I can't remember if my brain ever thought healthy thoughts, knowing what I know about BPD (borderline personality disorder) it is quite obvious to me that some of my strange thoughts when I was a mere child were part of dissociating from myself.
I guess before I write more, I should explain why I'm writing this post. I used to be quite open about my mental health, I could easily tell someone I had depression and anxiety disorder, as well as other issues (yes OK BPD was my dirty secret still). However, then my teen years came back to haunt me, someone decided again to use my mental health against me and I went back into my shell. It seems even as an adult you cannot get away from the stigma of mental health.
What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
BPD is a serious mental health illness, which is marked by a long-term pattern of abnormal behaviours, such as unstable relationships, unstable sense of self and unstable emotions. BPD suffers also often have an irrational fear of abandonment and often feel empty. Sufferers can frequently display dangerous behaviours and are very often self-harmers. BPD suffers can often experience other mental health problems and some suffer from addictions to drugs and alcohol.
How has it affected me?
I guess I should go back, way back. In my primary school years I remember wondering why I was me, why was my head put in this body, why not another. It is a hard sensation to explain, it was almost like my thoughts were disconnected from my body. I also remember at 10 thinking some of the other kids in my class had planted something in my brain to track my thoughts. Not normal at all right?
I was able to keep most of my thoughts and feelings under control when I lived in Oxford, after all, I had a strong network of family and friends around me. However, that all changed when we moved to the Midlands. Suddenly I was no longer accepted, I spoke funny and wore the wrong clothes, I no longer belonged. Then I fell ill with a bad case of the flu and constant tonsillitis at 13/14 it all came to a head, I started self-harming, which gradually got worse, till I was taking a lot of over doses in the hopes of committing suicide (how I didn't manage it, I still don't know).
I also starting doing some very scary and dangerous things, I would run away from home, in the middle of the night, without shoes, in the pouring rain, I would mix alcohol with tablets when taking over doses and would do anything to hurt myself from picking up glass from the streets to breaking cans apart to make a pointed edge. Sadly I also had audio and visual hallucinations, some which had little meaning to me and were just constant streams of hatred, while others I felt related to bad times in my childhood, such as one which seemed to have related to an incident in my younger years when I was with a friend in the park, and someone scared us badly with a knife.
After having three different consultants check me over (one believed I was getting better, as in his mind no one who is hugely depressed tries to commit suicide, as it is too much effort, one who thought the opposite and the third who agreed) at 15 I was admitted to a child and adolescent unit as an in patient.
I won't delve hugely into my time there, it had its ups and downs, I met some amazingly strong people who suffered from all different types of mental health issues. Did it help? Well, no one knows the answer to that, sadly I found I picked up often on how other around me were feeling and internalised that as well as my own emotions. I remember vividly as I left the hospital almost a year later, the doctor told me and my parents, I'll never know if I managed to help you or not.
My life over the preceding years was a mix of madness, I worked for a while and found that it took my mind off everything, so I worked all the hours I could, ending up running myself into the ground, to the point I was badly cutting and getting angry a lot. Back then I would bang my head on the walls and floors in frustration, as well as throwing around items and barricading myself in my bedroom. Unsurprisingly I ended up back in hospital, this time I spent 2 weeks in an adult mental health unit, which was a completely different world to the child and adolescent one I had been in just 2 years prior. I was released from there into what I can only describe as a half way house, , (which was inadequately supervised due to “staff Shortages”) where it took a more sinister turn and I started getting into abusive relationships, three in total over the course of 4 years, which saw me subjected to, physical, sexual, mental, emotional and financial abuse. While in many ways this time left me broken it also gave the will to not let these people win, it gave me the want to find out who I was and try and find a way to live with the issues that are broken inside me.
Where am I now?
I am no angel to live with, I have my down times and I have the times when I feel like BPD might rear its head again, however with the help of the right medication and many years of self-work I have come to be on a more even keel. Don't get me wrong I still worry about being abandoned, I still have times when I self-harm. However, I have managed to make meaningful relationships with people, people who I care about deeply and who care about me. I have learnt to try and rationalise the completely irrational thoughts that still pop up.
I've learnt to try and forgive myself for the things I have done due to my mental health issues and try and learn from them and work it out so I don't make the same mistakes again. I really do hope that I never go over the edge again, I know I am on a knife point, holding myself sane.
To anyone with BPD.
Please do not think you are beyond help, do not listen to those who say you are purely insane, yes your brain doesn't process things correctly, yes life can be downright hard, when you're fighting those demons in your head. However, you are not alone. There are people out there struggling in similar situations to you.
And to anyone who thinks people BPD are cruel, awful people – please think again. We can be a bit manic, we can't completely control our emotions and it's a bit like living on a roller coaster and you never know if the next stop will be fear, anxiety or a bit cheer and we might need more reassurance that others (and we may say sorry a lot!), but we are human and we have an illness and while we will never be 100%, who really is in this world we live in?
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