I appreciate that not everyone is going to understand what it is like to have mental health issues; it is not about 'normal' feelings. People I have come across, often, underestimate what it is really like having to fight day in and day out with your own mind. Others think that these disorders do not exist and I can 100% with confidence say that those people simply have not tried hard enough to understand and quite obviously cannot comprehend that the world does not revolve around them and that just because one does not experience something, does not mean it does not exist. If these people or even you, do not understand then you need to keep trying. attempting to help a loved one and giving up on understanding is never going to make the situation better.
In this blog post, I will try and make it easier for you to understand what it is like to have borderline personality disorder, some terms used in association to the illness and the things you can do to support the sufferers,
Nothing is 'normal' in our world and that is the first hurdle you need to jump over. You need to forget the boundaries and the box of what exists and what does not exist. Question yourself and the way you feel and do not use it as a means of comparison because there is no comparing. The way us borderliners feel and the way you feel is so far apart from eachother. Borderliners over think everything, Im not talking about having a slight bit of anxiety because of your exam on monday. I am talking analysing every word that is spoken to you, every piece of communication you recieve, every thing theyve said, everything they have done, we cannot let go and no amount of reasoning will make it go away. We experience our feelings at a higher intensity and more intense fluctuations to an extent where we dont understand how we feel, we cannot keep up with ourselves or our inner self. These overly exaggerated will stay with us for hours on end, days upon days and sometimes even weeks. We never feel just slightly angry or sad,. Its being furious over the smallest things, its lying on the floor hysterically crying over something that is not a big deal, there is no middle ground. It is all or nothing.
This idea of all or nothing, black and white is known as splitting. Borderliners lack the ability to combine positive and negative thoughts of people, feelings and situations. It is either super good or super bad and though you may not see it at facevalue, we are very good at acting, most of us having to conceal this mass of explosive nothingness to make us look fine. Usually, the negative thoughts completly cloud the positive, to the point where the positive disappears. This makes it hard for borderliners to figure out others and how they are feeling, you'll often find that borderliners frequently ask whether people are mad or upset at them. Our ideas about our future, job, religion, relationships change. Long terms goals are fogged and can often lead to feelings of 'emptiness' and being 'lost'.
A favourite person is another aspect of borderline personality disorder that affects us greatly. Many have what is known as a 'favourite person', including me. This extends further than just a bestfriend. It is someone they heavily depend on, someone they love with such intensity that it often destroys them when they are apart from their favourite person. Once again, it is not about feeling heartbroken or upset when you end a friendship or a relationship but it is feeling so much at once, all the time. Validation, love and support is often craved from this person and the person that they want to spend ALL their time with. Borderliners sometimes hate their favourite person and this is where splitting comes into play... it goes something like 'I HATE YOU, DONT LEAVE ME'.
It usually occurs that when the borderliner feels that they are not loved, liked or supported by their favourite person that they will push them away before they are abandoned. This does not necesarily mean that their favourite person does feel this way but more that the borderliner has overanalysed signals.
Below are some things you can think about when speaking to, trying to comfort or if you are involved in the life of someone with BPD. Offer reasurance, that you are not anrgy and that you support them and love them.
Space should be given to them when needed but remember to remind them that you are still there when they need you, even if they are pushing you away. Pushing away, is something people with BPD often do, to test whether, they really are loved and supported by that person, this is not conscious, they do not choose to do this.
Dont judge! Borderliners can say and do some stupid things and act in a way that they wouldnt do without the disorder. It is not a choice and many would do anything to rid of it.
Do not threaten with punishment. This enhances the negative feelings and thought and leads to them feeling worse.
Do not suggest that they do not hae BPD. You are not a psycholoigist nor are you the individual
Try and understand and keep trying until you do!
Use positive connotations. This helps them when trying to cope with splitting.
I hope this has helped many of you with a close one