4. Constant Fatigue
Fatigue is a common symptom of depression, a mood disorder 71 to 83 percent of people with BPD have. Though folks with BPD will have emotional extremes lasting anywhere from a few hours to a few days, the periods of depression can be emotionally and physically taxing.
“Constant tiredness and fatigue — even if you do nothing or very little all day because your mind is busy processing racing thoughts and constant emotions throughout the entire day. It’s exhausting!” — Rayleena N.
Hypervigilance is a heightened state of arousal that puts someone (usually someone who has lived through trauma) on high alert, even in times of safety. Studies have shown most patients with BPD have lived through trauma, especially in childhood.
“My BPD forces me to be in fight-or-flight mode for things other people find unimportant. This includes someone walking away from me while we are in public, loud noises, kids screaming, people staring at me, someone mentioning the way I eat, someone bringing up things I’m insecure about, etc… These things bring me into a panicked, fight-or-flight mode and it comes out as rage.” — Kayla F.
6. Digestive or Stomach Issues
Stress can affect digestive functioning. According to Harvard, “the gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion. Anger, anxiety, sadness, elation — all of these feelings (and others) can trigger symptoms in the gut.” When you live with a disorder like BPD that is characterized by constantly fluctuating emotions, your gut may respond.
“Definitely a lot of digestive issues related to the stress I feel at agonizing over what people around me are doing and what it means for my relationship with them.” — Kayla B.
“A physical symptom I have is now I have really bad stomach problems. With BPD, your body over-stresses and the acid in your stomach can grow. So I have ulcers.” — Destiny W.
7. Muscle Aches and Pain
Another common physical symptom of stress and anxiety is muscle pain/aches. Many folks with BPD experience high emotional stress due to rapid cycling moods, so this kind of physical symptom may be common.
“For me it’s the physical toll the anxiety takes on your entire body. Aches from muscles being tensed 24/7, fatigue all day every day no matter how much you sleep the night before, heart palpitations, nausea, shaking so hard I can’t even type on my phone. And then even more exhaustion from dealing with meltdowns caused by already being exhausted. It’s an endless loop.” — Kierstyn D.
8. Body Temperature Changes
Emotional stress may also contribute to temperature changes in the body. One study examined how stress may even induce “psychogenic fever,” a high body temperature response to emotional events or chronic stress.
“When the anxiety runs too deep, my body temperature changes to too cold in both feet and hands. The depression episode can last around three days with consequences such as insomnia, exhaustion and excessive eating.” — Ana H.
9. Chest Pain
Chest pain has been linked to common psychiatric conditions like anxiety and depression — diagnoses many people with BPD also have. One study found that chest pain is a psychiatric symptom in up to 25 percent of patients. Chest pain can also be a symptom of panic attacks.
“Constant heaviness in my chest.” — Lisa R.
Though we often think of mental illnesses as only “mental,” your mind is intimately connected to your body. If you live with borderline personality disorder and experience common “mental” BPD symptoms like “splitting,” uncontrollable rage or chronic emptiness, it might be worth talking to your doctor about if any physical symptoms you experience are related to your mental illness. Whatever your experience is, you’re not alone BPD warriors.