Writings from the Borderline: The Beast Within
Updated: Aug 16, 2022
If you are on social media and you have eyes, you will see that there's a huge court case between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard going on right now. When it came to light that Ms. Heard has Borderline Personality Disorder, I felt the need to share this blog post in the public arena.
Earlier in 2022 I made the decision to start writing a blog on Patreon about how I navigate through life as a creative with BPD. My posts are only accessed through subscription. Part of that is because I need to make money off my art. The other more important reason is because I feel awkward sharing all this stuff with the world.
BPD is a dark road to navigate, and it can be embarrassing to share. So, I release my stories to friends who care about me enough to subscribe to my Patreon. The relative privacy of that makes it easier. So why am I aiming my keyboard into the public arena? I think there’s a discussion that needs to happen around the positive potential of BPD because not all of us are villains, so here you are, and here I am. Nice to meet you.
Normally I don't like chiming in on these Hollywood royalty stories, however I think this story is bringing to light some very important conversations that need to be had. Anyone in the public eye only serves as a mirror for the rest of us. The abuse they're exhibiting obviously needs to be brought to the attention of us all for our own reflection.
I'm not saying who I believe, because none of it is my business. I can empathize with both of them. But there is a distinct difference between her and I.
Yes, she plays the role of Mera, Queen of Atlantis. I am Mara (yes it's my given name), and actually considered Queen of Atlantis by many. I only say this because I have been writing novels about Atlantis for decades. Yes, we both have BPD, but there is a huge difference between us. I have high functioning BPD while she has Petulant or histrionic BPD.
She seems to have a need to instigate drama and get attention, whereas I run from drama at the first notion of its arrival. I do that because I have accepted that I am emotionally handicapped, and once my emotions are unleashed, it’s really better for everyone to run.
I’ve spent a large portion of my life running from the beast that lives inside me. Learning that I’ve had a borderline personality has made a lot of sense. Since emotions tend to be a huge weakness of mine, I keep myself as superficially involved as I can with everything and everyone. I thought I had commitment issues, but it goes so much deeper. Commitment issues are simply a symptom of the greater problem.
Avoiding emotional entanglements allows me to operate without developing unreasonable expectations, be triggered or disappointed or even bullied into being someone I’m not. I have a lot of coping mechanisms, and one of my greatest is to live my life in a snarky zippety doo dah manner. I can guarantee you the cheerfulness is sincere.
Some think I blow off adulting, but the truth of the matter is I can’t handle stress at all, so I have to take things lightly, and practice solid boundaries about it. Those close to me have to learn that I live within a bubble, and it’s best not to impose on the bubble lest you risk tangling with the beast. For reference, my friends call me Kamander Dazzle. I call my bubble the Dazzlesphere. But there are those who have seen my alter ego… Kamander Frazzle. And they have lived to tell the tale.
In a way, I have done as much as I can with the tools I have. One of the good aspects of BPD is the gift of profound creativity. I have dedicated my life to creative pursuits, and it’s because I have no other option. Once I decided to focus on creativity I have become somewhat of a savant.
Most importantly I have harnessed what I have naturally, which is an incredibly vivid imagination. Yes, I’m that person who sees the world through a lens of colors and stories. I’ve always been that way. It’s been a strength and a weakness. But the most important thing is that I never allowed the world to change that about me. I have followed a path of my own making, even though it’s been lonely. But I have cultivated a solid relationship with myself, and that’s been a good starting place.
Sure, I haven’t advanced through recognizable life patterns. I think turning 50 has been a rude awakening in the sense that I can’t look back through my life in comparison to societal norms and see any huge milestones of success. I’ve done a lot of unique things and met a lot of interesting people. In fact, ironically, when I operate on a surface level, I can delve pretty deeply into the lives of the people I meet, which feeds my writing. Most writers are on the outside looking in anyway, so I am uniquely suited for the craft.
I’ve learned that I can’t make decisions with my emotions, and yet I am an entirely emotional being. So, in order to avoid making myself sick with stress and anxiety and depression, I have to live a fluid existence outside of schedules and resistance. In a way I’ve been like a traveling monk, wandering the earth like Kane in Kung Fu, as it were.
The first time I learned to identify the BPD was when I watched a comedic TV series on Netflix called “Crazy X Girlfriend.” It’s a story about a young woman with BPD who sees the world through musical acts. All her friends are characters in an ongoing musical around the events of her life. The series has an arc that brings her through the stages of identifying it.
She creates problem after problem among her peers because of the intensity of her emotional dysfunction. Her friends love her vivacious personality and even get involved in her many schemes involving romantic relationships. She reinvents herself often, and even survives a suicide attempt, so the story can get sad. But eventually she gets into therapy and receives the “diagnosis”. From there she has to re-learn how to navigate through emotional landscapes.
I watched it the whole time both identifying with it and cringing. Yeah I used to be like that. And there are people who knew me then who don’t believe that I’ve changed. It’s a source of sadness for me. But life goes on. Towards the end of the series the crazy x girlfriend figures out the music she imagines is actually her gift. Once she realizes she needs to focus on that, she finds happiness at last.
That’s when the whole thing clicked for me, and why I didn’t realize I was dealing with the same issues as she was. I had already found my outlet, and it had saved me a lot of the pain most adults with BPD have to go through. Unfortunately, BPD wasn't identified when I was a kid, so those of us who have made it to adulthood have done so with very few tools.
At one point in life I decided to focus on writing, and that was the best thing I could do for myself. My gift has been to mold the vivid worlds I imagine all the time using wordsmithery. Once I found an official outlet for that, I had found my purpose in life. For that reason I am luckier than most in my position.
Another aspect I identified with in the show is how the many men in the series she had been madly in love with ended up as dear friends who cared for her immensely. I have friends like that. At some point in my haphazard development instead of romantic relationships I focused on friendships. I find that if I can maintain a distance with anyone without the entanglement of emotions and hopes and expectations, I could be the best friend in the world. But incorporate all that emotional mumbo jumbo, and I am not as great of a person all the time. It’s an aspect that I still need a lot of work on. Do I prioritize that? Not really. I focus on my writing which takes up a lot of time. But it also allows me an avenue to depict intense relationships while not having to be directly involved.
At first, I didn’t like the term Borderline Personally Disorder. But I dropped the Disorder part and it made more sense to me. We all have what we have, and to call anything a disorder only implies that you are somehow not able to deal with societal norms. But having a borderline personality means that I live on the borderline of society. Thus the name of my top secret Patreon blog: Writings from the Borderline. That’s just what I am. I’ve always been this way. Again, I am uniquely designed to be a creative writer, always on the outside looking in. Yes, it’s sad sometimes. I’d love to be able to have a relationship. But I can’t deal very well with narcissists, and that is who I usually attract.
I’ve had a lot of experience with narcissists since I seem to attract them. They always follow the same patterns. They belittle, they gaslight, they harangue, they get under your skin. They’re never happy. They can’t accept you. Who you are hurts them constantly. They’re desperate for validation and they have no empathy. They push and push and push until they get a reaction and then they claim they’re the victim. The only defense against them is to run.
I've always thought of Ms. Heard as a classic narcissist. But then it came out that she has histrionic BPD and that makes a lot of sense. It's been said that BPD and Narcissism can be mistaken for one another, and it's because these hard-core versions of BPD share a lot of the same traits. Heard's form of BPD isn't even the worst kind. Imagine that.
But there are signs that are always recognizable. Narcissists gets some sort of twisted pleasure out of hurting those they love. Once that person retreats from their sphere of influence, they seek to control how others perceive them. They depict their escaped prey as the abuser.
I get triggered when I am backed into a corner, blamed and scorned for my actions. Or when someone tries to gaslight me, watch out. I can be defensive to a fault, and if someone comes at me with abuse, that’s when the beast is unleashed. And I wouldn’t wish that horrifying fate on anyone except the most deserving. In fact, it has been tremendously useful in dangerous situations to scare off would-be harassers. It’s a defense mechanism.
But I never use it for offense. That’s not an option for me. Why? Because I have an intact moral compass, complete with empathy for others. I wouldn’t want to hurt people. Even if they hurt me, I do what I can to treat others with respect and kindness, which means running away when the beast comes raging out of its cozy cavern.
It’s best for people close to me to know how to talk to me without triggering the reaction. It’s not that hard actually. It only involves not being abusive. It makes me wonder if Johnny figured out her triggers and tried to avoid them. Or were they unavoidable? Or worse yet, did he poke at her beast? It’s not for me to say because I wasn’t there.
I’ve got a long way to go still, myself. In order to truly tame my beast I have traded relationships for my craft. If I ever want to brave that final frightening frontier, I would need to be with someone who understands, and therapy would be necessary. Other people I know who do the work to tame the BPD have combinations of other chemical imbalances. They’re the lucky ones who can take medications that stem the tide of the dreadful dance. Me, I just continue to search for the means to live my best life, be the best version of myself, be kind to others, and deliver writings to you from my adventures out here on the borderline.
Do you have BPD? Do you know someone with war stories from the borderline? I welcome your comments here! Thanks for dropping in.
If you want to know more about BPD and Narcissism, I highly recommend Dr. Ramani.
If you dare, join me in the Shadows of Atlantis.
And if you're really into the dark tales of the writing process, you're always welcome to join the top secret Patreon page: Writings from the Borderline: A Creative Adventure Blog by Mara Powers
Mara Powers is a rebel of the written word, philosopher, expert on the Myth of Atlantis and world traveler. She has yet to figure out the mysteries of the universe. But when she does, she'll be sure to let you know.