Trust me, I wish I could do what normal people can too
I wish I could drive, I wish I could work, I wish I could go places alone
I wish I wasn’t constantly stuck home
I hate having to depend on everyone just to survive
The guilt and shame I have because of it makes me want to die
I hate that I make things so much harder for you
I wish you didn’t have to do the things I ask you to
But unfortunately my body and mind are just not alright
They don’t work like yours do, I always have to fight
And because of that simple tasks for you, are hard for me
I really just wish you would understand that and see
That i’m doing the best that I can
Trying my hardest to function
But most days are still tough and there are things I just can’t do
Still, I’m sorry i’m such an inconvenience to you
I know this poem is shorter then most of mine on here and maybe one day i’ll go back and revise/add to it but right now, I needed to just get my feelings out. When you live with mental and chronic illnesses that limit your abilities, it is very easy to feel like a failure and an inconvenience to the ones around you. It’s even easier when the people you have to depend on seem aggravated or annoyed when you ask them to do something, such as drive you to an appointment. My illnesses prevent me from being able to drive or go anywhere alone. This unfortunately has created many issues within my life and one incident recently is what inspired me to write the poem above.
I don’t want to be like this. I wish every day I could just be normal but that isn’t my life and I need to cope with that. I don’t think I will ever stop feeling like an inconvenience but reminding myself that I am loved and that I am enough helps some. So my message today is simply if you feel like this, please remember that you are not alone and that the people in your life love you. I know how hard it can be to deal with toxic manipulators, especially when they are your own family members, but just lean on the friends and family in your life who truly love you for the imperfectly perfect person you are and I promise you things will get better in time. ❤
There is a void inside me. It’s been there for as long as I can remember. Most days the effects of this void are minimum. It’s like a emptiness that I know is there but isn’t really affecting me to a point where I can’t just ignore it. On the rare occasions, it even feels like it doesn’t exist at all. But then there are the days where the void’s emptiness is so overwhelming that it feels like i’m being swallowed by it. Like quick sand, the harder I try to fight the feeling of dread and nothingness as it begins to wash over me, the quicker it grows until I’m left sitting there, feeling numb and lost. Having this strong sense that I am longing for something but having no idea what that something could be. For years, I have tried to find that something that would fill this void but every time I believe I have found the missing piece to my soul, slowly the void returns, leaving an empty hole once again.
When I was younger, I remember I thought the answer to filling this emptiness was trivial things.
“If I could just own that purse, I will be happy”
“If he would just date me, I would feel so complete”
“If I could only own this type of pet, I would be filled with joy”
Of course, none of these things were the answer I was looking for. None of these things fulfilled me in the way I desperately wanted to be fulfilled.
I would also think maybe changing who I was was the right way to go. I would constantly change my appearance, my style, even my outlook on life, believing if I just kept changing things, something would stick and fill the void but that never was the case.
“If only I had long blonde hair, then everyone would love me”
“If only I was skinnier and wore tighter clothing, then the boys would notice me”
“If I get contacts, then i’ll feel beautiful”
But no matter what I did, in the end, I still felt empty. I still struggled to connect with the face looking back at me in the mirror. Knowing physically this girl was me but not feeling any emotional connection to her.
As I got older, I believed the answer I was looking for would be found in major life events. I was convinced that the huge changes that come into your life as you become an adult would surely be my solution. And on the day I married my soulmate, my best friend, it really felt like I had discovered the missing piece. Somehow, despite all I had been through and how broken I felt, I found someone who loved me for the perfectly imperfect person I was. Who knew my flaws better then anyone and still wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Who looked forward to starting a family with me. Everything I had dreamed of as a child was now in my grasp. How could there still be a void after all of that? And for a while, it looked like I was correct. Like the void in me had been filled by love.
But as time went on, I noticed that void slowly begin to open once again. I watched as my health began to slip away and with each new symptom and diagnosis, the hole grew. I desperately tried to hold it all together still. I focused on filling my life with the things I loved and cherished. On building my family and the life I had always dreamed of having. Even after knowing I could no longer work due to my illnesses, I stayed strong. We rescued a tiny puppy and then, not even a full year later, I brought home my service dog prospect. Something I never thought I would need but once I knew I did, never thought would materialize. Yet, it had.
I thought it would work, but it didn’t. That void was still there, some days feeling stronger then it had in years. A sense of nothingness, of numbness. With my health failing me and being unable to provide for my family because of it, I thought if only I could get approved for disability. If that could happen, then I would not feel so much like a failure and that void wouldn’t feel so deep. I had always said I would be content being a house wife so getting disability would allow that to happen. How could that not make this void disappear?
But the day I got that phone call saying I was approved for disability, a wave of mixed emotions washed over me, both positive and negative. Something I thought was my answer seemed to make the void deeper somehow. Causing me to sit here more lost then I ever was before. Causing me to wonder, what in my life will fill this void?
Will having our own house and living on our own fill it?
What about getting pregnant and bringing my child into this world? Something I have dreamed about for as long as I can remember. Something that once felt so certain but now I fear everyday may never happen because of my health.
Will becoming a mental/chronic illness influencer and blogger do the job?
How about an author? Publishing my poetry and novels for all to see.
Or am I destined to always be longing for this something? To always feel like there is a piece missing from my life. To feel numb, empty, longing for true happiness.
And then my mind begins to fear that I gave up something that was the answer, either by choice or due to my health.
Would have completing a 4 year degree and becoming a teacher been my answer?
What about becoming a school psychologist and a theater director? Would that had helped?
What if I followed my dream of being an actress?
Would that kind of stardom been the missing puzzle piece to this jigsaw I call my life?
I guess i’ll never know for sure. But man is it hard not to wonder.
On days where the void is so strong, it’s like it’s hard to even take a breath. Because with each breath, this sense of emptiness is overwhelming.
And the last thought that crosses my mind is where did this void even come from?
What burned a hole so big into the soul of such a happy little girl? Because that is what I was as a kid, always smiling, happy as can be and just living her life to the fullest. So what happened?
Was it my dad and mom divorcing when I was just 5 years old? My dad telling me he was leaving after giving me such an amazing day.
Was it hardly seeing him after that, even though at the time, he only lived 10 minutes from me?
What about my mother? Someone who was physically there for me and tried to give me the best life she could but often acted more like a best friend then the mother a child needs. Could that have done it?
Or did it happen after my grandpa passed away, right before I would turn 13? Surely losing a father figure in your life, someone you saw every day, at a time where you desperately need guidance could create such a hole.
What about the bullying I went through? Elementary, middle, and of course, high school. Always the same old thing, never feeling good enough, always being put down or made fun of for my appearance or personality. Taunts of “Teachers pet” still ringing in my ears. Having friends you would do anything for putting you down time and time again. Getting betrayed and hurt over and over.
And then there are my relationships. Could they have contributed to the crater that wrecks havoc in my life?
My first love being an on and off again roller coaster ride. Always jumping between me and another girl, always feeling like a second choice but so in love that I was content with not being first.
And then my second love leaving me with so much mental and emotional damage. Accepting the fact that the love you had for him blinded you to the mental and verbal abuse you put up with time and time again. Giving him everything, every part of me and receiving nothing but hurt in return. The words he’d say still piercing my heart, like a snake’s fangs. Words that I believed were true. Words that I sometimes still believe are true. Something so simple triggering me, reminding me of how worthless he made me feel. But remembering I would have done anything for him because my love was that strong.
Could that have been what caused the ground to break?
And then there is my health. Being plagued with not one but two autoimmune disorders as a young adult. Unable to do simple tasks such as brushing my hair anymore without pain. Is that what caused this deep void within me?
Maybe. But more than likely, it is a combination of all of the above plus more that I experienced that has created this hole in my soul.
Maybe the answer isn’t finding something to fill the hole, but rather, letting go of all these traumas I have gone through in my 24 years of life.
Maybe if I can face these demons that I have locked behind a door and let them go, I would feel free.
Maybe by accepting what has happened to me, understanding they have made me the person I am today and also realizing I am not in those situations anymore, that I am safe now, will cause the void to begin to close.
Maybe I can start feeling what true happiness is without having this crushing weight of my past on my shoulders. A weight that feels as heavy as cinder blocks constantly dragging me down.
I don’t know if letting go is the answer I have been searching for. I don’t know what that answer is but I do know, that is the next step I am choosing to take.
It’s time to stop holding on to my past.
It’s time to stop obsessing over how I thought my future would be.
It’s time to forgive my younger self for the mistakes she made and remember, I am not that same girl today.
It’s time to forgive the ones in my life who have hurt me.
May is not only mental health awareness month but also Borderline Personality Disorder awareness month. Being someone who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder, I know all too well the difficulties it brings to one’s life and the negative stigma that surrounds it, even within the mental health community. That is why today I wanted to share with all of you some information about Borderline Personality Disorder as well as tell you my story and talk about what it is like to live with such a complex illness.
So what is Borderline Personality Disorder ?
For anyone who doesn’t know, Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD for short is a disorder that impacts the way you think & feel about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life. People with BPD often think with their emotions instead of in a rational manner. With BPD you tend to have an intense fear of abandonment or instability & you may have difficulty tolerating being alone. However, inappropriate anger, impulsiveness & frequent mood swings often push people away.
I tend to call BPD the ultimate contradiction disorder. A quote that tends to resonate with people who have BPD is “I hate you, don’t leave me”. This is because our anger can be so intense that we truly feel like we hate this person but as soon as that person shows any sign of leaving, we panic and beg for them to stay because we know without them, we would be lost.
BPD usually begins in early adulthood and has been shown to be more common in women. An estimated 1.4% of the adult population experiences BPD, but due to it heavily being misdiagnosed, the actual number of people with this disorder is more than likely much higher.
The unfortunate truth is many mental health professionals either do not believe BPD exists or will refuse to work with a patient who has a diagnosis of BPD. This is mostly due to its difficulty to treat, as well as many people who have BPD being in denial that they have it. It’s hard to treat someone if they don’t acknowledge there is a problem.
Sadly, 70% of people with BPD will attempt to take their life and 10% will be successful. This is higher than any other disorder. That number alone is why BPD needs more awareness in today’s society.
I have been unofficially diagnosed with BPD for about 3 and a half years now and officially diagnosed for about 8 months. I was misdiagnosed with Bipolar 2 disorder 3 times which is a very common thing. Many people who eventually receive a BPD diagnosis were previously told they had Bipolar. This can cause issues because some medications that are used to treat Bipolar have the possibility of making Borderline symptoms worse. It is also possible to have both BPD and Bipolar, but is less common.
When I first came across the term Borderline Personality Disorder, I had just stopped therapy with a therapist I did not get along with and was feeling very lost. That therapist made me believe I was this horrible person and I wasn’t trying hard enough to control my emotions, especially my anger. Being someone who was always very interested in psychology, I began to research what I was experiencing on my own and came across an article talking about BPD. I instantly resonated with what it was saying and knew I wanted to know more. After doing some more research, I bought this book called “Get me out of here: My recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder” by Rachel Reiland. Within the first few chapters, it felt like a fog had lifted and I truly felt understood.
Around this time, I began seeing a new therapist and psychiatrist. After my first meeting with the psychiatrist, he once again just passed it off as Bipolar 2 but my therapist saw something else. After a few more sessions with my therapist, we began to talk about the possibility of me having BPD. It felt so amazing to have someone actually listen to me. My therapist at that time though, didn’t believe in labels. We talked about how I showed many empath qualities and discussed how traumas in my life would have contributed to my behaviors today. During one of our sessions though, I asked her if she had to diagnose me, what would she say and she told me she would diagnose me with Borderline Personality Disorder. For most people, this diagnosis would have been heartbreaking and devastating but for me, it was a relief. I’m someone who likes labels because if I know what is wrong with me, I can research what can help. Getting this diagnosis finally gave me an answer as to why I behaved the way I did.
I worked with that therapist on understanding BPD more and where it would have come from. We had just started to really dive into treating my BPD when suddenly, she told me she had to leave the company. I was devastated and for a long time thought I would never again be able to trust another therapist. However, today I am back in therapy with a new wonderful therapist who I love and a new psychiatrist, both who have officially diagnosed me with BPD based on the symptoms I experience and my past traumas.
9 Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder
So what are those symptoms you ask. Well, there are 9 main symptoms of BPD. To be diagnosed, you usually need to be experiencing at least 5 of them. In my case, I experience all 9.
So the first symptom is:
An intense fear of abandonment, even going to extreme measures to avoid real or imagined separation or rejection.
I deal with this a lot. For someone with BPD, when they feel abandoned, it honestly feels like the end of the world for them. My poor husband tends to get the brunt of this. Whenever he wants to go somewhere without me, either out with his friends or just by himself, I instantly feel heartbroken and believe that he doesn’t want to be around me and doesn’t love me anymore. Obviously, this is not true but try telling my BPD brain that. This often will result in giant meltdowns or arguments because my emotions take over and cause issues. This is also very obvious within arguments. If my husband tries to walk away from me during an argument, I go into complete panic mode and will do whatever it takes to keep him in the room with me or stop him from leaving the house. In my mind, if I let him walk away, he will never come back so I must make him stay. It’s awful and often makes our arguments worse because he can’t walk away from me to cool down. Having extremely bad anxiety on top of BPD also makes this even harder. Whenever my husband even leaves the house, my mind won’t stop telling me that he won’t come back home. I am always so terrified that he will get into an accident or something will happen and I will never see him again. Thankfully, I have a very understanding husband who doesn’t mind texting me when he arrives to his destination, talking to me on the phone while he is driving there, and just keeping me updated throughout the day so I know he is okay. Still though, it’s exhausting to live with such an intense fear.
The next symptom of BPD is:
2. A pattern of unstable relationships, such as idealizing someone one moment and suddenly believing they don’t care or are cruel the next. This is otherwise known as splitting.
Looking back, it seems like I always struggled when it came to relationships. Whether is was a romantic relationship or a friendship, I always had issues. I definitely had many pointless falling outs with friends or boyfriends over the littlest things. I was definitely the kind of girl who, if you gave me attention, I clung to you and idolized you. I can’t even count how many boys I would crush on all because they gave me an ounce of attention, which usually landed me into trouble. When it comes to splitting, I do this a lot in many different aspects of my life. If you don’t know, splitting is a black and white, all or nothing mentality. There is no middle ground, no grey area. I definitely see myself do this with my grandma and husband. One moment, my husband is the best husband in the entire world who I know loves me more than anything and then something happens and i’m convinced he hates me and never cares. It’s like one little thing can have me believing something completely different, and usually untrue, about someone. I also tend to split when it comes to everything I do. It’s like if things aren’t perfect, they are bad, there is no in between. It is exhausting to live your life like this because the reality is nothing is perfect and many things in our lives exist in that grey area. It is also very hard for the people around the person with BPD to understand this kind of extreme mindset which just makes things that much more complicated.
The third symptom of BPD is:
3. Rapid changes in self identity & self image that includes shifting goals and values and seeing yourself as bad or as if you don’t exist at all.
I have never known who I am. It feels weird to even write that but it’s the truth. Throughout my entire life, I have never had a grasp on the person I really am. I’m someone whose personality is shaped by the people I am around. This is just one reason why now that my chronic illnesses have caused me to be stuck home almost all of the time, my sense of self is slipping farther and farther away because I am hardly around people. I didn’t realize how true this was until I was in college. I had never been a party girl or even a girl who dreamed of going away to a 4 year school. But that all changed when I wound up hanging out with a new group of people. Within a couple of weeks I went from being the girl who was ready to settle down, get married and start a family to someone wanting to go to the clubs multiple times a week and drink and go away to a 4 year college. The change was so drastic that I lost track of what was important in my life and even wound up losing Tom for 4 days. It was in those 4 days though that I woke up and realized how “not me” I was acting. It’s always a struggle thinking “okay, do I really love this thing or do I love it because the people around me do?” I also changed my major 5 times in college because I kept changing my mind on what I wanted to do. I was constantly changing my plans for my future. I also do this with my self-image. It’s the reason i’m constantly dying or cutting my hair or changing up my style. In a way, I think I believe if I just keep changing things, one day one of these changes will stick and i’ll know who I am, but it never happens. It’s really hard going through life without knowing who you are because who you are really shapes the life you live.
The fourth symptom of BPD is:
4. Periods of stress related paranoia and loss of contact with reality, lasting from a few minutes to a few hours or even days.
I tend to be the girl who is always paranoid. This is heavily due to my anxiety but there are 2 paranoia thoughts that I have that really take a toll on my life. The first of these being that whenever I leave the house to go somewhere, especially if it’s the movie theater, a concert, or the mall, I am convinced that place is going to get shot up. It has become such a problem that I stopped going to concerts all together and often do not want to go to the movie theater because I spend more energy on watching my surroundings than I do watching the actual movie. Everywhere we go, I am on high alert. It’s debilitating living like this but it’s more than just a fear, my mind practically makes me believe that this is going to happen. The other major paranoia thought happens anytime i’m alone and it’s the belief that someone is going to break in and kidnap me. This has been a fear since I was little and one I still deal with today. My doors and windows are always locked and if I hear even the slightest noise, i’m often running upstairs to hide in my bedroom. I also suffer with dissociation, or the feeling of not being real or present in your life, daily. My psychiatrist now believes my dissociation episodes are so frequent and intense that they are more than just a symptom of my BPD but it’s own dissociation disorder called depersonalization/derealization disorder. This means I do experience this at a higher level than someone typically would with BPD, however, any level of dissociation is disorienting because how does one function when they don’t even feel like they are real and everything and everyone around them are just a little off and fuzzy somehow.
The next symptom of BPD is:
5. Impulsive & risky behaviors, such as gambling, reckless driving, unsafe sex, spending sprees, binge eating or drug abuse
I have always struggled with overspending money. Especially if I was going through something stressful, I always felt comfort in shopping but when the bill would come in, I often had no idea how I would pay off my debt. This was especially hard when I would buy expensive things such as a new camera or tablet. I got into debt many times because of this. Today though, this is not as much of an issue, only because for a long time, over a year, I had no income coming in that was my own and had to rely on everyone else to buy anything. This was so difficult to deal with so now that I do have income coming in that is my own, I am much more careful with how much I spend. However, especially in certain situations, I easily fall back into the habit of buying a ton of stuff. I also have struggled with alcohol in the past. For a while there, I was drinking almost every single night. Drinking not only helped numb the pain but it allowed me to be able to let loose and truly be me without all the stress I usually hold. It seemed like anytime we would hang out with friends, I had to drink just to have a good time. Again, this has now stopped only because I was put on a lupus medication and can no longer drink a lot. But honestly I do feel if I never went on a medication, this could have spiraled out of control and become a much more deeper issue in my life.
The sixth symptom of BPD is definitely the heaviest on the list and that is:
6. Suicidal threats or behaviors or self harm, often in response to fear of separation or rejection
I have suffered with self harm since middle school. There were only 2 instances I can think of where I actually made my arm bleed though because I was always too scared to really harm myself. Instead, I would scratch at my arms. I would use either my nails or an earring back and scratch over and over until my arm burned. Though this is much less common today, I still do suffer with this self harm behavior here and there, especially after intense arguments. For me, not only does feeling that pain remind me that I am alive and really here but a lot of the times, I have this deep belief that I deserve to feel that pain because of my actions. It’s messed up but it’s the reality for so many people out there and needs to be talked about more. Recently I also learned that chewing my fingers is a form of self harm. Now I chew my fingers constantly, sometimes unconsciously even, to the point of them bleeding and hurting. To find out this was actually self harm was a shock to me and something I have been trying hard to not do nearly as much. I also have suffered with suicidal thoughts, especially when I was in high school. Today, I don’t really have suicidal thoughts per say. I don’t want to die, it’s the exact opposite, I want to live but I do struggle with suicidal ideation. Suicidal ideation is basically this belief that everyone would be better off if you weren’t here and you wish you were suicidal because of it. This is truly a devastating thing to come to terms with but when you live with multiple chronic and mental illnesses that truly affect every aspect of your life and the people you love most are forced to do more things because you physically can’t, it’s very easy to slip into that kind of mindset. If you are feeling like this, I am so sorry but please know, no matter what your mind may tell you, it’s lying. You matter in this world and people would miss you more than you could ever imagine. No one’s life would be better without you here, no matter what your mind tells you. It’s heartbreaking to think about how many people struggle with this in the world and how little is really being done to make things better.
The next symptom of BPD is:
7. Wide mood swings, lasting from a few hours to a few days, which can include intense happiness, irritability, shame or anxiety.
Borderline Personality Disorder should be nicknamed intense emotion disorder because that is what it is like to live with BPD. Every emotion, every mood is intense. They often compare people with BPD to people with third degree burns because that is how vulnerable we are, we have no emotional skin. The slightest “touch” can feel like a knife. These intense moods can often switch very quickly. On average, I would say I go through 6-8 different moods a day. I can wake up feeling happy, become angry by noon time, and then drop into a depressive state by dinner. It’s exhausting mentally and physically living like this. Often these switches happen due to a trigger, either an obvious one or an unconscious one but they also can occur without reason. These are always the worst because they could strike at any moment. BPD doesn’t care if it’s a holiday or you’re on vacation, at any moment it can cause your mood to switch and there isn’t much you can do about it. Heck, I was in Disney World for the very first time ever, at Mickey’s very merry Christmas party, on my honeymoon and I had a mood drop. It was awful! The worst is dropping from a state of pure happiness and euphoria into a deep depression because it’s such a drastic drop. It gets to the point that even when you are in a mania type state, you start to worry because you know what is to come next but have no idea when it will happen. It’s so hard having to explain to people who ask “what happened, you were just fine” because I often really have no idea what happened. It’s even harder explaining to someone “why you are so angry or irritated suddenly” because often, there is no real cause. You just feel tense and can’t explain why. But that’s just my life and unfortunately, I have to deal with it and just learn how to cope living with emotions so intense that can switch at a drop of a hat.
The eighth symptom of BPD is:
8. Ongoing feelings of emptiness
I say a lot that I feel empty or I feel numb. It has always felt like there was something missing in my life. This constant void that no matter how many times I tried to fill, would always open back up again. When I was younger, I would always be like “oh if I could just have this” or “if my hair was only blonde” then I would be happy. But time and time again, the thing I would want would happen but the emptiness wouldn’t go away. It’s incredibly hard to live with this feeling of emptiness, especially when you have such great things in your life. I struggle with this so much because I look at my husband and our 4 fur children and I don’t understand how there can still be this hole in me. A lot of the days, it’s like i’m going through the motions, there but not really there. Just feeling empty and lost. Words can’t express how hard it is to live like that.
And the last symptom of BPD and I would say the hardest to deal with, with the exception of the suicidal one is:
9. Inappropriate intense anger, such as frequently losing your temper, being sarcastic or bitter, or even getting into physical fights. This is often followed by intense shame or guilt.
Let me just start off with saying, BPD rage is a thing and it is incredibly difficult to manage. I am going to use the analogy that my psychiatrist told me because I had never felt more understood before in my life. So basically, when someone with BPD starts to go into a BPD rage episode, it’s like they are caught in a wave and in that moment, they are desperately trying to escape this wave so they will do whatever they can to be free. For me, when I am in “the wave” I tend to scream, punch things, throw things, curse, and basically lose all control. In those moments, I see red. When I look back, I am deeply ashamed of the things I have said or done in these rage episodes because they are just awful. But when they happen, I don’t feel in control anymore. The best way I can describe it is the rational part of me takes a back seat and the irrational inner child in me, the core of my BPD takes the front seat and causes havoc. This child is so wounded that the only thing they know to do is lash out and make the ones around them hurt like they have been hurt. Now I am still present, it’s not like I black out or anything or that this inner child completely takes over but it honestly feels like I can not stop these actions and am forced to just sit there and watch it happen. Once it’s all over, and I am crying my eyes out while trying to pick up the broken pieces and mend the damage, that is when I am back in the front seat, back in control. I will not lie, these episodes are scary, especially because they can occur over the littlest thing. Even the minor ones though, are difficult. There are moments where I am suddenly overcome with anger and in such a bad mood. I tend to give attitude, raise my voice, and just not be a nice person when this happens. Often leaving my loved ones upset and confused of why I am acting this way. Managing my anger is my number one problem and definitely the symptom I struggle the most with and the symptom that causes the most issues within my life. But it’s important for loved ones to be able to separate the person from the disorder. No, this is not giving that person an excuse or saying their actions in these moments are okay because they are not and they need to work to fix them but people need to know that the disorder is causing these rages, not the person that they love.
As you can see, living with BPD is hard. I want to point out that I have never shared my story in such detail before like this. Yes, I am someone who is very open about her health and what she struggles with but I’ve never opened up about living with Borderline before. I won’t lie, I am scared. Scared that people I know will see this and treat me different, scared that i’ll be viewed as an awful person. BPD has such a negative stigma in society that when people hear you have BPD, you’re instantly labeled “psychotic” and “unstable” based on what the media has told them. But we are not monsters!! We are just misunderstood people dealing with deep childhood wounds who never asked to have this disorder! We are broken and just trying to figure out how to put our pieces back together and survive!
What causes BPD?
They are still unsure of what exactly causes BPD. Though they have found evidence of it being related to an abnormality in the brain, the biggest cause seems to be having a stressful or traumatic childhood. Many people with BPD report being abused or neglected during childhood, as well as growing up with a parent who had substance abuse or a similar mental illness. Others were exposed to hostile conflicts and unstable family relationships. When it comes to me, through therapy, we have pinpointed a few big events that have contributed to me developing BPD. One being my mom and dad divorcing when I was 5 and not getting to see my dad that much and the other being losing my grandfather, who was a father figure in my life, right before turning 13. Though these are the 2 big ones, there are many other smaller things I went through in childhood and up through high school that have caused me to develop BPD. In therapy I have learned that things I never thought would be traumatic actually were and as I dive into my past more and more, I think to myself it’s no wonder I have this disorder. But I also think to myself that i’m a pretty strong person to have gone through what I did and have to battle my mind everyday because of it and still be able to smile and see the beauty in this world.
When it comes to treatment, it is definitely one of the hardest mental illnesses to treat. Though medication may help manage accompanying disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and mood switches, the main form of treatment is talk therapy. Through DBT exercises, dialectical behavioral therapy, you basically learn how to retrain your brain and manage your emotions. Talk therapy is currently my only treatment for my BPD and has really been helping. But honestly, the biggest thing that has contributed to me getting better was educating the people closest to me on this disorder.
For the longest time, I did not want my husband to read about BPD. I was terrified if he read about it, he would leave me. But it got to a point where I was feeling so misunderstood and alone that I decided I needed him to get a glimpse into my world. We bought this book, “Stop walking on eggshells” by Paul Mason and after he began to read it and my grandma began to read it, things started to get better. They finally understood that my mind doesn’t work like theirs does and that something that may not seem like a trigger to them, is for me or that the comment they made was invalidating and that is why I lashed out. My husband has even started to realize that my anger when he has to leave the house comes from fear and now instead of giant arguments every time, we can talk through things and I feel understood for once. It is so incredibly important for loved ones to educate themselves on BPD, I can not stress that enough!
Learning to manage your emotions, thoughts and behaviors will take time and the reality is even though you can, and you will, improve, you will more than likely always struggle with some symptoms of BPD. There will be good times where things are going great and you may even feel like you’ve recovered but then there will be bad times, where you break down again, you falter and you relapse. This is okay, this is normal and does not in any way make you a bad person. Setbacks will happen but what matters is you get right back up and you try again. With consistent treatment & support, a person with BPD can live a long, happy, and healthy life. Having BPD does not mean you will never find love or that you will never be happy. It just means, we have to work harder to have these things and the more awareness that can be spread on the truth about BPD, the easier living with this disorder will become.
I hope I shed some light on what it is like to live with Borderline Personality Disorder and I hope you enjoyed this blog post. If you are someone who is suffering from BPD, please know you are not alone and you are not this monster the media may make you out to be. You’re a loving person who is just struggling with wounds you never should have gotten in the first place. Hold on to hope because I promise, it will get better.
Autumn is officially in the air! The temperature is dropping, the leaves are slowly falling and almost every store you walk into you’re met with Fall & Halloween decor. Fall has always been my favorite season. I think one of the biggest reasons why is because Fall is the kickstart to the best time of the year! Once it’s Fall, I know that soon it’ll be Halloween, Thanksgiving and then finally, Christmas!! Fall is also my favorite because there is always so many fun activities to do during this season. If you’re someone who suffers from chronic and/or mental illness though, sometimes it’s hard to truly enjoy all Fall has to offer. I know for myself, if it’s not because my body is in so much pain that it’s hard for me to really move, my anxiety takes hold of me a lot and causes me to be too scared to even want to leave my house. This often ends with me missing out on making so many memories. With how my health has declined this year, the fear of missing out on all my favorite season has to offer is strong. But I refuse to let my illnesses ruin my Fall. So I decided to write down everything that I wanted to do this Fall that I believe my body will be able to actually do. I then broke up that list into three different sections based on the energy level I feel is required to complete that activity. I think one of the most important aspects when it comes to doing activities with chronic and mental illness is thinking of ways that will help you to be able to truly enjoy those moments without pushing yourself too far. By dividing my list, not only does it help me to prepare for certain activities but it helps me to better plan out my Fall so i’m not doing two high energy activities too close to each other. This will hopefully prevent me from burning out my body and help me to actually enjoy this beautiful season. Below, you will find my entire list but the focus of today’s blog post will be on the first part of that list, Fall activities to do that require low energy. In the upcoming days, I will do the same thing but with the next two sections so stay tuned for that!
My 2019 Fall Bucket List
Have a Halloween Movie Night
Have a Scary Movie Night
Bake Halloween Pillsbury cookies
Read 2 scary and/or Halloween themed novels
Dress up in a cute but comfortable Halloween Costume
Listen to Halloween themed music
Create a Gratitude Jar
Decorate for Fall/Halloween
Bake a Pumpkin Pie
Go for a Fall foliage drive
Go Pumpkin Picking
Go to Fright Fest at Six Flags
Go to the Great Pumpkin Blaze
Have a Fall-themed photoshoot
As I stated above, today’s focus is on the first section of my bucket list, low energy Fall activities. I wrote low energy instead of no energy because, let’s face it, when you live with chronic and mental illness, even just breathing requires energy. For me, a low energy activity is an activity that is done within your home that does not require a lot of movement. So with that being said, let’s jump into each activity in more detail, as well as provide all of you reading with some tips to make these activities even more enjoyable!
Have a Halloween Movie Night
One of my favorite things about Halloween time is watching Halloween movies! I absolutely love watching all the different spooky movies throughout October but this year, I want to take one day/night and gather all of my absolute favorite Halloween movies and watch them in one sitting. These movies include Hocus Pocus, Nightmare before Christmas, Beetlejuice and The Haunted Mansion. Some tips to make your spooky movie night even more perfect include:
Wearing comfy clothing or Pajamas (Even better if they are Halloween themed)
Cuddling up in a big comfy blanket
Drinking Hot Coco (or whatever your favorite hot beverage is)
Eating your favorite sweet or salty snack
Watching the movies with a friend or significant other (everything’s better with a buddy!)
Having a Halloween movie night is one activity on this list that I am particularly excited about because it allows me to have a nice cozy night at home with my husband while also celebrating everything that makes Halloween the amazing holiday it is!
Have a Scary movie Night
Going along with the whole movie night theme, another fun idea for some is to watch scary movies during the Halloween season. Now I’m not a huge scary movie girl. I honestly usually hate scary movies and tend to avoid them at all costs. With that being said, this year I really did want to push myself out of my comfort zone and since my husband has been wanting to watch scary movies with me since we began dating, I decided that maybe now was the time. So to add a small twist to this, especially if you aren’t a fan of scary movies, you could have your significant other or a friend pick out 1 to 2 scary movies of their choice for you guys to watch. The catch is, you can’t say no. Tips to make this experience a little bit more enjoyable (and tolerable) include:
Wearing comfy clothes or Pajamas (Again, Halloween themed are the best)
Setting ground rules for what movie(s) can be chosen (For me this is no horror movies based on real life events)
Eating your favorite snack (Helps distract you from the terror on the screen)
Cuddling up with a big blanket (To hide under during the super scary scenes)
Watching with a buddy or significant other (Never watch a scary movie alone, plus you probably wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for them)
I won’t lie, this is one activity on my list that I am scared about but it’s also something I know my husband is excited for and therefore, makes it a little less terrifying…I think..
Bake Pillsbury Halloween cookies
I don’t think I am alone in saying Pillsbury cookies are some of the best cookies out there! Not only are they delicious, but the fun designs really help you to celebrate the season. Now I will admit, they can be a tad pricey but I think it’s worth the price at certain times during the year, Halloween being one of those times. This year, I plan to pick up both a package of the pumpkin ones and the ghosts ones and take one night, probably the Halloween movie night, where my husband and I make and eat them. Even though you have to bake them, I consider this to be a low energy activity because all you have to do is take them out of the package and put them on a cookie sheet. This is just another reason I love them because since they are pre-cut, it is a lot easier to bake than other cookies. I really don’t have any tips for this one because it’s already pretty simple and easy but like before, baking these with a buddy will definitely add a little extra fun to the whole thing and wearing comfy clothes is a must.
Read 2 scary and/or Halloween themed novels
I have always loved reading. For me, reading allows me to escape my reality for a little while and when your reality is filled with being stuck in bed due to pain, sometimes being able to bury myself in a book is exactly what I need to keep my spirits high. Since it is spooky season, I decided I really want to read 2 scary and/or Halloween novels before Thanksgiving. Normally, I would say before Halloween but lately, my brain fog has made reading for long periods of time more difficult so I have given myself a more realistic time frame. Again, it’s all about adapting to make things easier for you. Some tips to make this one more enjoyable include:
Wearing comfy clothing or Pajamas (Especially fuzzy socks!)
Choosing a book you’ve never read before (Though re-reading books is always enjoyable, picking something new will provide you with a whole new experience)
Choosing an author you’ve never read before (Again, reading work from someone new provides you with reading a whole new style of writing which could be fun)
Read somewhere where you can be alone and not interrupted (Few things are worse than being interrupted when you’re in the middle of a good book)
I might not be a fan of scary movies but I do enjoy a good scary novel so this is something I’m excited about. Who knows, I may even discover a new favorite book or author along the way.
Dress up in a cute but comfy Halloween costume
One of the best things about Halloween is being able to dress up in costume. For one night (or multiple nights of the season), you can dress up as someone completely different than yourself and no one is going to judge you for it. Dressing up in costumes is definitely one of the main reasons why I love Halloween so much. But often in the past, the costumes I would choose wouldn’t be that comfortable or warm. Living in New York, wearing a tight, short dress with no sleeves isn’t exactly the warmest option I could have worn. I already knew that getting a typical costume this year wasn’t really an option due to both money and also just the way my health has been. But this in no way is going to stop me from dressing up. So what are my tips for choosing a cute but comfy costume? Well:
Wear a onesie (This is the option I am 95% sure I will be choosing this year. Not only are onesies extremely comfortable and warm, nowadays you can find onesies for every character or theme you can think of! Plus, when Halloween is over, you can still wear your onesie at home which makes it a more practical option and cost effective option)
Don’t wear anything too tight (If your costume is too tight, you will not be comfortable and therefore, you will more than likely not be able to enjoy your Halloween night as much as you should)
Choose a costume that is weather appropriate (Again being too cold or too hot can cause you to be uncomfortable which will affect your night. Often with chronic illness, extreme temperature can also cause pain or flare-ups and that’s definitely no fun)
Choose a costume you feel comfortable in for long periods of time (Not comfortable=not a fun night)
I have known since Endgame came out that I wanted to be spiderman this year. I haven’t fully decided yet whether I will chose the spiderman onesie as my costume or purchase an actual spiderman bodysuit but either way, I know my whole body will be covered and both options will be much more comfortable than costumes I would have chosen in the past. Dressing up is something I am super excited about this year and can not wait to show you all how my costume comes out!
Listen to Halloween music
Music truly is the best medicine. I would be so lost in this world if I didn’t have music in my life. One of my favorite things to do each holiday season is create a themed music playlist on Spotify to listen to throughout that season. So of course, making a spooky playlist is a must do on my list. Instead of tips for this section, here are just some songs I’ve included on mine to give you an idea. They include:
Anything Rocky horror
Anything Nightmare before Christmas
Classic Halloween songs (Monster Mash, Spooky Scary Skeletons, I put a spell on you, etc)
Music is a way to express oneself and what better way to express your love for this season than with some spooky music. My go to places to listen to my Halloween playlist is at home when I’m cleaning and any time we are in the car. If you would like me to do a whole post about every song I’ve included on my playlist this year, let me know in the comments below.
Create a gratitude jar
This activity is actually one that I won’t begin until the first of November. I had seen something similar on Pinterest and thought, with everything that has happened this year, creating a gratitude journal is exactly what I could use right about now. So basically, every day leading up to Thanksgiving after November 1st, I will write down one thing that I am thankful for. Than, on Thanksgiving night, I will open up my jar and read all the things I wrote. It’s very easy when you live with chronic and/or mental illness to lose sight of all the good things in your life. But even on our worst days, there are always things to be thankful for. Some tips I have for this include:
Decorating your jar (You can choose to decorate it for Fall or any other way you would like)
Choose bright colored paper (Bright colors just ignite more joy than plain white)
Really think about what your thankful for (Nothing is too little)
By creating this gratitude jar, I will be reminded of how lucky I am during a season where nature even shows us how beautiful it is to be alive.
So there you have it, the first 7 things on my Fall 2019 bucket list that require low energy. I hope you enjoyed this post and if you did, please hit that like button! If you want to see more, especially the next 2 parts of this series, please give me a follow that way you know when my posts go up.
Today is one of those bad days. Those days where I can hardly move without pain shooting through every part of my body. I haven’t had a bad pain day like this in a long time so immediately felt discouraged when I opened my eyes and realized every bit of me hurt. I had a list of house work I had planned to complete today. I still had to put away the clothes from the laundry I did yesterday, I wanted to straighten up and organize the corner of our game/living room, and planned to make Tom and myself a nice chicken dinner. However, all my plans for the day were suddenly halted and I knew I would be stuck in bed instead all day.
This is the reality of living with a chronic illness. You never know how you will feel day to day or even hour by hour. You can make an entire plan but if you wake up that day sick and in pain, your plans are completely changed and there really isn’t anything you can do about it. Sure, sometimes you can push through but not without consequences. If you push your body when you’re already having a bad pain day, it will only end with additional days stuck in bed or even worse, a trip to the hospital. When you live with chronic illness, you must always be aware of your health and how to take care of yourself. Self care must be number 1. But this is easier said than done.
When I got up and realized I would get nothing done today, the familiar feeling of failure and depression crept up and I just wanted to cry. At 23 I don’t want to admit I can’t do normal everyday things all the time. I’m not okay with not being able to do stuff. But no matter how strong those feelings are, I force myself to remember that if all I do today is survive, then that’s enough. On days like today, all that matters is that I took care of myself and did the things necessary for my health and well being. This is something crucial all people suffering with not only chronic but also mental illness need to remember. Healthy people don’t understand what it takes just to keep breathing in a body that wants to destroy you. If they knew what it took, I guarantee they would start looking at us all differently because they would realize we are constantly fighting just to survive.
So the point of all of this is that I know it can be frustrating and demoralizing when chronic and/or mental illness prevents you from doing normal everyday things. I know for me it not only makes me feel like a failure of a wife but of just a human being in general. But what’s important is knowing that you are doing the best you can with the life you have been given and on days where just walking up the stairs makes you cry out in pain, all that you need to do is take care of yourself and keep breathing. And if that’s all you can do, well, that’s more than enough. Tomorrow is a new day, that list can wait, but your health can not. Just keep staying strong and never lose hope that things will one day get better
My physical health has been up and down these last few weeks. I have my good days where I can get work done and enjoy life, but I also have my really bad days where I can’t get out of bed without feeling faint and dizzy. My mental health, on the other hand, has been consistently rough. My anxiety has gotten severe and even though I didn’t realize it at first, so has my depression. This is heavily due to the fact my future has been on my mind a lot lately, especially one certain aspect of my future; having kids. For as long as I can remember, I dreamed about becoming a mother. Tom and I had always discussed having children in our early twenties, shortly after getting married. But being diagnosed with Lupus has turned our entire plan upside down.
The reality is that having Lupus does increase my chances of miscarriage, birth complications and even infertility all together. Yes, I know there are many women out there with Lupus who have children and had problem-free pregnancies but there are also many who have not. Just knowing that we could have problems getting/staying pregnant and there is a chance we may never become pregnant at all is a thought that honestly breaks my heart. Before this diagnosis, we had a plan. Shortly after our 1 year anniversary, we would begin to actively try for a baby as long as we felt we were in a financially good space to do so. But now, that can’t happen. I need my health to be in check before we even consider trying. But we are also still on a timeline because the older I get and the longer I’m on my medication, the harder pregnancy will be for me and the risk factor goes higher. It is so hard to hear friends and family ask me, “so when will you guys have a baby?” knowing that I don’t know that answer anymore. It hurts having to explain why we need to wait and even explaining how it may never happen biologically for us. I always feared infertility issues, always scared that my biggest dream wouldn’t be able to come true for me. I wish I could get testing done now, to know before we start to try and have to experience heartbreak over and over again if it turns out that I can’t become pregnant or hold a pregnancy. But doctors won’t run those tests unless it’s necessary.
I thought by 24, I would be pregnant with my first child or already have a child. I never thought by 24 I would be diagnosed with Lupus, uncertain if I ever would be able to become a mom. I’m trying my hardest to turn this diagnosis into something positive, to use my experiences to help others. But some days, it’s just so hard to look on the bright side. I feel like I’m grieving, I’m grieving the life I had and the life I thought I would have. The life that was robbed from me by this illness I never asked for. I still have big dreams, dreams that I want so badly to come true but I always fear that my mental and physical health will keep me from ever achieving them. I feel constantly trapped, having to rely on everyone for everything because I can’t do things myself anymore. I can’t drive, I can’t work, hell, some days I can’t even make it up the stairs without help! When I go out, I constantly have to monitor how I’m feeling, often going through periods of lightheadedness and just an overall underlying panic of something going wrong. I won’t even go anywhere if Tom, my mother or my grandmother are not with me because at least I know they understand and they know what to do if god forbid, I get really sick out of nowhere. It sucks having to live like that.
People keep telling me that “it could be worse” and that “I’m going to be okay” and though I know they are right, some days I don’t want to hear it! Because the truth is, yea, it could be worse but this freaking sucks too! And I have every right to be angry and sad about having my independence ripped away! Than on the other hand, I have people compare my illness to others with the same and that hurts worse because everyone deals with illnesses differently and everyone experiences different symptoms. Just because one person is able to work and drive with Lupus, doesn’t mean that I can. I’m trying my hardest but I also can’t risk my life and my health getting worse. I’m at my breaking point as is and basically being told I’m not trying my hardest, that I’m being lazy and using my Lupus and anxiety as an excuse, it’s just beyond heart wrenching and makes me want to cry. Because I am trying my hardest, I’m pushing myself as much as I can.
I’m not happy with my life but I refuse to just give up. I guess I just need to continue taking everything one day at a time, hold onto faith, and no matter what, stay strong. That’s the only way I’ll get through this challenging time. Friends and family tell me how strong I am and how well I have handled this. But the truth is, what other choice did I have? I either let this break me or grow from it. And even on days like today, where I’m deep in my head and am feeling so discouraged, I know I won’t let this shatter me.
On the outside. That’s how she felt. Disconnected from the world and the people around her.
Longing to be herself but always being someone else because the person she was would always just annoy people.
Often drinking because when she was drunk, she was free to be the person she really was and people wouldn’t mind because they’d believe it was just the alcohol that caused her to act so free and crazy.
She was the girl who always had big dreams but her dreams never matched with the ones surrounding her.
Wanting to Vlog every chance she could but too scared of what her friends would say.
Wanting to get into modeling and cosplay but convinced her friends would just make fun of her and make her doubt any chance of becoming someone. Just like they always had.
All of this caused the girl to feel alone.
This feeling of loneliness and being out-of-place was nothing new to her though.
For she had felt that way many times throughout her 22 years of life.
Always acting older than she really was, always dreaming of bigger things.
Always the mom of the group, the responsible one.
The one who rather stay at home cuddling with her fiance while watching a movie than out at the club partying into all hours of the night.
A girl who had an imagination like no other but whose imagination kept becoming less and less as reality took over.
Who once could look at a blank piece of paper and write for hours about a new land but now stares at a half-written novel with not a clue of where to go.
She dreams of becoming someone, of becoming famous.
And not because of the normal reasons someone wants to become famous but because by being famous people would hear her story.
They would hear her constant struggle with anxiety and depression.
How she suffers everyday in a body that just wants to quit because Arthritis has invaded every joint and Fibromyalgia has taken over every muscle.
How she has always felt on the outside but no matter what kept going.
She wants to be famous to help the ones out there who suffer too.
Who wake up in the morning and wish they never had.
To show them they can conquer any of their demons and that life is worth all this pain.
To show them, they are not alone.
She dreams of the day her story will help others.
But often that dream becomes dark when she thinks of how she will never be good enough. When she stares at that piece of paper and that sense of magic doesn’t spark her fingers to start to type causing her to wonder if she even has the talent to cause people to want to hear her.
She’s just a girl trying to fit into a world she will never belong in.
Because the world today wasn’t built for people like her.
Wasn’t made for the ones with creativity in their heart, the ones who believe in magic and love. The world today crushes the people who are like her, crushes people who are different.
But people who are different are people who are special.
They are the ones who can change the world, they are the ones that bring that sense of magic into others lives.
Who can turn the dark and grey into a rainbow and a frown into a smile.
Sadly, too often society wins and these people who could have done so much, are consumed by the dark reality and that spark of magic in them goes out, never to be lit again.
She is caught between the special person she is and the person society wishes for her to become.
Stuck between the two, fighting to keep the magic in her alive.
But magic doesn’t pay the bills, magic doesn’t get you a house, magic can’t feed a family.
How can magic survive in a world that is designed to kill creativity.
How can she continue to believe in mythicality and childhood dreams when her life calls for her to grow up and forget those silly fantasies.
When people constantly tell her that she can’t be herself in public because by being herself and following her dreams, shes destined to fail at life.
When they tell her to give up those silly fantasies of becoming a writer, of becoming a known Youtuber and model and start focusing on the real world because you’re a grown up now.
So she continues to be stuck in between, still on the outside, yearning for the day she realizes that being on the outside is better than being consumed on the inside. The day where she is confident enough to ignore the ones around her who only believe she will fail and follow her dreams with everything she has.
The day she realizes how lucky she is to be different in such a cookie-cutter world because that will be the day she will unlock the special power within her and ignite a flame that no one will ever be able to stomp out.