June 11, 2015

Content warning: This blog talks about suicidal feelings.

Sometimes, living with Borderline Personality Disorder has made me not want to live at all. For over a decade I've dragged around the weight of an unstable personality, bouts of severe depression, erratic mood swings, excessive anger and a passionate self-hatred. It is like I was destined to an eternal struggle. I've been cursed with this difficult character that I struggle to contain within my wounded core. A little while ago, consumed by a colourless chaos, I felt as though I was fighting a losing battle. I was exhausted. I just wanted to escape it. I wanted an end to it.

One evening that I tried to take my own life, and I ended up in hospital. I raised my oxygen mask and started doing Darth Vader impressions with my dry-throated voice to bring a smile to my family's teary composure. On the outside, I still had the ability to bring humour to the situation, but inside I was distraught. I didn’t want to be here – I didn’t want to live. Nobody could understand why.

I feel as though I have an irrational mind inside a rational brain

Nobody ever understood why my tantrums could be so extreme, and my outbursts so violent or self-abusive. My ever-changing mood can turn so dramatically uncontrollable in an instant. All of a sudden, I can be engulfed by a ravenous rage, and a deep-set desire to self-destruct. It can be incredibly frightening. I feel as though I have an irrational mind inside a rational brain. I see and hear the things that I do and say and I know that they could easily be perceived as quite frankly ridiculous, but it's as though I have no influence over it. It's as though that part of my personality doesn't belong to me. Try as I might to capture and tame it, a piece of me remains wild.

People have told me that I just need to get a grip

Over the years I've seen people looking upon my scars with judgement in their eyes. I've faced criticism. Name-calling. My education suffered. People have told me that I just need to get a grip. That I'm overreacting. That I'm vile. That I need a slap in the face. I have a mental illness, and like physical illness, no slap in the face is going to offer a cure.  I have a good heart, just a mind in need of mending. I have longed for someone to come along and unravel the tangles in my twisted mind and wind them neatly back in. I've just wanted someone to understand me, but over time I've realised that I can't expect that since I don't truly even understand myself. I don't need my illness to be understood, I just want it to be accepted.

I need just a little quiet compassion

Very few people in my life have offered a real warmth and acceptance that I believe to be genuine. I don't need to be understood, I just need a hand to hold.

One of the very few people to really ever help me is a man who became a father figure to me. He's handled some of my episodes with a calmness and compassion that I've rarely come across. Never has he pretended to understand what I'm going through, or really ever even attempted to. From seeing me through trips to an accident and emergency departments and psychiatric ward admissions, to finding me in a state after I have self-harmed, he has remained quiet. Quiet, but there, waiting to hold me as soon as I am ready.  His presence speaks louder than any of the cliché phrases or patronising glares others offer in these situations.

I think and behave irrationally at times; I overreact, I scream, I'm short-fused and I'm self-destructive, but do you know what I need? Just a little quiet compassion and for me, and my illness, to be embraced, not understood.

What do you think about Jem's blog and experiences?

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Comments

Thank you

My therapist thinks I present a lot of symptoms of BPD but I haven't been diagnosed as I'm not 18 yet. I really relate to a lot of this. Thank you for sharing; the way you've explained your thoughts is beautiful. Be proud! Sending love x

Thank you

Thank you for such a lovely response. Keep pushing for a diagnosis and support. I didn't receive my BPD diagnosis until I was 23, after having a misdiagnosis of "depression" since I was in primary school. Take care xx

for years i just kept getting

for years i just kept getting "it's depression, it's depression" (between 18 and now) when i knew there was more. i was diagnosed with BPD only a few months ago (i'm 29) after a girlfriend said i showed some serious signs of it, that she recognized because she is also BPD. i showed... 7 of 9. ugh. sometimes i don't even know who i am. i definitely relate to your post.

Acceptance

I very much hurt for you in what you're dealing with. I deal with a mental disorder and I know it's terrifying. I've been in the same boat. People not responding well. People telling me to calm down and not worry so much. Been there. The people in life that have helped me the most are those that have been patient and calm. Your writing is beautiful and honest. Which is appreciated. Praying for you.

Thank you

Thank you for your lovely comment x

understanding

I relate so much to your post, I am 44 now I had a successful career 2 beautiful kids, I had had a bad family history but I pushed past that met a man 2 kids later, I ignored the abusive (mentally) relationship I was In because I was determind my kids would never endure what I did. It fell apart, I carried on got 2 jobs, focused on the kids...always in the background was my father physically abusing me and their father mentally... one day I simply collapased, 7 years later I have lost friends, been admitted to AE four times for ODs, no-one can understand when the blackness grips you I would lay down my life for my children, but when it gripped me I simply did not want to be and sadly I simply thought they would be better off with-out me. I cannot understand where my life has gone and still today I just want 'me' back. I have completed a degree which is pretty amazing but I suffer severe insomnia, paranoid thoughts, which they always ask did u smoke cannabis then? No I bloody didn't my mind just broke and I cant explain it to you because I still cannot understand it myself, I always worked, now I'm called lazy, I hate it, if on a good day I make an effort I feel guilty... well I'm not working am I? When I think of my illness.... even with cancer there are drugs, if they do not work they change them with mental health you told you have to give them 3-6 months 3-6months is a life time when you are ill you are in the hands of your psych and over the years I have learnt they hold very different views... which makes me feel as a person with a mental health problem they are not listening to me because I am mentally ill.

Understanding

Hi Lorraine Your blog is basically (without the degree & working) exactly like me. It helped me understand my illness BPD & that others do feel these horrendous things. My 2 Sons & now their families mean the world to me. Unfortunately they both live in other countries. I see one everyfew months. I've been living with BPD. Acute anxiety & severe depression for over 40 years now & was only diagnosed about 5 years ago. I was treated very badly by both health professionals & everyone else for many years which has left me badly damaged. I try to cope as best as I can now & reading your blog has helped me feel understood by at least someone who knows where I'm coming from. Thank you x

Thank you

Thank you for being open and honest with your experiences. And hopefully you can continue on your journey being as positive as you can and retain your sense of humour as well. All of us with mental health issues need and want others to just be there as and when and accept us for who we are. And hopefully they will for you.

Sound advice for a BPD sufferer

I have read many blogs for years and believe that yours encompasses the best advice for any sufferer of BPD. Not only do you portray the mindset exactly, but you give the best advice for the kind of person a borderline should be spending time around. Although we are attracted to volatile relationships often with self centred people, often with other volatile people too, we need as female sufferers certainly just the type of male character you describe. You are a lucky lady to find a man who gives you such great comfort from your illness.

going through the same thing and experince

After reading your blog, I know and understand how you are feeling, I am personaly going through it myself, I lost my job last year and I thought of ending my life because I felt like no one beileved me that I was mentaly ill and they thought that I was attendion seeking, I believe that my mental illness has got worse over the last couple of months because people have said to me, Snap out of it, it;s all in your head,you are werid,thick,stupid and useless. I want to undersand that I am a tryer and people with mental health issues don't have to suffer the abuse and mistreatment that we get.

be a survivor

Gemma, we all have bad days in the face of ignorance, it's easy to say and not easy to do, but you just have to crack on and ignore the ignorance. KEEP speaking to people who understand you, it makes life a lot easier. You are not a freak, you just have a few broken bones no one can see..I am fortunate to have amazing long term friends be choosy about who you spend time with don't have friends for friends sake they can be more destructive than having none at all .xxx

Strengths

A comment I'd like to share. BPD sufferers have lots of positives let's not forget it, we are quite often joyous souls with real talent in certain areas and many have contributed a lot to the world, it's a dichotomy of an illness and the advantages should not be overlooked. I try to look back on the things I have achieved when I am in the black hole..... If anyone would like to share some positive poetry on this side or some positive poetry on how to get through the dark days please contact me on facebook, heather taylor, Evesham xx

I see so much therapy, groups

I see so much therapy, groups, and ways to connect for depression, anxiety, or anger management, and so little dealing with true BPD groups its maddening. This illness has been the destruction of friendships, cost me family closeness, jobs and feeling I have no one. Home is dreadful. Names such as selfish, childish, stupid, melodramatic, and in the end those people leave. Most annoying is the amount of people being diagnosed with this as a blanket cover-all. For those that have to endure true BPD it is hell on yourself and hell on those around you.

I read this brave and

I read this brave and heartfelt blog with interest and have full sympathy for anyone suffering from this disorder, but also for the friends and family of the sufferer. They are often trying to pick up the pieces resulting from the sufferer's outbursts and mood swings. It can be bewildering, hurtful and even frightening for them too. Patience, understanding and compassion is what's needed for all involved I think. X

Help if possible

Hi my sister had border line personality disorder . Was dignones about 11 month ago . I would like advice , As a family we have tried all sorts . She been given in hospitals , and at home the best care a hand to hold , a ear to listen , and even none of us say anything just be there for her . Pick her up when she's down , encourage her when she's feeling ok to do things as a family .. We are stuck as a family as what we do next .. I know uses are thinking what do I know nothing . You are totally right . But I would love some insight on how to move forward . X

Support

Hi Christy It can be difficult to know how to support someone with a mental health problem - it sounds like you are doing the right things, though. We aren't able to offer advice ourselves, but we do have some support links which you may find useful: http://bit.ly/SuPp0Rt Best, Crystal at Time to Change

I'm going throught the exact

I'm going throught the exact same thing been struggling with bid since I was 15 im nearly 24 now don't know if i can take another ten,twenty years of feeling like this.all i want is to like myself to look in a mirror and not feel so angry at what i see.i am so alone my parents,boyfriend etc have np idea how to deal with or help me so alot of times i end up crying silently in my bathroom so nobody hears i so want to be strong like they want me to be but its so hard when i feel like my heads about to blow up.so many thoughts never a quiet moment in my mind and its hurts.i wish i had someone who would hold me,tell me im gunna be ok but i have never ever had that i have to soothe myself which ends up making me feel more sad,more self pity.will i ever feel ok

Support

Hi Joanne, as an anti-stigma campaign we aren't able to offer advice on support directly, but you may find these links useful: http://bit.ly/1Lh54ZT Best, Crystal at Time to Change

Communicating with the World

People with mental health illnesses very rarely talk about their illness; not in the way of saying they have one, but actually describing what it is like in your head dealing with it. When we read excerpts on here about people's experiences, we hear how they deal with life and stigma, but very rarely hear what it actually feels like to suffer. It's not something we easily talk about. Just like having cancer. It's as life threatening too. It would great to think that one day, when someone tells someone that they have BPD, that it would be acknowledged in the same vein. This is my hope for the future of ending the stigma and discrimination around mental illness.

Thank you <3

Thank you so much for sharing your story Jem. I can relate to so much of this and am going to talk to someone about it soon. It's difficult and keeping it a secret feels safe, but can also mean you are more vulnerable to doing something terrible. It's hard for others to understand... but through sharing and talking openly, people will feel empowered to accept it themselves, get help and others around them to embrace and accept too.

I feel your pain, you shouldn,t feel ashamed

I too have bpd, and from childhood I knew I didn't `fit in' and felt like a freak show, I have used self destructive coping mechanisms from a young age, and it becomes all you know to try and cope with life and the normal situations which cause as such unbearable pain. A simple comment can trigger an anxiety attack or even panic and leave us in the depths of dispair analysing its every meaning and the `judgements' we see as being made. Our soul is destroyed at all times trying to be what everyone classes as 'normal' and not to wear our emotions on our sleeve. However the more we try and bottle our emotions up the more they come back at us tenfold and another crisis emerges. I too have been in the depths of dispair in a crisis in hospital and have been unable to stop laughing uncontrollably at what I find funny is me trying to escape the unbearable pain I am in. Acting opposite is what we are good at and if we are in pain we will take great delight in mocking ourselves and retalliating against the stigmas of being `the walking wounded' ,`suicidy' wasting money on blood transfusions and hospital beds, we feel that everyone wants us dead, and we dont deserve to be on this planet. We feel intense love and this is probably the scariest emotion of all, and the more we love people We are sensitive souls and dont set out to cause pain, only to ourselves. Please lets all rejoice in the fact that we are too soft for our own good, and shouldnt apologise for the ignorance of others. Sending positivity our way.

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your experience. I can relate to the overwhelming emotions that you describe and although I don't wish these feelings on anyway I think it's good to create awareness of the disorder as too many borderlines are written off instead of being offered support. Be proud of yourself for persevering and telling you story. Peace

Beautifully written and, very

Beautifully written and, very eerily, quite similar to a piece I wrote recently. I envy you your support system and know that is the main thing I lack. I thought reading these things - posts, would help me out but it seems everyone is still trapped in their own minds and that is not at all reassuring. I don't even know why I am commenting really, but your piece spoke to me and I've read most of these. It's probably because I seem the similarities in our dispositions - no pretense or bullshit. Thank you. - Lauren

thank you

After a good chuckle at your post how you still have the kind heart to make people happy even tho inside you feel like giving up is brilliant :) I know how you feel those moments of total self destruction out of the blue feeling like there is no point is truly awful ! thank you for being so open and honest i have read a few posts but yours is the closest to how i feel on a daily basis I dont feel so alone in the world :) A x

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