Quarantining with Borderline Personality Disorder
I love the optimistic reframe of saying we are “safe at home” over being “stuck at home” during this COVID-19 crisis, though it’s also important to allow a judgement-free place to address challenges in the situation.
I struggle with depression, PTSD, anxiety and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Lately I’ve felt like I’m playing a solo volleyball match with my mental health. I’ve been searching the web for a BPD article to normalize my thoughts and feelings — specifically, the open window of a person with BPD into the favorite-person relationship while in quarantine. Instead of continuing to wait, I decided to open the window myself.
Some people struggling with BPD have an FP, or someone that we rely very heavily on for emotional support and balance. Often, we idolize that person, and we fear them abandoning us in ways words can’t express. My FP and I have worked together to create mutually healthy boundaries. I am honest and open with her, and I often say our relationship is as healthy as an unhealthy relationship can possibly be. Even then, she still is an FP, and I still do struggle with BPD.
Being quarantined has been challenging because I haven’t gotten that hug that seems to make things better, or even seen my FP in person for weeks. FP withdrawal is a real thing, and it’s not pretty. I have constant thoughts, fears and questions flying around in my head all the time. Will she leave? Is she okay? Will she decide life was better without me in it? Will she get sick? Am I too much? Does she think I’m selfish? Is she still okay? Does she think I’m dramatic? Is she okay now? Does she hate me? Should I just die?
Even as I hear these thoughts, fears and questions, sometimes I can still function. Sometimes I can get out of bed and eat breakfast and wash my face without letting it all overwhelm me. Sometimes I can stand on the knowledge that these are only thoughts not facts. Sometimes I can be understanding and gentle with myself when I need to text her. Sometimes I can hold onto past conversations I’ve had with her enough to not act on new fears. But sometimes I can’t.
Sometimes I find myself curled up into a ball on the kitchen floor sobbing and praying. Sometimes I fall into past temptations. Sometimes I spiral in self-hate. Sometimes I stay in bed all day.
I was talking on the phone with a friend of mine yesterday and she told me, “Helena, you are doing a great job. I know you are struggling, and I don’t know the depth of it, but you’re still here, and you’re doing a great job.” I needed to hear that right when I did.
So, whoever you are, whatever your story is and whatever your day brings — know that you are still here and the world needs you to stay that way. If you are not okay, and don’t have the strength to change your situation, know it’s okay not to be okay. Time will change this situation. And if you can’t wait, please reach out for help.
Each painful minute is a step away from the last, not a reflection of the next. You’re not failing. You’re doing your best, and you’re doing a great job. Your best is enough, you are enough and you are going to be okay.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255)
Crisis text line (Text HOME to 741741)
Helena Phillips enjoys writing, knitting, painting and drinking coffee. She is on the journey to healing.
Extremely refreshing to read. BPD is a unique type of beast. It is so refreshing to read such a balance expression of the emotions that come along with BPD. It’s extremely challenging especially now when we are safe at home. Thank you for sharing this. It needed to be said. And it was done so beautifully. Just like yesterday and the day before, tomorrow the sun will rise.
This gives awareness to everyone who has BPD and to their loved ones. Some people who have this personality disorder are bombarded by it and hate having one. So, thank you for sharing this informative piece that really helps.