This is a big question, and one that I doubt I’ll have answered by the end of this post. I once heard one aspect of bpd, that of taking on the moods of those around you, described as the chameleon effect. That is such a good way to describe it!! So much of my life is dominated by my mood. I realise that may sound trite – isn’t everyone’s? But for me it feels like so much more, because my mood, the vast majority of the time, very much depends on those around me.

Chameleon meets ladybird…..

This explains why I’m uncomfortable in group situations, why crowds freak me out, why I take it personally a good 95% of the time that Hubby may be in less than sparkling form, why I always hold back when I meet people for the first time – I don’t know what my baseline is, so I’m waiting to see what the other person’s is. Whatever emotion I meet, I reflect back. Sometimes, particularly in groups, that can be completely overwhelming.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. Things have become so much more settled in the last three weeks since I’ve been home, that any time my mood shifts, it’s more noticeable. I have some definite triggers, this isn’t news. But I’m becoming more aware of what circumstances I need to feel well, to feel happy. The big ones? I need my kids, I need to be at home, and I need time alone. Today, I decided to run into town – I had just one stop to make so it was going to be a quick visit. For anyone not familiar with Galway, July is the height of crazy season. Town is thronged. I don’t do crowds, and I especially don’t do crowds on my own. I actually found myself panicking while I was out earlier – the noise and level of movement around me was just too much. I managed (thank you DBT) – I kept reminding myself to breathe, and that I was safe – but I couldn’t wait to get home again. You see, I didn’t know how I felt, and that is so disconcerting.

The relief when I got home was incredible, but my form has been off since. I’m unsettled. I’ve picked on Therapist again as the source of anxiety – the usual will I/won’t I go debate that now accompanies every appointment – but I know that isn’t really it. It’s just me, and what I’ve got, and trying to figure it all out.

I’ve just read back over what I’ve written, and something has occurred to me – I wonder if part of the anxiety around Therapist is because she doesn’t give me anything to reflect back?? She presents me with a blank slate, so I have to be me. And now, in a period of relative stability, there’s no crisis to focus on, so I’ve no choice but to focus on the nub of the issue – who am I? What is it to be me?? It’s a question I can’t answer right now, and I’m not a fan of the unknown. This feels like a bit of a eureka moment.

This article has 6 Comments

    1. Yup, I guess that's why the blog works so well for me, and why I miss it when I can't write. I told Therapist about my revelation and she was thrilled – I was right on the money. For now, the blog will have to replace Therapist as she's away for a few weeks, so let's hope I can keep the insight going!

  1. Congratulations on your revelation. I think you're right about Therapist. You'll have to find out who you are, so that you don't have to reflect back from her or others who you are and what you're really feeling. Great post!

    1. Thanks so much, felt really good to figure out that that's what was going on, especially when she agreed with me when I told her about it. Apparently I'm very good at reflecting back whatever I think she's presenting, so if she's chipper and upbeat when I come in, so am I. As she said, would be very useful if I was her Therapist, but as I'm not……..!

  2. What a great insight about Therapist! I found your description of bpd so interesting…I had no idea of the whole chameleon aspect, but it all makes sense as you describe it. Of course having it make sense is different from learning to manage it and live with it – but it sounds very much like you are doing some really good work in that regard. xx

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