Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.
My borderline personality disorder (BPD) comes in waves. I’m successful, social and bubbly. Until I’m not. My mask is so permanently plastered onto my face I barely recognize myself without its fake smile and cheerful laugh. Until the real empty, shapeless shell hidden underneath can no longer be bottled up.
My alter ego is highly functional. I’m an ambitious pre-med student at a prestigious institution, founder of a new student organization, member of a professional pre-med fraternity, a volunteer in the emergency department of a nearby hospital, a practiced EMT, the list goes on and on. My padded checklist of reasons why I’m granted to survive another day, goes on and on. The only thing harder than working every second of the day is having time to be left with my own thoughts.
My accomplishments are my armor. The endless extracurriculars keep me busy enough to avoid the crumbling reality that is my mind. When my self-inflicted anger volcanoes, at least I can let myself exist long enough to attend my next class. I schedule myself to the brim to postpone the inevitable emotional disaster that can spontaneously erupt at any time. When I share I feel overwhelmed with my endeavors, I’m shamefully reminded “didn’t I do this to myself?” How could somebody so driven actually be falling apart at the seams?
On my good days, I am an invincible superwoman. I study for my classes. I ace my midterms. I’m a good friend. I listen and empathize. I genuinely care and love my friends like I may lose them at any moment. I get high off the order, the stability, the temporary feeling of being “fixed.”
On my bad days, I don’t have the energy to get off the couch. I am a breathing disappointment. I am an eternal burden to others. I am a disgusting bag of fat binge food. My everlasting emotional chaos and suicidal thoughts engulf me. Nothing matters anymore, I’m hopeless and unfixable. I just hurt people. My loved ones would be better off without me. If they knew who I truly was, they would be repulsed. There’s no point in trying to survive anymore. I don’t deserve the right to live.
With professional help, therapy and support from friends – even if they can’t fully understand me – I’ve embarked on the journey to recovery. With help, I’ve created a life jacket. With ample time spent working through my past traumas and remembering to take my medication, I have been able to ride out some of the waves. I know I’m extremely lucky to have gotten help. I am so incredibly thankful. But it doesn’t make my pain any less real. It doesn’t completely assuage the hurt. It’s still strenuous and tumultuous and unfair.
The future is bright. I can see the lighthouse near the shore. Maybe one day I may be able to thoroughly believe I have an intrinsic right to life. Until then, I will have to helplessly latch onto anything that will save me from drowning in my own thoughts.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
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