What I Wish Others Knew About Living With Borderline Personality Disorder


I fight for my life every day in ways you cannot imagine. You may only see the battles I lose, not the battles I win on a daily basis — like getting out of bed and resisting my suicidal urges. Please don’t overlook my successes simply because I sometimes fail. I often act in ways even I don’t understand. As frustrating as it is, I can only explain to you the behavior I know the origins of myself. Please don’t assume because I can’t understand it, you know better than I do. We are both in the dark here, can we please share this small thing in common and start from there?

I don’t want to be this way. I hate living the way I do and I am trying to change it. Please hear that.

When I hurt myself, I am not trying to hurt you. I know sometimes I do and I am really sorry, it isn’t ever my intention.

I live on an intense emotional roller coaster. Please remember everything I do is an attempt to manage the immense pain I am in, to regulate my feelings and meet my needs in the best way I know how. I am trying to learn new ways of coping, but as the saying goes, “Do what you can now and then when you know better, do better.” I intend to do better but until I know how, this is all I have.

Please know being a psychiatric patient is not a career choice. I engage in mental health discourse and connect with peers who share similar difficulties in order to make sense of my personal narrative. I don’t choose to do so because I want to remain ill, but because I need some good to come of so much bad. Please know this choice is one about wanting to help drive change and derive meaning rather than choosing a life position where I want to stay on the spectrum of being mentally unwell.

I know I am hard to be around sometimes and my erratic moods make me unpredictable. I’m sorry this affects you too. I am trying to learn how to manage my feelings, but they are so intense I find the task extremely overwhelming and they often win out. Please know I’m trying. Please know when I snap at you, I’m really just snapping near you.

I don’t expect you to say my behavior is OK, I know it isn’t, I just want you to hang in there with me while I work on it.

I terrified of being abandoned and this means I can act in some very desperate ways to get people to stay. I’m not trying to be manipulative, I just don’t have the same skill set you do in managing these thoughts and emotions.

Some of my suicide attempts have been because I simply didn’t know what else to do anymore. Some of them I genuinely wholeheartedly didn’t feel I wanted to ever wake up again. Please don’t pass judgment on the lengths a person will go to in order to alleviate their pain. I know it’s not OK, but I am trying.

I want you in my life but I cannot have people around me who aren’t supportive. If you can’t be with me here in the valley then please don’t expect to come and stand with me on the top of the mountain when I eventually make it (and I will despite how it often feels like I won’t).

Finally…

Yes, recovery is a choice but that doesn’t mean that by choosing to recover, one automatically gets better… I have an illness and I am choosing to try and get well again, but wanting to be well and being well are not the same thing. Please don’t judge my efforts when my mind is already doing so. You can join me in the fight or you can break away and join another team. I am choosing to fight my illness and that involves fighting with myself on a daily basis. I cannot fight with you about it, too. Please make your choice, I’ve made mine.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via Any_Li.


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