This guest post from Sadie Isidore takes a very raw & real life look at what it is like living with both bipolar disorder & borderline personality disorder.
Let’s turn it over to Sadie!
Chaotic Emotion & Turmoil: A Look at Bipolar & Borderline Personality Disorder
It is 12pm and I’m staring at a computer screen. I’ve been there since 5pm and my brain has not arrived yet. And by arrive I mean allowed me to study and function productively. Typical moment day. Typical day. Ultra frustrating.
When I was first told that I had bipolar disorder 2, I did not expect that it would show up like this. I expected dancing in the streets, naked, and happy. But bipolar disorder two presents as two poles: hypomania (an elevated, productive mood, with sides of impulsivity and poor decisions) and depressive episodes (drowning in sorrow, shame and more bad decisions). Over time, I have experienced both. The elated feeling that hypomania brings is truly wonderful! But it’s not evenly balanced either, and you are more likely to experience depressive episodes. This is where I spend most of my time.
In this moment, i know that nothing will happen tonight, so I close the computer and I decide to try again tomorrow.
The Next Day
Fury. That’s what the next day brings. A rage so deep. Anger so blinding and powerful. How dare my boyfriend say that to me? Words that I deemed so harsh and unkind (and later could not even remember). In two minutes I am consuming enough ice cream for three people. Then I walk to the beach. Out the door, no words, just rotating thoughts. This isn’t my bipolar disorder acting up though. I’m borderline too. That means that my personality formed with specific harmful traits. (Traits like: a pattern of ongoing instability in moods, behavior, self-image, and functioning.) A personality disorder in the middle of a mood disorder is pure chaos. It is a tornado in the middle of war. Violent, difficult and unpredictable. My mood cycles, and dips, and bends, and screeches to a halt in minutes. I become entrenched by sorrow in an hour. I want to die; I need to die.
My Life & Emotion
The reality of emotion has become a strange factor in my life. Trusting my heart, or how I feel is a dangerous road. A twist between a regular decision and razor blades. I’m not sure how to explain the truth of what I experience. The rawness of my own life scares me. It scares others. I’ve lost friends because I became too much for them to deal with. I needed constant support that they could not give. I have alienated family members, who cannot come to terms with the disorders that now help define me. A mental illness seemed frivolous and exaggerated. It was easier to label me as “crazy” or to say that I needed spiritual counsel. My unpredictable qualities too difficult to describe otherwise.
This difficulty with labeling is why I find it so hard to stomach the flippant use of the words “bipolar” and borderline”. The minimizing of these words into mere adjectives does not convey the immense pain and suffering that I endure. The weather being “bipolar” is not the same as worrying about passing on the genetics that make me bipolar to potential children. Or worse yet having ‘normal’ children and completely ruining their childhood. She’s so “borderline” does not quite capture the struggle that my parents have had, dealing with me switching between loving and hating them.
I wish that I could say that two, five or even ten years later, I’m completely changed, my disorders a distant memory. But that’s not how this works. I still struggle every day to get up, get out of bed and face life like any other person. My borderline personality took almost two decades to form, and it’ll take some time to work against the very nature of who I am, to become an entirely different person. The core part of me constantly fights this, so accustomed to doing things one way no matter how harmful the practices are. My bipolar disorder is another matter entirely. The neurotransmitters in my brain simply do not work as they should, and despite advances in medicine, there is a real chance that I may have to take mood stabilizers for a very long time.
I have hope though. That one day the tornado will subside and the war on my illness will be won. Till then, I prep my gear and go out into the fury, learning to be just a little braver each and every day.
Sadie Isidore is a mental health and lifestyle blogger at The Mental Truth. The Mental Truth is a raw and authentic expression of emotion, and a realistic look at daily living with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. Sadie is in her second year of medical school. When not blogging or at school, she enjoys watching movies with butter popcorn, and good books.