*Trigger Warning-Depression and Self Harm*
Coming to terms with who you are as a person and what makes you an individual can be extremely difficult for many people and complex when you choose to venture on the journey of understanding yourself. My personal experiences and circumstances have recently led me to grasp a better understanding of myself and share with the people around me.
For the past five months, I have been living with the knowledge that I have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Before being diagnosed back in December, I had never even heard of it. My prompt reaction was that my life was coming to a halt and I would never be what people viewed as a “quintessential” person. For those who aren’t familiar with what BPD is, it is a personality disorder that causes the person who has it to experience fickle emotions and behaviors. Even though anyone who has it goes through different experiences, it has personally been the main cause of my depression, anxiety, and unstable emotions and relationships.
My first memories of depression and anxiety were around the age of twelve. I was homeschooled and constantly alone in my home. I would experience sudden negative thoughts about myself and the life I was living. It’s sad to say that many people around that age experience such horrible feelings, but for me, those feelings would suddenly go away then come back again with no warning and no healthy way for me to handle them which resulted in my need to overcompensate visible happiness so others would never know what was truly going on. Me being a black American, I only found it normal to hide my true feelings and discussion about mental health was rare in my family. The feelings I had were consistent throughout the rest of my middle school and high school years and looking back, I frown on the thoughts of me intentionally pushing friends and people I held close to me away. I vividly remember having a very close friend sophomore year of high school and almost every day we would hang out after school. Once she got a job and was unable to be around me as much as before, I took it as her purposely trying to distance herself from me which, in my head, would eventually lead to her abandoning me altogether. I started to repeatedly ask her if she hated me, I would lash out for no reason and became severely clingy. Eventually, I made the decision to stop talking to her altogether in fear that she would stop talking to me first. My reaction to the situation made complete sense to me at the time because of my unhealthy inability to handle change. It wasn’t until I moved to New York City and experienced a huge shift in environment and lifestyle that everything started to go completely over the edge. It was as if everything was caving in on me and I was finding it nearly impossible to control myself and my emotions.
My second semester of college was when it all started to crumble. I would experience horrendous outbursts in my dorm room if one thing in my day didn’t go as planned. It was rare that I would go outside to be around people. I stopped talking to all of my friends I had made at school the semester before because something in me speculated that they hated me. And at this point, my depression was at an all-time high. I went through a continuous phase of absolutely loving school and the city then hating everything about it; wanting to drop out and just go back to Minnesota. It would switch every single day and that summer in New York was the greatest emotional toll that I had ever experienced but when the third semester came around, I was suddenly feeling better about myself. I reconnected with friends and started going out more. Then October of 2018 came around. At this point, I knew my actions and the way I was feeling was not healthy whatsoever but I refused to accept the fact that I needed to get help or at least talk about my emotions. I started falling back into the same patterns and was going in and out of an overly depressive mood, lashing out at my friends, and not wanting to get out of bed for days at a time. I started missing classes and began to impulsively inflict harm onto myself anyway I knew how. Just to feel something different. At the time, it was piercing and re-piercing myself over and over again. In November, I came to a breaking point. After making hugely impulsive and dangerous decisions that were now causing other people to have to intervene, I was forced to go to the hospital and seek help. It was something that deep down, I knew needed to be done, but after such events, I knew I wanted to get help for me. Not because someone else was telling me to. I started seeing a school counselor and from there, decided to continue to regularly see an outside therapist. It now plays a huge role in helping me understand myself and gain control of my thoughts and feelings
The more I start to understand the way my brain behaves, the more restraint I start to have over myself. This newfound understanding of myself is causing me to think and pay attention more to my behavior, how I treat other people around me, and what I truly want to gain in this lifetime. I am beginning to understand that nothing in life is just black and white and that there’s always room for improvement when it comes to your mental health. When I first found out I had Borderline Personality Disorder, I thought my life would be permanently adrift. I believed that it would be impossible for me to ever form healthy relationships and see the world in a realistic state. Now, going to therapy and being more conscientious about my actions while having those I hold very close to me understand what I feeling and being willing to work patiently with me has done wonders. I am slowly but surely beginning to accept who I am as a person. I am proud to say that I am a lot better than I was just a few months ago. I still have my low moments at times, but I am gradually starting to regain control of my life. I know now that my disorder does not control me or determine the person I am. I do.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask!