Lockdown Helped Me Manage My Borderline Personality Disorder
I struggle with it every day but it is also something I have adapted into my life now.
You’re okay, you’re safe, you’re healthy.
This is something I tell myself every day when I wake up. And for the majority of the time, it works or well, semi-works; the other times I am sitting in front of my laptop, profusely apologizing to my therapist because I can’t seem to make it through the day again. 2020 hasn’t been as envisioned, to be honest, and I agree it hasn’t been like that for a lot of people. I still come from a space of privilege when I speak of this year and its impact.
I had last year decided to make something out of myself instead of the arduous amount of self - hate that I recklessly engaged in.
I was in fact my own worst enemy. I stood in my own way, sabotaged my own actions with no particular reason why – just impulse, just the inevitable need to prove to the voice in my head that “well you were right, it wasn’t meant for you”.
This is what it is like to live with borderline personality disorder. Much like the term signifies it is a constant conflict with your inner self, because in short you don’t trust yourself so how do you expect to trust others around you.
BPD stems from a place of constant neglect and abuse – be it physical, emotional, mental or sexual, that too at a very tender age. It rips one’s personality or the development of it away. It made me believe that I was worth it only if someone told me I was worth it, consistently no less.
And this sabotage isn’t consistent – it is replete with highs and lows, with bursts of serotonin making me think the world’s your stage to by the end of the day thinking that life itself wasn’t for me. It is also my fear of abandonment, where I think a commonplace text “okay” from a friend is them being upset with me.
It is my need to please someone to the nth moment so that they just don’t leave. I just want them to stay with me, tell me it’s okay, hold me and be as steadfast with me as I was with them. It is sporadic and what’s worse it has hit me like a truck when I least expected it.
I wasn’t regular with my therapy in 2019, because I had found my source of happiness in someone else. I gave up on my meds, on my combative techniques to deal with what I thought of was the plague itself. I had found my refuge in a person who was not the best for me, was there – they didn’t want to leave, they wanted to be with me. And this very fact was both for me and against me. Naturally, my urge, as I’ve been told most of my life now, to “act out” surfaced – I pinned them under the pressure of being my solace and chastised them insistently when they wanted to leave.
I was convinced I wasn’t meant for better things in life, because the one thing that mattered to me left me. And because borderline personality disorder doesn’t really care about the toll friendships and relationships take on you, the emotional void that it leaves behind is extreme. To say the least it was brutal.
So when 2020 announced itself with a pandemic that belligerently agreed to stay put, my BPD had taken a hit for the worse. I had joined the gym to channel my energy into something good, last year and even taken writing as a profession. However as the months into the uncertainty of living with a unknown virus grew and the deaths just piled up, I was yet again convinced this wasn’t the year for me.
I had withdrawn myself from any development I made the few months of last year, I had given up on my fitness and my writing. I had called it quits basically.
In many ways I can say my therapist is the reason why I’m even writing this today – they helped me through the process of getting out of my slump, by going back on my meds.
Medication while necessary, has numbed me through the process. It has made me feel like I’m in limbo but it has taken away some of the irrefutable anger I carried with myself everyday towards myself. It has also helped me trust my friends and their agenda – that in fact they are here for me, and not against me.
This is a practice I have failed in for about 15 years of living with BPD. My therapist also got me to go back to working out, regularly, pushed me to achieve those little spurts of happiness.
Even though I was convinced I could never go back to how I was when I was working out every day, the fact that I could run amile or push myself to at least get my workout clothes on is something I cherish till date.
As of now, and I speak of now, my writing seems to be thriving (case in point), my relationships are healthy and not laced with an extreme dependency and I enjoy the voice in my head a little more now.
We’re sitting in October now, and the year has breezed through and while I have arduously spoken ill of my mental health, I also know that my BPD especially during this lockdown has helped me. BPD for me makes me analyze every move, every shift of energy, because for me at least it a mode of sustenance.
So while of course I have had days when I want to shut my brain off, I have also surfaced with many epiphanies and actions of my own which in hindsight have done worse for me than benefit me.
I would love to pin it entirely on my mental health, but at some level that would be taking away some of the responsibility from myself. I have been able to let go of things quite easily, I have been able to let go of people even more easily. I have been able to hold myself accountable for my behaviour because I have sat and thought about it relentlessly. Yes, I have times when I profusely am apologetic for any minor inconvenience people have because of me, but at the end of the day it makes me be more vigilant, more empathetic and more understanding.
I know that my BPD stays with me till the end and it might get better today or get terribly worse tomorrow. I struggle with it every day but it is also something I have adapted into my life now without alienating myself from others because of it.
I also know that had it not been for my friends, my colleagues, my family and my bouts of happy, I wouldn’t be in a place where I can sit and write about my health without breaking down entirely.
(The author wishes to stay anonymous.)
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