INSIDE AN EMOTIONAL EPISODE

 

   When people are suffering with borderline personality disorder, they go through sudden mood changes. These mood swings come on abruptly and are very intense and painful. The person loses control of his or her actions. Little things can set him or her off, like a misunderstanding, feelings of being put down, forgotten or changed plans, and feelings of being abandoned. The mood swings can turn into an episode of anger, sadness, and disruptive behaviors.

   I can remember having sudden mood changes that led to emotional episodes when I was a child. I didn’t know what they were at that time. I just knew I felt out of control. Little things set me off like my brother teasing or a friend not calling me like promised.

   I’d be in a good mood until my brother and I would disagree about whose turn it was to watch our favorite show. Then suddenly anger ignited within me.

   It started with small flames and erupted into a blaze. I was suddenly floating above my body watching it spit out words of hatred, throw things, and scream. My brother would fight back and we ended up in a punching and pushing match. My mom would break us up and send us to our rooms. In my room, I’d cry and yell until I collapsed to the floor with exhaustion. When the episode was over, I’d lie on the floor crying uncontrollably while self-hate and regret filled me. The knowledge of what I had done led me to tear myself apart with my thoughts.

   When an old boyfriend and I disagreed about how we were spending Mother’s Day, my emotions sparked. Feelings raced throughout my body, burning at my insides. They began to bubble over and spill forth in angry words. Each word my ex said made the flames burn hotter until I was out of control. I began screaming at him and grabbing dishes and smashing them on the floor. It was as if I were floating above my body while I spun out of control. I’d look down at myself and scream, “Stop this. This isn’t you. You’re not this awful person.” But I couldn’t stop myself. It was like something else was controlling me.

   Once I calmed down, tears would fall like a rain shower while internally I put myself down. I hated myself for my actions. My emotions felt like swords stabbing my insides. I had to stop the pain so I tore at my skin. I punished myself with my thoughts and relieved my pain by injuring. It was an endless circle of hurting myself inside and out. At times, I would become suicidal and make attempts to take my life. I thought I didn’t deserve to live after my actions.

   In therapy, I learned to notice when my emotions began to spark and to step back or walk away from the situation. I found ways to help me relax like deep breathing, punching a pillow, or listening to relaxing music. Next, I would take note of my behaviors during an episode and my emotions. Finally, I would find ways to distance myself from the behaviors and emotions like journaling about my feelings and thoughts. Things like getting out of the house, calling a friend, or doing a craft helped distract me and extinguish the flame.

   You, too, can take control of your mood swings and emotional episodes. You have to be willing to find a good therapist and work hard. Not every therapist knows how to treat borderline personality disorder, so ask questions before you decide to stay with a therapist. Make sure he or she has experience with the illness. Also look for groups that teach you coping techniques for borderline.

   Learn how to take control of the flames before they become an inferno. Fight the emotions with all your strength and reach for recovery.

   Learning how to take control of my emotions before they become out of control has led me to recovery and allows me to stand within the light.

   I found my facts about mood swings and emotional episodes from Borderline Personality Disorder from PsychSolve at https://www.newharbinger.com/psychsolve/borderline-personality-disorder. You can also find more information at this site. I also found the coping techniques in a book called A Systems Approach To Treatment: Borderline Personality Disorder Skill Training Manual by Norman E. Bartels, M.P.A and Theresa D. Crotty, L.C.S.W.

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