The first time I ever heard of the term borderline personality disorder (BPD), I was 14 years old. I had been sent to a therapist who had me fill out what felt like a never-ending slew of tests, psychological exams, and whatnot. Based on the results, I was diagnosed with BPD, as well as having co-occurring disorders of depression and anxiety.
Since I was a teenager, the diagnosis was subsequently ignored (adolescent hormones) and I was only treated for depression and anxiety. The experiences, medications, trials and errors I went through during the times that followed are a long story that I’ll venture into at a later date, but let me just say that it wasn’t until I was 26 years old, over a decade later, when I finally began to realize how correct that initial diagnosis was and was able to venture into understanding what it entails.
I think one of the things people with borderline personality disorder desire the most is to be understood by others, especially our loved ones. I have definitely felt this way, time and time again, and for the longest while, I couldn’t even fathom how the people around me couldn’t at all relate to my reactions to certain situations and the emotions I was feeling and trying to express.
So anyway, for my own benefit, I want to answer the question:
What is borderline personality disorder?
I have read countless articles and books, but Mayoclinic gives a pretty solid explanation of what it is to live with the BPD diagnosis:
“Borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life. It includes a pattern of unstable intense relationships, distorted self-image, extreme emotions and impulsiveness.
With borderline personality disorder, you have an intense fear of abandonment or instability, and you may have difficulty tolerating being alone. Yet inappropriate anger, impulsiveness and frequent mood swings may push others away, even though you want to have loving and lasting relationships.”
It’s a difficult disorder/concept for others to grasp and I can both acknowledge and understand why, because, until recently, I could barely understand it myself. I often wish I could go back in time, look at my ruined friendships+/relationships and explain myself to those people, apologize for being difficult and challenging, and ask for their patience and understanding, or even just for their forgiveness.
I’d like to go more in detail about the “symptoms” and whatnot for BPD, but I’ve found in writing about it right now, that it’s all just a bit too triggering for me. So, another day, then.
To end, some words I wrote in a journal a while back:
I am not defined by my disorder. I am not my thoughts. I am not my emotions. The pain is momentary, and will always pass. I am stronger than my delusions, stronger than my past, stronger than my judgements. I will heal. It will be okay. I will love myself.