If Life is a Rollercoaster then BPD is a Pinball Machine!


Playfield of High Speed pinball machine

You know the old saying and interpretation of life as a rollercoaster. Up’s and Down’s, twists and turns are all part of life for every single one of us. But when you have BPD that old analogy just doesn’t seem to cut it, it doesn’t go deep enough to explain the extra, added difficulties of navigating those ‘normal’ rollercoaster emotions as there is just so much MORE we experience and suffer that goes so far beyond the normal rollercoaster – well I have finally found the answer, well my other half gave me the answer. After another rough day/night of BPD hell he said I was like a pinball machine…

Basically the way he put it is that BPD is like a pinball machine. Each day we start, catapulted into the day (machine) from the plunger lane not knowing where we are going to end up.

Some days it will be a case of we slip through the day and fall straight through the flippers at the bottom hitting nothing along the way(a good day).

the bottom part of a typical pinball machine (...

Other days we will bounce off many bumpers (emotions) cranking up a high score.

Then at other times we will get caught between bumpers (emotions) that drive us crazy as we flip from on emotion to the next

We can drop into a saucer that traps us in a self harm cycle.

Or the ‘black hole’ – dissociation, emptiness, numb, despair.

The slingshots rebound us to crash into more bumpers (emotions).

We fall in the out-line lanes to be auto-plunged back into the game.

We slide down the in-line lanes and the flippers (triggers) throw us back into the game, we’re not done yet…

There are spinners, gates, stoppers, switches, ramps, targets and hidden, unique features that are all the elements of emotions, triggers and life that encompass BPD and make it such a complicated, confusing game that makes a rollercoaster seem  like a walk in the park.

The higher your score the more BPD has affected your life that day, the aim of pinball is to score as high as possible without losing your balls, but with BPD you are the ball, and you don’t want a high score, if anything making it through a day into the ‘hole’ at the bottom of the playfield without encountering any bumpers, flippers or other features would be a dream day – but life doesn’t let that happen often!

We are flipped, bumped, bounced, plunged and rolled around life, like the ball in the pinball machine. Never knowing which bumpers, flippers we will hit or miss on any given day. In fact each day is like starting again in a new machine, with no chance of predicting what game will be played out today. The game can be high scoring (emotion and or trigger filled) or low scoring (numb, automatic pilot days).

When my other half explained this analogy to me (not in the detail I have used here) I told him I just had to write about it. It shows a level of understanding my BPD that even I had never recognised before, and we all know how much we need/want to be able to explain what it is like for us in a way that other people have at least a slim chance of understanding – I think this is that way!?

What do you think?

Does a Pinball machine cover the turbulence of BPD for you, or do you use another analogy to explain this very complicated life?


Thank you for reading!  If you have enjoyed reading this post please share it with others who may be interested and I always enjoy receiving feedback and comments 🙂



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