Monday, December 12, 2011

Wearing a Mask of Confidence on the Outside, Feeling the Opposite on the Inside

The blog Beyond the Borderline Personality presents this interesting excerpt from an article in Scientific American Mind (the article itself is not fully Web-accessible):
BPD is also characterized by a disturbing, but fascinating, dual nature: when people with the disorder are not experiencing flagrant symptoms, they often appear highly functional. “You could meet a patient with BPD in a social setting and not have an inkling that the patient had a major psychiatric disorder,” says psychiatrist Glen O. Gabbard of the Baylor College of Medicine. 
On the bottom of that page, there are many insightful comments from sufferers of BPD and/or Bipolar Disorder who  discuss how they appear very confident and composed in public -- such as, say, boasting about being some great real-estate investor -- but are tormented by insecurity on the inside:
*"in many ways I appear 100% [fine in public] but it's just an act..I can only keep up the appearance for so long before I snap..even when I snap I can usually manage to contain it somewhat.."

* " I understand the facade all too well, but it's only a facade. So many times I feel I could fall apart at any moment. I try not to let people on to that little tid bit, but I certainly know what you're talking about."

* From the blog writer herself:  "This is actually one of the reasons my Roommate was not convinced I'm Borderline because when she first moved in with me she'd never seen me dissolve from one minute to the next. I'm so good at portraying a fairy tale version of myself that no one quite catches on"
Also, there is a sad follow-up to my previous post mentioning Amy Winehouse's tragic death. The Daily Star reports that a family member of Amy Winehouse has made the educated guess that Ms. Winehouse suffered from BPD symptoms. Unfortunately for Ms. Winehouse, this would not and cannot be corroborated by a mental health professional. As one article elaborates,
According to the [Daily] Star, a family member said that the Grammy award-winning singer may have suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. "It was never diagnosed, because unfortunately she would never agree to a proper diagnosis," the Daily Star quoted a family member as saying. "I'm not an expert, but from what I've read on Borderline Personality Disorder it kind of fitted with her."

Meanwhile, Winehouse’s father, 61-year-old Mitch Winehouse, told the Star he wished Amy would have sought counseling. 
If you are experiencing inner pain like that described in the quotations above, then -- even if your symptoms are not as severe as Ms. Winehouse's -- it would be prudent to make sure that you are currently receiving professional help on a regular basis. No one should have to experience such consistent pain. Your true, inner happiness -- not your outward public success -- is what is most important, and there are people in your life who care about you. :'-)