I didn’t know how to feel about my diagnosis because I didn’t feel properly represented by the title “Borderline Personality Disorder”. The name is actually very misleading and has not helped with the stigma in the slightest. There are many assumptions about BPD for anyone who is not well educated on the issue, that is why I am here! I want to raise awareness and tell my story one post at a time. Without getting into what people think the disorder is, I am going to give you my own breakdown of how it’s affected me.
BPD to me is the result of my childhood abuse and exposure to extreme stress and conflict. It has affected my ability to trust the people in my life, has made me attach myself, feel abandoned or neglected if my love isn’t reciprocated, and has created a devil and angel on my shoulder, one that says “this person deserves all of me, they are my favourite person”, and the says “this person could be using or manipulating you, do not trust them, actually…. RUN!”. There is no grey or in between, and this is called “splitting” – where you put someone on a pedestal one moment but think they’re out to hurt you the next. I am very unstable with my emotions and have the inability to regulate them on a consistent basis.
These symptoms started right after I got an Order or Protection against my mother in 2016. I remember shopping for Halloween costumes with my partner at Value Village when I took note of the physical symptoms I had been having… I called my father and explained that I was feeling light headed, had blood randomly pump through my veins, my chest was tight, and I felt like I was having a heart attack. The worst symptom of all was the crippling feeling that I was forgetting something or had done something wrong. I was later diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression and started medication which settled the physical symptoms immediately.
I had issues in many of my relationships during the following years. I had been surrounding myself with toxic people as well as starting unnecessary drama in other areas of life. I was destroying healthy relationships by victimizing myself and projecting my fear of abandonment onto the people I loved. At the same time, I was giving my everything to very unstable people who were similar to my mom and had no intentions of being genuine friends of mine. It took months of pain and self-reflection to realize that I was the root to all of my problems… I simply needed to weed out the toxic people and learn how to be a good friend to the people who care about me.
After making these realizations I was able to get my head straight with the people I trusted vs. the people I couldn’t. But I was still battling my thoughts within; I was experiencing flashbacks, re-occurring nightmares and had no ability to regulate my emotions under stress or frustration. I was strengthening my relationships again but would still have random moments where uncontrollable emotion would take over and all I could do was hyperventilate and cry in the fetal position. At times I even had thoughts that it would be easier to die than to feel the pain of my crippling emotions.
Children are very emotionally sensitive and can be influenced easily; I now understand why adults used to warn me not to fuck up the most formative years of my life. Being raised in a separated home with a disabled brother and parents who were also enemies, I was exposed to a lot of stress and tension. Emotionally I had to grow up very quickly and even tried to mitigate disputes between my parents as early as 2 years old. The only time I remember my parents being together, my mom screamed at my dad the entire drive home and I cried for her to stop. Although my dad began to avoid her for those reasons, these situations continued to escalate and over the years I started to exhibit physical symptoms of stress such as stomach aches and limb pain.
My mom’s hatred for my dad reflected on me in every way and I eventually endured the abuse after I picking a side and cutting my dad out. My mom had extremely high expectations for me, often I was set up for failure just so I could be grounded and under my moms watch and control. I grew up a sweet, loving girl and became a troubled child with behavioral issues that affected my school, friendships, and more. I was walking on eggshells all the time, being told to hate my dad constantly and if I had anything good to say about him I was shut out and emotionally tortured.
The fear I felt each morning of not knowing what could set my mom off that day gave me terrible anxiety. I would tell myself to behave and plan to say or do anything she wanted, but either way my mom would always find something to punish us for. This is an introduction to how my mental health issues started and what comes next is the story of my relationship with Jack, the Restraining Order and how BPD affected my loved ones.