Per Wikipedia; Borderline personality disorder (BPD), also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder, is a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by unstable relationships with other people, unstable sense of self, and unstable emotions. There is often an extreme fear of abandonment, frequent dangerous behavior, a feeling of emptiness, and self-harm. Symptoms may be brought on by seemingly normal events. The behavior typically begins by early adulthood, and occurs across a variety of situations. Substance abuse, depression, and eating disorders are commonly associated with BPD. BPD increases the risk of self-harm and 10% of people affected die by suicide.
I have BPD. They are not sure whether I have Bi-Polar disorder as well or if my intense and rapid mood swings are solely reactionary. With BPD comes a great deal of anxiety which appears in the form of panic attacks. These can happen because of something big like a social engagement or something as little as going to the grocery store. Sometimes I just get a dizzy spell and shortness of breath. My hands become unsteady, they shake uncontrollably. My mind fogs and my words become hard to find. And almost always there are hives. All of this can be followed by a wave of stomach upset much like the flu. Eating disorders are common for people with BPD. For me it's compulsive binge eating which I like to balance with restrictive eating on the days I am anxious. And finally there are the addictive personality traits. Please refer back to the aforementioned binge eating issues. I've been known to spend money uncontrollably, especially if money is tight and it's making me uneasy. There is little common sense to impulse control issues. I don't drink alcohol because I can't have one drink, it must be 12. There truly aren't enough pharmaceuticals in the world to satiate my appetite for them, and I've slept with more people than most people know.
I left my career in 2007. I found myself hating my job, hating myself and everyone around me including my partner. I was stressed out and my emotions didn't add up. I wasn't just angry all the time anymore, I was anxious and depressed, then I’d be manic for days. I wasn't sleeping. I couldn't focus. I had no idea what was happening to me. It just slowly crept up on me. It took years for me to be properly diagnosed and medicated. As I was trying to get a handle on life, life was going on without me, all around me. Life stressors didn't stop. Life didn't stop. People left my world either by my pushing them away or their exhaustion in trying to keep up with my ever evolving moods. And that’s all I could think about, that life was going on without me, everyone was going on without me.
In 2014, I couldn't recognize myself anymore. All I could think about was why I was alive? What was the point of it all, all the pain? The thoughts never let up. I attempted suicide then checked myself into a private hospital for 60 days. My new life began the day I almost died.
I've come to realize that my mind will torture itself all day, every day, if I let it. If I don't use skills every waking minute of each day, then I will be miserable. If I choose instead to distract myself all day long, then I will become manic and uncontrollable. I will go and go until my mind is exhausted and my body in pain. I will actually harm myself with my inability to find the balance between living life rather than distracting my way through it. The drop in mood I experience from the mania of distraction back into my own thoughts is so dramatic it takes my breath away. It makes me want to end my life because I go from a severe high to low, incredibly fast. When I have a simple mood swing with this disorder again, it feels so big, it’s overwhelming and all encompassing. In those moments I feel like I will never recover. Now I know that sounds dramatic but that is this disease, it’s dramatic.
I now know that I have to find the joy in every little thing I do. I must be mindful of the moment and reap the full rewards of it for the next second I could become inconsolable over almost nothing. I have to give myself credit for the bad days when I manage to get out of bed and function at all. I have finally come to terms with the loss of my old life. I have a mental illness. I am neither ashamed or defeated. I am a work in progress. My progress is I am still here, talking to you.