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I am no newbie to the mental health field. I've been diagnosed with bipolar, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder for years now. New diagnoses and meds do not phase me; I would even go so far as to call myself a pro at navigating how to properly explain my feelings to psychiatrists and therapists alike. I am a proud supporter of #endthestigma when it comes to mental health, as physical and mental health are both equally important; however, my new diagnosis that I received a few days ago changed my world forever.
Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD (not to be confused with bipolar disorder or BD) is a personality disorder that causes an unstable sense of self, a strong fear of abandonment, and wild roller coaster of emotions that swing far faster from grief to elation than bipolar mania and depression could ever cause. I knew as soon as my psychiatrist said it that it made sense, but I didn't want to hear it. I was angry at him for even bringing it up, felt betrayed like it invalidated my experiences and trauma that I have accumulated in my life. BPD used to be regarded as a death sentence. Even today, with Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, approximately ten percent of people with BPD will end their own lives.
My mother once described my life as a series of crises. Many of my partners have told me the same thing. Each little bump in the road is a huge insurmountable obstacle to me, every emotion felt so intensely it hurts. Happiness turns to elation, sadness to grief, love to obsession. While this makes for some good poetry, it poses a problem in many aspects of my life.
My relationships have been tumultuous to put it lightly, my strong fear of abandonment not helping me find and stay in healthy relationships. My second partner also had BPD and she spent years screaming at me and blaming it on the disorder, which made me hate my diagnosis even more. My first relationship throughout high school had me frequently begging him to stay, sobbing on the phone with no sense of dignity or what was right for me. My inability to manage my BPD has cost me a lot, even ruining the one good and stable relationship I've had because I didn't trust her with another person and felt like she was abandoning me too.
There is some light at the end of this tunnel though. I now know why I feel like I'm in constant crisis. I know there are ways to manage it. This feeling of helplessness with no name that I've known my entire life now has a name and a treatment plan. Even if that means taking a break from life to seek the treatment I need, I know my life will continue and I will be fine.