Borderline Personality Disorder – Emotions Borderline Style & Seeing Is Believing

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.

My Struggles With Alcohol Can be Read in These Blogs:

Present Day

When I was 52 years old I had a thorough psychological assessment by a seasoned psychiatrist. At long last, I was 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, 💛

Grand Mosque of Kuwait - Kuwait City, Kuwait - Waiting area - Wearing the required abaya and shayla
November 23rd, 2017 – Kuwait City, Al Kuwayt, Kuwait – Visit to their Grand Mosque

Emotions – Borderline Style

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I have spent the last two decades scared to death that something hidden in my memory was the reason my body floods with fear when “triggered” by specific and not so identifiable situations.

I could not understand or link the intense emotions to a PTSD symptom of feeling like I was back in a horrible moment.

I was reminded of something horrible – yes – so much so I would go into a panic attack or what appeared to be a trauma response.

But, not every time would I go into such extreme feelings.

That said, I would always feel the emotions in my body.

It was very confusing for me.

Until now, NOW I FINALLY understand why I feel emotions as strongly as I do.

Why I cry so easily.

Get so angry so quickly.

Get so scared so intensely.

I love the sub title in Chapter 6 of Borderline Personality for Dummies by Charles H. Elliott and Laura L. Smith called – Emotions Borderline Style.

Here are two paragraphs from the above mentioned book that basically describes how I personalize everything and feel emotions:

Numerous studies have shown that people with BPD experience negative emotions more often than people with healthy personalities do. They have more anxiety, sadness, anger, and jealousy than most people. At the same time, they appear to experience less elation and happiness. Their emotions race from 0 to 60 in mere seconds, and calming their emotions takes longer than you many expect.

Furthermore, the events that trigger the negative emotions of people with BPD don’t have to be huge or life altering because people with BPD often see the world through a dark, distrusting, and distorted lens. They tend to think the world revolves around them and, as a result, often personalize happenings – big or small – that have little or nothing to do with them. In addition to these distorted thought processes, people with BPD sometimes overreact because they have a genetic predisposition to do so.

Page 96 – Borderline Personality for Dummies by Charles H. Elliott and Laura L. Smith

0 to 60 in Mere Seconds

“Their emotions race from 0 to 60 in mere seconds, and calming their emotions takes longer than you many expect. “

photo of car on expressway
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I am now able to identify when this happens to me.

I now realize that when I am feeling a strong emotional response that floods my body – it is brought on by a situation that does not merit the size of the feelings I have.

A majority of my emotional responses do not match the situation that triggered it.

It is this noticing that gives me the space to start implementing mindfulness and breathing techniques to observe the strong emotion taking over my body.

Then, I can decide what to do with the emotion.

The emotion is telling me something – just at a volume too loud to hear or even trust it (I think).

I still have lots to learn.

Need an Exorcist

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When an emotion sweeps over me – it feels like I have a demon in my body that has taken over me.

Really and truly.

It can take everything I have just to breathe through it as this physical surge permeates me.

The reasoning and cause for my emotional upset screams at me like a nasty defence lawyer – convincing me that the reason I am feeling this way – MUST be true.

I do everything I can to ride out this demonic, nasty defence lawyer voice in my head.

CBD has already calmed my body – so the demon is contained within a calm cage – but still needs to be released.

My body almost vibrates in a contained way.

Difficult to explain.

I have to release the energy in my body.

I guess this is a good step forward as I’m releasing the energy – not storing it.

Mentally, the THC helps with clarity of thought.

When the demonic, nasty defence lawyer voice in my brain starts screaming at me, I now have a level of clarity to observe the thoughts rather than being fully sucked into them.

Global Warming is My Fault

They tend to think the world revolves around them and, as a result, often personalize happenings – big or small – that have little or nothing to do with them.

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Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

I used to joke that global warming is my fault.

I take most everything personally.

I’ve said for many years that I feel too sensitive for the world.

Because I feel everything so much.

And it is no joke – feeling responsible for everyone else’s mood – this has been my life.

Not easy for me to be in a room full of people exhibiting a variety of moods.

I take it all in, and struggle with it all.

This is all I’m going to say on this right now.

It’s a tough subject.

Seeing is Believing

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As I slowly remove the incorrect PTSD lenses to the proper BPD (and HPD) lenses, seeing really is believing.

One of the most common obstacles of healing for those with BPD is seeing the symptoms in themselves and owning them.

There is a lot of shame involved because having strong emotions creates more emotions because we feel shamed we are “overreacting”.

We get emotional about being emotional.

Then get stuck in a cycle of misery.

Now, I feel empowered as I recognize that I am more than the strong emotional response.

I can observe it.

This feels like a good starting place as I “see my strong emotional responses to believe them”.

This happened to me yesterday – I was flooded by a strong emotion (more than once during the day) and I managed it by breathing through it and moving around to shake it off.

Yesterday, I was able to “see” my BPD emotional reaction to believe it.

It was a good day, because of this.

Why?

I am starting to “see” so I can unravel and hopefully, find Middle Ground.

S, 🔍

Owning and Unraveling Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder

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