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Reflecting After My Recent Borderline Personality Disorder Diagnosis

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Am I me?

Well, am I? I guess that is a question some people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) ask themselves an awful lot. The name of the disorder, using the word “personality,” makes it feel personal. An attack on us? Maybe. But deep down, I think we know it isn’t. But, that isn’t how we work.

I only got diagnosed seven months ago, after two decades of mental health issues. I don’t even know how to “label” myself when trying to speak about it. Though getting a diagnosis of the issue was a relief. To put a name to it, as such.

To me, I have always been a bit of an oddball. But things were getting stronger and stronger, and just didn’t feel right. I’ve not had any contact from the mental health team since diagnosis, which has been strange. Recently, I have been thinking they just gave me a sticker with a name on it, threw me in the deep end and turned the wave machine on.

But thinking back, the diagnosis was a month before I tried to die by suicide while I was in inpatient. So, I can’t really trust my judgment if I just said to the mental health team, “Thanks, I will sort myself, cheers!” So, it is no slight on them at all. (Love you guys! Maybe, ask me tomorrow.)

The last bit of the last paragraph sums up a big part of me. Always trying to be the joker.

What I am getting at in the last bit in parenthesis is how inconclusive my behavior can be from one second to the next.
I can freely talk about a suicide attempt, then move on to trying to make people laugh without taking a breath.

And that is something I have never been able to really grasp. And is it even worth trying to grasp? I’m 36 now, I have struggled, but I am still here. Yet, in a way still in the infancy of my life is with BPD. I understand everything about it, but absolutely nothing.

I have always been a popular lad, big group of friends, both close friends and acquaintances. I like to think I appear bubbly and confident. Yet, at the same, I’m always the one people check on first in regard to suicide or if someone has gone missing, etc. Again, another thing that doesn’t compute to me on how I must be or act. Why are they checking on me? Do they know something I don’t? Then, there is the twinge of paranoia. Then, the train of thought moves back to something completely different. Or another cigarette or another drink to pass the time.

I guess one positive thing in being diagnosed is I’ve found you are less hard on yourself for how you act. Well, I know I am anyway. But the biggest hill to climb in my experience so far is getting other people, even close family and friends, to realize you struggle with BPD.

There is the famous saying, “walk a mile in my shoes.” Well, I think we would be understood more if we could get our nearest and dearest to “spend a bit of time in our brains.” Just so they might get a glimpse of what BPD is like.

Though I know myself I wouldn’t want anyone I care for to have to go through that. As I feel like it’s a burden I should carry, which again, isn’t really helpful in the long run.

But, that is what we do.

Getty image by Nazan Akpolat

Originally published: February 20, 2021
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