Knowing about my BPD traits has equipped me not just to deal with them, but to use them to my advantage.
“You have traits of Borderline Personality Disorder.”
That’s the announcement my therapist made in one of our not-so-recent sessions. Having heard about the instability and turbulence that BPD entails, I was naturally terrified. As she told what my traits were—black and white thinking and idealism—I didn’t quite know how to respond. How was one supposed to take such a sombre discovery?
Today, a few weeks later, I believe I have two more traits of BPD, namely heightened sensitivity and existential nihilism. And going by the way life is full of twists and turns, I am aware that more traits may follow.
But it’s not all bad. See, these traits, although unsettling at first, have now become my strengths in a way. Let me elaborate.
Black and white thinking, as the term implies, is seeing people and situations as either good (white) or bad (black). Now anybody who calls themselves mature knows that most things in this world are neither white or black, they are a mix of both. The composition of this mix may vary - sometimes, there will be more black than white and vice versa, but the mix will be gray all right. Like 50 shades of gray. (Get it? Bet you saw that coming, didn’t you?)
Anyway, knowing that I suffer from B & W thinking made me realize why I tended to be pessimistic and why it didn’t take a lot for me to sever ties with people. As soon as I realized why I did what I did, I have been careful to hunt for the shades of gray in any person or situation.
Doing this hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it as not only has it made me more mentally present, it has also helped counter my idealism. Since I am able to see persons and events for what they are and not what they should be, I am equipped to see the world at large in a similar light.
Now, almost every time I identify the gray, I try to remind myself that it is a gift to be able to do so. The realization inevitably makes me feel grateful and helps brighten up my day.
However, when it comes to heightened sensitivity and existential nihilism, the struggle to use them to my advantage is way harder. Even then, knowing I have them has made it easier for me to function on a day to day basis.
The thing about heightened sensitivity is that every emotion hits a lot harder than it should. While this is amazing when it comes to positive and uplifting emotions, you can imagine the kind of damage it does for emotions on the other end of the spectrum. I do my best to remind myself that while my lows are extremely intense, my highs are just as amplified.
In the case of existential nihilism, I am trying to train my mind to understand that it is actually good for me. I have a tendency to let my anxiety to prove myself take over me. Now that I am a full-time blogger, this anxiety is at an all-time high. I really want to show myself and the rest of the world that I have what it takes to succeed as a sociocultural and mental health blogger, especially because the niches I have chosen are not as glamorous as say, lifestyle or travel. My anxiety never fails to gives me company as I work hard to get closer to my goal. Owing to this, I am kind of glad I experience existential nihilism more often than not.
The knowledge that nothing matters helps ease my mind on days when I am afraid that “this blogging thing isn’t really going to work out.”
I hope you now understand what I mean when I say that knowledge is power, especially when it comes to Borderline Personality Disorder. If you are suffering from BPD or some of its traits, all I want to say is that as insidious as it gets, BPD is both treatable and manageable. The same goes for most mental disorders. And that’s the light that we must all look forward to at the end of the dark tunnel that is mental illness.
Meet the Author
Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about culture, society, and mental health. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at www.mahevashmuses.com.