As some of you may know, recently, well all my life, I’ve struggled with depression, but more so lately with serious life changing events. It was brought to my attention years ago with my first husband that there’s something called Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD. When presented with the internet print out of what he thought I had, I was immediately offended. I was pissed to be quite honest. “I’m not a psycho!” I told him.
“I’m not a psycho!” Why is that the first thing we think of when it comes to mental illnesses or imbalances? Why is there an inherent stigma against this sort of thing? I cannot control it. I didn’t purposely do this to myself so that I sabotage every relationship I have with someone. I don’t take joy or get pleasure in my sadness and inevitable hurt of others. But there I was, sitting at the kitchen table, fuming mad that he could label me with something like this.
And yet, in hindsight, it’s probably the one thing I should have taken better consideration of. Of all the names I’ve been called, the accusations that have been thrown my way, this one thing, this label, this not so subtle smack in the face should have opened my eyes. I should have taken it upon myself to investigate this “personality disorder” further. This was over 5 years ago and only now do I realize this is the culprit of, well all that is Jamie.
For those of you who do not know, BPD or better termed, Emotional Intensity Disorder as my therapist prefers to call it, is “a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by unstable relationships with other people, unstable sense of self, and unstable emotions”.
DING DING DING…WE HAVE A WINNER FOLKS!
This is categorically, undeniably, ME! Why do my relationships fail? Well because I am insecure (unstable sense of self). Why am I worried I will be abandoned (thank you childhood and parents). Why am I an emotional rollercoaster, projecting my emotions on those closest to me, those I love, usually in a destructive manner (emotional intensity disorder).
Herein lies the “issue”: I had no idea this was me until I realized this was me. Silly sentence, yes? Truth is, I never thought I was the problem. Sure I knew I had some issues, insecurities, not able to trust easily, crappy childhood of abuse and abandonment, instability throughout my entire life. Yet all I wanted to do was love and be loved. I sought out relationships with people who were not good for me. They didn’t care for me, but used me and I felt that was okay. Then I find a person I can trust, someone who loves me for me, someone who makes me a better person and what happens, I ruin it, because I don’t think I am deserving of such a person, or I am for certain they will cheat on me or leave me. This is so incredibly ridiculous to me! I mean who thinks like this?
I do. I did. I’m trying to not think like this anymore.
Let’s go back to the stigma. Being presented with papers that say, in my mind, “you’re one crazy chick,” was not necessarily conductive to the relationship. Had this been presented differently to me at the time, would that have made a difference for the future? I will never know. What I do know is being in therapy since I was 16, having a less than ideal childhood of an abusive mother, never feeling any connection to the one who gave birth to me and to this day absolutely detesting her existence, then having a father who was everything to me but abandoned me when I needed him the most, contributed to who I am today. Would I change it? Hmm…I’m not sure. I think I’d of gotten out sooner had I known how it would affect me in the long run. But the past is in the past. Again, the stigma: always being identified as the “patient”, the one with the issues in the relationship, was never helpful either. It was always about pointing fingers at my flaws not trying to find the cause and creating a logical solution. Things never got remedied and I never healed. I continued to plow though life, head down, fake smile, jumping on this bandwagon or the next, trying to fit in with this group or that group, only to arrive where I am today: lost, heartbroken, struggling, and full of regret.
Had I known then what I know now, would that have changed my behavior? You know, I’m not entirely certain. Change the behavior? Probably not, but it may have made me more aware as to why I felt, thought, and acted the way I did. I’d like to think it would have given me other ways to cope versus lashing out at my significant other or drowning my sorrows at the expense of my liver. I’d like to think it would have encouraged me to find meaningful friendships versus temporary friends who use, lie, and deceive. But here we are, at an almost too late realization that I have demons that can be settled.
I’ve made my fair share of poor choices. I’ve coped in less than desirable ways only to mask the pain within. I’ve hurt myself and others. I’ve lost love. I’ve lost myself.
I am confident now that I am aware of the culprit and can change behaviors, mold my future into something worth while and meaningful. I hope, with any luck, that I can mend important relationships from the past. I hope that I can be better for myself and others, that I don’t fall victim to the petty cesspool of destruction and self sabotage that I have previously felt comfortable in. I have to remember this is not easy, it is not something everyone will understand but as long as I do and I make the effort to overcome, it will be okay. I will not settle for anything less.
Do not fall victim to the stigma mental illness poses on yourself or others. It is not something you or I intended to have happen, it just is what it is. Learn from it, make an effort to overcome, educate, and seek out the help that you may need and live…live life to the fullest. This is my challenge to myself.