What’s Black and White and Red all Over…?

…is a joke I remember from my childhood. There were a few possible answers:zebra

  • A sunburnt zebra
  • A sunburnt penguin
  • A penguin in a liquidizer


My answer?

  • Someone with BPD.

I don’t know if other people with BPD feel the same, but just last night I realised that I spend a vast proportion of my time feeling embarrassed about one thing or another. BPD causes me to get flustered and red almost every day and, more often than not, it’s my black&white views on life that cause it. My “need” for things to be exactly how I want them to be (white), because otherwise they’re wrong (black). My “need” for my opinion to be the right one (white) because otherwise I’m wrong and I can’t handle that (black). There aren’t grey areas in the middle; there’s no neutral zone when you have BPD. It’s all or nothing; black and white. Plain and simple.

Prime example: I played Lambchops in Fame the Musical last year. She’s a drummer and I’m not. Regardless…

pianoNow, there wasn’t much room onstage or backstage, and my drum-kit ended up being kept in the male dressing room when not in use (most of the show, thankfully!). It would then be assembled on a small (tiny) wooden trolley as required. I had everything set up precisely, because it was a quick change and I needed to ensure everything was exactly where I needed it to be. I was already more than nervous about playing the damn things in the first place! And then, one night before the show, the lads started messing around with the kit.  I went BALISTIC!

Those poor guys didn’t know what had hit them. Amiable, quiet, not-really-worth-thinking-about Stacey, 5 foot 2 and pretty harmless, so they thought; suddenly turned into a screaming harridan. They nominated me for a “Boscar” for my drama-queen hissy fit, which only upset me the more. There were a lot of tears before the whole incident was explained to the lads and then dropped. Even now, however, I’m embarrassed by the whole thing.

imagesCA6EY1UYMy life is littered with such examples of where my BPD has caused embarrassment. Last night, for instance. Lovely Boyfriend and I were chatting on the phone and somehow got onto the topic of people not being able/willing to swallow tablets. I was extremely scathing. Until LB pointed out that other people could be just as scathing about my own little neuroses; perhaps I shouldn’t be quite so quick to judge other people black or white if I’m not willing to be judged so myself.

My immediate response was to say “but I have BPD”. I bit that response back, however, because sometimes I get fed up making excuses for the way I think and behave.

Yes, I have BPD. Yes, I think in black & white which makes for some limited viewpoints and a lot of arguments and embarrassment. But I know I shouldn’t use it to excuse myself every time I make a faux pas. Because then I turn into someone who’s not taking responsibility for her actions.

imagesI’ve been reading comments on other Borderline blogs this week from people who don’t like the condition and have suffered because of it. And these aren’t people who HAVE the condition; these are the people living with people who are living with it. People who have experienced the fuzzy end of the BPD-lollipop.

I’m not saying they’re right to make such sweeping comments as “All borderlines deserve to die”. Absolutely not. But sometimes, when I look at my own behaviour, and the way I automatically want to pass the buck and not take responsibility for what I’m saying/doing, I can understand where they’re coming from.

blackandwhiteBlack & white thinking is integral to BPD and it’s possibly the biggest obstacle we’ll have to overcome because it is so automatic. Until an alternative viewpoint is pointed out, we really don’t see it. We can’t even acknowledge the possibility of there BEING another viewpoint. It’s not our fault, but perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to brush it off as “one of those BPD things”.

Of course, it IS one of those BPD things, but let’s all make the attempt to explain our behaviour, rather than use it make excuses for our behaviour. And sometimes, we don’t even need to explain because explanations are just fancy, complicated excuses, aren’t they?

Sometimes we just need to shut up, put up, and go about like an embarrassed zebra feeling like a penguin in a liquidizer.blackandwhiteexcuses


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