Up, down, off, on, Feeling like a light switch that can easily be turned off and on at any moment. Switching from happiness to anger, excitement to anxiety, hopeful to hopeless. This is anguish that many people can not even begin to understand.
I have heard of splitting in borderline personality disorder and how this serves as a self-defense mechanism to avoid being hurt. Splitting is associated more with the thinking of black and white, all or nothing.
Switching is mainly associated with extreme changes in emotions. Going from happiness to sadness, a joy to anger, and so forth. In 2016, a study was done with 58 patients. 30 adults with BPD, and 28 were healthy. They reported in their daily lives the level of pleasantness/unpleasantness of their emotional states 10 times a day for 8 consecutive days using handheld palmtops.
Results showed that although BPD patients did not differ from healthy controls regarding their overall tendency to switch from a positive to a negative emotional state or vice versa, such changes between positive and negative states were significantly more in BPD patients.
What’s wrong with me?
I became more interested in this characteristic of BPD, as I knew all too well the symptoms of switching. In my journey with this mental disorder, I knew that I had been experiencing it for quite some time and could not understand why.
I found myself repeatedly in situations where I could be feeling ecstatic and joyful. The next minute, something would trigger me and send me flying to the opposite side of the spectrum. I would suddenly find myself angry and cold. As much as I tried, I could not get the switch to turn off. I had been turned on, and the gateway had been opened.
At times, these feelings could go on for hours, even days. Unable to get my mind to focus on the positive. Only the negative. Any thought that would fuel my fire. With the inability to make it stop. I would have to find a place of solitude where I could calm my thoughts and slowly begin to reason within myself. Feeling remorse and sadness.
This whirlwind of emotions caused despair at times and affected my relationships. This also carried over into my new relationship. I found this time around that my emotions had become more out of control. I am blessed to have a partner who has BPD and overcame many struggles within himself, and now helps me understand my emotions. This has stirred something new within me.
Knowing that I can healthily manage my disorder and live a life of peace has inspired me to continue learning and growing and showing others that this is indeed possible with discipline, determination, and the desire to be the most excellent version of you.
Every day is really given to us as a reset of yesterday. Another chance to change. To live a life that you are proud of. That somehow impacted someone else. Even if just one person, you made a change. If we all made it our mission to reach out to just one person and in some way be a positive, life-changing influence, then you have served a purpose. In turn, it creates awareness and understanding.
I am always inspired by others. By their stories. Their resilience. The dark places that some have had to crawl out of. This year should be the year where we end the stigmas and turn them into strengths. Taking this journey together to reach our mental cloud 9.
Let’s not let our mental disorder create our borders.