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The Constant, Internal Tug of War of Borderline Personality Disorder

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I live with borderline personality disorder (BPD), a condition which has been described as being the mental health equivalent of having third degree burns all over your body. Essentially the smallest flicker of anger and I feel burning rage, the tinniest amount of friendship and I love obsessively, a touch of sadness and I grieve deeply. I am exhausted, stuck in a constant tug of war between my head and my heart, knowing what I’m doing is going to end badly but being compelled to do it none the less. I fear abandonment in every relationship, often obsess over and idealize one person (known as a favorite person), my mood swings are debilitating and unpredictable and I often dissociate because I lack the ability to process my emotions.

Over the years I have been labeled as unstable, manipulative, narcissistic, an addict, broken, attention seeking, emotionless, too emotional and “crazy” — but this is the reality of surviving with this condition. A condition which encompasses many different traits and often has other accompanying conditions such as eating disorders, depression and anxiety and substance misuse, all of which I have and continue to fight to this day. Living alongside this disorder has pushed me to my furthest limits, I am one of the eight in 10 people with BPD who have attempted suicide and still struggle with suicidal ideation on a regular basis.

A banner promoting The Mighty's new BPD Safe Zone group on The Mighty mobile app. The banner reads, Join the BPD Safe Zone -- a safe and nonjudgmental space for anyone living with borderline personality disorder to talk openly about their experiences. Click to join the BPD Safe Zone.

Those of us with BPD know how hard it can be but it also means we are capable of so much more. I love more deeply than I realize, I appreciate each good moment I am given, I am creative and spontaneous and if you manage to break through my defenses, I am fiercely loyal and will care for you like you are my own. I have a heart full of compassion and empathy and am in turn able to support people in their darkest times.

I am only part way through my journey, I have been diagnosed but am waiting on targeted therapy and meds to help control my symptoms. At first I believed this to be a life sentence, something that would be the end of me, something that meant I could never achieve my dreams, but I was so wrong. I have completed a degree in childhood education and am now half way through my first year of a nursing degree, something I would never have imagined possible three years ago.

This is for anyone who believes they are written off because of mental ill health as I did for so many years. There is hope in the darkness, there is a path through the hard times and if a day doesn’t go the way you planned, then that’s OK, do what you need to do and start again tomorrow.

Photo by Mahir Uysal on Unsplash

Originally published: January 19, 2021
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