Having borderline personality disorder (BPD) and dealing with depressive and manic phases is a constant battle and something I have come to accept that I might have to live with for the rest of my life. I was diagnosed in February this year with the condition, but looking back now it is obvious that it has controlled me since my teenage years. I have learnt a great deal over these last few months and have can now understand and manage my condition better, even if it is still a work in progress.
I can usually spot the spiral as it is happening, sometimes I can stop, sometimes I feel defeated and unable to battle it. There are certain stages to it, but it often comes out of the blue and unexpectedly. Often the depression and downward spiral will happen after a manic phase, where I have lots of energy and able to undertake many tasks at a time, whilst trying to complete them with urgency that is impossible to maintain. I burn out and the downward spiral begins. I am often convinced that I am cured during a manic phase and am childlike and carefree, but I pay the price after trying to get back to a normal level again between the mania and depression. It’s a constant emotional rollercoaster that leaves me defeated and exhausted.
- The first stage is usually brought on by trying to manage too many things in one go and spreading myself to thin. The anxiety and worry to manage my life stops me from sleeping first, which always impacts me negatively and makes me heightened to my emotions.
- The next stage is me reaching out and being needy. I start to rely on people too heavily and become extremely scared of being abandoned and being on my own. I understand I can be a huge burden on people.
- I start to get paranoid about people talking about me and judging me, whilst having overwhelming fears of abandonment which then makes me cling onto people even more.
- What usually follows is the most dangerous stage to me and that is to disassociate. When I disassociate I shut down emotionally from anyone around me and I get caught in my own head. I can self-harm, engage in dangerous behaviour or even attempt suicide. This is the stage I do not remember, it is like I have no control of my actions and I am numb from feeling anything.
- After I get back to reality I am left with the mess I have left, the apologies to make, scars to hide and the guilt. I promise myself I won’t go back to that place again, I will not hurt the people around me and I try to build myself back up again.
1 in 10 people with borderline personality disorder will successfully complete suicide, so I share what I can to help lift stigma and raise understanding knowing that I will always be judged by this condition.
What does help me through this condition is friends who have tried to understand my condition so they can understand me better and Dialectrical Behaviour Therapy. DBT is a talking therapy, which helps me accept who I am and helps me make positive changes in the way I think and deal with things. I am still at the early stages of therapy, but have found it incredibly helpful and with it being a group therapy I feel comfort in knowing that it isn’t just me. I can get better with this disorder, I just need time and support.