February 18, 2016

I always try to be honest about my mental health. My close friends, family and those who read my blog and Twitter feed are aware of my condition, along with my good days and bad ones too. It’s not an easy conversation to have, but it usually goes one of two ways;

Me: “I’ve got something called borderline personality disorder.”

Them: “Oh! ...what’s that, then?”

Those conversations are always interesting. I tell them that before my diagnosis with borderline personality disorder - or BPD for short - I was given a diagnosis of depression and anxiety at the young age of 13. I never really opened up about it to others, as I already had a reputation at school for being ‘the weird girl with the cuts on her arms’, I didn’t think anyone my age would understand my constant battles with low moods and zero self-esteem. After my dad passed away in 2006, it almost felt like I finally had an excuse to be open about my feelings. The trouble was, I’d got so used to hiding how I was really feeling, that even in the grips of grief I still insisted that I was fine.

I knew I needed to be more honest, including with myself 

Between the ages of 16 and 23, I had to deal with trauma after trauma. I did start to open up more after a breakdown meant that I had to start being honest with myself as much as anyone else. But even after recovering and getting back to everyday life, the battle wasn’t over. Difficult relationships, problems at university and work due to my deteriorating mental wellbeing, lost friendships and culminating in the death of my mom - I dropped into the darkest place I had ever been emotionally and psychologically. After a few volatile months, my fiance made it clear that I needed more help beyond just what I had accepted for my ‘depression’.

I tell curious people that I was diagnosed with BPD after spilling my life story to a psychiatrist, where he came to a diagnosis within twenty minutes of my rabbiting on. When he told me, I sighed with relief. I wasn’t a bad person after all, I was ill. However, not all people see BPD that way.

Me: “I’ve got something called borderline personality disorder.”

Them: “...oh. Seriously? …”

There are some people that already have an idea of what individuals with BPD are like. They might have been exposed to negative representations in the media, or maybe they’ve known someone with BPD who they don’t have great memories of. I get that, I do. But to assume that every person with BPD is the same - it’s not fair. It’s because of that attitude that my diagnosis went from being a positive step to a very negative label slapped on my forehead.

When I'm at my worst, the thing I need most is acceptance

The fact of the matter is, I can be a difficult person. I am have trouble regulating my moods, I have the emotional intensity of a toddler, I can obsess over the smallest thing that someone said to me five years ago over a coffee - my emotional memory is excellent, both a blessing and a curse - and I can flip between loving and hating someone in a heartbeat. When I’m in a very dark place with my BPD, I display some very ugly traits. I will lie, I’ll manipulate, I will do whatever it takes to feel better and that sometimes involves doing some very destructive things. But when I’m at my worst, that’s when I need the most love and acceptance to help me out of that place. Because really, that’s all anyone with BPD wants, to be loved and accepted for who we are.

Since my diagnosis, I have blogged about my life with BPD. I also share my day-to-day life on Twitter with everyone who takes the time to read what I have to say. I’ve decided that with such little positive representation for this disorder that it’s time someone spoke out and showed the world that BPD is not the worst thing in the world. And if I can be open, maybe it’s a start for others out there.

I have borderline personality disorder, and I have nothing to hide.

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