From the day I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, I have felt my life slipping out of my hands. The more I read about my illness, the more distressed I get. I have been experienced suicidal ideation since before I was teenager and as soon as I reached the point where I was willing to accept help and consider staying alive as a viable option, I get given a diagnosis that has given me very little but slammed door after slammed door in my face.
It doesn’t seem fair that I have been suffering for such a long time, that I had all the supposed ‘best years of life’ taken away from me, and all I get in return is the confirmation of what I have always thought: I am a bad person, this is my fault, and I have to ‘take responsibility’ and deal with it.
I understand that professionals fear PD patients. They fear the almost inevitable failure of treatment. They are uncertain. PD patients are difficult. But the attitude that patients often get faced with is so devoid of the kindness and understanding needed that it reinforces the problem itself.
Here’s what I know about my mental health:
- I feel awful, all the time.
- I can’t reach out to anyone to tell them how awful I feel because I feel like I’ll either a) annoy them, or b) come across as ‘attention seeking’.
- I constantly feel guilty and ashamed.
- What might seem like just a bit an off comment or a funny look to someone else, will have me crying behind closed doors.
- I feel like people are talking about me, in a bad way, all the time.
- I don’t really know who I am and I can’t remember what my own face looks like without looking in the mirror. I have very little attachment to actual pictures of me.
- My memories don’t feel like my own.
- I self-harm in many different ways.
- I am scared to die but being alive is painful and exhausting and I feel like this illness is eventually going to just take me because I am weak and I can’t cope with it.
- I have been suffering for a long time.
What mental health professionals seem to think about me in relation to my diagnosis of a personality disorder:
- That I can’t possibly actually want to die, I’m just doing it for attention, that my brain hasn’t processed what dying actually is and I don’t ‘mean it’.
- That I must be manipulative and deceitful in some way, especially as I am at a top university and I have always achieved good grades.
- That I am hysterical and aren’t able to understanding how I’m feeling. This is quite the opposite, as I have pretty good insight into my own struggles.
- That they can’t really help me.
I don’t want much from mental health professionals. More than anything, kindness goes a long way. Believing me, listening to me. Stepping away from the diagnosis and treating me as a person rather than a bundle of stigma that is still utterly embedded even into the professional mental health system. I just want to be told that it’s not my fault, that things get better, that the traumatic roots of my illness are valid, that I deserve help.
Sufferers of BPD are vulnerable. We are our own worst enemies. Everyday is so, so difficult.