Crying On A Professional Level
Do you even have a personality disorder, bro?
Spoiler Alert: Yes.
Trying to explain borderline personality disorder to people is hard.
I mean really hard.
Firstly, the name is weird and confusing. “Borderline” – like what does that even mean within in the context of a personality?! Do I even have a personality disorder? Do I have half of a personality disorder? What is going on?!
Secondly, due to a latent understanding of the disorder there is a LOT of residual stigma and a lack of acceptance not only within society, but also within the medical profession as a whole.
Thirdly, there is always going to be that one person who thinks I’m living out the plot of Fatal Attraction – I actually had a LICENSED DOCTOR ask me if I was a “bunny boiler” once.
I’m not a bunny boiler, by the way.
The first time I sought to explain Borderline Personality Disorder to someone I shuffled through a few internal questions – How was I going to explain this to someone outside my head? Would it make me feel sad or proud? Where would I even begin? Did I even understand what was going on in my brain?
In his book I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me, MD Jerold J. Kreisman tried to explain to his readers what it feels like to live with Borderline Personality Disorder. He states:
A borderline suffers a kind of emotional hemophilia; she lacks
the clotting mechanism needed to moderate her spurts of feeling. Prick
the delicate “skin” of a borderline and she will emotionally bleed
Kreisman continues to note that mood changes come explosively, carrying the borderline from the heights of joy to the depths of depression while the inability to understand the origins of the episode brings on more self-hate and depression.
In trying to explain this emotional confusion in my own terms, I usually rely on a roller coaster analogy and use a lot of flailing arm gestures to illustrate the rapid switch between the extreme highs and lows that I experience every day. Basically, I feel a lot, always, and it is exhausting. Not only am I constantly emotionally stimulated, but I was also born without some of the crucial mechanisms that would allow me to cope with the emotions that I experience in a healthy way. Whether it is a hysteric, all consuming happiness or a debilitating and crippling sadness rendering it seemingly impossible to get out of bed for days on end, I quite literally do not know what to do with my body or mind in during these throes of emotion.
To say I have intense and unmanageable emotional reactions would be an understatement.
I had made my mind up before recording that I was going to dedicate equal time to talking about the good and the bad of my life with BPD. However, the moment I sat down with three humans I care for and admire so much, it was hard to dwell on the negative times. During the hours I was with the guys, we spent most of our time talking about conspiracy theories the endless capacity for passion that my BPD has given me.
While I initially worried I did a disservice to borderline personality by mostly focusing on the positive aspects of my disorder, I have come to realize that this outlook is a reflection on how I feel about my life with BPD as a whole – I do not dwell on the negative or the social stigmas, but instead try to further cultivate the positive.
The more I talk about my life with BPD, the easier it gets. Almost two years after my diagnosis, I still can’t explain BPD very well, but I feel more confident about, and dare I say – proud – of my identity as a human being living with a complicated emotional disorder.