**The ideas contained in this post are the opinions of the writer and communicated without reference to supporting documentation. The writer also recognizes that BPD is a disorder that affects both males and females, and uses of “she” or “he” in the communication of ideas are not intended to covey sexual bias. Breakaway MHE Disclaimer
My thinking muses include psychology, ecology, environment, culture, society, religion, philosophy, and politics. This article combines some of the ideas I have come across in the aforementioned areas of interest. I also express my tentative conclusions about the nature of people, including their apparent self-destructiveness and fragile existence. I enjoy thinking like an extreme rationalist in articles like these, and so if you find yourself in a mentally/emotionally fragile state or are sensitive to darker subjects, then please consider this your TRIGGER WARNING and stop reading now.
I recognize that it might seem a bit unusual to discuss darker issues like human self-destruction and planetary destruction on a blog about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), but I’m interested in this stuff and believe it may actually contribute to deeper insights about mental health. I’m also interested because – to me – these are matters of truth and reality that when continuously ignored may keep people mentally ill. Therefore, if you want to venture with me into the deeper recesses of human nature and psychology, then come along. That being said, I will state the obvious one more time for good measure: If you find yourself in a mentally/emotionally fragile state or are sensitive to darker subjects, then please consider this your TRIGGER WARNING and stop reading now.
Considering everything I have learned thus far in my field of expertise (psychology/mental health), all things learned from my own experiences enduring severe mental illness (Borderline Personality Disorder) and my ongoing curiosities about potential links to other areas of interest (such as those as noted above), it seems clear to me that most humans are not willing to pay the true price of their existence. And because humans are not willing to pay (nor encouraged by modern society to pay the true price of their existence), they are digging a deeper and deeper hole for themselves. What does this mean?
From the time of my childhood up until now, I have been offered easier ways of living than what would actually be “the true cost of my existence.” I – just like you, no doubt – have been offered housing, heating, electricity, instant long-distance communication, efficient transport and easy ways to gather food, clothing, and other “necessities” (just go to the store and get it). Everyone I know follows the same or similar lifestyle, with some people having more of the same and some people having less of the same.
I suppose I have been “privileged” not to experience what it really feels like to be a human living on an indifferent planet. I’ve never lived without all the added technology that I routinely use to diminish the struggle I would otherwise be required to face. For most of my life, I believed this lifestyle I had grown accustomed to was normal and “the best way/only way to live” and that it could go on indefinitely, or at least until God decided to make it otherwise.
It wasn’t until the last few years (and after learning much about health and psychology) that I realized I haven’t been “living in reality” for most of my life. Learning all I needed to learn about Borderline Personality Disorder informed me that I didn’t understand or appreciate my emotional experience, and likewise, that I didn’t have the slightest clue how to manage my emotions. I realized that my illness experience had much to do with being genetically prone to suffer from mental illness, but also that it had much to do with living in a culture of emotional avoidance – a place where most people don’t know themselves emotionally or how to be in relationships and work through emotions effectively.
Therefore, in addition to being offered ways out of paying the true physical costs of my existence through all the available technology, I was also raised/reared to avoid paying the true emotional costs. In my case, this ultimately resulted in severe mental illness because my undeveloped and intense emotions “hijacked my brain.” And in case you’re wondering what I mean by “hijacked my brain”, I mean to say my inability to notice and regulate my emotions impaired my ability to perceive reality with accuracy and think rationally as needed – this is Borderline Personality Disorder in a nutshell.
Paying the true price of existence, in my opinion, means having no way to exist unless you are fully connected with nature. However, in modern society, we have developed so many comforts and conveniences that we don’t even realize how disconnected with nature we have become. For example in modern society, women have to be taught to breastfeed in hospitals, people learn how to exercise their bodies in gyms, and people have to be taught how to be with their emotions and have healthy conversations by mental health therapists.
**There is always something being marketed to us as an alternative to paying the true price of our existence, including doubt and denial of the need to pay the true price, and most of the time we take it. It is the nature of capitalism to continually convince others to surrender their conscience and hand over their resources, often regardless of the consequences to the individual or the collective.**
In the long run, most people grow up to become completely dependent on the system of comforts and conveniences, as well as the associated doubts and denials that staying dependent on the comforts and conveniences could possibly be harmful. So, in the long-run, living as we do in the modern world, we limit our capacity to develop ourselves physically, but more unfortunately, mentally/emotionally. We stunt our growth, and most of the time without even realizing we are doing it because most everybody else is doing it too.
My firm opinion at this point is that this excessive dependency on comforts and conveniences (and subsequently unknowingly undermining ourselves at every turn) is rooted in the monetary system and requirements of capitalism to keep making money at any cost. We are constantly convinced by all that surrounds us that we need to keep buying products (good marketing tactics?). Even so, most people I know prefer a capitalistic system because of the associated sense of “freedom” it provides, and any discussion of the downsides of capitalism are quickly dismissed. To me, this simply means that humans have mostly chosen to ignore biological realities, and therefore, undermine themselves catastrophically. Is what it is, it seems.
When humans convince themselves to remain dependent on avoiding legitimate struggles, such as facing real emotions and otherwise confronting survival head on, then physical, mental, and relational sickness is ensured. We get sick when we do not fully develop and maintain ourselves as we were meant to be (closely connected with nature). Not only this, but humans will irrationally overindulge and take from the planet more than the planet can handle – anything to avoid facing the truth, even to the point of complete planetary destruction.
When humans do not take full responsibility (pay the true price for their existence) for extended periods of time, they act in ways that are both personally and collectively self-destructive. For instance, we lash out at others thus harming our relationships; we lash out at ourselves and thus harm ourselves; we cover up our pain with drugs and activities that act like drugs (religion?); we buy things that we don’t need; we endlessly entertain ourselves; we build business empires and bank accounts to inflate our egos – just to name a few.
The more we engage in these truth avoidance behaviors that only ever offer us temporary relief, the more completely neglectful to our health we become. We destroy ourselves and most assuredly the planet we live on, all because we have been led to believe that we can continue existing without remaining closely and respectfully connected with nature (both inner and outer). This is a lie and rooted in capitalism (anything to make a buck). Unfortunately, it seems we can’t do anything about the larger patterns of humanity, but with resolve and determination we can take full responsibility for our inner selves and relieve ourselves of disorder and insanity.
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I completely agree! My father pushed against capitalism his whole life. He refused to engage in the buying culture and lived the best he could without comforts. I always found this very difficult and especially as a teenager became indoctrinated into what my peers did which is all capitalism has to offer. I do believe this struggle played a role in my BPD. Finally in my 50's now I am much more content and nature and animals are a big part of my everyday life. Thank you so much for your insights!