Borderline Personality Disorder
I'd like to preface this by saying that I've never seen the show "Workin' Moms" - and judging by this I probably will not - but this article from The Mighty got my gears working. Or shall I say, grinding.
What the Netflix Series 'Workin' Moms' Got Wrong About Borderline Personality Disorder
I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder since 2015, and I have always struggled with whether to tell anyone. The urge to keep it a secret because of EXACTLY these types of inaccurate stereotypes has almost always won out. Will my son's friends' parents no longer want their children to play with him, thinking he has a "crazy" mom? I haven't been worried about narrowing my dating prospects - since my last relationship (with an abusive narcissist) ended in 2017, I've had absolutely no urge whatsoever to date anyone. Nor stalk anyone. Nor even get physically or emotionally close to anyone specific. Lately, not even to SEE other people, really.
Let me back up. First, I must say I'm not entirely certain whether my psychiatrist at the time had diagnosed me with BPD because she was 100% sure of the diagnosis, or more because some of my symptoms fit and she wanted me to pursue a treatment called DBT. She told me that she felt I would benefit immensely from DBT, and DBT is only available to those with a Personality Disorder diagnosis. She explained to me that my entire concept of self, ability to relate to others, and in effect, my personality had been damaged; probably from an early age and most likely by the relentless and frequently violent bullying I experienced throughout my entire time in school. Borderline Personality Disorder, she explained to me, is essentially a deeply entrenched set of maladaptive coping mechanisms. My brain was trapped in a cycle of dealing with trauma in ways that made things worse for me and then I dealt with THAT in ways that made it worse.
What it did NOT mean was that I am crazy. What it most often does mean for me is that I am dealing with a massive amount of anxiety all of the time, that every rejection (real or perceived, they're careful to note) causes a really unreasonable quantity of bad, often traumatic memories to come flooding back and sucker punch me with zero warning. It means extreme self-criticism, which almost no one ever sees, and the absolute fear of speaking to people, meeting anyone, or doing anything in front of people, mostly because my extreme self-doubt tells me that I will mess up, which is probably mostly because I always do. And if I screw up, I'll be mocked
I slide into hopelessness far too easily and too quickly.
I have never, nor would I ever stalk anyone. I don't do things for attention because attention means negative attention and negative attention almost always feels FATAL. But I'm a loyal friend, I like to help people, and I just want the things normal friends want: Company, ever. Other adults to hang out with and talk to. To feel like people actually ever think about me when I'm not right in front of them. Someone to help me out with things that are difficult, and who I can (and always do) repay with help in kind.
I am not a toxic parent. I may be too attached to my child: I suspect this has something to do with the fact that I am isolated from everyone else. He's my world, but I don't blame him for that, nor do I expect to be his world. My heart swells with warmth and joy when he does the things that normal, healthy ten-year-olds do. I feel almost overwhelmed with gratitude that he is happy, healthy, safe and well-adjusted, and I will do anything to protect and encourage that. I also feel filled with terror almost every day that all of this could be struck down or snatched away at any moment.
This is not a political post, but I have to add that the political climate in this country, the near-holocaust level of hostility to powerless people's life and health that so many people including elected officials now show, has increased this terror from an occasional fleeting mood to a near-constant, crushing weight that I sometimes struggle to move under.
I have a fairly objective measure, I think, of whether it's true that no one wants to be around me and no one cares what happens to me: No one calls me, no one emails me, no one messages me, no one comes to see me or invites me. For twenty years, when I get in touch with people, I get noncommittal, frequently monosyllabic responses. No follow-up is attempted. "If I simply stopped trying, if I vanished, no one would even wonder where I went or what happened to me," I began to think. Well, I stopped trying. I vanished. I made myself a rule: I will get in touch, try to make a plan to get together, whatever it is, THREE TIMES. After that I won't contact that person again unless they contact me. I did this because I had begun to FEEL like I was stalking people. Like they didn't want to talk to me or see me, but wouldn't tell me, and I should really take the hint. So one by one, I made three more tries, and one by one, I let people go.
Not one human soul contacted me for any reason for five years.
To anyone who is reading this: Thank you. Thank you for just reading this. Comment if you have anything whatsoever to add or just to say.
I feel like this has gone on too long already, so I'm breaking it up into two posts. My next post will go into:
what it means, to me at least, when they say
"-no sense of self
-chronic feelings of emptiness
and the shame/stigma surrounding BPD, and fear of telling people because of stuff exactly like this.