My Mania

Published on 16 July 2023 at 12:49

Borderline Personality Disorder; my consolation prize for being honest for the first time to my doctor. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) a personality disorder characterized by severe mood swings, impulsive behavior, and difficulty forming stable personal relationships. This is a treatable disorder… but to do the work to live through it is to undo all the patterns I’ve developed for 30 years to protect myself. What I’m learning through treatment is the armor that has served me in my development ages is not made of me but armor I’ve made to keep the self inside safe. Part of that armor is my mania. 


The mania has carried me so far in life, and sometimes is the only energy I could muster to get anything done. I would harness the waves of energy to do things that on the outside seemed so impressive. I would make muffins and home renovations, clean my home spotless, fuck my husband and work 50 hours a week. All while fulfilling a social calendar and pouring into my friends. The mania helps me in every facet of my life to get ahead, and Oh, how corporate America loves my mania. 


When I harness my mania, I'm dialed in and can't be stopped. I feel my soft womanhood and use it to my advantage, sending out signals like a siren's call. I draw people in, and use my powers for good, helping people through difficult and intimate problems. There is nearly nothing I can not achieve and no concept of self-preservation when I'm in the full throws of mania. 


I've learned to live in a constant state of awareness, like a meerkat on the plains, always anticipating an attack. As a child with a volatile parent, things could be fine one moment, but if someone went off script or deviated from the safe pattern to have their own thought or perspective, the mood would change in the same instant.


We would be having what would look like a normal morning, preparing for school and work. With four kids, the morning was a hectic time to get through. Someone would be too tired or too cranky and if you were so, then it broke Mom's morning rhythm and the sour air would hit me right in my solar plex. I can still sense the churn in my stomach, the deepness of the breath I would take in preparation. The fear. I would quickly try and pick one of her favorite topics to deviate from the moment, causing her to soften again and we'd avoid a full on attack. 

A full attack is not healthy for anyone. 


I wasn't always successful at managing the situation, but I felt it was my duty to do so. When I would fail to manage her, I would take in all the ways that it had gone wrong. Most of the time the challenge was that no one else seemed to be taking up the role of Mommy Manager. Dad never stopped being surprised long enough to gain a manager title, and sister was too angry (and who could blame her). My brother was too young and my best mate was in full survival mode herself. 


Recognizing the patterns helped to manage the situation. And the patterns turned into life. But these are the patterns of prey, just like the meerkat, I am living a life of prey. I am afraid and that fear makes me hyper aware of the tone in a room still today. Who or what will shift the dynamic by throwing me into defense. As the Meerkat, what can I feel from the wind, taste in the air, hear in the tones of voice. Who is coming now to feast on me.


 My company feasts off my efforts, retail feasts off my unending consumerism, and the public feasts off my bright fake smile. Ultimately I have served up my soul and myself on a silver platter, openly saying I am a tool for all to use. Just leave the pieces when you're done. 

The patterns of mania still come. I still throw myself into situations that have no simple way out. In many ways I’m still prey.



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