Notes From A Walkman Junkie: It’s Not You, It’s Me (OK, Maybe It’s You)
Years ago I was employed as a social worker in a facility that I drive past nearly every day — often triggering various memories of my experience with the clients in said facility. The majority of these recollections mainly seem to focus on the clients who were diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder — most likely because they did the most bat-shit crazy/annoying stuff — a quick rundown of the behavior and symptoms often displayed in BPD might shed some light on why: Low self-esteem, impulse behavior, fear of abandonment — which may lead to frantic attempts to hold onto those around you or rejecting others before they can reject you, alternating between intense admiration and hatred for others, frequent overreactions and intense mood swings, having inappropriate anger — often displaying temper tantrums and getting into physical fights, having temporary episodes of feeling suspicious of others without reason, and acting impulsively in self-damaging ways. Basically, there are an ass-ton of symptoms and I’m sure we (I) can check off at least a few (mainly the first, third and last one) that relate to us (me). If one were to create a brief movie montage displaying Borderline behavior, it would probably consist of someone pulling at their own hair while jumping around kicking and hugging people, giving them the skunk-eye — then periodically throwing themselves on the ground and wailing.
My experience with the clients diagnosed as Borderline (a diagnosis they were often disappointed in, longing to be labeled as something with a bit more heft like ‘Paranoid Schizophrenic Barb’ or ‘Sociopath Larry’) ranged from the extreme, like the client who was brought in to us after running out into the street, donning only his flip-flops while holding a broken bottle up to his throat (needless to say, I was never at all jazzed about having to deny this particular client a day pass or let him know that his oven was not very clean) to the less severe, but more aggravating client who often accused the staff of taking swigs off her Milk Of Magnesia (Do you know the street value of that stuff?) as some sort of ‘you will never be regular again’ conspiracy against her. The intensity of the Borderline behavior, as one would expect, only increased when two or more BPD’s faced-off. I can recall several weeks of clients running into the office and screaming/sobbing about “toothpaste, I’ll kill myself, cheese puffs — and stop looking at me”. Once during exercise group, there was an all out battle concerning a hidden wig, you’re trying to kill me, three Tums, I am watching you, and a Ho Ho Cake — to make matters worse, a Paranoid Schizophrenic chimed in listing the eyes inside her television as a perfectly reasonable and viable witness to the accusations.
During these altercations and dramatic displays, I always tried to lay low and not play into it, but I never challenged their (generally empty) threats either — fearing it would end badly like when I was five, playing in a park, and a girl said she could jump off the really tall wooden rainbow thingy — so I said, “go ahead, jump” and much to my horror, she did, and I thought she was dead, but really she just knocked the wind out of herself — still, I do not recommend this tactic. So anyway, I am glad to have my Borderline Personality Disorder dealings behind me as mere seldom and fleeting thoughts — well, just every time I drive past the facility or spot some Tums, Cheese Puffs, Milk Of Magnesium, wigs and Ho Ho Cakes.
Though it is not my typical music fare, I am attaching Madonna’s Borderline as a shout out to all you Borderliners out there (Note: It was not my intention to offend anyone, but if I did, it could be an indication that you may suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder and/or Paranoid Schizophrenia).