ok but seriously, if something really small happened in your day and it made you really happy, but you don’t want to tell anyone bc you feel that it’s insignificant to everyone else tell me, message me that thing because nothing delights me more than enjoying other people’s tiny happinesses
When asked about BPD, most people who
know about this disorder immediately think of the “classic” symptoms: impulsive
behaviors and episodes of rage. The same holds true for even mental health
But rage and impulsivity are only two
out of the nine criteria in determining whether someone has BPD. Some people
with BPD—myself included—meet the criteria for a diagnosis but do not use these “acting out behaviors.”
So what does it mean to have quiet BPD?
You probably still suffer from extreme
mood swings and emotional reactivity, self-harm and suicidal ideation, chronic
feelings of emptiness, paranoid ideation, dissociation, a lack of identity, and
the intense fear of abandonment we love so very much (disclaimer: we hate it.).
And it may well be that your
relationships are stormy as well—even if the other person has no freaking idea
how distressing said friendship is to you.
How is that possible? Well, we feel the same things other people with BPD feel:
we idealize you and become deeply emotionally attached to you, then suddenly we
become emotionally cold and distant toward you over just a minor
disappointment, we’re kept awake at night by paranoia that you secretly hate us
because you didn’t text us back immediately, we spiral into crushing depression
over the littlest things you say and do.
But the difference lies in how we
With “classic” BPD you may tell the
other person what you’re feeling. You may accuse the person of lying to you,
avoiding you, abandoning you, etc. You may display anger toward the other
person or get into arguments. The other person becomes aware of what you’re
thinking and feeling. Not so with quiet BPD.
I almost never tell my friends what’s
going through my mind unless they ask. I’m too terrified of being a burden to
them. I internalize this tempest of dysphoria, letting it fester for weeks and
months. I will drop off your radar, distancing myself from you without you even
noticing. Unless you reach out to me, you’ll never hear from me again. I’ll
isolate myself, forever convinced you hate me and that you’re better off not
dealing with my burdensome self… even if there’s no evidence to suggest this.
Even if we’ve literally been best friends for years.
You may not notice this shift at all,
simply because I don’t express it. The friendship may not be distressing for
you, but it’s sure as hell distressing for me. I’ve cycled through so many
friendships in this way, in near constant agony as a result—and the vast
majority of my friends had no idea.
I’m obsessed over this idea that I’m a
burden. That my very existence is an annoyance to everyone, and so I very
frequently deny myself the very emotion so often associated with BPD: anger.
I loathe myself so much I feel I don’t
have the right to be angry for myself.
Sure, I can feel anger all right. If
you slight a friend or family member of mine, I cannot begin to describe the
rage that wells up inside me.
But if you insult me? I’ll sink to
depression and probably agree with you (this has happened multiple times).
People with different types of BPD
respond differently to the same triggers. For some, if they feel you’re going
to abandon them or that you don’t care about them, they respond with anger.
Others act impulsively in hopes of relieving some of their pain. But I respond
by turning inward. I justify these “signs” that everyone in my life hates
me—the same signs recognized by people with “classic” BPD—by deciding that if
I’m going to be abandoned, well, it’s because I deserve to be. If you do hate
me, it’s because I am, in fact, absolute scum. My BPD takes these signs and
twists them into reinforcement of my extreme self-loathing. If anything, I’ll
be angry with myself.
This translates into “acting in”
behaviors that aren’t as obvious as impulsive behaviors. I self-harm and don’t
tell a soul about it, I lock myself in my room and cry for hours, I become so
emotionally numb I just stare at the wall all day, I’ll sleep for an entire
weekend to escape my pain, I’ll even deny myself food because what’s the point
of extending my lifespan, especially if I don’t deserve it?
Any kind of BPD sucks, quiet or
otherwise. But raising awareness about quiet BPD is crucial: professionals may
not realize we have BPD because we don’t fit the “classic” model, and thus we
end up spending years misdiagnosed or in treatment that doesn’t address what’s
actually going on with us. We could be spared YEARS of additional suffering by
getting the correct treatment as soon as possible. So let’s raise awareness,