Hello Everyone. As promised I have something special for you. Today I will be presenting you with Part One of a special Guest Post by our friend LostInTransit. He was kind enough to open himself up and share his experiences with us. I’m very grateful for his contribution as I know how difficult it is for people to put their experiences down on paper, let alone share them with the collective, but I also think it’s incredibly valuable to have a man’s perspective where we have so few. Please give him your support as I do. So without further Ado I give you…
Confessions of a Male Borderline
I will never forget my own reaction when a psychiatrist first put to me the idea that I might have a Borderline Personality Disorder. For one I had never thought I might have a disorder at all. For me it was a bit like cancer or AIDS. As soon as you have a little pain in your stomach or something, you don’t immediately think about something as bad as that right? So for years, I simply thought I was an idiot who would make it to thirty-five if I was lucky and would die alone and bleeding somewhere in a gutter. It had never even crossed my mind to do a bit of research on the internet, even though I doubt it would have helped me, it took a serious breakdown two years ago for me to finally accept the idea that there might be something seriously wrong and that I might need help fixing it. Of course I knew about Borderline, but nothing more than what every lay-man would know about it, which is next to nothing. I have known a few borderline girls in my time, and they were all seriously out of whack, invariably great in bed, and we always totally got each other. In hindsight it should have set me thinking… So all I knew was that it was something girls had who always screamed and cried a lot, and that was exactly what I said to the psychiatrist who had spent a grueling hour trying to pries open my brain: how could I have something like that? I hardly scream, I never cry, I only use razorblades for shaving and I definitely love my grilled steaks too much for me to have any kind of eating disorder.
But then again, I was all over the place at the time. My suicidal tendencies had finally gotten the better of me, continuing my studies was out of the question, I was on the brink of a psychotic breakdown and I was already diagnosed with having a dysthymic disorder and a major depression. So I decided over the course of several months, while being in therapy for my depression, that I could either dismiss my therapists as soon as the depression was over (something I had always done up until then), or cut the macho crap and seriously look at the idea of having either borderline or another disorder.
I started out with ADD. According to my psychiatrists I either had ADD, Borderline, a form of autism or a bit of all three. I don’t know how other people out there do it, but for me I usually trust my gut when confronted with something like this. Knowing full well I hate the idea of any diagnosis I knew that I could trust my instincts to guide me in my research without fears of just picking a disorder for the hell of it. Because I prefer not to have any diagnosis at all, to tell you the truth, and I never understood people who go for self-styled, internet induced diagnoses. Either you have something or you don’t (yes I’m very hard-lining and conservative like that). Me being me, I started to read whatever professional literature there was on the subjects that concerned me. While it proved very interesting, the problem is that because professional articles and books notoriously lack personal stories, I could identify with practically anything the DSM has to offer. So I needed personal stories. I swallowed my phobia for that part of the internet that deals with this kind of thing and immediately hit on a goldmine of information. It was insane. I never knew people kept whole blogs, vlogs, and so forth about their lives, their problems, and the way they coped with them. On Youtube I found a mass of people sharing their story in videos they made; there were less good written blogs but stumbling across Haven’s writings satisfied that more than enough. And it wasn’t only fascinating, but there was no self-pity, like, at all! The stories were interesting, constructive, forward-looking, in-depth and powerful. What’s more I could identify with them on a level I never thought possible. It was like a door being opened in my mind, and I finally knew, after years spent wondering what the hell could be wrong with me, that I found that my personal brand of weirdness had a name: Borderline Personality Disorder. By then, the ADD was already out of the equation as the tests I had done were all negative. I probably have some autistic tendencies but I’m not really concerned with those. Testing was quite inconclusive, and I decided to let that rest for the time being.
Borderline. I let it roll of my tongue a few times, as if testing it for inconsistencies, but I knew I had found what I had subconsciously been looking for, for a very long time. It’s such a mixed feeling. On the one hand the relief of knowing it’s something that people know about and might even be fixed, and on the other hand the anguish of having to put up with a label. It’s when I hit my very first wall. Because you see, I happen to be a boy, and not a girl. When I told my psychiatrist about my hunch he responded warily, maybe even with a bit of disbelief. That shook me as he and his colleagues were the ones that put the idea of a possible personality disorder in my head in the first place. My mother dismissed it out of hand, saying she was worrying how “they” would be able to talk this idea out of my head when it was clear I didn’t have it. What’s more, a couple of my friends, both girls, had gone to the psychiatrist with the same symptoms I exhibited and got Borderline slapped on their foreheads and carted off to therapy in the time it takes you to say “personality disorder”. So why was I dismissed like that? Was it truly because I’m male?
It didn’t take me long to realize that there was precious little known about borderline males. I won’t go into a review of the literature, as I know Haven already did that, but the few articles I found were not much to go by. Apparently males have a tendency toward outward aggressiveness, thus being labeled anti-social instead of borderline, a tendency towards substance abuse where females will more quickly develop for example an eating disorder, and on the whole are more liable to be processed through the judicial system while females tend more towards the psychiatric system. That made it difficult to find my bearings (it’s still difficult) as practically everything was written about and through the female perspective. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely relate to the underlying point of view, or the underlying problem, but it’s in the details where I get lost a bit. Also I don’t dismiss any problem, be it a tendency to pick a fights in bars or a tendency for bulimia. They are all severe problems, and even though some of these usually tend to be found in one or the other gender, there are of course overlapping cases. I for example have a male friend with severe eating issues. What I’m trying to say is that when something is written through a certain perspective, it might be difficult for the other sex to relate, even when the underlying issues are the same. But the biggest battle I fight is that apparently I react to some problems in the same way females do, and so I have to overcome my ego and a certain amount of machismo to address these problems and accept that I have them.
… are you hooked? I am. Stayed Tuned for tomorrow’s Part Two…