(Borderline Personality Disorder/ Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder)
What is it and how does one (the diagnosed/family or friends of the diagnosed) deal with it?
As a family member, friend, lover, acquaintance, our (the diagnosed) erratic and seemingly selfish behaviour problems aren’t just brattish, attention seeking, unnecessary behaviour but actually part of our illness. We may appear to resentfully try to push you away with our outbursts, suicide attempts, self-harm, inability to discuss our issues with you, by acting out and insulting you physically, mentally and emotionally. Please don’t be deceived and in this case, ignore the obvious. Please don’t interpret our behaviour as pushing you away, abandonment and rejection is exactly what we don’t want! If able to think rationally (which is extremely difficult whilst in crisis), even just for a moment, we can be aware and we can take ownership of causing you frustration, and acknowledge that our actions can put you under a lot of pressure. We can also be completely oblivious that we are unwell and not recognise the effects that we have on you at all. All in all, we don’t want our loved ones to give up on us; we don’t want anyone at all to give up on us because in truth, we have already given up on ourselves.
A more level headed, self-sufficient, self-understanding, self-loving and balanced character would not be as sensitive to everything as we are.
Triggers can be obvious, a tragedy, a loss, but they can also be extremely subtle, a word, a smell, a place. Triggers set off something in your mind. They lead to distressing thoughts that can lead to an episode of self-loathing, personal neglect and self-harming (substance abuse or inflicting actual physical pain on one’s self).Once in crisis and the trigger is set off, it can take a long time to cease and for that person to be safe again. You may feel that people with BPD/EUPD should take more responsibility of themselves, of their actions, more ownership of their problems. You may feel responsible or to blame for that person’s actions. No one is responsible. It’s no one’s fault.
The complex mind of someone who struggles to regulate their thoughts and their actions may be more sensitive to sounds and smells, physical contact, words and memories then most. Such things can set off neurological connections that initiate the spiral of declining to a mental state of instability.
We may try to push you away, choose not to engage with persons both familiar and professional, but such rash outbursts usually come from the struggle of not understanding ourselves and our fear that you will leave or abandon us eventually. Our behaviour is sometimes out of despair and desperation, not malice! Our behaviour is not calculated, pre-meditated or welcomed, it is inexplicable how quickly we can become a danger to ourselves and in some cases to others.We often don’t have the appropriate skills to ask for help and the words to explain our situation like many people without BPD/EUPD can quite naturally and/or easily do. Our dramatic behaviour, self-harm, suicide attempts, lashing out, extreme sensitivity and feelings of being unsafe are all symptoms of BPD/EUPD and often cries for help as we cannot put our despair into words and even if we do manage to articulate our problems, we loathe ourselves so much, we genuinely believe that we are beyond and undeserved of receiving any help. Such behaviour may frustrate and annoy our loved ones, and writing this, in this moment, I can see why, but please, no matter how much that we seem to repeat the same mistakes, attempt to push you away, what we really need is your love and acceptance. Those of you reading this from a support point of view, if unsatisfied with my attempt of sharing from my own experiences as someone both medically and professionally diagnosed with BPD/EUPD, you are welcome to do your own research because I cannot speak for everyone. I am writing from the perspective of having BPD/EUPD not someone who has a relationship with someone with it. I think of this blog as a potential opening to communication between loved ones whose relationships have been tainted by this cryptic mental illness.
Life with BPD/EUPD can be both mentally and physically exhausting. Episodes can cycle rapidly, manic to depressive and manic again in the space of twenty-four hours! One can be stable for months at a time. Such long periods of good health, building up routines, good distraction techniques, exercise, healthy food, a good network of support and care, with one trigger, it can all deteriorate so easily and put you right back to the start. Again, it’s no one’s fault.
It has been proved that both medication and therapy can maintain one’s stability and contribute towards recovery. Recovery may not mean that you are permanently cured but can help balance a person enough to progress and move forward with life. Constant reminders (although exasperating for you) of love, support and reassurance from loved ones will always, always help. Our extreme, frantic, manic, sensitive, childlike behaviour all stems from the fear of isolation, being abandoned, unloved and not cared for. When the fear is present our inability to healthily discuss our worries, usually lead to frantic and distasteful behaviour.
We struggle with relationships, the fear and paranoia usually results in fall outs with friends and/or lovers as without patience, knowledge and/or understanding of why people with BPD/EUPD act so, “out of the ordinary” out of the blue, a relationship with them could quite rapidly feel extremely hard work.
We may avoid you, your invitations, phone calls, house calls, messages on social media, despite so desperately wanting to see you, be with you. This is an unhealthy way of trying to avoid eventually being rejected or abandoned. It’s difficult for us to relate to others when we often don’t even relate to ourselves. It’s common for us to not understand ourselves and our own emotions and so therefor struggle to relate and process the emotions and feelings of others.
Identity disturbance issues;
Without an identity, what are we? Who are we? This is a significant factor of having BPD/EUPD! Children can change their identities by experimenting with the likes of role play. It’s like trial and error for a child, they constantly change and reinvent themselves whilst growing up, in order to find themselves, know themselves and comfortably develop into adulthood. It is common for people with BPD/EUPD to not complete that transition. As adults, we are still desperately trying to fit it, be liked, be loved by absolutely everyone and feel hurt, rejected, unworthy, inadequate and frustrated when we fail. As the transition from, “No One” to “Someone” was never completed; we never really know who we are, acting different whilst bouncing off person to person. So, different that you almost live in various worlds, different worlds to play out different personas. We take on the role of a, “Chameleon” often becoming unrecognisable to those from different aspects of our lives, it’s an extreme trait that can leave both others and yourself extremely confused, especially if different people from different aspects of your life connect and come together.
A lot of us have suffered from parental abandonment and forms of abuse whilst growing up, neglect, instability, bullying and instead of just being, growing and developing freely, we have felt (usually subconsciously) that we have had to change and suppress our natural character in order to please our peers, parents, family, friends, loved ones to feel safe in order to survive.
We feel empty and helpless, tired of trying and failing over and over again, blaming only ourselves.
We hurt ourselves in a self-destructive manor in order to punish ourselves.
We are a highly sensitive people that experience great difficulty when trying to regulate, moderate and understand both our own and others minds and emotions.
We know that it is not easy for people to love us, but hope that people understand that we do not want to cause them pain and/or frustration.
I hope that this blog provides an insight into the sensitive, confused, self-destructive, self-loathing and paranoid mind of someone with BPD/EUPD.
Thanks for reading. Your love is key!