So, I’ve always been pretty open about having BPD (borderline personality disorder) and how challenging it has been, but one thing I haven’t expressed is how hard it is functioning with BPD.
BPD symptoms vary from person to person, but the ones I suffer the most with are:
- Fear of abandonment
- Impulsive behaviours
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Emotional mood swings
- Feeling out of touch with reality
On top of typical BPD characteristics:
- Poor financial control
- Depressive episodes
- Episodes of psychosis
- Suicidal thoughts
Living with a combination of those daily is beyond difficult, mainly because it’s like a really sh*t mix and match, will Monday be emotional mood swings with suicidal thoughts? Will Tuesday be chronic feelings of emptiness with poor financial control to comfort this? Who knows? It’s anyone’s guess.
Since being diagnosed I have come to live with the condition and gradually am starting to have a good level of control over it (far better control than I had in September when I had a triple suicide attempt – which I am not and will not be ashamed of). You see, by writing about it and talking about it, gradually we will end this ridiculous stigma we have developed on mental health, and my favourite stigma of all – the high functioning stigma.
People find it hard to believe that I work full time, I care for my son and provide for us both. I get up every morning, get ready, do my hair and make up and do an 8 hour shift at work. I’ve never really considered myself “high functioning” but the reality is that I am. Some people act shocked when they discover that I have a personality disorder, because it’s as if they expect me to be at home, or at a mental hospital, but there are tons of high functioning people with chronic illnesses, high functioning people with poor mental health, and even high functioning addicts.
It’s the classic “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” but with this comes the backlash, the people who think you’re faking it and attention seeking just because I have the sheer audacity to get dressed, leave the house and go to work. I’m still suffering, I just manage it differently to how others might.
You see, I benefit from being high functioning. Even at my lowest points I benefit from having structure and routine so, for me, being high functioning actually helps build my mental health up.
I want to leave this on a harsh reality to some people, a sweet note for mentally ill people. Other people’s mental health is none of your business, whether they’re high functioning or low functioning… it is literally none of your business. You do you, and let them do them.