My BPD Story and Why It Matters.
May is BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) Awareness Month and last May I decided to share my story publicly. Before last May, I could count on one hand the number of people who knew and I intended to keep it that way for the rest of my life. Sometimes I still want to kick myself for telling everyone because, I won’t lie, there are times where certain people knowing about it has made my life complete and utter living hell. But the reason for that is mostly because of the impression they have about people with BPD due to the disgusting stigma around it. Yes. It’s disgusting.
After being diagnosed and living with BPD for the past two and a half years, I feel like I need to share some things with the world about BPD and why the stigma that follows it around is absolutely bullsh*t. I’m going to share a bit of my story and why it matters. Yes- why MY story matters so much. And I don’t think I’ve ever said “I and matter” in the same sentence before.
At the beginning of 2017, I had been seeing various doctors and therapists for about 6 months because my depression had gotten out of control. I had tried a variety of medications and was seeing and okay therapist. I’m sure she’s a great therapist for other people, she seemed like she would be. We just didn’t really vibe. My therapist and my medication prescriber worked in the same office and communicated regularly. No one ever said a word to me about BPD until one day my medication prescriber casually referenced it. I don’t even remember what she said. But I was so confused. I had no idea that was what they considered me and were supposed to be helping me with. I immediately felt sick. I knew a few things about BPD-none of them good.
Before I was diagnosed with BPD (and for the first several months after), I had a completely unfair and inaccurate idea of what BPD was. I knew a couple people in the past with BPD- one of them stole cars and the other one took his own life- and I thought I was destined to make the same choices they did. My immediate thought was “I have to kill myself”. I entertained that thought for about two months. I didn’t want anyone to know and I was afraid to do anything or think anything because I just felt, well… crazy. I thought if I stayed quiet, robotic and kept to myself that I could live a normal life. I couldn’t. I couldn’t live a normal life as a robot. I was bounced around from therapist to therapist and was even dropped by one after like a month because he “didn’t know I was a BPD patient”. No one wanted me. I was untreatable. A couple years later I did an IOP (intensive outpatient) program and was finally in good hands. After another year of ups and downs and a lot of hard work, I am here. Content. Living a mostly normal, fulfilling life. I’ve screamed and cried and wanted to give up so many times but I didn’t. And that’s why my story matters.
Not every mental illness is created equal. I am completely functional. I work, I blog, I make music, I have a happy and healthy marriage. Not everyone gets that. I am aware. I have a wonderful therapist and a wonderful medication prescriber (when I was on daily meds, but we still check in) and again, not everyone has that. Not everyone has the tools to be as functional as possible. It took me three years -THREE YEARS- of being in therapy for stuff to actually click and me to start making changes. Be patient. You aren’t a lost cause.
That is a bit of my BPD story and I hope that by watching my life, you can see that it’s not this horrifying, crippling mental illness that people seem to think it is. Every case is so drastically different than the next. If you know one person with BPD, you don’t know all of us. So stop acting like it. Stop treating it as if we are all out to manipulate you and ruin your life. We aren’t. If I was that invested in ruining your life, I wouldn’t have time do any of my stuff -and trust me, I get a lot done in a day’s time.
I almost gave up my entire life because I believed in the stigma and never thought I could break it. And I know I’m not alone. I know now that I am stronger than three letters that are supposed to explain “what’s wrong with me”. But not everybody has reached that realization. Feeding the negative stigma is what feeds the lost, innocent brains like mine when I was contemplating giving up and I want better for everyone else. I don’t want anyone to ever feel the way I felt. The only way we’re going to achieve that is to -quite frankly- stop being assholes and realize that people with a mental illness aren’t trying to hurt you and that not every mental illness is created equal. Get to know the person, not the illness.
We can do better.