While a person with depression or bipolar disorder typically endures the same mood for weeks, a person with BPD may experience intense bouts of anger, depression, and anxiety that may last only hours, or at most a day. These may be associated with episodes of impulsive aggression, self-injury, and drug or alcohol abuse. Distortions in cognition and sense of self can lead to frequent changes in long-term goals, career plans, jobs, friendships, gender identity, and values. Sometimes people with BPD view themselves as fundamentally bad, or unworthy. They may feel unfairly misunderstood or mistreated, bored, empty, and have little idea who they are. Such symptoms are most acute when people with BPD feel isolated and lacking in social support, and may result in frantic efforts to avoid being alone. People with BPD often have highly unstable patterns of social relationships. While they can develop intense but stormy attachments, their attitudes towards family, friends, and loved ones may suddenly shift from idealization (great admiration and love) to devaluation (intense anger and dislike). Thus, they may form an immediate attachment and idealize the other person, but when a slight separation or conflict occurs, they switch unexpectedly to the other extreme and angrily accuse the other person of not caring for them at all. Even with family members, individuals with BPD are highly sensitive to rejection, reacting with anger and distress to such mild separations as a vacation, a business trip, or a sudden change in plans. These fears of abandonment seem to be related to difficulties feeling emotionally connected to important persons when they are physically absent, leaving the individual with BPD feeling lost and perhaps worthless. Suicide threats and attempts may occur along with anger at perceived abandonment and disappointments.*
Today has been a very strange day. I got up at 10am and got going doing things and have not stopped since. I rearranged my bedroom, but while doing that, I realized that I needed to replace one of the electrical outlets. My dad was reffing a football game in South Denver and wouldn't be home for awhile, so I just started on it myself. I turned off the electricity to that part of the house and had to do a little bit of research on the internet, but I was able to put a new outlet in! But it didn't work. My dad and I weren't able to work on it until after dinner when it was already dark, but we were able to get it working!! I'm really proud of myself, that's a pretty difficult thing to do without instructions or help. I only just finished working on my room. but it's real clean now, and having a clean living space is super helpful to decreasing the chaos in my head.
I can't even believe the amount of energy I've had today. I can't even remember the last time I didn't at least think about crawling back into bed on a Saturday, but that's what happened today. Maybe it was because my bed was covered in crap...
I also ran some errands and put some lighter blond in my hair. And I was able to stop myself from hitting my sister when she got in my face (and I'm not exaggerating, her nose was touching my nose) after I stepped in to attempt to stop her from yelling at my mom after my mom told her that there was no more money for her.
Then, this evening, as I was putting my room back together, I received a text message from an ex-boyfriend whom I had not expected to hear from ever again. It didn't actually have any words in it, but it was a picture of him holding three pictures I had sent him of myself in a care package when he was still in Iraq, before we had actually met. I'm really surprised, because like I said, I wasn't expecting it, but I'm even more surprised at how I reacted. I looked at it for a moment, and then put my phone down and went back to working on my room. I of course, told a few people who went through the entire drama with me and their reactions were all the same, and they all asked if I responded, and I told them no, that I would not be responding.
I am not one of those people with an addictive personality. I tell people that I have a propensity towards alcohol, that I might be able to be an alcoholic if I really tried, and if I didn't hate being hungover so much, but that's the extent of my addictions. I thrive too much on change to be stuck with one thing forever. That might be a pretty good indication that I probably will not be getting married, ever. With Borderline Personality Disorder, addiction isn't so much a problem as is not being able to distinguish oneself from others. Most people with BPD allow themselves to be swallowed up by their relationships with others, and have no real characteristics of their own. I can most definitely see how I was like that, once. I don't really think I am that way anymore, though. However, if there was one other possibility of something I could become addicted to, it was this person. My relationship with him was beyond tumultuous. It was drama to the Nth degree. There were breakups and fights and horrible things said to one another, wonderful things said to one another, plans made for the future, plans broken, my heart broken, thousands of miles traveled, car accidents, physical violence, and so many other things. There were so many ups and downs that I feel like had I actually been physically moving, I probably would have made it to Neptune and back. There is something about this person that draws me in, and I cannot put a finger on it. Perhaps it is my belief that he did once and may always love me. Yet the emotional turmoil he put me through I would not risk again unless he was holding Phoenix ransom with a gun to his head. And I don't see that happening because he is both 3,000 miles away and allergic to dogs.
It is taking all of my willpower and self-control not to jump on this "opportunity" to talk to him again, but I know exactly what direction the whole thing would take and as much I as miss him and wish I could talk to him, I know that it will set me back exactly 9 months, and that's a long-ass time. And so I won't reply. At least not yet. I'm not going to discount it as a very tiny possibility at this point, but neither will I allow it. I know I'm just curious about why the heck I'm hearing from him but a little curiosity is not worth a lot of progress.
I've had many a discussion with Jen about how I feel about military men. She and I have both had long and long-distance relationships with military men, and from what we can tell, it is a nearly impossible feat. There is something about men in the military who do not seem to know how to correctly function as a normal human being in a relationship. It may be their constant close proximity to large numbers of other men that requires them to act more similarly to animals than people. Either way, it is extremely difficult to maintain a relationship with a military man and keep one's sense of self intact. It's just the nature of the beast.
And so that's that. As I told my boss yesterday, all I can do is my best, and if I cannot prevent myself from responding, then I will have to live with the consequences. As for today, mad props to me!!!
*"NIMH · Borderline Personality Disorder." NIMH · Home. Web. 06 Nov. 2010. <http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/borderline-personality-disorder-fact-sheet/index.shtml>.
Zanarini MC, Frankenburg FR, DeLuca CJ, Hennen J, Khera GS, Gunderson JG. The pain of being borderline: dysphoric states specific to borderline personality disorder. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 1998; 6(4): 201-7.