I’m a social media maven whose personal history reads like a badly written Mary Sue in some fan fiction online. “TV taught me how to feel, now real life has no appeal” is one of my favourite quotes, but like you - I live in the regular space-time continuum of reality.
Coping with a diagnosis like borderline personality disorder is hard and not easy to handle - let alone fully understand. I’m sharing my experiences with you so that things could be easier, and you know that you’re not alone.
Come talk to me!
TOPICS: 💌 mental health: coping, awareness, support 💌 productivity hacks (or, how to brain when yours feels broken) 💌 self-awareness: limits, cause & effect, personality vs. personal brand 💌 personal growth: determining your own direction, pursuing your path 💌 society’s you vs. real you: how to draw the line 💌 BONUS: how I used video games to learn how to human
MY TOPICSTopic is a subject you can talk about with curious human.
I remember a time when a former friend compared her diagnosis to mine. It wasn’t the same - wasn’t anything close to being exactly the same. A mood disorder and a personality disorder can be comorbid (linked) with each other, but not always.
I have Borderline Personality Disorder. It’s considered a ‘death sentence’ by some psychology professionals because the stigma and complexity attached to the diagnosis is so strong, it can sometimes cause your health provider to have ‘strong emotions’ towards you - a polite way to say that your disorder can occasionally cause your therapist to lash out at you. Which is well, apparently not unheard of in these cases.
I often feel the need to apologise for having this: for not being ‘cured’ or ‘fixed’ after six years of therapy, or not fitting exactly in whatever box people have set out for me. Characters who have been described as having BPD range from Anakin Skywalker or the titular Gone Girl, to Cersei and Jaime Lannister. None of these are flattering depictions.
Coping strategies can range from harm reduction to implementing structure and straight up avoiding certain triggers. You’d think after six years I’d have this all figured out, but I don’t. At least not all the time.
One way that has worked?
Acknowledging that while this element of my psyche makes me incredibly sensitive to rejection and abandonment, it also allows me to feel deeply and empathise with a wide range of people. It’s made me a better leader, a better friend and a better partner - if not a somewhat difficult and occasionally nitpicky one.
Sometimes it’s easier to send people the link above to show them that it’s not ‘all in my head’, sometimes I don’t want to even try. On days like this, I do feel like giving up - but as long as someone out there genuinely wants to learn more, I think I can keep going.
Relating is not the same as equating.
Before you scroll away from this, think about it: you can relate to someone’s experiences without equating their pain to yours, because you don’t know what they’re feeling and it’s not up to you to tell them how to feel. You can however, relate a similar experience without being cruel about it, empathise with them without diminishing their experience or pain, and be mindful enough to avoid playing pain olympics.
Everyone has different thresholds for different types of pain - wouldn’t it make sense that we should be mindful enough to avoid forcing our feelings, insecurities or standards on others? Where’s our freedom to feel, or even the possibility of processing these feelings without it?
There wasn’t anything that could have prepared me for my first full-blown anxiety attack.
I felt like I was frozen in place but I couldn’t stop shaking. It was like I had tunnel vision; all I could focus on was the trigger and how overwhelming it felt, how I didn’t think I could overcome it, how it felt like no matter how hard I tried - I would never be able to do something about it.
Was I not good enough?
Did I do something to deserve this?
My thoughts would come at a million miles a minute but also fixate on the same topic again, and again. It kept happening like a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. I couldn’t escape it. I was so scared. What if I never fixed it? What if this kept happening? What if this was it, this was the end of it?
Anxiety doesn’t always feel the same for everyone, but one thing is: it’s your mind and body being in a state of emergency when danger isn’t. Learning to recognise the signs of a panic or anxiety attack is key to learning how to self-soothe and get it under control again.
If you ever feel bad for burning out... don’t. It’s normal to be burnt out if you’ve been working hard on things, or even if you’ve been doing the same thing for so long. You might have all the luxuries in the world and you might still burn out. It’s okay, breathe - you’re allowed to have a moment where you’re not okay.