My maternal aunt was on medication for as long as I can remember. For madness. That is what people said, even her relatives. Ni wazimu. She is mad.
When she didn’t take her medications, as she sometimes forgot or refused; she became totally unmanageable. Unkempt, inward focused so sometimes it was hard to reach her, violent, generally unfriendly etc
I remember once she came to visit us and she was off her medications for who knows how long. A friend was also over visiting us. Aunt kicked our friend out in the rudest manner because this friend was ‘sent by the devil to ruin us.’
When I asked for details – I used to speak to auntie as if she was a 100% normal adult even when she was raging with madness. I didn’t know any other way to interact with her. So when I asked her how she know that our friend was devil-sent, auntie explained a few things:
- our friend was fatter than us. Which means our friend had come to eat our food
- our friend laughed too much. Nobody laughs so enthusiastically at our bad jokes without an ulterior motive. and 3
- our friend’s eyes did not seem to get invited to the laughter. Which means she was sitting there plotting how to kill us. While blinding us with fake-laughter.
Most people who knew auntie stopped vising us when they heard she was visiting. Until she left. She could embarrass you. Hit you. Ignore you completely as if you did not exist. You never knew how she would react to your presence. Though she seemed to love us enough to keep “sane” when she visited us.
Except, she ruined our photo albums. She simply scribbled with a pen on all the faces of the people who were the tools of the devil. These were many. In the end, we hid our albums when she visited. She also tore apart our family bible. And other books i the house. You kept your text books hidden when auntie visited. She did not eat food that was prepared when she was not watching. According to her, almost everybody was out to murder her or harm her in some way.
However, though auntie understood that she needed her medication to function normally, the medication changed her. She became lazy when on medication – passive – although she ate more. SO she gained lots of weight. She was a nurse. she could work, but she was slow as a slug when on medication. Off medication, she was more passionate, but unable to deal with people. Unfortunately, on auntie’s worst days, she couldn’t see the difference between a patient and an assassin hired to murder her.
Auntie’s husband, Miriti, was lost. I am not sure what came first, his entire alias of being a lost, neglected man or auntie’s madness. Apparently, as a young man, he used to be one of those tall, stable engineers who was sought after by big companies. He was of course a philanderer who was openly unfaithful to auntie all their lives together. They seemed to be in an agreement to drive each other mad. Till death do them part.
Auntie was determined he would die first. Because if he didn’t die first, he would make sure she died first. Borderline Love, borderline life.
Plus, they had children together. It is unimaginable what this kind of sickness in one’s mother, does to a child. And I will not presume to describe that.
Signs or symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder:
- Difficulty trusting people, which is sometimes accompanied by irrational fear of other people’s intentions.
- Inappropriate, intense anger including inability to control anger
- A lot of mental and physical energy is put into avoiding real or imagined abandonment.
- rapid, shallow intimate (physical or emotional) relationships
- cutting off communication with someone for fear of being abandoned
- Intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones.
- often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization); to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
- A distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self
- Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as:
- spending sprees
- unsafe sex
- substance abuse
- reckless driving
- binge eating.
- Self-harming behavior, such as cutting
- Recurring thoughts of suicide
- Feeling threatened
- Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Feelings of dissociation, such as:
- feeling cut off from oneself
- seeing oneself from outside one’s body, or
- feelings of unreality
Please note: If some of these behaviors occur primarily during a period of elevated mood or energy, they may be signs of a mood disorder — not borderline personality disorder.
Get yourself and your loved ones diagnosed. It is the best path to healing or even living functional lives.
As I was writing this post, I went to read one of my favorite blogs and he had a story almost as true as Borderline Personality Disorder. Go read it!