BPD, Mental Health

Fear of Abandonment: “You’re Going to Leave – Aren’t You?”

For sometime, or else for as long as I can remember, I have experienced an intense fear of abandonment. A few years back whilst working with a therapist I was told that this, alongside other symptoms I was experiencing, could be classed under “borderline tendencies.” 

Now, without having had an official diagnosis of BPD or for having BPD tendencies I was unable to fully comprehend the symptoms I was experiencing and therefore was unable to seek appropriate help. The possibility of either diagnoses being true was, and still is, truly terrifying with such a vast stigma bolted onto the disorder with “borderlines” being classed as manipulative and attention-seeking (and difficult to treat). That image was definitely not aligned with who I try to be: someone that people trust; a loyal, supportive and kind sister, daughter and friend. If I truly was “a borderline” then the image painted of BPD by the internet and health websites would greatly conflict with the core of who I was.

Between bouts of fear and anxiety about this I tried to do my research around what BPD actually was and I found that, amongst multiple symptoms, an intense fear of abandonment was something I could really relate to. However this symptom isn’t one that is unique to BPD and so will be something that a lot of people, with different diagnoses, will experience. Therefore, I felt it would be worth writing about my own experience in an attempt to make my fellow abandonment-phobes feel less alone.

If I am to reflect on my life thus far, I realise that my fear of abandonment has greatly impacted my ability to maintain and commit to interpersonal relationships. Most relationships I’ve had with others have terminated abruptly and any relationships that are currently normal and quite happy are also very new. Any long term relationships that I’ve somehow managed to sustain have definitely had extremely frictitious moments and have remained intact only with extreme patience and forgiveness on their part. 

The reason behind all of this seems to be the “hurt them before they hurt you” approach my brain has adopted. The bold assumption that, at some point, all the people I have connections with in my life will end up leaving me  sets the foundation for actions I might take following these suffocating feelings. It will usually go one of two ways.  I will sit with these made up but intense feelings of rejection for a long period of time only to redirect that as strong feelings of anger towards this person. Usually, this will result in an explosive episode where I say to the person things that I know will hurt them and hopefully have them hate me, forever. (Mind you, I never really have a full recollection of these episodes.) Or when the realisation that everyone will leave hits me in the moment, but I have no idea what I must have done to upset them to make them leave, I will intentionally do something that I know will make them angry as if attempting to provide a reason for them to hate me.

Honestly, this all seems quite contradictory- if you don’t want them to leave you, why do you keep hurting them? I promise you, if I knew why I would tell you. Unfortunately, I don’t. I would assume it’s the result of some form of previously unprocessed trauma that has led you to have difficulties in certain cognitive processing. However, though this is all still a big mystery to me, I do plan on doing my research and contacting people that can help me understand and start healing thereafter.

One big self-care tip I would advise, however, is to be kind and forgiving with yourself (something I could also do more of, let’s be honest). Fuck-ups happen, everybody makes them. It’s definitely not an excuse to repeatedly hurt people who love you and we must take responsibility for our healing so as to prevent similar events from occurring. However, in the words of Black Widow “don’t judge people on their worst mistakes.” You’re more than what you do at your worst. What actually defines you is what you do to be the best version of yourself. So do me a favour and don’t give up on yourself. Be kind and be forgiving. 

A little self-love won’t hurt anyone 🙂

Stay safe and well and I’ll keep you updated!

With love,

Arya x

Mental Health

Quarantine Concerns : How to Deal With Negative Emotions

Since the rise of COVID the majority of us have been lucky enough to have a home allowing us to continue living a normal and healthy life during this trying time. However as the days pass we find ourselves, more often than not, alone with our own thoughts which can sometimes lead us to experience negative emotions in a more intense and heightened fashion.

Having suffered low moods on and off for some time, the lockdown has proven to be quite difficult without the usual distractions of going out, attending lectures and meeting friends. During pre-lockdown times, this would have been sufficient means to increase levels of dopamine and keep me going or even avoid dealing with an underlying negative mood. It can worsen to the point that “normal lockdown-activities” are no longer as enjoyable as they initially were such as baking, organising, studying and zoom calls with friends. The lack of a normal pre-lockdown life also means that there is less encouragement to leave your bed in the mornings and resume a productive routine. And so begins the cycle. The lack of productivity will reinforce these negative thoughts and emotions. Levels of self-doubt will sky rocket, eventually forcing you into feeling quite helpless.

As always, when there’s dark cloud glooming over us, we should attempt to find a silver-lining of sorts. Experiencing our emotions constantly and intensely may be quite new to some of us, but at least we’re finally acknowledging them and taking the first step towards our healing. Though we have a lack of control over how we may feel on a day to day basis, we can still control how we respond to those emotions.

When things are getting quite tough, be kind to yourself as you would be to a friend or family member. Congratulate yourself on the small things like waking up, taking a shower or just simply getting through the day. It’s important to be mindful to about how you are doing on a daily basis and treat yourself accordingly. Not every day has to be 100% productive but everyday could  involve at least one task of self-care. These tasks don’t have to complex or expensive, it can simply be taking a well-deserved midday nap!

The one kind thing you do for yourself today could lead you to feel just that much more loved than you were feeling this morning. Be loving and affectionate with yourself – not just to carry you through quarantine, but because you deserve it.

Hang in there folks.

With Love,

Arya x