This guest post was written by Elisa Camanhom, all views expressed are a personal view of BPD and Recovery and in no way should be considered professional advice. If you disagree with anything in this post, or have your own thoughts do let her know in the comments below. For all other questions and issues relating to BPD do use the Contact Us page. Take it away Elisa…
You might say it’s insane, and it is. The problem is I couldn’t care less. Not out of egoism or self-centeredness, but out of sheer terror. I thought I will not be able to go on living without each of these people, so I tuned into survival mode, oblivious to any common sense. Did I want to hurt these people along the way? Not in a million years; and yet, I did.
Unstable and Intense Interpersonal Relationships
That’s one of the reasons people leave. I think I don’t do mundane well enough. In the past, everything had to be a roller-coaster; people had to be busy thinking of me (remember my high-school teachers?); relationships could not evolve and grow steadily. No, Sir, I wanted it all, and I wanted it now!
Sometimes people were dumbstruck by the stunts I had pulled; other times they got exhausted, lost their calm, and became meaner than they thought they were capable of. I had an affair with one of my professors, and even though it was an awful experience (never get into such a relationship; run fast if already involved), I actually made a pass at another professor of mine. My thesis adviser, to be precise (speaking about dumbass stunts).
If you don’t have BPD, you won’t be able to understand; I cannot fully understand myself in hindsight. Back then I just had to feel and to make people feel. They could hate me, be repelled by me, pity me, whatever – everything was better than knowing people don’t feel anything towards me.
Hitting on your professor. Hitting on another one of your professors. Calling someone more than twice. Emailing someone who hates you. More than twice. Saying I’m sorry and then just ruining everything. Demanding attention. Blaming people for not caring. Trying to get intimate too fast. Trying to get intimate when inappropriate. Ignoring the police when driving. Smashing dishes on the floor when angry.
Recurrent Suicidal Behavior, Gestures, or Threats, or Self-mutilating Behavior
I don’t cut myself, never did. Sometimes I used to wish I could, though. People who cut themselves do it to alleviate the pain; when you don’t cut yourself – the pain just stays inside. I did try to commit suicide more than ten years ago. I’m not really sure I wanted to die; it was probably a desperate cry for help.
I also used to talk a lot about suicide; I would talk about it with anyone, and it was not a good strategy. People are repelled by suicidal thoughts. Moreover, they tend to think you are trying to manipulate them. I guess I can understand them. When someone says to you: I will kill myself if you leave me you are prone to feeling manipulated.
To this I can only answer the following: Remember life unworthy of living? When that’s how you feel about living, you are not manipulating someone by saying you want to kill yourself. I did it to express my pain, hoping people will realize something really hurts, but I could see some people were really annoyed. Then it just hurt more.
BPD is not depression. Sure, sometimes you are depressed, but then sometimes you are happy, or bored, or anxious. My moods used to be extremely volatile. I could be quite content and then hit the bottom upon the slightest of insults. I can read people’s emotions too well for my own good.
For example, one might frown slightly or have that notch of annoyance in his voice, and I feel hit by a bus, emotionally speaking. People with BPD are more sensitive to criticism, rejections or insults; they react with more intensity; and it takes them more time to become calm again.
This means you can sometimes go from one painful emotion (e.g., anger) to another one (e.g., sadness) without having a break, even though the incidents themselves might seem relatively small and insignificant to others. Such an emotional roller-coaster wears you down quick enough, and when you have no emotional energy, you cannot control your above mentioned impulses well enough.
Intense and Inappropriate Anger
I would get mad over anything, and I’m talking about anger that flows through you and makes you oblivious to anything around you. I would get so mad I had to clench my teeth until my jaw hurt. My guts would constrain and cause severe abdominal pain.
I used to snap at people: loved ones, strangers, colleagues, authority figures. Once I was walking my dog, and the dog tried to chase a car. The driver stopped, got out and yelled at me, saying my dog can cause an accident and get killed. He was rude, but he was also right. I then turned towards him and told him to go to hell (well, in a more inappropriate form). He just looked at me, stunned, and got into his car without saying a word. I must have looked like an insane woman at this point, cursing like a sailor in a voice full with hatred.
I’m not saying that I am cured nowadays, but thanks to therapy I am not able to live a semi-normal life. I still have issues and I still get into trouble now and again, but I feel much more in control and able to deal with my BPD. To be honest writing this post has helped me a lot and maybe it would help you as well. The best advice I can offer anyone is to try EVERYTHING! Give all sorts of therapy a go, try workbooks, try Youtube videos, just never give up trying.