I was starting my first year of University and I thought it was going to be a fresh start to my life. It wasn’t like that. My past problems followed me and continue to overtake and confuse me. I was unhappy most of the time, and when I thought things were going well, another obstacle threw me off the rails of happiness.
Once I was told that I have borderline personality disorder (BPD), everything clicked into place, as if it was the missing piece of the puzzle as to why I acted the way I did with my mental health.
Having BPD is like having two different persona, the good and the bad. I describe the good persona as “the happy me”. And there’s the bad, filled with negativity and built-in anger and sadness.
One day, my aggression got too much. I didn’t feel I was conscious in my mind and I was far from being in control. That day, everything was a blur until I was switched back on and realised my mistakes. I felt ashamed and disappointed in myself, and I lost a close friend because of my actions.
And because of my BPD, I hurt new friends I made along the way at university, as I wasn’t able to control my emotions. I became too dependent and extremely clingy with people. I knew what I was doing was wrong, and every potential new friendship I could have had, my BPD stopped it from developing and pushed them away. It led me to depression, hardly leaving my bed, lack of motivation and an excessive amount of crying. This crushed me so much I knew I had to do something if I didn't want to be alone.
I decided to seek professional help. I became more active by going to the gym as recommended by my GP, I began a new art project, and I met up with friends who understand my mental health and make me happy.
My friends helped me – they didn’t judge me and they wouldn’t hold my mental illness against me. They kept me feeling joyful and reminded me there are things to look forward to in the future, and we always had a right laugh.
But they also know my triggers and pulled me through the rough times. They were able to give me advice from an outside perspective – this was so important as it helped me to keep control of my emotions, and I was able to learn how to enjoy time with myself. I would describe them as one strange family, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Now I feel myself doing better.
Sadly, many people I know don’t seem to understand my BPD and think it’s an excuse. But it’s an everyday challenge to face, and it shouldn’t be held against me. We didn’t get to choose to have it.
I want to help people learn how to be there for someone for BPD. Learn their triggers, and understand where it comes from. Have some knowledge of the symptoms and know what to do when it happens. Give them some insight on how to handle a certain situation but show you understand where they are coming from. It has to come from a positive attitude too, as that can change a person’s perspective.
Although my friendship isn’t fixed and I’m not fully happy yet, I knew what I am doing is a positive start. My BPD doesn’t define me, it’s just a little segment that is part of me.