Do I get mood swings? Sometimes it feels like my mood is a revolving door. There are good days, and there are bad days… and I know I’m not even aware of how often it occurs, but if you were to ask either my wife or my kids, they would tell you that this definitely makes living with me a “challenge”. Most of the time, I really don’t think I’m aware of the “shift” until it’s far too late. But the frustrating thing is that there are times I’m fully aware of it, but there’s nothing I can do to stop it… the train has left the station, get off the tracks. I think that for me, this might be the most frustrating part of having BPD. I refuse to use my “illness” as a reason or excuse for anything, but it is nice to be able to see and know that these are “common behaviour traits”. This makes anticipating and understanding actions and reactions a possibility.
“A borderline suffers a kind of emotional hemophilia; [s]he lacks the clotting mechanism needed to moderate [her] spurts of feeling. Stimulate a passion, and the borderline emotionally bleeds to death.” – -Jerold Kreisman and Hal Straus, I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me: UnderstandingBorderline Personality Disorder
For those of you that follow me on twitter (@davestoner03) or on Facebook (hadtoomuchtodreamlastnight) you may have seen a article I shared called “Why BPD relationships are so complicated“. If you haven’t read it already, I recommend that you do… especially if you live with someone who has BPD. There is a section on ‘Rejection Sensitivity’ which for me, I think, is my achilles heel.
In addition to fearing abandonment, people with BPD are overly sensitive to rejection. They anxiously await it, see it when it isn’t there, and overreact to it whether it’s there or not. This is why small slights—or perceived small slights—can cause major messes.
There have been countless times where there’s been nothing there, but in my head there is fear. It’s so frustrating, because I can sit and tell my wife, tell my friends, tell my psychiatrist or my counsellor… I can even sit here and tell you, there’s nothing there. There’s no reason to worry. No reason to panic. And most definitely no reason to start freaking out. But as the saying goes, easier said than done. I will make something out of nothing. I do it all the time. And it’s the god’s honest truth… I can’t help it. I don’t know if you’ve ever opened the door in a strong wind. You open it a little crack, and feel that cold air coming in. You try and open it in a “controlled manor”, but it get’s part ways open and the wind catches it. It rips the door right out of your grips and whips it violently in the wind. For myself, this is an extremely accurate analogy for the process of emotional, or “mood swings” in my life. Something will happen, whether it’s something that happens, something that is said, or often times a thought that is completely fabricated in my mind. I crack the door that little bit, usually cautiously and often times unknowingly. That cold air comes in… or the thoughts. The thoughts like that cold draft creep their way into my mind. The panic begins to start… my brain starts firing in defence mode. It doesn’t matter how ‘controlled’ I try to open that door, the wind catches it an rips it out of my hands. All hell breaks loose in my mind, and it gets ugly. As I said before, I don’t intend to blame anything on having BPD or other mental illnesses. Everything is choices that I can make, and I need to learn how to react, anticipate, and reroute that train before it leaves the station. But, that being said, knowing that these are common traits of BPD, makes it a lot easier to predict, understand, and even give a starting point and outline of where to start with learning to change those traits. Those reactions. But until then… mood swings are going to be a very difficult part of my life.