1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
Did you know that when you
push someone so far off a ledge,
their heart stops beating for minutes at a time
because they’re scared you’re gonna
push them all the way off?
Did you know that when
you decide you’re not going to push them
all the way off that ledge,
they’re not going to want to stay with you
any longer; they’re not going to want to
stick around to see if the next time,
you will push too far?
I push people so far away from me,
arms length isn’t in my vocabulary.
This is bodies of water worth away;
the Pacific Ocean has nothing on me—
I’ll push people so far,
they won’t be able to see my face but
when they finally decide they need to leave,
I will swim the length of the ocean to
pull them back to me.
Did you know that it doesn’t matter
if you swim oceans worth of water
to make it back to the person you don’t want to lose
because you almost killed them when you
teased them, holding them off
that ledge; do you realize that
they aren’t going to want
to stay, no matter how much you wheeze
from the trek to and from where
you left them?
2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
Touch me on the shoulder and
push my hair behind my ear and
whisper to me that you love me and
tell me I’m beautiful and that you
need me and need me and need me and
I will never stop loving every inch of you
one morning you wake up and you
leave too early or you
forget to say goodbye or
you just exist as you are but
don’t remind me that I’m okay and
I decide that you’ve begun to hate me
and in turn I hate you right back
I remember that I love you and
if you leave me I will never be able to breathe again and
I love you and I love you and I love you and
it feels like you’re ignoring me and
I just want you to love me
I realize I have to leave you before
you leave me; and you, inevitably, will leave me so
I decide you no longer mean a thing.
3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
Laugh and I’ll laugh with you,
cry and I’ll cry too.
Say something cute and I will
say it again later when you’re not there and
tell me your favorite color and
it will be my favorite color too.
Not only will it be my favorite color but
I’ll paint it on my apartment walls and
I’ll buy a whole new wardrobe with nothing
but clothes that color and
tell me that you love high heels and
I’ll buy 60 pairs and when you dye your hair,
suddenly I’ll do my hair the same way.
Laugh and I’ll laugh too,
cry and I’ll cry too.
Hate someone and I’ll hate that person with you and
love a celebrity and I’ll love her too and
I’ll paste her posters all over my apartment walls and
I’ll watch all her movies and
listen to all her music and
you’re gonna think we are just
/ so, so alike / when really,
you make a move and I mimick you;
you make a move and I say JINX in my head
as if we moved at the same time and
you’ll owe me a soda even though really
I owe you a personality but
I don’t have the capacity to afford one.
4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging.
When I drive to therapy I am running late
because I am always running late and
I drive my car too close to the side where
the parked cars sleep for the night
and I hit a side mirror with my own and
drive away so fast I drive through a stop sign
right next to a preschool and
at therapy she asks me why I am being
so reckless and impulsive and I say,
“What are you talking about?” because
I can’t understand that my behavior
is at all impulsive
I don’t eat all day because I want control until
night comes and I eat and
I eat and I eat and
and the toilet bowl calls out to me and
I vomit until the veins in my eyes
streak red lines in their white and
I look like the monster that I feel I am.
5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self- mutilating behavior.
In a moment of absolute and utter hopelessness I think to myself,
“If I kill myself she will feel so fucking bad,”
and I swallow bottles of pills because
I think I want to die and I also want
the people who did me wrong to feel
the same ache that I have in my chest because of
what they did to my heart.
I am angry with my friend and she
thinks that I will cope the same as any
normal person and I go home / after our / fight / and /
I take a blade / to the soft flesh of my wrists ///
and slice ////// until the bathtub fills with red
and /// I think to myself,
“that will fucking show her.” ////
(I don’t tell her what I did. I want her
to know but the pain calms the anger;
the blood is enough.)
6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood
I sit in my apartment with Friends
playing on the TV and I laugh along
with the annoying laugh track and then
I drop an empty cup on the carpet and
I scream out with rage as if
the cup was filled with acid and
it burned through the carpet and hard floor
even though the fucking cup
was fucking empty.
7. Chronic feelings of emptiness
Do I even have a heart
beating in my chest?
How can I be alive when
I’m nothing more than
an empty shell?
8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger
As a teenager, doctors were desperate
to explain away my emotions;
they would say that I was just
an angry girl and that
sometimes kids are angry
and when I punched holes in the walls
and sliced open my skin out of pure rage
it was okay because I was just
The Angry Girl and
it simply didn’t matter what was causing
that severe emotional response.
9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.
These are not my hands.
You can’t help me heal
when I don’t
you can’t see
I’m like this.
Can you see me?
I can’t feel my limbs.
I’m scared. Please,
look at me so I can
know that I exist.
— THIS IS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE PART 6: BPD EDITION (han hyland)