If there is anything that annoys me about myself, and hinders me from walking as smoothly with God as others do, it’s my having Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) on top of being Bipolar 1 (Manic-Depressive Illness).
There is totally nothing wrong with that, unless I start hurting the people I love, or turning to my addictions to ease the pain.
Being Bipolar is alright, if I don’t go on a spending spree or giving-away-everything-then-regret-it-later spree, or if I don’t get the delusion that I am a prophetess then start prophesying and casting out demons from everyone. I have gotten over mania, and haven’t had a relapse, due to medications and the providence of God. What I am really keen on correcting now is my Borderline Personality Disorder-related behaviors and thoughts.
I discovered I am Borderline last week. But the process of coming to terms with that started on May 12. As I was heading for Aklan to spend my “birthday weekend” with my boyfriend, I listened to a podcast on BPD. It was when they mentioned that Borderlines tend to use sex as a way to cope with stress that it dawned on me that I just might be Borderline.
I had been in denial about being Borderline ever since I started reading on mental disorders. I have several Borderline friends, and I kept rationalizing that I am not like them. I kept trying to convince myself that mine are the tendencies of being Bipolar.
In the summer of 2006, as I gave a shot at working in a call center, in the course of the conversations I’ve had with a friend, I was told that I may just well be Borderline. But I pushed the thought away as I could not bring myself to face that I belong to the category of the people who hurt their loved ones. The category that even psychiatrists dread because the volatility of BPD patients hampers the therapeutic relationship itself.
I only came to terms with being Borderline, when in the later days of May, I read up on BPD and realized that I have 7 out of 9 symptoms of the condition.
My Borderline tendencies had gone on full throttle as I got me a boyfriend in July 2006. Every relationship I had became affected when my tendencies manifested. Last night was one blowout that made me realize how far I’ve taken my tendencies.
I had gotten affected by comments on a community blog I worked for. And I blew the perceived offense out of proportion. Because the first person I hurt when I am hurt is my boyfriend, he nearly gave up on me earlier today and already said his goodbyes.
Not that he couldn’t put up with me anymore, but because he didn’t want to push himself on me when I was already pushing him away.
Honestly, I didn’t want him out of my life. All I wanted was attention, all I wanted was to be cuddled in the height of my anger. But I pushed him away because I wanted him to keep coming back to me.
So we reached a compromise. That when I am angry, I should be left alone to deal with my emotions. True, it would feel better to at least have him silent at the other end of the phone line. But when we do that, that just leads to disaster, because he can’t resist giving me advice and stuff. Being a man, he just has to have something to do about the situation. Being a man, he couldn’t resist taking control of the situation. And all those efforts just anger me all the more.
The best way for a BPD sufferer to recover is for significant others to enforce boundaries, according to BPDCentral. And this is exactly what the isolation that we are enforcing on me is trying to achieve. Hopefully, through these measures, I will learn to deal with my own demons on my own, with God of course. If I keep on being dependent on significant others to soothe me, I am only reinforcing my behavior and giving myself the license to keep abusing them and overstepping their boundaries when I am “not myself” because I rationalize that “I am angry. If my significant other does something ‘stupid’, I have the right to grow angrier.” And that simply is NOT healthy for both the other person and me. I have to learn to deal with my emotions and depend on God for the soothing of these. I should not turn to old habits, like smoking, or self-mutilation. I have to face the emotion and deal with it through the Word, through common sense, and through forcing myself to look at things in a different way.
With my significant others, I pray that they would ask for more patience and for the wisdom to handle my toxicity. Because I need their help as much as I need to deal with things on my own.
I should not ask the world to adjust to me. It is about time that I start adjusting to the rest of the world and try to live in peaceful coexistence with others, and to go back to my life’s purpose, which is to be a light. I should not add to the darkness. I should grow up, and grow into the character of Jesus, and claim the fruits of the Holy Spirit for myself, for the glory of God. Let all of us who are wounded nurse our wounds and walk on. The battle awaits.
Mental Health professionals, patients, family, and others who care about the disorder have lobbied to change the name from Borderline Personality Disorder to Emotional Regulation Disorder. There are other choices, but that is the most-voted-for. The reason for the name change is that there is a stigma attached to the name. Hopefully the attitudes towards BPD and other mental illnesses will change over time. Let us be true Christians and treat each other in respect, if not love, whether we are dealing with porcupines like me, or the more balanced and peace-radiating Christians.