Impulsivity

By Joanne Henley

With BPD, comes reckless behaviour. According to the DSM 5, a diagnostic tool, we are impulsive with the potential for causing harm. It’s a difficult trait to cope with, because I literally screw myself over all the time, and it’s hard not to do it. With my self-critical mind, I often think ‘’just don’t do this’’, or ‘’what is wrong with you’’, or ‘’why can’t you control yourself’’. As well as myself, people around me have this attitude. ‘’Just don’t spend so much’’. ‘’Just look both ways’’. ‘’Stop going out late at night alone’’. It isn’t so simple to control my behaviour, because my impulsivity can feel a lot more like compulsivity. And as I spend more time untreated for my condition, the impulsivity gets more powerful, and risky. I act out to try and get the professional’s attention – maybe then they will help me.

I think one thing that makes it difficult for people without BPD is that they can’t see that I feel like I need to do the things that I do. A lot of the time, that rush of adrenaline as I skulk the streets at night by myself is the only thing that made me feel something other than numb for the week. It’s how I try to cope with my crazy emotional ranges. I feel nothing, yet I feel everything all at once. It’s like having burns all over my skin, and everyone is touching me. Other times, I think that it might be a self-harm kind of thing. I engage in risky behaviour on the off chance that it might hurt me. Please understand. I don’t want to hurt you, I want to hurt me, because my demons are like Rasputin.

It’s a long road to being able to resist my impulses as a Borderline – and it starts with accepting what we need to change. It also starts with ourselves and the people around us accepting that sometimes we do bad things, but we are not bad. You are not bad for the way that you try to kill your demons. But it doesn’t mean that I should accept my reckless behaviour. I’ll think things like ‘’it’s fine, I’m just being a student. Students drink’’. But realistically, the way that I drink, while not a huge problem yet, is starting to be one. I find myself waiting for the weekend just so I can numb myself with some alcohol. I know that I shouldn’t use alcohol as a solution, despite its chemical properties (Nerd joke!). But when I struggle to access any actual treatment for my BPD, it’s easy to self-medicate. I don’t mean to be that friend that you don’t want to hang with because I go overboard with my drink, but I do it to cope.

Don’t get me wrong – I want to stop spending too much, and wanting to put harmful things into my body. I don’t want to be the story that the Residential Assistants (at student Halls) tell to discourage substance abuse. But I can’t do this alone; and for now, I am alone, and untreated.

And to anyone reading this. Firstly, this doesn’t necessarily apply to others with BPD, because it can present in them very differently. Secondly, I hope that you won’t judge me too harshly, I’m just trying to stay afloat a little longer until the lifeboat arrives.

Reproduced with permission, originally posted here

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