my FP, I will go through a change of very sudden thought processes within a short time-span.
It often looks a lot like this:
- 11.00am: I love him so much.
- 11.03am: But what if he doesn’t love me anymore, what if he leaves me?
- 11.05am: I hate him, how could he do this to me? I don’t care what he does anymore.
- 11.10am: I love him I can’t believe I even thought that.
- 11.12am: Please don’t leave me, I need you.
- 11.14am: Oh so now he doesn’t even want to reply to my text, screw him I’m fine on my own.
- 11.17am: I lied, I’ll break down without you.
- 11.18am: Now it looks like I’m being manipulative and he’ll leave me because of that.
- 11.19am: don’t leave don’t leave don’t leave
- 11.20am: PANICPANICPANICPANICPANIC
- 11.22am: Well that was a massive overreaction and very embarrassing, that will never happen again.
- 11.23am: PANIC
No one can ever describe how Borderline Personality Disorder feels unless they personally have it and reading other teenage experiences of it, just connect me to the disorder so much more.
I hope this gives you a better, less formal and easier to understand analysis on Borderline Personality Disorder.
This is me signing off.