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When Borderline Personality Disorder Makes You Think Suicide Is a Way to Get Attention

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Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

One of the worst things about my borderline personality disorder (BPD) is needing constant attention from people — because I am not able to validate myself. Without people’s attention, I feel worthless.

There are times when I feel suicidal. I go through bleak periods when I feel so depressed that I just want to die so I don’t have to feel this anymore. But there are more times when I realize I don’t actually want to die, but I do wish I could make a suicide attempt to get people’s attention.

Lately this has been quite bad. I’m constantly fantasizing about attempting suicide and ending up in hospital. I had two favorite people who both left me last year. I think if I end up in the hospital, maybe they’ll feel guilty for leaving me. If I contact a friend and they don’t reply, then I end up in the hospital, I hope they’ll think “I should have replied, maybe I could have stopped this.” I visualize my manager telling my team at work that I am in hospital because I made a suicide attempt, and I think about people coming to visit me and sending me nice texts and emails saying they’re really sorry and that they care about me and don’t want me to die.

I also feel like no one will understand how bad I feel unless I do something dramatic like this. I try and explain it, but people tell me I am overreacting. Sometimes I feel like trying to kill myself is the only way to make people see I need help. That no one will understand otherwise.

I feel so ashamed of these feelings. I’m aware that I probably sound manipulative and selfish. And I hate myself for that every minute of every day. I feel like the worst person in the world. I’m publishing this under a false name, because I feel like people will hate me if they know this is how I feel. What kind of bad person wants to make a suicide attempt to get attention?

Yet I know this is just part of my BPD. It’s a symptom of my illness. And I realize that instead of hating myself, I should show myself compassion for having such low self-esteem that I feel this is the only way people will care about me.

Several things stop me from going through with it. I don’t really want to die, not really. What if actually die? I also couldn’t do that to my wife. I know she would be lost without me. I also know if I attempted and didn’t die, she would find it hard to forgive me, especially if she knew I had done it for attention. She thinks suicide is a selfish act, and while that attitude might not be helpful, I still know I could ruin my relationship. And life would be even harder without her. I also know I get addicted to attention. I may get attention for a suicide attempt, but once I have got better and the sympathy has worn off, it would be harder for me to carry on as normal, having gotten used to that attention. I also know some people wouldn’t give me the attention I wanted, but would instead avoid me as they wouldn’t know how to respond to me. Which would make me feel even more alone.

But sometimes I worry these urges are going to get so strong that one day I will give in to them.

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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Unsplash photo via Anca Lunchit

Originally published: January 8, 2018
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