Suddenly, I Can’t Breathe

CW: Borderline Personality disorder, Mental Episode, Panic attack, Mental health, Graphic Description.

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For Mental Health Awareness Month I wanted to write out what it feels like when I have a Borderline Personality episode.

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My heart is beating out of my chest. My head is spinning and my face is hot. I try to steady myself on a chair but I don’t have the energy and move to the bed. I am going into fight or flight mode now, but I don’t want to do anything risky or rash so I curl up under a blanket and dig my eyes into a pillow.

This is the start of my BPD episode.

I’m cold now and shaking. I need water because my lungs feel like an invisible force is pulling all the air out and shelling my insides. I’m still under the blankets. I don’t want to see the light, I don’t want to see anyone, I’m afraid I’ll yell at them. My head is racing 1000 miles a minute and suddenly I think, what if I didn’t exist at this moment? Not a plan to hurt or kill myself, but, what If I just didn’t exist? For this one moment. Until this is over.

I take a pill for panic attacks and wait. The episode has put me in a state of shock and I still have trouble breathing. The cat has noticed something wrong and is sitting on my back as my face is still buried, my fingers curling around the pillowcase and the intensity of pain in my chest increases like a balloon.

I scream and start crying into the pillow, the cat jumps off. The crying is uncontrollable and lasts until I am too tired to continue. I close my eyes and my hands are weak now from squeezing the pillow. I rest for an hour or so, going in and out of sleep, not wanting to wake up. Three to four hours later the pill has kicked in and I am a little calmer, but the pain is still there. It stays for a long time. Usually a day or so. Sometimes hitting me during the day, only when I’m most vulnerable.

And this is having an episode at home. Imagine going through this at work, at school, anywhere you don’t want to be when this happens.

Please believe your friends and family with BPD when they say their emotions are overwhelming, when they can’t control them, and when they feel hopeless. Be there for them, even if you are only watching over them while they recover. They will appreciate you being there for them. I know I do.

 

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