A few things are crossing my head right now.
First off, I had a patient today that really got to me. She has had 4 suicide attempts. She is very insecure about her body because she is obese and hirsute. You could see the pain and insecurity seeping through her eyes. It was painful to hear her speak. She got to me because she seemed like a little girl lost, which is the way I feel most of the time. Except that she had gone through so much in her short life, and so many external stressors are currently affecting her. Her story really got to me. I think if we would have had more time to talk she would have reminded me of why I want to be a psychiatrist.
But what I really want to discuss in this post is the fact that I’ve been thinking lately about how much having borderline personality disorder affects my sense of self. Yeah, an unstable sense of self is one of the criteria for the disorder, but I had never really given it much thought until these last few days.
I’ve read before about how other borderlines are like chameleons who tend to pick up on what other people wear or act like. How they can be a punk rocker one second and then change when the person they idealize changes. I get it. I do it with M, as a matter of fact. I tend to dress very pretty on appointment days just so I’ll look kind of like her.
But it was only recently that I realized my sense of self is affected on a deeper level than just dressing a certain way or acting a certain way. I don’t know if I’m right about this, but I think that having BPD is what makes me so hesitant and insecure about settling on medicine as a career.
You see, the problem is that I don’t see myself doing anything with my life. You know how people say they can see themselves being a doctor, or a teacher, or a psychologist, etc.? Well, my problem is that I don’t see myself being anything at all. Not even being a psychiatrist, as much as I like it, and not even being an artist, as much as I like that too. I just see myself leading the life I’ve had up until now: living with my parents and studying. I don’t see any future in me, as much as I strain to look.
I used to be good at a lot of things (except sports, ha!). Art, science, literature, math, I could do it all a few years back. And at some point, back in one of the first summer internships I did, I saw myself being a doctor. I was 18 back then. It was the reason I settled on studying medicine.
But I think that was the high point of my life, and now I’ve come crashing down with BPD. You know how they say that personality disorders tend to come out at young adulthood? Well, that was my case. Ever since a few years back I can’t see myself being anything, having any future at anything. Actually, I’m ambivalent, because I like a lot of things that I think I could do, but at the same time I don’t see myself doing anything in particular. Does that make any sense?
The point is that I blame it all on having BPD, on having an unstable sense of self, or a non-existent sense of self, for that matter.
Who am I? I don’t know. I don’t know myself. I don’t know what drives me, I don’t know what makes me, I know nothing.
I really need help here. Any other borderlines feel like this? Please leave a post on the comments section if you can, I’d really appreciate it.