I think the worst symptom that I deal with on the daily is what is defined in the DSM as "Chronic emptiness".
Those two words define how I lack feeling towards any situation, hobby, experiences. Disassociating into numbness is something that feels permanent, non-fleeting. I'm stuck here.
And for what? What was the straw that broke the camels back for my brain to stop reacting to my favorite video games? To stop reacting to sex? To stop reacting to people talking to me, interacting with me, us pretending that they aren't speaking to what I personally feel is an empty shell with no direction. I'm not in control of this meat that other people call bodies.
I try, I really do. Everything feels so automatic. I experience the same feeling driving down the road staring at the yellow and white lines coming at me as I do eating my favorite food, and hugging my family. There is no actual feeling behind the actions, I just drive.
When you live life like this day to day you slowly start to understand why people jump out of airplanes, go skiing down tall mountains, drive cars down the wrong side of the road going 200 miles per hour, wondering if a deer will step out in front of the car and send them flying into a tree so they might hang for the police officer to find them. All to shake their head and question ,"for what?"
Ill tell you for what. When your brain has nothing left to give, when everything feels automatic you would do anything to escape the prodrome that it creates. Maybe falling through clouds, watching my inevitable death approach in the form of green grass and water, only trusting a specially made piece of fabric to carry me to safety would bring back some sense of excitement, happiness, enjoyment, JUST something that would help me remember who I am inside.
I wake up.
I take my pills.
And I once again get ready to drive.
This loneliness kills me lately. I just wanna feel loved, needed, wanted, but instead I just feel unloveable and wrong as a person. I even can’t love myself… I want to be okay, but I don’t know how. I don’t want to struggle anymore, I just want to feel loved
Borderline Personality Disorder
One of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder is “impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self damaging”.
Not everyone with BPD is impulsive but impulsivity is considered a “severe” symptom because the consequences can be so extreme.
Let’s try to better understand this symptom
What it looks like
BPD impulsivity usually shows up as what we call “delay discounting”.
This means people with BPD tend to prefer the immediate award, no matter how big a reward (or consequence) in the future may be.
People with BPD also have a hard time ignoring negative emotions, which make it very hard to think clearly while upset.
Examples of delay discounting.
going on a shopping spree when you have bills to pay next week.
Using substances tonight when you have an important test in the morning.
Rage quitting your job after a disagreement with the manager.
Staying up late doing something fun but you have school early tomorrow.
How it works
First, the person with BPD has an unpleasant emotional experience.
When presented with any chance to change the way they feel, they take it without thinking about the consequences.
The impulsive behavior changes the negative emotions in the short term, which reinforces the behavior and makes it more likely next time.
Why does it happen
Delay discounting is theorized to be caused by a combination of two factors:
Genetic impulsivity (roughly 50%) +
Childhood adverse events (roughly 50%) =
Preference for immediate reward
The more trauma you had growing up, the more likely you are to be an impulsive adult.
Trauma teaches us that things aren’t fair, the world isn’t safe, and people aren’t trustworthy.
So why wouldn’t you take what you can get, when you can get it?
And why would you believe that something better is coming?
I want to end on a hopeful note.
Just because we know that genetics and childhood experiences contribute to adult impulsivity. Doesn’t mean you are doomed to be this way forever.
Mindfulness practice, medication, DBT skills, therapy, and a variety of other factors can help you become less impulsive.
It’s hard work but know it’s worth it💜