Poem: Mindfulness.

Mindfulness

 

Awareness of surroundings,

Sounds, sights, touch, smell, taste,

Recognising what keeps us grounded in this place.

Consciousness of breath,

Any tension that we feel inside,

Observing emotions like the tide…

Watch as they ebb and flow,

Welcoming them and then letting them go.

Noticing where our thoughts take us,

Gently bringing our attention back.

Focusing on this moment, the here and now,

That’s how it’s supposed to be anyhow…

But the second I walk into that room,

The one thing I’m mindful of is you.

I’m aware of the proximity of that which makes my

Cheeks blush and my

Heart beat faster;

I hear it pulsing throughout my body;

I hear nothing else but the softness of your voice,

The way you choose to form your words,

The cutesy little laugh, which makes my heart melt…

I feel feelings I’ve never felt…

That, I am mindful of.

I am mindful of the way you move,

Mindful of the way you stand,

Each movement of your beautiful arms and hands.

I notice every mannerism,

And the way each gives me new butterflies.

I’m aware of my heart beating faster as I gaze in your eyes,

Those penetrating eyes that see into my soul.

When I have your full attention you make me feel whole.

Mindful of each and every hair on your chin;

Mindful of your nose, your skin,

Your lips…

Every inch of you I long to kiss.

Such thoughts of you bring me happiness… bliss.

I notice the taste of those fantastical, forbidden smooches…

And ‘consciousness of breath’… how you take it away every time;

Followed by the realisation that within those moments

We breathe the same air.

So I breathe you deeply into me,

The closest we’ll ever be.

I notice the tension, and your voice eases it…

I wish to bottle your voice, to keep forever,

You speak to my soul.

I witness many feelings, emotional and the physical,

All driven by my tender love and wild desire

For you, you lit the fire in me.

I hear the words ‘I care about you’ as though they’re for me only,

As though you’re peering my way, if I’d open my eyes to see.

Your choice of words, selected to conjure my imagination,

Sending my body into a spin.

I am mindful of the destination of my thoughts,

And the reluctance to call them back to the moment.

I wish to get lost in the fantasy of you,

For in fantasies we can be together, it is the only way.

Mindfulness is to bring us back to the moment…

But in those moments,

The moment is

You.

You are all I see, hear, smell, taste, feel,

Think and breathe.

You are my everything.

And I never want that moment to end.

Your words, your voice, your beautiful aura allow my heart to mend.

You ask me to be mindful,

I am mindful of you, and all you do to me…

All I long for us to be.

My mind and my heart know no other way

When I’m with you.

When my eyes are closed and I hear your voice,

You are speaking to me, and me alone,

And in your presence I have found my home.

Poem: The Darkness.

This poem is pretty dark, depressing and needs a trigger warning, so please read with caution. If you like dark poetry go for it, but if you’re feeling vulnerable please stop reading now. I want to state right now, I’m okay – this was just exploring the feelings I have inside, in a creative manner… trying to put it into words. It was harder than I thought it’d be. Much easier to write of love (which I’ve never experienced!) than to write about depression, which I feel every day.

 

It has helped me to vent it through words though. I think if you can put a feeling into words, and externalise it, it actually lessens the power of the feeling. I’ve also given shape to my emotional mind… the part of me trying to cling on to the suffering I’ve known, and holding me back from recovery. Maybe if I can see it as a form I can start to challenge it as an entity. I know that might sound rubbish to others, but it’s something I might try this weekend – writing a compassionate letter to my emotional mind…. my demon. I’ll let you know how I get on with that and if it helps.

Look after yourself.
xxxx

 

 

*Self-harm heavily mentioned… please take care*

 

 

The Darkness

It’s there, inside me… I can feel it stirring,

The darkness I felt is once more recurring.

I can feel its presence, and sense its shape;

Caught in its clutches and cannot escape.

A being within me, it mimics my form,

Its rumbling warns of the impending storm.

It grapples my mind, and twists it downhill,

Distorting reality, and bending my will.

It claims it’s my ally, but wishes me harm;

It begs for release through the slits on my arm.

It sees the blank canvas – the arm on the right

And craves a new lesion to witness the light.

It toys with my feelings, makes me seek pain,

Romanticising me harming again.

Grieving my scars as they heal and fade,

It worships the crushing power of the blade.

Vivid imaginings plaguing my mind,

Resisting recovery, I’m caught in a bind.

I want to break free of the monster inside

But the shackles to darkness can’t be untied.

The slashes I make to my skin will not sever

The links to this demon within me forever.

The external world brings pain and distress;

The letting of blood does not make the grief less.

It lets in more darkness and adds to the size

Of the burden I carry and try to disguise.

The blackness is growing… dictating my life,

Caught in obsessions – the razor or knife…

How do I beat it? Should I let it win?

Let it rip me apart as it breaks through my skin?

Or do I accept it, and just let it be…

Welcoming it as an aspect of me?

How do I get this torment to cease?

Will ever a day come when my mind is at peace?

I long for the day my spirit will mend

But by death or recovery, I wish this to end.

Poem: Haze Of You.

Haze Of You

 

Night time is calling,

I feel the pull of memories, the tugging of heartstrings,

The lure of thoughts.

Why is the darkness so enticing, inviting,

Seductive and exciting?

The lonely hours spent dreaming awake,

Lost in a haze of you.

Helpless to my heart’s desire.

Third degree burns from this emotional fire.

And still I’d lie awake all night and never tire

Of seeing your face in my mind’s eye,

Dreaming of ‘If only’…

Longing for one chance,

Anything to rid me of this deep aching in my chest…

This pit which consumes me in the silent hours;

Tears in my heart, for where you are this night,

The one who gets to see you in dawn’s first light.

I wish I were she…

My hours spent pining, playing heartbreak songs

Could instead be with you, discussing life all night long –

Deepest thoughts and dreams,

Become in tune…

Me, a humble harmony to your sweet melody,

Learning ways to make you shine even brighter

Than the moment you took my breath away.

Breath… the one thing you took, and yet returned to me,

With your gentle words

Willing me to be calm.

Your presence settles the storm,

Your absence IS the storm.

A hurricane-force attack on my spirit;

A torrential downpour from my eyes;

Hailstones pelting my arms, slicing them open

And I’m powerless to stop them.

I cannot resist this punishing weather,

For only in the clouds of my mind can we ever be together.

There is no sunshine for you and I,

No rainbows, no clear blue sky.

Merely tornadoes, lightning, thunder,

The flood is pulling me under,

And the only thing to save me is gazing in your eyes.

Pure, dazzling blue…

The eye of the storm is you.

When those eyes are gone from sight

I find myself in these stormy nights.

But I’d risk it all for you, without a doubt,

For you’re the one man I cannot live without.

The eye of the storm will soon pass, and I’ll be forever alone,

In the most devastating storm I’ve ever known.

Drowning at sea…

This love will be the death of me.

Battling The Stigma Of BPD.

stigmabpd

 

So yesterday The Guardian published an article called ‘Personality Disorders At Work: How To Spot Them And What You Can Do’, by Dr Mary Lamia, a clinical psychologist, and professor. It has since been taken down, under review, but that doesn’t erase the damage done to breaking the stigma of mental illness, and it doesn’t change the impact it will have had on anyone with BPD who happened to see it before it was removed.

This article has upset a lot of people, myself included… you can tell from the discussions on Twitter and from the comments on the article itself. This is not just someone disagreeing with the apparent description of themselves – it’s a widespread knowledge that the ‘information’ in The Guardian’s article is wrong. It is misleading and very damaging.

The article discusses personality disorders, but the language used is sloppy and appears to lump everyone in together, as psychopaths, sociopaths, anti-social personalities, narcissists and borderlines, as though they’re all the same. It describes both NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) and BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) as ‘Anti-Social Personality Disorders’. When in reality Anti-Social Personality Disorder is a diagnosis of its own, and is very different to BPD.

I’ve written a post before about the difference between BPD and NPD, as I came across another highly stigmatising blog, that lumped us in together. They actually described somebody with the traits of NPD and labelled it BPD, and as a result a lot of people who were new to their own BPD diagnosis, felt like they were ‘monsters’. People with BPD should not be made to feel they’re awful people…. dangerous… to be avoided… a burden… a monster. Because WE are the people who will take that to heart, and will feel we’re not welcome in this world, and will never fit in. People with BPD are at a higher risk of suicide. 70% of people with BPD will attempt suicide in their lifetime. 10% will complete it. Making us feel like freaks, psychopaths, and like we’re a burden will only push more of us towards that. It’s hard enough to feel like we can fit in, simply because of our BPD, and the existing stigma around it, without the added stigma created by articles such as this.

I originally began this blog to try and break the stigma attached to BPD. There is so much misinformation out there about this personality disorder, and the stigma makes us hide our illness. We bury it deep down, through fear and shame, and we don’t get the help we need.

I don’t have an actual diagnosis of BPD, but I was told that was what I was being treated for through my DBT at the time. I identify as someone with BPD. It makes my world make sense. I didn’t want a diagnosis of it as I didn’t want the label back then. I had read up and discovered the stigma surrounding it, and didn’t want this to affect my future employment. I wish I’d taken them up on the offer of it now, as in some ways it may have helped explain things, plus with the state of mental health services now, the likelihood of me getting to see a psychiatrist to get the diagnosis now, is slim.

But I don’t need an official diagnosis to know who I am. Besides, I am more than a diagnosis. I am more than my illness. And that is the whole point of this post…..

First let’s look at the stereotype for someone with BPD:

It’s generally thought we are –

  • Young women, and we will ‘grow out of it’
  • Attention-seeking / drama-queens
  • Dangerous / violent
  • Needy / clingy
  • Manipulative / controlling
  • Impulsive
  • A lost cause / untreatable
  • Self-absorbed / lack empathy
  • Crazy

These beliefs are held by others because they believe what they read online or hear from a misinformed friend, and are too lazy to properly research for themselves. If you want to know about BPD then ask people who have it – we’re the only people who actually understand BPD… friends and family, even psychological professionals, DO NOT understand BPD and cannot understand it fully. But WE do. People should be educating themselves about BPD, by learning from those who have it.

I’ll admit there probably are some aggressive, manipulative people out there who also happen to have BPD, this does not mean that all of those with BPD are dangerous, controlling, attention-seekers.

We are all individual. Every single person on this planet has their own set of individual traits. Just because we have a label attached to us of ‘Borderline’, it doesn’t mean we’re suddenly all the same. There is a scale with BPD too, and for those without it to think of it as ‘us and them’, like we’re this stereotype, is exactly the black and white thinking that is associated with BPD. I find it quite amusing that someone like me, with BPD can see the grey area.. the scale of BPD, whereas ‘non-sufferers’ can’t see this. We’re either one thing or we’re not. This is ignorance.

People of all ages, races, any religion and gender can be affected by BPD. It’s not a teenage girl thing. It is not an attention-seeking illness. It is not being a drama-queen… this is more likely to be another Cluster B personality disorder known as Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD). Even then it’s not to be mocked or judged. But people tend to generalise and blur the boundaries of different personality disorders and saying we’re all the same… particularly when it comes to the Cluster B personalities.

The reason people think we are attention-seeking, manipulative and controlling, is because of the emotions that arise from our behaviour. For instance people with BPD often self-harm. This is a very touchy subject for some. Unless they’ve been there, some people can’t comprehend how someone could cut into their own skin, or understand the reasons why. They don’t understand it, so it scares them. It makes them feel uncomfortable. It stirs up emotions in them, because they care about the person who’s self-harming… they feel shock, sadness, anger, confusion… and because these emotions have been stirred up by someone’s act of self-harm, they feel they are being controlled and manipulated to respond in a certain way. This is very often not true though. Self-harm is done in private… secret even. It is not done to provoke some reaction or emotion from another person. It is done to cope with overwhelming emotions inside. We’re not trying to get attention or manipulate anyone. Any concept of manipulation is the problem of the person feeling it. If a friend or family member of ours feels manipulated, more often than not this is their problem, not ours, and they need to work through their own emotions.

We’re not dangerous and violent. I admit, I have outbursts of anger. But that anger will never be used against anyone else. It will be used against myself, or my environment – to hurt myself. In this way I may be ‘dangerous’ but only to myself. I may be ‘violent’, but only towards myself. I have anger issues. But my anger issue is that I think anger is a BAD thing. So I bottle it up until it has nowhere else to go, and it explodes. I don’t know how to cope with anger in a healthy way. I don’t know how that is done. I either witness it in a bad way, or don’t see people getting bothered by things, and both of these make me believe that anger isn’t normal, and makes me a bad person. I would never hurt anyone else. I couldn’t live with myself for mentally hurting someone else, let alone physically. I’m not an exception to the rule. Most people with BPD are lovely people… peaceful people… caring people… who just struggle with emotions and take those emotions out on themselves.

We’re not needy and clingy, and these terms are not helpful. Yes we fear abandonment, but the term ‘needy’ is one I hate. It’s thrown around generally by players, who aren’t interested in fulfilling a woman’s emotional needs. We all have needs. We all need to feel loved, cared for, appreciated, respected, secure… and these types of men don’t care about making a woman feel that way. They say she’s ‘too needy’, when in reality she’s asking for the basic human needs, that we all have. So when it’s implied that people with BPD are needy and clingy it annoys me, because it makes it sound like we’re too demanding. When in reality we’re neglected. The people in our lives are not fulfilling our basic human needs, and then on top of that they’re making us feel as though we don’t deserve to have those needs met. Like it’s too much to ask. That’s how very often our self-esteem ends up six feet under.

In some ways we can be impulsive, I agree. However, at the same time I have been found to overthink things as well. To over-plan things. To problem-solve for weeks on end, before making a decision. It’s not always black and white. It is possible to sometimes be impulsive and other times not. We don’t always act without thinking.

I assure you I think about other people a lot. In fact the reason I’m where I am right now is because I put others’ needs ahead of my own for a long time. I was still accused of being selfish by the people I prioritised, but that’s the way of life unfortunately – do good for people and they take it for granted, take advantage of you. Yes I might be a bit selfish sometimes and look after my own wellbeing – but that is part of having depression, a mental illness, and needing to get well.

 

Bryan McGill, Author

 

The idea that we lack empathy is ludicrous. Absolutely ludicrous. Narcissists lack empathy – I’ve met a few of those in my time, believe me! People with BPD have empathy in abundance. We have overwhelming, overflowing empathy. A lack of empathy is a disconnection from emotions… others’ and our own. It’s not realising the impact of our actions on the emotions of someone else. I am very much connected to my emotions. I have a certain amount of understanding about them. I can read the emotions in someone else – in fact I think people with BPD can pick up on emotions that others wouldn’t even notice in a room. We’re very sensitive, and perceptive. And my God, if I upset anybody or feel like I’ve caused any emotion in someone else, I immediately apologise. And then I beat myself up for it for ages afterwards. After I had a bit of a breakdown a month ago, and harmed myself at my therapy course, I was swamped with emotions – most of them relating to other people. I was aware of the effect my actions might have had on the therapists running the group, and I actually had more concern for their feelings than I did for my own.

I have so much empathy it drives me mad… I sometimes have to isolate myself to not pick up on others’ feelings and vibes, as it overloads me. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way – just about everyone who has BPD, talks about this empathy issue, and that we actually seem to have the most empathy out of everyone. So yet again, people are mixing up the disorders and labelling people with NPD as people with BPD. So the truth is getting lost.

Whether I am crazy or not is debatable. And crazy doesn’t have to be a bad thing. But I guess in this sense they mean off-the-scale, ‘not in touch with reality’ kind of crazy, and that is absolute rubbish. I may be a bit messed up mentally. I may be an emotional wreck. I may harm myself. I may make a lot of mistakes and react differently to things that wouldn’t bother other people… but my feet remain firmly in reality. I have enough sanity to question my own sanity. And that is a sign of sanity! Crazy people don’t know they’re crazy… I am ‘together’ let’s put it that way. I am able to recognise that my actions are not always healthy and ‘normal’, but I have researched enough about my mental health to understand why I am the way I am. And most of the time I would appear to other people to function like a normal adult. So I’m certainly not crazy. And though at the moment I FEEL I am beyond help, realistically I’m not. It is possible to recover. And BPD should not be confused with NPD – with NPD the patient is unlikely to seek help as they don’t recognise themselves as having a problem… they think it’s everyone else who has the problem. Whereas people with BPD accept they have a problem and are willing to work on it, as they want life to be easier and better. So there’s always hope for us.

So to recap – I am not attention-seeking… I am private, reserved. I am not a drama-queen…. I am simply struggling with life and dealing with it the best I can. I am not a danger to anyone else… my violence and anger is only ever self-inflicted, and I hate that I feel anger at all. I am not needy and clingy…. I fear abandonment, and I struggle to let go of things and people I care about, and I’m only asking for the basic human needs that everyone else seems to get met… I’m not too demanding. I’m not manipulative or controlling… my behaviours and words are my own experience… they have nothing to do with other people.. that’s THEIR own ego making it about them, rather than the pain I’m experiencing… It’s their own issue if they feel manipulated by my way of coping with life. I am not impulsive… I have episodes of anger where I’ll feel out of control, but otherwise I overthink everything. I’m not a lost cause… there’s hope for me yet – I can’t see it for myself right now, but I need others to believe there is hope for me… for them to not give up on me, otherwise I might as well give up on myself. I am not self-absorbed… I sometimes just need to focus on myself and protect myself from outside experiences because of the turmoil going on inside me daily…. I have a lot of empathy – I’m actually what’s called an ’empath’. It’s a part of what makes life so difficult for me. And whilst I’m ‘crazy’, I’m not insane. I’ve got my senses, my wisdom, my humour and a lot more sanity than many ‘normal’ people out there!

That’s what I’m not…. Here’s what I am…

  • Honest
  • Reliable
  • Trustworthy
  • Kind
  • Caring
  • Empathetic
  • Funny
  • Entertaining
  • Humble (although this list makes it seem otherwise!!)
  • Sensitive
  • Loving
  • Gentle
  • Wise
  • Intellectual / inquisitive
  • Loyal
  • Protective
  • Down-to-earth
  • Moralistic
  • Creative
  • Nerdy
  • Intuitive
  • Compassionate
  • Polite
  • Friendly
  • Genuine
  • Passionate
  • Reflective
  • Respectful
  • Open-minded
  • Tolerant
  • Understanding

It was incredibly hard for me to write that list – I had to rely on things people have told me, and a list of character traits as prompts, as I find it hard to think of good things about me. It’s much easier to list the negatives.

But the whole problem is that people hear the word Borderline and make assumptions about who we are… forgetting the fact that we’re human beings too, with a heck of a lot to offer. We have our good traits, and also our interests and hobbies. They also make up who we are. I’m not just a person with BPD. I am someone who loves her Godchildren so much her heart could burst… who has a passion for fossil-hunting… who loves playing the piano, writing poetry and enjoys art…. who is fiercely protective of her family…. who appreciates nature and loves animals more than she loves most people….. who likes to educate herself about the important things in life…. who will randomly burst into song when she’s happy but also when she’s sad, just to let it all out…. who never gives up, and picks herself up and dusts herself off, every time she’s knocked down. I am all this and more!

Life can be hard for people like me. I feel as though I will never truly fit in. I wonder how I will ever navigate my way through life, like a normal person. I don’t feel I belong anywhere and never will. Socially, romantically, professionally. Everything is a challenge when you have BPD. Relationships with others can be strained. Work is hard, particularly when faced with pressure and the public.

I help in a charity shop right now, to try and build my confidence up and propel me to bigger things. And I find it a struggle if I’m honest. Especially at the moment, where I’ve gone backwards in my recovery – I’m not feeling as strong. But when I’m at work I put on a face. I’m always really polite and helpful to the customers, and I don’t let anyone see the negatives. If I get overwhelmed I step out the back and breathe, before going back in as if everything is fine.

The article in The Guardian says about those with BPD:

Nevertheless many of them function well enough in the workplace to stay in jobs long term. That’s not good news if you work with one of them, since they are divisive, use power tactics, show intense or inappropriate anger, and regard others as either all good or all bad. Terrified of abandonment and tending to feel empty, jealous or envious, they often secure their ties to others in coercive ways”.

A person with borderline personality disorder, for example, would admit to ignoring the presence of particular co-workers when they passed them in an empty hallway to intimidate them”.

I would never dream of intimidating others. I live my life feeling guilty for ‘inflicting myself on others’. I don’t like to burden others with my problems. I don’t want them to know how screwed up I am inside. That’s why as someone with BPD I internalise everything. I am not divisive, at all. I try and include everyone, and work as hard as I can to fit in. I want to be treated normally, just with a little more sensitivity on my more fragile days. I crave to feel accepted and like I belong, so why would I sabotage that by ‘using power tactics’ and intimidating people?

Heck, the couple of times colleagues have upset me at work, I’ve just popped out for some air, returned, and when asked if they upset me I have DENIED it! That’s how much I don’t want my condition to infect the workplace. I soldier on through some very difficult emotions and tough days, and I do it all with a smile, and then I go home and drop the act and can be myself again. I try really hard at work to show my good qualities and to help as much as I can. It’s actually exhausting, pretending to be stronger than I am. But I do it, so that I can try to believe I can fit in this world somewhere, and it’s not all for nothing. I do it to give my life some sense of purpose and to feel better about myself.

If people have read that article it could make life very difficult for those with BPD. And life is already hard enough for us without accusations of things that aren’t true, and having people steer clear of us as though we’re monsters. People with BPD want to fit in. We want to be like other people. And vilifying us isn’t going to help us make a transition to recovery. I would suspect fewer people will disclose their mental illness now, after an article like that, afraid of the backlash.. the repercussions… the ostracism. So more people will hide their BPD, leading to more shame and secrecy, more stigma and a much harder life for those suffering already.

This is why stigmatising articles like that have to end. There has to be more understanding and compassion and less divisiveness in writing about personality disorders. What concerns me the most is that this article was written by a psychologist and professor! A supposed ‘expert’ showing a complete lack of knowledge on the realities of BPD. I think the world needs mental health professionals to learn less from textbooks, and listen more to lived experience from those with the condition. If I knew there was a way for me to get involved in educating professionals on BPD and self-harm, I would be all for it. I can’t see opinions shifting without this sort of intervention.

The article goes on….

If you work for or with someone who has a borderline personality disorder you are likely to experience similar emotions to them – what psychologists refer to as “affective contagion” …… In interactions with people who have a borderline personality disorder, you may feel the same sense of inadequacy, disconnection, helplessness or anger they experience”.

Like people with BPD, people who have a narcissistic personality disorder attempt to rid themselves of intolerable shame by behaving in ways that lead others to experience the emotion instead. People who bully others have similar skills”.

So this is saying we infect others with our disorder. Newsflash: You can’t catch BPD! If someone is that affected by our disorder that they start to exhibit signs of it, then that shows they themselves do not have a strong sense of self, and have lower emotional defences. This isn’t our fault. Most of the time we try and disguise how we’re feeling anyway. If I’m having a low day at home, I hide away from everyone, so as not to inflict myself on them. People need to take responsibility for themselves and their own emotions. If being around me when I’m feeling low, causes others to feel low, they need to look at why that is – it’s likely because they care about me and don’t like seeing me low, or they have expectations of me that can’t be met -which is not my problem. It’s a feeling they have to deal with themselves. I own my emotions. Others should own theirs and not blame them on mine.

The last comment implies we are like bullies. I’ll tell you what, the likelihood is that those with BPD have been the victims of bullying and abuse in their lives, so to then accuse them of BEING the bullying types is disgusting.

 

Five days of fun and feasting!

 

The article finishes:

What can you do?
Work relationships can be challenging if you have to deal with someone who has a disordered personality. Recognise that when a boss or a colleague has a personality disorder they will approach situations differently to you. They will not want to rehash the past if any wrongdoing is their own, but prefer to ‘forget about it’ and move on as though particular events have not happened. If you push the issue, you are likely to encounter rage. However, some who are especially skilful may inquire about any hurt or anger you feel, but inevitably they will blame it on you and not their behaviour. The same principles you might use to handle a workplace bully apply when dealing with personality disorders – in particular, maintaining your confidence, competence and composure. Trying to get on their good side will only make you look weak”.

How about rather than the selfish thought of ‘What can I do to avoid this person and protect myself?’ as though we’re about to attack you… you ask the question ‘How can I help?’ … Perhaps think about the things you can do to accommodate the needs of those with BPD. Think how you can support them to do their jobs more successfully, so that they can actually have a chance at recovery and a normal life. The depiction of us with BPD in that last paragraph is so incredibly wrong. It may not say BPD but the whole article mixes us all in together, and refers to us as having a ‘disordered personality’. The last paragraph describes narcissism, it does not describe BPD, and it’s a shameful way of closing an already terrible article on personality disorders.

People who write things like that, and those who read and believe them, forget that they are also human and have many flaws themselves! Nobody is perfect. You don’t have to have a personality disorder to have ‘undesirable qualities’….

Many people have these character traits:

  • Aggressive
  • Angry
  • Argumentative
  • Arrogant
  • Big-headed
  • Bitchy
  • Careless
  • Cold-hearted
  • Conceited
  • Controlling
  • Cruel
  • Deceitful
  • Dishonest
  • Disrespectful
  • Greedy
  • Harsh
  • Hateful
  • Immature
  • Inconsiderate
  • Inflexible
  • Intolerant
  • Irresponsible
  • Jealous
  • Malicious
  • Manipulative
  • Materialistic
  • Mean
  • Moody
  • Narrow-minded
  • Nasty
  • Patronising
  • Pompous
  • Quarrelsome
  • Rude
  • Scheming
  • Selfish
  • Self-centred
  • Sneaky
  • Snobbish
  • Stubborn
  • Superficial
  • Tactless
  • Thoughtless
  • Unkind
  • Unreliable
  • Untrustworthy
  • Vengeful
  • Violent

… And yet they will never be diagnosed with a personality disorder. This is just who they are. These are the qualities they possess. Yet those with BPD are singled out by this article, as though we’re the only ones with ‘flaws’.

Let me put this bluntly, I would rather BE an attention-seeking, needy, impulsive, self-absorbed young woman who inflicts violence on herself, who is also kind, gentle, loving, tolerant, understanding, honest and respectful… than to be like some of the ‘normal’ people out there, who lie, cheat, steal, are aggressive towards others, arrogant, superficial, selfish, rude, nasty, inconsiderate, intolerant, narrow-minded and judge people like ME for being who I am. You know what, I am a more decent person than 90% of the ‘normal’ ones out there. And the same can be said for anyone with BPD.

 

It's not always abouttrying to fix somethingthat's broken.

 

We are the some of the loveliest people you will ever meet in your life. We care about others. We have a lot of love to give. We are funny, intelligent, warm, giving, honest, trustworthy, creative people, and we would never want to hurt anyone else, because we know too well what it feels like to be hurt and abandoned by those we’ve loved and cared about. We would give you the world if you’d let us. Unfortunately as is the case with me, some of us fall in with the wrong people, who treat us poorly and bring out the negative sides, and make us forget our positive sides, and make us feel we’re unworthy of love and friendship.

We’re not monsters. We’re soldiers. Wounded soldiers. And we deserve respect and support. We are fighting our hardest to fit in with society, and it would be good if you could help us to do that, rather than trying to alienate us and undo all the hard work we’re doing, to have a better quality of life like the rest of you. You just don’t know how close to the edge some of us are, and how hard we battle every day just to function like you. Cut us some slack please and stop trying to make us feel bad for having a mental illness. We’re BPD warriors… we fight the hardest to get well and stay well… harder than you will ever have to fight in your lifetime. We should be proud of ourselves for not only having to defeat the demons within us, but also the ones on the outside, trying to bring about our demise.

Poem: Lovesick.

Lovesick

 

 

Love unrequited strikes upon the midnight hour,

The loneliest moment

As one more day without him becomes another…

Not even a friend, let alone a lover.

The darkness awakens a wistful heart,

And if swift sleep is not found

That sense of longing will spiral around and around,

Down and down,

Finding no home, nowhere to land,

For he’ll neither love me, nor hold my hand.

The longer I lie awake, the less I wish to sleep,

For I simply keep

Thinking of him.

Pining.

Yearning,

Full of desire…

Completely besotted with this man I admire.

Lovesick, I can’t sleep, nor eat,

At times it feels my heart cannot beat

For the missing of him.

My heart smiles at his presence,

And in his absence mourns.

To me he is a rose without thorns…

Perfection,

Ideal…

And these feelings for him I can no longer conceal,

I know I’ve claimed I know it’s not ‘real’,

But I cannot deny this love that I feel.

A hand grasps me by the throat,

Another pulls my heart down through the pit of my stomach,

A weight upon my chest and an ocean in my eye,

As I look ahead to our imminent goodbye.

A light to my life, hastily extinguished…

His light will make the darkness darker,

The winter colder,

The journey harder…

But I am blessed to have known this light,

For so little a time as this.

I just hope he knows he will be sorely missed…

For his dreamy blue eyes, and the lips I never got to kiss.

For his quirky ways,

His penetrating gaze,

The voice that soothes, and calms my soul,

The energy of his spirit that makes me feel whole,

The cute, goofy laugh that makes my heart smile,

And the way being near him makes life seem more worthwhile.

The time spent together has been far too brief,

And I will not lie, I’m overcome with grief

For what I’m about to lose.

In a heartbeat, every time he’s the soul I’d choose.

Poem: Thirty One Weeks.

Thirty One Weeks

 

Thirty one weeks to the day,

Two hundred and seventeen sunrises since you went away…

Closed your eyes forever,

The last breath taken,

And you left my world eternally shaken.

I’ve fallen apart…

The day that you left, you took a piece of my heart.

It perished with you, and will be forever missing,

As I search for something to fill the terrible void,

The painful space;

Your soul brought a love that will never be replaced.

I miss your worry, your care,

All the stories you’d share.

I miss your voice, your smile, with the crinkled up nose,

Sat in your chair, having a doze.

The quiet nature I inherited from you,

Fills me with pride…

You’ll live on in me, long after the tears have dried.

I’ll keep your spirit alive,

And live my life for you –

I know that’s what you would want me to do.

And I hope your heavenly love will help pull me through.

In times of darkness I wish you were here,

Ever so near,

To wrap your arms around me and wipe away the tears.

But now you’re an angel, watching me from the stars above,

Only from a distance can I feel your love.

I keep praying to see you in my dreams…

You never come,

And my heart silently screams

For you to hear me, and send me a sign –

To tell me death isn’t the end of the line,

And you’re still beside me, for as long as the stars shine.

Please be this night,

Come to me,

Make yourself heard…

I promise to cherish every single word.

I miss you immensely, and need you right now,

To pick me up, make me strong,

Help me make right all that is so dreadfully wrong.

I need your light

To make it right.

So many sunsets since that fateful day,

And sunsets teach us that nothing can stay.

All must end and life goes on

But my life seems so much harder now that you’re gone.

Life Is Hard.

hardness

 

*Contains strong language and mentions self-harm*

 

I sometimes have days where I ask myself, ‘Why can’t I just be normal?’ ‘Why can’t I cope with things?’ ‘Why am I so sensitive?’ ‘Why do I let things affect me so much?’… Today was one of those days.

I went into work and I felt preoccupied, as I was expecting a phone call from the doctor. I hate phone calls, appointments, anything that involves waiting, and particularly using the phone. The anxiety is too much for me and I can’t focus on anything else. I didn’t realise it was such a burden to me until I’d finished the call, and it felt like a weight had been lifted, and I began to talk to people more.

I also reacted to what a colleague said, or rather the manner she said it in, quite loudly in front of people. When I say ‘reacted’, I mean I walked away to calm down. So I’m definitely doing better than I always feared I’d do at work. I’m prone to outbursts, of either tears or anger. But so far I’ve managed to keep a lid on it, and only walked off and harmed myself a couple of times, without anyone knowing. I usually walk off, go outside or just out of sight of anyone, and breathe, or talk to someone objective if I feel able to. Most of the time I don’t want to, as I want to remain strong, and not cry. So I’ll just take a couple of minutes, compose myself and then walk back out as if nothing happened. This is a way I’ve found that works for me.

But I just found I was judging myself today, for having to walk off in the first place. For having a reaction. For taking something so personally. I just thought ‘Why the hell can’t you be like everyone else and just not let it get to you??’ … I felt like my colleague knew she’d upset me, but she hadn’t meant anything against me, and I was just being too sensitive. I felt bad, as if she’ll feel like she can’t say anything to me now, in case it upsets me, and makes me harm myself (now that she knows that’s an issue for me).

I just want to be able to cope, and behave and think like a normal human being.

I’m aware that after my breakdown a month ago I’ve been a lot more anxious and depressed, and my confidence has taken a nosedive. I jumped back into ‘normality’ too quickly. I even had to talk to the manager about this today, and she said ‘Just keep positive’….?! Don’t think it really works like that! I know she’s worried I’ll try something again, but all I was saying is I haven’t recovered from what happened. I’m not strong at the moment. I need patience and understanding. It was my way of saying ‘Look, I’m not okay still… I’m finding it hard to be here’.

Every single time I go into work, I’m bluffing my way through it, so that I can go home and be myself and protect myself again. I’m having to recover from working. If I had it my way I would stop for now – it is voluntary after all. But I’m aware that this might be counterproductive when thinking of my self-esteem and confidence. But I feel trapped because of that thought. I feel I have to keep going there. But each time I go is traumatic. I have to just hold it together. I’m not coping with stress as well as before. I feel delicate, and like at any moment I could go. And this makes me hate myself. And it makes me think others will get fed up with me being how I am… now I’ve ‘changed’ after my breakdown.

I can’t win. I either keep working, to try and maintain my ‘confidence and self-esteem’, but can’t cope with being there, and potential problems, don’t handle it well and this knocks my confidence and self-esteem. Or I have a break, but if I do have a break to look after myself, it’s still going to be hard when I restart. These are the times I feel the urge to give up on life. Because no matter what I do I’m going to hurt. I’m going to suffer. It’s going to be too much.

At times like this I feel I can never fit in this world. I’m too sensitive. I’m too emotional. I’m too fragile. I’m trying to tell myself it’s just the bad patch I’m in right now, convincing me of that. I’m just struggling to fit in and carry on at the moment. But I honestly question how someone with BPD is supposed to function in life, like a normal human being, and survive it, and achieve anything.

I feel I’ve had too many major knocks, and not enough happiness, that now even the smallest knocks feel like steamrollers. There isn’t a balance in my life. There’s too much negative. But I can’t do anything about that. I can’t magically create the positive. I can’t make people treat me well. I can’t conjure up someone who could fall in love with me, warts and all. I can’t just BE happy. Most of my good memories are tainted by something bad. I know lots of people think there’s an easy answer to depression and mental illness, and it’s about holding on to the positives. But when your life has been lacking in positives, and you’ve just had people shit on you for years, it’s impossible to feel remotely good about life.

When you’ve never had a relationship… when the only guys who’ve wanted you, have only wanted you for one thing and failed to see your worth…. when three of your friends hurt and betrayed you all at the same time, and you lost them all…. when you’ve wasted years of your life not achieving anything because of your mental illness…. when you’ve NEVER got what you want…. it’s hard to view life in a wonderful way.

Some people get all the luck. Sure we all have our problems. But most people who have tried to advise me over the years, have had a lot more on the positive side of the scale, to balance it out. They haven’t got a clue what it’s like to be so weighed down by the negatives, because of a lack of positives (not by choice), plus having mental health problems too. One friend gave up on me because of my ‘negativity’ apparently. Well fuck her. She hasn’t got the first clue what it’s like to be me. To have fought against my own mind for sixteen years…. to have been mistreated by ‘men’…. alone my whole life…. hurt by shitty friends like her…. to name just a few things. It’s called a mental illness. I’m sorry if that makes me seem ‘negative’. But I promise you if you had this mental illness and had all that crap happen to you, you’d seem a bit ‘negative’ too.

I need life to give me a fucking break! I need life to hand me a little bit of happiness. I need to meet people who will treat me right, without me having to ask for it. People who see my worth, and value me as a person, not a piece of meat. I need people I can trust. I need people who only want to make me happy, and to keep me in their lives. People who want to create memories with me and experience life with me. I need people who won’t leave. I need opportunities for happiness. But it’s mainly down to other people. I need people to treat me better. And because they don’t I assume there’s something wrong with me. So the problem is not fixed by me changing, it is an external change that is needed – I need life to treat me kinder. To balance out my scale with some pure positivity. Until that happens I am out of balance. I am negative. I am thinking of giving up on life, because what is the bloody point? What is the point in life if I’m just here to suffer, for the sake of everyone else’s happiness? That is how I feel right now. I’m sorry.

Life is hard for me right now. And I wish I had someone to call my own, someone who loved me unconditionally, and wanted to protect me and comfort me. But I face this battle alone. No matter if I see my friends, or go to my therapy group, at the end of the day I am alone. I’m alone in my head. I’m alone in this world. I have to force myself out of bed. I have to pull myself through work. I have to slap on a face for the outside world. I have to pretend I’m not about to fall apart and do ‘something stupid’. I have to keep on living, when all I want to do is tear my arm open and put myself into a psych ward, just to get away from the pressures and responsibilities of life out here. It is so hard. I’m crying as I write this, as that’s how hard it is to just be right now. I don’t think anyone gets that…