When I went to get tested for Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder the Licensed Clinical Psychologist had told me that he thought that I had some of these symptoms but would need more sessions to get a better assessment. It only took one more session to see a pattern from childhood. He did mention that I was “very together.” No trouble with the law, no substance dependency kind of thing. It’s one reason I stopped going to therapy. I wanted to know what was wrong with me, now I can work on fixing me.
I have written a few posts about mental illness while taking part in this year’s Blog for Mental Health Project. I’ve debated whether I should say anything at all. However, part of me thinks, there’s nothing wrong with me, ya know? I look like everyone else. I seem normal. Yet, I know there are times that I am not normal. I’ve been given excuses for my past behaviors. Oh, you’re just passionate, you’re rebellious and you’re just saying what everyone is thinking. And so on.
Here are a few quotes from a few websites that I like the way it describes Borderline Personality Disorder.
…that centers on the inability to manage emotions effectively. The disorder occurs in the context of relationships: sometimes all relationships are affected, sometimes only one….
…While some persons with BPD are high functioning in certain settings, their private lives may be in turmoil. Other disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse and other personality disorders. can often exist along with BPD. – National Education Alliance Borderline Personality Disorder
Most people who have Borderline Personality Disorder suffer from:
- Problems regulating their emotions and thoughts
- Impulsive and sometimes reckless behavior
- Unstable relationships
To be diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, a person must experience at least five of the following symptoms:
- Fear of abandonment or rejection – for me this isn’t so much a problem. I do not fear abandonment or rejection with my spouse. However, others in my life I do feel that they will leave me or reject me. I used to joke about the idea of me having the “fear of rejection” prior to my knowledge that I have this illness. I look back and did some really crazy things to keep people (especially men) in my life. I would do some really crazy shit. I sometimes try to control the other person’s leaving, by pushing them harder to leave. So I can deal with the loss of them in my time.
- Unstable or changing relationships – Looking back people tend not to stay long periods in my life. I push them along, quickly. There are few that have stayed in my life over 20 years, however the key is not to be on constant contact with them. My friendships/relationships would spiral into a push-pull relationship. I would push and push and push a man to the edge of his sanity. Just as he was about to fall off the edge of the cliff I will pull him back. I would use anything I could to keep him with me. Even when I knew that we were never meant to be together. I don’t have many female friends. It’s not that I don’t want a group of women that I can hang with its because of insecurities on either or both sides. I can only fit into their mold for so long before I begin to undone.
- Unstable self-image; struggles with identity or sense of self – I blame my parents for this. My issues with my body and who I am as a person are up & down. I was always told about “fat” people. Don’t get fat like your mother. No one wants you you’re fat. I heard this from different people in my life as I was growing up & when I got divorced. I don’t have a true sense of who I am. I tend to “fit” in with a group as best I can. I can only think of it as a girdle. Everything is held into place, until I get home and that’s when I let it all hang out. My mother taught me to “use” my assets to get what I want & need. So, my body is really my selling point. Since my main asset is no longer at its prime. I hit a “mental pothole.” That’s when I will do whatever I need to do to get the weight off. It can be illegal drugs, weight loss pills, laxatives, exercising for hours. I don’t go to the gym any more, because I would hang with the guys from the gym. I got into too much trouble which would led into #4 (below)
- Impulsive or self-damaging behaviors (e.g., excessive spending, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Continuing from #3 I would need a way to make myself feel better about me. I would use sex as a method to get “high.” However, in my 20’s I realized that it was a circle. I wasn’t doing any thing different. I would feel worse after I snuck out of their place, car or where ever we were. The high emotion never felt the same. I was always chasing it. The wild sex adventures is what makes me feel good. I have a few regrets. I bounced from reckless & risky sex adventures to binge drinking, drugging and over spending on clothes & shoes. Funny about the driving being listed. Because, I was fast when it came to driving. Looking back, surprised I’m still here. My driving record is clean for the most part, due to it’s now my career. I must have a clean driving record, can’t mix any booze & drugs while driving. I would lose my license. Explaining this to my beloved would crush me, I “act out” in private. I don’t include any one from my inner circle. Strangers or people I don’t expect to see daily.
Suicidal behavior or self-injury
- Varied or random mood swings – I didn’t wanna believe this one. However when my kids are in emotional turmoil I tend to feed off their emotions. If someone close to me is upset, I can easily get upset also. Sometimes when the #7 kick into high gear, all of it gets pushes into mood swings into self-image issues to impulsive behavior. Just a huge circle for me at times.
- Constant feelings of worthlessness or sadness, emptiness – This is constant feeling. Sometimes, I go days without knowing how I feel. I just feel blank. Difficult to explain to normal people. I used to describe it as just black. There is no color. Just like my future, I don’t see myself in 5 years, 10 years or 20 years. It’s just all black.
- Problems with anger, including frequent loss of temper or physical fights – Not so much anymore, but when I was younger. There were fights at school, fights with family members and fights in public places. My anger in my childhood was to me extreme. I would have tantrums where I would pull all the drawers out of the dresser. Clothes everywhere. I would act out like a caged animal. I think that if I could have been allowed to express my feelings correctly, burn off energy. I might not have had such extreme anger issues. I was still having physical fights in my 20’s. Although those fights were with my ex-spouse or ex-boyfriends. I had a physical fight with my “fuck buddy” in the bar we hung out in. I was on a date with my current spouse, when my fuck buddy had said to me “You’re a fucking slut, I know you’re gonna fuck him and then come over to fuck me too.” I lost it. I punched him in the face while he sat at the bar. Since the bartender knew both of us, he told me to “take it outside.” I did. I basically fought him in the parking lot. I won. My evening ended shortly afterwards.
Stress-related paranoia or loss of contact with reality
The bold print above show my symptoms. Some tend to be stronger than others. Some symptoms are not as plain as the others. Looking back to my childhood I can see how & why this all occurred. To me, I believe it’s environmental along with biological. I was not sexually abused, physically abused (only spankings at times) I was very spoiled by all, except my grandmother. What a bitch. I accept that I was neglected as a child. I was placed on the pedestal, taken down and shown off by each parent when it was convenient for them. To me, half the problem is knowing the back history of it all, now to move forward. I don’t see anything major wrong with me. I’ve been able to hold down a job for long periods of time, a marriage, residence. I think the key is finding a person who understands you as an individual. Maybe even opposite of you, to help in keeping the relationship balanced.