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What It's Like Living With Borderline Personality Disorder and PTSD

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Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

This is borderline personality disorder (BPD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

• What is PTSD?

I first started experiencing BPD symptoms at 12. I was vulnerable to putting myself in dangerous situations and acting recklessly. Then, at the tender age of 12, I experienced my first rape. I know it wasn’t my fault and the blame lies in the man who stole my innocence. This is when suicidal ideation kicked in, a few unsuccessful attempts as a teenager. Suicidal ideation has stayed with me ever since. I could be having the best day, but that little voice tempting me with a way out will always be there. I’m not suicidal; I have no plans. But suicidal ideation is one of the few things that are stable within me.

Victims of trauma often experience re-victimization.

The borderline in me makes me fall and love deeply and the fear of abandonment holds me in toxic relationships, thus adding to the list of traumas.

But when the flashbacks hit, the BPD and PTSD clash like a dangerous storm. Who am I? Who’s really at fault? This is where it can spiral into dangerous territory.

The PTSD prevents me from living in the now because of the constant flashbacks of the countless traumas. The borderline in me gives me moments of great highs and happiness, but then the slightest trigger sends me spiraling into the lowest of lows. There are no grey areas; it’s black and white.

I live every day not knowing who I am or who I’ll be that day. PTSD reminds me of who I am in cruel ways with the flashbacks. But BPD says, “Who are you?” The disassociation kicks in and when I look in the mirror, it’s like looking at a stranger. I don’t know her. I have no sense of self, so I’m constantly searching and changing appearance. It’s a desperate search to find which one fits.

I don’t think I’ll ever know who she is.

I’m an artist; that is stable. So for me, making sure I paint or draw is important. It’s a small yet powerful link to my true self. I live my life on autopilot mostly; bills need to be paid, children need to be cared for.

After a series of very traumatic events in my 20s, the PTSD from these events are the strongest. But I now have a beautiful loving partner who accepts me for who I am and I am so very grateful to him for that. I know he would never hurt me, but the borderline in me and deep fear of abandonment keep me from being totally honest about how I’m feeling ever day. I’m trying, though. It’s a work in progress.

I have beautiful friends who accept me for who I am, children who love me and a beautiful kind loving partner.

I’m not manipulative, I don’t have narcissistic traits, I don’t split. There’s so much stigma surrounding borderline personality disorder, but we are all different. I am kind and very compassionate. We are all just trying our best to live a happy life with the odds against us.

Living with BPD and PTSD is tough and painful.

So far anyone reading this who has PTSD, BPD — or both: I love you, you are loved. And even if we don’t really know who we are – there are beautiful loving people out there who will and do accept us for who we are. Don’t be afraid to reach out and don’t be ashamed of your diagnosis. We didn’t want it, we didn’t ask for it. Day and night are stable, for that we can be certain. Today may be hard, each minute may be painful. But tomorrow is a new day, there is always hope for tomorrow.

GettyImages via AOosthuizen

Originally published: December 3, 2018
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