The Anxiety of Telling Someone New About Your Borderline Personality Disorder
A new relationship is always exciting. You’re infatuated with someone, you look forward to seeing them and every single second is fresh and new. But when you’re struggling with borderline personality disorder (BPD), this exhilarating time may also be filled with anxiety and one burning question: When do I tell them about my mental health?
My mental health is a huge part of me, and it has affected my entire life. I have previously written about how devastating it is when there is such online stigma around borderline personality disorder. I’ve seen people call people struggling “soulless,” “the devil” and a myriad of other horrible names.
Sometimes I can see where it comes from; people with BPD are often known for having volatile and tumultuous relationships, which must leave some people feeling very burnt out, so they might feel the need to lash out online. It’s difficult telling someone new when you know all they have to do is a quick google search to see the worst of it all.
I’ve been a self-harmer since I was 11, tried to kill myself more times than you can count on one hand and have been known to go into depressive moods for weeks at a time. I’ve had two psychiatric ward stays; my mood goes up and down and everywhere in between within minutes, seconds or hours. That is a lot of information for someone to take on, especially if they haven’t come across borderline personality disorder before.
It’s difficult for me to deal with, never mind a burden I want anyone new in my life to have to take on. I’m exhausted trying to keep up with it and I wouldn’t blame anyone else for being so either.
I spent a lot of time worrying over when to bring the topic up. I felt it’s only fair for them to know what they could potentially getting in to before it becomes anything serious. They deserve to make an informed decision before we get too involved. Then the anxiety over telling them feeds into the fear of abandonment, a classic BPD symptom. What if I tell them and they leave? What if they run away because it’s just too much to deal with?
By putting yourself out there and telling all, I am essentially baring my soul and putting myself in a vulnerable position. I don’t want to be treated differently because of the trauma I have experienced, both from others and myself.
I don’t want to be pitied, or treated like a charity case. But it is a big part of me, this mental health of mine. Anyone who enters into a relationship with me has to be aware that it’s probably going to come up at some point. I spend so much of my time trying to keep everything in check but there will be points when I get overwhelmed and anxious, there are going to be times when I am going to need reassurance that I’m not an awful person and they don’t hate me. I need something to silence the voice in my head that is always whispering in my ear that I’m not enough or too much.
Borderline Personality Disorder makes me contradict myself, I am both not good enough and too much at the same time. My only hope is that when I do divulge the details of my mental health this new relationship doesn’t crumble and fall. But rather, knowing my history brings us closer together and makes us stronger.
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Getty image via AntonioGuillem