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The Friendship My Borderline Personalty Disorder Told Me I’d Never Have

When I was first diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD), I did what anyone in this internet age would do, I Googled it. I didn’t like everything I read, but a lot of it made sense, except for one thing. Everything I read said those suffering from BPD sometimes go without having real and lasting relationships.

This scared me, and I worried for the new friends I’d made in the BPD community. Then, I remembered I have one of the best friends to ever grace my personal planet. My best friend holds me accountable for my actions. She doesn’t let me get away with things because of my mental illness. Not to say she doesn’t cut me slack on some things. She cuts me more then I give myself sometimes. She asks questions to gain understanding. She Googles. She reads.

Yes, she is a psych major, but she has never treated me as a “test subject.” Everything my best friend does, she does to make my life easier and better. She lets me fall back on her in moments when I’m flailing. She lets me go solo when she knows I need to learn to do certain things on my own.

Without me ever having to ask for help, she has done things for me I cry just thinking about. She’s filled my gas tank when I was unemployed and dangling on a tightrope. She’s started conversations with new people for me and slowly built my confidence. She’s gotten me over debilitating aspects of my illness a little at a time, like my crippling panic when I was even a minute late (I still like being early, but I don’t hyperventilate when I’m five minutes late).

This beautiful woman has, without me realizing it, jump started my recovery even before I got my official diagnosis. She was actually the first one I called, tears in my eyes because I finally knew what it was.

“I have borderline personality disorder.”

I hadn’t even left the parking lot of my psychiatrist’s office. I dialed her number on the way to my car. She didn’t miss a beat. She didn’t judge me. She just asked how I felt about it. She asked what this meant for me.

I cried. I had never felt so relieved in my life. I wasn’t relieved she hadn’t judged me. It never crossed my mind that she would. I was relieved to know what it was I had been fighting since I was 14. I know without a doubt she’ll be there for me like she always has been.

I have had a lot of friends in the past, some were great and more were not. I have never had a friend like this. I never thought I would be able to have a real, without a doubt in my mind, best friend. My disorder has convinced me in the past in order to keep people around, I needed to lie and manipulate. All that does is make me feel worse and exhaust the people around me. I have cost myself countless relationships and friendships because I felt like I couldn’t trust them or myself with them. I constantly pushed them away and then pulled them close, only to push them away again.

My friend has taught me I can be 100 percent myself and she’ll still love me. I don’t have to prove anything or work to the point of anxiety to impress her, in order to keep her around. She is the strongest, most patient and passionate person I know. I am lucky to know her. I know in the future she will change a lot of people’s lives because I know she’s changed mine.

selfie of the author and her friend outside
Hannah and her friend.