I often wish there was a way for other people to understand what it’s like to live with a life altering mental illness.
Every time I meet another person I am doing my best to lock up any and all personality traits that will seem too invasive, too upsetting, too frightening. I measure every word I say against the facial expressions and body language of the person I am communicating with. I do my best not to be too much, too overbearing, too demanding of attention. It takes all of my energy to control myself in order to be the most palatable version of me that I can muster.
I think about the things I wish I could say, and the relationships I would like to have in my life. I notice the difference between the relationships I have with p noeople, and the relationships they have with other people. I can’t help but notice how little access I am allowed into another persons world. I can only assume it has something to do with being a person who obviously exhibits some characteristics of Borderline Personality Disorder.
I have worked so hard for so long to be ‘good enough’ for others. I am ashamed of my desire to be liked. I wish I didn’t need human connection so desperately. It keeps me locked into old patterns of behavior that sicken me and make me feel weak. It makes me feel guilty for needing something from someone else, for my desperation to be liked. These patterns only cause me more pain and disillusionment when I alter my behavior to please others, and get the same results.
I have tried so hard to manage my delusional thoughts, paranoid beliefs and suicidal ideations and keep them from other people. I am weary of being sick and trying to manage without necessary resources. I am tired of being angry, lonely, misunderstood and unapproachable. I understand why people don’t like me. Lots of times I don’t like me either.
I am tired of being suspicious of everyone I know. Although I am consciously aware that no one is plotting to hurt me, I am painfully aware of the careful space that is left between myself and other people. I can never be completely honest about how I feel because it is scary and uncomfortable. I don’t know how to make the emptiness inside me go away, and I don’t have any more ideas about how to fill it. I’ve tried food, drugs, sex and more, but nothing helps me feel like I belong in this world. I feel like an outsider everywhere I go.
It makes me angry that I have a legitimate illness that needs treatment that I cannot get. I’m angry that the very people who might be able to help me, tend to be the ones who get fearful when my behavior presents. Medical professionals are often shocked by the behavior I have to manage on a daily basis. The only time I am truly afraid is when I have to see a medical professional. Many believe BPD cannot be cured, but I know it can be managed because I have learned to do it on my own out of necessity. When I am in front of a doctor, 48 years of frustration joins me at the appointment. Keeping my emotions in check is nearly impossible, when trying to describe what I need, what I have needed for so many years, in one short visit. I am now fully aware that my needs will not be addressed, and while I try in vain to get another doctor to understand me, I’m already mentally checking out in disappointment.
It bothers me that despite how much I need it, I am unable to find skilled therapists and doctors who will look at me like a person who needs support and advice. It makes me furious that Borderlines are mostly written off as impossible, manipulative, and unfixable. It makes me crazy inside that someone who doesn’t have to live like this will be the one to judge someone who does.
I am not who you think I am. I am way, way more, and it’s time I get the help I badly need. If I roll into emergency with a broken leg, I will get sympathy, pain killers, surgery and anything else necessary to help me heal.
When I present with symptoms of a borderline breakdown, I will not receive the same care, kindness and understanding. I will be looked at with disgust and impatience by nurses. I will be met with confusion and patronizing looks from Doctors. I have been sexually assaulted in an emergency room during a panic attack. I have been placed on a 48 hour hold in a locked psychiatric ward. When I know I have to see a doctor these days, I am legitimately worried about what might happen. My BPD has interfered with how medical professionals treat my illnesses. It has made it impossible to be seen as an individual before being seen as an individual with a mental illness.
The symptoms of my BPD have ramped up considerably in the past 6 years, or perhaps I have finally started to grow up and accept that I have a problem. I had gotten so good at numbing out and ignoring reality, that I found myself at a crossroads of healing. Either I continued to make other people feel better by playing along and pretending everything is fine, or I learned to speak up, and speak out to show people who I really am. By being more concerned about how others will react to me, I have betrayed a part of myself. I can no longer pretend to be worried about whether or not someone will react badly to my lack of smile, my half-hearted wave. I don’t have it in me to be fake any more. I can’t pretend to care about your feelings when you don’t ever consider mine.