This is the third blog in our series ”Through my Eyes” – taking a look at four of our most common mental health problems, and how it actually feels to suffer with them.
Trigger Warning: Please be aware that this blog speaks about self-harm.
There’s a quote I like by Marsha Linehan “People with BPD are like people with third-degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement.”
Here’s what my BPD is to me, it’s crying for hours at the slightest thing, it’s getting blood boiling-ly angry in a split second over almost nothing, it’s switching from love to hate in a millisecond and its feeling hopeless and helpless 99% of the time. I often get this feeling of unease like I’m constantly running from my emotions. It feels like wave after wave of emotions, uncontrollable anger, then guilt, then emptiness followed by having absolutely no idea what to do with yourself. It’s exhausting this constant emotional up and down all the time. You begin not trusting yourself and your reactions to situations. I find I’m constantly checking in with people to see what they would do in a situation to make sure I’m not reacting to an emotion that in a few days or even hours won’t make any sense at all.
As this year has gone on I have become more and more aware of my connections to others this is a huge thing for me. The people closest to me feel the biggest wrath of my emotions I can go from love to hate in the snap of a finger. The more I care about someone the more they will trigger me. I care so much, while at the same time I’m convinced other people don’t care about me. With these close group of people, it’s like my emotions are on steroids. I feel every emotion but stronger and more uncontrollable. Some people I become attached to, imagine feeling like you literally can’t live without these people. I suffocate the people I love and I need constant reassurance that they still care and they aren’t going to leave me. It’s a horrible cycle, sometimes I can see myself doing it. Inside my head I’m screaming ‘Stop it!’ but l feel completely powerless to actually stop. The smallest thing can trigger me just the other day I was triggered by a group conversation and I felt like I’d been physically hit by a whirlwind of emotions. I didn’t have much choice in the situation but to ride it out and afterwards I was physically, emotionally and mentally shattered. If anything I just felt numb!
Here’s the slightly more difficult thing for me to write about…self-harm. Self-harm for me has taken many forms from drinking, binge eating, skin picking, to cutting. Over the years the method has changed but the reasoning has stayed the same, to emotionally regulate either to bring me back down to a ‘normal’ level or to get out of my own head. One thing about self-harm is it’s NOT attention seeking and it’s not a cry for help. For me personally, it’s simply a coping strategy but it can be for so many different reasons.
The stigma around mental health is getting better but personality disorders seem to be taking just a bit longer for the stigma to lessen. If you Googled BPD, for example, you’d immediately be presented with an array of results most of which wouldn’t be very positive with words such as unstable, dysregulated and abnormal coming up. Having a mental health condition is a lonely place to be but once I started to connect to others I realised I struggled with similar things to other people with the disorder. Suddenly it wasn’t so lonely anymore. Other than connecting to people, therapy has helped me greatly but it has never been an easy thing for me to go to therapy. The road to recovery is hard, but it is rewarding and it is worthwhile.
Remember you are so much more than your illness, together we are so much stronger and you will get better!
Suffering from BPD/EUPD? We’re right here behind you. Come join our Peer support group if you want a fantastic group of people to talk to, and know you’re never alone.