This Valentine's Day Jessica Murray, who lives with borderline personality disorder and is training to become a counsellor, shares that "having BPD made everything appear a few shades darker than it really was" after her break-up.
It’s been truly identified as one of the worst things to endure in a life time. Heartbreak is the outcome of many events in our lives, but no matter how many times we may experience it, a broken heart never hurts any less. It’s that soul crushing blow to the soul that leaves us in total loss and despair, something I myself am dealing with currently.
I wanted to share some of my own personal tips and methods of recovering, in the hopes that I may help a fellow sufferer. Before any of that, I decided to be brave enough to share the truth and reality of the affects of a broken heart, most recently on myself.
"Every day we carry our swords and our shields, fighting through the darkness of our troubles and keeping our enemies at bay. As someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, over-thinking is probably one of the traits that I dislike the most. I am slowly learning to slow these thoughts, almost replacing them with other pleasures and happiness by force."
There’s this huge stigma around breaking down, I think. It’s a sign of weakness; something to gossip about I guess. It shows just how easy you are to fall off the wagon, right? Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. I am probably the most physically sick I have ever been in my life, due to a few medical complications also. But mostly, the emotional battering I have taken these past days has sucked the life and soul out of me. And it really does show. My hair is falling out in clumps, my eyes have turned dark and surrounded in yellowish rings. I’m unable to eat, sleep, drink properly or even move around the house before the dizziness washes over me. I am in a living hell, one in which I thought I would never have to experience at this level. And best of all, I’m completely alone! Yay me. The silence is deafening, my horrendous thoughts and crippling illness is all I have to keep my company.
Lost in the supermarket
I’ve walked into society revealing exactly how I am. I wear my feelings evidentially; bare faced, scruffy hair and the kind of outfit that would make anyone question my possession of mirrors. The emptiness is probably radiating from me. But as I walked through Asda at 7pm for a few pot noodles, I truly opened my eyes. All around me were happy humans, and it made me feel sick, but I smiled. There is hope, there are decent people out there somewhere. There were a few people who looked similar to myself, but I would never know their story. And of course, due to my incredibly dampened appearance, I received a few sympathetic smiles. I just got my stuff and left. It was only when I got to the car that I broke down in tears, again.
I see my friends. They try, I know they do. But they have their own stuff going on. Really and truly, the only person who can pull you out of this hole is yourself. The realisation of this can be horrifying, it certainly makes me want to just go to sleep and not wake up in the morning. But, there are those small moments. Tiny fleeting thoughts of hope visit me at times, and that is what I hold on to. I know there is strength there, determination, and the inability to allow somebody else to destroy who I am. I realised, that’s all I need.
'I hold onto the hope that I might sleep'
It’s a phase in which you just aren’t ready to take on the world, I know that much. The hours pass by and I hold onto the hope that I might sleep that night, just a little bit. It’s a feeling of emptiness and doom that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But the fact is, so many people are dealing with similar feelings and there aren’t enough people talking about it. We live in a world where we paint our lives with perfection using social media, and half of the time, it’s far from the truth.
- See also: Mental Health Today's 'Disorders Explained' information hub
Heartbreak exists. Pain exists. Illness exists. Loneliness is there, always. Having a disorder like BPD will only intensify all of the emotions, making everything appear a few shades darker than it really is. It’s finding how to rationalise the situation, picking yourself up from a hard punch and standing firm with nothing but the drive to win. Whoever hurt you does not deserve to be your demise, why should you crumble when they remain intact? Why spare them every thought in the day when they would not spare you one? These are the truths that keep me going.
They say time is the best healer. I am inclined to agree, however, it isn’t just the passing of time that heals our wounds. It’s our growth, strength and determination to survive each day that time enables us to build. It becomes less and less of a wrenching pain, and begins to dull as we become more familiar with its presence. I truly hold onto this; giving yourself time to grieve and recover is essential.
Do not rush into feeling better, becoming stronger or entering bigger phases of your life. You are more than entitled to sink. Scream, cry, stare aimlessly at the walls, shut yourself off and secure yourself under the sheets. We live in a society in which we must always behave like robots; with the consistent necessity to work, socialise, raise our children and so on, we never really take time out to recover. Every day we carry our swords and our shields, fighting through the darkness of our troubles and keeping our enemies at bay. In such a time, those weapons will begin to feel much heavier than ever before. Put them down, accept that you need time.
Work in progress
I am happy to say that since beginning this article, I have found myself in a much better headspace. It has taken time, strength and a lot of broken moments, but I’m getting there. Here’s how I’m working with it.
I’ve found that keeping busy is such a lifesaver. And no, I don’t mean with work or other duties that drain your energy. Take time to do the little things that you love. Read that book you’ve been meaning to pick up for the last few months, get out with friends, watch your favourite series for the third time. Anything that pleases your soul, do it. Finding activities that you enjoy, that you can do all by yourself and for yourself, builds an inner happiness and comfort that will eventually drown out the loss. Keeping yourself occupied also takes your mind away from revisiting the wounds. As someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, over-thinking is probably one of the traits that I dislike the most. I am slowly learning to slow these thoughts, almost replacing them with other pleasures and happiness by force.
Clean. Refresh. It’s so true, a clear environment allows for a clear mind. I have spent the last week spring cleaning my home, my car, everything that surrounds me. I already feel so much less oppressed and surrounded by clarity, which is exactly what you need. It is hard to find the get up and go to do such things, but it kept me busy and almost felt as if I was clearing away the past. I find that by clearing your own space, a sense of achievement will follow and inevitably raise your mood. It’s something that has always been a positive pastime for me.
As I have always said, surround yourself with good people. Friends and family that truly care for your well-being, listen and respond to your words and show a genuine need to help you through a tough time. Please, push away any toxic or negative people that will only rub salt in the wounds. It’s the last thing you need at this time, and don’t feel guilty about it. Protect yourself during your healing. Take some time off of work if need be, your emotional and physical health needs to be a priority in order to get it back to its best.
No matter what the situation, why you are feeling this way, who it involved, your life needs to be held and improved. Write a list of all the things you have in your life that you treasure, and focus entirely on them. For example, my son and my home became my top priority in that time. By focusing the remaining happiness and love I had left into my son, I knew it would never go to waste. We went out just that little bit more, played more games, has more laughs. And in turn, I received the love and happiness back.
By focusing also on my home, I changed things around and cleared it all to give me a sense of freshness. We spend a lot of time looking at what we don’t have, moaning about what’s going wrong or what we no longer possess, that we actually forget to cherish what is right in front of us. By loving what we have, anything else that comes along will be a bonus, and the loss we have recently experienced will not determine our base of happiness.
I’ve definitely used this point of action in nearly every article I have written, but it's the basis of life. Hope is the only thing stronger than fear, and it’s true to its word. Have hope that one day your heart will not ache with every beat. Have hope that you’ll wake up one morning and you'll want to get out of bed. Have hope that life will bring you more happiness, laughs, opportunities and love than ever before. Have hope in yourself that you are worthy of it all, we have felt it all before and we can have it all again. Just hold onto that hope, because it’s really all we have. And one day, that hope will become a feeling of success, comfort and contentment.
As always, I hugely support and encourage everybody who is struggling to keep moving. Seek the right help should you need it, know that you are worthy of a life of happiness and quality. You are not alone in your darkness.