BPD (borderline personality disorder) is still one of the most stigmatised mental illnesses. It is a difficult diagnosis which can also be difficult to treat given that we are on the border of being one thing or another. BPD and decision making is today’s post because I’ve come to notice, especially recently, how much it effects my life every single day!
I know that the ‘typical’ BPD person will be quick to make decisions. Making impulsive or even dangerous decisions at the drop of a hat. I do definitely do this and it is absolutely one of the things I hate most about the illness but also I began to notice my inability to make decisions. It’s one thing that drives my husband mad!
I have written before about BPD and what the text books say it is and what symptoms you possess if you are diagnosed, and I do have the majority of these symptoms. Impulsive and sometimes risky decisions are one of these symptoms. I have quit jobs, spent 100’s of pounds on things that seem like the perfect idea at the time only to regret it a few days or even hours later. I have demanded we move house, redecorated whole rooms and booked holidays all withing hours of the thought entering my head. It comes over me like a wave. It hits me with such incredible force that there is no reasoning. None at all. This idea I have is perfect and I will do it – NOW! It’s quite frightening sometimes how suddenly and forcefully it happens. Also, I cannot be talked out of it. If I decide to tell my husband my ‘plan’ and he tries to talk me out of it, it will make me even more determined.
I do think some of this, for me, comes from never really finding out who I am. I still don’t really know now. There have been times when I have been in recovery, that I’ve had time alone to think and I feel like I have come so close to finding out but then something happens and it’s all forgotten again. I carry on being a chameleon, changing who I am and what I do until something fits.
Another way I find decision making with BPD difficult is having to do just that – make a decision! I literally cannot make decisions. It’s completely ridiculous. If I walk into a shop to get a chocolate bar or cake for instance I will be there for such a long time I’m sure the shop assistants think I’m up to something. I will um and ah about all of the options. yes I like it but would I prefer this one? Yes I could get both but then that’s silly buying two. What if I get this one because I’ve not had it in a long time? Or shall I get something else altogether? What would my friend chose? Yep it’s stupid but unfortunately this is me.
I recently had a conversation with a friend the other day who has the same diagnosis and we could not decide on where to meet for a catch up cuppa! Her place? My place? Where did we go last time? Does that matter? I don’t mind. Me neither? Shall we go to Costa? Or Starbucks? I really don’t mind, you decide. No, you decide. What time shall we meet????
And so it goes on…..
I am sure this all sounds very melodramatic and a bit ridiculous but it is unfortunately my life. I think the difficulty in making decisions comes from fear of getting it wrong and being ridiculed. I was never praised for anything I did when I was younger – or when I was older really – so I am scared of getting wrong. Making the wrong decision could leave me open to being laughed at, embarrassed or upset. When a moment arises where I have to make a decision my heart immediately starts pounding, I can literally feel my chest tightening. It’s so real the fear I feel of getting it wrong.
It might not seem like I have anything to fear from buying the wrong cake but what if my friend comes over and doesn’t like the cake I’ve bought?! That would mean I’ve failed and I am a rubbish friend for not buying her favourite! She probably won’t even want to be friends with me anymore now.
This is the way my mind works. It’s always my fault. I am useless and can’t do anything right. You see, decision making might seem like nothing at all but it can so quickly lead to self hatred and fear of abandonment which are big parts of BPD. Big and awful parts.
This is why I always say to my husband – please make the decision. Especially if we are with other people as the fear is too much sometimes.
I do feel like BPD is one of those illnesses that people get very wrong. It’s the one I am most nervous to tell people about but I feel I have a responsibility to talk about it and how it effects me. I will keep on talking to try a dispel any negative assumptions people may make. Most of us with BPD have been neglected or abused. Most of us are very vulnerable and most of us find living extremely difficult at times. So please be kind, we are doing the best that we can.
Be kind always. You never know what battles people might be facing.
Lots of love, Amy xx
P.S, I found Mind have an amazing section on BPD on their website and I actually printed it off and gave it to family members to help them understand a bit more. Click here to get straight to it.