Those who live with Borderline Personality Disorder (or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder) have different traits and ways of expressing their emotions, which tend to be very intense and change frequently throughout the day.
I was diagnosed with BPD at 19 and although you must be over 18 to be diagnosed with a personality disorder, it felt as though those who had previously worked with me missed the signs over and over. I am an ‘inwards’ person, meaning that I do not shout and throw things when I am angry (as commonly described on the internet). I don’t tell people how I feel a lot and processing emotions themselves are overwhelming and takes time, feeling as though they build and build with no outlet.
Attachment issues can be immensely painful and draining, but I always felt too embarrassed to talk about it with anyone, as I didn’t properly know or understand what it was. When I am low, I do not speak, I feel empty, nothing, my whole body feels heavy and I just exist, contrasting to perhaps a few hours or days later when I cannot seem to stop talking because I hold so much energy and happiness. It’s as though I just ate ten bags of sweets and cannot slow down. Even my vision sharpens. Other occasions, I cannot place how I feel, I just wake up off and my stomach has strange butterflies for no reason. I feel nauseous and anxiety creeps up and settles heavily on my chest, as I slowly disconnect from reality. Sometimes agitation grips onto me and I feel strong irritation in my stomach as if my skin is crawling and I cannot sit still.
If you were to meet me, you may not even realise for some time that I have BPD due to this ‘quietness’. For so long, I thought I was just sensitive besides the fact I’ve always been a worrier. But over time, I just couldn’t believe that the extent of the anxiety I felt throughout school was classed as ‘normal’- there was far more going on. I would shake uncontrollably, cry, have panic and anxiety attacks as well as have contrasting mood swings but despite explaining these changes in emotions just in a single exhausting day and even (wrongly) suspecting bipolar at one stage, I got a shrug of the shoulders and a continuation of ‘low mood and anxiety’. It wasn’t until further in my life where a professional noticed more of what was going on, but not everyone is so lucky and I daren’t think where I could be now if I never had met that person.
Although BPD is not who I am, it is a pretty big part of me and I believe that it has really helped me discover and open my eyes to many things, which was considerably more difficult because of ‘quiet BPD’. I fear that many could go undiagnosed as other young people could also express ‘inwards’. You are not a label, but it can really help to be able to separate yourself from your illness and traits you have. Most importantly, you will be able to receive the right help in order to cope with these intense emotions.
I am an enthusiastic musician who loves to read and I am about to begin an Open University course to do Criminology and Psychology.