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5 Positive Traits I Attribute to My Borderline Personality Disorder

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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is an incredibly challenging diagnosis to live with — I would know. I have been diagnosed with it a few times by various doctors, a result of the interaction of genetics and traumas. However, today I do not want to talk about the challenges so much. I’m not saying this to invalidate by any means; having BPD and my many comorbid conditions, is so far from easy. In many ways, I consider this my most challenging set of symptoms, or at least, the most difficult to treat. What I do want to share today is that there are positives of living with BPD, at least for me.

Here are my top five positive traits I attribute to having BPD:

1. Empathy.

I feel very deeply because of my BPD. Oftentimes, this leads to pain and struggle; however, I also think it can lead to deeper friendships and other kinds of relationships. This is from a brain chemistry that involves intense emotions and reactions to situations, as well as the inherent empathy one has for others when they come from a history of trauma (as many with BPD do have a trauma history).

2. Creativity.

I have a creative mind, something I was told from a young age. This may or may not be directly associated with borderline personality disorder; however, I feel that myself and others I have met with BPD think outside the box or have a proclivity for art, writing, photography or unique ideas. This may come from our unusual wiring (especially as many of us are neurodivergent too — born autistic, with sensory processing disorder or with ADHD), or perhaps from our trauma histories, in which we have learned to rely on creativity to cope.

3. Passion.

I am passionate about my hobbies, my issues, learning, helping others, my pets, my friends and family. I find my BPD, likely because of the intensity of my emotions, has led to going through the world with a fire in my core. While my lows may be debilitating, my natural highs, typically in reaction to positive situations (this is not to be confused with bipolar mania, a separate condition), are strong. I glow when I am happy and I shake when I am excited about something. I want to learn or make a difference or love with an intensity that is hard for some to comprehend.

4. Resilience.

This a big one. It is also a word tattooed on my right wrist. As I said before, BPD can be roller coaster to live with, a painful one at that. And so, while relapses have been common for me, I find I always bounce back. I always come back stronger after each episode, breakdown or moment of hardship.

5. Mental health advocate. 

I am a proud mental health advocate and extremely knowledgeable about mental illness and borderline personality disorder. Because of my diagnoses, including BPD, I strive to share my story with others and to make a difference, even if it is a small one. If I reach one person with each story I share, that is enough for me. Many with BPD even enter into helping professions like nursing, social work or teaching — this is because we know what it is like to need help and to struggle.

BPD for me has required a lot of treatment, ranging from intensive therapies and several medications to stabilize mood and regulate my comorbid diagnoses, to trauma work, to a long list of coping skills I practice regularly. It is not an easy journey for me, nor anyone else who has challenges with emotion regulation, self-harm, interpersonal relationships, abandonment issues, impulsivity and so on. That being said, I think the positive aspects of BPD are rarely acknowledged. I hope anyone reading this who feels down about their diagnosis or symptoms can remember that they are not alone.

Do you have BPD? In what ways do you feel your BPD enhances who you are? Let me know in the comments!

Unsplash image by Greg Kantra

Originally published: September 15, 2021
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