To give you guys a bit more insight into the kind of music I’m into, I figured I’d put together a playlist of songs that describe my experience of certain aspects of living with a PD. Some emo bangers, some folk-type stuff. There’s a potential trigger warning on all of these songs, of course, because even though they’re not all inherently sad there may be themes of self injury.
“I like to tell you that I’m ready for whatever’s coming, but to be honest there’s a part of me that loses control.”
Taken from their 2010 album, My Dinosaur Life, this pop-punk classic has themes of relapse, recovery, and hope. It’s an honest look at coming back from a terrible place, and although outwardly you may look recovered, inside there is still that part of you that loses control.
“One thing. It only takes that one thing. One thing, and everything is torn and ripped.”
One Thing describes my experience of living with emotional instability. For me, it can be the smallest thing. No response to a text. Saying goodbye to my partner, but no hug. What would be minuscule to a neurotypical person stings far more because my of PD. I’ve seen people with BPD often described as though we’re missing a layer of skin, so everything touches the bare nerve. An emotional burn victim, if you will, with my sensitivity turned all the way up.
Even though your words hurt the most, I still wanna hear them every day.
Yes, I know agape means a kind of ‘godly love’. No, I do not believe in a god. However, I do feel that the underlying emotion of this song links to what it’s like to have a favourite person. If you haven’t heard of what a favourite person is before, Juliette Virzi wrote an excellent article detailing how an FP differs from a best friend. This is how I feel about my favourite person, although I had to cut off contact with them in the end because they were like an addiction.
4. Bad Habit – The Dresden Dolls (TW: self-harm)
Even if I quit, there’s not a chance in hell I’d stop.
Amanda Palmer is my queen. Bad Habit was one of the first Dresden Dolls songs I heard, and I was captivated. Though I have read/heard in interviews that this song is actually about nail biting, it bears an awful lot of similarities in how I feel about self-harm, which has been a part of my life for the past eight years.
Some things you do just to see how bad they make you feel.
This is a song I haven’t known for long, so it doesn’t carry as much of a story to it as the others. You know when you’ve known a song for a while and the moment you hear it, it forces a memory into your brain-eyeballs? Yeah, there are a couple of those in this list. Anyway, as soon as I heard this, the opening line encapsulated why I did certain behaviours when I was young(er) and stupid(er).
This place has taken all my self esteem.
My angsty song. For when I’m scared, and angry, and need to get out of a place.
I know I was lost, but I miss those days.
This is a song that makes me nostalgic for the days before meds and therapy. Before I had dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), I was a complete mess. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a mess, but it’s more manageable now. Before DBT it was as if I was trying to clean up 6 pints of spilt milk with a single bog roll. Now I have that super-absorbent, fancy ‘One sheet does Plenty’ kitchen roll. I haven’t quite reached the level of having a mop yet but I’m getting there. Anyway, this song makes me nostalgic for the full spectrum of human emotion I had before I started medication. As much as I feel my moods are stunted now, it does mean my impulsive behaviours and suicidal tendencies have lessened because I’m not feeling the depression so harshly.
The problem with showing your lover your scars is that everybody’s lover is covered in scars.
Plain Sailing Weather is one of those songs that forces a memory into my head. I don’t want it to be there, but it’s dancing across my retinas even though I’m years away from it. Still, the opening line rings true: Give me one fine day of plain sailing weather and I can fuck up anything. I do feel like a chronic fuck-up. Logically, I have to practice being kind to myself, but my default settings are on self-destruct. Therapy has helped somewhat, however I don’t think I will ever be cured. Treated. Managed. But not cured.
Stay a while and maybe then you’ll see a different side of me.
Sometimes I’ll remember the days when people called me psycho, or paranoid. Finding this song gave me something to sing loudly (either in my head or out loud) to drown out the memories of those idiots. I’m not crazy. I’m unwell.
10. Misery – Creeper
If you could see the wreck I am these days, you’d have new reasons to stay away.
This is the most recent addition to my list of BPD songs. It resonates with my little emo self from eight years ago when I started showing symptoms of having BPD. Obviously they don’t normally diagnose thirteen year olds with personality disorders, because your personality is going through massive changes anyway as you go through puberty. As an adult, this is the song for when I’m wallowing in self pity. This is my ‘I am completely fucking worthless but I need you’ song. Just hold my hand for a little while. Misery never goes out of style.
If you’ve read until the end, thank you! I do appreciate that. Hopefully you’ve found some new music to add to your own playlists, or you’ve found bands to steer clear of for the rest of eternity. Either of those is fine!
Until next time!