Mention the term ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’ and you will most likely be met with horror or fear, but most commonly confusion. A person suffering with Borderline is the black sheep of the mental health family – they have the diagnosis that nobody wants to, or is able to, treat. Frequently passed from pillar to post, often remaining undiagnosed for many years, a lot of Borderlines end up desperately seeking the reasons behind their behaviours, difficult feelings and emotional pain, and often giving up, resulting in self destructive behaviours, or worse, suicide.
After years of struggling, and being offered diagnoses which didn’t quite ‘fit’ I found myself being diagnosed with ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’. Little did I know, finally finding this diagnosis was not the answer to my prayers – in fact it was quite the opposite. I am long past my initial diagnosis but it took me a long time to become acutely aware of how difficult living with condition can be; talking openly about the disorder and the associated symptoms can be awkward and uncomfortable, therefore this blog is my outlet, my story of living in the UK with BPD; the struggles, breakthroughs, warts and all.
I have written about a lot of events that I have been through – covering topics such as self harm, suicide attempts, eating disorders, promiscuity, chaotic relationships, sexuality and much more – however please take care as some of these will contain triggering images (these can be found under the stories of life category). These will always be labelled with a *triggering* label to warn you of triggering content or images. I posted about these events of my life partly in the hope that someone will relate to them, and will understand that the way they are behaving does not make them a bad person – it just means that when making the decision to act in that way, there were not in control of their own emotions, and partly because for one last time, I needed to get them out of myself, so I could truly move on.
I am a late twenties girl, holding down a job which I am passionate about, my own house that I own, in a loving relationship with a man whom I care deeply for and have a beautiful daughter with, and dealing with any residual BPD symptoms as they arise using the skills learned during Dialectal Behaviour Therapy. On a day to day basis, I maintain a safe and healthy routine; I eat well, I exercise, I can feel a full repertoire of appropriate emotions and deal with them accordingly. For the most part I can deal with stressful or traumatic events as they arise, and I am able to reflect deeply on my thoughts, actions and behaviours if I am not happy with the results of an interaction.
All of these skills are skills I never thought would be achievable. I thought I was a lost cause and at one time gave up hope. Throughout the hard times in my life I have been given so many different labels; Borderline Personality Disorder, Clinical Depression, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Bulimia Nervosa, Cyclothymia, Body Dysmorphia, Bi-Polar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder & Seasonal Affective Disorder. A long list, yes, but I have come to realise that I CANNOT and WILL NOT allow any label to define me. I am who I am, or more truthfully, who I want myself and allow myself to be.
My symptoms include (or in the past have included) self harming (to the extent of needing stitches and hospital admissions), suicide attempts ranging from overdosing to suffocation, eating problems and fluctuations in weight, problems with interpersonal relationships with friends, family and partners, confusion over my sexuality and who I am, promiscuity and dangerous impulsive behaviours such as escorting, speeding, spending, drug taking, spoiling for fights, drinking, getting tattoos and piercings. Yet again, I do not allow these behaviours in my past to define my future. I have done many things that I am not proud of, and choose to no longer give them a moments thought. I cannot change them, like many other people cannot change the events of their pasts, so what is the point of dwelling on them?
My main fear and doubt about writing this blog was that it would be found by someone who knows me in ‘real life’ and it could be used against me. That was until I received feedback from those reading, telling me how much reading my experiences has helped them to come to terms with their own. It the grand scheme of things, I decided being able to help people through my honesty and bravery is much more important to me than worrying about what could happen if someone happened to stumble across this blog. If they are not willing to accept me as I am, then they aren’t worth worrying about anyway.
I hope through being open and honest (almost painfully so) in this blog I can help people to see that they are not alone – we all struggle with the same issues, conflicts and emotional disruption but there is always a way to deal with things (most of the time I find through humour is the best way!) and that in the end, with good people surrounding you, life can be worth living – when I am feeling good I make an effort to continue blogging in the hope that people can take some comfort from the fact that there are times when life can be enjoyed.
By the fact that you are here, reading this page, I will assume that you yourself, or someone you love, is currently struggling with the disruption to life caused by BPD. Please do not give up hope. Yes – borderline is a roller-coaster but having a Borderline in your life can be very rewarding – through the nature of the condition Borderlines are deeply passionate and loving people.
There are several therapies which have been specifically designed to treat Borderline, however I do believe that there are many non-Borderlines that could also benefit from the skills taught in these therapies. Both DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy) and MBT (Mentalisation Based Therapy) can be beneficial in helping anyone who struggles with their emotions and behaviour, or even those who simply wish to improve their life and well-being. Feel free to follow my journey into therapy here and here as I begin to learn about myself and how to deal with the challenges that life entails.
I know from experience how hard BPD can make things so please don’t struggle on your own – in you are feeling vulnerable, get some help. I hope that through this blog I am able to make people realise that they are not alone and there are always options open to them.
I like to think that I have now reached a point in my life where I am in control of the way I act, think and feel. Some people say there is ‘no cure’ for Borderline, that you have it for life, but I beg to differ. I no longer self harm, I no longer contemplate suicide, and I no longer have impulses to behave in ways that are damaging to myself and others. I am conscientious, I can both empathise and sympathise with people and I can interact safely and calmly in social situations. It may be the case that I still have Borderline traits but I also believe that 99% of the population show at least some Borderline symptoms, in one way or another. If you want to be controlled and stereotyped by a label, go right ahead, but I for one do not and will not. I am me, and I have come to love the person I am.
There is hope – please don’t forget it. I hope my journey inspires you to be strong – it’s a beautiful day out there, you just need to get yourself out there and see it.
Please note: Images are sourced from google images. These are not my own images and I do not own copyright of them.