Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder – Owning The Chaos – It Has Made My Life Interesting

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.

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, 2022 I celebrate my second year living an alcohol-free life.

My Struggles With Alcohol Can be Read in These Blogs:

Present Day

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.

With hope,

Stephanie, 💛

October 31st, 2020 - Campbell River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia - My first (and maybe only) skydiving jump with Tandem Master Macko!
October 31st, 2020 – Campbell River, Vancouver Island, British Columbia – My first (and maybe only) skydiving jump with Tandem Master Macko!

If I Could Go Back and Do It Over Again… Would I?

I think everyone has either had this thought or been asked this question.

Recently, while eating my morning snack in the staff room, a teacher suddenly asked me if I would go back and do my life over again…

I started to answer, saying if I knew now (about my diagnosis and my gained life wisdom) I would…

Then she interrupted and said she would not… because she would not have met her husband.

That stopped my listening mind just like that.

I totally agreed.

Every. Single. Moment. Of. My. Life. Brought. Me. To. The. One. Person. Who. Matched. Me. Perfectly.

Michael.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

Gratitude

My husband and I haven’t had an easy path to bring us to where we are now…we have worked very hard on our relationship.

Both of us brought heavy baggage with us when we married.

This year will be our seventh anniversary.

Wow, how time flies by….

Recently, we started a morning gratitude list – we each list one thing we are grateful for – to start our day.

One morning, he wrote he was grateful for his wild and crazy life.

This complete acceptance of his life – his confidence level- has always been a trait I admire in him.

Not to say he doesn’t have regrets.

We all do.

Yet, it is his ability to claim his life as his own that I admire.

He is his own person.

Metaphorical warts and all (because he doesn’t have any real warts!).

The Chaos

As I start to buckle down into studying Dialectical Behavior Therapy, specifically created by Marsha M. Lineham for Borderline Personality Disorder, I continue to review my past through the lens of Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder.

Perspective is difficult for those with BPD as is a sense of identity.

HPD adds to the difficulty as we are easily influenced by others.

I remember in my twenties being at an absolute loss with what to fill in on the occupation line on documents requiring this information because I never felt that the work I was doing reflected who I was – I was surviving – not thriving – trying to find my way.

I couldn’t see who I was or even get a sense of who I was because I identified with what others wanted me to be – but rebelled against it whenever I could.

I switched jobs so many times – or was fired from them – that by the time I was 37 I had actually worked 37 jobs!

For real!

I figured this out with a mind mapping activity on a resume course I was taking via a government funded employment agency trying to help me find stable employment beyond level entry jobs.

I used to call myself a people pleaser – constantly needing the approval and permission of others to exist – but since my recent diagnoses – I now see that my level of this people pleaser label was actually pathological and a mixed symptom of BPD and HPD.

Add to this the lack of impulse control as I tried to find my way – well, needless to say my life felt and was chaotic.

I feel sadness and shame as I type this because I always felt like the outsider in my family – the crazy one.

The one who didn’t conform or become the good, behaved girl.

The one who struggled.

The lost one who was a constant disappointment because of her choices.

That was how I felt – because I felt so lost.

I know my family loves me.

I am in the process of feeling comfortable with their love as a result of my own feelings of shame.

Yet, recently inspired by that one question asked to me by the teacher in the staff room and her answer, Michael’s gratitude for his wild and crazy life…. and then these recent birthday gift stickers for my Jeep, given to me by my step-daughter Patricia for my birthday – perhaps a crazy life isn’t that bad.

Chaos Risk Adventure

There is little doubt I’ve made impulsive decisions that to this day, I wish I had handled differently.

But, who doesn’t have regret.

What I do know, is that in my heart I have never intentionally wanted to hurt anyone.

The risks and impulses I have taken have and are some of the best stories, ever….

To name a few:

In my early twenties, I traveled around the coastal Nova Scotia western shores, on the back of a Harley Davidson with a popular restaurant owner who decided to ask one of the Hell’s Angels to join us…

Again, in my early twenties, I traveled to Cuba on my own, met a guy from Italy who I then started a long distance relationship with. We met in New York City for a weekend in December when the city was dressed for Christmas.

I’ve taken singer/song writer James Taylor and his son, Henry sea kayaking.

I made Hollywood actor Kelsey Grammer laugh.

I asked Canadian actor Jason Priestly out on a date – he said no!

Partied and hung out with the creators of the cult television show Trailer Park Boys.

I have traveled to over 30 countries.

Restarted my life countless times – one time in the Middle East – when I moved there to be with Michael when we first married.

Swam with Nurse Sharks in the Indian Ocean.

Rode an elephant named Lulu in Thailand.

Jumped out of a perfectly good airplane in British Columbia (not sure I will do this again!)

Kayaked the Killer K in Maitland, Nova Scotia (quite sure I will never do this again!).

I’ve also failed many times.

And cried many times as I’ve struggled with my mental health and addictions.

Yet, the messiness and risks and adventures I have been on and will continue to have is just that – life.

And I’ve lived life and will continue to do so.

Hopefully, what will grow inside of me is self-acceptance, confidence and more wisdom as I own and unravel the challenging symptoms of BPD and HPD.

Today is Mother’s Day so I will end with sending my mama some love as she has done her best to support me along the way…

S, 🌼💛🌼

August 3rd, 2018 - Summer visit to Canada from Qatar! 🌼💛🎉💛
August 3rd, 2018 – Summer visit to Canada from Qatar! 🌼💛🎉💛

Owning and Unraveling Borderline Personality Disorder & Histrionic Personality Disorder

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