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.
But, 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.
Here are past blogs I’ve written about my struggles with anxiety and what felt like PTSD or DDNOS:
- Managing Anxiety -The Space of No Mind
- Managing Anxiety and the Mind of Choice
- Anxiety – The Antithesis of Personal Connection
- Anxiety & Cannabidiol (CBD) & Exercise
- Trauma, Flashbacks and Dissociative Disorders
- AM I: In a Panic Attack or Trauma Response or Dissociation or Menopause? How Do I Tell The Difference?
As well, I have a history of alcohol addiction.
On February 17th, 2022 I celebrate my second year living an alcohol-free life.
My Struggles With Alcohol Can be Read in These Blogs:
- Mystic Order – Reiki Level IIIA – 21 Day Cleanse – A Miracle Has Happened
- Spiritual Discipline – My Alcohol Addiction – My Story Now
- Personal Development – Cutting the Ties That Bind – Saying Goodbye to Alcohol
- Is Too Much a Choice or Addiction?
- Personal Development – A Wild Woman’s Journey With Drinking and Hedonism While Walking the Spiritual Path
- Personal Development – A Wild Woman’s Slow Transformation Towards Her Best Self
- OYNB – One Year No Beer – This Wild Woman’s Successful Journey of the 28 Day Challenge and Beyond!
- Personal Development – A Wild Woman Walking the Spiritual Path – A Wild Woman Redefined? Absolutely!
- Personal Development – Living Alcohol Free – Musings During Day 78
- Just For Today – I Will Do My Work Honestly
- Just For Today – I Will Do My Work Honestly
- Personal Development – Living An Alcohol Free Life – Year One
And now, at 52 years old, and after a thorough assessment by a seasoned psychiatrist – I am 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.
Processing Processing Processing
I’ve been processing- thinking a lot about how BPD and HPD manifest in me.
I realize just how much emotions and thoughts I have been keeping inside me.
For a variety of reasons.
Mainly, my level of emotional intensity does not match most people and conventional social environments.
I was told (or at least it felt this way) to turn down the volume.
Not be loud.
This bothers me a bit.
Well a lot, actually.
How most people can’t seem to handle my level of emotional intensity.
And as they shouldn’t – when I’m angry and mean.
My anger is hot.
Perhaps menopause plays a part in this as I can’t seem to remember being known as an angry person.
I was too busy trying to get people to like me and wearing masks to fit in.
That I am aware of, anger didn’t really start for me until I was in my early 40’s in a relationship with a good man who had intense anger issues.
It was here I truly learned how to be angry and let anger rip out of me.
I had to defend myself.
At least that is what it felt like.
I learned to verbally fight back – but in a very unhealthy way.
Needless to say, that relationship did not work out.
In hindsight, (I will say again, the relationship was very difficult) it sure did feel good to the obedient voice I felt I once had to be able to have an angry voice!
The angry energy could feel intoxicating as intense emotions flared.
Unfortunately, the “make-up” parts weren’t worth the fights.
I don’t say that facetiously.
I say it as a fact.
Anger is fire.
It has a purpose when managed properly.
And the “making-up” part can be quite fun!
But that relationship was certainly NOT the case.
It was toxic across the board and we both played our parts.
I feel like I have come a long way since then, but anger still grips me.
I have strategies in place now, to manage my anger.
Right now, because of my recent diagnosis and knowing why I feel emotions so intensely, I am giving myself permission to feel them full throttle.
To let them loose.
It is like I can’t hold them in anymore.
It is time for the tiger to roar.
After a few blotched attempts at trying to focus my anger, and making the situation worse, I quickly realized I needed a new approach.
Then a recent series of events that happened one evening led me to experience anger that turned to rage in its purest form.
I’ll get to that story in a sec.
But first I have to say that because of that situation, and using a productive anger management strategy that I started a few weeks back – boxing – I now have a place to safely release my BPD anger in its purest form.
For the past two years, running has helped me release emotional energy, like anger, from my body.
Running has been a life game changer for me.
The best place to release my anger is punching a heavy bag with all my might – stepping into my inner warrior – and focusing all my rage as I channel it with purpose onto the heavy bag.
This isn’t new for me, as I once boxed (to exercise) at a MMA gym.
But this BPD level of anger was new for me as was incorporating mindful breathing into the mix of jabs, hooks, and upper cuts – but I will get to that.
As a result of the recent series of events I spoke of earlier, I experienced what felt to me like a BPD emotional extreme.
Because it was one of the most powerful and purest emotional releases I have ever had.
This is the story:
You know that feeling of release when you belly laugh until your stomach hurts.
Or have an incredible orgasm that takes you to another realm.
Both are pure emotional and physical releases.
This story is about the emotional and physical release of pure rage.
I went into a pure warrior rage of a woman who has just had it with holding her anger inside, with an overwhelming urge to protect.
I’d never hit a heavy bag with all my might, as I had this night.
The rage flooded through me as I channeled my rage with purpose.
Powerful energy rippled through me while I stopped to take mindful “pauses” and reign in the rage a bit.
It was there, venting all my rage on that heavy bag, I could imagine being a soldier in battle – fighting for a cause.
Power of Diagnosis
This is the power of a diagnosis.
Because now I know my truth and can feel free to feel it in a productive way to then see what is TRULY under all that intense emotion.
I just discovered a secret truth about me during the release of pure rage in a productive way.
I might have liked joining the military – to fight for a cause – to protect my country and those in it.
This fits with my lifelong draw to anything martial arts and hand-to-hand combat.
I feel everything so much that I sometimes think I’ve secretly contained my strong emotions for so long because I didn’t understand why I was reacting so strongly to life.
Actually, I know this is true because for two decades I thought the strong emotional responses in me were PTSD flashbacks.
Because of this, I was scared to release my emotions for fear horrible repressed memories would surface and haunt me.
Then add menopause to the mix, and the recipe just gets messier!
So now I wonder…
How BPD have I actually looked out there in the world?
How BPD am I?
Because I feel transparent, I always think everyone can”see” the intense emotional responses hijacking my brain while I’m trying to negotiate with them.
As a result, I can’t tell if my behavior is out of whack because my mind is already out of whack – and that is where my focus is – in my head.
So I can’t see outside myself when I try to think back to a situation – because I was in my head.
At least, I think?
Is this a type of dissociation?
Why I forget so much of my life?
I don’t know how “BPD” I’ve actually been up until my diagnosis, because my lenses up to my diagnosis was PTSD.
I’m afraid of the answer, because BPD has such a bad reputation.
Suddenly, I feel a need to defend myself.
I have BPD and “feel” the world at an intensity most people can’t handle.
Good or bad?
Who is to judge?
As long as I am not hurting anyone (now that I am aware and working to not make situations worse) then there has to be good in having BPD.
Because, again, the intensity of BPD should never hurt another person, including ourselves.
But the very nature of this personality disorder seems to do so.
Managing this BPD emotional intensity is the hard work and why it is so hard to manage – because BPD is so intense.
This is why, I think, at 27 years old when BPD was first put on the table, I would not have been able to handle the healing journey because I did not have the stability and supports in place to own it – let alone the ability to “see” it – because it was SO intense.
Plus, I presented in such a heap of crossover disorders – it would have taken a truly trained eye to figure me out.
I know I certainly couldn’t figure me out – I knew there was something “wrong” with me – because I just could not seem to operate in the world.
Today, I believe as I start to review my life with the lenses of BPD – my truth of how BPD I am will reveal itself.
I foresee this as an empowering experience.
As I learn to properly “see” my life through the lenses of BPD & HPD – and review it -I will see how and when these personality disorders started and developed in me.
I am owning this and making the best of it, as I finally start to make sense of my life.
As singer/songwriter Helen Reddy says, “I am woman, hear me roar!”
I am roaring I need to be free of the shackles of shame of this BPD mental illness.
And have BPD mental health.
The Confusion of A Source and No Source
BPD can feel emotionally overwhelming during the most appropriate times (when a regulated emotion like anger or jealousy or joy could be applied – but BPD makes it feel like a tsunami).
Or, BPD can rear its head with an emotionally overwhelming response over the most innocuous circumstances.
I’ve experienced both.
What is most tricky are the innocuous circumstances, because perhaps I am not perceiving the situation properly.
This is tricky.
Something is niggling at me.
But I can’t tell what it is.
I try and navigate it.
Look for the true root cause.
If I’m tired and overwhelmed with life – this won’t end well for me, or my husband, who typically gets the brunt of this…
Typically, if I overreact over a small issue – it is that I am perceiving the situation incorrectly because I am taking it personally.
I won’t talk any more on that right now, as I seem to remember in Borderline Personality Disorder for Dummies by Charles H. Elliott & Laura L. Smith, how those with BPD typically take things personally – in the BPD intense way.
I don’t have the book with me as I type this, so I cannot reference it exactly.
Perseverate Perseverate Perseverate
This March Break has shown me how much working a Monday – Friday job with lots of people drains me while managing my mind, on top of living.
And, how taking THC and CBD drains me – their side effects are starting to interfere with my life in a negative way.
As well, the THC and CBD seem to sometimes intensify my BPD symptoms.
I don’t need the symptoms to be any more intense than they actually are.
That is for shit sure!
I will be writing an entire blog on this because THC and CBD have helped up to a point, but as mentioned there are the above issues as well as the product seems to bring about BPD psychosis and amplify anxiety and panic attacks, I think.
Right now, the cons outweigh the pros and taking it is not worth it.
And, the addiction side of me could see it becoming a “habit” when it really isn’t necessary now and is very expensive to purchase – even when it is a medical marijuana prescription.
This “pharmaceutical” is not covered by insurance companies.
Again – I will be writing about this in more detail in an upcoming blog.
Coming off of THC & CBD is (hopefully) an easy thing to do – but complicated to explain.
I will eventually do my best to write this out in a blog – in hopes this information of my THC & CBD experience helps someone else – both the pros and the cons.
Back to the topic at hand – being tired and overwhelmed with life isn’t good for me (and the rest of the world’s population!)
The more tired I am, the harder it is to “perceive” my life.
My mind starts to plays tricks on me and perseverates on “past wrongs”.
I get stuck on it.
I don’t know if I am using the term “perseverate” correctly, but it feels like a fit.
In this moment, I truly struggle to remember or barely recall evidence to debunk the perseverating “past wrong” thoughts.
The perseverating thoughts gets stronger and finds more evidence of other “similar reasons” to be white-hot angry.
As this happens, the perseverating thoughts grow to include these reasons as well.
This happens internally for me – that I keep inside of me.
But remember, I feel transparent, so I think everyone can actually “see” what I am keeping inside of me.
Joy and Passion
The opposite of anger is joy – and passion.
An explosion of joy and passion are within me – a true enjoyment of life.
This is where I can turn the volume way up – but again – I can’t go full blast because when I do – I feel like a spectacle.
Most people do not have the level of energy I do.
If they have ADHD – they get it – or Bi-Polar – who feel emotions MUCH more than BPD – they will get it too.
I can see where the HPD plays into part here, too.
Histrionic Personality Disorder, in case you forgot.
I actually have the energy level to be someone who would have gone to Broadway.
Be an actress.
Act on stage.
And totally enjoy being the centre of attention.
I have it in me to project all of these intense BPD emotions out there to move an entire audience to tears or laughter.
I have that superpower within me.
But the lifestyle would have killed me.
I was working in the film industry when I was 27 years old, and it was there that I quickly made my mark and started to “climb the ladder”.
But the crazy hours and wild atmosphere fed into my wild impulses and desires – and soon I was blacking out after film producers wined and dined me.
I didn’t last very long.
The film industry eats sensitive, caring young women up like candy.
And spits them out.
Maybe now, at 52 years old I can try again?
But, as Frank Sinatra says – “I’m gonna do it my way!”
I’d like that, I think.
When I retire!
Right now, my husband and I have a house to build and property to develop!
Well, that is it for now.
I look forward to rereading this, so it sinks in more.
Owning and Unraveling Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder
- Forget Everything I’ve Said – I’ve Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder – Introduction to Symptoms & Causes
- Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder – Today’s Ramble on Identity & Calm & CBD & THC
- Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder – Scrambled Egg Thoughts & Soaring Eagles
- Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder – The World is Hard Work
- Borderline Personality Disorder – Emotions Borderline Style & Seeing Is Believing
- Borderline Personality Disorder – Intentional Interventions & Ah-Ha Moments
- Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder – Anger & Lettin’ Loose & How BPD Am I?
- Borderline Personality Disorder – Mindfulness & Releasing Repressed Grief
- Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder – The Stigma & Non-Social Acceptance
- Borderline Personality Disorder – Practicing Non-Judgement & Finding Synthesis Between Opposites
- Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder – The Start of EMDR – Creating New Pathways to Calm
- Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder – The Pros and Cons of Medical THC & CBD
- Histrionic Personality Disorder – This One’s Hard To Process – Gonna Be Baby Steps
- Borderline Personality Disorder & HistrionicPersonality Disorder – In Need of A Reset
- Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder – Owning The Chaos – It Has Made My Life Interesting
- Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder – Anxious – Ambivalent (Preoccupied) Attachment Style