What the Mirror Doesn't Show About My Borderline Personality Disorder

Perspective. Looking at myself in the mirror is like trying to imagine other people’s perspective of me. Therefore, the mirror lies. It only reflects what is in front of it. Feelings and emotions can’t be seen.

My face is just a mask I wear every day to please others and sometimes, to lie to myself. But what is the reality behind the reflection?


Only a few things can show emptiness, guilt and impulsivity. They are a ripple effect that begins with thoughtless and sometimes careless actions that end with remorse and despair. For me, impulsivity is the worst of borderline personality disorder (BPD) and if I could choose only one symptom to go away, this would be it. I have done terrible things impulsively and even though others can be aware of my actions, they can’t understand the reasons behind them and sometimes, neither can I. How can I reflect something I can’t even describe? When I look at my past, I can’t help but feel guilty about how I’ve treated significant people who I was so afraid to lose, but pushed away anyway, leaving a big hole inside me.


Another feeling that can be hidden is pain. When I grew up, I was taught to “always show my best side” and apparently, happiness and smiles are people’s best side. However, my deepest scars are worn inside. The struggles I have gone through because of my illness wouldn’t surface until later on in life, after a few misdiagnoses, a hospitalization and the accurate diagnosis of BPD.

I am aware I have a family that cares, my children who love me, a few friends who are just a phone call away and a husband who has demonstrated he is here for me through thick and thin. But then again, there are times when I feel empty, lonely and in a lot of pain. A pain I learned to hide, even from myself.


Finally, even though there are many things that hide behind my mirror, one keeps me alive: happiness. I can’t “see” happiness every day, but I know there is a part of me deep inside that knows I am happy. Because happiness is not permanent. For me it is the amount of good moments that weigh more than bad ones — even when bad ones are harder to overcome.

Knowing I have BPD is happiness, because I finally know what my illness is and I’m learning to handle it. Going to bed early enough to wake up refreshed is happiness. Knowing I love my job even on the hard days is happiness. Realizing I raised my children — even if I was not the best of moms — is happiness. At the end of the day, it is not about how I look, but how I feel — and my mirror doesn’t show that.

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