Living with borderline personality disorder (BPD) is kind of like being stuck in a wild, treacherous ocean. Our emotions are like violent waves always threatening to engulf us and our fears are sinister, circling sharks. The only salvation we have is a raft that keeps sailing away from us even though we’re doing everything we can to keep it in our grasp.
Also, we can’t swim, so we’re kinda drowning. Constantly.
Living with BPD every day is so mentally draining that sometimes I just need to vent about how much I hate it. I experience new struggles and setbacks all the time so there’s always something new for me to rant about.
These are my BPD confessions – the worst things about living with BPD.
1. All of my emotions are super-intense
I am hypersensitive to every emotion. Yes, even happiness when it makes a surprise appearance. However, I’m particularly susceptible to sadness, anger and emptiness.
“People with BPD are like people with third-degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement”Marsha M. Linehan
When I experience negative emotions, I feel them with every core of my being. Even when I feel nothing, I feel it so fucking intensely that the emptiness consumes me. I’ve spent many nights sobbing my heart out, unable to put my emotions into words.
I just feel, all the time – and it hurts.
Now I understand my BPD, I’m a lot better at identifying the negative thinking patterns that influence my emotions and make my BPD worse. I’m also a lot better at controlling my emotions through journaling, positive thinking affirmations and mindfulness.
However, I still have a looong way to go and sometimes it feels like a battle I might never win.
I struggle with severe identity issues
This is one of the BPD confessions that is hard for me to admit. I try so hard to coax myself into confidence but the truth is, I’ve never really had a stable sense of self.
The lack of self-identity that BPD-sufferers experience is often the catalyst for other symptoms. The chronic emptiness, the co-dependency, the impulsive behaviour and the fear of abandonment are all triggered and worsened by our unstable sense of self.
It can vary in severity; from being unable to identify your goals or values, to feeling as though you have no personality, or even feeling as though you don’t exist at all.
One of the saddest things is that all I want is to be free of this personality-defining condition. And yet, I’m fucking terrified of who I’d be without it. BPD sometimes feels like it defines me, and I hate it.
I fucking hate being in love
Before I was diagnosed with BPD, I lacked the self-awareness to see that it was ruining every single one of my relationships. I have been called clingy, crazy and ‘psychotic’ more times than I care to remember, and it’s because I fall in love so intensely that it drives people away.
I want to be with you all the time. You’re my whole life, more myself than I could ever be, and all I want is to be your everything in return. I need constant reassurance that you’re never going to leave me and if I suspect even the slightest change in your feelings then I’ll have a meltdown. I’ll shout at you lot, maybe smash a plate or two after hurling some particularly low insults, before collapsing in a sobbing heap on the floor because I fucked up, I overreacted, and now you hate me and I want to die.
Being in love just feels wrong, which is why I usually steer clear of it by being an emotionally-unavailable commitment-phobe with an attitude problem.
The fear of being abandoned is irrational, overwhelming and absolutely terrifying
Honestly, the fear is almost as scary as the thing itself.
It’s one of the most common symptoms of BPD and is incredibly difficult to control or rationalise. Even when your relationship is going great, all it takes is one text message left on read for you to start panicking, plagued by the fear of potential abandonment.
Before my diagnosis, this fear would make me physically sick. It would blind me to everything and cause my BPD-thoughts to spiral out of control.
In fact, I’m going to be 100% honest and admit that before my diagnosis I was a slave to this fear. I did some really shitty, demeaning things to stop people from leaving me. It was degrading, embarrassing and yes – sometimes it was even manipulative. It’s horrible to possess a fear so powerful that it makes you lose all respect for yourself, and for that reason it’s probably the thing I hate most about living with BPD.
It really, really hurts when people leave
I was the girl who threatened suicide after a breakup. I’ve been the obsessive ex who will call you 100 times in a row, begging for you to take me back because without you I’m as good as dead.
Overdramatic? Definitely. And yet, the pain I feel when someone leaves is so excruciating that even just thinking about it makes my blood run cold.
When people leave, it validates all of your paranoia, doubts and fears. Allowing people to get close becomes even more difficult and trusting them feels impossible. Out of all the things I hate about living with BPD, the pain of people leaving is probably the worst 😞.
You can read more about being dumped when you have borderline personality disorder here. Spoiler: it’s pretty rough.
Living with BPD often means living with a ton of self-hatred
Even though all I ever do is preach self-forgiveness and love, my 6th confession is that sometimes I really, really hate myself.
Living with BPD comes with its fair share of damaging behaviours and “oh my God, why did I do that?” moments. It’s hard not to feel like a toxic, emotionally unstable burden when you remember all the times you’ve manipulated or lied out of desperation. All the times you flew off the handle because of an irrational fear. Every single breakdown you’ve ever had, every negative emotion you couldn’t control– all of it makes you feel like a fucking terrible human being.
All you crave is love and yet you feel as though you don’t deserve it.
Even once you get your diagnosis and your erratic behaviour starts to make sense, there’s still a voice in the back of your head that tells you you’re unlovable.
I’m always second-guessing myself
“Am I overreacting?”
“Is it normal for me to feel so sad about this, or am I just being hypersensitive?”
I remember being cheated on and dumped around the time I was finally starting to understand my BPD. Yeah, tragic stuff. And yet I still found myself questioning whether I was being ‘crazy’ for calling him a lying asshole. If I was ‘overreacting’ when I found it hard to eat or sleep for weeks.
Being aware of your BPD makes it hard for you to trust yourself because you’re constantly second-guessing the validity of your emotions. The self-doubt then makes your identity issues even worse, which is fan-fucking-tastic (seriously, why do all mental health illnesses insist on being so cyclical?)
Resisting the urge to not act impulsively is hard
Impulsive behaviour in BPD individuals can range from reckless spending and promiscuous sex, to self-harm or suicide attempts. Other symptoms of BPD, like emptiness, fear and self-identity issues, often trigger these impulsive behaviours.
Because of this, we adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms that keep us trapped in the borderline personality disorder cycle.
As I’ve mentioned before, I used to be the queen of adopting destructive coping skills. Recreational drug-taking was a big one for me. My mind felt so alien to me already that in a weird way, I felt more sober on drugs than I did off of them.
Luckily, I managed to control my impulsive behaviour before I even knew I had BPD, but on some days it’s still a struggle. Journaling using self-discovery journal prompts usually helps me to remember just how much more control I have over my mind now that I have the willpower to stop myself from giving in.
Living with BPD still feels like a shameful secret
Apart from the whole internet, I’ve only told a few people in my life about my BPD. When I told each of them, their ‘oh, I’ve heard of that’ was laced with a tentative wariness. Basically, I felt like they were saying “oh – you’re crazy”. And it kinda hurt.
When you already have an unstable sense of self, it can be really hard when you feel like you’re being judged solely on your BPD. We work so hard at trying to differentiate our own mind from the condition that to have people instantly stereotype us can cause a relapse.
Now that I’ve learnt how to stop caring so much about what people think, I’m a lot more confident and open about my BPD. I do try not to bring it up on the first date though – for obvious reasons!
These BPD confessions describe the things I personally find most challenging about living with BPD. Everyone experiences this condition differently and are affected by some things more than others. Please feel free to share your own BPD confessions down below – what is the thing you hate the most about living with BPD?