Mood Swings – Criteria 6 / Instability of mood

Criteria 6: affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).

Duh. That’s really all I want to say to this one but that wouldn’t be very informative now would it. The important thing here is to understand WHY the moods of a borderline are so unstable. The problem is, it’s going to be different for everyone so I’ll just have to stick with why they’re so difficult for me.
I’m major depressive so my base set mood is mildly depressed. The best I can hope for on an average day is to just feel nothing; not happy, not sad, just a sort of blankness that doesn’t swing me in either direction. Of course it’s wonderful to feel happy. Merely talking to a friend, connecting with a loved one, will do this. This feeling rarely stays though because eventually people have to have their own lives or return to work. Resume normal everyday behavior. But to me it’s like I lose my hold, my connection to them. Having been happy while talking to them, now I slip from being happy to being left with only the thoughts in my own head and not knowing when I’ll be able to have that connection again; alone. I slip from happy, to alone, empty, spiraling down. In the space that was filled with that connection to a loved one, I’m now left with a hollow void where they’re gone and my thoughts can race and ruminate. This bleeds back to being alone, abandoned. It’s not rational, but it feels like something that was there is now gone. Being a thinking creature I can’t know for sure when it will be back. That uncertainty is maddening.
Anxiety is a big one. The smallest things seem to set me off, spike my anxiety and it feels like my world will crash in on itself. Especially if it’s something I’ve planned just so. I try to arrange things to bring about the most comfortable, stable environment for me. Calm. To feel secure in my surroundings I plan every detail to create the perfect scenerio. That house of comfort is built on a foundation of cards that even the smallest suggestion of change adds a weight, a pressure to, that can send it toppling to the ground. I have an incredibly difficult time getting through the fact that any change will not rock my foundation and will not wreak havoc on my plans because it feels like it does.
Lack of control of my environment means a lack of control of myself, my life. If I can’t even control my own life than what control can I possibly have in an ever changing world.
When a change attacks my plans it’s like an attack on my character. My plans weren’t good enough, that they had to be changed, an attack on me, my judgement when someone suggests I do something differently. They don’t want to accept my idea and therefore don’t accept me by extension. Of course this is not true, but that’s how it feels. Understanding how to make the emotional connection to the logical occurrence of this being not true is what’s difficult. For me there is a complete disconnect between what I logically know to be true and what I feel, if I feel at all.

Disappointment. I read disappointment into your reaction/suggestion because you wanted more than I thought to provide which translates to disappointment in myself because I couldn’t guess what it was that you would have wanted best. Or worse, that you don’t want what I want and I begin to fear that this one instance extends into the entire friendship, relationship, etc. What I’ve done isn’t good enough, I wasn’t good enough, it’s only a matter of time before you realize I’ll never be perfect and you’ll seek company elsewhere. Leave…  

On the other hand, if things go well, if I can do something that makes someone happy this also validates who I am. That I am someone good and worthy of being loved or cared for. If I can do something to show I care, and it’s appreciated, I can physically represent that I am an important aspect of someone’s life. Knowing this, in the moment, it’s euphoric. My simply being there isn’t enough, I must be able to SHOW it. If I can’t show it, how could they SEE it. I have a very difficult time believing that if I’m not immediately in someone’s presence that they can remember the care I hold for them (more on this later). Contrariwise, if it’s something I do isn’t appreciated I’m left with

8 comments on “Mood Swings – Criteria 6 / Instability of mood

  1. Damn, I just wrote a long thing and accidentally deleted it. It's things like this that piss me off. haha.Anyway, WOW, everything you have written here is, from what I can tell so far, identical to me. From the way you presented yourself on SW, I for some reason wasn't expecting to read that you deal with anxiety too. I think I mistook dissociation for some kind of defence mechanism that might have made you immune to it to a degree, but that just goes to show what I know, and how complex it is.The depression, the anixety over unexpected change, the dissapointment at people not visibly appreciating what I do, feeling like I'm being a bad friend, etc etc etc.I also have this crazy thing where I get attached to everything, unless something is so hideously offensive to me, I form a sense of attachment to things, inanimate and animate, that are often only appreciated fully (or too MUCH) by me when I have to part from them. Sometimes, I'd have little care for the object, but when it's forcibly and unexpectedly taken from me, I sometimes turn into a sentimental or angry mess. It's very childish. Preparation for change is key. (I'm not saying this happens always of course, there are always exceptions, times when I drown out the abandonment with a relatively numb response – perhaps that's when the emotions will resurface later, as they so often do).I feel this is in stark contrast to the socios who talk about always being prepared for change and feeling barely anything but a nice rush in response. As much as I can rationalise in this way too, say in human relationships, I can't deny there are emotions of attachment involved, although I never can know exactly what will create a strong reaction from me and what will not. I just know that I don't like goodbyes. I think I'm getting a bit better with these now, rationally speaking, but emotionally, they leave me hollow and feeling rejected on occasion. For me, it seems like an emotion lingers for ages, and yet can stop dead in its tracks and head in the opposite direction in an instant too. lol, inconsistent? yes. But perhaps I'm predictable too – I can't always tell.I think what i'm describing are normal, empath emotions, the only real, huge difference, is the strength of these emotions, and the anxiety and the neurosis to boot. The emotional extremes, with a no-mans land of itchy, zombifying, aimless blankness in the middle. That's possibly how I'd sum up my experience. Back to control, even when I'm in control, relatively speaking, of a situation or a relationship, I'm still dealing with empathy, which I find infiltrates my mind and makes me feel sad for someone I've hurt or neglected. So, I'm never fully ruling over my emotions, (which to get emotional about it), is a melancholic thought.The best I can do is adapt my surroundings to minimise or maximise (depending on my mood, lol), emotional and psychological impact. This isn't always understood by others however, which just adds to the burden, since I crave to be understood and accepted as I am. There's much more I can say, but that'll be it for now. Thanks HavenNyx. 🙂

  2. Oh wow. Thank you so much for taking the time to write. A lot of things you mention I plan to write more about later. Attachment to things, especially people, is a major issue of mine. Like, I’ll only eat food with certain silverware I had in college when I lived with my sister. My attachment to people is intense or non-existent. My dissociation comes and goes but it doesn’t stop me from feeling, however it does make it almost impossible for me to hold onto feelings after I’ve had them so I’m an anxietal mess when it feels like someone I thought I was connected to is no longer there. My anxiety is one of the things that cripples me most and it’s almost a physical feeling gripping my heart or pulling my stomach in knots. Trying to maintain my calm and fight this constant feeling I think is one of the reasons my dissociation has become so prominent, except now it’s almost an infinite loop falling back on itself and causing me more problems. I almost envy you the ability to have emotions that linger, mine almost never do. If I don’t have near constant reassurance that they were there I detach from them completely and I can never really tell if they were real in the first place =/. I absolutely agree that preparation for change is key. Unfortunately it’s relaying to other people that I need this, WHY I need this, that most don’t understand, or more often than not, forget. Since no one but me as hyper-vigilant about every detail of my day, and my mind spins off onto every possible tangent that an action could take, it becomes overwhelming and I can become stuck. Or anxious preparing for potential outcomes that never actually come to be. I think you’re right in assessing that it’s a stark contrast. I’m definitely trying to get better about change, but it’s almost never something that I look forward to if it’s not something I’m prepared for. Don’t even get me started on neglecting the emotional needs of others… Though trust me, I’ll go on about this eventually. Figuring out how to adapt is very important. Evolution of our own mentalities.

  3. Don't get me wrong, the emotions can linger, but then, so does my need for that thing, that person once they're gone. So, it's a pain still. In general, I do have the capacity to drop obsessions too, and move on to a new one. But, say if I fall in love really hard, that stays for a very long time, and so it should I feel. I don't know what you think, but I do think anxiety and neurosis is really at the heart of it (BPD), which then becomes depression. I do wonder if I should be on anti-anxiety pills rather than anti-depressants, (although apparently the latter helps anxiety too, hmm). For years, I was depressed, but for some odd reason, perhaps the ever-turning nature of my brain and obsessive thoughts, somehow I was distracted from the realisation that it was depression. I unconciously assimilated it, it was a part of me, of my up and down emotional nature. It was only when I became unbearably sick (malnutrition didn't help), that I wanted to stop the pain through suicide (bear in mind, I didn't want to die, I just wanted to stop the mental and physical pain). That was the first time I went to the doctor and acknowledged my brain chemistry was in need of dire help. Ironically, they refused to give me any on account that it would not offer instant relief for me, and instead suggested therapy. Long, long story short, here I am – that was about two years ago, and it was only this year that I hauled my arse over to the pychiatrist and got a diagnosis. I'd never heard of BPD till this year. I think that had I known earlier, it would have put my behaviours in perspective. But, alas, hindsight's a nice thing, and perhaps denial or bad self-awareness is part of the course with PDs. I don't know about you, but I like sociopathworld since it shows me how the opposite live. I think I can learn a lot about myself, and I think I have. It's interesting anyhow.Do you ever feel like you live in a sort of mental or emotional bubble? I do. And every so often something happens, or someone says something and the bubble is momentarily and uncomfortably burst. But, it comes back again once the impact of it subsides. It's kinda weird.I'll stop rambling now. lol, i probably should start my own blog since i'm making this all about me. hehe. Anyway, hope you're doing good today.Btw, I totally understand the taking it one day at a time thing. That's pretty much how I live. My therapist said I need to start making longer-term plans, create a structure in order to motivate me. Curious thought….haha. sorry, this message is probably veeeeeerryy long. Ciao for now 🙂

  4. just need to fix a couple of things. I was talking about getting anti-depressants when I went to the doctor. (I neglected to mention that so the sentence didn't make full sense).And also, I got a diagnose last year not this year – lol, i forgot we're in 2011!

  5. @notme… I empathize a lot. I was only officially diagnosed within the last year but I had known of BPD for a long time and was fairly certain it fit me because it did explain so much. A bubble? Hm, I'm not sure I've ever thought of it that way. For me it's always a sense of seperateness, being removed from the crowd with only a hollow center to fall in on.If you ever get the chance though I'd love to hear you comments on previous posts.

  6. Yeah, as I said, last year was the first time I learnt about PDs altogether. No one had ever mentioned it to me, though I wish they had. Typically, we can go to doctors etc. for various health conditions that stem from the PD, without realising it's the PD that we need to firstly look at. I discovered BPD on the net myself, started crying at how much it described me (I'd say, at least 80% of it). Showed my mum, and she agreed (bless her). Then got diagnosed. I'd love to look through all your posts and I will eventually. It's a lot more intense for me here than it is on SW, since here it's very close to home. But it's very nice to see your experiences and see the connections and differences between our respective experiences. Plus, your blog backdrop is so cosy and inviting! I've also sussed out how to scroll quickly, so ignore my comment about that. 🙂 Bye for now.

  7. For me it was a mini-epiphany moment of , huh, well that explains that. I was never upset or shaken by it. I was almost grateful that there was a name for it because that gave me hope that there was a 'cure' or at least a direction to find help. It really helps me and makes me feel less alone knowing that there are people out there that really understand the things I'm putting out there in my blog. Thank you =)

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