One of the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is having a chronic feeling of emptiness, even when you logically know that you have every reason in the world to feel fulfilled. My life could be running smoothly in all areas, yet I always feel like there’s something missing. It’s like a huge hole within me that can never be filled.
When I was younger, I tried many unhealthy things to fill this emptiness and often paid an even greater price with shame and guilt. I overspent, over drank, overate and was irresponsible and reckless. I didn’t realize at the time that I was trying to fill this void and it wasn’t until I had undergone extensive therapy that I gained the insights needed to make positive changes.
You cannot deal with this symptom of BPD with medication. Even with therapy, the feeling itself never goes away. While I am content and satisfied with my life and feel that I am moving more and more towards living the life I want to live, I still struggle with emptiness. How do I cope with these feelings and not engage in unhealthy behaviours?
1. Practice gratitude. I try to keep my eyes and heart open to the goodness in my life and remind myself of all that I need to be thankful for. By consciously doing this all the time, it eases some of the feelings of emptiness.
2. Reaching out to my supports. When I’m feeling lost or lonely, instead of withdrawing and isolating myself, thereby increasing that feeling of being empty, I message or call a friend to remind myself that I’m not alone.
3. Contributing. I try to give back to others when I’m feeling aimless and restless. By helping others I gain a sense of purpose and well-being, knowing that what I’m doing is making a difference in the life of someone else.
My hope is that as I continue on my journey, I will gain even more skills to help me cope with this symptom. If you struggle with chronic feelings of emptiness, know that you are not alone. Therapy can help you deal with the intense emotions that come with this symptom. Talking about it openly is a great first step.
About Wendy Enberg
My name is Wendy Enberg and I live openly with mental illness. I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I reside near Edmonton, AB. I began sharing my story with others as a way to remove stigma and raise awareness and compassion for people living with mental illness. I started with a Facebook page where I posted inspirational messages. This grew into a blog about living with BPD at where I openly share my struggles and my successes. This wasn't enough. In July of 2014, I co-founded a peer support group in my community for people living with mental illness that provides online and weekly support meetings. Our membership continues to grow each day and we are gaining a presence in the mental health community.