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When Borderline Personality Disorder Makes You Feel Haunted by Your 'Favorite Person'

Editor’s note: If you struggle with self-harm, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

The contents of this blog may describe, to me, the worst part of borderline personality disorder (BPD). I feel like it doesn’t get talked about as much as the others; maybe that’s why.

A woman can be heard in the background of one of my favorite songs, saying, “You’re like a haunted house in the daylight.”

That might be the best way to describe how BPD makes me feel more often than not — like that old spooky house down the street, all of its cracks and broken windows glinting in the sunlight, all of its ghosts exposed.

I feel like I have lost so many people in my lifetime. And when I say lost, I don’t necessarily mean they died — although some of them have — but I have lost them being a part of my life. Some of that I believe is my fault; I know I distance myself from people at the smallest feeling of “they don’t care about me anymore,” and that’s from everyone, even my own family. But some of that loss is also just part of life — high school friends I saw every day in school until we all graduated; college friends who now live in different cities, states and even countries; people from past jobs. Some of that is just life, but it weighs on me.

It is difficult to watch a world you felt like you belonged in at one point move forward without you in it.

One of the side effects of BPD is having a favorite person, or “FP.” I had never heard of that phrase or idea until I was diagnosed… like six months ago. But I’ve had plenty of them, and had I known that’s what was happening — that’s why I felt the way I did and why I did the things I did — my life may have been a lot different. Losing an FP can feel like losing a part of yourself until it’s all said and done.

When I was in college, I immediately fell head over heels in love with a guy who was in the marching band with me. He became my FP very quickly. We dated for a few months and, out of nowhere, he broke it off. In the time we were apart, I felt like a desperate mess, trying to find any reason to talk to him or see him, which I did even when his response was less than friendly. Eventually, we ended up back together, and back apart, and back together and back apart… I could never let him go. I always thought I could convince him to come back and things would be different, no matter how many times he broke up with me or how bad the situation got. The last time we were together, he told me to my face I was incapable of achieving a few of the goals I had set for myself. One night, I overheard him trash-talking me, calling me “crazy” to our friends. I was so thankful to hear a friendly voice defend me, but I still refused to see how damaging the relationship was, by that point to both of us.

Not long after, he broke up with me for the last time, though I held on to the idea we would end up together again for months after it ended. Afterward, I let myself spiral out of control, which ended up lasting longer than it ever should have. There was one point, I remember, it was so bad the two friends I had left called my mom to come stay with me; I was self-harming and couldn’t get out of bed. They had taken shifts staying with me for a few days and didn’t know what else to do.

I think it finally ended when I met the guy who would become my husband, almost two years later. Our relationship is the healthiest, most romantic relationship I’ve ever had, and he is not my FP — he’s my partner.

In the following years, I watched my college boyfriend’s life move on without me. He met another girl, they got married, and even though my life had changed for the better in the same ways, he still haunts me. Sometimes he shows up in my dreams just to tell me I’m worthless and laugh. Even though I’m sure the real him wouldn’t do that to me in reality.

There are other people that haunt me too; he is far from being the only one. I have repeated, endured and prolonged these types of relationships since I was 13 years old. Social media makes it so easy for you to watch things happen you’re not really a part of, and it can make you feel lonely and long for people who aren’t around really quickly. I’ve watched ex-boyfriends and former friends get married or have babies or just disappear and reappear on my friends list. Sometimes, just a picture or a random like from a distant friend on Facebook can throw me on a nostalgic bender.

 And I know there are a lot of people who don’t like the Shawn Coss drawing of BPD, but to me, it feels so accurate — that feeling of emptiness and being followed around by the ghosts of the past no one else sees. It’s not a monster I see in that drawing; it’s me. Maybe that’s why I love Halloween so much. When everyone else is dressed up spooky, maybe it’s just a little easier time of the year to feel like a haunted house in the daylight.

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

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.

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Photo by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash