***Trigger warning*** This post talks about the worst of my current experience with BPD, including discussion about self-harm. If you are at risk of being triggered or upset by this topic, please do not read any further, or scroll right to the end of this post for links to support services.
I spend a lot of time trying to focus on the positive aspects of having Borderline Personality Disorder: how it makes us massively empathetic and caring, the way it makes us passionate and determined, and so on.
However, it’s impossible to get away from the fact that BPD is also a nightmare; a seemingly neverending rollercoaster.
Today, I thought I’d talk a bit about my bad days. I want to try to explain what I and those of us with BPD go through when we are struggling the most. Obviously, this is only my experience, and experiences with BPD differ greatly, but I hope it gives you some sort of insight into the practicalities of battling this disorder.
On a bad day, I will have slept either too much or not at all; literally either 12 hours or zero. There doesn’t seem to be a pattern to it, but the strange thing is, I tend to feel really tired when I’ve slept for ages, but if I’ve not slept at all, I’m totally wired.
For me, bad days mean chainsmoking. It’s almost a comfort thing. I feel like in a sick way, it regulates my breathing and reduces anxiety.
Things like showering and getting dressed feel completely impossible on my bad days. I have little or no energy or motivation. I don’t see the point. I just stay in my pyjamas and marinate in my feelings.
When my paranoia is at its worst, I don’t leave the house. I become convinced that I’m going to be attacked, and I obsessively check that my door is locked. I keep my curtains closed, convinced people are watching me. I flinch at the slightest noise. Sometimes I get stuck on the thought that I’m going to die imminently, and I start to make panicked preparations for my impending demise.
I have struggled with self-harm since I was a child, so naturally, after nearly two decades, it is an ingrained coping mechanism. For me, it’s a reaction to feeling overwhelmed with emotions – bloodletting to release pressure. I know it’s not a healthy coping mechanism, but on my bad days, my logical mind is nowhere to be found.
On my bad days, I’ll spend a good portion of the day typing out tweets or texts asking for help, but deleting them before hitting send. That niggly voice at the back of my mind won’t let up, even though deep down I know it’s wrong – don’t bother anyone, they’re busy, they haven’t got time for you.
I’m sorry for this pretty sombre post, but I think it’s important that the reality of mental illness is made known so we can try to figure out how best to support those going through it.
If any of these points have resonated with you, or if you are struggling with your mental health in other ways, I’ve left some useful links to support services below.