Living with Borderline Personality Disorder
Edited by L Robinson and V Cox
Key Themes: borderline personality disorder (BPD), anthology, poetry, mental health services
In the UK today approximately 1.6 million people awoke to the same problem (that’s if they’d managed to sleep) – how to survive another day alongside the torrid and turbulent emotions associated with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Although you’d struggle to find a room big enough to house them all at once, it’s not a ‘popular’ mental health problem and has received little publicity. The fact that you’ve heard of it at all probably means you have it or somebody close at hand does. In the immense isolating pain and confusion that BPD can bring with it, this book is here to remind you that you are not alone – there are at least 1,599,999 others who feel their own personal version of your suffering. This unique anthology brings you some of their voices.
The included poetry and prose features not only pieces by people with BPD, but also the viewpoint of carers and treatment providers. This book won’t teach you the facts and figures about BPD or the latest theories as to what causes or treats it, but it will provide the aspect of BPD that is almost always missed – how it feels.
About the Authors
The authors who have contributed to this work have one thing in common – they all have a lived experience of BPD. Whether they are struggling with the day to day challenges of how to manage the rollercoaster of emotions and behaviours for themselves, or looking on as a loving carer or concerned professional, BPD permeates their daily existence. Yet despite this, there are moments for reflection, insight, and beauty – where they can find the time, the space and the words to convey their experience to others who will recognise it all too well and to those who may be struggling to understand what is happening in the internal worlds of those they care about. The authors are of all ages, from all walks of life, and all professions. BPD has no regard for boundaries of age, gender or social status. Here are the words of your lovers, your sons, daughters…
The Stranger, Who Is Me?
Who are you, who gazes out
From deep within the mirror?
I know there should be recognition
But only see the stranger.
Long black lashes framing
Big hazel-brown eyes,
They hide so well the pain and hurt
That exists behind the mask. Hidden thoughts, a hidden world
Others can never see.
What is real to you, and you?
Is not my reality
Who am I?
The slasher, the cutter, the burner, the head banger, the biter, the swallower, the screamer, the shouter, the druggy, the piss artist, the destroyer; the OD in cubicle three.
Here, yet again. The time waster, the naughty and hopeless case, the pain in the arse, the crisis queen, the attention seeker, the unfit, the sad, the lonely, the nutter; the head case down the road.
The weak minded, the stupid, the sicko, the deceitful, the manipulative, the failure, the lonely, the desperate, the inferior, the flawed; the scared and the scarred.
Judged and guilty as charged. To be gossiped about, frowned upon, nervously smiled at, ignored, rebuffed, laughed at, pitied, avoided, told off: spoken to sternly.
Who I am.
The parent, the partner, the relation, the friend, the giver, the listener, the protector, the carer, the lover, the wit, the teacher, the supporter, the motivator, the homemaker, the volunteer, the worrier, the planner, the organiser; oh yes –
The tryer, the talker, the singer, the mover, the dancer, the painter, the gardener, the writer, the explorer; the survivor.
Like the Water Lily, whose roots are sunk deep in the wet, cold, dark mud and silt, one day too, I want all this filth to feed beautiful blooms.
A Gaping Whole
And they laugh and they smile and they look at me and I wonder if they can see me. Is there a me for them to see?
And they laugh and they smile and they look at me and I wonder if any one of them stretched out an arm would it go straight through me? What is there here to stop it?
The whole world laughs and smiles whilst I live like a shadow, a cloud, an ambiguous entity with no end and no beginning, a function of circumstance, the shape of my container, an amorphous collection of matter that indistinctly belongs to this thing called ‘me’. Self is an illusion, an illusion I don’t suffer. There is no me, just a hole where a ‘me’ should be. A painful hole. A thick and solid empty space.
If I take this hole and make it me, what then will I be but defined by nothing?