Maybe you’ve spent years trying to understand why you seemed different. Perhaps you’ve stumped countless professionals or been turned away when you weren’t “better” with a low dose of antidepressants and periodic therapy sessions. Maybe the world has always felt too intense, though you never understood why.
But now, you’ve finally received the label to explain your feelings and your pain: borderline personality disorder (BPD).
Receiving any medical news is difficult, especially when it’s related to mental health. These days, though, nobody bats an eye at the “run-of-the-mill” diagnoses like major depressive disorder (MDD) or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Yet, somehow, when people hear the word “borderline,” they run for the hills. Carrying a BPD label comes with a heavy burden; there’s an attached stigma that is perpetuated by not only lay people across the internet, but countless mental health professionals as well.
It’s understandable if you feel scared and overwhelmed right now; all BPD warriors have been in your exact shoes before. You’re wrestling with your own self-loathing, then adding on the fear of how your loved ones will react when you share the news (or if you even want to share your diagnosis at all).
I need you to know this, though: your diagnosis does not define you.
You fear abandonment and feel everything intensely, but that does not mean you are “overly dramatic” or “too much.” You may need constant reassurance and act impulsively to fill the emptiness you feel, but that does not mean you are “manipulative” or “sadistic.” You may outburst with intense anger or harm yourself to numb the pain, but that does not make you “abusive” or “dangerous.”
The truth is, many of us who struggle with borderline personality disorder are simply like anyone else, constantly searching for love and purpose.
Now that you hold the golden ticket that explains everything you’ve experienced and all the burning bridges in your past, you can stop lurking in the shadows of the unknown and step into the light to start to understand yourself. All the rest of us are ready to receive you and walk with you hand-in-hand. You are no longer alone; you are part of a group that spans nearly 2 percent of the U.S. population… there are many of us out here.
You may feel hopeless, but there is help. BPD is never a life sentence; we can learn skills and strategies that help put the world in perspective and allow us to better regulate ourselves. Through therapy and with the help of medications, most people may not even realize we are mentally ill at all.
If nothing else, please know this: you are amazing, and the word “borderline” doesn’t change that. I love you just the way you are, and together we can stand on our own feet and walk the middle path through our lives even with a BPD diagnosis.
Also Published on The Mighty