The overall progression of how BPD develops and manifests throughout our lifespan is an intriguing one. We see relationships come and go, whilst we slowly roll through the motions of watching the years pass us by and eventually questioning every failed aspect of our daily interactions. The process starts in early childhood where we either feel overly attached to our parents or abandoned. Then as we attend school we find it hard to interact with our peer group, which in turn prevents us from developing the kind of relationships at the age of 5, which should be as simple as “I’ve spoken to you for 2 minutes lets be best friends!”
By the time secondary school aka high school begins, we are constantly told to decipher what and who we want to be, while also attempting to form further relationships with our peers. However, we begin to realize that we have never actually formed any meaningful relationships to begin with, and slowly withdraw from the stress of interacting with groups and activities. Knowingly and sadly for the individual this creates a cycle where they want to be a part of a social group that never comes to fruition. They slowly become aware of their own social awkwardness as the fundamental part of the brain that picks up on social cues was never formed.
Naturally as college begins the cliques that were formed in school disintegrate and you’re amongst more like- minded individuals. In many aspects your power is taken back by choosing a subject to study where you have the opportunity to eliminate the very people who don’t align with you in terms of passion. College is still a struggle, yet you’re rewarded with the kind of friendships that almost make up for the lost years. However, the domino effect is very short lived and never transcends into university as the coping mechanism that we have become accustom to are replaced with either unhealthy relationships, alcohol, spending or drugs, which in turn creates a separate issue altogether. We want to be reliant on something other than our own thought process, which already feels majorly flawed. We turn to things that aren’t good for us as a distraction to mask our unhappiness. We know it’s damaging and in the end creates a manifestation of our initial mental health issues into BPD.
The fundamental image and underlying core of BPD is how our interactions with people can confuse us and create a negative cycle, that may not be instantaneous. My biggest regret is becoming so reliant on alcohol during university that it has affected my body and how it currently works during pregnancy. This is the perfect example of how something so wonderful can be ruined by our previous mistakes. I had no idea who I was during and after university and felt that every character I had ever created was flawed, so I became self destructive as it was the only thing that couldn’t be taken from me. When I gloss over the timescale and the escalation of how my BPD developed I think of college. It was the shortest period where I was able to make meaningful relationships, because there were many situations that felt organic and natural without the constant struggle.
The previous disruptive relationship that had affected me for many years after university eventually paved the way for the most fundamental and most fulfilling relationship of my life – including how I express myself through my designs. It taught me what it means to share a life with someone who wants to see you happy, grow and to make you a whole heartily better person. I had given up the hope of ever having a fulfilling life as the jobs I worked were always short lived and interchangeable, how I felt about myself was construed and I still longed for meaningful relationships in all the wrong places. I now have the most wonderful, encouraging partner who makes me challenge those little underlying beliefs that still attempt to surface. I have an amazing son, which is still so surreal and yet so exciting! I can count on one hand my family, which also consist of my mother’s adoptive relations and I say this as they perfectly illustrate how no one needs to be connected by blood to be loved. I’m also lucky enough to have the best in laws and feel that the happiness entailed during my own upbringing with my family is presented whenever I go to Ireland with my partner to visit them. The point to this is that I’ve sadly felt so disconnected from the few friends that I made around my time at college that I’ve almost missed how far I’ve come in many other aspects. I previously stated college was one of the most vital yet short lived times of my life. However, I think the saddest part for people with BPD is that we spend so long holding onto friendships and relationships that ultimately still leave us feeling lonely that we miss the people under our own roof who constantly worry about us 24/7. My family is so much bigger, every person has a lot of love to give and I’m able to do what I enjoy without worrying how I will get by from day to day. When it comes to friendships and our careers I think individuals with BPD can indeed have a selective few. However, I know my own limits and I understand change, so believe it’s easier for me not to have any close friends. I know my lack of friendships have been my own doing at times, but I’ve also recognized that as we grow older our family can be our friends and that’s more than enough. Within this post I hope people with BPD recognize that it’s hard for your family members to witness you in pain on a mental level. The people who are outside your home don’t matter, but the people who live under your roof 24/7 in order to take care of you require the most unconditional love.