Crossing the Borders

The Borders of Borderline

Borderline Personality Disorder doesn’t seem to get much coverage, does it?  It’s pushed over the borders of what’s talked about and what’s not, left in the dark.  Why?  Possibly because there are still a lot of things that people don’t really know about it.  It’s one of the reasons we did our Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Week back in August.  Well, this won’t be like all those times it’s not talked about because today I’m talking about the borders of Borderline Personality Disorder.

Saturday 03/11/2018

So, on Saturday I had quite a good day.  In the morning, I had a bit of a lazy day with Cheryl (the Little One was at her dad’s as it was his weekend with her) and we took advantage of that to relax a bit.  In the afternoon we went out to the shops to pick up a few things for the firework display at Cheryl’s mum’s that evening and then we went to pick up the kids (as their dad didn’t want to go to the fireworks with us) and we went off to Grandma’s for the bonfire and fireworks in the garden.

It was a lovely evening, with Cheryl and her sisters and their husbands, the kids, their cousins and, of course, Grandma.  Oh and the cat lurking somewhere about and the fish!  We ate hotdogs and soup and snacks, watched amazing fireworks from both Grandma’s garden and the garden a few doors down, as is the nature of fireworks.  Then the anxiety started up, the noise levels got a bit too much and I decided I needed to go home.  As if that wasn’t enough, I ended up with a bit of a squiffly stomach, which didn’t really help.  Anyway, we took the Little One back to her dad’s as it was late and she was getting tired, then I headed home and Cheryl went back to Grandma’s for that bit longer.

Truth be told, it was a lovely evening.  That night, however, things went pear-shaped.  Due to some mistake somewhere – with the chemist or the doctor or maybe I lost them – I didn’t have enough of my Quetiapine to see me through this week.  Normally I take them before bed and they help me sleep.  Well, I didn’t have them, so couldn’t take them.

And all hell broke loose.

Sunday 04/11/2018

I had two hours sleep.  For whatever reason, I couldn’t switch off.  I ended up binge watching Daredevil on Netflix, playing a little bit of a game on my tablet, tossing and turning, the works.  (There’s a blue-light filter on my tablet so it wasn’t that!)  It was only at around 5am that I was finally able to get some shut-eye.  Needless to say, it didn’t set me up for a great day the next day…

So Sunday…Sunday Sunday Sunday.  Depression, anxiety and Borderline Personality Disorder.  Lucky me, right?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  On waking up at 7am-ish (don’t ask me why, I have no idea why) I was bright, I couldn’t sit still, I was bouncing ever so slightly on the bed (like the same way you’d jig your leg or be tapping your fingers, but I was sat on the bed at the time).  Then the mood crashed.  I lost all energy and motivation.  It was all I could do to get myself out of bed.

This was how my day went.  Up then down.  Up then down.  And again and again, over and over, mood cycling almost half-hourly.  It’s the part people don’t really talk about.  They talk about the lows of depression, the highs of anxiety…but what about the mood cycles?  Really, it was something like this:

You may have laughed at that and, if I’m honest, I smiled at it.  Yet how true is it?

The Reality of Crossing Those Borders

For those of us struggling with BPD, it’s a reality.  One minute we’re fine, the next we’re not.  The highs, the lows, the depths, the summits.  Crossing the borders between fine and not, between “happy” and “depressed” is so easy.  It’s sudden.  Unpredictable.

Horrible.

Do you know what makes it worse?  When you’re high and riding that feeling it can be quite euphoric.  I felt as though I could conquer the world; it was my oyster ready for the taking.  Nothing could stop me, anything I put my mind to could be achieved.  Then only moments later I was at the depths of despair, where everything was pointless, meaningless and I was hopeless.

Imagine that for a second if you can: going from that euphoric high to that crushing low.  If anything, it makes it so much worse because that drop is suddenly so much further.  Going from a reasonable day into a depressive spiral is one thing but going from that unlimited high down into that depth?  It really does make it so much worse.

So that was my Sunday.  How was yours?

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Episode 46 – My Battle With Borderline

Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Week

Over the course of this week, we’ve been looking at Borderline Personality Disorder.  So, in this episode I talk more about my recent BPD diagnosis, how it affects me and how I believe I’ve had it for a lot longer than I initially would have suspected.  Why not join me?

Useful Links:
Mind.org.uk – Self-care for BPD
The Harrowing Void
Understanding Self-Harm

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Become a Patron - Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness WeekDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

Living With a Partner With BPD

The Ups and Downs of Living With a Partner With BPD

First off, to clear any confusion, I’m referring to borderline personality disorder, not bipolar. Two very different animals on the spectrum of mental health issues. No, I want to talk about BPD because I live  with (and love) someone who suffers with it. Living with a partner with BPD can be incredibly difficult, sometimes painful and draining. It can also be wonderful and exciting and incredibly loving.

For a long time Alex and I assumed (along with his doctor) that he was battling depression and anxiety, and yes he does have symptoms of both conditions. But when there seemed to be no obvious triggers or cause, it slowly became apparent that something else was going on. Certain aspects of how he suffered just didn’t fit. For example, the harrowing void where he literally feels nothing, not for himself or for anyone else. He’s shut off to a point where no-one can reach him. It was so vastly different from how I would describe the numbness of depression. The times where you have to be numb because otherwise your feelings would overwhelm you. It just wasn’t the same.
It was literally feelings of nothing. Not for anyone or anything. Empathy, compassion…all gone. To hear someone you love say this is how they feel is both heartbreaking and terrifying.  I’ll be honest it frightened me, and was perhaps the biggest clue that Alex was not just dealing with depression. I will be honest I genuinely feared we were looking at something more akin to him being diagnosed as a sociopath. But even I knew that didn’t really fit either. It was only after long discussions with the psychiatrist that he finally filled in the gaps and diagnosed Alex as having BPD.
What’s in Their Head
Living with BPD is exhausting and depressing for the sufferer. Their emotions are so wildly out of kilter sometimes. Part of them knows how they are behaving is not appropriate to the situation, which in turn leads to feelings of inadequacy.  They beat themselves up because they know their irritability at the world is out of proportion, they struggle to show sadness and then feel guilty because they couldn’t. They can be over-excitable to the point of annoyance. Logical one minute and chaotic the next. After seeing Alex day in, day out, struggling to cope just like this, and reading up online, it became increasingly apparent I was living with a partner with BPD. Getting the firm diagnosis from the doctor only came about after he’d talked with both of us. When I described the vast shift from highly excitable to down in the depths of despair that occurs (sometimes multiple times within an hour, let alone a day) the treatment focus moved away from depression to Borderline Personality Disorder.
But what makes it worse is how others can see it. They mistake the irritability and isolatory behaviour as rude or aggressive. They see the difficulty in expressing emotions as being narcissistic. The truth is sufferers of BPD do feel, they’re often very loving, there’s just something blocking it. Maybe fear of not being able to control it? That the emotions will so consume them they will end up in chaos ? All I know that with Alex, it’s incredibly hard for him. Being vulnerable, either with me or the children, is something that he truly struggles with. Watching him go from feeling nothing at all to emotions so intense they are crippling, is hard. There are times when it breaks my heart as I watch while he battles against it.
Know What You’re Getting Into !
Living with a partner with BPD can be extremely difficult. It will require patience, understanding and love. BPD sufferers often have issues maintaining relationships because the vast majority of people don’t bother to look past what they see. They hit the wall of irritability or emotionlessness and give up. They take it personally and write off that person as ‘a tool’ and walk away. Which then just feeds the depressive symptoms, it reinforces their feelings of inadequacy and forces them to become even more isolated.
Yet behind it is someone who loves, deeply. They care incredibly about what others feel. Their empathy for others is both a gift and a curse, because they take things very, very personally. When someone they care about walks away, someone who they would have moved mountains to help, it wounds like nothing you have ever known. So somewhere along the lines they learn an instinctive defence to just not feel. It’s better than getting hurt.
But break past that, be patient (and believe me sometimes a saint’s patience would be tested) and it’s worth it. It will be a bond like you’ve never known. Yes it will be difficult, but at their heart is someone who loves fiercely and completely, they’d defend you to the end. So don’t mix up when they’re being irritable because you didn’t answer their message as them being a tool, it’s just because to them, it hurt. It equates in their head that they’re just not important to you. A lie that their condition has constructed. But one their condition tells them daily and has sadly been reinforced by all those who walked away before you.
So, you will have to be strong. But like I said, it’s worth it. Practise your own self care.  And talk. One of the biggest ways we’ve been able to move forward is by sitting down and talking. When the irritability side of BPD has been getting the better of Alex, the fastest way to stop him in his tracks was to talk to him about it. Just a gentle reminder that we are on the same team.  Or it can be just give them some space. If they don’t want hugs, don’t. Just remind them you’re there.
My final piece of advice is that no-one is perfect at dealing with a loved one with mental health issues. I get it wrong. We all will at some time or another. The important thing is we keep trying.

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Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

Borderline Personality Disorder – feat. Sarah Cardwell

BPD – feat. Sarah Cardwell

First: our BPD event!  Second: a great line-up of guests.  Third: a great video!

Day 3 of our Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Week, together with all the guests we’ve got in store for you.  We we’re thrilled to introduce Sarah Cardwell who, as well as me, struggles with borderline personality disorder.  Furthermore, she’s agreed to share her story with us – and you – so that we can spread more awareness for it because she, also, believes it doesn’t get enough awareness.  Additionally, she has a message at the end of the video that she wants you to remember, not to mention the great content that’s on her website and on her social media accounts.

Useful Links:
Vote for Sarah Cardwell
BPD Awareness Week Hub

About Sarah Cardwell:Sarah Cardwell - Borderline Personality Disorder Sufferer

Sarah Cardwell is a new blogger having recently been diagnosed with Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder/ Borderline Personality Disorder in January 2018. In light of that diagnosis, she blogs about her own mental health experiences.  Furthermore, she has been under a mental health team since 1998.  You can read more of Sarah’s blogs on Mental health, borderline personality disorder, anxiety, ovarian cancer, family life & her work at

Why not subscribe?

Subscribe today to receive a free chapter from my eBook “Pills and Blades”, a subscriber-exclusive podcast episode and more!

Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

I Am Borderline – by Brittany Ryan

“I Am Borderline” – the Diagnosis

In a recent job interview, I was asked to ‘sum up who I am in 3 words’. My mind screamed, “Say 24601! DO IT!” Knowing that’s not appropriate, I said  generic words that came to my mind that made NO sense. It was then that I knew that the interview I was pretending, probably just failed. Who am I? Well, I’m borderline. But, can you just tell people that? Probably not. How and when was I diagnosed with BPD? Funny you should ask. It was actually an episode of Law and Order: SVU.

Weird, right?

It was season 18 in January 2017. The episode was called ‘Motherly Love’ to be exact. The mother was a psychiatrist and basically had narcissistic personality disorder. The ex-husband listed the symptoms to badass Olivia Benson and I was like, “holy balls… I have that! But wait… I’m not that narcissistic.” *Frantically ran to Dr. Google. What a reliable guy.* Apparently, NPD and BPD are sister disorders and I fit the criteria of BPD perfectly. The next day I sat down with my therapist and told her what Law and Order: SVU, Dr. Google, and I came up with. She confirmed 10000%. I sat back and was like whoa…That’s pretty cool! I’m ill… oh sh*t. I’m ill.

What next?

It’s true. Psychologists/psychiatrists really don’t know how to handle borderline. Well, some don’t. I don’t think my psychologist knew what to do, but she didn’t give up on me. My psychiatrist flat out didn’t believe my diagnosis and kept putting me on drugs to the point where he recommended that I do TMS, (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation). That escalated quickly.

The 9 Symptoms of Being Borderline 1-3

So, what exactly does it mean to have borderline personality disorder? It depends from person to person in all actuality. There are 9 symptoms and if you have 5 of them, you are borderline. Unfortunately, ya girl has all 9.

  1. I have a very unstable sense of self and self-image. What others see, I do not see at all. I’ve been told I look like a young Angelina Jolie and I just laugh in their face. I don’t tell them what I see because I don’t want to hear them tell me the opposite because I feel as though they have to because I’m their friend. When in all reality, I’m sure they are telling the truth, but I don’t trust.
  2. I am the known at my job as the Gif Queen, but in my personal life, I am the Queen of Isolation. When everything around me is “stable,” I feel nothing inside. I am an empty, hallow, robot that does not want to go anywhere or do anything. It’s pulling teeth to go see my family, but I love them, so I have to prepare myself mentally the whole day in advance.
  3. Being borderline can make you empathic. I am one of those individuals. If I have a connection with someone, I can feel your pain and put myself in your shoes. When Chester Bennington died, I was able to put myself in his last moments and feel his pain. He meant a lot to me and feeling that only made my borderline worse. However, if you around those you don’t know or care about, you may feel nothing. And that’s what happens to me. I feel nothing. That’s why people may label those with BPD ‘psychopaths.’ Honestly, people just don’t take the time to understand.

    With Me So Far?  Here’s 4 and 5, which surround relationships.

  4. Unstable relationships due to black and white thinking. This one is my life. One day, I want to see you and the next, I don’t want you to talk to me. I want to ignore you. This happens a lot with men. The guy may not have done anything wrong in reality, but in my mind, he’s ruined me and I don’t want anything to do with him. This leads to number 5…
  5. Intense fear of abandonment- My liffeeee again! I make scenarios in my mind about someone and just tell myself they will leave. So, I leave first. I disappear without a trace. Do I think of how that person feels? Nope. It’s happened to me so many times and that person never cared how I felt, obviously I shouldn’t neither right? This is a carefree process, isn’t it? I feel like this is all some Freudian learning process gone wrong.
    Now for 6-9…
  6. Intense changeable moods that can last several days to a few hours- I know some people may not like the word trigger, but that’s what happens to me. I get triggered. I get overstimulated with sights, sounds, too many people being close to me, someone saying one word that I take in a negative connotation, and I am sent over the edge for the rest of the day or few days depending on what happened. These intense feelings also bring on suicidal ideation and self-harm. I self-harm in different ways. If I feel too much emotion in physical pain from anxiety and I feel like I want to rip my insides apart, I cut myself on my arms or legs. If I situations around me feel out of control, I usually don’t eat for a number of days and if I feel really depressed, I’ll binge.
  7. I am a constant ticking time bomb of anxiety and worry. I suffer from major depressive and anxiety disorder. Just add them to the list of mental illnesses, shall we?
  8. Ahh, this one is always fun: impulsive and risky behaviours. How am I impulsive? Spending money I don’t have. When I’ve been through some trying days, I love to go on amazon and buy, buy, buy. There are other ways to that I’m impulsive, but we won’t go into that.
  9. When I was in college, I changed my major 5 times. I went from 4 medical majors to finally deciding on Marketing. Now, I am going to get my Master’s in Visual Communications Design because I don’t know what to do with my life, all I know is that I need more degrees to get a better job. Sad but true.
In Conclusion

For me, that’s how borderline effects my life. It is different for everyone and each individual goes through their own treatment. My therapist and I are working hard to change my method of thinking, but it’s a daily struggle, especially when my mind says “no.” My words of encouragement are that you’re not alone in this struggle. You may feel alone, because trust me there are times when I feel like the only person in the world and I don’t want to reach out to anyone with my issues or pain, but do it. You never know who will grab your hand while you feel like you’re drowning.

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About the Author

Brittany Ryan is a social media marketer and soon to be graphic designer. After having symptoms since she was 8 years old, she was finally diagnosed with BPD in January 2017 at the age of 26. She shares her experiences with BPD on her blog, . Knowing there is a heavy stigma around BPD, she likes to be very open about her experiences and feelings in her blog so that way others know that they are not alone in their illness. Everyone’s feelings are valid.

Why not subscribe?

Subscribe today to receive a free chapter from my eBook “Pills and Blades”, a subscriber-exclusive podcast episode and more!

Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.