It’s no secret I live with mental illnesses. However, out of all five, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) affects me the most. I was diagnosed with BPD about four years ago. Once I received the diagnosis, I studied up on it and did as much research on it as I could. I realized I’ve suffered from BPD since I was three. The symptoms of BPD include: fear of abandonment, a history of unstable relationships, impulsive self-destructing actions, self-harm, disassociation, seeing things as either white or black – no “gray” area, explosive anger, extreme mood swings, and putting people up on a pedestal, then dropping them because they upset you without them knowing, and feeling empty. When I started pre-school, I used to cry the night before school and the morning of, refuse to take off my pajamas, because I wanted to stay with my mom – talk about fear of abandonment! I also noticed a pattern of unstable relationships all throughout my life and self-harm. In addition, I behaved VERY impulsively – some behaviors were dangerous to myself. I just wanted to be “normal”, but I could NOT find the way out.
BPD had taken EVERYTHING from me – stable loving relationships and friendships, control of my behavior, and worst of all, life itself, with multiple suicide attempts. Once I was diagnosed with BPD, it ALL made sense. I could FINALLY begin in the right direction of recovery. I went to my psychiatrist with my newfound diagnosis and he switched up my medications for me and I also sought out a therapist who specialized in treating people with BPD. Finding the right therapist took me YEARS, but, I FINALLY found “the one”. She is funny, kind, non-judgmental, gives GREAT advice, but most of all, does her best to understand who I am – NOT my illness, but ME. Having someone separate my identity from BPD is a refreshing change of view. It’s honestly nice to know that there’s SOMEONE out there rooting for me.
Looking back on my behavior prior to my diagnosis scares me. I was ALWAYS looking for trouble – trying to gain a “badass” reputation and define myself through that, self-harm to the point I landed in the ER multiple times because I would bang my head on the asphalt until I gave myself a concussion, cutting to the point I could not stop the bleeding and had to go to the ER to get stitches, trashing my room, and lying to everyone that I was “fine”, when in reality, I was drowning. I also did and said things to my past partners to make sure the attention was directed on me at all times and it was usually BAD attention. I scared them, pushed them away, fought like animals on a daily basis, and treated the relationship like a light switch – I would break up with them and then, two hours later, call them, and beg them to come back. I am proud to say, for the past four years, I am in a stable relationship. We’ve never “fought” before, just had disagreements here and there. I’ve learned to compromise and reach a fair decision when my partner says “no” to my initial request. I have also stopped behaving impulsively. My suicide attempts? GONE. My self-harm? A thing of the past. In fact, I’ve learned to embrace the scars from my self-harm. I used to be ashamed of them and was looking at plastic surgery to erase them, but I learned to be proud of them – they tell a story. A story of my struggles and when I was on the edge, about to jump.
I am a survivor. I still have my bad days. I still disassociate and feel “empty” and worthless, but on those days, I know how to cope in healthy ways, instead of turning to self-harm or behaving impulsively. I have connected with others who also have BPD and we talk about what symptoms we suffer the most from and share ways we cope. There is such a HUGE network of people who live with BPD and UNDERSTANDS EXACTLY how I feel. It is such a BIG relief knowing that there are people out there who are “like me” and that I am NOT alone because I CANNOT go through this on my own. I NEED help – as much help as I can get. I’m willing to publicly share my experiences with BPD in order to help others who are going through what I went and STILL do. Just because I am “stable” it does not mean I am “cured”. I am in the process of “recovery”, BUT, I KNOW that for the rest of my life, I will struggle with BPD. It is a daily fight – myself (the REAL ME) versus BPD. It’s NOT easy living with BPD, but I am learning how and that’s enough for me.