I had a dream last night that I was in a different house, I think in the dream it was meant to be my aunt’s house but she was away and I was house-sitting or something. I was having my therapy sessions there but T was changing the times of my sessions and at one point I sat outside the room waiting for her for over an hour past my session time. I didn’t know what was going on but I acted as though it was fine and I didn’t ask why she was late but inside I was stressing out. Later in the dream I went for a ride on a motorbike or in a car or something, I can’t quite work it out, with my fiancé and then realised I only had 20 minutes until my session time and I knew I wouldn’t make it back in time. My fiancé was non-phased by this and was relaxing on the grass wherever we were but I was very anxious and stressed by it all. I remember feeling extremely stressed and upset.
I woke up feeling a bit….. groggy perhaps? I feel a bit irritated and a bit low in spirits I guess and I don’t really know why but usually feelings from my dreams seep into my waking life and so perhaps the dream stirred up some feelings for me.
I had spent my evening on Google reading about Borderline Personality Disorder , the whole push/pull thing, the fear of intimacy and engulfment and also some development phase that I clearly didn’t work through properly which is why all of this happens in the first place (I have forgotten what that was so I will try to find it again). I read A LOT and it all fitted me so well.
It was one of those weird times that you are glad to read yourself in something and know that there is a reason for things and, obviously, that it means there is hope that things will get better. It also really grounds me when I can read stuff (intellectualise perhaps) because it becomes less scary somehow.. but given how I feel today, perhaps it has stirred up some other feelings or maybe its something else.. maybe it’s because it is T day and I have some unconscious fears about that? I don’t know.. maybe it is the dream.
The things that the dream and the stuff I was reading have in common is the fear of abandonment. I can see that. In the dream T wasn’t being reliable was she? She wasn’t showing up when she was meant to and I didn’t know where I stood with her. Will she come, won’t she come? In the stuff I was reading I understand that the reason for the push/pull in relationships comes from a desperate need for intimacy and affection but at the same time, having a deep fear of abandonment and engulfment and so hence the push part of the push/pull situation. Leave before being left etc…. so the common theme therefore being abandonment right?
I don’t know, maybe I’m feeling the old body memories or emotional flashbacks of the abandonment fear. I feel irritable and moody.
I then flicked through some of my old blog posts to see if I could find any evidence of my new knowledge of the BPD traits.. and I did, but what stuck out more for me than anything else was quite how many “bad days” I have had. I wrote a list down and there are at least 30 bad days.. not including today and others that I may not have written about at the time. These 30 days are between today and February this year. So in 9 months, I’ve had 30 bad days. An average of 3.3 per month. That is a lot, isn’t it?
I read that one of the “symptoms” of BPD is Emotional Instability and experiencing a range of emotions such as rage, sorrow, shame, panic, terror, emptiness and loneliness. I then read
“You may have severe mood swings over a short space of time.
It’s common for people with BPD to feel suicidal with despair, and then feel reasonably positive a few hours later. Some people feel better in the morning and some in the evening. The pattern varies, but the key sign is that your moods swing in unpredictable ways.”
That is true for me. I do feel a range of emotions including ALL of those things above… I don’t feel suicidal with despair but I do sometimes feel fine at one part of the day and then horrific at another; or visa versa. I don’t feel “suicidal” but I have had images of harming haven’t I? I’ve written about that as recently as last Monday.
The next bit I read about impulsive behaviour. It talks about self-harm, feeling intensely sad and depressed but also impulsive activities like binge drinking or spending or gambling etc. I have always described myself as impulsive. Often when it comes to shopping and buying clothes that I don’t have the money to buy (even when I have no money and I use credit cards or an overdraft). If I want to buy something, I will buy it and then later feel silly or guilty for it. The high doesn’t last long.
“If you have BPD, you may feel that other people abandon you when you most need them, or that they get too close and smother you.
When people fear abandonment, it can lead to feelings of intense anxiety and anger. You may make frantic efforts to prevent being left alone, such as:
- constantly texting or phoning a person
- suddenly calling that person in the middle of the night
- physically clinging on to that person and refusing to let go
- making threats to harm or kill yourself if that person ever leaves you
Alternatively, you may feel others are smothering, controlling or crowding you, which also provokes intense fear and anger. You may then respond by acting in ways to make people go away, such as emotionally withdrawing, rejecting them or using verbal abuse.”
Okay so I have a fear of abandonment, that is undeniable. I suffer from feelings of intense anxiety and anger (which I usually turn towards myself but T perhaps found herself on the receiving end of last week). I don’t constantly text or phone anyone and I wouldn’t physically cling or threaten to harm or kill myself but in all honestly that is more about saving face. I have often wanted to constantly text or call someone but I wouldn’t do it. However I can’t handle the feelings associated to that feeling of being abandoned or forgotten or left or not important… I could pull my hair out of my head.
It says that people with BPD have “love-hate relationships” and that they have a very black and white view of people. That they make people either all good or all bad with no real in-between. Splitting/fragmenting.. I know I do that. T has said that to me many times. Look at my latest rupture for evidence. T was all bad for a few days… and then it was over and she is now all good again and the only person who is “all bad” is me. Look what I did?
“For many people with BPD, emotional relationships (including relationships with professional carers) involve “go away/please don’t go” states of mind, which is confusing for them and their partners. Sadly, this can often lead to break-ups.”
I then found this website https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-disorders/borderline-personality-disorder.htm which had a list of statements that would describe feelings associated with people who have BPD.
- I often feel empty
- My emotions shift very quickly and I often experience extreme sadness, anger and anxiety
- I’m constantly afraid that the people I care about will abandon me or leave me.
- I would describe most of my romantic relationships as intense, but unstable.
- The way I feel about the people in my life can dramatically change from one moment to the next—and I don’t always understand why.
- I often do things I know are dangerous or bad for me, such as driving recklessly, having unsafe sex, binge drinking, doing drugs, or going on spending sprees.
- I’ve attempted to hurt myself, engaged in self-harm behaviours such as cutting, or threatened suicide.
- When I’m feeling insecure in a relationship, I tend to lash out or make frantic gestures to keep the other person close.
I relate to many of them, particularly feeling empty, having emotions that shift quickly, the impulsive things as previously discussed and feeling very insecure in a relationship.
And this…. the 9 signs of BPD
- Fear of abandonment. People with BPD are often terrified of being abandoned or left alone. Even something as innocuous as a loved one getting home late from work or going away for the weekend can trigger intense fear. This leads to frantic efforts to keep the other person close. You may beg, cling, start fights, jealously track your loved one’s movements, or even physically block the other person from leaving. Unfortunately, this behavior tends to have the opposite effect—driving others away.
- Unstable relationships. People with BPD tend to have relationships that are intense and short-lived. You may fall in love quickly, believing each new person is the one who will make you feel whole, only to be quickly disappointed. Your relationships either seem perfect or horrible, with nothing in between. Your lovers, friends, or family members may feel like they have emotional whiplash from your rapid swings between idealization and devaluation, anger, and hate.
- Unclear or unstable self-image. When you have BPD, your sense of self is typically unstable. Sometimes you may feel good about yourself, but other times you hate yourself, or even view yourself as evil. You probably don’t have a clear idea of who you are or what you want in life. As a result, you may frequently change jobs, friends, lovers, religion, values, goals, and even sexual identity.
- Impulsive, self-destructive behaviors. If you have BPD, you may engage in harmful, sensation-seeking behaviors, especially when you’re upset. You may impulsively spend money you can’t afford, binge eat, drive recklessly, shoplift, engage in risky sex, or overdo it with drugs or alcohol. These risky behaviors may help you feel better in the moment, but they hurt you and those around you over the long-term.
- Self-harm. Suicidal behavior and deliberate self-harm is common in people with BPD. Suicidal behavior includes thinking about suicide, making suicidal gestures or threats, or actually carrying out a suicide attempt. Self-harm includes all other attempts to hurt yourself without suicidal intent. Common forms of self-harm include cutting and burning.
- Extreme emotional swings. Unstable emotions and moods are common with BPD. One moment, you may feel happy, and the next, despondent. Little things that other people brush off can send you into an emotional tailspin. These mood swings are intense, but they tend to pass fairly quickly (unlike the emotional swings of depression or bipolar disorder), usually lasting just a few minutes or hours.
- Chronic feelings of emptiness. People with BPD often talk about feeling empty, as if there’s a hole or a void inside them. At the extreme, you may feel as if you’re “nothing” or “nobody.” This feeling is uncomfortable, so you may try to fill the hole with things like drugs, food, or sex. But nothing feels truly satisfying.
- Explosive anger. If you have BPD, you may struggle with intense anger and a short temper. You may also have trouble controlling yourself once the fuse is lit—yelling, throwing things, or becoming completely consumed by rage. It’s important to note that this anger isn’t always directed outwards. You may spend a lot of time being angry at yourself.
- Feeling suspicious or out of touch with reality. People with BPD often struggle with paranoia or suspicious thoughts about others’ motives. When under stress, you may even lose touch with reality—an experience known as dissociation. You may feel foggy, spaced out, or as if you’re outside your own body.
Again, I can relate to many of them. My anger is mainly directed towards myself and my body image or me being “ugly” or “stupid”… I guess occasionally my fiancé may be on the receiving end of it.. and perhaps T was last week, but usually its directed towards myself. Perhaps this is what causes my depressive days or days like today where I feel irritated and angry with no real reason… things trigger me easily to lash out like a busy day at work where I feel I can’t stay level-headed. Friday for example, I was busy at work, not feeling great and I CRIED at my desk because I was stressed.
This morning my fiancé said he woke up and thought to himself “how do I feel today” because he wasn’t feeling too good yesterday. He laughed and said how silly is that? I told him that is my first thought EVERY DAY. He asked “in a mental capacity you mean?” and I said yes. He said that was very sad. I guess it is, isn’t it? I can go to bed happy and wake up feeling very sad or vice versa.. it is my very first thought of every day. Yesterday I felt excitable and hyperactive and today I feel rubbish.
I know that lots of people don’t agree with needing a “label” and I can’t be bothered to get into a debate on that right now, my brain is too fried, but for me, this is helpful. I will speak to my T about it tonight and see what she says.
If I am right and I do have BPD at least it explains a few things, particularly the mood swings and the extent at which I go from happy to utterly depressed and back because that really does worry me sometimes. It explains the push/pull to me more and helps me to understand and it means I can read up about it so that I feel less scared by everything.
I think that T triggered something in me that session which made me freak out and pull away from her. I split her off as all bad and projected onto her until the next session where we started to repair things and I came back down a bit (the depressive position I spoke about yesterday). The sadness and grief that followed on Thursday and all the tears I cried that day which were the result of my panic at her leaving me due to my anger… my fear of abandonment kicking in and my need to pull her back to me again. Is this what I do in all of my relationships?
Did I decide to drop a session whilst T was on holiday because I was freaking out about her leaving me? Because I was unconsciously fighting against my own abandonment fears? Was I trying to pull away from her because I was hurting?……… and the tears and fear I felt on Thursday about the fact I would only see T once a week instead of twice soon, is that me panicking because I have brought on an abaondment (kind of) all by myself…. a self fulfilling prophecy?
So many thoughts in my head right now whirling around!