I am not my disorder…am I?

So it’s been confirmed. Your gurl has got a big ole case of Borderline Personality Disorder. I say big ole case, I mean mild-moderate, but that doesn’t sound as exciting. So big ole case it is. HOW INTENSE AND EXCITING AND UNSTABLE!

My friend Anna recently completed a theatre piece about identity and it got me thinking about my own identity. Who the fuck am I?! What do I identify myself as? A performer? A writer? A cool kid? Am I just an extremely good looking woman with mild narcissism? Am I the walking embodiment of BPD? I don’t really know.

I am not my disorder. But then again, it’s a personality disorder. And who are you, if you’re not your personality. Your personality makes you you. Anyone can be a performer and identify as such, but what is it that makes them unique? Their personality. What makes me me is my impulsiveness. My organisational skills. Going with the flow. My intensity. My positive attitude. My temper.  All these opposite traits are rolled into one to make me a beautiful trainwreck. That’s what makes me me. But, is that truly me, or are those symptoms of BPD? Where do I start, and BPD begins? Do we just roll into one?

Symptoms of BPD include:

  1. emotional instability
  2. disturbed patterns of thinking or perception
  3. impulsive behaviour
  4. intense but unstable relationships with others

Let’s look at these individually.

  1. Emotional Instability.

You may experience a range of often intense negative emotions, such as:

  • rage
  • sorrow
  • shame
  • panic
  • terror
  • long-term feelings of emptiness and loneliness
  • You may have severe mood swings over a short space of time.

Yep, that’s me. I love a good intense feeling, love it. And a mood swing. I mean, it’s hella exciting. Going from intense joy to intense rage to intense sadness, what a treat! Who knows what’s going to happen next?! It’s no wonder my favourite improv game is Emotional Rollercoaster, because it’s basically my life. I mean, I do have periods of emotional stability- periods I refer to as hella dull. Do I have any control over my emotions? By undergoing therapy I was able to regulate my emotions more and kind of level them out to not be as erratic and intense. But it still happens. So am I controlling my emotions or is it BPD? I don’t know. I really don’t.

2) Disturbed Patterns of Thinking

Different types of thoughts can affect people with BPD, including:

  • Upsetting thoughts – such as thinking you’re a terrible person or feeling you don’t exist. You may not be sure of these thoughts and may seek reassurance that they’re not true.
  • Brief episodes of strange experiences – such as hearing voices outside your head for minutes at a time. These may often feel like instructions to harm yourself or others. You may or may not be certain whether these are real.
  • Prolonged episodes of abnormal experiences – where you might experience both hallucinations (voices outside your head) and distressing beliefs that no one can talk you out of (such as believing your family are secretly trying to kill you).

These types of beliefs may be psychotic and a sign you’re becoming more unwell. It’s important to get help if you’re struggling with delusions.

This one doesn’t really apply to me, except the first example. I do go through stages of thinking I’m a terrible person (I know right! Big ole In Love With Herself Judy!) and needing reassurance that I’m not. Constant reassurance. As in, constant.

3) Impulsive behaviour.

  • A strong impulse to engage in reckless and irresponsible activities – such as binge drinking, drug abuse, going on a spending or gambling spree, or having unprotected sex with strangers.

Now you’re talking!  #ClassicJudy. One side of me is hella responsible. I own a flat, I’m never late for work, I write and produce theatre shows and stick to a budget. Super responsible. The other side of me is the most impulsive and reckless bird around. I’m a massive binge drinker and shagger. The Ultimate Lad. I have calmed down on the ole shagging front for the last couple of months, but my drinking has increased. To the point where I was unsure whether I was a legit alcoholic or not. Which in turn caused a lot of upsetting thoughts (see number 2) and intense feelings of emptiness (see number 1). I realise though, that I am not an alcoholic, I just lack self control. Alcohol is the main think I lack control over, followed closely by shagging and spending (not in a prostitute way).

4) Intense But Unstable Relationships With Others

IT’S JUDY IN A NUTSHELL. love an unstable relationship. I love a pure intense relationship where it’s 3 days in and I want to marry them, and then never want to see them again. It’s honestly so much fun.

Many people with BPD seem to be stuck with a very rigid “black-white” view of relationships. Either a relationship is perfect and that person is wonderful, or the relationship is doomed and that person is terrible. People with BPD seem unable or unwilling to accept any sort of “grey area” in their personal life and relationships.

Yeah, exactly, fuck that “grey area”. It’s all of nothing. Go big or go home. This type of intensity only really relates to my romantic relationships- it hasn’t really trickled into how I view my friendships. It used to, most definitely used to, but now that I’m grown I do have a lot more “grey area” friends. People I care about and like being around but aren’t my best friends. Which is healthy and natural and safe. I’m just not able to transfer that attitude across to my love life.

So yeah. When you break down the symptoms of BPD, it’s such a strong affect on my personality and who I am as a person. I guess I am my disorder. There’s no split down the middle. Where does BPD stop and Judy begins? They don’t. They coexist and have created quite possibly the best person the world has ever know: me.

I’m Judy. I’m intense and impulsive with a shit load of feelings. But I’m also funny, smart, ambitious, creative and cool. Those things aren’t symptoms of BPD. They’re symptoms of being a human. There is so much more to my personality than just having borderline personality disorder, but BPD has a heavy influence.

I am not my disorder. But I kinda am.

2 thoughts on “I am not my disorder…am I?

  1. lloydflloyd says:

    but, all those opposite traits are not opposites, each one is it’s own identity, that’s why one can love then hate someone, as well as both at the same time. it is their individual intensities that fluctuate and emerge as and when their time is nigh. it is our current frailness’s and strengths that provides the framework for the traits to display or hide themselves, and for us to be ourselves, distinct, individual and original

    x

    Like

  2. apachenf says:

    Are they a ‘disorder’ or are they a personality? I think the latter – if you can control them and they don’t control you.
    The binge drinking is worrying as that is when you can lose control – after all, isn’t that what alcohol is used for – loosening up you inhibitons. That’s why most of your family don’t drink much. Those that do lose control too easily and those that don’t it’s because they don’t want or can’t afford to lose control.
    Similarly drugs – most of your family don’t get into hallucogenic drugs because the visions and ideas are not as weird or as strange as the thoughts we have without the hallucogens – when you can go mentally crazy without external stimulation who needs the hassles that come with illegal stimulants.
    You are not your disorder because it isn’t a disorder that needs other people’s controls – it’s a personality that you control.
    And that’s my 2 peenyworth.

    Like

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