The following is old. It is a word for word copy paste from what entered into my myspace on March of 2007:
BPD I emailed the following directly to those who I felt needed it directly. But here it is for everyone else. It’s long. Bare with me. But I encourage the full reading.
Whom It May Concern
If you are reading this it’s because I have some value invested in you understanding me. You are a family member, friend or doctor who needs to know where I’m coming from for some reason. Maybe you need to better diagnose me. Maybe I’m afraid of losing you over the next mood swing or fit of anger. Maybe my fear of abandonment has me knowing I’m a day away from losing everyone I care about, at least in my mind, if not in reality. But either way I feel the need for you to “understand” me. For whatever reason that may be. And this is about everything BUT you liking what you read. I’m honest here. That’s the point though. But maybe by the end you’ll have a clearer picture of who I am? Or maybe you’ll just better understand that I can’t help the way I am, and the more I push you away, the more I need you. So here I am pulling you in, in what is a big step for me. So humor me, read this. And please understand. I need you all in various ways. Some ways you wish I didn’t, whether that’s because it’s too much or too little. And in some ways that make perfect sense. Should also mention I could be very wrong about parts of this. This is just as I understand things and myself. I’m still confused about what’s going on inside of me. I just have more clarity than I ever did before.
For years I have struggled with various states of depression and “mood disorders”. In high school I was diagnosed Bi-polar. It was a fit. I had mood swings between an elevated state and a depressive state, and I heard about this thing call manic depression. So I went to my first appointment with my first meds doctor convinced that was the case, said what I needed to say, and had that diagnosis within an hour. It was as easy as that.
About 6 months after I gave birth to my son, life threw me into a deep depression. Post partum depression, life events, and my own mental issues all teamed up against me and I got bad. For a period of months I felt empty inside. I had no self-motivation. I drowned in my own existence, unable to even get out of bed most days. After a nice long wait on a list I finally got back into a doctor. I went to that appointment convinced there was no way I was bi-polar. My ups didn’t exist. My mood was an even depressive. And diagnosed depressed I was. After an hour’s worth of consultation of me knowing, once again, what to say to get the diagnosis I felt was right.
Then most recently I got back into therapy. I had been off of meds for a few years and my mood were as erratic as ever. I went into that session terrified of what to say. I saw the pattern of me pre-deciding what was wrong and knowing what to say to get the doctors involved to agree. I was terrified I had never been accurately diagnosed. I was terrified of it happening once again. I thought I knew I was bi-polar. But I didn’t want that diagnosis based on my opinion so I didn’t know what to say. I pulled Pat into a session with Julie and he recited what he saw of my moods and behavior. She agreed bi-polar was very possible and began work with me on how to recognize my moods and how to deal with them. Doctor K also agreed I had a personality disorder, but as of yet has not officially diagnosed which one. Making him the first of many doctors I’ve spoken to who hasn’t jumped to a diagnosis after an hour.
Just earlier this week, after a conversation between Pat and I, Julie suggested maybe I wasn’t bi-polar after all. Maybe I suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. She read to us a brief description of the disorder and it was like the person who wrote those words knew me. So I borrowed my mom’s copy of “I Hate You – Don’t Leave Me”. 9 pages into the first chapter I was in tears. For the first time in 23 years it was like everything clicked. By the end of the second chapter everything about me that made me who I am and made me different suddenly made sense and all fell into one diagnosis. It left no stone unturned. All of me fit. And for the first time I knew without a glimmer of a doubt what it was that was wrong with me. And for the first time I wasn’t alone. Sure lots of people are bi-polar, but I was so much more that just didn’t fit. But it all makes sense with BPD.
The following is just random thoughts as I skim through my notes in the margin of the book and through the thoughts buried deep inside my head. I might try to go back and put them into a logic order. Or I might just let them as they are so my thought
~Splitting – Branden was “good/white” until I had the chance to see him regularly. I saw no bad in him. He was my knight in shiny armor who could do no wrong. Then I moved in with him. And suddenly his flaws were impossible to miss. It didn’t take long for him to turn “bad/black” and for it to be impossible for me to see the good. And once that happened I pushed him away and never looked back. In the process I immediately jumped to Pat. Pat had been my friend for 2 years. He was my teddy bear who adored me and would never let harm touch me. He wanted to take care of me. Have a family with me. And worshiped the ground I walked on. Things were great until Pat forced me into a decision that forever changed my view of him. He quickly went from my protector to the monster who destroyed my life. Forever black in my eyes. Something I’m now trying to fix. I’m trying to start over so I can re-see the white in him. Even now when I see him as white I’m blind to the black and vice versa. And I will always have my times where he is black. He isn’t perfect. But I need, for things to work, for me to be able to see him as white the majority of the time, or I will continue to push him away as I have been doing almost consistently for the past 3 years. As for Andrew, I’m not sure where he fits into this. I’ve been exposed to his black. He’s done everything he can to push me away and has tried to make me hate him. He is the first person I’ve ever fully seen as a shade of gray. I see his good and bad at once and despite all instead of pushing him away like I do everyone else who disappoints my white expectations, I cling to him. I don’t know if he truly is my gray exception, or if he’s just the lesser of 2 evils/hurts, or if he, is as I’m convinced, the first person I’ve ever been truly in love with. I just don’t know. It’ll be time that really tells. But as for now, he remains my gray mystery.
~BPD does explain my creativeness. And when I have a camera in my hand, it’s the only time I truly have confidence and a sense of control in what is otherwise total chaos. At the same time a poor supervisor, like Debbie, can take that confidence and squash it at the drop of a hat and trigger my hypersensitivity to criticism and rejection. She always had too much control over my confidence at my job and my ability to be happy with my job. A job I otherwise love despite it’s many flaws and frustrations.
~”But I have a big problem with getting close or being touched”. My bubble. I’ve always had my bubble. And sometimes it’s less intense than others. But when it’s up, it’s up and there is no getting through it. Again, the only pure complete exception to this rule has been Andrew. I don’t know if that’s just because he hasn’t hurt me enough? But now 2 break-ups and the bubble still doesn’t exist for him so I really don’t know. As it is, my own family, mom, son, husband and friends are victims of the bubble. I have never been touchy feely. I have to come to you, you can’t come to me. And if I don’t know you then back off, you do not stand a chance. It has its extremes. I have intense issues with body fluids for example. I cannot drink after people… 2 exceptions (Thomas and Andrew). I have never been one to have any interest in using tongue when kissing. I’ve been working on that and I have my moods where it isn’t an issue. But for the most part that thought of someone’s saliva anywhere near my mouth is enough to make me want to run the either way. The other end of this issue is of a more personal bedroom type of body fluid. It’s a down right phobia unless I’m in the exact right mood. I want nothing to do with it and the sight, smell, touch or taste is enough to make me sick to my stomach. Sometimes it’s so extreme that my own fluids being enjoyed by my partner has a reaction of major anxiety and borderline panic. There are moods where this isn’t an issue. And again there is one very consistent exception who wouldn’t know this was even a problem of mine if I hadn’t said something. I have been known to hyperventilate when being touched in general by someone, even just a hand on the shoulder, and during sexual experiences with Pat. And I have been known to flip from ok with things to sudden hyperventilation and panic mid experience usually with no known trigger. It got so bad that for a period of about 3 years I had no sex drive. It took Andrew to bring it back. Now I’m working on it being there for Pat. I have my days. But it’s anything but consistent.
~”I vowed I would live in and deal with the real world, but I’ll tell you, it’s a frightening place. I’m not sure yet whether I can do it or whether I want to do it.” As much as I hated the hospital within days, and still now, I have an urge to go back. It’s safe there.
~”The extreme behaviors keep me so confused. At times I don’t know what I’m feeling or who I am.” I flip between moods so easily and quickly. It takes so little to trigger the change. I don’t always or even usually know what happened to cause it. I’m left feeling confused and scared of what happened and not knowing who I am.
~When compared to the dependent personality, I am very avoident of being alone. So much so that I’ve created my own friends in my head to keep me company. Even when I’m not technically alone, unless I’m in the presence of someone who is still white for me, I might as well be alone. Something I fear. And I am very, very dependent on those who are still white for me and also a few select blacks. And my dependency on my one gray is very obvious.
~Like the schizotypal personality, I have the poor relations and a difficulty in trusting people. Plus, of course, the healthy dose of magical thinking.
~I have many OCD traits. Everything from the body fluid issues, my need for order, my rituals with things like my alarm clock, my inability to be less than 15 minutes early anywhere without a genuine panic.
~Like a narcissist I have severe hypersensitivity to criticism, failure and rejection. Though I’m most defiantly not a narcissist thanks to my complete lack of self-esteem among other fairly obvious things.
~Like the antisocial personality I’m highly impulsive, and I have no tolerance of frustration. Though I live in a constant state of guilt which in itself can be debilitating.
~Finally, like the histrionic I’m continually seeking attention and am highly manipulative.
~I should point out I know I’m not any of the above illnesses, I just also am aware they all can share traits with someone with BPD, and I do recognize the traits I share with them.
~Substance abuse. My drinking has been brought into question a few times recently. So I’ve decided between now and my birthday in November I’m not going to drink at all. And then after that only a very little bit on occasions like holidays and such. Not so much because I think I have a problem, but because I want to prove I’m in control and I don’t want to get to the point where I’m not. I don’t have problems with drugs. I flat out don’t take them unless a doctor tells me too. So that is one substance I know I’m ok with.
~Eating disorders. I have my depressives where I flat out have no appetite and don’t eat. I lost 20 pounds in a very short time last fall because of this. I have my moods where you can’t stop my appetite and I don’t try to.
~Criterion 1 – “Unstable and intense interpersonal relationships, with marked shifts in attitudes towards others from idealization to devaluation or from clinging dependency to isolation and avoidance and prominent patterns of manipulation of others.” I know I touched on this. I do want to draw attention to the times I get so bad where I literally hide for days if not weeks isolating myself from almost everyone. I make unrealistic demands on others that I don’t see as unrealistic at the time and sometimes never do. I can recognize it in myself thanks to having it repeatedly pointed out and because of a lot of reflection over the past few days. I’m very manipulative and pretty much always have been. I don’t see my mistakes and patterns until they have been drilled into me. Usually even then it’s more me taking someone’s word for it than actually seeing it myself. And I’m very scared my effort to fix things with Pat is me once again falling into a pattern. And I do also have difficulty in running into acquaintances outside of the usual setting because I don’t know how to respond. I only know them as a co-worker/teacher/etc not seeing that they have a separate life. So yes, this one fits.
~”Afflicted with self-loathing, the borderline distrusts others’ expressions of caring.” I honestly don’t understand why others give a damn. I don’t understand why Pat wants anything to do with me. I see myself as the user and abusive manipulative nut case who has screwed up his life and just continually causes him hurt. And no matter how many times he has explained to me why he loves me and why I’m worth this I don’t get it. Thomas. I’m the neglectful mother who feels an incredible amount of guilt for the blame I’m trying not to place on him. I would have pushed Pat away long before we would have had a chance to get married if pregnancy hadn’t sped up that process. And now I feel like I have to try and make things work. Andrew has told me he’s in love with me. I know he is. I still can’t fathom why he would be and why he gives a damn about my and my hurts. Who am I to him but the needy bitch who pulled him into a love triangle and made him the object of other people’s frustrations? I messed up his life and yet he claims to care. Why? Because he does love me. Why? I don’t know. I don’t understand. As for friends in general. All I am is a unstable nutcase who they have all seen flip a million times and a few have even been witness to my fits of sudden rage that come from nowhere. Some of them I know for sure if they witnessed them they would never have anything to do with me again. The others, I question why they even want to be around me. So I don’t see why people care. I feel others would be better without me being around. I do nothing but cause hurt and anger.
~Criterion 2. “Impulsiveness in at least two areas that are potentially self –destructive, e.g., chemical abuse, sexual promiscuity, gambling, shoplifting, excessive spending, overeating, anorexia nervosa, or bulimia. Yes, this one fits.
~”For the borderline, there is no escapes from the “now”, if even for brief respite and perspective.” Even my plan in getting by, one day at a time, sums it up. I can barely handle surviving today, tomorrow doesn’t even exist and yesterday is barely even a memory anymore.
~Criterion 3 – Radical Mood Shifts. Enough said, this fits.
~Criterion 4 – “Inappropriate, intense anger, or lack of control of anger, e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights.” I do get physical with it. But I’m mostly very verbal with it. It comes from nowhere. It comes with no warning. It can be triggered by the slightest of things. It leaves it’s victims and observers wondering what the hell happened and frustrated with me. It leaves me hating myself for hurting those I care about. And the more I care about a person, the bigger and more regular a target they are. Yes, this one fits.
~Criterion 5 – “Recurrent suicidal threats, gestures, or behavior, or self-mutilating behaviors.” “The self-inflicted pain may reflect the borderline’s need to feel, to escape an encapsulating numbness.” “Though the blood and scars may be fascinating for the borderline to observe” “self destructive behavior can also evolve from a manipulative need for sympathy or RESCUE” “Many borderlines deny feeling pain during self-mutilation and even report a calm euphoria after it. Before hurting themselves, they may experience great tension, anger, or overwhelming sadness; afterwords there is a sensation of release and relief from anxiety.” There are days where the only thing that keeps me from cutting is my fear of abandonment. So yes, this needless to say, applies to me.
~Criterion 6 – “Marked and persistent identity disturbance manifested by uncertainty in at least two of the following: self-image, sexual orientation, long-term goals, or career choice, type of friends desired, preferred values.” I have no idea who I am, what I want, or where I’m going. I’m not even sure where I’ve been. I don’t know who I am. Those around me know me better than I know me. “Borderlines lack a constant, core sense of identity, just as they lack a constant core conceptualization of others.” For the borderline, identity is graded on a curve. Who she is (and what she does) today determines her worth, with little regard to what has come before.” “Self-esteem is only attained through impressing others; so pleasing others becomes critical to loving herself.” That right there dictated the majority of everything I do. Including the original and one of the big reasons I’m trying with Pat. I have since found reasons of my own. But this is still there. It’s ever present in about everything I do. “He continues to feel like he is faking it and is terrified that he will, sooner or later, be found out.” This too, is behind about everything I do. So yes, again, this fits.
~Criterion 7 – “Chronic feelings of emptiness or boredom.” I live life empty and bored. “Lacking a core sense of identity, borderlines commonly experience a painful loneliness that motivates them to search for ways to fill up the “holes”.” “The borderline frequently experiences a kind of existential angst.” Just, yes fine this fits.
~Criterion 8 – “Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment” I’ve been suffering this hardcore since I was little. I’ve always feared being alone. I have issues with being abandoned. One of the reasons Pat went from white to black. He abandoned me mentally and emotionally and by hiding from me, physically as well. It’s why I always panicked when he threatened to leave. And probably one of the reasons I gave up on changing his mind last July. By that point he was already gone even if he was there. And I just didn’t have the energy to fight it anymore. The repeated threat of abandonment had grown to be worse than the abandonment itself so I just wanted it over with and him gone. Also probably why I moved in with him so quickly once he did leave. I was abandoned. It was just my mom and I. She was never around. I was always alone. I couldn’t handle it. Everyone all around abandoned me. “Particularly when they are alone, borderlines may lose the sensation of existing, of feeling real.” I started sleeping through the days. Not to hide but because I was so use to being around people during the days it’s when I felt alone the most. Where I was use to being alone at night so while it was still hard it wasn’t as hard. Even my “friends” weren’t around much. I had stopped existing and being real to such a degree there were no relief from them. My coping mechanism was failing me when I needed it the most. “The pain of loneliness can only be relieved by the rescue of a fantasized lover” or in my case my magical thinking and “friends”. So as I sit feeling overly alone in “our” room and overly alone in my little world that is so isolated from the rest of the world, this is the criterion that hurts the most and yes it applies.
~”She began to doubt she could ever be happy.” When have I ever thought I was capable of happy?
~Right now my biggest fear is what this is doing to Thomas. And I’ll be honest; my self-destructive thoughts tell me he’d be better off with no mommy than a mommy who is this completely messed up. So I fight to convince myself that isn’t true. I can learn to not let this run my life. I can learn to be the mommy he deserves and I want to be.
~”Elizabeth’s vision of reality became more frail: She yearned to be psychotic, to live in a fantasy world where she could “go anywhere” in her mind. The world would be so far removed from reality, no one – not even the best psychiatrist – could get to her and “see what’s underneath.”” It would be so much safer there.
~”The borderline’s fear of change involves a basic distrust of her “brakes.” In healthier people these psychic brakes allow a gradual descent from the pinnacle of a mood or behavior to a genital stop in the “gray zone” of the incline. Afraid that his set of brakes won’t hold, the borderline believes that he won’t be able to stop, that he will slide out of control to the bottom of the hill.” By now we all know I have no brakes in any direction my mood takes me.
~I have very limited memory. Most black events get either completely blocked out or mostly so that I have just a rough idea of them. Most gray events are completely gone. And white events it depends on the state I was in. If the best thing ever happened in the midst of a disabling depression, I won’t remember it. Either way much of the past 23 years is a fog with some events sticking out. And some memories can be triggered back. Others are flat out gone for good. And some are just vague ideas of what I was like or what I was doing/living/etc at certain times in my life.
~I’m now officially sick of being referred to as “the borderline” by a book that thinks it knows me better than I know myself and I’m ready to burn the damn thing. But I can’t because it’s my mom’s and she’d get mad. Even though I need to buy her a new copy anyway since this one is filed with my notes. Still won’t burn it. I’m too terrified of fire.
~Even after all this, the fact I can so rationally sit down and see all this in myself leaves me feeling doubt. Maybe I’m faking it. Maybe it isn’t real. Maybe it’s like everything else where I know what to say to get others to agree with what type of crazy I am. Maybe I really am mentally ok and just feel the need for spotlight. If I had BPD, would I so rationally be able to recognize every aspect and trait of it I have?
~Final thought… Just because I can see what I’m doing doesn’t mean I have the ability to stop myself. But I am working on that. I will learn.
~Ok one more final thought. For the sake of the feelings of those I care about. When I’m pushing the world away, hiding in my room and all that. It isn’t individual people I’m seeing as black verses white. Stacy, for example, has never been black to me. Never. IT isn’t ever a case of me pushing her away so much as it’s me hiding from her. And it isn’t her, it’s the entire world in general. I don’t think it’s me seeing the world black. I think it’s more me being so black inside and out that I’m drowning in it and not exposing the white to it. If that makes any sense at all. Anyway just thought I should mention that so people who shouldn’t take things personally didn’t. Stacy isn’t the only white in my life. She’s just been around the longest of all of my friends except for Pat.