A woman holding a heart pillow

My boyfriend of eight months recently broke up with me.

As most anyone with borderline personality disorder (BPD) can tell you, this is the single most painful event to have to experience multiple times.

It’s hard. We often immediately blame ourselves. We call ourselves monsters, not “normal” enough or even evil. 

Sometimes we experience such bad dissociation, it’s like nothing exists… nothing feels.

And then it does.

And every single wave of pain stings.

It’s random crying spells, feeling like you’re drowning on dry land or being set on fire slowly.

Then we see it…

As we tend to hoard memories, every place we visited with them, every photo, even just hearing the very name of your once beloved… it makes the pain linger.

It’s no longer just an ebb and flow, it’s a constant. We long for what we had, wishing we could do something different. Replaying the events over and over again until paranoia sets in.

Slowly we replace those thoughts and feelings with others. It may take weeks, months or even years… but we get there.

We’re never fully healed though. We remember their names, their favorite things, the way they have this cute little way of doing a certain thing and that still stings a little. Lots of us still struggle with regret at this point. Wishing we could just let it all go, every moment.

But let me tell you, every time it happens… it gets easier.

Something I have learned is that life is full of experiences. There are things to do, places to see and people to meet. Every moment is a chance to experience something. Being in love is a wonderful experience. It’s rare. At times our particular brand of heartbreak can make us completely turn a blind eye to the positive things that come from a relationship, regardless of the ending circumstances.

In your relationship, you probably tried new things together. Things you may not have tried normally.

For example, my ex and I went to a few concerts, we often tried new foods and enjoyed collecting new things together. I don’t regret those things. I enjoyed them. The fact that I’m no longer with the person I made the memory with, doesn’t mean that memory has to disappear completely. I enjoyed my time with him but, I don’t have to let him rule how I feel over a memory.

Really, we must remember forgiveness is possible.

While not all relationships end on a good note, after time and a grounded assessment of the situation, forgiveness can be achieved. We have to realize that some people just have to do what they think is right for them. After all, we are all just trying to do the right thing.

I know, it’s hard to let go, you never truly have to forget what they’ve done. To just accept (forgive) that the situation happened, that was out of your control, you will find yourself at a state of peace.

No longer holding on to past hurt, we can move forward even more completely.

We don’t have to give up parts of our lives, it doesn’t have to be wasted time. Every second of life is precious and is impossible to replace.

So from one heartbroken borderline to many others, stay strong, stay aware and remember that forgiveness doesn’t have to mean forgetting. Just letting go.

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Images via Thinkstock


Judgment can be a painful thing to experience at any stage of anyone’s life. We hate to think of the ones closest to us thinking any sort of negative way about what and more specifically who we are. That’s the thing about living with borderline personality disorder (BPD) though: nearly all moments of my life I feel there is a constant, scrupulous judgment being thrown towards me by everyone I meet. It is agonizing to constantly meet everyone’s gaze with the presumption that they must already hate me. If I muster the courage to smile and they don’t return it – suddenly I think they think I’m ugly, someone must have told them how “crazy” I am and now I’m being shunned. These thoughts are exhausting and to most people, downright ridiculous, and that makes it all the worse.

The horrific truth, though, is in the end when I am in my most rational mindset, I realize I am the one judging myself more than anyone I see or meet throughout my life. Every day I hate myself and judge myself for being the worst person in the world. No one is more ignorant than me. No one has an uglier soul or uglier thoughts and patterns of self-destruction than I do. No one hurts the ones they love more than I seem to be able to. I see and judge myself consistently and constantly from the time I begin my day to the time I am finally able to close my eyes and sleep.

What I wish this person, this broken little girl within me, understood, is that it’s OK. It’s OK not to be that “pretty, outgoing girl everyone loves and adores” and is friends with. Because quite honestly, I’m not that person. It takes me a little longer to warm up to people and not feel so anxious around them. Sometimes I’ll need more comforting, more loving, and validation from others than most people would probably expect.

What I need this little girl inside me, the one who fears abandonment and the thought of anyone disliking her in the slightest, I need her to understand I’m still beautiful. That even though I may have a variety of flaws that might always be apart of me, I still have a beautiful soul. I feel things more deeply than most, and sometimes seeing the raw, ugly truth about something doesn’t have to be a negative. I can use it and focus it in more constructive, useful areas of my life. She needs to understand that it’s OK not to be perfect, it’s OK to be flawed, it’s OK to be broken.

And at the end of the day, my reality and who I am, is my own reality I must live with. But it doesn’t have to be ugly and painful. It can be passionate, beautiful, and honest.

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Thinkstock photo by korionov

Some days I look in the mirror and I have no idea who’s staring back at me. Logically, yes, I know I am looking at myself, but I have borderline personality disorder (BPD). Some days, I can’t reconcile the person in the mirror as the person who I am.

Often, I try to combat this by changing my appearance in quite drastic ways. Impulsively, I chop off my hair, get a new piercing or radically change my fashion and style. There are periods of my life where no matter what I alter about myself, I still don’t feel like I’m me.

This is really difficult. I think we take for granted that everyone has a “sense of the self,” a knowledge that the body they dress and makeup is the body they see when they look in the bathroom mirror. For someone living with BPD, an unstable sense of who you are is integral to this illness. Yet, I’ve noticed it lacks the literature and information that some of the more widely-understood symptoms have.

This lack of connection to the idea of “self” is not just limited to physical and aesthetical attributes. Most of the time, I have no idea who I am. I feel like I am completely and utterly false, getting through life by creating a mental checklist of things to reel off when someone asks me about myself. Without this list to tick off, ask me to talk about myself and I can’t. Ask me what I enjoy doing in my free time, and I have no idea. Ask me to tell you more about my personality, and I’ll draw a blank.

This is the reality of this often overlooked symptom of BPD. It’s time we start talking about it. Its consequences, such as dissociation or self-hatred, can be detrimental to our stability, mood and overall mental well-being.

Coming to terms with our identity and sense of self as someone with BPD is not easy, but as clichéd as it may sound, recovery is not a destination but a journey. The more discussions we have around this sometimes ignored BPD trait, the easier it will be for us to one day achieve greater stability of our identities.

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 Image via Thinkstock.

For those with borderline personality disorder who ride a rollar coaster of emotions almost daily, having a good playlist on hand can help bring you back into the moment and take your brain to a place of calm. And while music certainly can’t erase strong emotions – sometimes it can help.

To find out what songs helped people with borderline personality disorder in tough moments, we asked people in our community who live with the disorder to tell us one song that helps them get through.

Here’s what they shared:

1. “Breathe Me” by Sia

“Help, I have done it again / I have been here many times before / Hurt myself again today / And the worst part is there’s no one else to blame.”

2. “On a Good Day” by Above & Beyond

“Little bit lost and / A little bit lonely / Little bit cold here / A little bit feared / But I hold on / And I / Feel strong / And I / Know that I can.”

3. “Drown” by Bring Me the Horizon

“It describes how I used to feel before DBT and now serves as a reminder that only I can save me from myself and only I can stop myself from drowning.” — Niki G.

“It comes in waves, I close my eyes / Hold my breath and let it bury me / I’m not OK, and it’s not alright. /Won’t you drag the lake and bring me home again?”

4. “Skin” by Sixx AM  

“I did a cover of ‘Skin’ for my freshman choir karaoke day right after I was diagnosed with borderline. It made me feel less like a freak and more like a human.” Jey S.

“‘Cause they don’t even know you / All they see is scars / They don’t see the angel / Living in your heart / Let them find the real you / Buried deep within / Let them know with all you’ve got / That you are not your skin.”

5. “Asleep” by The Smiths

“Sing me to sleep / Sing me to sleep / And then leave me alone.”

6. “Broken Arrows” by Avicii

“[This song is] especially meaningful to me, as I have scars from my self-harm and I have black and white thinking from BPD, plus I’ve now got an amazing partner who supports and understands me. It’s a great feel good tune to pick me up!” — Merc Y.

“I’ve seen the darkness in the light / The kind of blue that leaves you lost and blind / The only thing that’s black and white / Is that you don’t have to walk alone this time.”

7. “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten

“This song has gotten me through hell and back time and time again. When I was at my lowest point, it brought me back up. It made me take back my life, and prove that I’m alright. It made me fight, made me not give up. Made me strong. I still listen to this song when I need a mental/emotional boost. It still gets me through my toughest days. This song inspired me so much that I ended up getting a piece of the lyrics tattooed on me, along with an anchor. It was my first tattoo, and it’s my most cherished piece of art on my body. Since then, I’ve met Rachel twice and found my very best friend because of her. I owe her the world.” — Olivia C.

“This is my fight song / Take back my life song / Prove I’m alright song / My power’s turned on / Starting right now I’ll be strong / I’ll play my fight song / And I don’t really care if nobody else believes / ‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.”

8. “Sunshine”  Matisyahu

“Keep on moving till the first rays of dawn / Keeping it on till the day is done / Morning till the night time blaze is on / All along I keep singing my song.”

9. “Identity Disorder” by Of Mice and Men

“Your heart is a fire / But the cold is comforting / My mouth is a liar / With my silver tongue in cheek / The silence is deafening / My words cut deep / The darkness is blinding / Consuming me.”

10. “Shake it Out” by Florence +  the Machine

“Regrets collect like old friends / Here to relive your darkest moments / I can see no way, I can see no way / And all of the ghouls come out to play.”

11. “Gasoline” by Halsey

“And all the people say / You can’t wake up, this is not a dream / You’re part of a machine, you are not a human being / With your face all made up, living on a screen / Low on self-esteem, so you run on gasoline.”

12. “Torrek” by Hildur Gudnadottir

“Soft songs with no lyrics help me out so much. I focus on the melody and it helps my brain slow down the pacing, racing, emotional thoughts.” — Katie J.

13. “Extraordinary Machine” by Fiona Apple

“I certainly haven’t been shopping for any new shoes / And /  I certainly haven’t been spreading myself around / I still only travel by foot and by foot, it’s a slow climb / But I’m good at being uncomfortable / so I can’t stop changing all the time.”

14. “Warrior” by Demi Lovato

“Now I’m a warrior / Now I’ve got thicker skin / I’m a warrior / I’m stronger than I’ve ever been / And my armor, is made of steel, you can’t get in / I’m a warrior / And you can never hurt me again.”

15. “Blackbird” by The Beatles

“It’s simple enough that I can sing without music and it always soothes me.” — Katey B.

“Blackbird singing in the dead of night / Take these broken wings and learn to fly / All your life / You were only waiting for this moment to arise.”

16. “Cry Baby” by Melanie Martinez

“‘Cry Baby’ is literally my BPD anthem. It is so relatable to me and makes me feel less alone.” — Aqua K.

“Your heart’s too big for your body / It’s where your feelings hide / They’re pouring out / Where everyone can see.”

17. “Sweet as a Whole” by Sara Bareilles

“But like most creatures down here on the ground / I’m composed of the elements moving around / And I grow and change and I shift and I switch / And it turns out I’m actually kind of a bitch.”

18. “I Wanna Get Better” by Bleachers

“I wanna get better / I didn’t know I was broken ’til I wanted to change / I wanna get better, better, better, better / I wanna get better.”

19. “Talking to Myself” by Watsky

“Watsky has pulled me back above water too many times to count.” — Eri A.

“Do you ever get lost, deep in your thoughts, tripping when you think about the cost of seeing this through / When you tie your stomach into knots that you don’t know how to undo.”

20. “Hurt” by Johnny Cash

“What have I become / My sweetest friend / Everyone I know goes away / In the end.”

What would you add? Tell us in the comments below.

20 Songs That Help People With Borderline Personality Disorder Through Tough Moments

Dear Brandon Marshall,

Thank you. Thank you for using your platform from football to speak out about your struggles with borderline personality disorder (BPD), a disorder that is often taboo. I first learned about your struggles when I was in the hospital, after just recently being diagnosed with BPD.

During that time, I thought my life was over, that I would never get to live a normal life. The next day, my nurse brought a printed news article about you into my room, an article I have to this day. Right then, my outlook shifted. To see that you were able to live a fulfilled life with BPD gave me hope. I no longer was counting the days down in my life. I was counting down the days until I could leave the hospital and start my new life.

A football player is often looked at as invincible, feeling no pain. You were able prove to the world that it is OK to feel pain and it is OK to have a mental illness. Not only have you candidly addressed your diagnosis, but your philanthropy for BPD and ending the stigma is astounding.

You have inspired me to not be afraid of my illness. You have inspired me to not be embarrassed about my illness. Most importantly, you taught me to speak out about my illness in order to break the stigma. Speak out so that someday people will no longer be stigmatized and so someday people won’t be afraid to seek help.

Thank you Brandon Marshall for your humility and continued passion for ending the stigma, not only of BPD but mental illness in general.

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Image via Brandon Marshall Facebook page.

Hi. Remember me? The thin, clumsy, sometimes athletic, blonde girl who you know? Hi! I’m over here. You probably don’t see me because of the fog. That’s OK. I didn’t see me either for a while.

The fog is an easy place to get lost. You see, the fog is misunderstanding. I don’t judge you for misunderstanding, nor do I judge how you present your misunderstanding. It’s scary when you don’t know something.

Let me tell you a secret. I was terrified when I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). But also? I was relieved to finally have an answer to the insufferable pain I’ve been hiding for years.

Having BPD doesn’t make me any different or less me. In fact, it explains exactly why I am who I am. It explains all those nuances that caused yelling, laughter and tears.

I get overwhelmed. I know most people do. You don’t need to tell me that. The thing is my brain is wired differently. So when I get overwhelmed it’s all I can focus on. The pain becomes so unbearable that the only way I know how to stop it is to lash out or make it stop all together. I’m getting better at controlling it, by the way, in case you were wondering.

Having BPD isn’t easy, but it’s not the end of the world. The hardest part is that people don’t understand it. I know I already forgave you for being lost in the fog, but I want you to find a way out. I’m still me. I’m just a little broken, and once I got out of the fog, I was able to start putting the pieces back together.

Please, be patient with me. When I’m tired, it’s not laziness. I have spent the entire day in my head trying not to lose control over my emotions. It’s exhausting having to triple check my reactions to make sure they’re appropriate. I have had severe depression to the point of hospitalization and that might happen again. Please, don’t tell me to snap out of it or that other people have it worse.

Having BPD is like having every single emotion at once firing off like a beretta in your head. Most of the time, I just want to sleep so I don’t have to feel it all. It’s too much for one person to handle. I know how hard it is to understand something that isn’t spoken about openly or informatively.

My own diagnosis was the first time I heard about BPD, but a little research goes a long way. Dear family and friends, before you judge me, before you think you understand what is going on in my brain, before you unintentionally invalidate me, please, just do a little research. Go to the National Institute of Mental Health and browse BPD or ask me questions about certain things. Did you know I have triggers? Things that set me off into a severe BPD episode? I bet you didn’t because I had no idea either.

Let’s get out of that fog and learn together. Shall we? After all, I’m still me and aren’t we all just a little messy anyways?

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Image via Thinkstock.

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