Here’s the problem having a blog and having BPD; you go through phases of disappearing. Maybe not all Borderlines face this problem, but I sure do. It’s not only my blog, it’s all social media, and it’s from friends and family too. I’m not really sure what happens. I think I get so overwhelmed that my entire self just shuts down. I’ve barely seen my son and husband and we live under the same roof. When I do see them and they talk to me I barely register what they are saying. I usually become bogged down by guilt, because all I want is to be by myself. Maybe it’s the pain that causes this phenomenon. I “celebrated” my birthday in June. My biological mom forgot, and my mom (adoptive mom who’ve I known my entire life) didn’t get me a card or gift. Maybe this sounds self pitying but she has always given at least a card. So I asked my sisters if they had gotten anything thinking maybe it was just one of her phases. No, my youngest sister was given a diamond ring that belonged to our grandmother and my other sister was taken on a trip to a cabin for a few days. Then there is the best friend. Why in the world my brain decided to latch onto him, I have no idea. Well yes, I do, because when he is sober he is the best person I have ever known. But when he’s using, he’s the absolute worst. He disappears (my worst fear ever with anyone but especially with him), he’s cold, he lies, and plays head games. We spent the day before my birthday together and it was so much fun. Nearly perfect. Then on my actual birthday, the very next day, he was a completely different person. It broke my heart. Sometimes I curse my mind for being so fragile. I feel like one of these days it’ll be too much and my brain will just stop working. Totally shut down. Sometimes I want to rush the process along because I’m so convinced it will happen. If I make it happen myself at least then I can control WHEN it happens. Having BPD is always a struggle, there is rarely an easy day. If there IS an easy day you are constantly on edge waiting for it to all fall apart. I’m waiting for my Trazadone to kick in so I’ll actually get some sleep tonight, but who knows. The nightmares have been rough lately. In the nightmares, I’m always lost and looking for someone, usually my best friend, but sometimes other people. If I find them they will say something along the lines of “I’ll be right back”, or “hold on just second”, and then they are gone again. The worst is where that is going on but I also have faceless “bad people” chasing/stalking me and I need help. But the people I’m beseeching for help can’t be found. They are gone. It amazes me how replaceable people seem to be. My dreams are often a direct parallel to my reality, I see how often I’m replaced in the real world. I’m replaced with drugs, sisters who are more accomplished, new friends who are more interesting (or perhaps more stable), I’ve even been replaced with media. Seriously, TV shows have been more important than me and my needs. That last one was courtesy of my dad. I don’t know. I don’t know how to tell people that they’ve hurt me, so I bury it down, but it’s still alive and tries to dig it’s way back up. It’s a constant battle of trying to keep this monster under ground. But he always wins in the end, one way or another. It breaks free and I feel bad for whoever is around when it does, because more often than not, the person who has to deal with the monster is someone who I am not angry with or hurt by. They look like a deer caught in headlights, wondering what the hell happened and what they did to receive such wrath. Ok, so my Trazadone is finally kicking in. God knows if this post even makes sense. But this is BPD.
This will be a bit lighter than my previous posts. Thankfully! I needed a break! Music is open to interpretation but there are some songs that directly mention BPD. There are even more that hint at BPD or another personality disorder, and hundreds that someone with BPD could relate to. I will section this post into these three categories. If you have come across any songs that are about BPD that aren’t listed here, or have suggestions for songs that you relate to, feel free to mention them in the comment section. I do have two warnings. First warning, many of these songs contain explicit lyrics. If you are easily offended or are sensitive to language, please proceed with caution if you choose to look up any of these songs. I am not including lyrics because this post would turn into a book due to the sheer amount of songs listed. Second warning, and to be heeded, is that these songs could be a trigger for some people. So please, if you are affected easily by music, and are particularly impulsive, use caution if you choose to listen to any of these songs.
Some of the following songs I came across on other sites, others I have found on my own. Thank you to those of you out there who shared your knowledge of music and lyrics.
Songs that specifically mention Borderline(s) or BPD:
- Black Eyed by Placebo (Brian Molko either has BPD himself or is close enough to someone who does that he has a keen insight into this disorder)
- Stinkfist by Tool
- Boulevard Of Broken Dreams by Green Day
- Strange Boy by Pet Shop Boys
- Napalm Death by Cursed To Crawl
- Overdrive by Katy Rose
- Borderline by Michael Gray and Shelly Poole *There is another version by only Shelly Poole
- My Extraordinary Mind by No Fun At All
- Delicate Terror by Thrill Kill Kult -aka; My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult
- White Shadow by Peter Gabriel
- Crazy Women by Brandy Clark *There is another version by Leann Rimes
- Insanity by Kina
- Spitfall by Pain Of Salvation
- I Can’t Stand You Anymore by Sleigh Bells
- Far Away From Man by Sugarplum Fairy
- Vermillion Kisses by Barry Adamson
- Switch Off The Moment by Dolores O’Riordan
- Crazy Happy by Speedstar
- Beautiful Apocalypse by Kamelot
- Man Of Straw by Viking
- Tempo Change by Lillex***
- Not All Bad by Aaron Sprinkle***
*** I am not 100% sure these two songs are referencing BPD, but reading the lyrics, I believe that they are.
Songs that seem to reference BPD but do not specifically mention Borderline(s) or BPD:
- I Hate Everything About You by Three Days Grace
- Hot And Cold by Katy Perry
- Whatever She’s Got by David Nail
- Self Esteem by The Offspring
- Hurt by Nine Inch Nails *Johnny Cash did a cover of this song as well
- Bitch by Meredith Brooks
- Creep by Radiohead
- Doll Parts by Hole (Courtney Love has a BPD diagnosis)
- Beautiful Mess by Jason Mraz
- Private Hell by Alice In Chains
- My Skin by Natalie Merchant
- Chop Suey by System Of The Down
- Colour Me In by Kayla Kavanagh (Kayla Kavanagh also has a BPD diagnosis)
- Fallen by Kayla Kavanagh
- One Of A Kind by Placebo
- A Million Little Pieces by Placebo
- Blind by Placebo
The following songs probably don’t have anything to do with BPD, but they are very relatable to someone who has the disorder. Lovesong by The Cure is a perfect example. I often think of this song when I want to apologize for an outburst or to warn someone new in my life that despite the words that I say, I don’t always mean them.
- Lovesong by The Cure
- Hearing Damage by Thom Yorke
- Safe And Sound by The Civil Wars & Taylor Swift
- Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus
- Tear You Apart by She Wants Revenge
- Into The West by Annie Lennox
- Heroin by Velvet Underground
- Apart by The Cure
- Better This Way by Kayla Kavanagh
- #1 Crush by Garbage
- Sail by Awolnation
- Chances Are We Are Mad by His Name Is Alive
- Colorblind by Counting Crows
- Daffodil Lament by The Cranberries
- Disintegration by The Cure
- Heavy In Your Arms by Florence And The Machine
- Honey And The Moon by Joseph Arthur
- It Will Rain by Bruno Mars
- Little Star by Stina Nordenstam
- My Love by Sia
- Special K by Placebo
- Talk Show Host by Radiohead
- Slow Life by Grizzly Bear
- Possibility by Lykke Li
- Whatever (I Had A Dream) by Butthole Surfers
- Independence Day by Ani DiFranco
- Untouchable Face by Ani DiFranco
Music affects us all differently. Five different people could listen to the same song and you would have five different meanings to said song. I would be miserable without my music. It helps us express ourselves when we can’t on our own, it heals us and helps us through the hardest of times. It provides memories and can be an immediate stress reducer (hello, belting out a song while in the car or the shower!). This list of songs could go on and on but I had to stop at some point. I hope you check out some of these songs and find some solace in them if needed. At the very least, I hope you find a new artist to listen to!
Some people may think it’s a good thing to have two mothers. When both of your mother’s have traits of BPD it is nowhere near good. This may very well be the most difficult post I write. I mentioned at the beginning that I was adopted at three days old. I was taken home directly from the hospital by my adopted parents. They were always very honest about me being adopted, I had children’s books about adoption, a Precious Moments figurine of a child and parents holding an adoption certificate, and they were always willing to answer any questions I had. I was told constantly that I was special. Unique.
Growing up I was a Daddy’s Girl. I loved my dad more than anything. My mom and I never quite clicked though. I truly believe that even as a baby, there was a part of me that knew she wasn’t my mother. It was like an imposter was standing there. I love her, yes, of course I do, but there is something fundamental that is missing from our relationship. She has always claimed that I hated her, and I admit I do have a lot of anger towards her. And I suppose that I did hate her at one time. I think it was both good and bad that they were always honest about the adoption. I couldn’t imagine learning about being adopted at age 13 or something, but being told from day one had it’s own repercussions. I knew I wasn’t “theirs”, that I was different from my cousins and other family members. I have always known that my brain works differently than most people, which didn’t help the situation. From a very early age I thought that that was the reason my biological mom gave me up. I was convinced that she knew I was no good and that’s why she got rid of me. Of course I was told over and over that she loved me so much that that’s the reason she put me up for adoption. She wanted me to have a better life than she could provide. I was told the amount of love needed to do that was more than I could imagine. My brain could not, would not, accept it. While my parents were in the process of adopting their second child, my sister Kat, they became pregnant with my youngest sister Toni. Kat and Toni are 9 months apart in age. I don’t really remember, but I think Kat was brought home shortly before Toni was born. Now that I am an adult (chronologically anyways!) I understand how hard that must have been on my adopted mom. She was basically raising twins since they were so close in age and came home at about the same time. She started to suffer from severe panic attacks and I believe depression. That was the 1980’s, so the drug given to most patients at that time was Valium. So here I was, a big sister to two younger sisters that to me showed up out of nowhere. I am 4 years older than Kat, and 5 years older than Toni. Just stop and think about this for a moment. You have a 5 year old little girl who already knows she doesn’t fit in, she feels as if she doesn’t really belong, and out of the blue two more little girls show up. I felt as if I was being replaced. Here were my parents, telling me how special I was, but yet they bring home two more kids. The thinking process of a 5 year old…
Because my mom’s anxiety and depression was getting so bad I was often left to watch my sisters. By the time I was 7 years old I was a pro at changing diapers, feeding babies, and taking care of them in general. Kat and I were particularly close while growing up. Toni had my mom’s temperament and was prone to severe tantrums. It was not an easy atmosphere to live in. Kat and I always viewed it as Toni being our parents favorite because she was their biological child. Looking back, it is easier to understand how much energy Toni demanded. My adopted mom began to show more traits of BPD around this time. She would be so loving and supportive one moment and the next she was blowing up and screaming in your face. Two minutes later she would be in tears apologizing to you. My adopted dad said she would be in a good mood, and he would run to the store, by the time he returned she would be extremely mad at him for apparently no reason. There were a few times that she would become angry with a neighbor, friend, or even a family member, and she would cut them out of her life completely. There are still three people that to this day she has never spoken to since the mid to late 80’s. It wasn’t like these people did anything wrong, but to her, some horrid offense had occurred. One was our neighbor, and was my mom’s best friend for years and years. This neighbor had children close in age to my sisters and me. We practically lived over there, especially when my mom was on the Valium. For whatever reason, my mom decided this lady had wronged her, and she never spoke to her again. Our neighbor was completely and utterly baffled.
By the time I was in high school I had given up trying to understand my adopted mom. I would walk in the door and be verbally assaulted with some crazy reality she had convinced herself of. She isn’t psychotic, but she can convince herself of things that just aren’t true. The emotional abuse was almost unbearable. What am I saying?! It was unbearable. I was very lucky in the fact that when my parents divorced I was allowed to choose who I lived with. My sisters had to live with my mom, but since I was old enough to choose, I chose to live with my dad. But I still had to have visits with my mom, and since she lived right down the street from my school I’d often walk there and go home to my dad’s later. I had a LOT of freedom living with my dad. He was always at work or at Toni’s soccer games, or whatever else he had going on. A sophomore in high school who wants nothing more than to escape her misery and has little to no supervision gets into trouble easily. The drugs, drinking, skipping school, failing grades, running around at all hours. It was a recipe for disaster, and believe me, disasters happened.
My dad was so naive. He has never even smoked a cigarette before. The way he was brought up was so… typical middle class. We literally had a white picket fence for Christ’s sake! I would be smoking pot in my room, tell him it was incense, and he never questioned it. Once Kat became old enough, she chose to move in with my dad and me. She began acting out as well, and that’s when my dad was finally clued in to the trouble we were getting ourselves into. We would throw some massive parties while he was out of town with Toni for her damn soccer, and cops would be called. He began hearing complaints from neighbors and so he really had no choice but to start paying attention. It really didn’t stop us.
The emotional and verbal abuse from my mom became even worse for Kat and me. I think she was hurt that Kat decided to leave and live with my dad and me. But she would never admit to it. To this day, Toni takes up all her attention. She babysits Toni’s children everyday, and when she’s not babysitting, she’s still over there helping out. They live on streets right next to each other. Toni does not exhibit traits of BPD unless you consider the outbursts of extreme and inappropriate anger. I am not positive what her actual diagnoses are, but I do know BPD is nowhere near being one of them. Kat also has a diagnosis or two, but no BPD. While my adopted mom has never been diagnosed with BPD, when you look at the traits of a borderline, she fits at least 5 of the 9 criteria.
Fast forward about 20 years. I was about to turn 37, and the state where I live changed the law where closed adoptions became open. You could request your original birth certificate, and after sending the required information and payment to the Dept. of Vitals and Statistics they would send it to you. I had been waiting for this day for as long as I could remember. I had done some searching before, and twice, two years in a row, right before Christmas both years, I thought I had found my biological mom. That was a very bitter pill to swallow to find out that both were dead ends. But here was my chance to find her for real. When I received my birth certificate in the mail I cried. It even had my bio mom’s nationalities. I was told many times that I looked Irish, and looked like I had some sort of Native American in me too. It was always speculation. Turns out I am Irish and Cherokee, with a couple others mixed in. I was over the moon. My questions were finally going to be answered. It took only two, maybe two and half weeks, to find my bio mom’s current address. I wrote to her, asking for medical history at a minimum, but letting her know I was open to a relationship if she was too. I told her about my son who has autism, and a little about my anxiety and depression. I did not mention my diagnosis of BPD, I had only found out less than a year before. I knew it had a stigma attached to it, and I wasn’t about to scare her off. Not many people realize there is a spectrum regarding BPD, and fewer still take into account the base personality of the person being affected. Plus, this woman I writing to had never really met me. Sure she carried me for nine months, but as soon as I took my first breath I had been taken away.
I think I waited about two more weeks after sending my letter when curiosity got the best of me. One of my friends who is always down for road trips drove me down to the address I had for my bio mom. We got out of the car about a block away and just walked around, passing the house a couple times. We didn’t see anyone, and I knew she was living with my aunt and grandma from the research I had done. My friend and I went to lunch and we were going to head home when she suggested we drive by one more time. Of course as we pass, there is my mom walking up to the house. I hadn’t seen a picture of her yet, so there was a small chance it was my aunt, but I knew it was her. She looked directly at me as we passed, I think she might have suspected it was me because I got a reply to my letter about a week later. She never mentioned my drive-by, and I’ve never mentioned it either. When I got her letter in the mail I was shaking. I called my husband and just started bawling. I couldn’t open it until someone was with me. He drove home early so I could read it. It was the longest hour of my life waiting for him to get home. We noticed it appeared to be a greeting card with a letter tucked inside. I figured it couldn’t be too bad if she was sending a greeting card. She seemed very sweet and caring. She seemed supportive. She wanted to try to have a relationship. It was everything I could’ve asked for. We wrote back and forth a couple times, and progressed to email pretty quickly. It was about two months later that we officially met face to face. I guess I should’ve had my first clue when we made plans to meet. I have PTSD from a severe car accident that caused me to have almost 90 stitches across my forehead. The accident was in the late 1990’s but it still affects me to this day. I told her earlier how much I hated to drive, about the accident and PTSD, and that freeways were off limits unless absolutely necessary. One of my more persistent traits of BPD is that I can not say “no” to people. Even when it’s to my own detriment. She had me come down to her part of the city (we are about as far away as you can get in our city, I’m at the extreme north eastern side, while she is at the extreme south western side). I was freaking out needing to drive that far and on the freeway, but I would’ve flown to the moon in order to meet her face to face. We had a great first meeting. It was easy and comfortable, and on my end I felt no awkwardness. She claimed she didn’t either, and I believe her. When we started texting, maybe 3 or 4 weeks after her first letter, we texted every single day. We still text every single day. In the past 2 years, there has not been a single day where we haven’t sent texts. This was my second clue, although it took me awhile to catch on. I have tried to let her know that I have things going on, or was sick, or whatever, and she will say “no problem, I’ll talk to you tomorrow”, but will always end up texting later that same day. She also needs to send the last text. For awhile I would fight against it, just being stubborn, but I noticed if I sent another text back, even if it just said “Night!”, she will text back again. Eventually I just gave up, if she needs to send the last text, then by all means, send it.
As I’ve gotten to know my bio mom over the last two years I have noticed how freakishly similar she is to my adopted mom. Their personalities are so close! My psychiatrist noticed it as I would talk to her, and my psychologist has most definitely caught on. My psychologist is even sympathetic about it. She will call me out when I am being paranoid or not seeing reality clearly, but in this case, she knows it is accurate. My bio mom has the same kind of temper as my adopted mom, and while it has never been directed at me (yet), I have seen it directed at others. Again, just like my adopted mom, my bio mom is very much a “typical” borderline. She has more traits than my adopted mom, which includes self harm and threats of self harm or suicide. She becomes very distant and/or cold when I don’t match her mood or disagree with her about something. There is an excuse for everything and anything, and nothing is ever her fault. I love her, and I do not want our relationship to end. When she is having a good day she is funny, charming, so supportive, and it is fascinating to learn about the family and our history. Plus I’m still holding out hope that through her, or with her help, I will locate my biological dad. That’s not looking so good, his last name (and first name) is so common. He may as well go by John Smith, that’s how common it is.
This post has taken me 19 days to write. I had to keep taking breaks. There is so much more I could go into regarding my moms. I find it darkly hilarious that both my moms happen to have BPD. I never had a chance. I have the genetic and the environmental factors on all sides. I work very hard everyday to not put my son in the same environment I grew up in. I think the fact that I’m a “quiet” borderline helps tremendously. But I still worry about him, terrified I will pass on this curse of a disorder to him or his children. He already has the hurdles of dealing with autism, depression and anxiety. While he is incredibly high functioning, he still struggles. I know everybody has limitations that they need to overcome. Some have it easier than others, and I am aware that others have much more difficult struggles than I do. But this is the life I know and have to live in. I work on what I can to improve it to the best of my ability. I suppose that’s all any of us can do.
“…you are exactly my brand of heroin.”
–Edward Cullen, Twilight
When you have BPD it is inevitable that at some point you will become addicted to another person. It sounds ridiculous I’m sure, but it’s true. They can affect you so deeply, and seem to be your perfect match in every way. The more time you spend with this person, the more addicted you become. It can become so intense that when you’re separated from them, even for a short amount of time, it causes physical pain. Depression can set in and a sort of withdraw takes place. Nothing feels right until you are with them again. If you have never had an addiction, even if just coffee, and you don’t have BPD, you will never truly understand what I’m saying. It’s being in love, but the deepest (almost dysfunctional) type of love you could ever imagine. It’s beyond lust, yearning, and needing. It constantly feels like you’ll break into a million pieces. When you are with them, you’ll break apart from the happiness. When they are gone, you’ll break apart from the pain. But always you want more. It doesn’t matter if other relationships suffer, or that you may blow off work/school/responsibilities just so you can spend a little more time with them. Love is our drug of choice. For people with BPD, everything we do, everything we look for, comes down to love. So when we find it (or think we’ve found it) we become obsessed. We think of the person constantly. Not a moment goes by where they aren’t on your mind. You would gladly be smothered to death if they were the one smothering you. It’s a drug. It’s stronger than cocaine, pain pills and heroin combined.
I get that this may sound like the beginning stages of stalking behavior. And who knows, maybe a lot of stalkers have BPD. I don’t know. I personally have never stalked anyone, regardless of how strongly they have affected me. I’ve thought about it, but never acted on it. Well… maybe a little on social media, but I think just about everyone over the age of 20 has stalked someone on social media! Be it an ex, best friend, ex boss, whatever. I am not making light of stalking. There was a guy who stalked me for almost a year and it was truly frightening. I still suffer from PTSD because of it. Thankfully this was before Facebook, Twitter and all the rest were around.
So back to our drug of choice. Love. Everyone craves it, everyone needs it. It is essential to human survival. Why though, do people with BPD need it so much more than typical people? Is it purely our heightened emotional state? Is it because most Borderlines have had some sort of trauma in our lives where love either wasn’t given or was given in harmful ways? I don’t know the answer to that. I do know that when we feel love this strongly it’s often referred to as idealization. You place this person on a pedestal so high that you’d think it impossible for them to ever come down. You adore every look they give you, you would kill to have them smile at you, you cherish every touch and embrace. And you are completely and utterly terrified it will be ripped away from you at any moment. You become so in tune with them that you often know what they are feeling before they know it themselves. But then it begins to shift. Every bad mood, or even just boredom, seems to be directed at you. Or so you think. (As you progress in treatment, if you’re in treatment, you will learn that this is rarely the case.) The doubts become more and more insistent. You don’t stop to think that they aren’t calling because they are sick, busy at work, or their phone is lost under the sofa. No, they aren’t calling YOU. They hate you, you get on their nerves, they’re mad at you, sick of you. You re-read every text and email, go over every single conversation you’ve ever had. Searching for what you did wrong. The pain becomes more and more intense. You start to lose your identity, and you just know they are going to leave you alone, just like everyone does. It’s here that devaluation steps in. Another survival mechanism in the BPD arsenal. This person you loved above all else, they aren’t so great! That pedestal that was higher than the heavens themselves? It starts to crumble. Tiny pieces at first. Small chips of stone here and there. Then they call or text or show up. Wait!!! They aren’t so bad! And you NEED them, remember? So you patch up the pedestal, ignoring or not seeing the cracks that are starting to form. But then they say that they can’t hang out, or cancel an arranged afternoon at the last second. What?! They suck, you hate them. Why would they do this to you? Don’t they realize what you’ve sacrificed for them?! The honest answer (most of the time, especially for Quiet Borderlines) is no. No, they don’t realize how much time and energy you’ve put into the relationship. I’m not talking about just romantic relationships either. This can happen with friendships, family relationships, even workplace relationships. It does tend to be strongest with romantic relationships and close friendships however.
Thus the “swinging” continues. Getting faster and stronger at every pass. The timing between idealization and devaluation becomes shorter in duration. Sound exhausting? It is, believe me. This is a particularly hard time for someone with BPD. We are consumed with this rollercoaster of emotions. Just like an addict who is nearing the point of rock bottom, we want this person in our life so badly we can’t let go. At the same time, wanting them gone, never to see them again. For me personally, silently begging them to go away and to take all my memories of them when they go. The process of devaluation can become pretty ugly. The stronger the love, the stronger the hate. A lot of times the person you are involved with has no idea that this war is being waged. You snap at them, disappear on them, avoid them, say horrid things to them. If it’s a romantic relationship you may even cheat on them. In my experience, looking back, I wanted them to feel my pain, even if it was just a fraction of what I felt. There’s a song lyric that comes to mind: “Without you I’m nothing. Without you, I’m nothing at all.” – Placebo. That’s exactly how I feel whether I’m in the process of idealization or devaluation. It fits both. I actually plan on doing a post about songs that are about BPD. While I’m not positive, I am pretty sure that Brian Molko, the lead singer of Placebo, has BPD himself. If he doesn’t then he is very close to someone who does.
Anyways, if you are in a relationship with someone who has BPD, I’m not saying that how they handle idealization/devaluation is okay. I do however urge you to communicate with them in an honest and sincere manner. If you need to cancel with them, give an explanation and as much notice as possible. Also try to reschedule if at all possible. If you know you are going to be in work meetings all day, shoot them a text giving them a head’s up beforehand, and if your relationship is close enough, contact them afterwards. If you are living together, and you are going to be home late, let them know and let them know when they can expect you. You do not need to cater to someone with BPD, nor do you need to walk on eggshells around them, but a little extra communication goes a long way. Please understand that we ourselves often don’t know why we feel the way we do. It can confuse us and scare us, giving rise to inappropriate reactions. Since many of us have had traumatic pasts it’s a part of our makeup to self preserve. We may not always go about it in the correct way, but it always comes from the same place; love.
This post was originally going to be about the two main subtypes of BPD: “typical” and “quiet”. I myself am considered a “quiet” borderline vs a “typical” borderline. But the past few days have been considerably rough and yesterday was downright miserable and scary. So I thought this would be a great opportunity to show exactly what I wanted this blog to reflect. A day-in-life…
Some people with BPD also have psychosis. It’s not common per se, but there are cases. I do not have psychosis, and I am very grateful for that. It makes a very complicated disorder even more disabling. That being said, last Friday I started to hear what I thought was my phone going off, but not my usual ringtone. It sounded like piano music. It was far away but close at the same time. I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from! It happened a few times on Friday, each time only lasting for maybe 20 seconds. On Saturday, I kept thinking I could hear people talking from a few yards away. I checked but no one was around. Nothing was discernable, but I could definitely hear it. And it didn’t matter where I was. Inside, outside, in the car… anywhere. I also heard the “music” a few more times as well. I was a little worried but not so much that I thought too much of it. By Monday I was hearing the “music” (always the same piano sound), the distant “conversations”, and a strange ringing. I have had ringing in my ears before, due to migraines and/or sinus infections. This was similar but different. The sound was the same but it was external, not internal like with a sinus infection. So yesterday (Tuesday) I finally called my therapist and asked if auditory hallucinations could be brought on by stress. She thought it was probable, especially considering how bad my anxiety becomes. However, she also stated I needed to go the ER to get checked out immediately. First, to make sure there was no physical cause, and second, to make sure if it was anxiety based it didn’t turn into a crisis.
As early as six months ago, I probably wouldn’t have contacted her. I am much more of a suffer in silence type person, and even more so concerning my psychiatric issues. We have made a lot of progress though over the last two years and I am really starting to trust her, so I called her. I’m glad that I did. So, in tears, I contact my husband and explain what was going on. He said he would pick up our son from school and urged me to get to the ER as fast as possible. This where it gets fun! If you don’t have a mental illness, you will never understand the stigma we deal with every single day. I walk into the ER and their front desk is pretty open. The main waiting room is RIGHT there. The guy at the desk asks what brought me in. I said that my therapist had sent me due to auditory hallucinations. There were two other women behind the desk as well, and they both looked over so fast I thought their necks would snap from the force. Now I’ll say this, when you go into an ER and tell them you are there for psychiatric issues, they don’t waste time. I was taken back to a room immediately even though there were approximately 12 other people in the waiting area.
I get back to a huge room (I guess they don’t want you getting Claustrophobic when you’re already worked up) and I’m ambushed by two nurses. I have to explain that the voices aren’t “voices” telling me what to do. It was more subtle than that, and that I was hearing this music and ringing too. They kept asking if I was suicidal, if I felt like harming myself or anyone else. I was asked if I had taken any drugs, street or prescription, and if I drank alcohol. Yes, these are all basic questions that any ER in America asks. It was the WAY they were asked. They were very friendly, almost overly friendly, with a distinct air of caution around them. Do I blame them? No. But was I slightly offended? To be honest, yes. I knew I wasn’t a danger to them. I still understand why they acted the way they did. Once the doctor came in and I spoke with her my anxiety about the situation began to subside. They ordered a CT scan and routine labs to make sure nothing physical was going on, like a tumor or blood clot in my brain. My anxiety and paranoia shot up a bit when that was mentioned, but my fears were unfounded. Everything came back normal thankfully. I was still at the hospital at the shift change (I was there for a total of 5 hours) and the new nurse who took over obviously wasn’t filled in completely about my situation. She walked in very warily and asked how I was feeling. She then asked if I was currently hearing any voices. I told her “no, it wasn’t really like that”. Guess she didn’t believe me because I went to shift my position on the stretcher and she literally jumped.
Sometimes I think the stigma will never go away for any mental illness, no matter what the disorder. The doctor had me speak to a social worker and both concluded that these noises I was hearing was indeed caused by high levels of stress and anxiety. Last week I had to have a biopsy done on a mole since melanoma runs in my family. I might also need to have surgery on my right shoulder due to a torn rotator cuff. The surgery is scary enough, but being my right shoulder it’s even worse since I draw, paint and write. These three things are my salvation, and I’d be devastated if they were taken away from me. I have a teenage son with Autistic Disorder, and the everyday life stresses everyone has. I constantly hear the words “don’t worry so much”, or “you worry yourself too much, everything is fine”, which does absolutely nothing to calm a person’s anxiety. I got a knot in my stomach just typing that! Then there is that ever present feeling of a dark cloud hanging overhead. It seems like things will start to calm down, but then another curve ball is thrown my way before I can even catch my breath. It would be ideal if I could use the upcoming weekend to take care of myself, get some much needed sleep and just breathe. I already know that won’t happen. It’s Easter this Sunday which means dealing with family. Family means that I am not allowed to have any problems. You must focus solely on them and their lives. They are all aware that I have BPD but none of them, except for my younger sister Kat (she’s the middle child), have done any research on the disorder. My adopted mom refused, she said if she researched it it would just upset her. My youngest sister supposedly has no time and just keeps forgetting. My adopted dad is the same way. There is always something more pressing going on. My bio mom has not done any research either, nor has any of my friends, save one. And it was good that she did because she realized her long term boyfriend has BPD too. So when I try to explain what I am going through to family, all I get is exasperated looks. They think I’m overreacting or trying to gain attention. I despise being the center of attention. I eloped just so I wouldn’t have to walk down the aisle with everyone staring at me. Seriously. So why on earth would I make up stories of being miserable in my own skin for attention? BPD is way too exhausting by itself. No one with BPD would go out of their way to create even more drama. Yes, we do create our own drama sometimes, but it’s quite unintentional. We do not seek it out on purpose. At least not the “quiet” borderlines. From what I’ve witnessed, “quiet” borderlines want just that, quiet.
I’m not positive where I was going with this post. I wanted to highlight that no matter how much you think you know about a disorder, yours or someone else’s, it can change without any warning. It’s very important to pay attention to any changes and to get checked out by a health professional if something unexpected comes up. I also wanted to show that while mental health services have come a long way in the past couple decades, we still have a lot farther to go. Someone who has BPD is always questioning themselves, the added insecurity of stigmas makes it a lot worse. I know I have hid my symptoms before just because of the fear of what other people will think. Both sides need to change. We need to stop hiding and speak up, and they need to stop jumping to conclusions and hear us.
I was born in June 1978 and was adopted at three days old. The adoption was closed and I wouldn’t know of any family history for 37 long years. Ever since I can remember I have known I was different. I never quite fit in with my family, and I struggled with peer relationships. I was one of those kids that only had one or two close friends, and I instinctively knew that if I ever revealed my true self I would lose those as well. By the time adolescence hit, I was already going off the rails. I was defiant towards my adopted mother, I was starting to manipulate my adopted father, and was a nightmare towards my two younger sisters. especially my youngest sister who is my parent’s biological daughter. When I was 14, I started to smoke cigarettes and tried pot for the first time. At age 16, I was smoking both cigarettes and pot on a regular basis, plus drinking, dropping acid, and stealing from stores. All I wanted was to fit in but not be a conformist. I wanted to be numb, but also feel like I belonged. A lot of adolescents go through this, that is why it is almost impossible to diagnose Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) in teenagers. Unfortunately I had also began to cut myself. It was almost daily. If I wasn’t cutting, I was pulling out my eyebrow hair or banging my head against walls. Actually, to this day, I can not drink tequila because I will start banging my head. I began hanging out with the Goth kids and the stoners around this time as well. By my junior year I was failing out of high school and dropped out half way through my senior year. *** I did receive my GED three months after dropping out.*** People couldn’t believe I left because I only had five months left, but what they didn’t know was that I was at least a year behind in credits and even more importantly, I was completely suicidal. I hid it well. So well, in fact, that I had overdosed on purpose on two separate occasions and my dear old dad thought I had the stomach flu both times. He was pretty naive, but I interpreted it as him not caring. I felt that as my father, he should’ve known that it was not a physical illness that made me so sick. Oh yeah, he and my mom had gotten divorced right before my freshman year. My adopted mom… oh I think that subject deserves it’s own post. She is very volatile. You never know what you are going to get with her. I have told my therapist that I can go to her with the exact same story/problem, and each time, her response will be completely different. I was never physically abused, but there was emotional and mental abuse on her side, and benign neglect from my dad. I never felt that unconditional love and security that family is suppose to provide. There was also an uncle who was “priming” me for sexual abuse. I had no idea at the time. It wasn’t until I began therapy a couple of years ago and mentioned him in passing that my therapist caught on. Geez, my therapist caught on after a passing remark, but my parents never did? This is what I label “benign neglect”. They were both so blind. To my troubles, to the troubles of the family as a whole, even to the general world around them.
I was thrust into therapy for the first time at the tender age of 13, right as my parents were ending the divorce process. My mom had me see HER therapist. Wow. Luckily I caught on quickly and refused to talk to the therapist. It was only a way for my mom to keep tabs on me, not to help me. Anyone who has had any history of any type of therapy knows that a proper therapist will not see members of the same family unless specific circumstances are present. My next therapist was a psychoanalyst. Psychoanalysis is RARELY appropriate for someone with BPD. Now this wasn’t completely their fault. We did not know that I had BPD at this point. My dad just asked for the best therapist in our area and that’s who they gave me. But while seeing this therapist is when the dissociative symptoms began. For any of you who may not know, a dissociative state is when you sort of black out or feel very distant from everything. Some people have no recollection during these times, others remember but it’s kind of “blurry”. I compare my dissociative states to the following; Have you ever been really, REALLY sick? The worst flu ever type of sick? And during this illness maybe you had to run to the store, or talk to a neighbor, or take your kids to and from school. Then, a few days later you wake up, feeling 100% better, and you realize just how out of it you really were. You can kind of remember doing things, but it’s all sort of hazy, like a dream that’s fading away. That is what my dissociative states are like. Everyone (even people without BPD) will experience a dissociative state at some time or another. A very mild state would be driving home from work, pulling into your driveway and realizing you’re not quite sure how you got there. So anyways, psychoanalysis is known for triggering dissociative states in people with BPD. This type of therapy delves too much into strong emotions and past traumas. The majority of people with BPD just can’t handle that amount of emotional stimulation. We don’t have the mental or emotional maturity. It was this therapist who diagnosed me with depression. I believe it was clinical depression to be exact.
Over the years a general anxiety disorder was added to my history, as well as major depressive disorder. Another doctor simply labeled me as “just a defiant young adult” who would grow out of it. My favorite! It wasn’t until my son was born in 2003 that things began to fall into place. My son was diagnosed with Autistic Disorder in 2005. As we were getting him diagnosed (which took months!) I started to notice a lot of similarities between his symptoms and mine. I was referred to a specialist in adult diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorders. After testing we found that I scored right in the middle of Asperger’s, a type of autism. But this doctor was different in her approach to adult testing. She also screened for ADHD, personality disorders, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and Schizophrenia. At our last visit she told me I met many traits of BPD. I also had traits of OCD and Bipolar Disorder. She referred me to a new therapist who could look into these disorders even more. In 2014, after many interviews and tests, I had my answers. My diagnoses consist of Borderline Personality Disorder, Asperger’s, Bipolar II, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Depression, Anxiety Disorder, and traits of OCD. When it comes to BPD, in order to be diagnosed you need to meet five of the nine criteria. I meet all nine.
I mentioned before that BPD often occurs with other disorders that can make it very hard to diagnose. In my case this was extremely true. I was also diagnosed later than most people. Most BPD diagnoses happen in a person’s early to mid twenties. I have spent the past two years in intensive therapy, combining DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).
I am sure that in the upcoming posts I will delve deeper into some of the environmental causes of my BPD, and I will definitely be discussing the biological causes as well. I was reunited with my biological mother in May 2015, and after meeting her and the rest of the family, it has proven to me that biological factors are a big part in the development of BPD.
It is my intention to make this blog more casual, a sort of “day-in-the-life of” type blog, rather than a bunch of facts and statistics. However, in dealing with any disorder or mental illness, facts and statistics do have their place. If you, or someone you care about, has recently been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (which is often referred to as BPD), there are some amazing books and sites you can check out to learn more about this often debilitating disorder.
BPD itself is a contradiction of symptoms. Someone with BPD will swing wildly between emotions, even if they don’t show it outwardly. Their responses to situations may seem out of proportion or inappropriate. Some days they may seem completely “normal” and the next day they may be so severe that it requires hospitalization. This often confuses loved ones and may even make them feel as if they are being manipulated. This is RARELY the case. The majority of borderlines have little to no control over how they react.
BPD is a very serious personality disorder. The suicide rate is unprecedented compared to other personality disorders and mental illnesses. To make matters more complicated, BPD is often present with other mental disorders. It is believed that BPD is actually more common than Bipolar and Schizophrenia combined.
Before I begin my own personal story (which is still being written every single day), I wanted to mention some books and sites that I have found useful for those who are newly diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.
- Borderline Personality Disorder: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed By: Alexander L. Chapman, PhD, RPsych, Kim L. Gratz, PhD
- Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified By: Robert O. Friedel, MD
- Coping with BPD By: Blaise Aguirre, MD, Gillian Galen, PsyD
- Sometimes I Act Crazy By: Jerold J. Kreisman, MD, Hal Straus
There is hope out there for people diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Therapy and medication(s) can be tremendously helpful for those with BPD. Support groups are another great resource to look into. Treating BPD takes time, and the support of friends and loved ones is instrumental in recovery. Many people diagnosed with BPD will no longer meet diagnostic criteria after proper treatment.