Well hello there my little possums!
Long time no see amIrite?! I’m sorry I’ve been away so long – there are a few posts in the pipeline & I promise I’ll explain more about my absence shortly, but in the meantime, I’ve been fortunate enough to have one of my lovely pals write a cracking post on what it’s like to live with Borderline Personality Disorder.
I’ve wanted to discuss mental health on a broader level for a while now. I’ve only talked about anxiety & depression myself because that’s what I have & know; & yet there are so many different forms of mental illness out there & I’m after raising as much awareness about them as I can. With that, please welcome Cordelia & enjoy her post – it’s brilliant!
You can find Cordelia at https://cordeliamoor.com/
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I was told I had ‘Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder’ only two years ago, but the reality of the matter is I’ve been living with it for a lot longer.
First things first: some background on me. My name is Cordelia, and I’m a blogger and PR assistant living and working in Greater London (although with a bit of luck and pixie dust I’ll soon be working in the big city as an admin assistant). I spend most of my time writing, and when I’m not sticking words down on the page and making stupid jokes, you can find me at various different drag shows. Which I then review. It’s all linked!
Anyway, I’ve gotten off topic. EUPD. BPD. Borderline Personality Disorder. Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder. Whatever you prefer to call it, I got it. I personally prefer EUPD, despite BPD being more widely used, because the vast majority of the time emotionally unstable sums up how I feel. Personality disorders are one of the mental illnesses that people tend to know a lot less about, and tend to be more demonised in their portrayal in the media than the more palatable and potentially relatable depression and anxiety. Hopefully, through the course of the next however many words I end up rambling through, you’ll learn a little more about what it is to live your daily life with a personality disorder.
First things first, what is BPD?
Mind define it as “Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a type of personality disorder. You might be diagnosed with a personality disorder if you have difficulties with how you think and feel about yourself and other people, and are having problems in your life as a result.”
It’s very broad. The definition really doesn’t mean much, compared to how living with BPD feels. Difficulties with how you think and feel about yourself and other people? Yeah. You could say that.
For me, living with BPD is like living without an emotional skin. I feel everything all the time, and my emotions seem a lot stronger than those around me. If my friends are happy, I’m euphoric. If people around me are sad, I’m suicidal. It sounds like I make emotions a competition, but truly it’s not that. It’s more like living life on a constant rollercoaster, and there’s no plateaus. It’s just up and down, all the time, sometimes in the space of an hour. I can go from being on top of the world to feeling like I’ll never be happy again at the blink of an eye, without there even being an obvious trigger. This also results in me feeling empty a lot of the time. I can spend hours sat, staring into nothing, because inside there’s just this constant emptiness that won’t go away, and can result in me trying anything to try and fill it.
Needless to say, living with BPD can be exhausting.
It’s not just moods that it manifests itself in either. For me personally, a big part of my BPD is impulsivity, and self destructive behaviours. Impulsive choices can (and often do) come in the form of recklessly spending too much money because I need that thing and who cares about the consequences?! My self destructive behaviours are more centered around binge-eating, self-harming, and formerly alcohol. I stopped drinking completely because it was heading down a dangerous path for me, and it was a choice I’ve never regretted, even though I find it really hard to admit to people why I don’t drink anymore.
Self-harming is probably the hardest, and most obvious outward sign of my mental illness. It’s an addiction, a very obvious one, and something that I haven’t yet figured out a way not to do. I know it’s the thing my family find hardest to deal with, and that definitely makes it harder for me because I don’t feel like I can talk about it to people, or go to someone ‘hey, I really want to do this thing right now’, because it’s easy to just freak out when someone mentions wanting to harm themselves.
Almost every aspect of my personality is tinged with the symptoms of BPD. At this point in my life, I genuinely don’t know who I would be without it. The way I view myself constantly changes: I don’t really know who I am or what I want in life. There aren’t many constants, and I find it hard to stick to one path because what I want to do is constantly changing. It affects the way I view other people: life is very much in black and white a lot of the time, which is really hard when I want to be a tolerant person who can deal with a whole spectrum of people. But what it usually means is if I like a person, I really like them and have to work hard at not being too much (which is the way I usually feel) because I can’t bear the thought of driving them away or them thinking I’m just annoying. And if I dislike someone, I hate them and find it hard not to show that.
Black and white. Minimal grey areas.
When I think about it, really it does make sense that there’s a stigma around BPD. It’s a personality disorder. It affects who I am as a person in a way depression and anxiety almost don’t – which is why they can be much more palatable in wider society. You can separate depression from someone’s personality. You can’t separate BPD from my personality, because without it I’m 90% certain I wouldn’t have a personality.
And I know I can be a good person. I have empathy by the bucketful, because I have no emotional skin and can feel what other people are feeling. I’ve been told I have a comfortable presence and that people feel they can be themselves around me, because I’m unapologetically who I am. I like to think I’m kind and generous, and a good friend to the people I like. I take responsibility for my mental illness, but I also know that sometimes it makes me not a good person to be around, and sometimes I don’t know what the end result of this all will be. In my darkest place, I don’t see myself sticking around for much longer. In my highest place, the world is my oyster and I can do anything I want to do and achieve a lot. It’s like living on a constant knife edge, and not knowing which way I’ll tip.
Mostly, living with BPD is mostly just a massive pain in the arse.