Push and pull. It’s like the classic children’s game tug of war; a rope being pulled in both directions and at any time it could go one way or another, unfortunately it is my illness and not a game at all. BPD…Borderline Personality Disorder. The words themselves fill your mind with uncertainty, for me, visualize into standing at a border somewhere with one foot on either side, knowing that at the drop of a dime I could be pulled either way.
Attachment. The need to have it… incessant. The need to keep it afar innate. Something that seems to come so naturally to others yet feels unattainable to us. There are no fifty shades of grey. It is black and white. You either form an attachment or you don’t.You are either behind our walls or on the outside There is no middle ground.
Abandonment. The fear of it as intense as being set on fire. Whether consciously or not, we pull people in because we don’t want to be alone and with the next breath we push you away. We try to leave you before you can leave us. It is the only control we feel we have, and somehow we’ve convinced ourselves that it will hurt less this way. We so desperately need to feel attached to someone who loves and cares for us, yet the fear of losing them, in itself, is the thing that stops us from obtaining it.
Triggers. They range from sights and scents to noises and words. Subconsciously or otherwise, they pull us back to a place where we feel unsafe. Those emotions flood us like a tidal wave, our minds full of anxiety and fear, our bodies suddenly tense. Rationally we know at that exact moment we are safe, but our mind is no longer in the present moment. It has regressed to a time of trauma, hurt and pain. Our reactions are often extreme and inappropriate and often echoes our destructive patterns of the past.
Relationships. We have difficulty maintaining them, whether you are family, friends or co-workers. We love you, we need you, we pull you close and hold on tight, and with the snap of the fingers, we hate you, we don’t need you and we push you away. We delete your emails and texts. We block you on social media. We react in a way that you can not comprehend, simply because you do not have this illness. The fingers snap again and we are back to loving you and needing you.
BPD is an invisible illness, much the same as cancer can be. We do not choose this any more than someone chooses to become physically ill. We lash out when we shouldn’t. We react unsuitably to situations or comments that would not affect you. Sometimes we know why, other times the reason is still trapped in the darkness of our minds not yet ready to come into the light. We pull you in like we are reeling in a fish from the river, and in an instant we push you away, casting an empty line back into the water. We walk on eggshells. We are so eager to please you and earn your acceptance because that is what our childhoods taught us.
Our illness did not come out of the blue. We did not just wake up one day suddenly full of anxiety, pain and emptiness. This has built up over years or perhaps decades, and is usually a result of one or numerous traumatic incidents that occurred in our childhoods. We coped the best we knew how at the time and whether there is a physical scar or not, the emotional wounds that were inflicted during our developmental years have left us with a battle to fight. A struggle to quiet the voice in our heads that replays the negative thoughts that were ingrained in us.
The best thing you can do for us is to remain. Simply put, don’t leave. We hope you will at least be at the same park, while we are riding the roller coaster that is BPD.