5 Things I Need to Hear When I Tell You About My Borderline Personality Disorder
Having a life dominated by mental health difficulties and not talking about them is like carrying a hidden world inside yourself. Keeping my experience of borderline personality disorder (BPD) shrouded in secrecy creates loneliness and traps me in an unnecessary sense of shame. Talking about my experiences with people who listen and don’t judge is key for the emotional stability that has been a challenge for me over the years. I’d like to share the five most helpful things for me to hear when I do talk to people in my life about my experiences with BPD.
1. “It’s fine for you to talk about this.”
Historically, I have shame not only about my experiences, but for my need to talk about them. I’ve been told by former friends I was “inappropriate” for broaching certain topics and should “never talk about it again.” Embarrassment rushed through me like a hot rash and an unnecessary sense of shame silenced me for a long time. Luckily, I have moved on and have been able to talk again with open-minded people who have given me positive and accepting reactions. Through talking with understanding and open people, I have been able to release a lot of shame.
2. “You can talk to me again whenever you need to.”
Because of reactions I have experienced when talking about mental health, I am constantly worried I will “make people uncomfortable.” I have since realized if someone is uncomfortable with talking about mental health, it is more likely to be their own prejudices than my insensitivity. I feel very validated when friends say talking about my BPD to them is OK.
3. “I don’t think of you any differently than I did before you told me this.”
When I have talked to people in the past, I have been worried they will see me in a different light once they know about my experiences. I’m worried they will think they didn’t know me before and are judging my actions and character on the basis of the new information they have about my life. So when people treat me just the same as they always did, I am reassured. After all, I am much, much more than my experiences of mental illnesses.
4. “I know someone who has had a similar experience.”
When said without an annoying dose of “I know it all,” this can be incredibly helpful as it can make me feel less alone.
5. “It’s up to you.”
I don’t like being told what’s best for me. I like to supported. But at the end of the day, I know myself and my experiences best, so I’d rather people hold off with any judgments. I don’t like having my experiences and emotions judged, quantified and defined by others!
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