Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder – The World is Hard Work

Introduction to This Blog Series

I was 27 years old when I entered into the realization that there was something wrong with me and one of the original diagnosis was Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD. 

I say something wrong with me because I was just not able to manage my life on my own and somehow knew there was something wrong with my mind.

Back then, not a lot was known about this horribly stigmatized disorder because BPD patients were considered impossible to treat or wrongly diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. 

Along with BPD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (DDNOS) were also added to my diagnostic mix.

ADHD was quickly debunked and over the past two decades most professionals leaned towards my having PTSD or a Dissociative Disorder – but something about these disorders never seemed to fit.

Add menopause to the mix and the confusion became even more confusing.

Anxiety

Here are past blogs I’ve written about my struggles with anxiety and what felt like PTSD or DDNOS:

Alcohol Addiction

As well, I have a history of alcohol addiction.

On February 17th, 2020 I began living an alcohol-free life.

My Struggles With Alcohol Can be Read in These Blogs:

Present Day

At 52 years old, and after a thorough assessment by a seasoned psychiatrist – I was finally properly diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder.

This blog series called Owning and Unraveling Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder is my way of processing and understanding these complex personality disorders and how they manifest, interfere with and enhance my life.

And, as it has been said to me from friends who have family members with Borderline Personality Disorder, perhaps I can help dispel misconceptions and stigmas associated with these mental illnesses.

As well, perhaps I can shed some light and more personal information on what living with Histrionic Personality Disorder is like, for those who are also walking this path.

With hope,

Stephanie, 💛

May 27th, 2019 - Mararikulum North, Kerela, India - Olive and I
May 27th, 2019 – Mararikulum North, Kerela, India – Olive and I

Strong Opinions

Lately, I’ve been finding the world hard work.

There are so many strong opinions on so many issues, I feel like I am drowning in an ocean of opinions.

This is wrong, opinion.

This is right, opinion.

Actually, my struggling with the world and it being hard work – isn’t new for me.

I blogged about this, August of 2016:

Why Is It So Difficult To See My Own Value? Because This World of Opinions and Comparisons Overwhelm Me. A World of Too Much.

Side note – it is comforting reading this earlier blog that is actually the BPD symptom of identity crisis – over the years, feeling without an identity and lost in the world has been a constant for me.

Now my identity suffering makes sense.

From my BPD and HPD lens, the world has too many opinions on the “way” to be in the world.

BPD makes me feel lost in a world of too many identities to pick from – because everyone has an opinion on how a person should be – social media especially tells me that.

HPD makes me highly susceptible to adapting someone else’s “way” I should be in the world.

Messy stuff.

Then there are the socially acceptable and the non-socially acceptable behaviors within North American culture and the freedom to have an opinion about it.

Typically, most problematic behaviors of BPD and HPD are not socially acceptable.

Examples are the intense emotional outbursts, impulsive activities and high risk behaviors, and using sex as a way to get needs met.

Most days, I’m so busy trying to manage what is going on in my mind while doing a task at hand, that I am oblivious to most of the world around me.

When I do open up to the world, it feels overwhelmed with problems and polarized opinions on what is the “wrong” way and what is the “right” way to be.

COVID certainly enhanced this belief.

I find it very dangerous for me to be around a person with a strong opinion about the world, or any strong opinion on any topic, as the energy level that comes with that seems to affect me.

I get defensive.

Or I shut down and shut my mouth.

I cannot handle strong opinions.

BPD sees the world in black and white.

A strong opinion I do not understand or do not agree with seems to make me feel like I am doing something wrong.

My brain tries to find a place to put the strong opinion information.

It can’t.

It does not compute to find a Middle Ground.

Middle Ground is a conversation for another day, as I am still at the title – Middle Ground.

Middle Ground is a Dialectical Behavior Theory (DBT) strategy.

DBT is a therapy specifcally created for those with BPD by an American psychologist with BPD.

I agree with comedian Jim Jefferies when he says everything you need to know about the 40 minute instructional parenting DVD video “Don’t Shake The Baby”, is in the DVD title!

It seems everything you need to know about DBT’s Middle Ground strategy is in the title!

Those healing through BPD will get this.

I guess everyone has a “thing” they champion and have a strong opinion on.

For me, it seems to be mental health, finding healthy love and the environment.

But, with the lens of BPD’s identity crises, I feel like the world has gone out of whack on the opinion bandwagon because of the Internet and instant news – where strong opinions scream loudly.

It is too much for me.

low angle photo of road while raining
Photo by Brooke Lewis on Pexels.com

My BPD Lens Views a Too Much World

The world feels like everyone is having an opinion and everyone is gonna let the world know it.

This volume of opinions is so loud because of media and social media (are they the same or different?), that thankfully I can make the choice to tune them out by turning them off.

I once used Facebook as a way to seek approval from others (that stupid Like button) and vent opinions as a way to join the human race and feel like I had a voice.

This didn’t end well for me.

It didn’t start this way, as I was there when Facebook started.

The toxic nature of my Facebook use evolved with Facebook.

Eventually, I canceled my Facebook account.

access app application apps
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Facebook and unchecked mental illnesses do not mix.

I started a fresh new Facebook account when I was overseas as a way to keep in touch with amazing people I met.

Beyond that, my only social media is Facebook and this blog.

Here is an opinion – I just do not like how technology and social media is growing evermore into the lives of us human beings.

It feels like a big disconnect is taking over the world.

Yet, I type this and publish this – as a way to connect with others with BPD & HPD.

The world is such a contradiction.

Am I a contradiction?

As someone who writes to process my busy brain, I hope my voice doesn’t comes across as too opinionated.

According to Borderline Personality for Dummies by Charles H. Elliott and Laura L. Smith, my above view of the world being hard is a problematic schema.

Schemas.

Identifying Problematic Schemas is another Dialectical Behavior Theory (DBT) strategy.

I’m jumping ahead of myself – going way too fast to start identifying my Problematic Schemas.

Identifying them involves a lot of work.

Right now, I am working on DBT’s Chain-Analysis.

This is also hard work.

I will stay here – Chain-Analysis and keep practicing Mindfulness to observe my body sensations when strong emotions happen.

Small steps.

Problematic Schemas will be for another day.

Buying Books

I struggled this week at the woman’s group.

I sometimes find it hard to connect with these women because they have children, I do not.

Children seem to take up all their attention.

I mean, I get it – my mental health takes up a lot of my attention. Everyone has issues to navigate.

Parenting seems to be such a source of heartache because every woman participating in the group is either divorced or separated and having to deal with their ex and the problems that come with coparenting.

Last night’s group topic was on setting boundaries.

The boundary topic seemed (to me) to mostly focus on women setting boundaries with their ex’s around coparenting. Defining and setting boundaries around what they considered to be acceptable parenting strategies and setting boundaries around that to protect their children and what is not acceptable parenting strategies and setting boundaries around that to protect their children.

While we all struggle with boundaries, it was difficult for me to specifically relate because I’m not a parent.

Yes, I can still learn, and I did.

But, something else happened to me.

I found myself in a very weird place of being angered by some of the strongly opinionated parenting styles.

Then, memories started to surface for me and my body started to feel it.

And as I struggled to make sense of it all while trying to communicate my truth, I found myself experiencing a very familiar pattern: having a sincere opinion, a belief on something – but feeling totally unqualified to speak it.

I am not a parent, so how dare I have an opinion. This is what I tell myself, anyway.

Even more uncomfortable is being the one woman in the room who does not have children.

I have this freedom they do not, and seeing how hard their life is while managing children – I feel grateful to have it.

That said, I know firsthand the beauty and reward of children because I work with teenagers and have grandchildren.

Life just seems so complicated now, that having kids and developing them into functional and resilient human beings to thrive in this complicated, modern, fast-paced world feels like a full time job that requires a lot of confidence, patience, support, non-judgement, and perhaps a little humor, too.

Untreated BPD and HPD would interfere with my ability to be an effective parent. I’m glad I did not have children. I think. Still lots to process on this relatively unexplored topic for me.

When I do speak my thoughts on parenting – being brave enough to say it out loud – I fear I have said something that will be interpreted as biased or a micro-aggression or unfair or politically wrong.

This is why I feel the world is hard – because suddenly there are just so many rules to follow.

I simply cannot seem to keep up.

Working with teenagers these days seems to be especially complicated because of the variety of ways they can identify and be in the world, as they find their way.

I remember questioning my sexuality when I was in my early twenties and I was lost in an understanding of how did someone know what their sexual identity was?

How do you know if you like boys or girls?

Is this something to be afraid of?

I was generally very confused about sex and its purpose, and with my HPD diagnosis I see how I developed my view on sex – as a way to get my needs met.

Complicated stuff.

Thankfully, schools are now places kids can find someone safe to talk to about sex, if home doesn’t support open and brave conversations.

My BPD and HPD brain struggles, right now, with how many choices there are for someone to express their sexuality and their gender.

I wonder if there are too many choices that can lead to confusion and/or no decision at all or if some people are easily swayed by others to try something that maybe they are not comfortable with.

Just like when I walk into a book store and there are so many books to pick from, when all I want is one or two to fit me.

I wonder, do I have to read all the books to figure out and find what I like?

Overwhelmed, I turn around and leave the book store.

Or, I am easily impressionable and someone tries to convince me to buy a book I do not want, and I buy the book just to please them.

This is the journey, I guess.

We’re all trying to find our way.

It sometimes feels like the world has too many social rules to follow, making it even more challenging for someone like myself who struggles socially in the first place.

So, when I walk around the book store of life trying to find where I fit, hopefully a trustworthy employee (who knows the layout of the bookstore and its many topics) can help support and guide me to find a book that feels like a fit.

I guess that is what we all need – a supportive hand along the path of life so we feel accepted, no matter what book of life we buy and why.

light inside library
Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com

Contradiction = Wild Woman With Old-Fashion Values

August 1st, 2021 - Crescent Beach, LaHave, Nova Scotia, Canada
August 1st, 2021 – Crescent Beach, LaHave, Nova Scotia, Canada

I am just starting to explore this contradiction – one I find quite appealing.

I enjoy being a wild woman.

And I enjoy taking care of my man.

I’m not sure what the most recent definition of”old-fashion values” is.

I know I enjoy keeping a nice house, as well as looking after and cooking for my man.

To me, these examples feel old-fashioned because my grandmother and my mother taught them to me.

This old-fashion part of me connects to the wise woman in me who wants a peaceful life with my husband, where we take care of each other and grow old together.

There is more for me to explore here because there is something fundamentally good about old-fashioned values I want to understand.

But, not the iron-fisted, spare the rod, spoil the child old-fashioned values that scare and oppress people.

Old-fashion values that are inherently good about being a human being on this planet Earth.

That’s it for now.

I’ve spent two days writing this, in hopes to gain clarity around a triggering event at the woman’s group.

Only by reading this blog a few times, will I start to put all the thought pieces together that I hope I have organized correctly – to see an insight in there, somewhere.

S, 📖

Motivational Quote - Big Journeys Begin With Small Steps

Photo Credit – istockphoto.com

Owning and Unraveling Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder

4 Comments Add yours

  1. mama says:

    You have summed the world up well in this one statement.

    “The world feels like everyone is having an opinion and everyone is gonna let the world know it.”

    Many like minded people agree with your statement!

    We no longer live in just Nova Scotia…We live in the world!

    And it is extremely hard to constantly hear over and over everyone’s opinion on everything.

    No one ever said life was easy…Hang in there and keep your eye on the light at the end of the tunnel…things will level out.

    Love mama💖

    1. Love you too, mama! Thank you… 🥰🥰🥰

  2. mama says:

    Old-fashion values that are inherently good about being a human being on this planet Earth.👍

    To Love and be faithful to your spouse, have a compassionate heart, and be kind to others will never take you down the wrong road. They may old-fashion, but it makes life a lot easier. 💖

    1. Thanks mama! 🌼💛🌼

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