The Splitting Fawn: ‘I hate me—don’t leave me!’

If you are familiar with my non-fiction work, then it is likely that you are aware of my struggle with borderline personality disorder. For those unfamiliar, borderline is my Achilles’ heel. When I was fifteen, I endured some trauma, and I believe it was this trauma that caused my BPD. In my essay, How Borderline Personality Disorder Manifests In Me, I wrote…

I am not sure if there is much to this scientifically, but I swear I remember the day the BPD emerged. I was walking to school (probably listening to Marilyn Manson). It was a beautiful Sunny Autumn day. But I felt somehow different. I still had not yet acknowledged that I was being raped and abused. However, I had become aware of just how worthless I was feeling. As of that day, the seed of the belief that I am unloveable had sprouted.”

BPD is a mental health disorder, specifically a personality disorder, rather than a mood disorder. While people with borderline can, and typically do, experience extreme mood swings, these mood swings are not the root of the disorder, the way they are with a mood disorder such as bipolar. Rather, quick-changing moods are a symptom of borderline.

Sufferers of borderline struggle, not with a chemical imbalance, but with their cognition. Their perception of both themselves and the world are easily distorted. Perhaps the most common symptom of borderline is an intense fear of abandonment—or at least this is the case in my personal struggle with BPD. Another is to lack a sense of self, to not know who you really are. But the symptom I want to focus on today is ‘splitting’.

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The Haunting of the Flapper

The speakeasy roared with jazz; the blasting of brass instruments filled the ears of the people on the dance floor. And for Charlotte, they filled the hole in her soul as well. She was out for a night of drinking with her boyfriend, John, and she was ready to, once again, forget her troubles. Yes, the flapper was ready to let the music and the spirits and the cocaine numb her.

And afterward, during the early hours of the morning, when the party had finally died down, her and John would polish the night off with some wild sex. This might simply mean a night of rope play—or, if Charlotte and John were lucky, it might mean bringing another girl home with them—or, if they were really lucky, another couple girls. The most they had ever managed was two, but both Charlotte and John wanted to try for three. They wanted to test the limit, see how many ladies they could pick up at once. (Much to Charlotte’s dismay however, John was completely opposed to the notion of bringing home another man.)

John, who had gone off to fetch their drinks, returned. He passed Charlotte a gin on the rocks, her favourite. As for himself, he was drinking a Bee’s Knees—a very popular gin beverage, one with lemon, and of course, honey, hence the name. Charlotte, however, preferred her gin straight.

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Mother, Maiden, Crone: A New Perspective On Ageing

They do surgery in the Capitol, to make people appear younger and thinner. In District 12, looking old is something of an achievement since so many people die early. You see an elderly person, you want to congratulate them on their longevity, ask the secret of their survival. A plump person is envied because they aren’t scraping by like the majority of us. But here it is different. Wrinkles aren’t desirable. A round belly isn’t a sign of success.”

Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

In our first-world culture, we equate youth with health and beauty, and we see youth as something that ought to be preserved, at all costs. Likewise, we see age as something that ought to be avoided. Women especially are encouraged to avoid ageing, for not only are we seen as less beautiful as we age, but society also tells us that the very thing we are most valuable for is our beauty, not our creativity, intelligence or strength of character. No, if you identify as a woman, forget all that, for it will not matter if you are not beautiful.

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