What it’s like to experience the intense confusion of conflicting thoughts in BPD

Conflicting thoughts – Too many emotions – Violins – Drums… Does anything make sense?

A journal extract that attempts to explain the complex emotional reactivity present in someone with BPD

I wait.
I always wait.
I wait for people to care.
I wait for someone to reach out to me.
I wait for someone to notice the loneliness I feel.
I wait for someone to notice the melancholy I feel.
I wait for someone to notice my desperate cries for help.
I wait for someone to react, someone to be there, to be active.

Then someone will notice and will reach out their hand asking, “What’s up? You’re quieter than usual?” and immediately I am on the defensive.


“I’m fine.” “Nothing’s up.” “Yes I’m sure.”

Am I pushing people away? What do I want from them, if not for them to care? Why do I go to all this trouble to be seen – when when I am – I instantly switch to wanting to hide, wanting to be away from people, wanting to crawl back into my shell and never come back out again?

Then they are gone and I have pushed them away. I have fobbed them off with a swift excuse. I cry as the reality-wave crashes down upon me, “They’re gone.” “They left me.” “They always leave me.” “No one ever wants to help. “No one cares.” I feel the sharp, razor burn of fire ripping through my veins, circling my body, and it burns, it burns, it burns. It hurts. No one cares. It hurts. I am alone. Again. It burns. It hurts. I am alone.

What did I want? What more did I want? What did I expect by pushing people away? I wanted them to try harder. I wanted them to be there despite what I say. I wanted someone to see through me. “No, you’re not okay. You need some help.” I wanted them to fight for it. I wanted them to fight me.

Sometimes they do, sometimes their stubbornness pays off, “But, you don’t look okay. Tell me what’s really up.” Then I am angry. Rage. I got what I wanted, I got a fight. I got someone ready to take me on emotionally. And I hate it. I hate it. I loathe them. Leave me alone. Why won’t you just leave me alone? I want to be far away. I want you to respect me, I want you to respect when I say I’m fine. I want you to believe me. I want you to believe me the first time. But I don’t. I don’t want you to believe me. I am vulnerable. I am alone. I need help, reach out to me. Keep away from me. Notice me. Don’t talk to me.

If this sounds confusing to you, it is a hundred times more confusing for me. You can stand there on the outside and make justifications, “Okay, she’s a little upset at the moment.” “Okay, so I may have pushed too far.”

I can’t make those justifications. My brain doesn’t know them. It’s like learning to play the violin but all you’ve ever played is the drums. You don’t have the tools, you don’t have the knowledge. You’ve got a set of drumsticks and they just don’t work on the violin. All you’ve ever done is hit the drums with the sticks – it doesn’t translate to violin, you can’t hit the violin and get the same sound.

I have no experience in the violin. My toolkit for dealing with my emotions is sparse. I’ve got some drumsticks, that’t it. I’ve played the drums for years, it’s all I know. I can’t play the violin like you do. I’ve never even seen a violin. I don’t even know where to start.

I am confused, and lost, and scared. Scared of myself, my own limitations, my own incapabilities. I am scared of showing you that I can’t play the violin. Because it’s something you’ve done for years, you know the in’s and out’s, you know you need a bow and how to play the violin beautifully with it.

I want someone to help me play the violin, to teach me how, but I can’t get over my own ego. I can’t persuade myself that playing the violin will be better. That I will get the hang of it. I will stick to the drums. I know the drums. I play them so well. The drums work for me and I work for the drums. It’s safe.


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