My experiences during childhood and early adolescence have shaped the way I view the world and BPD is just the manifestation of that. It is the way I learned to adapt to my dysfunctional environment and navigate the world around me. The snippets I shared only reflect some of my experiences with the disorder and while I no longer display a lot of the symptoms, every day is a struggle. The bad thoughts linger. The pervasive feeling of emptiness lingers. I constantly have to remind myself of how far I’ve come and remind myself to keep going—no matter what.
With the help of a few good therapists and a strong support system, I have made great progress. Despite lacking a strong sense of self, one thing that has remained consistent throughout my life is my interest in psychology. In May 2020, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from California State University, Northridge and hope to apply for a master’s degree in clinical or counseling psychology in the near future.
While most people would cringe at being labeled with such a disorder, I welcome it. Admitting I am diagnosed with something like BPD and talking about it play an important part of de-stigmatizing the illness itself and mental illness in general. Many people have told me that diagnosis doesn’t necessarily matter, but I think that having an accurate diagnosis is important because it provides me with the validation that I never knew I needed. Having a label that outlines all of my symptoms allows me to understand myself better and it is that self-awareness that guides my recovery.
However, it is the empathy, compassion, and support I have received from others that has helped me grow the most. Sometimes all it takes is one conversation with a mentor who asks not with disdain, but curiosity, “what makes you want to work with people with Borderline Personality Disorder?” Or a lecture with a professor who self-describes as an asshole, speaks about borderlines with compassion and doesn’t discourage you from wanting to work with them. Or learning to live with having a best friend who merely responds with, “oh my sister’s friend has that”, while talking about your diagnosis.
Although I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from my illness, I do have hope that I’ll be able to continue to create a life worth living in spite of it.