I wrote this poem in December of 2016 after my almost love affair with death on December 5th. It’s strange how aside from my journal entries from that month, I hardly remember that month. I just remember feeling so broken inside and like a failure after that happened that it was so hard to get up every morning. I do know that writing saved me during that time because I started journaling way more consistently. I would learn years later after being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder that up to 10 percent of people with BPD die by suicide. Five years later, I’m glad that I had people by my side that prevented me from becoming one in ten. I’m glad that afterwards, I was able to slowly come back from thiseven if I was mostly depressed the year after and it was a fight to get up every single day.
For more information about the high risk of BPD and Suicide, here is a link from Psychology Today with info about it:
It was April of 1996 and I had just broken up with my boyfriend of 3 months after he had grown distant from me. I was in a world of despair and teenage angst and longed to no longer exist. I was feeling this rush of intense sadness as I was walking home from school. I looked at the cars on the street and thought about how easy it would be to end my sadness if I got run over by one. As I was alone in my thoughts, I stopped paying attention as I crossed the street and wasn’t aware that a car was coming. It stopped within inches of hitting me and the driver honked at me and yelled at me. I continued to walk in shock of what had just happened. I didn’t know then but I would be walking into many more BPD episodes like this one.
Fast forward to the summer of 2021 and I’m 40, the mother of 3 kids, work 2 jobs, and have a complicated love life. I decide to go back to therapy due to some recent trauma and driving anxiety. I do a 3 hour assessment and when the feedback comes back, it’s there on my concept map: I have Borderline Personality Disorder. I expected the driving phobia but the new diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder was definitely unexpected.
What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
According to Mayo Clinic, “Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD is amental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life. It includes self-image issues, difficulty managing emotions and behavior, and a pattern of unstable relationships.“
What are the signs and symptoms?
An intense fear of abandonment, even going to extreme measures to avoid real or imagined separation or rejection
A pattern of unstable intense relationships, such as idealizing someone one moment and then suddenly believing the person doesn’t care enough or is cruel
Rapid changes in self-identity and self-image that include shifting goals and values, and seeing yourself as bad or as if you don’t exist at all
Periods of stress-related paranoia and loss of contact with reality, lasting from a few minutes to a few hours
Impulsive and risky behavior, such as gambling, reckless driving, unsafe sex, spending sprees, binge eating or drug abuse, or sabotaging success by suddenly quitting a good job or ending a positive relationship
Suicidal threats or behavior or self-injury, often in response to fear of separation or rejection
Wide mood swings lasting from a few hours to a few days, which can include intense happiness, irritability, shame or anxiety
Ongoing feelings of emptiness
Inappropriate, intense anger, such as frequently losing your temper, being sarcastic or bitter, or having physical fights
Causes for Borderline Personality Disorder:
Genetics. Some studies of twins and families suggest that personality disorders may be inherited or strongly associated with other mental health disorders among family members.
Brain abnormalities. Some research has shown changes in certain areas of the brain involved in emotion regulation, impulsivity and aggression. In addition, certain brain chemicals that help regulate mood, such as serotonin, may not function properly.
Risk Factors include:
Hereditary predisposition. You may be at a higher risk if a close relative — your mother, father, brother or sister — has the same or a similar disorder.
Stressful childhood. Many people with the disorder report being sexually or physically abused or neglected during childhood. Some people have lost or were separated from a parent or close caregiver when they were young or had parents or caregivers with substance misuse or other mental health issues. Others have been exposed to hostile conflict and unstable family relationships.
Learning about this disorder has been overwhelming and also life changing. Some of my friends didn’t think it was possible for me to have BPD because I’m too nice. I was also kind of in denial at first until I did the research and thought damn, my life finally makes sense to me. I’ve been coping with intense emotions since I could remember and have a pattern of risky and impulsive behavior and sometimes self sabotaging my own success and romantic relationships. One minute my mood can shift from happy and joyful to full on anger and sadness if I am triggered by feelings of rejection, abandonment, being criticized or judged. I also have a tendency to villainize people if I feel threatened by them. Also, when I feel like my life is “too normal” or “too boring”, I seek out an adrenaline rush and create chaos.
Throughout the years, I’ve leaned some healthy coping mechanisms like journaling, writing poetry or blogging, exercising, mediocre dancing and singing. I’ve also had some unhealthy mechanism like drinking, binge shopping, binge eating, having sex for only validation purposes. I’d like to think that I’ve gotten better with time because I’ve become more self aware of myself and my need to survive not only for my myself but also for my kids.
I’m hopeful that with this new diagnosis of BPD and therapy, I’ve have way better coping mechanisms to become a better version of myself. I’m hopeful that going on this new journey, I’ll not only be surviving but I’ll be thriving. I also hope that I heal the girl in the picture above who was a teenager trying to find love for within the arms of a any dude because she didn’t know how to love herself.
From the ages of 18 to 23, I worked for a government agency as an interpreter. I was well-liked by many of my coworkers and my first supervisor was appreciative of me. I was very good at my job and even cross-trained in many other areas that didn’t “pertain to my job”. However, at that job, I was also bullied and discriminated against for being Latina. I was also slut-shamed by my second supervisor and coworkers the latter 2 years I was there. I don’t want to say I deserved being slut-shamed but I’ll just say that I trusted the wrong coworkers with my private life and they went on to gossip about me to everyone. It was also a very stressful environment because of the work I did and clients I had to interact with. My depression and anxiety went haywire. In 2003, I decided to enroll in my local community college and major in English. In 2004, I was trying to go to school full time, work full time, and deal with my child’s new autism diagnosis. I was breaking down mentally and something had to give so I quit this job. I was fucking done. And this poem was inspired by that moment. I thought I had processed this trauma until it came back up in therapy in the summer of 2021. I didn’t realize it at the time but I had suffered a deep racial trauma that impacted me and still triggered reactions in me. I was angry. There is actually way more to this story and one day I’ll share it when I’m ready.
I knew I wanted to write a post for Borderline Personality Awareness month, but I didn’t know it would be this post-about having suicidal ideation once again. It’s hard to write about this since I haven’t been here since last summer. Here is a place where I want to do everything or anything to stop the intense emotional turmoil and pain, I’m in. Here is a place where I write dark poetry about ways to end it all. I mean my poetry got so dark; Sylvia Plath would have been proud of me. Here is a place where I cry multiple times a day and any little thing is a trigger, and my coworkers start asking me if I’m okay. Here is a place where it feels like none of the healthy coping mechanisms (writing, music, keeping busy, talking to friends, mindfulness, long walks in nature, etc.) are working and I started to wonder what the point of it all is. What’s worse about this happening this time around was that there was no tragedy or life changing circumstance to trigger these feelings of wanting to die. If I had to pinpoint the trigger of this major depressive episode, it was as simple as upping the dosage of my mood stabilizer. Now, I was already in a low mood since last week because my quality of sleep had gone to shit lately so last week, I asked my medical provider to up the dosage on my mood stabilizer that I take at night to sleep. I was also working an extra shift at my second job, so I was more tired than usual.
On Monday night, I started on the new dosage and on Tuesday morning I woke in a state of extreme anger and agitation. I’ve been here many times before but this time it felt different. Everything and everyone annoyed me to the point that I wrote some really mean and cruel poetry and played my ANGRY AF playlist on repeat. This was the alternative to what I really wanted to do, which was to punch walls or smash something to bits and pieces. I also imploded on myself and went into self-hate mode where I hated my brain chemistry, my BPD, and well basically myself. Being in this negative mindset felt like several steps backwards based on all the progress I’ve made and that made me spiral even more. I cried at lunch that day. I went to my second job and felt fine after.
On Wednesday, I felt I was in a better mood and thought I was in control of my emotions. I even wrote a poem about how my therapist was so instrumental in helping me. Then the afternoon came, and I got a rejection email from a grant I applied for that really hit me straight in the gut. Once again, I was extremely angry and agitated. And I almost went into my “I’m going to be reactive AF” mode. However, I was able to stop myself. I headed to my second job and cried on and off the first two hours of work while I was stocking. Luckily, I reached out to my friend “K” through text and she was responsive. Also, I was closely working with my supervisor the latter part of the night so that kept my mind busy. I ended up going to sleep later than I’m used to and woke up on Thursday a complete and utter emotional mess. Because of the state I was in, I made the responsible decision not to drive that day, but I still went to work. For the first two hours at work, I cried, and I couldn’t do anything to stop it. My coworkers kept asking me if I was okay and I lied and said I had a raging headache. I’m not completely out to the whole office yet about my BPD or all my mental health issues. Maybe they bought the lie or maybe they didn’t. Throughout the morning, I tried my best to practice mindfulness to calm down and it helped a little. Then I had a second cup of coffee and that did the trick because I was finally able to be coherent enough to chat with a couple of my coworkers. I want to think that my “masking skills” from the past really helped in making my coworkers not suspect how much of an emotional mess I was. I reached out to my friend “K” once again and other friends and they were all responsive so that helped. And then lunchtime came, and the dark and intrusive thoughts came out in my poetry, and I cried a lot. I guess getting the worst of it out helped because my mood improved in the afternoon. I decided to clean up and organize my office. I made a list of tasks to occupy me at work for the next few days. I made a separate list of tasks I wanted to accomplish in my personal life. I also decided to do something kind for myself and signed up for swimming lessons since I never learned how to swim. I went to my second job and that also kept me busy which helped me tremendously. On Friday, I woke up in a much better mood and drove to work. I felt this huge sense of relief, but I finally felt like I was back to what is now my normal optimistic and confident self. This sent me into a bit of euphoria that got me side eye from one of my coworkers. Lol. Okay, I know it’s kind of ridiculous for a middle-aged woman to get excited at the supermarket over cuatro leches cake and a sour patch energy drink but damn after a 3-day suicidal ideation episode, it’s the little things that count. I took the terrible experience as another way to learn about myself and maybe try more preventive measures next time I switched meds or upped a dosage.
I learned that my mental health was declining when I started listening to the same angry or sad song over and over again. I don’t know how many times I listened to “That’s Hilarious” by Charlie Puth last week. I also learn that when I’m in the worst of it, I need to listen to the “Fuck Love “album by The Kid LAROI. Don’t ask me why, something in my brain finds his teenage angst and anger comforting. I also learned how I dissociate during these episodes. It was like a watching this train wreck of emotions take over my body and mind and not being able to do much about it. It was difficult and scary to experience. The best thing I did was keep going to work at both jobs no matter what. I feel like this kept me busy enough from spiraling even further. Also, planning something to look forward to like scheduling swimming lessons was extremely helpful. Reaching out to friends about how I was feeling bad and getting their love and encouragement helped me as well. And of course, understanding that the feelings of hopelessness and despair won’t last forever and honoring those feelings through journaling and writing poetry is important. For some reason, documenting what’s going on helps me process and get through an episode like this quicker. When I get into a major depressive episode that causes suicidal ideation, it gets scary and lonely. Having a diagnosis like borderline personality disorder makes me 1 in 10 people who could give in to that hopelessness and take action to take my own life. Even at my worst, there is a voice inside of me that is determined not to be that 1 in 10 because well, I’m too awesome to die. Also, if anything else, I don’t want to do that to my children and leave them with that trauma. I’m proud of how I handled this depressive episode. I listened to myself and used all the resources I had to get over it quicker. I remember that last year and the year before then, I had many of these episodes and would either try to drink it away or buy something from Amazon or do something self-destructive. I didn’t do that this time around. The fact that it’s been 10 months since this happened shows how much my mental health has improved. For anyone going through this, understand that you’re not alone and it’s okay to feel how you feel. The important thing is to keep going because even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time, there will always be something in life to look forward to or get excited about. It could be new food to taste or that new album from your favorite artist that’s about to come out, or even seeing a rainbow after it rains.
I wrote this in May of 2003 when I was depressed. At the time, I didn’t think about getting help. I also didn’t understand what was happening to me. No one knew because I had become a master as masking my emotions. Instead poetry was my therapy.
The sadness creeps up on me like a wild animal upon its prey Slowly but surely I become all too quickly Miserable again I ponder the question Why, why, WHY? I am young and healthy Yet I begin to feel like I’m slipping on thin ice and what scares me the most is I DON”T KNOW WHY?
I wrote this in 2019 when I was reflecting about the way men have often objectified in a way thatthey almost always seem to just want the fun and sexy part of me but seem to often have problems seeing the rest of me. I’ve almost always felt like I’ve been good enough to be their lover but never good enough to be introduced to their mother. Do I still feel this way? I honestly don’t know. I like the attention and validation I get from men because of my looks but sometimes it feels so hollow.
There’s an idiom that says, “Don’t shit where you work” which means “Don’t get romantically involved with your coworkers”. There’s a good reason as to why this idiom exists. Dating is messy and complex enough without adding the complication of working together. Having said that, let me start by saying that Lucas did shit a lot with 3 of his coworkers . This would have been a way less complicated if Lucas and his wife would have practiced ethical non monogamy but that wasn’t really a thing heard of in the early 2000s and especially not in Georgia.
It’s January 2002 in a northern Georgia town and I work for the Department of Family and Children’s Services as an interpreter for Food Stamp and Medicaid Services and I’m also serving as the interpreter for Child Protective Services since their interpreter either got fired or left, I can’t remember. Lucas is an investigator for Child Protective Services and my other two coworkers, Sam and Paula are Investigators as well. Lucas is married, in his early 30s and lanky but cute enough I get a crush on him right away. Sam is married, in her mid to late twenties, slender and blonde. Paula is fresh out of college, mixed and a force to be reckoned with. Oh and also, my roommate/co-parent T is also working as a Foster Care worker but that’s a story for another time. Anyways, Lucas, Sam, and Paula all start working for DFCS at the same time in January.
At some point I start going out with them to interpret when they start going out on case investigations. I remember the first time I went out with Lucas and we went to talk to this mom at the local chicken plant. We were waiting in this room the mom’s boss had put us in and were sitting side by side. We were making small talk and he accidentally touched my bare knee. When he touched me, it felt like an electric shock went through my body and I can tell he feels something because of the way his face turns red. The only time I had ever felt like this before was when I met the first Andrew for the first time. The mom comes in and he tells her that the school has concerns and I interpret. After that event, me and Lucas became friendly and well, became friends. Around this time, I also became good friends with Paula. Me and Sam never really vibe because like most of the caseworkers at DFCS, she’s stuck up and looked down on the office assistants (that was my official title) without a college degree. It was a pretty toxic work environment but that’s a story for another time.
February comes and Paula tells me that she has a crush on Lucas and I listen to her but don’t tell her I also have a crush on him. I also started dating Ron around this time and while I’m not into Ron at first I go for it because he seems really into me and makes an hour and 30 min drive to see me. Ron is an apartment manager and also the lead singer of his heavy metal band. I don’t remember the name of the band except that it has psycho in it. Ron is 24,witty, is 6’4 with a larger frame and blond with blue eyes. Ron is great at taking me seriously. Within a month, I met his parents and he met mine and he even met my son. My parents nicknamed him “el Rockero”. Ron seems like a dream, right? Well, Ron is also kind of a drug dealer. I call him kind of a drug dealer because his drug of choice is weed. Ron is also very sarcastic and has this tendency to make me feel dumb and needy at times. However, not one to give up on relationships because the alternative is being lonely, I stick with it. I don’t think he intentionally meant to but at times, his insults felt like emotional abuse. However, did I forget to mention the part where he’s the most attentive boyfriend and he whisks me away to Atlanta to the apartment complex he managed for sex and great food on the weekends. It meant a lot to me, a young mom who lives in a shitty Southern small town and works in a toxic environment. Of course, I do also have to mention that on more than a few occasions he embarrassed me in front of his friends in a public by calling me dumb or stupid but you know-the sex is great and he loves me. Ah, young love-isn’t it the best?
Around this time, there were rumors at work that Sam and Lucas were “involved”. I got mad and jealous about it and wrote this poem:
Paula was upset as well and talked to me about it. She didn’t know that I understood her more than she knew. By this time, me, Paula and Lucas were going out to lunch together on a weekly basis when our schedules permitted it. One day, Paula couldn’t make it and it ended up just being me and Lucas going out to lunch at the Applebees.
I asked him outright, “Are you having an affair with Sam?”
He answers,“No,that’s ridiculous, I’m married”.
I reply, “well there is this rumor going around that you are”.
And he answers “nah, you know how these people are”.
I decided to believe him. At that lunch we open up more to each other and discover that we both love to write and decide to share our writings with each other. This brought us closer as friends. After that lunch, I wrote this poem:
The next day Sam corners me in the office and asks me, “have you heard the rumor going around in the office?”
I asked her“what rumor?”
She answers,“that you and Lucas had sex yesterday”
I asked, “where?Applebees?”
She didn’t even flinch or laugh. People actually thought that me and Lucas had sex because they saw us leave together for lunch. I told y’all,it was a TOXIC work environment.
I told Sam, “no, we went out to lunch as FRIENDS”
She’s says, “okay, I believe you. It would be weird considering me and Lucas spent the weekend in New Orleans for Mardi Gras together”.
I answered “ah,okay”. So she dropped this bomb on me and I was Idk, shocked but decided it was none of my business. I also turn 21 that month and I go to the local bar with my coworkers and get really, really drunk. Well, a lot of us do. That’s when Paula tells me that she’s also been seeing Lucas.
I wrote this in early January 2002 about some random dude I was talking to online. I never met the dude that inspired this poem.
So you want to meet soon? I wonder why You say because I sound Sexy and great But should I take another chance And end up with another horrible waste of a man who will regard me as just another good fuck Or maybe I’m being too cynical And you for once will be Mr.Right What I know is that I couldn’t stand again being a fad
I wrote this in 2002 when I was stressed out with things going on in my personal life and at work. Everything felt so overwhelming at the time. It was exhausting and stressful trying to balance everything and everyone in my life and this would be a theme that would continually show up in my life.
I’m so tired of all of this crap I’m ready to give up And stop playing whatever this game is called My eyes are so sleepy And my body aches to rest What good comes out of anything is tarnished by impulsive desires Nothing is pure or sacred anymore Your friends are also your worst enemies Your lovers are also the ones that make you miserable Something has to be figured Because I can’t keep playing this game This way, no more