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To Those Who Want to Understand Borderline Personality Disorder

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I cannot tell you how much I want the people in my life to understand my disorder. I wish those who are close to me would understand. This letter is for those of you who want to understand, from the viewpoint of someone who walks this uphill battle every day.

I am sitting here at the computer. Not knowing what I want to say, but knowing how I feel. I’m not able to put it into words, as if butterflies are fluttering in my stomach and I can’t catch one. It’s almost an empty feeling. You’re not sure exactly what’s going on inside of you, you just know it doesn’t feel good. This is what it feels like to have borderline personality disorder (BPD).

My thoughts seem to jump in a million different places during the day. One minute, I think you’re the nicest, best person in the world. Do something small, like look at my message and not respond, it seems like the end of the world. Automatically, you become my worst enemy. I feel very sad and think you hate me and you’re going to abandon me. Then, I do all I can to prevent you from doing what I fear most.

Sometimes I get paranoid. It is like this because I’ve been controlled my whole life. I was the puppet whose strings were controlled by the abuser. In my head, I think someone’s out to get me. All of the sudden, I don’t feel safe. I feel like I am being watched, and my thoughts can be heard. At this point, I get scared and whip my head in every direction, looking for those I think want to hurt me.

My emotions are scattered everywhere. It is hard to put into words how I feel in my daily life. All I know is I feel. Sometimes it is a good feeling. Other times, it is bad. All I know is it is all of the sudden. One minute, I can feel great! Minutes later, I can feel very depressed. Sometimes it’s triggered by something, and at other times it’s spontaneous.

This is where my actions kick in. To you, someone getting mad at you may feel terrible. Then, it blows over eventually and it doesn’t bother you anymore. To me, someone yelling at me is the end of the world for a few minutes to a few hours. I jump from a one to a 10 on the emotional scale.

The difference is my thoughts take over. “I’m stupid,” “It’s all my fault,” “I should have never been born. It would be better that way.”  Then, I do something drastic that could bring serious harm to myself, and sometimes even to others. Visits to the emergency room may be necessary, if it means keeping yourself in a place where you won’t do anything fatal.

Relationships seem hard. There are some of us who think we’ll never be in love or ever form lasting friendships. We fear being abandoned. Sometimes we expect people to walk away or hurt us, and we grab on tighter and try to do everything in our power to prevent abandonment. Sometimes we don’t trust, and it makes it hard to come out of our shells. It is easy to put up borders. Those who will love us are those who will work with us. Those who understand us and who are committed to being by our side.

Understand, you can’t see BPD. We look like everyday people. We’re not freaks. We just have a hard time controlling our emotions. We have a hard time with our thoughts. We have a hard time not acting on our impulsive behaviors. We are capable of everything you are capable of. Sometimes we may have to work a little harder.

You can have a true relationship with us. You just have to be committed to being there for us. We’re afraid of getting hurt, yes, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from learning more about our struggle. This shouldn’t stop anyone from finding good ways to be a helping hand in times of great battle.

This letter is for you who want to understand what BPD is like. Maybe you have friends who have this disorder and have a hard time, like many of us do, putting how we feel into words. Maybe you are someone who has this disorder. I hope this helps make it a little easier to explain to your friends how you feel.

Originally published: July 29, 2016
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