Understanding bpd:
chronic emptiness

July 5, 2020

Today I'm going to explore another BPD symptom: 

Chronic feelings of emptiness 

It wasn't until I was officially diagnosed that I realised I've been feeling empty for a long time. Up until then, I thought my feelings of emptiness were a symptom of depression. BPD is often tricky to diagnose and understand in ourselves because it can often co-exist with other mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. With the help of Dialectic Behavioural Therapy, I've recently began to learn how to label different thoughts and feelings using mindfulness.

Living with feelings of emptiness is a really painful part of the disorder for me personally. It feels similar to the sensation of hollowness in my body, mind and heart. It's like I'm physically present, but dead on the inside. I have a body, but there's nobody home. At times it can feel overwhelming and suffocating; other times I just feel numb. During my darkest times, I felt empty almost daily for months on end, but through my own self-discovery and therapy, it’s began to gradually ease. An essential part of my healing is developing a stronger sense of Self, which means becoming more secure in, and accepting of, who I am (click here to read my post on BPD identity disturbance). Digging deep into the murky shadows of my psyche, I'm beginning to confront my feelings of deep shame, self-judgment and self-hatred that I've carried with me for a lot of my life.

At the core of it all is the relationship with my narcissistic father, his controlling and manipulative behaviour leaving long-term psychological scars. His insatiable desire for success forced me down the narrow path of becoming a concert pianist, which left me feeling utterly worthless unless I was a hugely successful performer. Understanding the relationship with my father put the chronic emptiness I feel into context, which has been an important realisation. I'd sold my soul a long time ago, putting immense pressure on myself to please my father. 

I have a long way to go yet but I know I need to learn to accept myself for who I am today and in the past, freeing myself of the beliefs I've formed in childhood. I have begun to break away from my father’s controlling grip, and pave my own path in life. I may still have bad days, but by exploring the type of person I want to become, I've been able to make decisions for my future that put my well-being and happiness first. For the first time, I'm starting to live my own life, and the empowerment that brings is a big step towards recovery. 

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