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What Suicide Has Taught Me

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I’ve watched my mother deal through the grief of my grandpa’s and aunt’s suicide; the constant pain she felt and the way she teared up on their birthdays or suicide anniversaries. She hadn’t told me these were suicides; I would’ve been too young to understand.

I remember standing on the main floor, hearing my mom huddle into a pillow over the death of her father and I couldn’t comprehend it. I was only a toddler.

Why is it that, the day after my birthday, Matante killed herself and my mom had to leave with no explanation? I wanted to come with, but she couldn’t bare to tell me.

To this day, she is wounded by these suicides, and it has left a void that is way too visible.

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Suicide was a part of the family genes, but I was lucky enough to have been a child and have no understanding of taking ones own life. Until I was 15 years old, and my brother’s friend jumped in front of a train. I didn’t know him the way my brother did, but I knew him better than anyone else from school did, and he chose to end his life.

I, too, was struggling with suicidal thoughts at the time and connected on a deeper level with him. He did what I didn’t have the guts to do, I thought.

Over the months, I developed PTSD symptoms. I could see him; the terror in his eyes as the train approached and that force dragging him to be hit. I could feel his body flinging in the air and studied the direction his body would go depending on how he chose to jump. My mind was a gruesome minefield and he was the picture etched into my skull.

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His suicide ripped me to shreds; I lost a good portion of my hair and was no longer functional. I declined in school and in my extracurricular activities, and I was more suicidal than I had ever been.

Since then, I’ve learned a lot about suicide, about myself, and how I truly feel about suicide.


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Life Is Worth Living. People say this all the time without true emotion behind it, but I know how true this statement is.

Everyday, I get to see the sunshine, the smiling faces of the people around me and watch myself grow into a beautiful young woman with all the capabilities in the world. I get to watch my brother who was supposed to pass at the age of 16, grow into his twenties, and join my family for some of the most memorable holidays.

I started my writing career, which has been my dream since I was a child, and I couldn’t imagine deceiving myself in that way. Had I gone ahead and ended my life, I wouldn’t be able to see my abilities convey themselves onto pieces of paper. Sure, my work isn’t perfect but it never had to be. It just has to be the best I can do, which is a reward in itself.

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You don’t get rid of pain; you pass it on. It isn’t right for anyone to guilt trip you when you’re considering suicide because, that shouldn’t be the reason you choose to stay. You should choose to stay because you deserve life and you are able to be great.

But, there is truth in the statement “you don’t end the pain, you pass it on.” I’ve witnessed and experienced it. You don’t need to be family to have an impact on someone through a suicide; being an acquaintance is enough to affect someone in abundance.

Your pain is molded and transferred in a tragic way to nearly everyone who has come into contact with you, and it’s distressing to see.

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No; no one would be happier if you died. When we experience suicidal feelings, we often feel unwanted or unloved because someone may be experiencing feelings of frustration or anger towards us, but this does not mean they would be happier if we were gone. Even if they claim they want you to kill yourself, they don’t mean it. In reality, there would be great amounts of guilt on their part and they would be distraught with themselves for ever mistreating you; questioning themselves regarding their involvement.

I’m sure my grandfather thought the same way; maybe he felt he was a burden to his family. But, because of his death, I have a forever mourning mother, and I have been robbed of an important relationship with him. He promised to take me fishing with him; leaving me behind at such a young age to go with my siblings. He was supposed to be present in my life, teach me lessons and watch me grow, but he absented himself.

I am not happier that he died, nor is my mom or any of his relatives. There is no bad he could’ve done to make us feel happier without him.

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It’s a thought that can be changed. Suicidal thoughts stem from trauma or a mental illness; we are so desperate to end the pain and grief that we search for a way out. It is often said that people commit suicide because they want the pain to stop.

When you commit suicide, that pain never gets a chance to stop or evolve into something beautiful. It’s only a thought, a feeling, and it can be changed with persistence and a desire to change. You must convince yourself otherwise and move towards a healthy lifestyle that strays you from suicidal urges.

It is possible to live a happy life, and we want you to see it.

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Nothing will change if we don’t try. Since my brother’s friend passed, my life has gone full circle. It was worse before it got better. I was homeless twice, went to a treatment center, completed high school, was in a bad relationship and got out of it, have gotten my own place and got so far in recovery that I can’t believe how far I’ve come.

Had I gone along and committed suicide, nothing would’ve gotten better. I would’ve never been able to see all the beautiful things I have now. I would’ve left during the worst time of my life, without giving myself a chance to become an adult and understand the world around me.

What a joy life is; and I am damn grateful I never succeeded during my suicide attempts.


If you are suicidal or experiencing crisis, please contact your local crisis line. 

1

Holiday Self-Care

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The holiday season is often a stressful time for a majority of people; there’s gifts to buy, plans to make, food to prepare, etc. Sometimes, people have to face the holidays with one less relative, which is never easy. For the mentally ill, this time of year is all the more stressful. 

For those struggling with anxiety, they have to try to communicate with a cluster of people whilst avoiding panic attacks. Eating disorders; they have to figure out routines and be faced with many challenge foods they may not be ready to take. Depression; they have to try to seem jolly for their relatives to avoid being a “bummer”. BFRBs; they have to try to conceal bald patches, scabs and behaviours they may not have control over yet. Self harm; they have to try to control the urges around the cluster of people. Borderline Personality Disorder; they have to try to remain in control when things are out of control and hectic.

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Self-care is the best way to keep things under control at such a stressful time. You can consider your relatives, family and friends, but you can’t be fully you when your mental illness is pushing down on you. It’s important to identify when you need time for yourself; to pamper yourself, so that you can return to the festivities happily.


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Baths. Bubble baths are always great to destress. They’re great for relaxing muscles, which can tense up when things are overwhelming, and they give you time to think by yourself. You could put on some soft tunes, lay in a bed of bubbles and let everything go. It’s time for you. Why not pamper yourself with a face mask, a scrubbing and possibly a manicure? Take this time to loosen up, be with yourself and be positive. The world can wait.

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Yes, this is vegan.

Hot Chocolate. The holidays just don’t seem like the holidays without its signature drink; hot chocolate. It’s warm, frothy, delicious, and easy to make homemade and vegan (skip on the cayenne). Why not throw in some candy canes, top with vegan whipped cream and marshmallows for that extra holiday kick? Spoil yourself.

This kind of treat will definitely bring joy and self-soothe some of those holiday anxieties. It gives you time to enjoy flavour, spend time with friends, read a book or work on your computer. We all deserve to treat ourselves during the holidays, and this might give you that extra kick when you’re feeling the winter blues.

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Buy Yourself Something Nice. If you’re alone this time of year, it can be overwhelming to watch everyone make plans with their families and have gifts to share. In a time where everyone is spoiling one another, you can’t forget yourself. You deserve holiday gifts and joy as well, whether someone has some lined up for you or not. Go to the store, buy something that you’ve been wanting for a long time and enjoy it!

Thinking about what YOU want rather than what others want could be just the thing to make you happy. With mental illness, we often think about everyone else, and how they feel about our conditions and the repercussions we cause them. So, drop everyone else for a minute, and put yourself first. Your health, feelings and happiness is important.

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Decorate. Decorating and admiring the work you’ve done can feel rewarding and welcoming. It really brings the season to life and can lift your mood. Bright lights, glitter and old time classical songs are just the thing to calm you down and take away your blues.

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Puzzles and Colouring. Activities like these give you enough time to put your life on hold, evaluate your feelings and think about what to do next. For 10 minutes, you can focus, distract your mind and do something for yourself. Not to mention, seeing a completed piece you made can be fulfilling. This is a great coping mechanism to replace self-harm.

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Talk to a Friend. Our families don’t always understand us and can be insensitive; bringing in an outside party could benefit you and bring peace. Our friends are aware of our struggles and won’t judge; they can provide advice and company when we need it most. Good company can be the solution to many issues.


Here are some other ideas.

Stressed?

  • Read a book
  • Pet an animal
  • Go for a walk
  • Sing/Play and instrument
  • Write

Anxious?

  • Deep breathing
  • Touching different textures
  • Listen to soft music
  • Change rooms/environments
  • Put on comfy pyjamas

Angry?

  • Journal
  • Call a friend
  • Scribble harshly with pens
  • Yell into a pillow
  • Play a video game

Sad/Depressed?

  • Join people
  • Make yourself a hot drink
  • Read (forums, newspapers, books, etc)
  • Take a quick nap
  • Play with your hair

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Everyone should enjoy this holiday season, mentally ill or not. We have to focus on the signs of stressors or spirals and try to combat them with healthy coping mechanisms. It can be a fun time, if we allow it to and work on moving forward.

Take care of yourself.

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How I’m Defeating Borderline Personality Disorder

How I'm Defeating Borderline Personality Disorder, sloth speed recovery, www.slothspeedrecovery.wordpress.com, sloth speed recovery

I’ve had a good run with Borderline Personality Disorder, ever since I was diagnosed at fourteen, after a serious suicide attempt. It’s been over four years, and my emotions have seen the full spectrum. I’ve fallen into some of the worst coping behaviours, almost lost my life over a dozen times, but I never fully gave up. I’ve been in and out of treatments; centers, hospitals, seeing psychiatrists, doctors, therapists, group therapy, etc. I’ve seen practically all treatment options, and nothing has worked as well as this…

My current recovery method does include therapy and sleeping medication, but it isn’t the reason I am doing so well.

No pill will cure Borderline (though they help regulate moods), and doctors have been clear with the majority of us that that is the case. We are responsible for our recovery; it’s about routine and combating our destructive behaviours.


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Admitting to a Problem and Deciding to Recover. You can’t recover without the initial decision to.

I made the decision in June 2016 that I wanted to recover. I was DONE with BPD. I was exhausted with self harm and trying to manipulate people to stay, even if they didn’t want to. I was tired of trying to control things I couldn’t control. I accepted my condition and wanted to change it. I didn’t want to suffer every single day anymore.

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Attending DBT. The main form of therapy provided in mental health institutions is usually Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which challenges negative thoughts to alter behaviour, treating mood disorders. It is helpful but won’t cure BPD.

Dialectic Behavioural Therapy (DBT) was designed for people with Borderline by Marsha M. Linehan in the late 80s. This form teaches individuals to cope with emotion regulation and trauma, rather than reducing crises. Someone with BPD could be in crises daily, and it’s more beneficial to teach them healthy coping mechanisms to use during these crises.

I attended the Out Of Control Group near my town, using the Out Of Control DBT-CBT Workbook, which works wonders. It won’t help if you don’t dedicate yourself to it. Some weeks will be very hard because the book takes a blunt approach, and touches on sensitive topics, but you can’t quit. Stay persistent.

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Stop Self-Harming. No cutting. No pill popping. No alcohol. No burning. No disordered eating. Etc. You can’t recover while hurting yourself, even if your mind is in the right place.

I’m still working on this. I’ve gone over four years addicted to cutting, and I’ve greatly reduced it with a few slip ups. My blades have been taken away from me and it has improved my mental health, though I still crave it. My disordered eating hops in every once in a while but, I can distract my mind if I remind myself that being skinny and starving myself is only going to get in the way of my goals, not help reach them. I’ve used drugs and alcohol, and other techniques, but they don’t help. And I can get through a craving with that reminder.

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Hobbies and Meet Ups. A good portion of our lack of confidence is our inability to see what we are capable of. By starting a hobby, we use our natural talent and grow it into something more profound. If you incorporate local meet ups, other people can encourage you.

(Find out why it’s good to be involved in local groups/clubs here)

I attend a writer’s group every second week, and it encourages me to keep writing. They provide feedback and opinions, which will only further me in my writing career.

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Little Goals. Make goals for yourself every day. Take a walk, cook a meal, do a puzzle, etc. Little goals give you a sense of accomplishment, and can remind you of your capabilities. You suddenly notice that the person who wasn’t able to get out of bed can now go for a run, or go to social gatherings. It’s about reinforcing a routine and teaching yourself that you can function.

I ensure to keep hygiene regular, take in account my mood for every day, work on my writing, and work on myself individually.

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BIG GOALS. Eventually, your little goals can feed into a big goal. It will seem impossible to reach at first, but it is very likely, and attainable. every day, you make a little goal to work on it, and in no time, it will be done.

I recently completed my first draft to my first ever novel; a goal I never thought I would reach. With persistence, I finished that first draft in four months. My upcoming big goal is finishing the chapter edits and getting that out to my Beta Readers.

(If you’re interested in being a Beta Reader for this novel, read about it here and complete the application)


My quality of life has vastly improved. I’m attending weekly therapy, I’ve applied for disability, I’m in the midst of a job application, and I finished the first draft of my book. My almost dead relationship is currently blossoming healthily. I am gaining weight, and I understand that I am healthy and that it’s natural; cutting a meal because of a pound gained is illogical. The hair on my head is growing after my trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder) spiked in August. My hygiene is better, I’m taking sleep medication, I’m doing puzzles, I’m accepting time away from my boyfriend, I’m working on my book every day (even if it’s for five minutes) and I’m genuinely happy.

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I never thought that I would get here; happy. I’m not living in the best place with the best conditions, but I make the most of every single day, and I’m thankful for what I have. Being happy and healthy is more important to me than wasting my life with Borderline. I will always have it; I will always struggle, but I will always fight. 

Thank you to those who supported me through this writing process, and who have supported my blog. I hope I bring you joy and inspire you to reach for recovery, just as I have. All together, we can overcome Borderline Personality Disorder, and embrace what it has made of us. 

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When Should Borderlines Have Children?

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Individuals who have never experienced mental illness may argue that someone diagnosed with should not be allowed to be a parent, and possibly, their children should be taken away. Though some are unfit because of their mental illness induced behaviour and other factors, there are parents who are diagnosed and were/are successful.

When dealing with BPD specifically, we experience extreme emotions, behaviours and sensations that can become violent and abusive, and should not be exposed to a child. Wanting a child is a common human desire for most, but it is evidently possible that we could hurt our child by just having this disorder and not knowing how to control it. No loving parent wants to turn on their child.

What if your condition IS bringing harm their way?

That begs the question… Should Borderlines be parents?


Well, it would depend in what stage you fit, and how far along in recovery you are.

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Just Out of Hospital/Recently Diagnosed. You are not fit to be a parent (at this time).

Parenting takes self-control and understanding, and if you have just been released from hospital for a suicide attempt or self harm incident, it would not be fair to expose a child to that. You are not in control, and that’s why someone had to take it from you, or you’ve handed it away.

The early stages of childhood can grasp onto trauma easily, and it is very likely that you will have an episode. The child will observe that and feel wounded; possibly blame themselves. You could physically harm them, and they wouldn’t know their rights or that that is not acceptable. Parenting early on into Borderline would only cause unnecessary trauma, and could enforce a mental illness upon them.

It will take a long time before you will learn self-control, emotional management and daily coping, and that’s okay. It is not necessary to be a parent immediately. Take your time; this is your journey.

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Going to Therapy and Seeking Treatment. Still a long way to go to being ready.

Going to therapy is a positive and it should be praised. Going doesn’t mean being active, though. It’s great that you are attending, but if you aren’t engaged, it’s not going to benefit anybody. It also doesn’t mean that you’re making the changes outside of your therapist’s office. Going is just that; going.

Seeking treatment is not being IN treatment. It means that you are looking, are on the waiting list or trying to take treatment into your own hands. You cannot be sure that you will attend mandatory sessions or be committed to the medication your doctor suggests until the time comes. In 6 months time, you may be living somewhere entirely different and not have transportation, or the time to attend, and thus, are back on the waiting list.

Taking on a child in this stage will only overwhelm you, and you will distance yourself from recovery. It is almost guaranteed that you will spiral out of control again. And no one wants that.

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Active in Treatment/Taking Medication. You’re getting there.

Being active in treatment whilst taking your medication is amazing. It’s one of the first steps to taking action in recovery but is nowhere near the final. It is important to continue trying to improve yourself every single day, and apply coping skills at home.

Medications may take several months to properly sit into someone’s system, thus is not fully effective. Early stages of medication actually creates more instability than not, and if not consistent and supervised, could bring you back to old patterns.

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Applying Coping Mechanisms At Home. Still a little bit further.

Being involved in treatment, medication and your own recovery will take you far. This stage shows that you are active in your recovery and are willing to give up anything to remain on track. You will be forcing yourself to go outside, do art instead of self harm, controlling your emotions, etc. This kind of behaviour demonstrates that you’re getting to a good place, and are coping with what comes your way.

Though, you should not have a child if you’ve done this for one week. You have to remain consistent, even when it gets rough. No self harm. No episodes. Keep it under control, because you know you can do it, and your future child believes in you.

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Coping Well/Recovered. Go ahead.

You are ready, recovery wise. Keep up the consistent coping skills, therapy and medication, and don’t give up.


Yes, some Borderlines are bad parents, some are mediocre and some are fantastic. Though everyone makes bad decisions, it doesn’t make them inherently bad.

Our mental illness does not define our parenthood, but it’s important that we have it under control before conceiving to avoid causing necessary trauma to the child. That decision to recover could be influenced by your desire to have a child, and that’s all the more reason to get there.

Don’t give up.


It is important to note that recovery is an individual process for everyone. Some people can do it in one year, and others can take ten. Don’t rush to conceive. Take your time, learn about your Borderline and learn about parenting in the process. You can be an extraordinary parent, if you are ready.

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The Benefits of Local Groups

 

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If you struggle with any form of anxiety or isolative disorders, you will not be jumping at the idea to putting your big kid pants on and heading out the door to meet up with locals. Doing so could provide multiple benefits to your mental health and well being.

These groups usually involve a niche, and thus, you would be socializing with people you have common interests with. These individuals would understand your passions and be relatable for you, providing a positive ground for you. Not to mention, most of these are free to join, and thus, won’t rip a hole in your wallet!


But, why would it be worth it if I have a mental illness?

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Social Interactions/Meeting New People. A great deal of mental illnesses involve us isolating ourselves, and refusing to participate in social situations. This creates a decline in friendships and relationships we’ve formed in our life, resulting in negative feelings towards ourselves and the people around us. By pushing ourselves to go out and meeting individuals with common interest, we expand our horizons. We meet people from different age groups, backgrounds and professions, that all share the same passion.

These new people in your life will offer you more than you could imagine; from peace of mind to confidence boosters. Most individuals in these types of clubs are optimistic and supportive, and will likely desire that you succeed.

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Pushing the Comfort Zone. No one has ever gotten any better without pushing the boundaries a little bit. Progress is attained through discomfort.

Taking a quote from The Dinz Episode Get Over It!!, it should be clear that change should actually be less scary than things staying the same.

“If you’re afraid of change, just ask yourself. What’s scarier; the unfamiliar, or things staying exactly the way they are, right now, forever?”

-The Dinz, Get Over It!!

Change is a common experience for all humans to experience. It isn’t ever entirely comfortable for anyone, but if it was, it wouldn’t evolve us as people or teach us the value of things we have. It is an inevitable fact of life, and when we live with mental illness, we have to force changes upon ourselves to attain overall better wellness.

That boundary pushing is going to reduce your anxiety in the long run. The more that you expose yourself to these types of situations, the more comfortable you are going to get. The more vulnerable you make yourself, the stronger you will become.

We must learn to cope with our mental illnesses, and not let them define or control us.

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Hobby. Hobbies occupy time, and get the creative juices flowing. This type of activity can actually bring you to be inspired and motivated, and may surprise you with how able you are with your mental illnesses.

Not to mention, it adds more depth to your character, and that is an attractive trait. This level of independence and love towards your self-worth will attract more people into your life.

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Positive Environment. Environments like these are flooded with positive people who just want the best for you. If you are all joined in that group, you all share a passion, and no one who understands the passion will want to bring anybody in that field down. They will want you to succeed, and will provide positive feedback on your contribution or your work.

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Pushes Productivity. Constant support and belief in your character will push you to excel or produce a higher level of content. The positive reinforcement from your peers will inspire you. This constant flow of encouragement will make you more productive.

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Coping with Criticism. It is inevitable that you will receive criticism, especially in public situations. Though it’s not always easy to deal with, the kindness of your peers should be considered. If you are sharing a written or artistic piece, they may offer their opinions on what could better it to the public eye, or in general.

It is important to note that any comment they make, unless intentionally hateful, is never meant to harm you. It is important to learn this, and to fight the anxieties that criticism will evidently invite.


These local groups and clubs will involve you in the community, and overall, better your mental health and wellness. It is important to consider your future, and choose to consistently move forward, even if it makes it difficult for you to process.

If there aren’t any that interest you in place, why not try to build your own! (Look for that topic in upcoming posts.)

So, please, go out there, and get involved!


Don’t know where to start or what is available in your town?

Try searching for these groups:

  • Writing
  • Art
  • Theatre
  • Cooking
  • Crafts
  • Sewing/knitting
  • Photography
  • Sports
  • Etc.

 

 

0

Why Are Borderlines Violent?

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Borderline Personality Disorder is characterized by an intense fear of abandonment, as with extreme emotions. The range of emotional instability is vast, from extreme happiness, sadness, boredom, loneliness and anger. When anger spikes in a diagnosed individual, it can become quite dangerous for them and the ones around them. Not to mention that these emotions can morph into extreme sadness, depression and suicidal.

Though not all of us are violent, some of us are. We do not wish to be violent, though some situations encourage our violent emotions to exude. Before being on the recovery path, we do not properly comprehend how to manage our emotions, and we resort to extremes to soothe the constant humming inside our minds.


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Feeling unheard/misunderstood. A common trigger for the highest extremities of Borderline emotions is feeling misunderstood. Perhaps we aren’t communicating appropriately nor getting the words out, or what we are saying is detailed yet feels unheard. At time, our emotions make us feel like we are talking to a brick wall… Or hell, running into it repeatedly, trying to get through it but just causing irrefutable damage to ourselves instead! The sensation of anger we get from this is striking. It can start a building heat inside of us and release as an offensive rage.

If words can’t do the talking, sometimes we let our fists. We don’t mean to harm anyone in most cases, but it is the only way that we can display our inner torment. And you are left there, terrified of us, which was our last intent. We desperately want to tell you how we feel; we want you to understand, but it is not always easy for us. The complication of explanation situations boils our blood, and we lose our temper.

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Abuse. If we feel we are in an abusive situation, we may explode on the person. There is only such a period that we can hold it together, especially with someone pestering us and putting us down. The last thing anybody wants to hear is how much of a failure they appear to be. Nor do we want a slap square in the face for not washing the dishes properly.

We will try being calm if we can. We will try to reason. But if someone is unreasonable, we may come to the conclusion that abuse will kill abuse. A main criteria for our disorder is a fear of losing control, or the inability to maintain control. By being abusive back to a person, we gain the control we once lost. We have gained all power.

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Trauma/Flashbacks. Reliving a moment of grief or trauma is never exciting. If images return to our mind, and we are vulnerable, we may start throwing the punches without knowing it. If an individual who was raped was having sex, and had a flashback, they may result in trying to beat or harm the other person in response. In this case, they are not consciously responsible, and shouldn’t be shunned for it.

Trauma is delicate and is individual; no two people can be compared. The best thing to offer is a hand to hold, some company, and holding them down if they become a danger. Even if we are threatening to hurt you, understand that this is very real to us, vastly vivid, and our response can vary.

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Fear. When someone is unsure about something, they become fearful. A deflection from fear would be to fight it, whether that be emotionally or physically. Logic isn’t always a priority to someone diagnosed with BPD, especially when we are facing the unknown. Fighting fear can be dangerous for us and anyone else. It is possible for us to even take our lives in fear.

A diagnosed individual will become frantic and do everything in their power to avoid that situation, and if trampling someone in the process will benefit them in any way, it will be considered.

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Learned and Unbroken Behaviour. It is highly possible that this individual has adapted to this way of coping, and has never tried to break the behaviour. We could’ve been exposed to it as a child, and are now taking out that anger in the same way, on our own child. We were shown that this was okay, and though morality may have tried to stop us in the past, it is no longer effective to drive us to discontinue its use.


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We may harm someone we love, or a complete stranger, but we do not wish to cause this harm. We, like the majority of society, have a conscience, and we can differ right from wrong. Some situations get the best of us and we lose control. In those moments, we need you to understand our Borderline, and be present.

Having Borderline Personality Disorder makes it difficult to manage emotions and the behaviours that accompany them. Though violence may be our go-to in time of “need”, understand that we do lose control. It takes years of persistent recovery to get to a place where we are stable and capable enough to withhold extreme emotions, and cope with them with healthy alternatives.

It will never make physical abuse acceptable, but we will need support to get the help that we require, and we will see a better day.

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How to Understand BPD

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Borderline Personality Disorder is a complex concept on its own, but having it as a disorder is a whole other whirlwind. It’s called a personality disorder, but is mainly related to behaviour, and that is confusing on it’s own.

If there is an individual in your life with this disorder, they will need your understanding to feel less alone, and accompanied through the battles. If they are explaining and expressing their emotions to you, but you aren’t registering it, it’s a conflict. It will push them further away and their trust will plummet.

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You may be involved with someone who is practically obsessed with you one minute, and the next, is dreadful, angry and possibly mean. It’s a switch. You may be confused and not know how to react, nor fully understand why they are behaving in that way.

You know they have a mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder, you may know the main components, but you just can’t seem to grasp an understanding. The moment you think you’ve got it down, something changes and you’ve lost touch with your personal definition.


How can I understand Borderline Personality Disorder?

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Research. No one ever learns anything unless they do the leg work. Look into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), read the BPD criteria for diagnosis, look at various resources listing the emotional and behavioral components, and refer to personal experiences of individuals.

It will be a lot to take in and understand all at once, so take this process slowly. Understand that, as people, we cannot comprehend information immediately upon reading it. This is a complex disorder that will never be the same for two individuals. Though it is important to research the psychology and the methods of diagnosis, it is also important to refer to that individual in your life.

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Listening. Listening will be a good portion of your research in understanding. It is one thing to refer to legitimate documents that state the normalities and common grounds for BPD diagnosed, but to hear the experience from someone who struggles with it will trigger your compassion and comprehensibility. When you hear it from a person instead of reading it off a screen or paper, you can relate better. You will be able to hear their twists, turns, triggers, emotional states and their wishes for the future.

When you listen to them, try to take mental or physical notes for yourself. If you are together, observe behaviours and reactions, and study the limits. You may notice that their fear of abandonment is stronger than their dissociation, or that their self harming urges arise when being let down.

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Reflection. Take time for yourself to absorb. Sit and think through situations, keeping in mind the legitimacy of BPD, but the individual case as well. Try to sort through better ways to respond, or offer them healthier coping strategies that you can do together. Also try to make associations with things you’ve read that align with things they’ve said.

Question yourself. How would I feel if I had BPD? What would I like to hear? How can I be more present and compassionate?

Think of their disorder as an orange. Every orange appears to be the same on the outside; a thick skin, with the same ol’ colour and bumpy texture. But whenever you cut into an orange, you can see the individuality. The segments are different sizes, the skin thickness, ripeness and smell varies, as well as cell placement. No two oranges are the same, though they appear to be. If you don’t examine that individual orange, you will never see it as an individual. It will always just be another orange in the basket.

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Acceptance. Though you can’t come to acceptance with someone having BPD as simply as you could with accepting that there’s rain on a Saturday afternoon, you must try to get to that state. Acceptance is complicated, and humanity sometimes does not accept injustices or negative outcomes, but this is one that cannot be changed without recovery.

If this person is important in your life, you must persist in understanding and keep up with their rollercoaster, without becoming their therapist (the disorder will latch onto that support and spiral out). Take everyday as it comes and offer the best you can to being an understanding partner. Encourage recovery, but do not demean them for their disorder.

Expect that things may not go the way you or they have planned. Accept the swings and complexity of BPD, and help them fight it. Accept Borderline Personality Disorder as a fact of life and a constant struggle that can be fought.

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Understanding. Come to a place where they feel understood by you. Without experiencing it, it is impossible to understand what this disorder truly is. Constantly strive to understand, even if you never will completely.

The best thing you can do for them is be there, be open to listening and learning.


A post revealing how to understand your own disorder is coming soon.