BPD Awareness Month: This is how we BPD….


Samantha Jackson replies to James Donnelly‘s article Three Letters, sharing her personal insight on BPD and relationships, to raise awareness as part of BPD Awareness Month.  – Health Editor, Rebekah Chaplin.

So, after a particularly long and horrible day yesterday in which both myself and my boyfriend woke up wishing we hadn’t, this happened.

Sometimes, I get so caught up in my head that I find it impossible to verbalise how I’m feeling. When my boyfriend is also having a bad day, I have a tendency to soak up all his bad vibes as well as my own and amplify it right back at him and we end up not talking and both feeling ten times worse because of it. 

I was angry with him yesterday because he was so caught up in his own depression that he was unable to lift me out of mine. And he was angry with me for the same reason. So we just sat. In silence. He slept, I sulked. Both of us just giving off this awful aura of aggression. 

In the end he came and sat cross-legged on the bed and I could feel him looking at me. I can’t make eye contact at all when I feel this bad but I can feel that he’s calmed down and he’s waiting for me to talk. I know that he’s trying his hardest to send out a good vibe so I know that he cares and isn’t angry with me. He feels sad and helpless. So I reach for my notebook and he hands me a pen. And I write. 

“How I feel right now.” Every line begins with “like” except for last…

  • like everyone would be better off if I wasn’t around 
  • like I should just take meds so it’s easier for other people 
  • like I’m frustrating and annoying to be around when I’m like this
  • like people think they can handle my shit but don’t know what they’re letting themselves in for
  • like I should just try harder
  • like I should just pretend I’m ok so I don’t hurt people
  • like my behaviour is abusive towards other people
  • like I want to cut
  • like I’m never going to get better
  • like no matter how well I explain things no-one will ever really understand
  • like people don’t care enough to help
  • like I’m expecting too much from other people
  • like I should be able to make myself feel better
  • like I’m smart enough to make myself feel better but too lazy to do it
  • like if you don’t hate me already you will soon
  • like you’ll wish you never got yourself into this
  • like I’m fucking stupid
  • like I’m too wrapped up in my own shit all the time to be good for other people when they need me
  • like I’m selfish
  • like I need to grow the fuck up
  • like I’m a shitty person
  • guilty

I hand it to him. He reads carefully and then begins to write. When he’s finished, he hands back the notebook…

  • I wouldn’t be better if you weren’t around I’d be much, much worse. 
  • I can’t say anything about meds, I have no direct experience of them. Only what you’ve told me. I’d prefer it if you weren’t medicated, but it’s not my brain.
  • I am frustrated but not by you. I’m feeling pretty shitty in my own mind. I can’t always be strong enough to fight, neither can you. I accept this.
  • I can ‘handle’ you, I think. I can’t always handle both of us. This is temporary.
  • You do what you can when you can.
  • Never pretend for me.
  • You are not abusive. Not to me anyway. Maybe to yourself, but not me.
  • I know the feeling. I wanted to slice my arm open for most of this day so I went to sleep instead. It felt safer.
  • You ARE better.
  • I understand as much as I can. Sometimes I misinterpret your feelings and mine.
  • I want to help, I also need it.
  • You’re not expecting too much, I’m just weak sometimes.
  • It’s not always as easy as making yourself feel better.
  • You’re not lazy. Trapped sometimes, maybe, but not lazy.
  • I don’t hate you. Please don’t think I hate you.
  • I got you. It’s so, so, so worth it.
  • You’re the smartest person I know.
  • You’re not wrapped up in your shit, it’s trying to drown you. I do need support but so do you. I don’t blame you for needing help when I do.
  • You’re not selfish. You’re working on yourself, it’s different.
  • Growing up is overrated.
  • You have nothing to be guilty about.
  • I love you.

Communication can be so fucking hard sometimes but it is so damn important. People so often get frustrated with us and end up merely exacerbating the situation. Not because they’re not well within their rights to be frustrated but because they want to help and just can’t see how. 

Writing things down is often cathartic in itself and far less stressful than shouting at one another. Approaching things in a calmer and more soothing manner can diffuse the intense cloud of emotion that us Borderlines tend to get lost in by allowing us to see that you are willing to listen and that you truly do care. 

We are not shouting at you because we hate you, we are shouting because we’re terrified that you hate us.

I know it may seem too much sometimes and I know we can be hard work but, I promise you, with enough love and reassurance; you will find the very best in us and we will be worth it.