April 2016 my whole world was turned upside down. I had fallen in love. I know everyone falls in love, but imagine falling in love with a disorder as intense as borderline personality disorder (BPD). A love where you feel like you cannot function without this person in your life. A love where you become so emotionally attached that the only way to be detached from the person is to push them away, even though deep down you want them to stay.
I never felt attached in previous relationships. That is one BPD symptom I had little understanding of. I had fear of abandonment, just any person can experience. Yet this time, this time the fear was one of the most paranoid fears I had ever experienced. I had fallen in love, and I felt like I couldn’t escape the feeling this person was giving me.
I learned of the betrayal of this person. My stomach flipped. Some people would not act on their feelings and would have simply walked away. For me, this seemed almost impossible. They say you can die from a broken heart, and I nearly did.
The symptoms started to intensify when I found out the person I loved the most had really hurt me. People tend to think people with BPD “overreact” to painful situations. I felt my whole body shut down. I couldn’t leave my bed. I started to self-harm because of the excruciating amounts of pain I was feeling. I pushed everyone away, and I dissociated to the point where I didn’t even realize I was hurting myself until afterward.
The pain of people who are living with BPD is already at a heightened and intense level. So add being in love on top of that, and you might begin to understand the utter devastation we feel when someone really hurts us. I felt like I was suffocating in a big pool of quicksand, and I couldn’t come up for air. Trust issues played a big part in my life already. So to find out someone you loved more than anything consciously hurt you was a big kick to the curb.
As I write this, it’s early January. I sit here in disbelief sometimes. I also wonder how I got through the most emotional intense period of my life. I learned so much about my symptoms and how to cope/manage them without resorting to self-harm or ideation. I learned who my true friends were, whom I possibly took for granted, and I sought comfort in them.
I moved out of my comfort zone and met people who normalized my feelings and validated how I felt. I know there were parts of my mending where I wanted to shut the feelings out and become completely numb because I felt like I was “overreacting.” I have now learned feelings of hurt are valid regardless of how big or little they may seem to other people. If someone hurts you and you loved them, then you have every reason to feel upset, angry and in pain.
If I can survive that emotional intense period of my life, then I am capable of surviving anything. It’s sad how I have to survive in order to live with this illness, but that is what makes anyone with a mental illness special. They get to experience everything a lot differently than someone without a mental illness. I just want anyone who has been in my position to know, despite your intense reactions, your pain is valid after being hurt. Don’t let anyone else tell you differently.
If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Image via Thinkstock.