When you live with a mental illness, sometimes learning to live with “weird” triggers is part of the deal. This can be especially true when you live with borderline personality disorder (BPD), a mental illness characterized by emotional instability and difficult interpersonal relationships. But what we don’t always recognize is the triggers we consider “weird” are actually more common than we realize.
Some folks with BPD feel a wave of abandonment when they see a friend “like” someone else’s post but not theirs. Others, due to heightened sensitivity, might fly into a rage when they hear repetitive noises for extended periods of time. Some might encounter a seemingly-pleasant scent that takes them back to a traumatic time in their life they’d rather forget.
We wanted to know what “weird” triggers people with BPD are susceptible to, so we asked our Mighty BPD community to share their experiences with us. Below you can read what they had to say.
Here are the “weird” BPD triggers our community shared with us:
1. Loud or Repetitive Noises
“I have problems with loud noises, especially sudden loud noises. It makes me very jumpy and defensive, and that makes me aggressive because I automatically go into fight mode thinking there’s a threat.” — Sandra S.
“Sounds, someone eating, the clock ticking — any sound that is loud or repetitive causes me to flip out and I can’t help it.” — Micaela A.
“Noise triggers me a lot. I’m talking about noise that repeats itself constantly like rain drops ticking on the balcony fence. Not when it rains heavily, but the last bits that fall off a tree or the balcony from our upper neighbors. Sometimes the fridge makes a weird constant noise for a while. Even when the TV is on, I can hear it. My boyfriend then is like ‘What? I don’t hear anything.’” — Kayleigh B.
2. When Someone Leaves the Room
“When someone simply leaves the room. It’s weird and strange to me because it feels like there’s a disconnect between my thoughts/mind and emotions. I know people don’t just disappear when they leave the room, and I know it does not mean they are rejecting or abandoning me. But after becoming more aware, I realized the agitation, panic or mood shifts that would occur in the moments right afterward. Maybe I’d slam things and not realize I was doing it. Or if I was more vulnerable that day for whatever reason/already having a bad day, I’d maybe even cry and have no idea why.” — Kelyann N.
3. Getting Behind on Chores
“When my house gets dirty. I start spiraling. [I think to myself:] ’I’m a failure at being a homemaker. I’m a failure at work. I’m a bad student. I’m a bad wife. I can’t keep up with basic things. Why do I even try? Just give up.’ Then I wanna do something impulsive or self-medicate to ease the pain. I hate that a dirty house can trigger me this badly. I’m in therapy trying to remedy it in healthier ways.” — Whitney A.