I have recently noticed a lot of similarities between Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and the current state of the world under this pandemic. I’ve been unintentionally training for this type of life for some time now. I’ve realized recently that I have been quarantined within myself because of this disorder most of my life without truly understanding what it was I was doing or why I was doing it. This disorder had caused me to practice social distancing from crowds most of the time brought on by anxiety. Another element of this disorder compels me to wear masks for protection from others when forced to enter said crowds. I have always washed my hands way more than necessary… Afraid that I might catch abandonment, especially if I managed to let someone too close. This caused me to wash my hands of many close friendships and relationships.
Now that I can see everyone allowing and encouraging this “social distancing” behavior and the similarities between this pandemic and my disorder I could now see how much my own past behavior, before the pandemic, was hurting and even impeding my own personal growth.
To keep others at a safe distance, to put on the appropriate mask, to wash off the stain of abandonment before it could tarnish me even more deeply. Will 6 feet be far enough? Will this mask work? Can washing my hands of this keep me safe? These things make you safe from the possibility of being seen, heard, or felt by others, but it makes for a very isolated existence. It seems crazy, huh? Well that’s why it’s a personality disorder, I suppose.
Speaking from a very personal and vulnerable place, Borderlines need to be needed, want to be wanted and ultimately hate feeling unimportant to those they think of as important people in their own life. Expressing appropriate emotions and verbalizing these mixed up feelings are even more difficult to manage for the BPD. People without Borderline may say “that’s not any different from the average person.” Sure, I can see that. The difference with the BPD is their ability to base life-changing decisions, impulsive actions are based on momentary feelings, these fleeting moments direct their entire lives. Fear directs their lives. They see the world in two distinct colors, black and white. They see everything in the most extreme contrast, it’s either all good, or all bad. I have had to work very hard to find the grey in my world. It hasn’t been easy. It’s a daily struggle.
Watching the world now try to handle this “disorder” has caused me to look even harder inside myself for the strength to endure this time of uncertainty. It was bad enough dealing with the disorder that was arising from the inside, but to also see it surround me on the outside has made me see things so much differently.
So take what I have learned to help get us back to some sort of normalcy.
*We aren’t stronger isolated, but this will weaken the spread of Covid-19. Stay inside for now and if you have to be out in the crowds wear a mask for everyone’s protection. You get use to it. 😷
*We will always need contact with other humans, it is what makes us feel alive. Contact your friends and family, let them know you are ok, or even not ok. Ask them how they are doing and that you hope they are doing well.
*Lastly, it’s ok for things to not be as they once were. Change isn’t always bad, it just takes some time to adjust. Take advantage of the positives this pandemic has brought to you and yours. I know for me it has certainly slowed things down and offered new perspectives about what this disorder was doing to the people and the relationships in my life.
To my readers, good luck to you and yours during this difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with you. It is through times of struggle that learning occurs. Take advantage of this struggle to learn new life lessons. Take advantage of this time to improve parts of your life you weren’t happy with before. There is a positive to this, we just have to find it. I hope that everyone can find peace during this time of uncertainty.