Brider Olen Jan 2017
"What does it feel like to be borderline?"

I have never been able to explain BPD in a way that satisfies me. What I experience becomes trivialized by attempting to put words to it. Words are so direct and they are so obvious, and they aren’t even close to capable of capturing the complexity and the mystery that is BPD. But I can try.

It feels like black and white and nothing in between.
Every thing, every person, every place – they are either good or they are bad. I am either good or I am bad. Constantly changing, never the same. Good girl, bad girl. Good self, bad self. Good friend, bad friend. Good mother, bad mother. I hate you, don’t leave me.

It feels overwhelming.
I don’t feel sadness, but anguish. I don’t feel upset, but hysterical. I don’t feel joy, but ecstasy. I don’t feel anger, but fury. Not love, but infatuation… obsession. It’s exhausting to feel so much. Relationships are endless cycles of love and hate and pain and bad habits that I can’t seem to break no matter how hard I try. Every new face that enters into my life is someone who is capable of abandonment, and it has become so much easier to shut the world out than to invite heartbreak into my home with open arms.

It feels empty.
At the core of my being, I am nothing. I’m an empty shell surrounded by the chaos that is my emotional havoc. Remove my emotions, and I am flat lined. Remove them and I no longer exist. No direction, no sense of self, no core identity. At the peak of an emotional breakdown, I am everything. I am every negative emotion in existence and then some. And I’m so alive with fury, with desolation, with misery, and with so much pain. When it becomes too much for my body and mind to handle, it disappears in such an eerie way that I’m left questioning whether or not what I just experienced was real. I switch back and forth from being too alive that it physically pains me, to being consumed by nothingness. Nothingness is sitting alone on my kitchen floor in the middle of the night wondering whether the chill I feel on my shoulder actually exists or not. Nothingness is staring off into space for an hour wondering when my body will allow me to exist again so that I can move.

It feels confusing.
Like not knowing the answer to a series of questions. Who am I? One question I feel that I should know the answer to, yet… nothing. My favorite color is yellow, because that’s what it was when I was a child. Decisions are impossible – how do you decide anything without a stable sense of identity? I’m sorry that I couldn’t tell you what I wanted for dinner tonight, but that’s because I was trying to decide if I’m the type of person who likes Mexican or if I’m the type of person who likes Italian. I wake up each morning with a new definition of who I am, only to be let down by myself each night for not living up to the me that I decided to be that day.

It feels needy.
Endlessly, and hopelessly needy. I need to be appreciated. I need to be validated. I need to be wanted. I need to be loved. But I need these things in a way that is so much more than anyone is capable of giving me. It feels like such a small favor to ask – to be loved by those who are supposed to love me. But no one seems able to meet my expectations. It leaves me pathetically wondering whether or not anyone is capable of caring about me in a way that makes sense to me. And although I already know the answer, I still need to be loved so desperately that I search for it with everything that I have. It’s endless messages and too many phone calls. And it’s the knowledge that my actions are only perpetuating the likelihood of abandonment, but I need love so goddamn badly that I have no choice but to continue.

It feels irrational.
Being capable of thinking rationally only makes the irrational behavior so much more miserable. The knowledge that behaving in reaction to emotion is irrational does not make me any less likely to do so. I’m constantly walking towards a cliff, muttering to myself, “Don’t do it, you’ll regret it.” Only to fall off the edge anyway. And every time I fall feels unimaginably more painful than the time before, but I don’t know how to stop.

It feels bright.
When I love, it is the single brightest thing I’ve ever felt in my entire life. It’s so bright that it burns my eyes in a way that makes me see a life that I could have never imagined on my own. Without my darkness, I am on top of the world. Ecstasy is just as intense an emotion as misery, except that for me, it’s coated with anxiety and fear. I never quite know what to do with happiness, and before I have the chance to really enjoy it, it’s gone.

And it feels like being lost.
Lost in loneliness, lost in the vacillation of my emotions, lost in the insanity of knowing absolutely nothing about myself. My emotions are a language that I cannot speak, and they are winning the war that I am struggling to fight.
to be read aloud.

— The End —