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Strict Standards: Declaration of JParameter::loadSetupFile() should be compatible with JRegistry::loadSetupFile() in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/libraries/joomla/html/parameter.php on line 512

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/plugins/system/advancedmodules/advancedmodules.php:28) in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/plugins/system/admintools/admintools/badbehaviour/screener.inc.php on line 9

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Strict Standards: Declaration of JRouterJoomsef::parse() should be compatible with JRouter::parse(&$uri) in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/components/com_sef/sef.router.php on line 361

Strict Standards: Declaration of JRouterJoomsef::build() should be compatible with JRouter::build($url) in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/components/com_sef/sef.router.php on line 361

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Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/plugins/system/mmbackground/mmbackground.php on line 98

Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/plugins/system/hotlogin/hotlogin.php on line 88

Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/plugins/system/ganalyticstrcode/ganalyticstrcode.php on line 32

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Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/plugins/system/jdownloads/jdownloads.php on line 164

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Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/plugins/system/jdownloads/jdownloads.php on line 174

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Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/billbmn/public_html/wcmi1/plugins/content/fb_tw_plus1/fb_tw_plus1.php on line 43

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Joanna’s Story BPD Consumer - WhatCausesMentalIllness.com
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Login

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The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.
John Milton, Paradise Lost
   

FAQ  


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Word Cloud  


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Latest Additions  


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Glimpses

Joanna’s Story BPD Consumer

Details

Joanna’s Story

Fragmented Cuts

I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder traits and have written the following passages that depict the way I feel during particular emotionally challenging moments in my life.

Obsessions

Why is it that I must always have an obsession?  Without one my internal world feels like a flat desert shroud by grey sand looked down upon by grey sky, not a cloud in sight because even that would add character, something to grab hold of.  Both sand and sky occupy my eye's vision, never changing, never asking if there is anything else out there.

The obsession with obsession began as early as I can remember.  As a very little girl I wanted people to like me - other pupils, my parents' friends, my few friends' parents, but most of all I wanted my parents to like me, my mum.  It was my obsession to be as important to her as my brother was.  He didn't even have to try.  Unfortunately he was born having one sickness after another.  We had been given this small bird with long spindly arms and legs and a beak that never closed, not to take in food but to scream; a bird with a domino effect of illnesses.  Well of course my mum didn't have any place in her life or heart for me anymore.  The time and love I was given seemed pretend, like something she had to do because it was the right thing.  It was like a mother burying her child's pet and having a mini funeral because 'it's the right thing to do'.  So from the droplets of nurturing and real love I managed to squeeze out of my mum when the little bird wasn't around, I encountered the obsession of willing my mum to like me.  I would try to do everything my parents wanted - do well at school, go to Sunday School, keep my clothes clean and my socks pulled up, my shoes shiny, and eat those putrescent brussel sprouts with my roasts and shepherds pies.  Even though I tried to be the perfect daughter because I really did think I was so lucky to be born with the most perfect parents in the world (they even had perfect Mum and Dad names) I don't think they saw me as the perfect child.  With all these thoughts and idealisations it is no wonder my poor little head was tormented by interludes of unhealthy images and afflictions.  I became obsessed with people vomiting or not vomiting, and never wanting to vomit myself, although I would worry myself so much into it I actually would vomit.  I had routines.  Forty scrubs each time I had a bath; three times to check my bedroom everywhere for ants and spiders; counting my teeth three times so I would never have to wear braces (it actually worked and my teeth are now surprisingly straight).  These routines were my obsessions, my key to opening the stiff door to satisfaction.

And then my obsession was wanting to do well at school.  I wanted to make my parents happy and I thought that as I was quite the opposite of popular and had bullies instead of friends, I would focus on being a good student.  That idea spiralled though.  I was the kitten that scratched and climbed the fly-screens that grew into a placid, quiet and good-natured cat, in reverse.  When I went to university I did as my dad wanted me to even though I knew I didn't want it myself.  My brain became overwhelmed, not with obsessions but with words, methods, phrases I couldn't understand.  How could anyone?  And then came my next obsession.  How was I going to tell my parents I couldn't do it anymore and that I had more than just hating uni as my deep dark and sordid secret?  These obsessions ate away at me, at my mind like a toothless lizard slowly gnawing away at the insides of my brain.  I couldn't tame the lizard any more than I could tame the revolting flavour of brussel sprouts.  In a borderline rage I tried to do the apparent unthinkable even though I don't think it really is unthinkable at all, not when you enter the realms of the subconscious; that dungeon area of the brain I think all borderlines are blessed with; the dungeon where you transform into an entirely other being and hit, thrash, punch, pierce, kill.  It's not a pretty dungeon at all, rather ugly in fact.  Something pulled me away from that window on the twelfth floor but I never actually managed to meet the force that did, or at least I didn't get to know it well enough to name it.

It was then that my next obsession popped up like the berserk head of a Jack in the box.  It was not something new entering my life but something I needed to explore with full vigour, full verve, to mollify an intense need in me that was draining me to my last drop of normality.  I questioned myself constantly.  Was I or wasn't I?  It was a question that burned incessantly in my mind, branded its copyright on the grey matter of my brain.  So I researched in secret.  No-one knew of the alternative newspapers I kept hidden under my bed, the 'abnormal' books I read but my obsession was finding out more about the world I desperately wanted to be a part of, the world I knew I belonged to, the world I knew I didn't belong to.  It was something I had to find out though, whether I belonged there or not, or whether the constant empty feeling of abnormal was purely because I was different to other human beings.  I was convinced I was an outsider, from another planet even though I don't believe in aliens.  I looked human, the rejected human, but I was still human.  I had to find out if I was gay or not.

Emotions

You crave emotion; you crave feeling, anything to take you away from the realm of numbness, the realm of being frozen within your own mind - your neurotransmitters at a standstill in your brain, at red traffic lights that refuse to turn to green. You are in a world not of sadness, not of anger, not of happiness but one with no words to describe the boredom of bleakness.

Then when something enters your world to turn those traffic lights green it does with such force, such vigour that the neurotransmitters accelerate with speed and avidity.  And that emotion you craved is so powerful you are sure you never experienced it before. You want nothing, no-one to take it away from you, the emotion that burns a flame inside of you, a flame ablaze with passion, intensity and happiness.  The flame takes over your body, encapsulates your mind and captures your soul.  It kneads away at your stomach, glows through your heavy pumping heart.

But it takes just one tiny trigger to erupt that flame, a trigger not noticeable to anyone but you, something anyone else would miss but which you seize and squeeze, mould into all obnoxious proportions.  And the flame is on its journey to explosion.  Your heart glows furiously, your stomach kneads rapidly, your head pounds with obsessive phrases replaying over and over in your mind - 'how could you?' 'you're pathetic' 'you should be dead'.  How could you have let it get out of control? How could you have felt too much? Why are you so stupid for allowing the flame to ignite in the first place?  You are so fu**ing stupid!

You know you have come too far. Your emotion is quickly entering the realm of the unrestrained.  It will jump swiftly over that wall and take you to a world you know only too well but where you know you shouldn't be.  A world where you don't care what you do to yourself, a world where you want to hurt yourself, a world where there is no turning back once you are there.  And once you are in that world and abide by its rules you are taken back to civilisation.  It is the only way you can turn that green light off, the red light on indefinitely.  It is the only way you can tame that rampant flame, and for a moment that world is your comfort, your saviour, a place only you can enter, a world just for you.

You ask yourself if it is better to live with the traffic light at red or the traffic light at green.  The red is safe but you crave more, you crave that intensity.  Your mind is boring at red.  The green is electrifying but can spiral out of control.  All or nothing.  Everything and nothing.

I write this as you rather than me because it is difficult ascribing emotions to myself right now but I write instead of entering the forbidden world.

Boredom.

For want of a better word, what do we call this?  Is it boredom?  Anxiety?  Restlessness?  How do I describe this feeling of wanting, needing to be still when the fidget takes over my being, possession of my body?  The fidget touches my mind, tenaciously caresses my thoughts and inveigles its way in, only to intertwine the thoughts and send them into disarray. My body frets, is uneasy as the thoughts protrude in all directions - no pattern, no order. How can the body, the mind cope without order, without organisation?

The thoughts rapidly change from one to another.  Boredom with repetitious tasks.

Same repetitious keystrokes.

Same repetitious mouse clicks.

Tedium.

Boredom.

My heart tempts the fidget and watches in awe as it struggles through restless agitated veins. Veins, arteries, capillaries filled with nervous blood staggering to required destinations.  My heart clobbers against the wall of my chest, each beat sending chemical angst to the cells of my blood.  My throbbing heart sends angry pulses armed with flurries of trepidation to all areas of my body and drums an all too familiar beat in my ears.

Move in my chair.

Restlessness.

Grind my teeth.

Restlessness.

Flick my pen.

Restlessness.

To my stomach the fidget spurs, sending an occupation of lively butterflies. They flutter blindly into each other, into the walls of my stomach, directing waves of nausea throughout.

Check my phone.

Boredom.

Grind my teeth.

Anxiety.

And down to my legs the fidget travels, spiralling out of control.  Pins and needles stab my muscles from the inside out.  My legs demand movement, a haven far from calm.

Move my legs.

Turn my ring.

Boredom.

Fatigue.

What is this fidget?  It is me.

Loneliness.

Again, for want of a better word I don't know what to call this feeling of being completely deviated from the norm, an anomaly in a world where most others have their place.  I often feel like everyone is their own piece to a huge puzzle and all match, merge nicely.  Then there's me, I am the piece that has nowhere to go.  My edges are broken and uneven, and I am just all black and burnt.  I am picked up, sneered at and tossed under the rug.

I have felt this way for as long as I can remember.  Since the days I was called football head at school.  I was the tall girl with big feet whose head covered the TV screen when we watched a history drama 'How We Used To Live'.  I only sat in the front row because all the other seats had been taken by imaginary friends or friends that were never going to sit there anyway.

It was being pushed over into the muddy slush that made me realise how hopeless it was telling my mum about the kids who not only didn't want to be my friend but who also thought it was fun to go through my school bag and throw my lunches in the bin. When I told my mum it was a boy in the final year who pushed me to the ground and made all my clothes muddy she insisted I had done it deliberately and told her friends how naughty I was for getting my tights and skirt dirty.

I could handle the kids throwing my usual lunch of cheese and pickle sandwiches in the bin, but when it was my nan who had made my lunch all specially for me, it really upset me.  Seeing that brown bag with the sandwich delicately cut and the Mars bar that my nan knew I loved so much in the bin broke my heart.  Not only were they throwing out my lunch, they were throwing out my nan's too.  They only did it because they knew I hated school dinners and wanted to watch me squirm and cry while sitting on the teacher's lap as she tried to force the mash and meat into my mouth.  They sat opposite with their own packed lunches and laughed.

The taunting didn't end in primary school.  It extended to secondary school where I had one good friend who was also teased endlessly and another who thought nothing of putting her hand around my neck until I did or said something she wanted.  There was a time when I was playing with a friend's hamster at her party and her protective dog leapt at my face only to give me a nosebleed and cuts.  I didn't want anything to happen to the dog.  It was only protecting the hamster, but the kids at school the next day called me a murderer and ganged up on me because the parents were talking of having the dog put down.  Of course that was not what I wanted.

Then there was the time in Germany when the boys covered my best friend with tissues and tied him to the bed.  I had to sleep in the same bed with the friend who put her hand around my neck on that trip.

And it didn't end there either.  The teasing and ridiculing lingered steadily through high school in Melbourne.  I thought I could have parted ways with the bullying by leaving the UK but no such luck.  No longer was I called football head.  I was honoured with names like 'makeup face' and 'Coke can fringe', and asked if I did my makeup on the jolty bus.  Kids said they would need a shovel to take the makeup off and a truck to carry it all away.

Only once did I cry at high school though.  It was when one girl, who knew I was gullible, told me to turn my Maths paper over in an exam before commencement time.  Quite stupidly I did it only to be told off by the teacher and to have the same girl tell the teacher I was cheating.  My next class was English.  I sat at the front of the class as I always did, and the teacher said I looked beautiful with my hair down.  I usually wore it up.  It was her kindness that made me cry.

In these taunting times I felt like an anomaly, an alien or outcast who was trespassing.  Now, I am always this anomaly or peculiar object that once tried to fit into the puzzle but who has since given up.  I am resigned to being different, being that tall creature that watches other people laugh, joke and play, not knowing how I could ever intercept those conversations with my own dull and boring presence.  I would sooner stand on my own, watch from a distance.

Yet that weird creature that is me doesn't know who she truly is.  She knows what her passions are.  She knows her weaknesses.  But she doesn't know what is at the core of her being.  She doesn't know how to interpret what she feels and how to act on those feelings.  She knows anger but is it truly anger that she feels?  Or something else that takes her to that forbidden world?  That world where only she belongs, where she can placate intensity by self-harm to induce satisfaction.

As she cannot interpret and understand the being of her core, she blindly acclimatises herself to the personalities of those surrounding her.  Not always, but often when it means she has to make decisions, or having her boundaries overstepped.  The questions, the deliberations, the unknowing invoke a foreboding ball of fear internally.  A dark raven ball that resides deep in the hollow of her stomach and chokes her when the questions and unknowing overflow and thrash her mind.  She would sooner die than feel this black void.

Who is she?  She is I.

Validation.

You never feel truly validated.  Not when praised or given phrases of affection, endearment.  Why do these words, these phrases not travel towards your heart and penetrate it like the painful words do? Why do they not seep into your heart, pump in harmony with your blood, force your mind to feel them, believe them, embrace them?

They are words not of an uncommon language, a language frozen to the heart, numb to the soul. The ears hear them but they drift easily into the nearby air, into the nearby aura.

Without belief in these words, faith in this love, your heart travels from paralysis to pain.  From pain to obsession.  From obsession to rage.  From rage back to pain.

The obsessive questions emerge and your mind scratches away furiously at the answer it wants you to believe - no, they don't really care.

How do you allow these words of love to grasp your heart?

Abandonment.

Abandonment. Thought to be the epitome of BPD, a trait I never thought I possessed but undeniably I do. A trait I wish I didn’t possess but which when it comes into loom it possesses me.

When abandonment first emerged I can’t be sure but there are glimpses of memories of childhood.

Like the time when I pretended the couches were my parents, and I sat on their wide laps while they wrapped their big brown arms around me.

Like the time when I cried in front of my mum telling her about the bullies at school and all she said was that I needed to make more friends and not cry for myself.

And then there were the times at school that infuse me with such guilt, saturate my mind with self-blame, fiery fingers bleeding through the skin on my face. I had no friends to call my own and there were times I tried to take possession of others. Once, I was the first to be asked to pick a partner for the boat trip the next day because I had scored the highest in my class for spelling. I chose the most popular girl in the class, or rather the most intriguing, because she was the new little Japanese girl who owned Hello Kitty stationery. The hatred in her eyes when I asked if she would pair with me I will never forget. Why should she be paired off with the tall, quiet, picked on, unpopular kid? The Japanese kids were only ever paired off with the popular girls. I wanted to take it all back when I saw that relentless frown, that insulted stare. Who or what gave me the privilege of asking this girl?

On the trip she left my side as soon as she could and stayed with one of the popular girls. I was alone again.

Now, the fear of abandonment evokes feelings so excruciating it is difficult to know what to do with them, how to accept them and live with them.

Abandonment is like I am thrusting a knife into my stomach, penetrating the flesh, turning, and cultivating a deep dark hole in preparation for emptiness, the forgotten.

Unbearable neglect like the child no-one wanted to play with or even partner on a school trip.

The rejected child whose mum couldn’t care less about the bullies at school.

The pathetic imbecile teenager who believed the person who told her a rumour at school was genuine, only to find out it was a rumour spread throughout the whole year about her, the pathetic fool – the rumour that she was apparently wearing holey underwear, so completely untrue.

When the kids hated her so much, spread untrue rumours about her, picked on her best friend too, when her mother did nothing, didn’t listen and told her she was selfish for crying, how could there really be anyone in the world who truly loved her? Who deep down understood her? Who wanted her as theirs? There couldn’t be.

She was the abandoned anomaly who would stay abandoned forever.


A compilation of uncensored real life experiences with Mental Illness.

GLIMPSES © 2007  For permission to use the content of this manuscript please contact Nicci Wall at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or fax +61 3 5222 6847

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