Fiona from The Fractured Light sheds the light on borderline personality disorder. Her blog is a personal blog where she shares stories, anecdotal guides and perspectives on living with mental health disorders, specifically psychotic disorders. Her goal is to connect with others that live with lesser known mental health illnesses.
Fiona is also the founder of the online chatroom, the House of Misfits, where people can chat and connect with others living with mental illnesses. It is an inclusive environment involving peer support, group chats and games nights.
Fiona on Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is the erratic, intensely emotional disorder, that causes unstable relationships and sense of self-worth. Living with borderline personality disorder means to feel everything deeply. It’s to hold others in high regard only to tear them down when they make the smallest error. Then you look at yourself in the mirror and switch from feeling confident to diving into self-loathing. BPD is a beast, creating and destroying, every aspect of the borderline’s fragile world.
And then there’s the quiet borderline. “Quiet” borderline personality disorder means that instead of taking out your internal conflict on others, you bring it inwards toward yourself. “I hate you” turns into “I can’t stand myself.” “People always leave me” becomes “I don’t deserve to be loved.” It’s a persistent cycle of self-loathing and hurting yourself because you believe that you’re the problem.
To make matters worse, a quick Google or Reddit search of borderline personality disorder only validates that borderlines have a problem and it’s with themselves.
Weathering the constant storm of self-loathing
If you live with quiet borderline disorder or you love someone with quiet borderline disorder, there are a few things to remember:
- There is currently no cure or medication specifically to combat the intensity of borderline personality disorder
- Borderlines often live with a lot of regret after emotional turmoil
- It’s difficult to get professional help for borderline personality disorder because mental health professionals find us difficult to work with
This doesn’t mean that quiet borderlines are hopeless. In fact, I believe that this means people with quiet borderline personality disorder bear the burden of learning to help themselves. Fortunately, there are wonderful places like this blog and even online mental health communities where quiet borderlines can receive support that they can’t find elsewhere.
The first step is realizing that there is a problem, but you’re never hopeless. You might feel like there’s a storm coming, but those storms always pass. You always make it through. The dark days come and they come often, but they eventually let up.
On the few days where things are calm, it’s good to recuperate and take care of yourself.
What self-care needs to look like for the quiet borderline
When I say self-care, I don’t mean going to the spa or binge-watching Netflix. There are ways that the quiet borderline needs to take care of themselves to prevent the intensity of the stormy days.
- Make sure you’re on top of your personal hygiene. Your physical body always needs to be taken care of, no matter how down you are feeling. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate ritual or something you spend a lot of time on. Brushing your teeth, combing your hair, and changing into a pair of clean clothes are enough to take care of yourself.
- Don’t physically hurt yourself, even when you’re tempted to. Self-harm is way too common for quiet borderlines. We think we deserve it. There’s a part of our mind that believes we need to be punished for the things we’ve said or done (or failed to say or do). So, we hurt ourselves through cutting, starving, binge-eating, burning, and other harmful things. Instead, turn it into art. Pick up a marker and draw on yourself. Cry. But, don’t hurt yourself.
- Put money into your savings instead of spending it to emotionally feel better. Another bad habit of being a quiet borderline is that instead of lashing out at other people, we do something reckless to get rid of the pain. One of the seemingly innocent ways that we do this is by binge spending money. Then, we regret the spending or don’t care much for what we spent the money on. Instead, throw it into savings.
These are a few small things that the quiet borderline can do in their day to day life to actively practice self-care.
Reframing the internal quiet borderline dialogue
Another major form of self-care that can help the quiet borderline is reframing the way you talk to yourself. For example, learn to take responsibility only for things that you are directly responsible for, instead of taking on the burden of everything.
The quiet borderline likes to blame themselves for everything. “My boyfriend left me because I’m sick. I’m terrible. I’m awful.” Give other people part of their responsibility back. “My boyfriend left me because he wasn’t ready for a serious relationship with someone who was sick and he was unable to care for me the way I needed to be cared for.”
A good way to reframe your thoughts is to make a list of things that you can control and things that you cannot control. Take responsibility for your decisions over things that you were able to control, but forgive yourself for the things that were out of your hands. For example, you may have gotten fired from a job. Take responsibility for being unable to make it work with your job, but also forgive yourself that the needs of your job did not match well with your current state of being.
Self-forgiveness is needed for any quiet borderline. There is so much blame and internalizing. It’s worth to tell yourself that, “It happened, but it’s okay. I can move on from this. I can get better from here.”
Seeking help for quiet borderline personality disorder
Quiet borderline personality disorder isn’t a proper diagnosis as professionals rarely differentiate between a borderline and a “quiet borderline.” This is more of a slang term that’s used within the mental health support communities. Because of this, a lot of quiet borderlines reject the traditional traits of BPD and think that perhaps they’re not borderline after all.
But even then, if you have the diagnosis, it’s worth seeking help for quiet borderline personality disorder.
There are therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy and dialectical behavioural therapy that have been the leading therapies for those living with borderline personality disorder. These are therapies that you can get in local groups, online groups, or with your therapist. You can also head over to Amazon and grab workbooks that are related to these types of therapies.
On the other hand, it’s also worth it to look into medication. Medication is supposed to help you live a refined version of your life. It won’t make you different, less creative, or a new person. Instead, medication is supposed to help you become a version of yourself that you can live with and appreciate. For me, I didn’t realize that it was possible to live my life without contemplating self-harm and suicide at least once every hour. Medication was able to make that happen for me. There’s no shame in talking to your psychiatrist about getting on medication to help you manage borderline personality disorder.
While it’s hard to find trustworthy therapy when you have quiet borderline personality disorder, it’s worth it to find someone who specializes in working with people like us.
Along with therapy and medication, there are mental health support groups that you could always join to keep you on track.
Creating a personal space to help you feel better
While mental health disorders are always there in the background, there will also come better days. Hold on tightly to the good days and capture those memories.
One of the ways I like to do this is to create a personal space that is filled with things that have made me feel joyful.
This is as simple as a small box of your favourite things. Add a small candle. A box of tea bags. Some candy. Maybe some photographs of things that you love. That way, if nothing else in the world is going right at the moment, you have a little space that can always bring you some joy.
Take care of yourself
With being a quiet borderline, remember to take care of yourself. Seek help. Reach out to others who are in the same boat. Give yourself some space to breathe and to find some forgiveness. Above all else, remember to take care of yourself even if your borderline personality disorder comes off as “quiet.”
You got this.
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