Borderline Personality Disorder , Bisexuality, and Suicide

(Because of the high correlation between bisexuality and borderline personality disorder we are continuing to look at some of the traits that we may possess and ways to use these traits to not only survive but to thrive.)

Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity – Depressivity: Thoughts of suicide and suicidal behavior.        

                Black and others[1] in an extensive look at the data about the relationship between BPD, suicides, and suicide attempts, discovered that at least three-quarters of diagnosed BPD patients attempted suicide and approximately ten percent succeeded. The ones at greatest risk were those with previous suicidal behavior, depressive disorder, and substance abuse. They concluded that repeated attempts are not a call for attention but a genuine wish to die. A study my Brodsky and others[2] divided suicide attempts into two categories. Low lethal attempts were a triggered response to minor incidences, and high lethal attempts were more likely due to impulsiveness and comorbidity with major depression. People in the higher risk group made their first attempt at a younger age, responded more to negative social interactions, and demonstrated more aggression, hostility and impulsivity.

                So what can we take for this data? First of all let’s remind ourselves once again that we are looking at traits rather than a full blown pathological disorder. If we are in this category, that means it has not yet descended into major depression and we can still cope with the stressors in life; however, we also have to admit that we are at risk. Three out of every four of us who have allowed our traits to get out of hand have attempted suicide. We have to recognize that one of those traits is to become overwhelmed to the point that we have a tendency to wish to end it all.

                So what should we do about it while we still have the resources to prevent it? Let’s take a look at the three leading triggers: impulsivity, depressive disorder, and substance abuse. First of all impulsivity. The question is – why are we so prone to engage in high risk activity without considering the consequences? Why are we bisexuals willing to risk everything including our relationships with our life-mates and children or even our lives for a few moments of pleasure? Why do we sometimes engage in unsafe sex with people who are practically strangers?  The obvious answer is that we do not value our life and we place no value on ourselves. That pleasure has become all-consuming offering us a few moments way from all our fears and pain.  We are willing to risk everything for an emotional high that can take us out of the stresses of the life we live. We have to somehow change that. We have to begin to see life as a gift. We have to see our bisexuality as a gift.  We have to find a way to get past feeling sorry for ourselves, begin to see the positives, and learn to appreciate the gifts we have and the gifts around us provided my nature and the spirit world of our souls.

                If we do not try to fight it, most of us bisexuals with BPD traits will eventually experience depression. We can fight depression by exchanging hopelessness for hope and helplessness for power. Hope is readily available once we start changing our perspective. When we begin to see ourselves as being capable of loving and being loved, we can then allow others into our lives without fear of abandonment and rejection. We avoid one-night stands and encounters with strangers and find real people to love us so we can in turn love them. These people are out there. All we have to do is make a commitment to go out and find them. We surround ourselves with positive people. We allow positive people to love us. We allow ourselves the sensations of feeling loved.

                The third area is substance abuse. We have to face the fact that our mind is fragile but at the same time powerful. We do not need chemical crutches. We acknowledge that others may be able to enjoy drugs but our brain is predispositioned to be profoundly affected leading to drug abuse and psychological and physical dependence. It is a path that we cannot risk walking. We have to look at our brain as being capable of providing all the highs we need just by breathing and becoming conscious of the beauty and the positive energies around us. We find out what makes us tick; we avoid drugs because we know they will lead to depression and suicide; we accept our bisexuality as one of our greatest sources of pleasure, and  we diligently seek this pleasure in all the right places.

Mt Five Suggestions for Bisexuals with BPD

1. Begin to think positively about your bisexuality. Every time you experience a negative feeling recognize where it is coming from and reject it knowing that these feeling will eventually lead to disorders and suicide. Surround yourself with other bisexuals whom you know care about you.

2. Turn self-loathing into self-love. Get into the practice of stopping and taking a deep breath whenever you recognize self-hate. Go to a mirror, look yourself in the eye, and repeat “I love you” over and over again until you actually feel it. If your self-loathing is associated with your sexuality – stop it. Tell yourself that it is a gift and you have a right to seek pleasure through it.

3. Avoid impulsive behavior. When you first become aware of that negative powerless feeling stop it immediately before it becomes a compulsion. Talk to yourself, telling yourself all the reasons you should not do it. Make a conscious rational decision not to engage.  Give yourself permission to seek out a pleasure activity with a person who loves you or for just some good heart to heart talk.

4. Avoid all drugs. Remember that all drugs are attractive because they promise release from anxiety and a path to pleasure. Acknowledge the pleasure but realize that they are mind altering drugs and that your mind is not capable of dealing with the consequences. Make a conscious decision to love and protect your beautiful mind. If you want a cold beer on a hot day or a glass of wine with a special meal give yourself the pleasure of having it but know your limits and your reactions. Make a commitment to stay within your limitations. In the case of Mary Jane and other drugs, know that these are indeed mind altering drugs and the only reason you are taking them is to alter your mind or enhance your sexual pleasure. Your nervous system under control of your mind can reach all the levels of pleasure you can stand without any help from drugs.

5. If you find yourself slipping out of control, get help. Remind yourself that the path through depression for those of us with BPD will probably lead to suicide attempts and possible death.


[1] Black, Donald W.; Pfohl, Bruce; and Hale, Nancy. Suicidal Behavior in Borderline Personality Disorder: Prevalence, Risk Factors, Prediction, and Prevention. Gilford Press Periodicals. 2005. https://doi.org/10.1521/pedi.18.3.226.35445

[2] Brodsky. Beth S.; Groves, Maria A.; Mann, John J.; and Stanley Barbara. Interpersonal Precipitants and Suicide Attempts in Borderline Personality Disorder. Guilford Press Periodicals. 2006

Two Sides of Heaven – Two Sides of Hell

Lets Leave the science of bisexuality behind for awhile and share the true life story behind my struggles with sexuality. For the next few months, I want to tell my story. This is the first chapter in the biographical novel that I am presently putting together. Comments welcome.

Chapter  1 – Setting the Stage

Growing up on the Canadian Prairies in the 50’s and 60’s, I was aware that society expected people to conform to the rules of normalcy and religion. There was religion in my life but not much normalcy. I was the ninth child but had no father as a role model. My mother was too worn out to take an interest in my life; my eight siblings were all much older than me, so I basically brought myself up.

Counting mon, we were a family of ten living in a two-bedroom six-hundred-square-foot shack. It was a small house with ten cold bodies and ten cold minds, feeding off the heat of the friction of ten fragile egos and ten angry souls. My oldest brother left to work as a teacher in a small Saskatchewan village. That left eight of us still at home. The twins, who worked and helped support the family, had one of the bedrooms. My three brothers who were now teenagers had to share the hide-a-bed in the living room. I shared a bedroom with only one bed with my mother and my two sisters. It was a small bed sleeping between a cold mother and two hot teenaged girls who snuggled for warmth in a cold barren room in a cold barren house. It was a small space for a young child caught between the sheets with those who care and nurture, a lost, cold child who will forever seek to share the same comforting warmth of four like souls in a bed.

Around the age of five my two twin brothers shamed me into moving into the other bedroom with them. I still remember the feeling; it felt so unnatural.  Some of my earliest memories were about being aroused by the sight of my twin brothers’ adult male penises as they dressed for work. It was like I was all alone watching by older brothers live. My young life was like living in a desert. The struggles of desert life lay hidden to those who only view it from a distance. It was dry and lifeless, with all its passion stored under rocks and sand, emotion hidden like serpents in pockets along the trails into the wilderness ready to slither out and strike. My life suffocated under the motion of the wind that dried out the last drops of courage in a blast of hot air aimed to destroy and kill. Naked, burning, isolated, insulated, my life waited for the right moment, to dare to spread my limbs in the hot sun, to make the sap flow up to the surface, so that my own life could begin. There was no self-love. No self-identity of being a boy. No self-identity period.

Living with so many hot-blooded teenagers, I had a sense of sexuality from a very early age. I had an absolute fear of taking my clothes off in the presence of other boys in the change rooms at gym or the swimming pool. I felt like I was a girl trapped in a boys change room trying to hide my sexuality.  I also had an unnatural response to being hugged or touched by older males. It was like I was experiencing a latent sexual response that made be recoil in fear and disgust.

When I look back at my life, I cannot separate the past from the present. All that I am in this moment is seen through the pain of the past. I was young when I took responsibility for raising myself.  I was finger printed when I was five. My next oldest brother, Ivan, six years older than me, that would make him eleven at the time, got together with another guy (I forget his name) the same age who lived down the block from us and they stole a bunch of batteries from a salvage yard. My brother’s friend also had a brother my age, Robert Sinclair, who had become my closest friend. The two mastermind criminals got Robert and me to load up the batteries in our wagons and go sell them back to the same salvage yard. The haul would be seventy-five cents a battery, for a total of three dollars, a fortune at that time. That would provide the funds for thirty movies at ten cents a shot or sixty ice-cream cones from the corner store at five cents a pop.  Needless to say, that plan could only end in disaster. The salvage yard called the police and I wound up in the police station. They carried out a very skilled interrogation by which I spilled the beans and confessed in tears to what had transpired. In order to scare the hell out of me, they took my fingerprints and then called Victor, one of my twin brothers, to come and pick me up. Ivan disappeared for three days before daring to come home.

I was drunk when I was seven. I remember that night as though it was yesterday. There was a party at my house with the young guys and couples letting off some steam. Mom had vacated the premises, and unable to sleep, I was left to navigate the party as best I could. Beer was flowing liberally and I saw my chance. I got a glass from the cupboard and went from brother to brother for a sample. I was soon feeling like I owned the night. I remember jumping on the bed and feeling the bounce like I was floating in air and then coming down again only to rise one more time. My oldest brother, Rene, noticed what was happening and realized I needed some fresh air. He got me on my trusty steed and I pedaled around the community in the night pushing my bike as fast as it would go up and down the streets feeling the rush of the air slipping past my face.

I set my own hours of coming and going when I was eight. I grew into a powerful young man that no one fought with, fearing the cold, latent anger percolating just below the surface. I lived in an impoverished community with single or incapable parents trying to raise large families. One family, the Roblins, had seven boys being raised by an alcoholic father. Two others boys were being raised by tired grandparents because their daughters could not raise them by themselves.  We terrorized the community. But somewhere around the age of eleven I found competitive sport, hockey and baseball, largely because of the guidance of my brother, Vic, who was trying to be the father I never had. He worked in a Sporting Goods store and kept me supplied with sporting equipment. He attended all my games and I set out to make him proud of his baby brother. I made new friends. We golfed together and kept score on how life was progressing. As we moved into our teen years, my old friends got arrested one after another for crimes, ranging from car theft to rape, and eventually armed robbery and murder. It could have been me if I had ever let the smoldering emotions out of the bag.

At the same time I found pleasure in academics and read extensively and wrote my first novel at the age of twelve. I was academically gifted scoring perfect 100% scores in both English and Mathematics on the provincial exams in Saskatchewan during my grade eight year, in preparation for moving on to high school for grade nine. I had an unquenchable desire for perfection. I was a talented athlete in every sport I attempted. I was pretty, sought after as a trophy by the girls. I was the most popular boy in my school not only with the girls but also with those who lived on the outside. I would not allow bullying in my school yard. If I saw someone being picked on I would jump in and defend the one who needed a helping hand. But I did not stop there. I made sure they were included in the workings of the group. When I think about my motivation now, I am sure that it was based on my own feelings of being isolated and alone. By saving them I was saving myself.

As I entered my teen years, I rebelled against the sculpturing of my older siblings. I rejected the masculine brutality, the drive to push myself, my thoughts, and my desires into the fight fought by alpha males. I rejected the anger and coldness aimed at my sisters and mother. I rejected the feminism that manipulated in the guise of weakness. I became a reconciler, a mediator, a seeker of peace, a lover of justice, a poet who watched from the outside, and in the process rejected and ignored the poet on the inside.

As I reached puberty, I realized I was different but didn’t quite know how. I know the day it started. At the age of fifteen, I had the impulse to try on women’s clothes and experienced an erotic arousal. It just happened one day. I was visiting my brother, Ivan, and his wife in Edmonton during the summer holidays after my Grade 9 year. While they were away at work, I decided to try on his wife’s panties and panty hose. It was like another side of me had said to my masculine self to “butt out for a while and let the other me take over”. It was like a dissociative experience but I was totally aware of who I was and what I was doing. As I felt the silk panties slip sensuously over my penis, I had an immediate erection. As I buried my throbbing body into my pillow. I had my first conscious ejaculation. Oh I had ejaculations before, but they had occurred during wet dreams. This was different. It was a masculine moment clad in a feminine identity. That was my first experience in bisexuality. 

I had no one to talk to who could help me understand what was happening to me. As I struggled to figure myself out, the stage was set for a life based on guilt, anger, and shame. It was all so confusing. It was like Loki had played a cruel joke on me and put my female mind into my male body. But that was not the funny part, the real joke was that I was completely comfortable as a male and at the same time completely comfortable as a female. I was bi-gender. It was just a matter of time before my bi-gender would turn to bisexuality.            

                Back in North Battleford in the fall, I went to the all boy’s Catholic college and again excelled in all subjects. Catholic boys went to the college and Catholic girls went to the convent. The wisdom of the priests and nuns determined that it was safer this way. It did not do much for my social life but it sure made a difference academically. I made no attempts to have any relationships with girls in the other high schools but I did not have any desire for sexual contact with boys either. I was able to disguise the feminine side of my identity and not worry about dealing with dating.

                Around this time, I discovered an erotic novel, Last Exit to Brooklyn, that stoked my fantasy life with frequent journeys into masturbation and release. It was like my gay sexual desires were now a part of a fantasy world that was just that, a fantasy world. I looked at the gay world through my limited knowledge of what I thought it meant to be gay. It was just these weird people in the big cities that dressed up as women and went to special bars to solicit sex from men. I did not see my own experience as being any part of that. I was content to live sexually in my fantasy world and devote all my conscious energies to sports and academic excellence.

                It was during that year that I decided to join the priesthood which delighted my mother. She told me I was the seventh son and the seventh son was special; that’s why God had selected me for the priesthood. I informed the priests at the college of my decision and they begin to monitor my school progress. Father Gokarts, the regional recruitment priest, visited me often during those years. Because of my academic excellence, he informed me that I would spend one year at the novitiate in Ottawa and then it would be on to Rome to finish my education. My future was laid out for me. I could relax, forget about my sexuality, and just go with the flow. When I play the game of imagining what life might have been like, I wonder if I would have perhaps lived a life of peace, contentment, and purpose instead of the one that resulted in so much pain. However, looking back, I now realize that this was my attempt to escape the turmoil of my suppressed sexuality. Here I would be close to god and god would protect me from myself and forgive me for my perceived perversion and sin. But it didn’t work out that way. My teenaged sexuality was suppressed and bound to force its way out regardless of what I did to stop it. In desperation I took the six inch metal crucifix that hung above my bed, attached a chain, and wore it around my neck to fend off the evil spirits of my bisexual fantasy life that I seemed powerless to control. Meanwhile I kept the confessional busy.

                One day during one of his visits, I got up the nerve to tell Father Gokarts about my sexual problems. He immediately assumed that I was experimenting with masturbation and assured me that this was not a game-changing problem and that all boys eventually will struggle to come to grips with their sexuality. I accepted what he said lock, stock and barrel but did not tell him about the nature of my sexual fantasies. During these years I experienced deep levels of guilt and shame and suppressed any confusion and pain related to my same-sex fantasies. It never occurred to me that I could be gay. I simply was male. A popular male. I was asexual in all outward aspects of my high school life. I was a man’s man in a boy’s world.

                Between academics and sports I blissfully made my way through high school. We had a terrific sports program at the college, but sports were a weird thing for me. I was highly skilled but I lacked the aggression needed to take it to the next level. I dropped out of junior hockey in my grade twelve year and concentrated on other less aggressive sports.  I represented the district, skipping my high school boys curling team to the provincial finals, and won the Northwest Saskatchewan Junior Golf Championship.     

                As I moved into my grade 12 year, I focused on my studies, sports, and my hopes of becoming a priest and withdrew from genuine relationships. I created a fantasy world with imaginary lovers. Sexual impulses became fantasies of women without souls. This led to fantasies of men without faces. As time went by, all feminine images disappeared, and I was left with the loveless eroticism of faceless men. My self-concept was based on the faceless person I had created. I had no self-esteem, just the unattainable drive to be perfect so that I could feel worthy enough to be loved. I detached myself from the confusion and pain. I had no self-identity; so I continued to stand by and watch myself live. As I grew into a man I lost my way. I wanted to please them all. I wanted to submit, to just let go of my responsibilities and struggles and be taken care of by a man, by the father I never had, or by a woman, the mother who was never there.  My sexuality became just a tool to be used to please, a means to make others love me. My life became a life of pain without tears.

                 Looking back at my childhood now as a mature adult, I think I now understand what was happening to the confused child in me that was becoming a confused young man. I was conceived by a single mother with nine children. After her husband had left her to raise the family by herself, she was lonely and needed comfort and someone to want her so she had an affair. She got pregnant and went through the anxieties of having to nurture another child, her eleventh birth having lost two girls in childhood.  I was born unwanted. I was the evidence of her sorrow and sin.  Following the fearful death of my infant sister, who had been born a few years before me and died a few months before I was born, with no resources, skills, or energy left to give me the essentials of life, my mother raised me loving, but never daring to feel or show love. So I grew up feeling unloved.

                 I was guided by two half-sisters and six half-brothers determined to make me into the man I could not be. Rejecting their scorn, betraying my mentors, I took responsibility for raising myself, growing into a man with no identity, neither male nor female.  I fluctuated in the void. Caring and loving, thinking and absorbing, longing for completion into something, someone, that I could respect and accept, I found only my own failures, and broken relationships, and inadequacies, and unachievable goals. In my fantasies I found masculinity in the arms of soft young women; I found femininity in the strong arms of faceless men, but they could complete me only in the ecstasy of the climax. When the details were consummated, and the lights turned on, I was alone again in my own darkness, incomplete and broken. I had no identity, except the one I had created for himself, forged fearfully in the fires of hell. I had nothing real to face the world in the moment of truth.

Bisexuality, Borderline Personality, and Hopelessness

We are continuing to explore the relationship between borderline personality disorder (BPD) and bisexuality.  I realize that many of you have accepted your sexual orientations and are very comfortable with it. Enjoy. However, research suggests that 30% to 50% of us have BPD issues. So when you meet someone who is struggling with their bisexuality, this may help you understand them better.

Pathological personality traits in negative affectivity – Depressivity: Frequent feelings of being down, miserable, and/or hopeless;

In one study[1] about 83% of patients with BPD also met criteria for major depressive disorder. People with major depression disorder typically have feelings of sadness or guilt whereas depression in people with BPD seems to be associated with feelings of anger, deep shame, loneliness, and emptiness and is often triggered by interpersonal issues.  In the case of bisexuality and BPD, people often put on a positive front when they are with other people from the LGBQT community or with their families but suffer extreme guilt and shame when they are alone with their own inner feelings. This can lead to depression and suicidal behavior.     

This trait from the DSM 5 sounds hopeless doesn’t it? Literally. However at this point it is just a trait and not an impairment. I think it is safe to say that most of us have difficulty with mood swings and when we feel down we usually feel the situation is hopeless. Some of us have learned to control this trait and have learned to take steps to get us out of this mood before it becomes a disorder. I think the terms being down, miserable and hopeless need some further explanation.

Being down is defined as “being in a weaker or worse position, mood, or condition.” Interestingly the dictionary also includes “express strong dislike of a specified person or thing”. First of all, let me say that in the case of those of us  bisexuals with BPD, the down with phrase usually is referring to ourselves and usually because or inability to cope with our sexuality. We are so ready to devalue and blame ourselves for not being able to control our impulses. The second part is also telling. We definitely feel inferior because of our gay or lesbian tendencies so we assume that our sexuality is to blame for everything that goes wrong.  We often overreact by harboring huge amounts of guilt.

Miserable is an entirely different kettle of fish. It refers to being extremely unhappy or uncomfortable. It again is usually based on our sexuality. We often feel small or inadequate. Hopelessis closely related to being miserable. It is a feeling of despair about having these impulses and not being able to control them. We feel inadequate and incompetent in meeting the expectation of being good husbands or wives, or mothers and fathers, resulting in shame or self-loathing. Hopelessness sets in. So what can we do about it?

My Five Suggestions for bisexual borderliners

1. First of all acknowledge that you are a bisexual with this borderline personality trait. You accept it for what it is. It is a predisposition to feelings of being down, being miserable, and hopelessness. Your bisexuality is also part of your genetic predisposition. This is who you are. You can’t change it. You accept it for what it is.

2. You also realize that you are no longer that child. You are an adult in complete control of your emotions and feelings. Your brain, by nature, has a lot of neuroplasticity. You can change your brain patterns by changing your thinking patterns. You can learn to accept your sexual tendencies and make conscious decisions on either exploring and enjoying them or just recognizing these tendencies without acting upon them.  Remember it is always okay to enjoy your sexuality. It is always a choice you can make without guilt and shame.

3. If you have a life partner and children. You have some difficult decisions to make. Make them rationally. Do not let feeling of guilt and shame affect your power to choose what is best for the whole you.

4. Do a self-analysis. Every time you feel down, miserable, or hopeless, because of your bisexuality write it down and look at the situation that brought about these feelings.  Then use your active imagination to go back into that situation and handle it by being in charge emotionally and resolve it with the positive approach and outcome. Then, if possible, go back to the situation and do it right this time.

5. Chart your progress and celebrate your successes. As time goes by you will find that you are getting better at dealing with your feelings. Be patient with yourself. It probably took twenty plus years to develop these patterns so give yourself the right to make mistakes and slip back into old patterns from time to time. Reassess; make amends; and keep on going.


[1] Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault; and Steven Gans, MD . A Guide to When BPD and Depression Occur Together. Verywell Mind. , 2020.  https://www.verywellmind.com/bpd-and-depression-425421