Firstly, I would like to say a massive thank you to Jodie for asking me to write a guest blog. Secondly, let me introduce myself. My name is Leanne, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder a good few years back and it has massively impacted my life, in all aspects, including my relationships.
It wasn’t that long ago I was having your typical relationship drama, it was something everyone goes through but I just couldn’t understand why it was impacting me so much, so as a bad habit I googled. I found some scholarly and some not-so-scholarly articles all basically coming to the same conclusion and depicting the same image. I was insane, I was demanding, I was out of control. I couldn’t get it out of my head that the way I was reacting was stupid, silly and that there was a major problem in my brain, but I felt belittled and demeaned. At the end of the day, the way I react sometimes is out of MY control because of my illness – I try to take responsibility for all my actions and in the past I have, I do in the present and I intend to moving forward, but Borderline Personality Disorder is very, very complex. A lot of the time it is difficult to differentiate what I am feeling and what my BPD is making me feel, the tell-tale sign is when I become completely overwhelmed at something that shouldn’t be like that. So sometimes, my actions are due to my disorder.
One thing a couple of these articles got right was I have had some unstable relationships – both platonic and romantic, not all but some. My personality has always been one that required positive reaffirmation that things were okay and that I was doing well, I sometimes needed reassurance I was loved, with BPD this is enhanced, it is more intense. But I would never have thought I was overly demanding beyond the ‘average’ female.
These articles focused on the negatives, how we are clingy and needy and need constant attention. I disagree with this, it is entirely dependent on the personality of an individual. Just because I suffer with BPD and another surely will; it does not mean we are the same, a lot of media and people tend to generalise everyone who have BPD in to one stereotype and it needs to stop. We are who we are and no one is like another. People say we are a diverse society, but how can that be true when we cannot accept and embrace everyone as a unique individual with their own thoughts, preferences, and personalities?
I don’t intend to summarise everyone’s experience with relationships because no one person experiences the exact same thing, I am merely summarising my experiences alone. Those articles impacted me and made me think too much. When it comes to my own unstable relationships, I mean that some have been short-term and others long-term but not always healthy. I did get a bit demanding when going through a depressive episode but I was usually in too happy of a state to need reassurance completely but the constant changes of mood would often be too much to handle in a romantic relationship, I tried to better myself. One person I loved dearly, my longest relationship, I ended believing him to deserve better than what state I was in, and while I am so much better, I won’t lie and say I ended up not regretting it a lot. I have moved forward to accept what happened and all that matters now is that he is happy. I am working on myself to improve my state of mind and to regain the self-awareness I have lost. Hopefully, my next romantic relationship will be more successful.
When it comes to friendships, it is a bit trickier, I have often thought that some don’t actually like me but pity me, I have my best friend and we have only fell out a couple of times and yes it was because of illness not because of us.
What I am really trying to say is, which is so difficult to summarise in to just a few words, is that there are us and then there are our illnesses – they shouldn’t define us, they are a part of us yes but not who we are. We are who we are when we are in a rational state of mind. It can be so hard to differentiate our emotions from what we are really feeling and what the illness is making us feel, I am asking you to bear that in mind. So if we ever are in fact a little clingy, try and understand why, ask us how we are, what we are feeling so we can all try and get along a little better.
Thank you for reading this wonderful guest post by Leanne, if you would like to read more of her work (and also some fab poems) please check out her blog: ponderingscribbler.wordpress.com