I have this persistent, permanent underlying bad feeling… I’ve had it my entire life, and no matter what I do, I can’t get it to go away… not for very long anyway. It always returns.
The only way I can describe it is a crave, a need, to fill a void that exists in my core. it’s an empty feeling, a missing piece, a lack of some thing very important. These days it presents as an urge to put something in my mouth. Something nice, that will make me feel good. It’s often been the way, either consuming something intoxicating like alcohol or drugs, to relieve the feeling. Then there was the starving, followed by the binging and purging, in an attempt to gain power and control over it. Then there was the cutting, where I would try to drain it away.
I’m in therapy, and I can’t identify why or what this is. Is it an underdeveloped ego? Low self esteem? Anxiety? There is a huge, gaping hole inside me where something big should be. But I don’t know what! How can I fix what I don’t know?
It feels like I am lost, alone, lonely, left out, unheard, unnoticed, ignored, unimportant, bored, stuck, frustrated, angry, paralysed, muted, afraid, laughable, weak, pathetic, not taken seriously, disrespected, powerless, out of control, upset, irritated, not trusted, judged, put down, taken advantage of, used, abused, offended, tired, hopeless, unsure, uncertain, unstable, disliked, overreactive, sensitive, delicate, fragile… bad. In general. All the negative feelings and emotions you can think of.
I drink daily, to ‘take the edge off’. “Take the edge off what?” My therapist asked… a question that plagues me… what’s wrong with me? And how do I fix it?
I can’t go on using maladaptive coping mechanisms to get short-term relief from this feeling. I can’t continue to attempt to fill the void with alcohol. I need to figure this shit out and address the issue.
A few weeks ago I was a bridesmaid at my cousin Rosie’s wedding. It was forecast to rain and was set to be an outdoorsy summer affair, but thankfully the weather held out all day and the celebrations were only dampened by my many tears during the ceremony! I am so strange when it comes to weddings of people close to me (and I guess even of those not so close to me – as I nearly cried at Dom’s friend’s wedding years ago), I just get really overcome with emotion. It’s confusing, I think it’s really lovely and cute and for some reason that brings me to tears… Yet, I play the clown in gatherings at funerals… in a desperate attempt to cheer people up…
Anyway, Rosie looked stunning, her and the groom looked like Britain’s next top models! Such a handsome couple. Dom and I unfortunately were not warned in time to congregate in the marquee for the speeches, so we missed a few minutes of the father of the bride speech talking to the woman selling craft ale round the corner, when we realised we had to be somewhere, we had to sneak in and found some seats that were quite far away. At the end of the groom’s speech he announced that the day previous they had discovered that Rosie is in fact pregnant with their first child!
I am so happy for them. They’ve been together for 10 years, and they are the perfect match. They will both make amazing parents.
There kind of is nothing I want more in this world than to have a baby. So of course I’m slightly envious, but not in a bad way. It’s just natural. Dom thinks we’re not ready… I am. I want a baby as soon as possible really. I hate the idea of leaving it too late. Or even not leaving it too late and being an old mom. Women only have a certain number of eggs, we’re not like men who are pretty much fertile until they’re dead! I’m 32 now.. rapidly approaching 33. Dom is still doing his PhD. Granted, it’s coming to an end, but then he wants a holiday and then he’ll have to get a job. Will we have to move? Who knows? When do we look into buying a house? All these things are factors. But, baby needs to be a factor somewhere too.
Rosie apologised to me sometime following the wedding that she didn’t warn me of the news before hand as she knows how triggering a pregnancy in the family can be for me (after the breakdown I had when I found out my other cousin Becky was pregnant – which was about two years ago now).
Total BPD reaction, to be so jealous that you can’t function. While at the same time knowing that they deserve all the happiness a child will bring to their family, and being happy for them. I’m trying so hard not to let it consume me this time. I’m trying to be happy with what I have right now. Dom sees my over the top emotional reactions and does not understand them. He thinks I’m being a baby. I really think he needs to research borderline personality disorder a bit more, because he just does not empathise with me when I need him to most.
He think’s I’m too immature and irresponsible right now. He want me to prove myself before we even think about it. He is a very pragmatic person. He has his routines that get him through, and that is that. I don’t have that. I try, but it does not come naturally to me. But spontaneous, idiosyncratic people can still be parents. I understand why he might want me to be stable for a prolonged period of time before we decide to procreate! I mean, that’s big! Bringing another life into the world. A little helpless slither of a human, to look after and mould into a functioning, well rounded person. We haven’t even had a pet!
I’ve been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD (AKA Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder, EUPD) for a very long time. My life is a struggle. I’ve decided to focus my posts in this blog a bit more on coping with and managing BPD symptoms, as I desperately want to be happy in myself and in my relationships, and live a life as close to ‘normal’ as I can get. Writing seems to help me pause and reflect.
Ever since the psych told me I had BPD, I never really researched it too much. I did a bit, saw that the slipper fits and moved on. In hindsight (I think I was in my early 20’s) what I really should have done is some in-depth research to try and understand myself. Better late than never I’m starting now (age 32).
This book ‘Borderline Personality Disorder for Dummies’ has been on my book shelf since I did get diagnosed. I think my Mom bought it. So I’ve dusted it off and started reading it. The book states it’s designed so that you can start anywhere you like, no real order. So I started with chapter 21, the one that will most interest Dom – ‘What to Do When Your Partner Has BPD’… to be honest I’ve been horrified by my reading. It really does paint people with BPD in a bad light! It calls us manipulative and in a lot of cases (intentional or not) abusive! This chapter really seems to feel sorry for the partner of anyone who has BPD, and gives advice on how to leave your relationship. I’m quite hurt. I told Dom to read it (before I’d read it myself), and now I’m scared that he’ll read all the bad things it portrays us as and take the book’s advice to leave me… there’s not much advice on how to maintain a relationship with someone with BPD, it basically says, if your staying with them you will need therapy to help you deal with it, but really- run for the hills!
There is a massive stigma surrounding BPD, this whole: nasty, evil, psycho-killer, manipulative, unpredictable, abusive, impulsive, suicidal, attention seeking mess. It’s also well quoted by professionals that “It’s not a mental ‘illness’, it’s a personality disorder”, making it sound less serious than it is, which is bad, because it is very fucking serious.
In the past I’ve longed for a different diagnosis, bipolar, schizophrenia, anything! Something that IS an ‘illness’ so they can give me the drugs and I’d respond to that treatment and start to feel better. But that doesn’t happen with personality disorders I’m afraid. Personality disorders are complicated. We have built up this severe mental gymnastic problem that twists everything and makes us feel emotions in extremes, black and white thinking, splitting, etc. from childhood. So it is deeply ingrained into our personality (or lack there of), and extremely low sense of self/self esteem. So we can’t just pop a pill every morning and symptoms disappear. We are wired that way, so we can pop pills to take the edge off mood swings (for example), but it won’t make them go away. To make them go away it would take years of long term intensive specialist therapy maybe as well as meds, to reprogram how we automatically feel, think, act and react to things.
Sounds like hard work, huh? well yes! It is. And it seems like it’s too much like hard work for my Community Mental Health Team (CMHT), as I’ve been under their care my entire adult life (and was under child and adolescent mental health care prior to that) and they have never offered me Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) which was specifically designed for people diagnosed with BPD.
Now that I am older and speak my mind more, less afraid of authority figures (or those who perceive themselves as that), I quizzed my psych on it last year, whilst in a (very few and far between) phone consultation appointment (not face to face due to covid). She said it was only for people who are currently self harming on a very severe level, the type where they need hospital treatment… so… why – when I cut my wrist so badly that I severed tendons and needed surgery to repair the damage – wasn’t I offered DBT??? There was the time I attempted suicide where I took a massive overdose and cut both my wrists, spent one night in a normal hospital, only to go home the next day. No psych intervention.
I was only an inpatient once and it was when I was a teenager. My parents took me out prematurely (after two weeks) against the psych’s advice because in their opinion it was making me more upset. Mental health services seem not to take me seriously, and I think it’s because I have the ability to articulate, and argue my case. They think that makes me less ‘crazy’, but I’m not. I had a melt down and got banned from the only chance at real therapy I’ve ever had, because I threw a chair across the room and they had to evacuate the other patients as I got mad… these events I’ve listed do make me sound like a ‘nutcase’ but really, I’m just frustrated and need help. No one helps me.
Long story short, I had to beg and plead with my psychiatrist to refer me for an assessment for DBT. She finally did (just to get me off the phone I think), she was sure they would not take me on. But when I explained my history to the man who assessed me he said I was a perfect candidate for it and I’m now on a waiting list.
The take home from this article is: fight for your treatment! If there is something wrong with you (no matter what it is) fight tooth and nail until you get the treatment you need. We only live once, so we might piss off a dr, so what, it’s their job to listen, and a lot of them don’t!