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A Love Letter to the Teenager With Borderline Personality Disorder

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Things have been hard lately, I know. You’ve made some questionable decisions that resulted in you being grounded, again. But I’m not writing to reprimand you. I am writing you to let you know I understand, and you are not alone. Like you, I also have borderline personality disorder and was diagnosed when I was your age. I struggled too — with constantly being in trouble and fighting with my friends and parents. I know it’s hard, but you can get through it.

I know it’s annoying that your mom stuck you in therapy once a week, but it’s important that you go, and when you do, you talk. I never wanted to talk to my therapist either, but I’m glad I did because she really helped me learn how to live with my BPD. Give your therapist a chance, and give her suggestions a go, and I promise you will start to feel more in control of your illness.

Relationships have been particularly difficult for you, like they were for me. And like me, your relationships have never been healthy or stable. I want you to know it isn’t and has never been your fault. Your BPD makes it hard for you to control your emotions and your reactions to physical and emotional triggers. And like me, you think everyone around you is always trying to attack or insult you. I want you to know you do not have to attack or insult back; you just have to learn how to interact with others in healthy ways, and your therapist can help you with that.

You thought you were just a bad kid who makes bad choices, but I assure you, that’s not it. You haven’t been in control of yourself because BPD has been controlling you. But you can take back control of your emotions, your relationships and your life. Just don’t give up while you’re trying to figure out how to gain control. You are stronger than you think you are, and you can fight BPD for control of your mind, and you can win.

I know sometimes you feel like it, but you are not a bad person because you have BPD. You are not your illness, and you have nothing to be ashamed of. You should be proud of yourself for being so young and fighting a mental illness; that shows how strong you are. Please don’t give up on feeling better, because it is possible. Just remember you are strong, you are not alone and you can do this. Giving up is not an option, but when it feels like the only option, please talk with your parents or your therapist. They will remind you that you can’t give up and give you the encouragement and hope you need to keep going.

Please don’t worry. You are going to be OK. This diagnosis is just another challenge, and you can overcome it, like you have a lot of things so far in your young life. Don’t be afraid of what others think of you; if they shame you for having a mental illness, that shows their true colors and not yours. I want you to remember that BPD is manageable and that you are strong enough to manage it. I want you know BPD is not your life; it is just a small part — a small part you can take control of. Just remember to give your therapy a fair shot, practice what you learn and put it into action. You can do this!

If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.

The Crisis Text Line is looking for volunteers! If you’re interesting in becoming a Crisis Counselor, you can learn more information here.

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to your teenaged self when you were struggling to accept your differences. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: May 24, 2016
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