Monday, January 12, 2009
In two of the last blogs I did for BipolarConnect, I brought up the topic of borderline personality disorder. The second piece drew 25 comments, so apparently I struck a chord.
People with borderline manifest symptoms that superficially resemble bipolar, but in an explosive and unpredictable manner that people at Ground Zero describe as something akin to walking on eggshells.
My main point was that it is nonproductive to think of borderline as a separate diagnosis that affects other people. There is no true "us" and "them." Regardless of our diagnosis - or whether we even have one or not - we all have personality issues in abundance. These issues can make our lives hell (as well as for the people around us), plus they pose major obstacles to our recovery.
In the context of bipolar disorder (my diagnosis), it pays to think of ourselves as having bipolar "with other stuff going on."
By understanding borderline, we are in a better position to understand ourselves and make the appropriate course corrections. It's part of the "Know Thyself" philosophy here at "Knowledge is Necessity."
My initial enquiry into borderline began about three years ago, when I joined the board of a state mental health group and immediately encountered a steady progression of people who made my life miserable. For my own emotional safety, I had to resign my position.
When I started connecting the dots, I realized my recent bad experience was no exception. That all my life I had been a regular borderline magnet. My first reaction was I hated these people. I hated their illness, and I wanted nothing more to do with them.
Then I realized that the very thing we hate most tends to be the thing that resides deep inside of us. Jung called it the shadow self. I may not have had borderline, but I was forced to confront my personality issues.
"I am Joseph, your brother," reads a line from the Bible. I'm not quite ready for that, but I'm working on it.
Lots more in future blogs.
Further reading from mcmanweb: Borderline Personality Disorder
"Those who live with individuals with borderline describe the experience as akin to walking on eggs. By contrast, Anne compared her dealings with people to 'walking on shifting boards.' The world is far from a safe place, and the ground beneath her could collapse any second."
Also from mcmanweb: Poisonality
"Distinguishing a bad hair day from a mood episode from a personality disorder meltdown is notoriously difficult. Even Mother Teresa had her off-moments, and no doubt Gandhi had unresolved issues he needed to work through."