“You were blessed by a different kind of inner view: it’s all magnified. The highs would make you fly, and the lows make you want to die.” Missy Higgins, “Nightminds”
In my experience, Borderline “episodes” don’t usually happen out of the blue. They are usually triggered by something, especially things like abandonment or rejection or loss. The episode that I am currently in was triggered by my therapist, who is my “favourite person”, blocking me on Facebook after I told her I’d found her profile. This flicked a switch in me and alas I began a rapid downward spiral that has lasted five days now. Five days might seem like a short time but it is way too long to be experiencing such acute pain. That is what it’s like to have Borderline Personality Disorder. Everything is magnified. Love feels like flying. Sadness feels like drowning. Anger feels like murder. Losing someone feels like death. The emotional pain is often so intense we feel it physically. That is, if we can even feel our bodies at all. Sometimes it is so unbearable that we begin to separate from our body and the world around us. The world begins to feel like a dream, and our bodies feel transparent.
We are desperate for anything to put us out of our pain. Some of the things I am turning to are:
Painkillers such as codeine for the emotional pain
Alcohol and illicit drugs
Taking sleeping pills during the day because it’s too unbearable being awake
When I am awake, listening to music non-stop and engaging in other compulsive activities
And, of course, suicide.
I have been experiencing suicidal urges almost constantly for the last five days. A friend even called an ambulance one night, and I am grateful she did as I was in a shocking way.
I feel love and hate all at once, and it is like being tossed around and around in tornado. Seeing my therapist was the highlight of my week. I want to keep seeing her yet I also want to run as fast as I can in the opposite direction. I want to leave her and see if it hurts her, which I will take as proof that she still cares. But in the end it only hurts me the most, depriving myself of the care I need from her.
The rage makes me want to do some fucked up things. I want to kill myself not just because I don’t want to live anymore, but also to hurt my therapist and make her feel bad for blocking me.
Eventually, after caring so much, I collapse into apathy and resignation. I don’t give a shit about anything anymore. I don’t care to shower, take my supplements, brush my knotted hair before going out or even get dressed before going out. I will attend my appointments in my pyjamas. If I have the energy I will go out and swim, ride my bike on the highway or walk in the middle of the night in my pyjamas and not give a fuck about my safety. I will swim in bodies of water where no one else swims (or when it’s not the season) and not care about the strange looks I receive. I will sit under a cold shower fully clothed.
When our emotions are so dysregulated, other aspects of our lives become dysregulated as well such as our sleeping and eating, and our routines.
Borderline Personality Disorder has been described as one of the most painful mental illnesses there is. 10% of us will die by suicide, and the average BPD sufferer has at least five other mental health conditions. I hope this post gives you a glimpse into what life can be like for us, and you do not resent us for the things we do, for BPD is the emotional equivalent of having a horrific pain condition, third degree burns and a blood clotting disorder where we keep bleeding and bleeding. It is a disorder usually rooted in trauma where that trauma does not stay in the past but continues to haunt us in our present lives (some suggest a better name is Developmental Trauma Disorder). Kat Napiorkowska has made an amazing video about BPD which is worth watching on YouTube.