What It’s Like to Have Borderline Personality Disorder

It almost goes without saying that it’s hard to maintain relationships. The combination of feeling absolutely nothing while flinching at everything doesn’t make for a whole lot of fun. BPD makes me lash out, allowing some of the cruelest things to tumble from my mouth. And believe me, there are only so many times loved ones will forgive a lack of control.

People often discuss BPD by describing an “emptiness.” For me, it’s more an oscillation between the impossibly empty and the impossibly full. I keep seeing my neighbor’s pool in winter, just an empty bowl of dusty blue tiles. Imagine standing in the middle of that, when suddenly the pool fills up. In an instant, you’re drowning. People describe BPD like that: a flip. A big switch going off in an invisible instant.

I think it’s this erratic oscillation that makes BPD so hard to communicate—particularly to those who are close. Because on the surface it looks like I’m just being an ornery prick. Like all mental illness, it’s best treated with patience and empathy. And unfortunately, like depression or hypomania, it places the onus on people who are not necessarily in a position to help or understand, no matter how much they may care for you. In a relationship, BPD can leave both parties feeling isolated.

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