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How Low Self-Esteem Impacts My Borderline Personality Disorder

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Low self-esteem can be behind a lot of mental illness. It certainly is with mine. When I was struggling with an eating disorder, I thought that maybe if I weighed less I could feel better about myself and that people would like me more. With my borderline personality disorder, I have deep fears that everyone will abandon me. I don’t think I would have this fear if I had good self-esteem. How can I expect anyone to want to stay with me if I can’t even bear to be around myself?

If anyone does anything that I perceive as a sign of abandonment, whether that is real or not (it’s usually not), I sink into depression because it just proves every bad thing I’ve ever thought about myself is real.

Lately, I have become so absorbed with self-loathing that I firmly believe I am bad and will see signs of that everywhere. A friend said last week that another friend of mine with mental health problems seemed to be a good person and didn’t deserve to be struggling. I took that as meaning that I did deserve my problems and then I felt guilty. I know really that wasn’t what she was saying, but I don’t have enough self-esteem to be able to dismiss thoughts like this. On the weekend, I was supposed to meet another friend before an event and never got to see her. There were all kinds of reasons for this, but to me it felt like she just didn’t want to see me because I am not worth it.

My self-worth is all tied up in other people. If someone is giving me attention and being nice to me, I am worth something. If someone is being mean to me or just not saying anything to me, then I am worthless and don’t deserve to be here. I think I deserve to feel this low and to suffer and I want to hurt myself because I am a bad person. I’m supposed to resist hurting myself but if I think about not doing it I think, “but why wouldn’t I? I need to punish myself.” I spend a lot of time crying because I am so unhappy with myself. I want people to care about me and worry about me, but why would they when I think so little about myself? If I hate myself this much then surely everyone else hates me too.

I’m trying to work on self-esteem with my therapist, but it’s difficult when I don’t feel like I even deserve the therapist’s help and I don’t deserve to feel better because I’m really not worth it. It’s difficult waking up every day because I have to live another day with myself and sometimes that is really hard to bear.

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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Getty Images photo via Dreya Novak

Originally published: December 14, 2017
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