Many years ago, for a long while, my BPD symptoms were quite hard to miss. Impulsiveness, unpredictable explosions and extreme emotions, a total outburst. A general lack of control. Anger would make me aggressive towards others but mainly towards myself. I´d often lock myself at home, in radio silence, would punch myself and the walls, would pull my hair. I’d religiously take a “special” belt out of a drawer and bring it to the bathroom. Lock the door, I could never allow my dog to witness. I’d move away from the mirror, I didn’t want to see either. And I’d choke myself with that belt, holding it from one edge. Punishing me for being so stupid, so intense, so unlovable.
Sadness would easily turn into depression. Not leaving the house, not taking a shower. Not eating. Isolating. Getting in trouble at work for disappearing.
Anxiety drove and still drives me crazy, it continues to be my Achilles heel, my most vulnerable spot.
And all these would eventually push me to desperation, turning into psychosis, hallucinations, ideations, plans and acts to die by suicide. Serious shit, serious pain, serious stuff people nor I fully understood, serious stuff we didn’t really address but definitely shit neither one of us could miss.
After many years of committing to doing what it takes to feel better, I got the BPD diagnosis that put me on the path to getting tools to cope with this huge emotional mis-regulation and its consequences. It’s been hard, it’s been though, but I have made it happen. I am thriving.
I am able now, more and more over time, to identify my emotions at an early stage, to address them and to use several resources to provide me with some containment, to alter and re-signify them positively. Anxiety is one of the biggest forces that can push me, I have learnt to re- direct it on a daily basis to hyperactivity. Now I use my anxiety to get shit done, lots of shit done.
Currently, I have a healthy diet, I cook most of my meals, I jog, I have an important job that requires a cold head and lots of responsibility, I have a couple of social projects I created because I want to add up and be useful to this world, I am a committed friend, I am attentive to my family, I have post-its all over my place as reminders “You are worth it”, I am economically stable, independent, accountable, reflective, incisive. I am a caregiver. I keep learning. I pursue my responsibility as a human being and get informed about feminism, racism, history, music, film. I turned into a massive multi-tasker and an overachiever. An unceasing octopus. I often get recognition at work, from family and friends. “I am proud of you”, “great work”, “you are inspiring”… “you set the bar too high”, ugh. My projects keep raising numbers, at work I keep getting more and larger responsibilities.
In life people keep seeing me as a very (sometimes even “over-”) confident person.
Everything is fucking great, huh?
Well, after sucking on my own ass for a while, because I had to and I deserved it. The answer is NO. Not everything is FUCKING great. I still have BPD. Although my symptoms are definitely better than before because I have WORKED MY ASS off to get here, I STILL HAVE FUCKING BPD!!!!! It’s not something that goes away or that can be hidden under the damn carpet. But people seem to forget. We seem to be basic and dichotomic beings. And I feel I fall into a horrible gap. Not fucked up enough to be acknowledged as someone with BPD; but not neurotypical enough to not need the MILLION FUCKING adjustments I implement in my life to feel better and be functional EVERY DAY.
And this has turned into a burden. I still have shitty days, shitty days with BPD regular, common, well-known symptoms, but because now I know how to handle them better, those days don’t seem to be important to others. Meanwhile, inside me, fucking hell is about to unleash, and I am rushing to put the fire out before it starts burning outside of me, before the flames are visible through my eyes.
I still have BPD, and I am absolutely aware that I am accountable for my actions. I am FUCKING aware that whatever I do with my feelings is my responsibility, that I won’t spill my mood over others because it’s not fair. I am FUCKING conscious most people won’t fully understand, why or how would they anyway.
I have never requested any special treatment. I hate the idea of using BPD or any other condition or experience in my life as a pity flag to obtain understanding, exceptions, excuses. But in that regard, I have failed to find a mid-point. I deeply struggle to find the line between being needy, pathetic, clingy and unaccountable; and being social and reaching out for support or for someone to vent with when I struggle.
From being someone who would lamely wander outside your house crying frantically, waiting endlessly for you to come out and then desperately asking you to see me, to save me; I went to the other extreme. I closed off, I started to feel that reaching out was wrong, that it was weak. That it would take me back to being lame. That it would make me look the way I feel people look when they make excuses for all sorts of shit in their life.
I struggle to share when I am not feeling at my best. And when I finally get to squeeze something out and put it on a WhatsApp text I am vague, I diminish it by including laughing emojis, I run away from the topic if the other person gets a bit engaged. I am not clear. I cannot type:
I’m feeling like shit. Please help me.
I am really harsh on myself and don’t allow any reason to feel shitty any day.
In reality everything is fucking great, right? It should.
I do not have any valid reason to feel like shit. Yet sometimes I feel very disturbed, and I cannot seem to control it.
I feel being functional has brought a burden. Between my poor skills to seek support and my “overachiever-ness” people won’t give much of a shit. I am always in control, am I not?
I feel I am being punished somehow for not allowing my feelings to bombard, and scream, and outpour and break everything around me into pieces and puke and fuck up. Because I keep them on a socially acceptable level at least on the outside nobody seems to GIVE A SHIT.
I sent a couple of text messages.
Text- My BPD is feeling like this today (Miley Cyrus’ Prisoner song).
Answer- Great song!
Text – I am not feeling hungry. I cried yesterday. I am struggling with frustration and anger today.
Answer -Yeah, there’s days and days.
Then my anger and my frustration only grow. Although I know the message recipients meant well. I feel stupid for opening my fucking mouth. Useless for not getting my message through. Irritated for not being understood. Coward for not dealing with this alone. And betrayed for not receiving the care I so immensely provide others.
I shut down my phone. Come back to find no messages received. Yup, all good out there. Nobody notices or gives a shit. Ouch. Fuck you. Fuck me.
So today I am choleric and confused. I have turned off my phone and came to write this. Writing has always helped me gain perspective. I am quite aware that tomorrow I’ll feel different.
Good for me, I still did the things I know I needed to do, especially on days like these. Took my pills, meditated, exercised, ate, took a shower, identified my feelings, took some distance to avoid imposing them on others. But this is how I feel right now.
I will carry on working on myself, that will never stop. I will keep caring for me and loving me. I will work harder on communicating my needs clearly and properly and will be kinder to myself. But I just wanted to say, do not overlook someone’s shit, just because they seem OK. Please.
If you are struggling REACH OUT.
3 thoughts on “The ironic shit that being functional brings along”
I have learned a lot from your post. And I will keep your words close to me and try to use them to learn and explore more of what I can do to become a good and caring partner of someone with Bpd.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thanks for sharing this, Olivia. For us, being able to count with an informed and sensible partner, is wonderful. Hugs!
Loved reading this, this described my feelings exactly. I can honestly say this gives me courage to keep on treatment, I didn´t know someone could feel like me, thank you for sharing this, i don´t feel alone.
Wish you the best.