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To My Future Friends, From a Girl With Borderline Personality Disorder

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I can’t wait to meet you! I’ve been trying really hard to get myself to a place where I’m ready to make new friends, and I can honestly say I’m finally there. I gave up on friendship for the past year because I had some mental stuff to work through, mental stuff that made it difficult for me to make friends and maintain friendships in the past. But don’t let that scare you — I’ll explain what I mean by “mental stuff,” just please have an open mind as I do.

What has plagued my past friendships is my borderline personality disorder (BPD). BPD makes it difficult for me to regulate my emotions and comes with a lot of unpleasant symptoms that cause some unsavory actions. Because BPD makes it hard to manage my emotions, it has been hard to manage healthy and stable relationships. My symptoms cause me a lot of grief and torment that I have had to work hard to get a handle on. Just so you have an idea, I’ll describe some of the irrational thoughts and feelings I’ve had in the past.

In past disagreements with friends, I’ve overreacted and taken everything personally, and ultimately ended my friendships. I’ve been known to get too clingy with my friends, because I’m afraid if I’m not, my friends will leave me. I also used to get so excited about new friendships that I would sort of smother my friends with love, which pushed them away. All of this sounds incredibly unpleasant, I know, but now I have the upper hand over my symptoms and actions.

I am not the way I used to be, but I do still have BPD. That will never change, but the way I cope with it has. And my new ability to cope with my illness has made it possible for me to make new friends and keep them. I’m not saying I’m able to effectively cope 100 percent of the time, and I might need some patience and understanding from you at times, but I will try my best to use the coping skills I’ve learned so our friendship doesn’t have to be such hard work.

I choose to see my BPD in a positive way, and I hope you do, too. It gives me the power of empathy and the ability to love fiercely. I am excitable and enthusiastic, and I can be a lot of fun! I still have bad days, but who doesn’t? I cope well, and with your love and friendship, I can get through the hard times. And I will help you and be there for you, too, because I have a great understanding of different kinds of pain. Our friendship will be symbiotic; you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. Mine might need some extra scratching every now and then, but I promise it’s nothing you can’t handle.

Our friendship is going to be so great! I am ready and happy to be the best friend possible to you, and I ask the same in return. I am no different than any other friend you have had, except I have BPD, and I promise that I’ve learned not to let my BPD control my friendships. I may have a BPD diagnosis, but I also have a big heart with plenty of room in it for you. Give me a chance, and you’ll see that I control my friendships, and my BPD does not. I am really looking forward to meeting you, and I’m looking forward to our loving and fruitful friendship.

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to anyone you wish had a better understanding of your experience with disability, disease or mental illness. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: June 20, 2016
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