I remember the first time I knew that a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder was on the cards. I was sitting in the waiting room of my small town doctor, my chart on my lap because there was no computer system yet. Curiosity got the better of me and I flicked through the pages. Nestled in the back was a letter from the psychologist I was seeing at the time, in bold letters was the word Borderline Personality Disorder. I was confused, on the borderline of what? I committed the term to memory so that I could look it up on the internet when I got home.
I didn’t like what I saw, the check list of symptoms read like a list of ‘how to suck at life’. I knew that I ticked most of those boxes and I was ashamed. I was 15 at the time but a definite diagnosis was not made until I was 18. Doctors decided that I had, had enough time to grow into my personality and this was how it was going to be for the rest of my life.
I sought out support in online forums, losing myself in an online world. All around me my life was falling to pieces. I dropped out of university, I was living with my grandmother and spending most of my days in bed. My GP told me that I was a 9 year old trapped in an adults body. I was horrified at the time, unable to process the comment. Looking back now, it’s true.
I was on a destructive path. A suicide attempt lead to my mother moving with me to a larger center with more mental health services. It didn’t matter, I was hell bent on destroying myself. I was reckless and failed to see the consequences. After ending up in jail for 2 months, my mother moved back to our hometown. I stayed in the city and moved into single’s accommodation for women. I had everything I wanted, I lived in a large town where nobody knew me.
I didn’t know what to do with my thoughts. They were all consuming, every emotion felt like a thousand knives were piercing my skin. I didn’t know how to express my feelings. I lashed out at anyone who tried to help me. I was like a stubborn child. The professionals who were supposed to help me wrote me off as an attention seeker. Therapy was stopped after another suicide attempt and I found myself floating through a system that seemed hell bent on keeping me unwell.
Having Borderline makes making and maintaining relationships difficult. I find myself going between loving a person more than anything and hating them with everything in my being. I often turn people off without a second thought to repair the relationship. I find myself in screaming matches with people that I love, feeling a rage that is so all consuming that I worry that my veins will burst through my skin. I turn into the hulk and it takes me days to calm down.
For years I turned to self harm to help fight the feelings. I self harmed to make me feel and to stop feeling too much. Each time I cut it had to be deeper than the last time. I didn’t want to die, I just wanted to destroy myself, to punish myself for the perceived wrongs that I had committed.
Now I have a child to consider. He is counting on me to be there, and he is the reason that I looked into better therapy. I let my moods and my coping skills get a lot worse again before I admitted I needed help. I had put on a mask, hidden behind a wall and didn’t let my feelings out anymore. I was afraid that I would lose my son. The mask was so good that my current psychologist was skeptical that I had Borderline at all.
I have recently completed a course of Dialectal Behavioural Therapy (DBT) and found it immensely helpful. It was a relief to have someone take me seriously, who saw that I was someone worthy of treatment and had the time to spend working on my issues.
I’m a different person to when I first received the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. I still struggle to express my feelings, and to interpret others intentions but I am making progress. I still catch myself wandering down the destructive path, but I know that I have so much more to live for. I still feel like I’m walking around with no skin, taking in every slight, every glance, every word but I am getting better at processing the thoughts.
Borderline may be something that I will always struggle with but I am happy that I am filling my toolbox so the good days begin to outweigh the bad.
This was first posted on The Mindset Effect and I urge you to check it out. It is a wealth of information.
Linking up with Jess for IBOT.