I don’t know enough about this condition to provide an in-depth description. So if your looking for a text book case, or a clinical reference point, you’re in the wrong place.
For me it’s all or nothing, & yet it’s everything! I think Emotionally Unstable describes my personality more than borderline, & I hate the word “disorder” either way. Each day my emotions can change (sometimes by the hour) from being on top of everything, not pretending, I am. I can be a good mum, work full time, sort out the childcare, after school activities & sleepovers, volunteer at the community centre, food shop, see friends, complete my degree assignments, fundraise, do a half marathon or deerstalker and keep all my various appointments. And as some of my colleagues would say, “I’m proper on it”. This is when I feel at my best. I feel good enough, I feel competent. I feel like I’m making a contribution & deserve my place here in life. If I don’t have time to think, things seem to go right, I’m happier. This is me when I think I am at my best. But I become obsessive & nothing is ever good enough.
As my mood builds, I get busier & busier. I add more pressure to myself. I need the kids to have the BEST birthday parties, & everyone to love every present. I need to attend every school & work meeting, I need to see every family member & every friend every week, I need to get more twitter followers, my kids need to constantly be happy & love life (clearly I missed the memo about the strops 8 & 11 year olds have). Friends & family know this isn’t me at my best, it’s me just about to hit my worse. It’s all or it’s nothing. It has to be the best, because when it hits me I can’t do everything or at least not everything perfectly, I dip, I fade & begin to do nothing…
So eventually I crash! Sometimes it’s a gradual decent, other times I just drop. And it can be hours, days or weeks, just down in that place. The place I hate.
- I can live on cereal for days & getting out of bed to shower feels pointless, so I just stay in bed.
- Making a cup of tea seems too much effort, so I get headaches going all day without a drink.
- I forget my medications & clearly that doesn’t help & I sleep. I want to sleep & am tired all the time.
- I haven’t bought an item of clothing for myself from a shop in almost 2 years, just online
- I avoid speaking on the phone in case I say the wrong thing. I prefer to text or email so I can edit & explain clearly
- Unless I have laid out every item of clothing the night before for me & the kids, the next day will generally feel too much & we’ll spend the day in PJs.
And then there’s the stuff I don’t want to talk about. The stuff where I feel so bad about myself & so low that thoughts & actions head to a dark place. In lots of ways, but just to punish myself.
But then something small starts building up my mood again. It’s not something I’ve worked out how to do yet & it’s rarely anything that can be manufactured, a sunny day, a school award for the kids, reading a good news story, and then it starts… bit by bit it builds back up. Then I start to become my version of the best me again, searching perfection before the crash & it can become a vicious cycle. I’m aware of it just learning how to change behavioural habits is hard. But my psychiatrist & CPN are helping weekly.
So the best me, is quite hard to find. It’s the functioning person in the middle. The one that balances life. I do remember her, she understood grey & she could read between the lines. She knew priorities & that for kids that was just love. I’m working my way back to finding her with help, but would really love the DBT to help this come quicker to be more freely available. And not a wait of up to 2 years!