boredom_by_BlackOrchid160

Boredom and Borderline Personality Disorder


Boredom…

Not what you would typically associate with Borderline Personality Disorder right?

Not one of the diagnostic criteria in the DSM IV that’s for sure…

So how come I think boredom is such a key element to BPD myself?

Let me tell you…

So, life with BPD is like a pinball machine. Constantly pinging around various emotions, up, down, left, right, round and round, back and forth; ping, ping, ping, ping…

Then nothing…

Not the chronic emptiness that can be like a black hole…

Not high.

Not low.

This is what everyone else calls ‘normal‘.

This is when for once things on the surface, and even below appear to be ticking along smoothly – there are no major upheavals, suicidal and self-harming thoughts are minimal. Everything is just ticking along…

tick, tock, tick, tock

BUT

For the BPD intense boredom set’s in very quickly in this ‘normal’ state of being. While knowing that they (I) hate feeling low and know how the ‘highs’ can be even more damaging than the lows (impulsivity and recklessness is at its most extreme at these times) something feels ‘amiss’.

Its not like the chronic emptiness which is all consuming, then you are numb, unwilling, unable to do much to ease the feeling – you feel disconnected from the world.

Instead now with ‘boredom’ there is feeling and emotion like a dull rumble, a tremor before an earthquake, the waves of the tide slipping in and out, not intense enough to cause an eruption but brewing, simmering never boiling.

You miss the self-absorbency of lows.

You miss the excitement and thrill of high, manic phases.

Yet you know that acting on these feelings of boredom – creating a high or low is not a good thing.

Yet there is a need for something MORE than this, this ‘normality’ that sustains the majority of the population is not enough for you to survive.

DRAMA

EXCITEMENT

THRILLS

INTENSITY

SPONTANEITY

All these things are missing.

Attempts to entertain yourself that satisfy others are futile, at best they relieve the boredom temporarily, at worst they just aggravate the knowledge that ‘normal’ distractions and enlivening activities that would give the satiety to sustain a normal person are just not powerful enough to fill that aching gap, hunger, desire within you.

I am in one of these phases now, and the holiday season is not helping the matter as there is not much I can do to try and abate this period of boredom.

It is talked about in some media related to BPD, boredom, often as a spur for or connected to the unstable sense of self, and I can see how this manifests in my constant career changes and other things…

It is not a time when I can join a new course of study, embark on a new hobby or activity – these are the usual things I will do to try and battle the demons warring within me – who are determined to either pull me down in to despair and depression due to being unsatisfied or drive me manic and impulsive as I ‘act out‘ in order to achieve the necessary enthralment to  make me feel whole.

These are the things I cannot allow to take control now the boredom has set in.

The boredom also has other detrimental effects, because I am not as hyper I don’t keep as busy as I would normally – constantly aroused, streaming with ideas to write, draw, create and do; always pushing, pushing, pushing myself to the limits, physically and emotionally. I need to regain this drive, the busyness helps sustain me better – yet the thrill of it is not so strong, everything is too ordinary, plain, boring…

Heart Junky explains her own inability to cope with boredom in her post ‘authenticating my symptoms — manic manifests as confusion

If you are bored, you do something to entertain yourself right? Duh. But I’m starting to see that this aspect as a criteria of illness is not referring to the common experience of boredom. I’m encountering boredom because my life does not have a clear focus, or structure, to it that is acceptable or valid to the mainstream society or to the traditional mental health profession; and what I’m starting to see is that this boredom drives me to my version of a manic state, which encapsulates the other DSM criteria of impulsivity.

My version of mania is a constant state of mental and emotional arousal — always something on the go, ideas brewing, people to call, places to go. This is a state of chaos — procrastinating everything, meeting deadlines and appointments at the last minute, or being late, forgetting to eat, and losing things daily, like keys, wallet, etc; floating in nowhere land, drifting aimlessly from one distraction to the next, getting farther and farther away from the moment, my need for escape intensifying by the day. All the while that this has been developing, there was a strong sense of denial in me — a lie that I became increasingly desperate to believe, that all this activity was a sign of my recovery and my growing ability to return to “normal” life.

But, whereas she feels the need to reign in her manic state:

I am learning that what is needed to return myself to balance is to slow down, simplify, pull-back in my external responsibilities and socializing, write, and revise my daily goals to the simple act of living — sleeping, eating, resting at home, and CoDA step work.

I feel the opposite is true for me – I have reached that ‘balanced state’ she wants to achieve, where everyone else normally resides. Where I presume even us Borderlines should reside when we are ‘well’ ‘recovered’ in ‘remission’ or what ever else people like or want to call it when we apparently no longer meet the criteria for a BPD diagnosis – heck, try to label me with the criteria at this precise moment and I doubt there is even one that I meet; but it won’t last, I’m not better, I know this is just a ‘quiet spell’, life has taken over with it’s normality but inside just the sheer fact that this is not enough for me is evidence enough to me that things will change, up or down again soon. While I clearly don’t want to be ‘ill’ in those ways it’s not like I have a choice – sure I can battle the demons busying myself again with more and more distractions, but they will either build to a crescendo (manic, impulsive phase) or crash and burn (low, depressed phase) neither of which is desirable – yet worse still than either of these would actually be to stay in the state I am in now.

Bored.

Not only am I bored, I am boring.

I cannot hold a conversation, worse I cannot start one.

I am filled with anxiety at leaving the house.

I have no real interest in anything – other than vanishing into a book, a brief relief, immersion in another world, developing insane attachments to imagined characters – especially if they are in a future dystopian society (Hunger Games); because just for a little while I get intense emotions that are lacking in the real world.

Things are getting done, to a minimal level, most of the time – I am just about clean, the house is just about clean, my blogs are just about written in time. Everything is just about achieved; which in itself would be enough for most people – not me, to me just about isn’t good enough (I’m a perfectionist if you hadn’t realised by now) and it is just a sign that the boredom is heading down a ‘low route’ as gradually less and less will get done – unless I some how manage to switch the boredom in the other direction – up, but then how do I prevent it going too high?

For now I have to ride it out, wait and see what will develop – awareness of it should be a benefit in attempting to defeat it without going off either end of the scale…

But then if I could do that I would be better wouldn’t I????

42 comments on “Boredom and Borderline Personality Disorder

  1. Hey, thanks for the pingback, Busy Gal :)))) I’m quickly losing faith in the whole mental health system here where I am, and just this morning had this emulated to me by my medical doctor.

    The line between trauma recovery and mental illness is a fine one indeed, and it is really US, as people in recovery and those who love us, who are making the real progress, despite and regardless of any labels we may receive or identify with, by continuing to personalize our diagnosis’ in the way people like you and I are doing, and share our “recovery” findings with others. I guess the name of my blog is starting to take on a whole new meaning as I come to believe more and more in the recovery possibilities that lie “off the grid” of the traditional mental health community.

    A question arises for me reading this post of yours: What is your ideal state of being? I see the whispers here of the idea that there is no one single ideal state for us; that our most natural sense of rhythm is to continually oscillate between the states of “balance”, mania and “crash mode”, balancing all three just as try to do with sleep, exercise and food … maybe with time, these states become less extreme, but we must always be shifting internally. hmmmm. So there is a lot to chew on for me in this post. I wonder what you think!

    Hugs,
    HJ

    • Hi HJ,

      I think the situation is pretty much the same here, it is the people within the mental health community that are really helping others while the professionals are lagging far behind.

      My ideal state of being, hmmm difficult one. I’d like to think I could survive and be happy in this ‘stable’ place – rather than ‘bored’ as I currently am; but I guess the reality is that I would have to be cured to be able to accept this ‘normal’ state of being with only the occasional shift (as normal people experience it) although I expect that as you say the best that could ever really occur is that the swings between the extremes will just lessen with time (and recovery).

      Sharon xx

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  3. Reblogged this on Lost in the Winterness and commented:
    I’ve only just come across “Day in the life of a Busy Gal” and the first article I read, this one, is perfectly put. I hadn’t quite pieced together how much of my destructive behaviour is caused by feelings of boredom. Not just ordinary feelings of boredom; excruciating levels. Anyway, it’s a great read for any fellow sufferers, thanks a lot Busy Gal, given me a lot to think about xx

  4. I’m not sure how I found your blog, but I did and I am so glad for it.

    At my last psychiatric appointment, I said to my doctor, “I just want to be happy”. I do have some happy days, however, the low ones are excruciating.

    I set a pathetic goal of getting 10 things done in a day, that includes taking a shower and making breakfast. i count it all.

    Mental Health is hard work and it’s been a long climb, however, I will never give up.

    I’m really enjoying reading your great writing.

    • Thank you Tovah, I glad you like my writing :)

      I don’t think your goal is pathetic – I think it’s great, small steps make all the difference. Once you are comfortable with those small goals you can gradually increase and add to them!

      Good luck, we are all in this together :) x

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  14. I think you hit on some REALLY important insights here – especially how boredom can be confused for what other people feel when things are going along in a stable way. You inspired me to think about this and process it through writing. Thanks for sharing.

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  17. Fantastic! You have managed to put into words exactly what I have been trying to explain to my husband – thank you ! X

  18. This is exactly how I am feeling right now, I am 7 months into therapy and able to recognise when I am being irrational or about to be triggered and I am more able to balance myself but with this I have entered into a state of boredom and I’m not sure how to get past this in order to be over bpd or as they say in full remission, do I accept the boredom and ride it out til the feeling subside or will I always feel like this while I fight to achieve a healthy balance x

    • For me I have come to accept that boredom is something I need to live with to be free of BPD, normal life is boring I guess lol Anything I do that relieves the boredom pushes me towards BPD behaviours again so I have had to overcome the temptation to do things that will end up in a ‘drama’ just so I am not bored. It is difficult to accept that life is not so much fun and to be safe from BPD cannot be! But it gets easier with time to walk away from the drama :) x

  19. Wow, I am so glad I read this! It’s EXACTLY what I experience. It is like a pinball game for me and I needed this validation and to know I’m not the only one experiencing this. When I do have “stuff” to do, errands whatever…then I feel like I want to just get them over with and get the poor pitiful me syndrome because “look how much I have to do”. Then I complain to myself when it’s done that I’m bored….again. What a roller coaster that I can’t get off of. I don’t know how to stop these feelings. My bi-polar on top of BPD does not help.

    • Pinball is exactly how I describe BPD in another post! :) I also wish I could stop the feelings but while you can learn to manage them a little better they don’t go away :/

  20. Actually, the 7th symptom listed in the DSM 4 TM is “chronic feelings of emptiness” which is just another way of saying BOREDOM. Other sources list it this way: Chronic boredom or feelings of emptiness.

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  22. Ok please excuse the spelling. I know this is an old post but I just found it by typing in bordem and bpd, well im kinda in this situation right now. I dont work cause of my bpd I have just moved to a new area and I am completely bored all the time I tend to have obsessions with things that help the bordem I obsess over something start googling it or intend on buying something so I research about it constantly or search for cheapest price or watch videos on youtube about it my latest obsession is kayaking so I for some reason decided I wanted a kayak I havent kayaked since I was a child and now I want one for some odd reason so ive become obsessed with wstching videos on youtube trying to find a cheap one or find the best one (just an example) this is how I control my bordem but even that at the moment is not fullfilling my bordem ive been in a relationship for 11yrs and now thay I find a personal achievement cause I never had long relationships and now im just bored with that too im just so bored with my life as I dint work but even when I do work I get bored and quit so Its just so hard. Ive just started a course of antidepressants because I was really realky depressed for about four months straight I didnt hardly evwn leave my bedroom I became obsessed with music to help stop the crying all the time and now I guess my antidepressants are kicking in I dont feel low but I dont feel high either I just feel NORMAL and thaf is what is making me so bored I can understand your post it has made me realize why I am so bored because im not feeling those intense emotions I was a couple of weeks ago so now im just feeling normal and I dont like it one bit im constantly looking fir thkng to do entertain myself or I look forward to having a bath then after the bath im bored I look forward to eating eggs ob toast EXAMPLE lol then again bored its just so stupid I hate this feeling its making me want to feel depressed again.

    • Ohh I know this obsessing feeling so well! Boredom has to be one of the biggest BPD things for me as it impacts so much else! I think even though you will still get bored of it you need to try and at least get a part-time job to fill your time a little more as it does help. My boredom will either lead into a depressive phase as it does not pick up or an impulsive phase where I go wild trying to ‘feel’ again. Needing to entertain oneself constantly is horrid but yes, this is the boredom, empty, numb, dissociative phase of BPD and it is horrible! Hope it passes soon!

  23. Im so bored right now. I googled bpd and boredom because its a much more distressing and agitating state for me than what i believe “normal” people must feel. I am not interested in anything like hobbies or activities. It feels like im just
    watching time go past ,endlessly waitingf
    For gods know what. The thing that struck me about your post was the attachment to fictional characters. In almost every tv show i watch (which i watch compulsively and in binges) i form unhealthy attachments or fall in love with a character and become depressed and lost when i come to an end of the series. I have never seen this referenced inthe context of bpd and never come across a person who has the same extreme attachment.

    • I think it would be that becoming attached to a fictional character initially feels ‘safer’ than a ‘real’ person because they cannot and will not ‘leave’ us… but we don’t consider that characters get killed off or leave shows because we are unwell at the time of forming the attachment, so then we get hurt anyway as if they were a real person… :/

  24. I just googled BPD and boredom because I’m suddenly feeling inexplicably bored. Everything is calm and “okay”, so now I’m bored. Your blog was the first on the list. I’ve read a few of your blogs and I have to say it is an amazing experience to see that other people interact with their worlds in a similar way to the way I interact with mine. I don’t know anyone else like me and it’s pointless trying to explain myself to others so I usually just opt for being the “looney one”. I laughed when I read that you are not only bored but boring, that you can’t even strike up a conversation when you’re bored. That is me exactly – well, me when I’m bored. When I’m “up” I have way too much to say and I can easily overwhelm people. I’m trying to get used to the quiet times though since I’ve noticed that I crave them so much when I’m manic. It is so tempting to start something though, just to get the ball rolling again…

    • :) it’s nice to find out you are not alone isn’t it!? I do find that boredom can be extremely dangerous for me as it leaves me needing a ‘thrill’ or excitement that can lead me to act impulsively to get out of the boredom and thus trigger a whole new cycle of ups and downs. Thankfully I am better at managing all of my emotions now, so the lows are not so low, the highs not so high and the boredom not so… boring haha

  25. I despise boredom. I think I have always had problems dealing with recurring boredom, but now that I have been in therapy for a few years I no longer fill up the boredom with thrilling activities to get rid of it (sex, drinking).. Even though temptation lures around the corner. So my boredom is present almost constantly. To me, boredom is very difficult because it seems intimately linked to my feelings of emptiness and loneliness and can get me into deep depressive states. When I get bored and am becoming aware of it, I start thinking about how meaningless life is and I start feeling disconnected from people because they seem to be having so much fun doing stuff that I regard as completely useless. It makes me sad that I can’t really feel the joy of things unless they are adventurous -and often risky- in some way. I often catch myself thinking that “normal” activities are just something to fill the time with till we die and that thought of it all being so meaningless is just, well, depressing. I always kind of feel like I am in a waiting room and it still is not my turn..and I’ve been waiting for so long, without being sure what I am waiting for. This state makes me feel very inpatient, because I want something to happen in my life, but nothing really happens. At the same time, plenty of things are happening but I don’t feel connected to them. This makes it difficult for me to do stuff in the moment too. For example, when I meet with friends, I kind of count down the hours and when I am talking with them part of me seems to be waiting for something.. as if I have another important meeting that I should be at in the near future, but the meeting/appointment never comes..but I am very vigilant about the fact that I “need to be somewhere else” soon, leading to a feeling that all I do is just to get through the days till I finally get to my “appointment” .. it’s just me waiting. I really don’t know how to explain this feeling in another way. Does anyone recognize it? To me it is a very disturbing feeling and it seems to be connected with boredom, emptiness, and feeling disconnected to the world. hope someone reads this and that it all makes sense.. somehow.. Thanks for your post by the way. It is interesting and very much describes how I feel.

  26. Also just found this blog. I’ve been in a state of turmoil since yesterday after spending the bulk of my individual therapy session trying desperately to explain the exact sensation you described here. Although I tend to view my therapist as God’s gift to the world, she wasn’t exactly validating yesterday (obviously, she’s evil now) and this is the first thing that’s made me feel better. It’s really nice to know that there are other people out there who feel this way. Thank you for sharing.

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