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.
Wow, what a powerful post. What an incredible journey you have had to this point. Your honesty is inspiring. You are brave and strong soul. Bless you for sharing xx
Hugs for you.
You are one hell of a strong woman, Tegan!!!!!!!!!! I love that you are fighting this and doing everything you can to understand and deal with what you are going through. Your little boy is very lucky to have such a strong and determined mother who is doing so much to raise mental health awareness. You should be proud 🙂
I love your attitude of “filling your toolbox” – this is applicable to so many things in life (as is the list of ‘how to suck at life’).
As always, great post.
Tegan, it must have been extremely frustrating going through so much in your life before you found someone who took you seriously. You toughed it out, and are now helping others by making people more aware.
No doubt your son is proud of the mum you are, and in the future will be proud of the person you are. xx
Thank you for sharing your story with us x
I love reading your stories. You make something that is hard to comprehend (as i have not been through it) much easier to understand. This is half the battle of reaching out and improving awareness.
I am so glad for you and Mr4 that you are in a much better place and still moving forward with the right help and assistance.
I think this is the best post you have ever written. Really fantastic. Big hugs. Loved reading it. xx
What a beautiful and inspiring post – you capture so much in your words, pain, suffering, the darkness – but there is also hope and clarity. I think this is one of the things people fail to realise about mental illness, is that it is not black and white and there are varying degrees of people, their situation and how they both suffer and cope. I think that finding your strength because of your son is a remarkable and powerful thing – may you keep finding hope and light in the path you follow and I hope you keep sharing your journey so others can follow your footsteps towards their own peace xx
It takes a special kind of courage to share a difficult story like yours with others. Thank you and bravo! 🙂
This is an amazing post Tegan, I am so proud of you and your honesty and your determination to be the best you can be & be an awesome mama to your son. As you know my mum had BPD and it was tragic to watch her ruin her life and relationships. Well done you! Xxx
PS forgot to say, visiting today from Team IBOT xxx
Holy moly Tegan. What a journey. No wonder you know so much about mental health. You’re the second person I know to have suffered from Bpd. The other person is also a blogger. Thank you for sharing such a raw part of your life with us all.
Tegan it is very brave and honest of you to give us so much of your story in this post. Your blog is about fighting stigmas but every post you write I reckon strengthens yourself on the journey to manage your condition for your own sake and your sons. And love the toolbox concept too.
I love the way you write, you have so much insight into your experiences (even if you don’t think you do!) and you articulate it beautifully xx
I am really glad that you have found a therapist who takes you seriously and is interested in helping you improve your life. I have heard much of your story both in person and on here and some of your stories about particular health professionals is not only disheartening but out right disgusting. I understand that it may be hard to put so much effort into patients and at times feel helpless, but it is when people stop caring, that they can do so much more damage and hinder the progress of help that is being sought.
I really respect the way you put yourself out there in your posts. Being more accepting of yourself and doing your best for your son is so admirable and I hope that your journey only gets better from here
Visiting from IBOT
You really have a knack of being able to say what you want so precisely without dragging it out, you are a great writer T, never never doubt that. My heart hurts a little to hear how tough life can be for you, but also smiles a bit knowing you have your Dyl to keep you striving for your goals, xx
I enjoyed your story, I’ve know since I was young that my brain and emotions were very different of my family and friends and I had suicide attempts throughout my life, still to this day I struggle with bulimia and depression. I was diagnosed with BPD at 37. Finally I’ve been able to get help. Great therapists and using DBT skills or ” my tools”. I am getting better everyday. I have a wonderful patient husband and 2 wonderful step girls that have given me the love and support I needed. Thanks for sharing.
You are awesome for sharing, and giving others an insight into what it’s like. And you are a wonderful mother x
Pingback: Borderline Personality Disorder Myths | Musings of the Misguided
Pingback: BPD Explained - Musings of the Misguided
Pingback: You're so brave - Musings of the Misguided
Thanks for sharing your story Tegan and opening my eyes to the realities of Borderline Personality Disorder.
Thanks so much for sharing such an honest post. I sure it’s hard to write about. Sounds like you have overcome so much and your little one is very blessed to have a mum like you. You are doing an amazing job x
Wow, Tegan! It sounds like you have been through such a bout with the cards this life has handed you but also that you’ve learned so much from your past. I know what it’s like to have an illness that is hard to cope with. I have a severe case of anxiety and I was embarrassed when my grandparents accused me of making it up. I was suicidal for a good two years nonstop and despite it, I grew up to become a better person and I LOVE knowing that you did too! I know it must be hard for you some days but I can see the genuine devoted parent in you and it’s mindblowing. Keep fighting the good fight!
Wow. Thank you, Tegan. This is such a powerful post – perhaps ironically so because it exposes so much. I have no experience of this in my life and I thank you for giving me a little glimpse. Did writing this help, or was it difficult to get it out? Or easy to get it out, but difficult to hit publish? Am curious. x
You honesty and willingness to talk about the challenges of living with mental illness can only be a positive thing for you and many others who will read your story. In a word – inspirational!
I always learn so much here!