Erin, December 10, 2019

People hear the words “personality disorder” and presume the worst of the worst or don’t  know how to react.

Since about the age of 10 I’ve had depression and depressive episodes, I always knew there was something else to it, but only a few months ago I got diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This was also the first time in my 23 years of living I had even heard of this disorder.

People hear the words “personality disorder” and presume the worst of the worst or don’t know how to react, this makes it extremely difficult for people like myself to open up, even to friends and family.

BPD has many traits that are associated with it including extreme emotions, self harm, poor self image and impulsivity. The two traits I’d suffer with the most is the constant fear of abandonment and extreme emotions. When I love, I love with all my heart, I care so much I could explode and when things are good, I’m on cloud nine. It’s almost euphoric.

But with these extreme highs comes the extreme lows, which can last for hours to days. When the people I love and care for are hurting, I hurt. There could be days where I feel so low, my whole body aches. I’m in the pits of despair.

Because I feel so intensely, I feel your pain too. My empathy can overtake my own emotions. I love with all my heart and want to protect people from sadness. This isn’t the most helpful because life is life and life involves hurt. I cannot take away pain, but I am learning I can help others without taking on all the pain myself.

The fear of abandonment and being alone terrifies me to a point where I test people and push people away. I have lost a lot of relationships due to this, but like I said I’m learning and working on myself to rebuild these lost relationships and to prevent them from happening in the future.

I feel so strongly that everyone needs a greater education about more mental illnesses that are less common. I just could not wrap my head around the fact that in my 23 years of living, after all the counselling sessions, doctors appointments and hospital / GP visits, I still had not even came across the possibility of having BPD.

And that’s what scared me, the lack of knowledge.

I constantly ask myself if I had heard of BPD before now, would things have been different? The what ifs, buts, should have, would haves, could haves etc, but I have to remind myself that I can’t change any of that. What I can do now though is focus on the treatment, getting myself better again and learn how to talk more, to open up about BPD and to make it as normally talked about as football or what you had for lunch that day.

If we are all educated and learn more about mental health illnesses, we could help each other to get more comfortable when reaching out, asking questions, starting to get help and eventually ending the stigma.

After spending time in a psychiatric ward due to my mental health I decided I was going to be as open and public about my disorder and mental health struggles as I could be. I wished I could have reached out to someone who I had seen struggle, but who had come out on top, to help me with my battle.

After posting numerous Instagram posts about my mental health, the number of people contacting and reaching out in regards to them feeling low and not the best was amazing. I know for a fact that it gave me a sense of “let’s get through this to show others they can do the same”. It gave such a large sense of community and the feeling of loneliness started to subside.

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