Mental Health Month – Borderline Personality Disorder

by Kylie on October 19, 2011

This is a long and emotional post. I have felt for some time I need to post it. It’s mental health month in Australia and what many of you probably don’t know is I am very mentally unhealthy.

Before I scare you all off, be aware I am very high functioning, so most will be completely unaware anything is wrong with me. I can act very well, but if you are really close, like a family member, you would have seen the signs something is not right. I have been successful despite being unhealthy with my book 365 Ways To Make Money, public speaking, freelance writing and more.

So why talk about it on a finance blog?

I wanted to show that everyone has issues, no one’s life is perfect, but you can still be successful and live a good life despite obstacles, or mental issues. Also, my disorder is one of the reasons I write posts about motivation, self confidence etc. It is mostly from personal experience.

 

You see, I have Borderline Personality Disorder. (BPD)

See, I look fine.

I have been really torn as to whether I should share this info or not. Sometimes I really want to, other times I want to keep it to myself due to the stigmatism associated with BPD.

 

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?


Basically a real mess. I flick like a light switch, instantly. I can go from completely loving someone to hating them with a passion, extreme elation/happiness to extreme anger. I can be completely confident in myself one minute, but if something does not goes as planned I hate myself. My moods are all over the place, there is no way to tell which way I will react to something. And I over react, pretty much all the time. Often just in my head there will be a running dialogue of how stupid everything is/I am, why it didn’t work, I never should have bothered, I am useless etc… but often, I do not reveal those thoughts.

Borderlines are generally thought of as manipulative, liars, difficult, crazy etc… And really, we are, but it’s not intentional.

For the wiki definition of Borderline Personality Disorder click here.

I often feel like this

This obviously is not an easy thing for me to share. I now worry about losing you as readers, people treating me differently, the backlash from those I know in real life now knowing I am mental. (Ok, I have referred to myself as mental since I was a teen and I was only diagnosed with BPD last year, I don’t mean it in a nasty way, just factual). I am extremely anxious about this, but also know I have a lot of support with my family. My husband, siblings, parents
and a few select others know this about me already and know I am posting this today.

I am a control freak and the thought of letting others know this and not knowing their reactions/being unable to control the outcome of this post, sends my head into a spin, but I am going to try to ignore it. I really feel mental health, especially BPD needs more awareness.

I have known since I was young something was wrong with me. What primary school aged kid has suicidal thoughts? Looking back on my life all the signs were there, we just didn’t know about BPD and they don’t generally diagnose until you are 18. Instead I got given the labels depression and ADHD.

 

You see I attempted suicide twice as a teen. Once after my mum died and I got assaulted walking to the shops, another time after my dad got remarried. I had wanted to die for a long time before that though. I was also a compulsive liar, had many ‘episodes’ and caused countless problems. After the attempts I started seeing a psychiatrist through some government program and she was great. She was the one who diagnosed me ADHD/depression. But, once you are 18 you are out of the program as it was only for teens and children.

I moved out of home, earning just $220 a week aged 17. I could not afford care on my own, so just didn’t get any further help.

I have been on and off meds since I was 16. They helped a little, but not a lot. I felt drugged. I had tried a few different ones and none seemed to help. Now I know I have BPD not just depression I have discovered for many BPD sufferers anti depressants are useless. They work for some, but not a lot.

Anyway, I am much better now. Ok, not really, but I know how to handle it better. I am seeing a psychologist who specialises in BPD. Last year my mum kept talking about this amazing book that really helps you understand other people etc. “Stop Walking On Eggshells”, which is about dealing with people who have Borderline Personality Disorder.

When I finally read a little I felt sick. It was me. We looked into it more, I got tested and it was confirmed. This is highly unusual for someone with BPD. Most will not recognise it in themselves. I already knew something was wrong with me. I had been told that for years, so it was not hard to accept the Borderline Personality Disorder label.

I have decided to be pretty open about this and most of this post is probably just rambles. I can’t seem to express myself properly.

Every day is a battle for me. It is rare to have a few days running without an episode of some sort. Sometimes an episode might last a few minutes, hours or really bad ones go for weeks.

 

What does an episode involve?

I refer to my anger outbursts or depression as episodes. They often involve yelling, screaming whilst a mental dialogue of what a loser I am is running, then treating my family to absolute silence so there is no way to know just how bad things are. As mentioned I have attempted suicide twice as a teen. I have also stabbed myself in the leg, cut myself, bashed my head, smashed my fist through stuff such as a window, that sort of thing. I am ashamed of it all. When I am having an episode I literally have no control over what I am doing. Looking back I can see it was the wrong decision, but when it is happening in my mind it is right.

Thankfully, I prefer to do these things alone, so my children have not seen it. I often don’t remember everything that happened or what I say. It’s not really me.

 

Not our window, my fist went right through.

My most recent episode happened last week. I had only been back 5 days (I was in Chicago for a week) and my husband and I were fighting. It was over his family. 80% of the time my episodes have stemmed from stuff they have done/said or not done. Whether it is deserved or whether it is just my mind locks onto the bad stuff from them I am not 100% sure, but either way it’s bad.

I got so angry and wanted everything to stop. When I get like that it is bad. Really bad. If we have guests over or I am in front of people I can usually get it together, walk away and calm down, at least enough to not do anything stupid. Last week we were at home and no one was there. I remember screaming at him, yelling at him to just stop talking. I felt my head was going to explode with all the bad thoughts running in my head and I needed it to stop.

But he didn’t.

I flipped, walked out and smashed my fist through the door between our kitchen and rumpus room, right through the section of glass. I kept walking and locked myself in the bathroom. I was bleeding badly but was completely numb. Long story short, my hand was cut up and bruised pretty badly. I am still healing over a week later. For the first few days every time I moved a couple of my fingers they would bleed again. I was in such a bad mental state I would not get medical help.

 

What’s really bad is I am still on edge from that episode, some 9 days after it happened. The issues surrounding that episode have not been resolved completely. They should have and could have been, but my husband does not like me causing a fuss with his family. So I did what I could, deleted them all from Facebook and will have limited contact.

They are not all bad and I can get along with them, but the things that happened recently tipped me over the edge. They don’t even know. They have no idea the whole reason we moved to Canberra originally was to get away from them.

 

I feel really sorry for my family who are the ones who cop it a lot. My husband and daughters see it on a daily basis. My parents and siblings lived with me for years and I cannot imagine how hard that must have made their lives, especially considering our mum passed away from cancer when I was 15, dad remarried within the year to my step mum (I just call her mum), who also had 4 children. That is all hard enough without extra issues.

As much as I have suicidal thoughts some days I would never act on it. I have 2 daughters and I miss my mum so badly, even as an adult most days that I could never, ever do that to them. When I am having an episode (that’s what I call it when I am angry/depressed) I focus on them and how much it sucks for me being without my birth mum. (I say birth instead of real, because it’s not like my step mum is a fake mum. We are very close.)

I am really fortunate to have a very supportive family and my husband must be insane for putting up with me. I would have kicked me to the curb years ago. He loves me and is helping me work through it. He is very supportive and often knows when to just leave me or take our daughters so I can get myself together.

I do what I can to try and prevent episodes or control myself and therapy is helping. I haven’t been in a while as we couldn’t afford it, but I am booked in again. My psych is great, so I am hopeful I can get better. It will take a very long time though.

So in light of mental health month, I thought I would share this with you and hopefully raise some awareness. If you have any questions I will answer anything. You can leave them in the comments or email me if you prefer.

Don’t worry or stress or change your view on me. I am ok. I have good support here and won’t do anything stupid. Moments like I describe above with smashing the window are pretty spread out and get less each time. It is more common for an episode to last for only a few hours, with just mental hating on myself and locking myself away, no physical damage.

My borderline personality disorder is actually one of the things that drives me. I want to beat it. I want to be successful and the competitive nature, the desire to set goals and succeed pushes me. I don’t think I would have come this far without BPD. It is like I constantly have to prove to myself I am worthwhile. I know I am. I know I have achieved some great things and will achieve more. I doubt I would have achieved most of what I have if I was mentally healthy.

That might sound silly, but it really is the driving force behind everything I do. I have to show I am worthwhile and have to succeed. I cannot cope without goals and something to strive for.

 

(Also please don’t judge my husband or his family. He has a lot to deal with and usually handles my situations very well. He is very patient and I don’t know anyone else who would put up with me or try to help me.)

I have posted again, more recently and have improved a lot. Click here to read about it now.

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