I suffer from a form of mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder.
I am also deemed what is known as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), meaning my empathy and emotions are beyond my control because I feel not only my own, but everyone else’s that I come into contact with. There is a constant fear of abandonment lurking beneath the surface, which haunts my every move. It destroys every coherent thought I might have when I am triggered. It doesn’t take but a slight change in one’s normal tone or manner of approach for me to burst into tears and feel as though everyone I have ever loved has suddenly vanished. Or died.
My personal energy runs in overdrive as my soul is permeated with the energy of those surrounding me, only adding to the jumbled heap of dirty laundry I need to sort through to find my sanity. Life becomes too overwhelming for me more often than not, and I literally break down. I close myself off to the outside world and sob for hours on end while wallowing in the flood of feelings raining down like those of a teenage drama queen with her first broken heart.
Living with Borderline is full of paralyzing misery.
The lows come with obsessive, paranoid, dark thoughts which play on a loop until I want to escape the confines of my own mind. I’m either my normal self with mild HSP symptoms, or I’m spiraling into an abyss of eternal hell with the belief that I am both unworthy and unlovable taunting me. All the while my energy is fueling off the emotions I’ve collected from others, intertwining them with my own until I can no longer tell what it is I feel for myself. More often than not, I’m chained to that hurricane of a paranoia-fueled state of mind, wishing the fiery rage and harrowing sadness would just consume me in flames and end my internal suffering.
A Borderline diagnosis is nothing I would wish upon my worst enemies—if people actually stuck around long enough to become an enemy, let alone my friend. The vehement intensity I exude proves to be too much for the average person.
In fact, my inability to relate to others on their normal, non-emotionally charged level makes coping with my illness worse. Being rejected by anyone, for any reason at all, is both terrifying and heartbreaking for me to deal with. Deep inside, the voice in the back of my head tells me I am too broken to be accepted or loved by anyone, even if they try to prove otherwise. The delusions only become validated when connections that I struggled to make with others are fragmented, even if it was for the best.
Being left alone in this world is the bane of my existence.
This psychosis I live with dates back to the day my mother walked out on her family when I was just four years old.
She left my brother and me in the care of our father the day their divorce was finalized. While she made an attempt to take us every other week for dinner on a school night or a short day visit on the weekend, our relationship had become severely fractured, and she made no effort to repair the crack. Instead, her visits became few and far in between until we only saw her on holidays; she had remarried and started a new family. I internalized all this at such a tender age by thinking I wasn’t good enough to be her daughter, that the family she had made wasn’t able to measure up to her high standards, and therefore I deserved to be abandoned. I wasn’t daughter material.
If my own mother couldn’t love me enough to want to be my mother, then how could I ever be accepted by anyone else? Certainly I couldn’t be loved.
The rational side of me writing this now gets how totally insane that all sounds.
I can detach from the illness in brief moments of clarity, but any number of triggers can bring me right back into my paranoid, fearful, mistrusting state of mind. Everything is fair game in triggering my insecurities, making it harder to recognize and take action before I spin like a reckless toy top, only to plunge off the far end of the table. A simple conversation that turns personal or becomes too opinionated can send me into an over-defensive tizzy where my lip quivers, my body trembles, and my eyes well up with tears as I boil over, anguished by anger. A prolonged silence between us or a period of separation, unexpected or not, can lead me to believe the worst – the person has had enough of me and is never coming back. My level of crazy pushes them right over the edge without fail, because they never understand that it’s my illness, not me. I need help taking care of myself mentally because the Borderline Personality has way more control than I want to admit.
Like most forms of mental illness, there isn’t enough known about Borderline Personality, or HSP, to have found an effective formula of treatment that works. In fact, it is one of the most stubborn to treat. Typical antidepressants only make the lows worse because they stem more from defunct thought process than Serotonin imbalance.
Antipsychotic medications help with the paranoia controlling the thought process, but they create a hyper-sensitive state which always leads to a really low period. Therapy helps take back some control, but not enough to truly break free of the illness and become unresponsive to the multitude of triggers.
All the while people with Borderline, like me, are stuck living with the constant irrationalities that plague them. I would give my left arm, right leg, and both kidneys to end the madness in my head and live normally once and for all. I am tired of scaring people away, especially those I love and cherish — those I do not ever want to chase away with my sickness.
I am fed up with of being controlled by extreme paranoia and cascading emotions which flow in overabundance.
Alas, it is who I am. It is what makes me, me. I am the face of Borderline Personality. It doesn’t define me… but it is part of me, and I will find a way to come to terms with that. One day.
This post was originally published on The Good Men Project.